Category Archives: COVID-19

The Weekend Round-Up: January 15-18

MLK’s words, etched into his memorial, resonate strongly right now

 

Happy Long Weekend… and stay safe, everyone.

Celebrate MLK
Where: Around the DMV & Online
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies

MLK Day may be on Monday, but there are events and activities that pay tribute to the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. throughout the whole weekend, both virtual and IRL. Volunteer opportunities, art adventures, and online entertainment are some of the ways you can celebrate the day. This post has details on all of them.

Ice Cream for Inauguration
Where: Ice Cream Jubilee | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Through January 24
Admission: $22
Ice Cream Jubilee is celebrating the new year and new White House with new ice cream flavors – and tasting parties of special Inauguration Flavors where they’ll serve tasting flights of four mini-scoops (and a pint to take home). President-elect Joe Biden famously loves ice cream, so they want to use ice cream to spread enthusiasm for the new administration and get kids and families excited about elections, government, and our country as they watch the swearing in from home… with ice cream, of course!

Cinderella
Where: Kennedy Center Online
When: Friday – Sunday
Admission: $10

In partnership with Center Theatre Group on its Digital Stage platform, enjoy an on-demand film screening of celebrated British choreographer Matthew Bourne’s acclaimed Cinderella, which charmed Kennedy Center audiences in 2019. It will be available to stream all weekend.

Saturday Morning Live! At The National
Where: National Theatre | Online
When: Saturday, 9:30am
Admission: Free

The National Theatre is excited to present Life Now Episode One: The Book of How as a part of their Saturday Morning Live! virtual season on Facebook. Meet show host Alvin and his favorite four storytellers, discover that change can be good, and figure out ways to become a better listener. Learn crazy dance moves, how to make a paper craft, and what to do when your hat has a hole in it! This programming is best suited for children 4-10 years, but siblings and friends of other ages are always welcome to join the fun.

Winter Inspo
Where: Around the DMV
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by locale

Don’t let the Covid cold months keep you from getting out around the area. This post is full of recs for activities that are accessible now. From hikes to art experiences to seasonal sports to garden explorations to all-season fun, there are all kinds of things to do that keep social distancing and safety in mind. All you really need are good layers and maybe a little extra outdoor gear.

Walks in the Woods
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Enjoy the beauty of nature in winter on the trail.  Tramp in places with scenic views, hike and explore history at interesting locales, and savor a sunny day outdoors. This post has a a bunch of recommendations for places for hikes with kids.  Some good recs for right now: Sugarloaf Mountain in Dickerson, MD; Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park in Sandy Spring, MD; Pohick Bay Regional Park in Lorton, VA;  Riverbend Park in Great Falls, MD; and Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane, VA.

Ice It
Where: Ice rinks around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by rink

Glide under the sky and stars!  Several ice rinks are open for the season with Covid precautions in place for safe, socially distanced skating.  Pentagon Row,  Silver Spring at Veterans PlazaRockville Town Square, and Reston Town Center are once again welcoming guests to skate the day — and night — away.  The Color Burst Ice Rink at the Merriweather District in Columbia, MD, just started its inaugural skating season. And the Winter Village at Cameron Run in Arlington also includes the ice skating ops. [Note: You need advanced reservations at just about all of these places, so plan accordingly.]

Serenity Now
Where: Around DC
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Sometimes you just want to go someplace that’s pretty and quiet, where you can chill out and think (or not) — especially during this tense time. This post has a round-up of of those very places, where you can find peace and calm, all of them right here in the city.

Go Underground
Where: Luray Caverns | Luray, VA
When: Daily, 9am – 4pm
Admission: $30/adults, $15/ages 6-12, free/5 & under 

Behold the spectacular underground world of stalagmites, stalactites, and other amazing limestone formations in the massive cave system at Luray. Afterward, make your way through the Garden Maze or check out vintage rides in the Carriage and Caravan Museum. Admission does not include attractions beyond the cavern. KFDC Tip: Be sure to make a pit stop before going into the caverns, because it can be a long walk out to a restroom, and once you’re out, you may not be able to go back in.

Art & Maritime Explorations
Where: Calvert County, MD
When: Daily, except Christmas
Admission: Varies by locale

Make a day of it in Calvert County, where you can visit a couple of places for fun, fascinating, hands-on adventures. Annmarie Sculpture Garden is full of artistic delights. Tour beautiful works around the grounds (and indoors, if you want) and play in the delightful Fairy Lolly. Hours are 10am – 5pm Mon-Sat, 12-5pm Sun, and admission is a suggested $5 donation. Also out that way is the Calvert Marine Museum, where you can see interesting exhibits, including display cases full of fossils and artifacts, plus live fish and other creatures. There’s also a play area and a real lighthouse to tour. Hours are 10am – 5pm with two -hours sessions 10am – 12pm, 12:30-2:30pm, and 3-5pm, and admission is $9/adult, $4/ages 5-12, free/4 & under.

Fun at Fairfax Parks
Where: Parks around Fairfax County, VA
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity

There are new events from the Fairfax County Park Authority all the time, and this weekend has a fresh batch of nature-inspired activities for guests of all ages. Go on a family hilltop outing at Historic Huntley.  Learn about spies at Ellanor C. Lawrence Park. Details and registration for these and many more nature activities this weekend and beyond are available here.

Charm City, Hon
Where: Inner Harbor Area | Baltimore, MD
When: All Weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Head up I-95 for a change of city scenery. Explore the exhibits at Maryland Science Center. See some of the quirkiest, coolest art ever at the American Visionary Art Museum. Play the day away at Port Discovery. Get an eyeful of the underwater world at the National Aquarium. Or view history in the works at the Baltimore Museum of Industry (open by appt). All of these places are open with new safety protocols in place for COVID.

A Teachable Moment
Where: Adventure Theatre | Online
When: Sunday, 2pm
Admission: Free

Tune in with Adventure Theatre and special guest Councilmember Evan Glass. The Councilmember will discuss what’s been happening in our nation’s capital and how this time can be a teachable moment. With Artistic Director Chil Kong leading the conversation, he will help us understand the various ways the United States can and have transitioned from one president to another. To tune in, visit Adventure’s Facebook page on Sunday at 2pm.

***MORE GOOD STUFF TO KNOW***
* The National Mall likely will be closed on Inauguration Day, and would-be visitors are encouraged to stay home.
* There’s a brand new post about a great day out for a hike — and après hike.
* The Rosslyn BID is helping the community keep their 2021 goals top of mind with a free virtual wellness series and locally-sourced giveaways starting January 19. Register in advance!
* Anyone else watching (and loving) Cobra Kai?
* Overlooked Indie movies.
* Thank you notes for the Capitol clean-up crew.

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Filed under 2021, All ages, Annual, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Maryland, Outdoor, Social Distancing, Special Event, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

Hike — & Après Hike — at Sugarloaf Mountain & The Comus Inn

Hanging out on the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain

 

Two kinds of outings many of us are seeking these days are activities outdoors with space to social distance and dining outside that’s family-friendly and heated.  And when you easily can combine both into one adventure, well, that’s like hitting the Covid day trip jackpot.

Enjoying the scenic surrounds of The Comus Inn

We experienced such luck a little while back the day after Thanksgiving.  I got the best tip from a friend about The Comus Inn, a newly renovated restaurant (and more) just down the street from Sugarloaf Mountain in Dickerson, MD.  Her family had recently gone for a hike then stopped for a bite after, and she raved about the fantastic time they had there.

A view from the Sugarloaf summit

Hiking at Sugarloaf Mountain wasn’t new to us, but we usually paired it with a visit to the Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard, also a short drive down the road from the park.  We’re always up for something new, though, especially when it comes as a very enthusiastic recommendation.

Space to social distance

The start of the White trail

Sugarloaf Mountain, in Montgomery County about 10 miles south of Frederick, is a great place to go for a family hike.  If you’re with older kids or avid hikers, you can start at the base and opt for an seven-mile loop up and down the mountain.  With younger children, or if you just want a shorter, easier jaunt, you can drive farther up to the East View parking area, where several trails to hop on are nearby.  A couple of good ones are the white trail, which winds around and ascends gradually to the summit, and the orange trail that is a steeper, more direct climb up.  Drive a little further to the West View parking areas for more, similar options.  However you go, you’re guaranteed great views on the way and at the top.  

Group hike on the Orange

Scrambling up to the top

On this trip, we met up with friends and opted for the orange trail. While all of us parents followed the route, the kids went off-trail and scrambled up a hill and over rocks, but we all met at the summit.  It’s a large area, so you can enjoy the scenery and climb outer rocks.  There are no big drop offs, but it’s always a good idea to make sure kids aren’t doing anything precarious, of course.   You can also bring along a picnic and, if it’s not crowded, enjoy it on some of the large rocks along with sweeping views.  There are also picnic tables near the parking areas.  However, I highly recommend saving snack time for après hike…

 

A perfect setting for a post-hike meal

The Comus Inn is part of what made this whole adventure special.  The  family-friendly community recreation and entertainment destination (as they describe it) could be an outing in itself.  There is a lovely outdoor dining area with long wooden tables and smaller round ones, string lighting for added charm and ambiance, and more seating around a fountain and in the nearby expanse of grass. Tall heaters are placed throughout for warmth.  The menu has everything from snacks and starters to entrees with something for every palate, plus beer and wine and coffeehouse selections. The bonus: Fun games available to play — shuffleboard, corn hole, and ping pong.  And all of it is surrounded by gorgeous scenery.

Someone’s ready to eat

Ping pong to work up an appetite

Our large group walked right in and got seated, but I’m guessing that won’t be so easy as word gets out about The Comus Inn.  Unfortunately, they do not take reservations, but if there aren’t any tables readily available, it’s a pretty awesome place to have to wait.

Even more games to play… shuffleboard and corn hole

 

The Comus Inn is located at 23900 Old Hundred Road in Dickerson, MD. Hours are 7-11am and 4-8pm Thursday & Friday, and 7am – 8pm Saturday & Sunday.

Sugarloaf Mountain is located at 7901 Comus Road in Dickerson, MD, just over an hour drive from DC. Park ours are 8am – sunset.  Admission is a suggested donation of $5/vehicle.

 

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Filed under All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Free, Maryland, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Social Distancing, Weekdays, Weekend

Ways to Celebrate MLK Day 2021

 

Perhaps now more than ever is the time to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his dream of equality and justice — and continue the work to achieve it. Even during this unique time,  you can do just that, both virtually and in-person.   If you’re looking for ways to teach kids about MLK, want to give back on the Day of Service, or hope to join a special event — online or IRL — to celebrate his legacy, these recommendations will have you covered.

Day of Service
Where: Various locations around the DMV
When: January 18
Admission: Just your time

The Biden-Harris Inauguration Festivities honor MLK by including the annual Day of Service.  If you want to volunteer or be part of it by giving back, there are many ways and some places around the area where you can do, both virtually and in person. Start here to find opportunities that suit your family. (And see a specific one below.)

Weekend of Service
Where: Rock Creek Park | DC & MD
When: Throughout the long weekend
Admission: Just your time!

Through Rock Creek Conservancy’s MLK Weekend of Service, you can register to help with trash clean-up and invasive plant removal throughout Rock Creek Park. There are opportunities for all ages to volunteer on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

More Volunteer Ops
Where: Various locations around the DMV
When: Ongoing
Admission: Just your time

For more places to volunteer that aren’t included in the official MLK Day of Service database, this KFDC post has suggestions. All of the organizations listed welcome kids to help out, though some have age requirements, so be sure to note them. (Also note that some of places do not have volunteer ops rights now due to Covid, but it’s worth checking.)

Free Parking
Where: National Parks around the region
When: January 18
Admission: Free!

In honor of MLK Day, it’s the first fee free day of the year for national parks, which means there’s no cost for entry where they usually charge to get in. Take advantage of complimentary admission and the day off from school. Some ideas: Hit the trail at Shenandoah or Great Falls, explore Prince William Forest Park, go to Fort McHenry, or visit Harpers Ferry.

Be the Light — Celebrating the Legacy of MLK Jr.
Where: Port Discovery | Baltimore, MD
When: January 16-17
Admission: $17.95/ages 1+, free for members

Join Port Discovery in celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy during their “Be the Light” event. Experience the strength of celebrating differences and stories in our community, take part in interactive programs and virtual performances designed to educate, inspire and help children understand the positive impact that their dreams and creativity can have on the world around them, inspired by Dr. King’s message.

MLK Virtual Peace Parade
Where: Online
When: January 18, 12pm
Admission: Free

The annual MLK Parade & Peace walk is going virtual this year with a rally, but you can still commemorate the life of MLK, Jr. with a festive experience. Tune into YouTube at noon on Monday, and be sure to follow on on YouTubeFacebookTwitter, and Instagram @mlkholidaydc115 for any update.  The parade will also be viewable on mlkholidaydc.org; and the Washington Informer website.

Artsy MLK Days: A Virtual Community Event
Where: Annmarie Sculpture Garden | Online
When: January 16-18, 11am – 12pm
Admission: Free

Though the pandemic has forced Annmarie to change the format of this annual event, they’ve reinvented all the elements to create a virtual at-home experience to keep everyone safe, connected, and ready to honor the dream with creative activities! Dr. King left us with a wealth of wisdom on how to create a more just, humane, and peaceful world — and they celebrate his legacy with art-inspired experiences centered around his nonviolent philosophy. Visit the website to see how you can tour an art exhibit  and make inspired artwork with their visiting artist from the comfort of home. Read more about the wonderful Annmarie Sculpture Garden in this KFDC post.

MLK Virtual Dare to Dream Day
Where: American Visionary Art Museum | Online
When: January 20, 11am
Admission: Free

Join in a free celebration honoring one of history’s greatest visionaries. Now accepting submissions for the Open Mic and Poetry Slam. Enjoy an artist talk with Kyle Yearwood, poetry slam and open mic, and a musical performance by Landis Expandis — all from the comfort of home. Read more about the fantastic AVAM here.

The People’s Holiday
Where: NMAAHC | Online
When: January 18, 4-5:30pm
Admission: Free

Tune into the National Museum of African American History & Culture its annual community program that honors Dr. Kings’ commitment to racial equality, justice, and service. Enjoy a digital performance by six-time Grammy award-winning bassist, composer, and educator Christian McBride inspired by his social justice-focused album entitled, The Movement Revisited: A Musical Portrait of Four Icons. The 45-minute concert of jazz and poetry will also feature performances of students from The Julliard School and a poetry reading by award winning poet, Evie Shockley. The program will conclude with a conversation between Christian McBride and Dr. Dwandalyn Reece, Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs | Curator of Music and Performing Arts.

 

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Filed under 2021, All ages, Annual, Art, Black Lives Matter, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Educational, Free, Holidays, Maryland, Seasonal, Social Distancing, Special Event, Virginia, Weekend, Winter

Five Things for Today: January 14, 2021

 

The National Arboretum is a fave for getting outdoors in the city

 

1. It’s going to be 50s and sunny today, a perfect time to highlight The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids.

 

2. Washingtonian shares what you need to know about DC Inauguration Day threats and other Capitol insurrection fallout. In addition, Metro is closing 13 stations near the Capitol and National Mall for a week starting Friday.

 

3. In this unsettling time, journaling can be a good way to help ease anxieties. NPR has tips on how to get started.

 

4. TV can also be a good distractor right now. We finally watched The Queen’s Gambit, and it is as good as everyone says.  I also recently binged The Flight Attendant, and it was a fun, quirky thriller ala Dead to Me.  Hearing good things about Bridgerton, too! (All recs for adults…maybe teens, too.)

 

5. Of course, the Holdernesses have a song for 2021 (so far).

 

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Filed under 2021, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Maryland, Outdoor, Social Distancing, Virginia, Winter