Category Archives: COVID-19

Five Things for Today: December 21, 2021

Mask up , DC!


1. In case you missed it over the weekend…  In light of Omicron and the rising rates in Covid cases everywhere, I (re)shared on social media the post about Activities Around DC During the Covid Winter. It was originally published last December, but unfortunately (and frustratingly) seems necessary to highlight once again, with all activities mentioned being outdoors.  And if you have seen the post, it’s worth checking out again, as a few new ideas have been added.


2. Did you know that walk-up vaccinations are available just about everyday in DC?  Several libraries and rec centers around the city are among the sites in Mayor Bower’s Take the Shot, DC program.  The sites change daily, so be sure to check which are open and hours before you go.  No appointment is necessary, and they offer vaccinations for ages 5+ and boosters for ages 16+.

And starting tomorrow, December 22, DC Health will launch the Test Yourself Express program.  Residents will be able to pick up free at-home Covid testing kits, two per day, at eight locations around the city.  (More details available tomorrow through the link.)


3. DC’s indoor mask mandate was reinstated yesterday, and masks are now required at indoor public places in the District. There currently are no statewide mandates in Virginia or Maryland (though masks are encouraged indoors),  but there is one in Montgomery County. (Update: Prince George’s County has a mask mandate, too.)


4. A few “Best of” lists from someone with great taste: Books, Movies, Music. (I’ve found some of my favorites on these lists over the years!)


5. It’s beginning to look at lot like…



Filed under 2021, COVID-19, COVID-19 DC Area, DC, Five Things for Today, Maryland, Virginia, Winter

The Weekend Round-Up: May 14-16

Biking by Constitution Gardens on the National Mall


Quick links for activities galore around the DC area:
Spring Things to Get Excited About
Best Outdoor Spots in the DC Area
* Local Hikes with Kids
* Peaceful Places
* Indoor Outings
* On the Water
* Bike Rides

DC Reopenings
Where: Around DC
When: Staring this weekend
Admission: Varies by venue

Several DC museums and other beloved places are opening their doors to visitors again starting this weekend after being closed for many months due to Covid. You’ll once again be able to visit the National Museum of African American History & Culture, National Portrait Gallery & American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, National Gallery of Art, and Dumbarton Oaks Garden. Ford’s Theatre also opened earlier this week, and the Udvar-Hazy Center reopened last week. Timed-entry passes are required for all of them, and they’re going fast. If you can’t get them for this weekend, reserve for a later date! Click links to get yours.

Open Play
Where: The Lane Social Club | Ivy City, DC
When: Timed-entry on Sunday
Admission: $15/person (adults, too)

Snag a block of time for Open Play at the family hang out spot in Ivy City. With super cool play elements that kids will dig and lots of thoughtful details that parents will appreciate, it’s a place where you’ll all enjoy spending time. Covid safety measures are in place, and note that they are not offering food or drinks right now, but you can BYO small snack.

Spring Drive-In Movie Series
Where: The Stack at Buzzard Point | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Friday, 8pm
Admission: $20/car

Remember the Titans will be on the big outdoor screen in the Capitol Riverfront this weekend.  The neighborhood BID’s drive-in movie series is a fun, contact-free experience for all ages at an appropriate social distance.  Even more, all funds are donated to local charities — this weekend proceeds benefit Unity Health Care.

Drive-In, in NoVa
Where: Alexandria Drive-In Movie Theater | Alexandria, VA
When: Friday & Saturday, 8pm
Admission: $40/car

You can also catch a flick from the comfort of your car in Virginia. The Secret Life of Pets will be screened on Friday night, and Jaws on Saturday (dun-dun, dun-dun…). Food trucks will be there both nights offering savory and sweet concessions with online ordering through Goodfynd. Purchase movie tickets in advance!

A Fairytale of a Farm
Where: Clarks Elioak Farm | Clarksville, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $8

Enjoy all kinds of farm fun — with a side fairytale charm, to boot. Clark’s Elioak delights with its old storybook park installations and mini rides for kids. There are also animals to visit and pony rides. A bonus: JoAnn Hill, author of the book Secret Washington, DC, which features Clark Elioak, will be there signing books and happy to chat about obscure and interesting things to see and do around the area.

Arrrgh, Mateys!
Where: Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake | Annapolis, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $22, $12/ages 2 and under

Set sail on the high seas in Annapolis for a jolly good adventure. Pirate Adventures on the Chesapeake has reopened for the season, taking little buccaneers on a search for buried treasure. Several time slots are available throughout the day, and safety measures are in place for Covid. Read more about the adventure in this KFDC post, but note that it’s from pre-Covid days.

Ride On
Where: Around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Free

There’s a quick link to bike routes above, but here’s a stronger recommendation to get out for a family ride. Last weekend, we had a great time biking the National Mall, stopping at the memorials and Constitution Garden, then making our way to West Potomac Park and over to The Wharf, where we grabbed an easy, delicious bite at Falafel Inc. You can find even more recs for good two-wheel trips here.

Day Out with Thomas
Where: B&O Railroad Museum | Baltimore, MD
When: Friday – Sunday
Admission: $26-30

All aboard, little engineers! Thomas the Tank Engine is rolling into town with the Party Train Tour! Take a train ride behind him, meet Sir Topham Hatt, and enjoy a full day of activities and family fun!

More Charm City Fun, Hon
Where: Baltimore, MD
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by place

Have even more fun in our sister city, just 45 minutes up I-95. Explore the exhibits and loads of hands-on activities at the Maryland Science Center. Play the day away at Port Discovery. See some of the quirkiest, coolest art around at the American Visionary Art Museum. Get an eyeful of the underwater world at the National Aquarium. Tour historic ships at the Inner Harbor.  Or learn about Baltimore’s early business days at the Museum of Industry.  All of these places require advance reservations, so be sure to book ahead.

Where: National Colonial Farm | Accokeek Park, VA
When: Saturday
Admission: Depends on activities

Head to the park for Lattes with Lambs: Lambapalooza festival — they’re going out with a baa-ng. Enjoy music, hayrides, DIY activities, sheep shearing demonstrations, and a special book signing. This is a hybrid event that also takes place online — visit the website for details.

Secret Agent Scavenger Hunt
Where: Around the DC area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: $15-25
Join Imagination Stage for an outdoor adventure perfect for families. Complete missions, take pictures and video, and enhance spy skills as you explore your local park, neighborhood, or even a guided walk of downtown Bethesda. You can participate right on your phone through the Goose Chase app, which comes complete with everything you need for this COVID-safe adventure. If you enjoyed Imagination Stage’s Spy Academy, you’ll be sure to enjoy the Secret Agent Scavenger Adventure.

Quarterfest Crawl
Where: Around Ballston, VA
When: Saturday, 12-7pm
Admission: Free

Savor, sip, and seek at this street festival around Ballston! The 2021 Quarterfest Crawl that benefits Homeward Trails Animal Rescue combines safe and socially-distanced activities with specials on food and drinks from many neighborhood restaurants. Enjoy a pup-friendly scavenger hunt, live music from local artists, giant-size games, and a fun day outdoors in the community.

Fiesta de Chihuahua
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Saturday, 3pm
Admission: $30 for up to 6 people

The Wharf can’t bring back their annual Chihuahua races yet, but they’re still hosting a day of Chihuahua fun. See little pooches dressed up for a costume contest and get a look back at prior years’ races on the 20 foot LED movie screen, followed by a special screening of the movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua. All ticket sales and raffle proceeds benefit Rural Dog Rescue. Each ticket is good for up to six people.

Strawberry Fields
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by locale

Strawberries are ripe and ready for harvest, and several area farms are now welcoming guests to pick their own. It’s always a good idea to check websites or call ahead to confirm availability the day you plan to go. Sunscreen and hat also recommended.

Victura Park Pop-Up
Where: The REACH | Kennedy Center, DC
When: Friday 4-9pm, Saturday & Sunday, 12-9pm
Admission: Free

The weekend wine garden at The REACH, the Kennedy Center’s immersive extension, is family-friendly and a lovely spot to hang out.  The cafe offers snacks and sips that you can enjoy at socially distanced tables or in other areas. Explore the beautiful grounds, including the large plaza (we’ve seen skates and scooters there) and the  Kennedy Center terrace, where you can enjoy sweeping Potomac River views. PS: Victura Park is now there on Thursdays, too!

A Cicada Inspired StoryWalk
Where: Downtown Kensington, MD
When: Starting Saturday through June 6
Admission: Free
The fifth Noyes StoryWalk spotlights cicada season in the DC area. Families are invited to read Cecily Cicada by Kita Helmetag Murdock and Patsy Helmetag posted signs on a self-guided stroll through Clum-Kennedy Park (10298 Frederick Ave., Kensington, MD).  It will be on view from this Saturday through June 6. The event is likely to coincide with swarms of 17-year cicadas in the D.C. region

Vamos United!
Where: Audi Field | Southwest DC
When: Sunday, 8pm
Admission: Tickets start at $6

DC United is home this weekend, and there’s a match against Orlando City SC on Sunday evening. Safety measures for Covid are in place, including limited capacity, which is 5,000 fans right now. But FYI: It will be increased to 36% next weekend and to full capacity starting June 11!

We Can…Write! Workshop
Where: Rosie Riveters Online
When: Saturday, 9-10m
Admission: Free

Children in Kindergarten through 3rd grade are invited to this virtual young writers workshop on Saturday morning! Participants will meet Fabian Ferguson, author of Jackie Wins Them All, and learn about the creative process that goes into writing a children’s book. Then, Rosie Riveters instructors will explore the five parts of a story with participants, encourage them to write their own children’s book, and engage in an interactive book binding demo so participants can bind the books they wrote at home! Register here.

* Vaccinations are now available for kids ages 12-15– and very easy to get in DC! (And go to to find them everywhere.)
* Get a glimpse of the fantastic Forces of Nature exhibit at the Renwick, which reopens this weekend. A new post with has scenes from our visit there in the fall.
* Tickets for Great Country Farm’s annual Strawberry Jubilee Festival taking place May 22-23 and May 29-31 are now available.
* Who else is so excited for the Friends reunion on May 27?
* An impressive, beautiful essay.

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Filed under 2021, All ages, COVID-19, DC, Maryland, Social Distancing, Spring, Virginia, Weekend

Ideas for Mother’s Day Celebrations Around the DC Area

With my “babies” last Mother’s Day at Wye Island NMRA


Mother’s Day is an occasion worth making extra special plans for (in my totally unbiased opinion 😉). This round-up has ideas to help make it a great one for all of the honorees — and to help the rest of the fam plan it. With recommendations that range from fairly mellow to very active, totally free to a total splurge, there’s sure to be something to make every mom’s day. (And make sure she gets some “me” time, too.) Happy Mother’s Day!

Walk in the Woods
Where: Around the DC area
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by locale

Take a hike to enjoy the day. See flowers in bloom, tramp in places with scenic views, walk and explore history at interesting locales, and enjoy a day of active fun. Bring along a picnic for lunch al fresco, too.
Huntley Meadows – The park in Alexandria has an easy, very scenic loop through woods and wetlands.
Riverbend Park to Great Falls – The hike is a particular favorite for a special day, though parking can fill up fast, so go early and have a Plan B just in case.
Patapsco Valley State Park – It’s huge with a great variety of hiking trails, including one to waterfalls, lots of nice picnic spots, and more opportunities for active recreation.
Pohick Bay Regional Park and Fountainhead Regional Park – Both parks in Lorton, VA, have good hiking trails as well as paddling rentals.
Wye Island NRMA – Last Mother’s Day we enjoyed a beautiful hike at this spot on the Eastern Shore. (KFDC tip: Pair it with a crab feast while you’re out there.)
Harpers Ferry – The charming historic town and great hiking makes it a perfect day trip destination for a celebration.
This go-to KFDC post has even more suggestions for great hikes with the fam.

Hike & Sip
Where: A couple of DMV locales
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies

Like the suggestion above, but elevated with a post-hike visit to a family-friendly winery or restaurant. Two outings I recommend for this: Hit the trail at Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane, VA, then go to the nearby Barrel Oak Winery.
The Sugarloaf Mountain hike/The Comus Inn combo in Dickerson, MD, also makes for a fab day, or enjoy sips and small bites at Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard right down the road after your walk in the woods.

Strawberry Fields
Where: Farms around the DC area
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by location

Enjoy the day outdoors gathering fresh strawberries. The pick-your-own season has begun with at least one area farm  welcoming visitors to their strawberry fields, and more may open by Sunday. See this post for details on where you can harvest your own fruits and veggies, several offering much more than just picking.

Do Some Garden-ing
Where: Around the DC area
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by locale

Instead of bringing flowers to mom, take her to them instead! With the bloom season upon us, and landscapes bursting with color, a visit to a garden makes for a lovely outing, especially when there’s often more to do than see the plants and flowers. Explore, play, and see the amazing azalea bloom at the National Arboretum. Stop and smell the roses (and more) and see the rest of the beautiful grounds at Brookside Gardens. Wander around Green Spring Gardens on a scavenger hunt. Venture out to the gorgeous Meadowlark Botanical Garden. You can bring along a picnic to many of these places and make it a whole day’s outing.

A (Crab) Feast Fit for a Queen
Where: Eastern Shore, MD
When: Ongoing
Admission: Depends on how much you order!

This is how we like to celebrate.  The start of blue crab season is perfect timing for the special day, and you really can’t beat a feast of the steamed Old Bay-spiced treats at a waterfront crab house on a nice day. Cantler’s in Annapolis is an institution, and Mike’s Crab House in Riva is also popular with delicious crabs, gorgeous scenery, and a great outdoor tiki bar waiting area if tables aren’t immediately available.  We’ve had a couple of super Mother’s Day celebrations at Kentmorr’s restaurant and beach scene. Keep it closer to home (but forego the waterfront) at QuarterdeckIvy City Smokehouse, and Bethesda Crab House. Wherever you go, make reservations, because special occasion days guarantee crowds.  You can also pick up crabs from from The Fish Market at The Wharf and enjoy feast at home — get them already steamed or still alive and DIY. (And, FYI, all of the above recommendations are based on first-hand experience!)

Mother’s Day on the Patuxent
Where: Solomons Island, MD
When: Mother’s Day weekend (or anytime)
Admission: Rates vary by boat & time

This was an excellent way we celebrated Mother’s Day with friends awhile back. A pontoon boat outing on the Patuxent River was a super fun and relaxing time for all. Pack a cooler, don the swimsuits, slather on sunscreen, and get ready for a fantastic day on the water. Afterwards, treat yourselves to ice cream on Solomon’s Island or even stay for dinner at one of the many waterside restaurants there.

Go with the Flow
Where: Around the DC area
When: Ongoing
Admission: Varies by locale

For other Mother’s Day adventures on the water, a bunch of places around the area rent kayaks, canoes, rowboats, and stand up paddleboards. Fletcher’s Boathouse is a popular place to go and has a great riverside area to hang out and picnic when you’re off the water. We spent a wonderful Mother’s Day a few years ago at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis — with lots of options for outdoor recreation along with paddling, it’s particularly awesome. This post has a round-up of even more places to navigate the local waterways.

Where: Pop-up Studio at Three Littles | Northeast DC
When: Mother’s Day, sessions from 11am-6pm
Admission: $99 to reserve your mini sessions time
Alex Friendly is passionate about getting mothers in the picture, which is why she’s offering these Motherhood Mini Sessions.  Mothers are so often the ones who take all the pictures, but these casual mini sessions make capturing images with your kids as easy and stress-free as possible.  There won’t be any pressure to be perfect, to figure out how to get your kids to sit still, to plan the matching outfits.  Just come as you are, wearing the kind of comfortable clothes that make you feel happy while playing on the floor together.  She’ll capture the joys of motherhood and celebrate everything that you overcame this past year.  Each session is 10-15 minutes with 10-15 final images available for purchase starting at $225, which means you only buy the images you actually want.  To find out more, check out Alex’s Booking Guide  or book your session directly by clicking here.

A few more good (related) things:
* Washingtonian has some really good suggestions for the weekend, too.
* Eater DC’s running guide to Mother’s Day brunch, sweets, and dinner specials.
* This book that you can purchase from Steadfast Supply.


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Filed under 2021, All ages, COVID-19, DC, Holidays, Moms, Spring, Weekend

Scenes from the Finally Reopened, Very Much Missed Dumbarton Oaks Garden


Of the many re-openings happening over the next month, the Dumbarton Oaks Garden may just be the one I am happiest about, mostly because it’s the first time visitors can return since it closed last spring.  While many places welcomed the public for a brief period last summer and fall, the Garden’s gates remained closed — and I, for one, really missed being able to visit.

Dumbarton is one of my go-to places for peace and calm, when I just want to stroll around and relax in a beautiful setting.  (So, it’s probably understandable why I missed it so much over the last year.)  The Garden’s 16 acres are a horticultural haven, with countless varieties of flowers, plants, and trees throughout the many plats of the terraced grounds.  It’s breathtaking year-round, but especially vibrant right now with spring blooms and bright, fresh foliage.  Pre-Covid, Dumbarton was a regular recommendation from me, and I’ve written about it several times —  you can read more here, here, and here.


The hardscapes are just as lovely as the landscapes. There are several fountains (that look freshly cleaned!), benches and other lovely spots to sit, and many garden sculptures.  And the Pebble Garden, probably my favorite area, is a patterned pebble mosaic with a fountain at one end and encircling walls covered in wisteria.  It’s absolutely enchanting… though, really, the whole garden feels like it’s out of a fairytale,.


Dumbarton isn’t just a place I love; our whole family enjoys visiting together.  We’ve been there many times over the last decade.  When the kids were younger, we’d take them to play next door at Montrose Park or go for a short hike on the Dumbarton Oaks Park trail (located behind the estate), maybe have a little picnic, then head to the garden for its afternoon open time (note that picnics are not allowed at Dumbarton).  They always loved walking around, exploring, and seeing what delights awaited around every corner.

As the kids have gotten older, we usually pair a visit to the Garden with a meal in Georgetown.   If we want something quick, we walk down to Jaco Juice and Taco Bar a few blocks away on Wisconsin Avenue and sit outside.  We might also walk a little farther to Martin’s Tavern (a DC institution), Peacock Cafe, or Cafe Milano.

Right now, the Garden is only open to those with season passes, which are available for purchase and start at $75 for one person (and you still need to get timed-entry tickets).  Beginning May 15, it will be open to all with $11 timed-entry tickets to control capacity.  Masks are also required as a safety precaution, and the bathrooms are not open, so prepare for that.


Dumbarton Oaks Garden is located at 31st and R Streets NW in Georgetown.  You can usually find two-hour street parking very close to the entrance.  Hours right now are 3-6pm on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Beginning May 15, 2021 it will be open Tuesday – Sunday, 3-6pm.  You must reserve a timed-entry ticket in advance.  Admission is $11. Update:  The gardens are open to all Tuesday – Sunday, 2-6pm.

Get more of a glimpse in these snaps from my recent visit…










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Filed under 2021, All ages, COVID-19, DC, Outdoor, Social Distancing

Inspire and Engage with STEM at Boolean Girl Summer Camps — In Person & Virtually!


We all need a little inspiration in our lives — especially our kids.  So, get ready for Boolean Girl Summer Camps!  The nonprofit offers both in person and virtual camps that are designed to inspire kids to code, build, invent, and animate.  

Both girls-only and coed camps are offered.  What’s more, they will be safe!  In-person safety measures will include masks, social distancing, and enhanced cleaning protocols, and campers can switch from in-person to virtual, or vice versa, to suit their comfort levels.

Why Boolean Girl camps?  Here are 5 reasons!

  1. The camps are fun. At least that’s according to 96% of students who say they would recommend coding camps to a friend and want to take another one.
  2. The instructors are great.  They are female college students majoring in STEM from some of the best universities. 
  3. Kids love the camps.  At least that’s what the 4.8 out of 5 rating indicates.
  4. Parents will tell you.  Some comments from moms and dads:  “Just great instruction!  My daughter loves the class! We love that the ‘all girl’ option is offered, and the experience has really changed my daughter’s mind from not liking coding to LOVING it!”  & “This was the perfect level for my 3rd grader.  She was really engaged with the hands-on activity.”
  5. Why not?  They are flexible.  If  you don’t want to join in person, there are also online camps all summer long that complement the in-person camps.  These camps are taught by the same rockstar instructors and cover the same materials.  You can mix and match in-person and on-line courses. 


Now the Details…

Kids ages 8-13.  All experience levels welcome. Both girls-only and co-ed camps are available.

In DC: Camps for grades 3-6, June 12-16, August 2-6, August 9-13
In VA: Camps for grades 3-8, all summer long
Online camp: all summer long

Washington, DC:  The Hill Center on Capitol Hill |
921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE (one block from the Capitol Hill Metro).
Arlington, VA:  Marymount University | 1000 Glebe Road
Alexandria, VA:  Burgundy Farms (must register on the Burgundy Farms website)
For all others, sign up here.



The Small-ish Print:
Boolean Girl will host in-person camps for Summer 2021 if it is deemed safe by the federal, state, and local authorities, and they are taking reservations now. If forced to close camps due to COVID, they will refund every penny of tuition to you. Read more about their COVID response here.

Camps will implement all recommended safety measures, including masks and social distancing. If you register and change your mind before May 30, you can receive a full refund. After May 30, you can change dates or get a refund, less the non-refundable $50 deposit, up to two weeks before the start of camp. Two weeks before the start of camp there are no refunds, but you may switch to an online camp.


This post is sponsored by Boolean Girl, however, I only promote programs, services, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2021, Camp, COVID-19, DC, Educational, Summer, Virginia, Virtual Programs, Weekdays