Category Archives: Weekdays

Hike the Underground Railroad Experience Trail at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park

 

I first mentioned Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park on the blog back in mid-June after the kids and I had just visited the locale in Montgomery County.   I’d heard about the park and the Underground Railroad Experience Trail at least a couple of years before that, and it had been on my long list of places to check out.  But as the Black Lives Matter movement really began to swell, it moved up.  An outing there seemed like a timely experience and educational opportunity for all of us, as well as a good place to go for a socially distanced outing.

The Federal-era manor

The newer Woodlawn Museum

Located in Sandy Spring, MD (just down the road from the popular Adventure Park), Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park offers a glimpse into the area’s past.  It contains a Manor House built in the 1800’s and a newer museum “where echoes of the past tell the story of a bustling farm, its community, and those who made a bold bid for freedom on the Underground Railroad.”  (That last part is in quotes because it’s straight from the website, as we couldn’t visit the museum ourselves; along with the Manor House, it was — and still is — closed due to Covid.)

But the Underground Railroad Experience Trail alone warrants a visit.  At the time we visited, the Montgomery Park’s website had said the trail was part of a network of routes that enslaved people used to escape to freedom.  However, it now has been modified to say that “there is no documented evidence that Woodlawn Manor’s property, owners or buildings were involved in the 19th century Underground Railroad.” Regardless, you still can get an idea of what an escape to freedom entailed.

The walk through dense woods and along edges of fields is an interesting, enlightening, and active way to spend time outdoors. It’s about two miles each way  — there and back; the trail doesn’t loop — along edges of fields and through woods, and  generally flat and easy for little legs to tramp. During non-covid times, guided tours are available that explain the experience and highlight the conditions enslaved people encountered on the Underground Railroad.

Currently, all hikes are self-guided, but a KFDC reader suggested the great idea to print out the map and an explanation of the trail to bring along for context.  With information about timing of escapes, areas along the route best for hiding, obstacles they may have faced, and other notable aspects of the trail, it helps provide insight on the Underground Railroad experience.  And it’s an outing everyone should move up on their list.

Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park is located at 16501 Norwood Road in Sandy Spring, MD.  The park and trail are open dawn to dusk. Admission is free.  Guided tours will be available after park programming begins again.

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Filed under All ages, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Free, Maryland, Museums, Nature, Ongoing, Outdoor, Park, Social Distancing, Weekdays, Weekend

Registration is Open for DC Way’s After-School Soccer Programs!

Kickin’ it with DC Way (Note: These are older photos – kids & coaches DO wear masks now.)

 

Are you looking for a fun and safe learning experience for your child to enhance their soccer skills this winter? DC Way has you covered!  The popular soccer club provides After-School Programs for kids ages 4-7 at Lincoln Park and Providence Park on Capitol Hill all throughout the winter. These programs are currently being offered through February 4 — you can sign your child up either for weeks or even just a day.

Founded in 2013, DC Way has been giving children an opportunity to learn, grow, and shine in a fun, no pressure environment. With top quality certified coaches, DC Way provides one of the best after-school soccer programs on Capitol Hill. Participating in their After-School Programs can benefit your child in multiple ways — physically, emotionally, and socially. At each class, the coaches demonstrate a new topic, skill set, and life lesson to build a strong foundation for your little athlete.

One of many great things about DC Way’s After-School Programs is that the classes are non-competitive and use positive reinforcement to teach children soccer skills in a fun, engaging, and educational environment. Their unique age-specific curriculum is designed by a combination of behavioral, soccer, and education specialists to ensure that each child is developing skills, improving their self-confidence, and having a blast.

It’s never too early to start learning soccer!  Even without ever playing soccer before, they guarantee your child will enjoy their programs. A single class at their programs will make your child fall in love with soccer!

At DC Way, players’ safety is their top priority. The soccer club is implementing extra precautions to provide the best experience possible under CDC and other local health authorities’ health and safety guidelines. And the players and coaches DO wear masks (these photos are from pre-covid).  Since June, after the quarantine, no player has tested positive for COVID-19 as a result of their comprehensive safety measures.

 

Are your kids ready to play some soccer — and have an awesome time? Sign them up online today!

More information about their programs — including descriptions, pricing, schedules, and registration — is available on DC Way’s website and Facebook page. You can also call 571.490.1275 or email [email protected] to learn more.

 

This post is sponsored by DC Way, however, I only promote programs, services, and events that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under 2021, Class, Coronavirus, COVID-19, DC, Outdoor, Sports, Weekdays, 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

Giveaway: Win a Family Visit to Crystalline at ARTECHOUSE!

Immerse in Crystalline at ARTECHOUSE

 

ARTECHOUSE, the gallery in Southwest DC known for its visually stunning and immersive digital art, just announced that its current exhibition, Crystalline, has been extended through February.  Even better, you have a chance to win a Family 4-Pack of tickets to experience it!

Crystalline has transformed the gallery into a blue-hued haven intended to evoke calm and peace during a turbulent time.  Large scale projections on the walls of the main gallery and smaller ones in side areas engage and enchant as they encourage play.   Just about all of it is interactive, as the images change with viewers’ motions. Immersing into the depths of the color, even just for a little while, is a dazzling and delightful escape from the bizarre Covid world outside.

ARTECHOUSE is taking extra measures to ensure safety in response to Covid-19.  Capacity is limited, guests must wear masks,  directional signage helps social distancing, there are hand sanitizing stations, and cleaning and disinfecting takes place hourly.  You can read more about their safety policies here.

Crystalline is running at ARTECHOUSE through February 28, 2021.  Tickets are $19-24/adult, $12-15/child, $17-20/students, seniors, military & first responders (the lower price for online advance tickets, higher at the door).  Children under 4 are free.

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Giveaway: For a chance to win a Family 4-Pack of tickets to Crystalline at ARTECHOUSE, simply leave a comment below telling me your favorite holiday activity that you learned about from the KFDC holiday guide. Get an extra chance to win by entering on the KidFriendly DC Facebook Page, too. This giveaway will run through Sunday, December 20, 2020, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!

 

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Filed under 2020, 2021, All ages, Art, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Date Night, DC, Exhibit, Giveaway, Ticket Giveaway, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter