<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Worth the Trip]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcwashington.com/blogs/worth-the-trip http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.com en-us Mon, 05 Oct 2015 20:08:20 -0400 Mon, 05 Oct 2015 20:08:20 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Your D.C.-Area Fall Fest Roundup]]> Mon, 05 Oct 2015 14:05:23 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/food+trucks+09102015.jpg

Cooler weather and shorter days are looming now, but you can still squeeze in plenty of outdoor fun. Check out some great fall-themed festivals to enjoy as the shorts and T-shirt weather draws to a close.

This list is being updated throughout fall.


Taste of D.C. (Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 3rd and 7th streets) -- This one is everything. EVERYTHING. On Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 10-11, more than 60 D.C. restauranrts and nearly a dozen food trucks will take over Pennsylvania Avenue, dishing up tastes of anything your little heart (OK, and stomach) desires. See participating eateries here. Admission $10-$40 with some vouchers; tasting tickets cost extra.

All Things Go Fall Classic Show (Union Market, 1309 5th St. NE) -- On Saturday, Oct. 10, Union Market hosts an all-day music fest featuring Kygo, The Knocks, Penguin Prison, and half a dozen other artists. Food vendors will include Chef Erik Bruner-Yang of Maketto, Takorean, Bespoke Kitchen and Dolcezza. Noon-11 p.m.; tickets $70 in advance; $80 at the door if still available. Must be age 18+ to attend.


Germantown Family Fall Festival (Shops at Town Center, 19718 Germantown Road, Germantown) -- On Sunday, Oct. 11, Germantown will host an afternoon of fall fun, including pumpkin painting, moon bounces (OK, that's fun year-round), music and entertainment. Some Town Center shops will offer specials all day for the fest. Noon-4 p.m.; admission is free.


Tysons Fall Harvest and Beer Festival (8025 Galleria Drive, Tysons Corner) -- On the weekends of Oct. 17-18 and 24-25, you can check out the Tysons Fall Harvest and enjoy the flavors of fall. Cozy up with apple cider and partake in some pumpkin bowling pumpkin smashing, face painting, a hay maze and even a corn cannon. Noon-4 p.m.; admission is $10 in advance; $15 on-site. Kids younger than 15 get free admission but some activities cost extra.Family four-pack for $40 includes activity wristbands.

Oktoberfest Reston (Reston Town Center, 11900 Market St., Reston) -- On Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 10-11, Reston Town Center will host German music and dancers, German food and (of course) a whole lot of German beer. Live entertainment runs all day, and featured other events include the Reston Pumpkin 5K and Scrambled Legs Breakfast. Saturday noon-11 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; admission is free.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Haunting Season Begins at Virginia Estate]]> Mon, 05 Oct 2015 11:16:05 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20151002+Shocktober.jpg

Paxton Manor in Leesburg is getting terrifying... and it's not because of high real estate prices.

The estate, a 140-year-old mansion on the grounds of Paxton Campus, has launched its award-winning haunted house tour for a sixth year. During Shocktober, the mansion opens its doors and guides the brave through its ghoulish basement caverns... otherwise known as the Haunted Well of Souls.

Shocktober offers a terrifying back story for the caverns: An exiled family was forced to move into the caverns, where they lived for many years. "Things went well for The Carver family and they thrived and multiplied," the website says. "Though as time went on things began to go wrong..."

Since those caverns are apparently now known as the Haunted Well of Souls, you can draw your own conclusions.

Paxton Manor is located at 601 Catoctin Circle NE in Leesburg. Shocktober runs Fridays and Saturdays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. through October.

The event raises money to benefit Paxton Campus, which provides services for people with disabilities and their families.

<![CDATA[Why This Year's 'Terror Behind the Walls' Is Best Yet]]> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 14:04:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/terror+behind+the+wall+2015.jpg

Even if you've been before, you need to check out the Eastern State Penitentiary this fall as they kick off the 25th season of "Terror Behind the Walls" with two brand-new attractions!

Friday marks opening night for the prison-turned-haunted house, with continuous shows starting at 7 p.m. America's largest scare center announced two groundbreaking new attractions earlier this month.

In addition to the typical interactive haunted house tour, which allows you the possibility of being incorporated into the show, "Terror" is unveiling Quarantine, a 4D exhibit along the tour that takes people into the mind-altered views of someone suffering from an infectious disease. Depth perception, mind games and visuals bring the outbreak to life!

The final attraction along the tour is entitled Break Out, and takes place near the end of the tour. Just when visitors think they have reached safety, they find themselves amid a prison break, as inmates escape the cells in whatever means possible ... including using YOU as part of their getaway! It's an experience you won't want to miss.

"Terror Behind the Walls" is a Hollywood-quality production that takes almost three hours to prepare for each night. The six continuous haunted attractions are a must-see this weekend thanks to discounted pricing!

All general admission tickets for Friday and Saturday are $13.

Eastern State Penitentiary is located at 22nd St. and Fairmount Ave in Philadelphia.

Photo Credit: Eastern State Penitentiary]]>
<![CDATA[Beer Garden, Dance Party Welcome Fall at Smithsonian Castle]]> Mon, 28 Sep 2015 08:43:47 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_30897988.png

With the leaves and our wardrobes changing into fall colors, the Smithsonian invites you to embrace the transition with A Party for the Season: A Garden of Colors, coming up Friday.

From 8 to 11 p.m., enjoy a one-time-only beer garden and dance the night away with DJ Alkimist in the Enid A. Haupt Garden at the Smithsonian's fabled castle (1000 Independence Ave. SW).

Smithsonian staff will also be leading a guided tour of the grounds, with a special focus on fall seasonal plants.

The beer garden will feature seasonal specialties from Ommegang Brewery, a New York brewery specializing in Belgian-style ales, and Boulevard Brewing Company, a Missouri brewery offering a sour pumpkin beer.

You'll also find a photo booth to remember the evening with your friends and a pumpkin-carving demo to make your upcoming Halloween all the more special.

Tickets are $25 and you must be 21 or older; they're available online here. A VIP special offers a special pre-party hour with an open bar featuring beer, wine and specialty cocktails and small bites for $50.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Free Outdoor Movies: September Schedule]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 17:25:58 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/DSC_0871-7223.jpg

September is here, but there are still quite a few free outdoor film series around town. Pack up your blankets and coolers for a D.C.-area tradition. 

Read on for our list. Don't see your fave film series? Add it in the comments!

NOTE: Film schedules are subject to change due to weather. Please check with the venue to verify dates and times before you head out.


Columbia's Lakefront Summer Festival -- Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through mid-September. Movies begin at dusk.

  • Sept. 4: Sleeping Beauty"
  • Sept. 5: "Maleficent"
  • Sept. 11: "Monkey Kingdom"
  • Sept. 12: "Furious 7"

National Harbor Movies on the Potomac -- National Harbor Plaza, 137 National Plaza, Fort Washington. Movies begin at 6 p.m.

  • Sept. 6: viewers' choice, TBD
  • Sept. 13: "Matilda"
  • Sept. 20: "Monsters, Inc."
  • Sept. 27: "James and the Giant Peach"

Summer Movies at the Wine Bin -- 8390 Main St., Ellicot City. Movies start at 9 p.m. in June, July and August, and at 8 p.m. in September.

  • Sept. 5: "The Sound of Music"
  • Sept. 12: "The Godfather"
  • Sept. 19: "Guardians of the Galaxy"


Lovettsville Movies on the Green -- Town Green within the Town Center Development, Lovettsville. All movies begin at dusk.

  • Sept. 11: "Miracle"

Mosaic District: Films in the Park -- Strawberry Park, 2910 District Ave., Fairfax. Movies begin at 7 p.m.

  • Sept. 4: "The Lego Movie"

Photo Credit: Friends of Screen of the Green]]>
<![CDATA[Your County (and State!) Fair Roundup]]> Wed, 02 Sep 2015 17:23:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_150530525.jpg

You may think of county fairs as a summer thing, but there are nearly a dozen county and fair fairs to enjoy in September! Enjoy the first taste of fall with a (dizzying, and/or fried) thrill.

It's high time for all the fun that Ferris wheels, Tilt-a-Whirls, petting zoos and fried Oreos have to offer. Read on for our round-up of all the upcoming fairs in the DMV:

County Fairs in Maryland:

Prince George's County Fair

When: Sept. 10-13

Rosecroft Raceway (6336 Rosecroft Drive, Fort Washington)

Drive in a NASCAR simulator, study art carved by chainsaw artists, and see who wins the most beautiful baby competition at the Prince George's County Fair. Tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for kids ages 6-11, and free for kids 5 and younger.

Anne Arundel County Fair

When: Sept. 16-20

Where: Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds (1450 Generals Highway, Crownsville)

Want to shop a massive flea market? Or maybe you're looking to compete in the Arundel's Got Talent contest? Then head on down to the Anne Arundel County Fair. Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for kids ages 15-6, and free for kids 5 and younger. Discounts are available.

Charles County Fair

When: Sept. 17-20

Where: Charles County Fairgrounds (8440 Fairground Road, La Plata)

Like a museum outdoors, this county fair offers countless exhibits: from rabbits, sheep and cattle to quilting, needle art and clothing. Lawnmower racing and sheep shearing are also featured. Tickets are $5 for adults, and free for kids ages 10 and younger. Day passes are available.

Great Frederick Fair

When: Sept. 18-26

Where: Frederick Fairgrounds (797 E. Patrick St., Frederick)

Stars such as Jeff Foxworthy, Kellie Pickler and Chase Bryant collide (but not literally) with epic Demolition Derby for this all-out country-inspired county fair. You can also bring home a prize cake from the cake auction. Tickets are $8 for adults and free for kids ages 10 and younger. Discount days are available.

St. Mary's County Fair

When: Sept. 24-27

Where: St. Mary's County Fairgrounds (42455 Fairgrounds Road, Leonardtown)

Carnival rides share the fairground with abundant 4-H competitions, as well as horse shows and pig racing. A special feature of this fair is the "Queen of Tolerance," chosen to remind Marylanders that their state originally sheltered the Catholics who escaped persecution -- hence the state nickname "The Free State." Admission is for adults are $5, $1 for kids 6-12, and free for kids younger than 6. Carnival rides are extra.

County Fairs in Virginia:

Sorry to tell you this, but most of Northern Virginia's county fairs were in August. However, there are plenty of Maryland county fairs to enjoy, as well as all of the state fairs. Check them out below!

State (and "State") Fairs:

D.C. "State" Fair

When: Sept. 12

Where: Old City Farm and Guild (925 Rhode Island Ave. NW)

This year, the D.C. "State" Fair holds its first-ever pet parade, inviting you to bring your friendly pet on a leash, or in a cage, tank, or aquarium to the event. Costumes are encouraged for you and your pet, although not required. Other fair contests include honey, home brews, pies and flower arrangements -- and even a pot- growing competition called "Best Buds." Admission is free. 

The Maryland State Fair

When: Now through Sept. 7

Where: Maryland State Fairgrounds (2200 York Road, Lutherville-Timonium)

Established in 1878, the Maryland State Fair invites visitors to take a seat in the grandstand and catch a horse race. Demonstrations and an exhibition hall feature prized livestock, quilts and more. Tickets are $8 for adults, $3 for kids ages 11-6, and free for kids 5 and under. Discounts available. 

State Fair of Virginia

When: Sept. 25-Oct. 4

Where: The Meadow Event Park (13111 Dawn Blvd., Doswell)

Petting zoos, featuring rabbits, cows, doves and Virginia-area fish, are only a few of the attractions this grand state fair has to offer. Country bands including Jackass Flats, Steep Canyon Rangers and The Tams will also be performing. Tickets are $12 Mondays-Thursdays and $15 Fridays-Sundays for adults. Admission for kids ages 12-5 is 8 Mondays-Thursdays and $10 Fridays-Sundays. Discounts days and early bird specials available. Rides cost extra.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Scary Movie Film Series Coming to Arlington]]> Thu, 17 Sep 2015 11:15:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/219*120/exorcist-still.jpg

Grab a costume and get ready to scream! 

Every Monday in October, you can catch an outdoor screening of a classic horror movie in Crystal City. The series will begin Oct. 5 with "Pet Semetary."

The movies are free and will begin as soon as darkness falls (muah-ha-ha). Just grab a blanket and head down to the courtyard on S. Bell Street between 18th and 20th streets in Arlington.

In between screams, snap a picture of your costume and tag #CrystalScream on Twitter or Instagram for a chance to win $20 to the Schakolad Chocolate Factory in Crystal City. You'll need some chocolate to comfort you after watching these creepy flicks. 

The movie schedule is below:

  • Oct. 5 - "Pet Semetary"
  • Oct. 12 - "Scream"
  • Oct. 19 - "Poltergeist"
  • Oct. 26 - "Exorcist"

The series is a partnership between the Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) and Vornado/Charles E. Smith.

"The cooler fall temperatures and earlier sunsets combined with Halloween make for the perfect opportunity for a scary experience," said Crystal City BID CEO/President Angela Fox.

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.]]>
<![CDATA[Md. Corn Maze Features Taylor Swift's Face]]> Mon, 21 Sep 2015 14:07:22 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/dfcbffcb-0373-4cc9-8df8-86db161740fa.jpg

Seeing Taylor Swift in person may be much easier than purchasing a pricey concert ticket this fall.

Summers Farm in Frederick, Maryland modeled its 12-acre corn maze after the Grammy winner and included the words "dare to be different."

Farm owner Jeff Greenwood, a longtime fan, picked Swift as the maze's theme this year, saying he wanted to highlight Swift's messages of self-confidence and staying true to oneself.

"We always try to find someone that is unique and connects to our customers, and we feel that Taylor is an amazing person.... We just feel that she is just a real, honest, true person who believes in being herself and tries to help people build confidence in themselves," Greenwood told NBC Washington.

Greenwood called Swift "an amazing role model, not just for the youth but for just anybody, because she really is an honest, true person. She truly believes in, you are who you are and that's who you should be. That's what we should be, also."

Swift herself posted an Instagram of the maze with the caption "Lawn goals."

Want to give it a try? The maze will be open from Sept. 26 to Nov. 1 this year. Be prepared to stay awhile, because navigating through Swift's face could take up to two hours -- although it could take as little as 30 minutes. Check out a flyover video of the maze here.

The maze is divided into phases to accommodate all age groups, according to Summers Farm's website.

Previous years' mazes were modeled after 2012 presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, as well as local sports teams such as the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins.

Photo Credit: Summers Farm
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<![CDATA[Plenty of Food, Gorgeous Views at Taste of Georgetown]]> Wed, 16 Sep 2015 15:14:36 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/TOG-2014_Photo-Sam-Kittner4.jpg

Georgetown is home to plenty of high-end shopping, scenic waterfront views and historic landmarks that predate Washington, D.C. itself. Oh, and a whole lot of food. Coming up Oct. 3, you can indulge in a lot of that goodness during one of the the District's most anticipated annual food festivals, Taste of Georgetown.

Enjoy creative tastes from more than 30 of the neighborhood's best restaurants, featuring both new concepts and established favorites. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., you can meander along K Street NW, between Wisconsin Avenue and Thomas Jefferson Street to enjoy sweet and savory tastes along a gorgeous waterfront view.

This mouth-watering event will also include an expansive craft beer and wine garden, foodie competitions and kids' activities.

Admission is free, but food is $5 per tasting, or $20 for five tastings. Beer and wine garden tickets are $4 per tasting, or three for $10. Buy tickets in advance online when they become available. Tickets will be sold on-site, but you can get discounts for buying multiple tickets online.

Proceeds benefit the Georgetown Ministry Center, an organization that helps guide homeless people toward stability and housing.

Photo Credit: Sam Kittner/kittner.com, courtesy Taste of Georgetown]]>
<![CDATA[Seaport Day in Alexandria: Build a Boat (Out of Anything!)]]> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 12:01:51 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_51088681.jpg

Picture that famous "Little Rascals" soap box derby... only this race happens on water, using just about anything that floats.

Seaport Day in Alexandria -- featuring the aptly named Anything That Floats Race -- is coming up Sept. 26 at Waterfront Park (0 Prince Street, Alexandria, Virginia).

The race is only part of the fun. The Alexandria Seaport Foundation's Seaport Day is a six-hour bash with beer, wine and (of course) a chowder competition. The kid-friendly event will also offer educational exhibits, kids' activities and live music as you cheer on competitors sailing down the Potomac River.

The event is free, but there's a $100 race registration fee for those who want to compete. In addition to a boat exhibit, you'll likely see some boat-building before the event, when participants will construct boats using, quite literally, anything that floats. Cardboard, milk jugs and even old bicycles are on the list of permitted items.

The Alexandria Seaport Foundation aims to help at-risk youth turn their lives around and provides families, community groups, and schools with meaningful experiences, according to its Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Corn Maze Honors Gov. Hogan in Maryland]]> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 12:03:57 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/hogan-maze-chopper.jpg

A Maryland farm has constructed a massive corn maze outlining a portrait of Gov. Larry Hogan to benefit the American Cancer Society, WTOP reported.

Hogan revealed his cancer diagnosis June 22, and recently announced on Facebook that 95 percent of his stage III non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is gone.

The owners of Lawyer's Farm in Frederick County, Maryland, lost their father to cancer, according to their website, and dedicated this year's maze to Hogan.

The maze design includes other Maryland themes such as the shape of the state itself, Black-Eyed Susans, the Maryland flag, an Oriole and the hashtag #HoganStrong, which emerged on Twitter after the governor announced his diagnosis.  

The maze, with more than seven miles of trails, opens Sept. 19, WTOP reported.

The farm will hold a donation day Nov. 1, when all proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society. Last year, the farm generated nearly $12,000 for the American Brain Tumor Association.

Photo Credit: Chopper 4]]>
<![CDATA[Indulge for Less: Silver Spring Restaurant Week]]> Tue, 08 Sep 2015 11:28:10 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_90159118.jpg

Venture up the Red Line this week to experience the best cuisine Silver Spring has to offer at guilt-free prices.

More than 20 restaurants are participating in Silver Spring's first Restaurant Week, beginning Sept. 8 and ending Sept. 13.

Restaurant Week deals include two- and three-course lunch and dinner options, which range from $12 to $27.

Head to 8407 Kitchen Bar or Mix Bar and Grille for a taste of new American dishes. AG Kitchen serves "NYC's Best Cubano," seafood paella and Brazilian-style samba chicken on its Restaurant Week menu. Jackie's offers delicious farm-to-table options, while Scion serves up "sophisticated comfort food."

Reservations are highly recommended. Find the complete list of participating restaurants and make reservations here.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral: Mourn the End of Summer]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 17:03:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/JAZZ+BAND+MASTER.jpg

With Labor Day around the corner, it's time to mourn the passing of heat waves, jean shorts and tan skin at the 30th Annual Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral -- possibly the happiest of funerals.

The free procession kicks off with a wake Sept. 7 at 5 p.m. on the Bethany Beach Boardwalk. Costumes are strongly encouraged. 

Past guests have dressed as mourners, sugar skulls, nuns... some people even deck out their baby strollers to look like coffins adorned in flowers.

Three dixieland jazz bands will provide the soundtrack to the funeral as mourners help carry a casket containing a mannequin, representing the summer of 2015, to its final resting place at the Boardwalk Bandstand.

The bands -- the Dixie Cats, the Downtown Dixieland Band and the Jazz Funeral Irregulars -- will play classic tunes such as "Amazing Grace," "Basin Street Blues" and "Just A Closer Walk With Thee."

"Jazz Funerals in New Orleans are considered a positive writ of passage into eternity for those who depart," Jazz Funeral founder Moss Wagner said. 

Funeral weekend will kick off with a silent auction Sept. 4 from 3:15 to 4:45 p.m. at the Bethany Blue Restaurant (6 N. Pennsylvania Ave).

The auction offers gift cards, gift baskets, services such as chartered boat rides, massages and house cleanings and advertising space in real estate booklets. The dixieland bands will also be featured.

All proceeds will go to the American Red Cross of Delmarva to mark the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

"Since New Orleans experienced so much devastation from Hurricane Katrina and since the recovery process in New Orleans still continues to this day, our lighthearted Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral celebration is meant to show respect and admiration for the Jazz Funeral tradition that was born in the Big Easy," Assistant Chairperson Marie Wright said.

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Jazz Funeral organizers by emailing jazzfuneral@comcast.net or by leaving a message at 302-537-1585.

Photo Credit: Bethany Beach Jazz Funeral ]]>
<![CDATA[Shoot for the Stars at Rock Creek Planetarium]]> Fri, 28 Aug 2015 17:09:22 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_287705705.jpg

Be among the stars without actually traveling to space... or flying to Los Angeles.

Located in the heart of the city, the Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium (5200 Glover Road NW) allows you to explore the universe for free.

While high-tech software projects the image of the night sky onto a large, dome-shaped ceiling, rangers guide you through the constellations and galaxies. The planetarium, built in 1960, remains the only one in the entire National Parks system.

Tickets can be picked up at the Nature Center's front desk up to 30 minutes before the show. There is no admittance once the planetarium doors close.

Held Wednesdays at 4 p.m., Young Planetarium is a family-friendly program that helps educate kids about the solar system. It's suitable for kids ages 4-10 and their families.

On weekdays at 1 p.m., you can check out a Seasonal Night Sky showing, which is appropriate for age five to adult. It features an in-depth look at that evening's constellations and is storytelling-focused. 

On weekdays at 4 p.m., the show Exploring the Universe changes its topic every month and focuses on the science of astronomy. The showing is appropriate for age seven to adult. 

In August, Fire and Ice: Moons of the Solar System takes the viewer through the moons in our sky. In September, the planetarium will be celebrating Rock Creek Park's 125th anniversary by presenting a history of advances in astronomy. 

Star-gazing sessions also occur once a month from April to November, when telescopes are set up on Military Field, off of Military Road NW. The event is run in conjunction with the National Capital Astronomers Association.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Top 5 Virginia Wineries]]> Thu, 09 Jul 2015 20:16:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/181*120/wineryrvv2.jpg

As a photojournalist and wine-finder extraordinaire, I tend to crave the visual aspects of a scene rather than critically rating every last sip of wine -- everyone's a critic in their own right, anyway. More often than not, I'm happy with a $6 bottle of wine from the grocery store.

To me, wine tasting is all about the experience, not just using three or four adjectives to describe the flavor of a wine. In fact, the best wine-tasting experience I've ever had was at a winery with less than stellar wine (it didn't make my top five cut). The presentation and customer experience were extraordinary enough to surpass the imperfections of the glass in my hand.

Whether you're a die-hard wine expert who follows your palette or you have a multi-stop winery adventure in mind, the wineries on this list promise something new -- melding tasty wines with an excellent tasting experience.

Read on for my picks for Top 5 Virginia Wineries:

5. Winery at La Grange -- 4970 Antioch Road, Haymarket

The Winery at La Grange reminds me of my favorite coffee shop in D.C. It's small and comfortable, and there's a surprise around every corner of the three-story, 18th-century manor. The country setting is peaceful -- and a sunset wine experience pairs best with their shimmering outdoor walkways. Wine tastings are $13 per person.

What you'll love: The staff telling you all the ghostly experiences that happened in the house (be sure to check out the creepy and equally awesome basement). Supposedly, Mr. Benoni, the previous owner of the house, has a liking for haunting.

4. Otium Cellars -- 18050 Tranquility Road, Purcelleville

This German-inspired, horse-loving winery offers import varieties that offer a look into the Bavarian roots that owner Gerhard Bauer is passionate about. You'll see silos in the distance, along with acres of land under vine while looking out from the outdoor pavilion. It's a great summer destination for an outdoor experience. Wine tastings are $10 per person.

What you'll love: The covered and screened-in pavilion with 360-degree fireplace, and the on-site private equestrian facility that breeds world-class Hanoverians.

3. Doukenie Winery -- 14727 Mountain Road, Hillsboro

Doukenie is a staple for its great grapes and the large crowds it draws. Winemaker Sebastien Marquet is known for his helpfulness in steering winemaker novices in the right direction. The patio is a great landing point when you arrive, especially on weekends when live music plays. Tastings are $10 per person.

What you'll love: The entire scene -- the lake, the silo, the picnic tables and the vines -- make for a great gathering place.

2. Stone Tower Winery -- 19857 Hogback Mountain Road, Leesburg

Stone Tower sits along the rolling hills of Loudoun County's countryside. Owners Mike and Kristi Huber saw a vision for the old farmland and turned it into a beautiful, still vineyard. The interior of the winery boasts a massive dining table in its tasting room. An upstairs event space with twinkling lights and vintage decor serves well for wedding receptions as well.

What you'll love: The outdoor seating overlooks the vast acreage of the old farmland. A massive new tasting room is set to open in a few weeks.

1. Glass House Winery -- 5898 Free Union Road, Free Union

Glass House Winery sits on a piece of land most would wish to call home. Visitors see grape vines glisten in the sun before they enter a very unique tasting room set inside a tropical conservatory, inspired by the owners' time on the coast of Honduras. Outside the greenhouse lies a patio overlooking a private lake and lush yard. Glass House is a destination worthy of a few days' time -- so it helps that they also have a B&B. The spot sits near the Rivanna River for customers hoping to kayak or fish before sipping and tasting.

What you'll love: Owner Michelle makes homemade chocolate treats each week that go along perfectly with their chocolate wine. Plan a stay at the award-winning onsite bed and breakfast, too.

Follow us on Twitter at Worth the Trip D.C.

Photo Credit: Sarah Pixley]]>
<![CDATA[Monticello Hosts Heritage Harvest Festival]]> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 17:01:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-53403048.jpg

Thomas Jefferson is famous for authoring the Declaration of Independence -- but did you know he was also a revolutionary gardener? He's even been dubbed America's "first foodie," and his historic estate will soon celebrate his legacy with a food and garden bonanza.

The Heritage Festival at Monticello (931 Thomas Jefferson Parkway, Charlottesville, Virginia) kicks off Friday, Sept. 11, featuring more than 35 pre-festival workshops to choose from. 

Spend a few hours with a gardening expert and learn about the evolution of coffee, explore Thomas Jefferson's experimental garden or pick from a list of other premium workshops ($15-$55).

The main event is Saturday, Sept. 12 on Monticello's West Lawn, where you will find chef demonstrations, a bounty of fruit and vegetable tastings and kids' activities, all included with your ticket. 

General admission tickets are $15 until Sept. 10 at 5 p.m. and bump up to $20 on the day of the event. Tickets for kids ages 5-11) are $8; kids under age 5 get in free. There's also a $40 family pass option for two adults and two children. VIP packages are also available.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Get a Taste of Alexandria With Restaurant Week]]> Mon, 24 Aug 2015 09:44:09 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_113265007.jpg

Alexandria Restaurant Week is back with another incredibly delicious lineup of good deals on great food.

From Aug. 21 to Aug. 30, more than 60 Alexandria restaurants will offer $35 three-course dinners or $35 dinners for two. More than two dozen restaurants will also offer lunch specials, ranging from $10 to $20, in addition to their dinner specials.

Alexandria Restaurant Week highlights the skill and inventiveness of local chefs around the city. Participating restaurants are located throughout Alexandria at the waterfront, in Old Town, Del Ray and the West End.

Participating spots vary far and wide. Some newcomers include waterfront live music hub Blackwall Hitch, grillmaster Hunting Creek Steak, French-inspired Bistrot Royal and brand new Sonoma Cellar. Options include fancy fare, fine dining, casual spots and neighborhood favorites.

The event will span 10 days and two weekends. To make Restaurant Week into a weekend affair, local hotels will offer special rates; find lodging info here.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Md. Seafood Fest: Crab Soup Cookoff, Extreme Pogo Stunts]]> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 12:30:23 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/pogo+stick+jumps+maryland+seafood+festival.jpg

If you're from Maryland, you're probably well versed in crab cuisine. But have you ever tasted 25 different crap soups in one sitting? 

The Capital Crab Soup Cook-off is just one of many events happening at The Maryland Seafood Festival in Sandy Point State Park  (1100 E. College Parkway, Annapolis, Maryland), the weekend of Sept. 12-13.

Along with a wide selection of crab soup, beer and oyster tasting is offered both days, and the fests's Wine Row features Maryland wineries. 

Foodie Treasures From the Bay will feature venues such as Costas Inn, Laughing Crab Catering, Jimmy's Famous Seafood and Nader's Bistro and Grill selling their Chesapeake delights. 

Into creating your own yummies? Williams-Sonoma is offering cooking classes as a VIP special.

Get active with life-size foosball on the beach, ziplining, yoga and stand-up paddleboard demonstrations all weekend. 

Kids and parents can enjoy a pogo stick stunt show, when people fly, dive and perform tricks on pogo sticks, or a crab race derby.

On Sunday, before the park opens, the Paddle for Betterment event will offer a friendly paddle obstacle course competition to raise money for the Foundation for Community Betterment. There is a registration fee, but registration includes admission to the festival.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday; find specific event times here.

Tickets are $15 for adults and free for kids 12 and younger. Special discounts and VIP packages are available. Anne Arundel Community College will be offering $5 parking and a free shuttle to the event. Onsite parking is $10 and must be ordered in advance. 

Photo Credit: Maryland Seafood Festival]]>
<![CDATA[Craft Beer at Brew Skies Festival in West Virginia]]> Tue, 18 Aug 2015 15:23:59 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/beer+festival+beer+and+hand.jpg

Drive a few miles west into the hills of West Virginia for a taste of the mountain state's growing craft beer movement, along with live music, food and more at the Brew Skies Festival.

The beer festival features nine of the finest breweries West Virginia has to offer, plus plenty of craft food vendors showcasing the tastiest flavors across the state. You and your friends and family can also rise above the mountains and enjoy scenic views from the chairlift and ziplines.

Local and national artists will perform on two stages from 5 p.m. to midnight Friday, and 11 a.m. to noon Saturday. You can find a complete lineup here.

Advance tickets are $55 for the weekend or $35 for a day pass for either Friday or Saturday. At the door, weekend tickets are $60 and day tickets are $40 This certified family-friendly beer fest is free for kids 14 and younger, and offers a kids' area.

Staying over? You can make your way to the Timberline Four Seasons Resort  (254 Four Seasons Drive, Davis, West Virginia) and rest up between days, or check out one of the other nearby accommodations.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[The Ultimate Nats & Orioles Summer Guide]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 15:30:03 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_82623397-%281%29.jpg

We're in the peak of baseball season -- so it's time to check out all the freebies, specials and promotions offered at Nationals Park and Camden Yards this summer.

There are plenty of opportunities to catch a game; the teams play at home about two weeks of each month this summer. Read on for info on home games and highlights up to Labor Day:


Nats Park, 1500 S Capitol St. SE

Every Sunday home game, you can get autographs from two pre-selected players. You must have a free voucher, which are distributed on a first come, first serve basis at Sections 109 and 140 when the gates open on game day. Also, kids ages 4-12 can go down to the field and run the bases after the game.



Home Games: 

  • San Francisco Giants, July 3-5
  • Cincinnati Reds, July 6-8
  • Los Angeles Dodgers, July 17-19
  • New York Mets, July 20-22


  • Freedom Fireworks, July 3
    • Celebrate the Fourth of July a day early with fireworks after the game.  
  • Independence Day Celebration, July 4
  • Free Stephen Strasburg Bobblehead for the first 25,000 fans, July 5
  • $1 Ice Cream, July 6
  • Free 10-Year Lapel Pin for the first 10,000 fans, July 7
  • Boy and Girl Scout Day July 18
    • Scout groups from around the region are invited to Nationals Park for this special event day. Boy and Girl Scouts, Brownies, Daisies, Cub Scouts, Eagle Scouts and other youth scout groups are welcome.
  • Star Wars Day, July 19
  • U.S. Marine Corps Day, July 21
    • Show your love and support for our nation's Marines with a pregame ceremony. The Nationals dedicate one game to each of the five branches of the military and strive to highlight the individuals and ideals unique to each branch.
  • Summer Camp Day, July 22
    • The annual summer camp celebration is back as participating summer camps from the DMV area are invited to spend the afternoon at Nationals Park.
  • Business Professional Day, July 25
    • The perfect opportunity to leave work while the sun is out and get a special discount on the game.


Home Games: 

  • Arizona Diamondbacks, Aug. 3-6
  • Colorado Rockies, Aug. 7-9
  • Milwaukee Brewers, Aug. 21-23
  • San Diego Padres, Aug. 25-27
  • Miami Marlins, Aug. 28-30


  • $1 Hot Dogs, Aug. 3
  • Free replica 2005 ticket for the first 10,000 fans, Aug. 4
  • Free Jayson Werth Chia Pet for the first 20,000 fans, Aug. 5
  • U.S. Coast Guard Day, Aug. 6
    • description above relating to U.S. Marine Corps Day
  • Business Professional Day, Aug. 6
    • The perfect opportunity to leave work while the sun is out and get a special discount on the game.
  • Freedom Fireworks, Aug. 7
  • Harris Teeter Food Drive, Aug. 8-9
    • Anyone who donates at least three non-perishable food items will receive two tickets to a Nationals home game. Donations will be accepted outside the Center Field Gate and will benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. 
  • Free Miller Lite Cap to the first 15,000 fans, only for ages 21 and up, Aug. 21
  • Free Anthony Rendon Garden Gnome for the first 25,000 fans, Aug. 25
  • $1 Ice Cream, Aug. 26
  • Pet Day, Aug. 27 
    • The Nationals players are bringing their pets to the game for good luck and help to support the Washington Humane Society. Purchase tickets online for a complimentary Nationals Player Pet Calendar.
  • '80s Night, Aug. 29 
    • Nationals Park is going back in time to the '80s and is inviting you along for the trip. Buy tickets online and get a free Nationals Rubik's Cube.
  • Free Jayson Werth Bobblehead for the first 25,000 fans, Aug. 30
  • School Supply Drive, Aug. 30
    • Help D.C. area students by donating any new school supplies. Donations will be accepted outside the Center Field Gate. 


Home Games: 

  • Atlanta Braves, Sept.3-6
  • New York Mets, Sept. 7-9


  • Free Nesting Doll for the first 20,000 fans, Sept. 3
  • Pups in the Park, Sept. 3
    • Your pup should be able to enjoy the game too! Buy a "ticket" for your dog and bring them along.
  • Kids Run the Show, Sept. 6


Orioles Park at Camden Yards, 333 W Camden St. 

Every Tuesday game day is Ollie's Bargain Night, where fans get Upper Reserve seats for just $10, when tickets are purchased in advance. Every Monday and Thursday home game features the Alumni Autograph Series, where former Orioles players will sign autographs on Eutaw Street from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. 


Home Games:

  • Texas Rangers, July 1-2
  • Washington Nationals, July 10-12
  • Atlanta Braves, July 27-29
  • Detroit Tigers, July 30-31


  • Free Orioles tote bag for the first 20,000 fans, ages 15 and up, July 1
  • Free Orioles plaid floppy hat for the first 20,000 fans, ages 21 and up, July10
  • AT&T Student Night, July 10 and 31
  • Free Orioles Hawaiian shirt for the first 20,000 fans, ages 15 and up, July 12
  • Free J.J. Hardy "glove," T-shirt for all fans, July 30
  • Postgame fireworks, July 31


Home Games:

  • Detroit Tigers, Aug. 1-2
  • Oakland Athletics, Aug. 14-17
  • New York Mets, Aug. 18-19
  • Minnesota Twins, Aug. 20-23
  • Tampa Bay Rays, Aug. 31


  • Free Oriole Bird Bobblehead for the first 25,000 fans, ages 15 and up, Aug. 1
  • Kids Run the Bases, Aug. 2
    • All kids 14 and younger get an opportunity to go down to the field and run around the bases after the game
  • Orioles Hall of Fame Pregame Ceremony and Postgame Fireworks, Aug. 14
    • Melvin Mora, John Lowenstein and Gary Roenicke will be inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame 
  • AT&T Student Night, Aug. 14 and 21
  • Free J.J Hardy orange replica jersey for the first 20,000 fans, ages 15 and up, Aug. 15
  • Free Chris Tillman growth poster for the first 7,500 fans, ages 14 and younger, Aug. 16
  • Free Orioles T-shirt for all fans, Aug. 19
  • Free Orioles high socks for the first 20,000 fans, ages 15 and up, Aug. 21
  • Free Orioles trucker hat for the first 20,000 fans, ages 15 and up, Aug. 22
  • Free Orioles pet leash for the first 20,000 fans, ages 15 and up, Aug. 23


Home Games:

  • Tampa Bay Rays, Sept. 1-2

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[A Tour of James Monroe's Ash Lawn-Highland]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 16:55:00 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/181*120/ashlawnrt533.jpg Sure, you've been to Mount Vernon and maybe Monticello, but have you ever taken a tour of Ash Lawn-Highland? The Charlottesville estate was the official residence of fifth President James Monroe and his wife, Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, from 1799 to 1823. Nowadays, Ash Lawn-Highland is also just minutes from many Virginia wineries, including Blenheim Vineyards.

Photo Credit: Sarah Pixley]]>
<![CDATA[Your Summer DMV Concert Roundup]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 15:00:59 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Wiz-Khalifa-Lana-del-Rey-Jimmy-Buffett.jpg There are countless performances to look forward to this summer in the D.C. area. Do something nice for your ears and check out a concert from our hand-picked list of artists coming to town who you won't want to miss.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Road Trip! Living It Up in NYC]]> Sun, 12 Jul 2015 11:10:01 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/NYccityscape.jpg

Sometimes it's not so easy to actually get away. When an extended vacation isn't in the the cards, there's always New York for a quick weekend trip.

If you've got some cash to spend, read on for tips on living it up in NYC:

Consider the prime location of the newly released 17th floor at The Quin. Within a block from Central Park, all the shopping on Fifth Avenue, this member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World has a gorgeous triplex penthouse with fresh views of 57th Street on its private 1,300 square foot terrace.

How luxe is it? This luxe: A $300 gift certificate to Bergdorf's is included. 

Another option is to book a room in the revitalizing Midtown area. Consider the newly opened Baccarat across the street from MoMa. After an eight-year design-and-build project, no detail has been left undone -- including a call button for champagne on the room phone, as well as a built-in-television and a stand-alone wood-trimmed mirror.

For world conquerors on a smaller budget, the classic Towers at The New York Palace has a nice executive suite with one of the most comfortable hotel beds in New York City.

Pop down a few blocks to the Refinery Hotel for the "Refinery Boozy Brunch," its build-your-own-boozy-bunch, or go up (literally) to Asiate at the Mandarian Oriental. The brunch is absolutely impeccable. Asiate's phenomenal duck waffle, as well as sweeping views of Central Park, plus flawless and friendly service, sets the standard for what brunch should be.

For additional eats-and-treats, pop over to Carbonne for the best Italian meal in NYC, and sweets at Levain Bakery, "cronut" creator Dominique Ansel's favorite spot for chocolate chip cookies. Finish the night with cocktails at Skylark, NYC's newest premier cocktail lounge with sweeping views of the river. 

Try out Batard, which just won the James Beard award for best restaurant in the country, down by the Canal St. subway stop, on 239 W. Broadway, or go down even further to the East Village to try In Vino, a super quaint Italian restaurant with a romantic feel akin to being seated inside a wine barrel.

Also great is a casual lunch at Jean-George Vongerichten's abc kitchen -- the Akashi cheeseburger with herbed mayo and pickled jalepenos will make you squeal with joy -- or Oceana Restaurant for its effortless service and a wickedly inventive General Tsao Lobster.

Continue the NYC weekend with a visit to the powerfully non-conventional new Whitney Museum. Outdoor lovers could take the subway to the new Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens.

When in Brooklyn be sure to also stop by Brewed in Brooklyn or the Williamsburg Craft Beer Crawl. Brewed in Brooklyn explores the 19th century history of Brooklyn's breweries alongside some of the biggest talents in the industry, whereas the Williamsburg Craft Beer Crawl focuses on the unique brews of the city. 

Close out the trip with Summertime Get Fit Boot Camp at Trump International Hotel & Tower New York. These 60-minute, high-intensity boot camps are offered every Tuesday and Thursday in the heart of Central Park.

Or, relax at the Langham New York Outpost by Ralph Lauren's Polo Bar where they offer an over-the-top afternoon tea. Champagne, caviar, truffles ... so fun!

<![CDATA[DuCard Vineyards' All-Summer-Long Wine Pairings]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 14:48:09 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20150706+DuCard+Vinyards.jpg

Head south for a little wine pick-me-up -- DuCard Vineyards is offering weekly food and wine pairings.

Here's the deal: Every Sunday through August, DuCard Vineyards in Madison County will host a special dining series aimed at pleasing all your senses. The series includes wine tastings of the vineyard's latest releases, paired with gourmet small plates.

Each menu is farm-fresh and prepared by an in-house chef. Guests are also privy to yet-to-be-released vintage wine poured directly from the barrel.

Important facts: Each wine pairing event holds up to 10 people inside the DuCard Barrel Room and gives you a true, behind-the-scenes- look into wine making and work flow of a winery.

Sunday Pairing Times: 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Price: $35 per person

Where: DuCard Vineyards: 40 Gibson Hollow Lane, Etlan, Virginia, about two hours from downtown D.C.

<![CDATA[Best Waterfront Bars From Georgetown to Annapolis]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 14:03:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_2578229411.jpg

A cold beer or frozen drink on a hot afternoon cures all. The only thing better? Enjoying that icy libation while taking in a beautiful waterfront sunset. Whether you're looking to escape the downtown rat race or Capitol Hill hustle, the DMV is home to plenty of waterfront spots that will serve you a cold one while you make the most of beautiful summer days.

Read on for some favorite stops for good food, good drinks and good views (in no particular order):

Cantina Marina (600 Water St. SW)

Giant nachos, frozen margaritas and sweeping views of the Southwest Waterfront have made Cantina Marina a favorite for locals. The Tex-Mex Cajun mashup and friendly staff set Cantina Marina apart from other waterfront bars, but other features include generous portions, Corona-ritas (margaritas with an inverted Corona beer) and drink specials every night of the week. The spot is also dog-friendly, so bring your furry friends and enjoy the summer together.

Sequoia (3000 K St. NW)

Brunch has become a staple meal to cap off any Washington weekend, and Sequoia has long been a favorite spot at the Georgetown Waterfront for its high-end buffet starring unlimited bellinis, mimosas and Bloody Marys. Visitors can sit outside right above the water when weather is nice, but the spot also boasts floor-to-ceiling windows inside for when the temperature drops. Sequoia also offers lunch and dinner, featuring a wide selection of seafood and gourmet desserts. Happy hour runs from 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays and offers $5 beers and $7 cocktails. The price may be a bit higher than some nearby competitors, but the view of the Key Bridge, Roosevelt Bridge and Virginia skyline make the splurge worthwhile.

Osteria Morini (301 Water St. SE)

Whether you're heading over after a Nats game or just out for a stroll along the waterfront, grab a spot indoors or out at Osteria Morini to enjoy happy hour specials from 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays. Score 20 percent off all drinks at the bar (not including bottles of wine) and chow down on a happy hour menu of dressed-up Italian eats that includes crispy ravioli, mozzarella and pomodoro, and meatball sliders. 

Blackwall Hitch (400 Sixth St., Annapolis; 5 Cameron St., Alexandria)

The second location of Blackwall Hitch opened in Alexandria only a few weeks ago, but it's ready to welcome guests with four bars, live music, a coastal tavern vibe and views of the Potomac from historic Alexandria. Its original location in Annapolis is also located close to the water. The menu at both spots features Chesapeake-inspired dishes, creative cocktails and extensive beer and wine lists. Happy hour runs from 3 to 7 p.m. weeknights and features drink specials, reasonably priced small plates for munching and half-price bottles of wine Monday evenings. 

Pusser's Caribbean Grille (80 Compromise St., Annapolis)

Serving up authentic Caribbean and seafood options alongside award-winning rum drinks, Pusser's Caribbean Grille has become a favorite in Annapolis, famous for its boozy "Painkillers." It's located right on Ego Alley, with close-up views of lavish yachts at Annapolis City Dock. Try $5 appetizers and $3.50 beers during happy hour every weeknight from 4 to 7 p.m., or stop by for a local favorite, Maryland crab dip. 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Brew at the Zoo: Raise Your Glass to Save Wildlife]]> Mon, 06 Jul 2015 10:53:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/14548159810_a090ca752c_o.jpg

Raise your glass to save wildlife! The Smithsonian’s National Zoo is holding its annual Brew at the Zoo fundraising event July 23.

Seventy different craft craft breweries and food trucks are gathering together to support the annual Friends of the National Zoo beer fest. Local participating breweries include 3 Stars Brewing Company, Adroit Theory, DC Brau, Denizens Brewing Co. and plenty more.

The National Zoo (3001 Connecticut Ave NW) will also host a local band, The Bachelor Boys, plus lawn games and the chance to meet and greet some animals. The event runs from 6 to 9 p.m.

General admission tickets are $65, with a $15 discount available for Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) members. Early admission tickets, which gets you into the event at 5 p.m., are $85 (or $70 for FONZ members). Sober Ride tickets are available for $30 for non-drinkers and designated drivers.

A VIP package is available for $100 ($85 for FONZ members). VIP admission will grant you access to complimentary food tasting at participating restaurants such as Matchbox, Plan B Burger Bar, Jack Rose Dining Saloon and more. 

All attendees must be 21 or older.

Photo Credit: fonznationalzoo, Flickr.com]]>
<![CDATA[American History Museum Reopens Wing -- With a LEGO Flag]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:47:26 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/199*120/frontflag_ah.JPG

It's time to get that pinwheel spinning and celebrate America's innovations of the past, present and future. The National Museum of American History opened its newly renovated first-floor exhibitions Wednesday.

The $63 million museum West Wing renovation modernized the structure of its 120,000-square-foot west exhibition wing, adding new galleries, an education center, interior public plazas and performance spaces, the Smithsonian says.

Oh, and then there's the world's largest American flag made out of LEGOs. 

The museum also asked visitors to help create the 9 1/2 foot by 14-foot flag, which was completed at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The LEGO flag will sit outside the front entrance of the museum on Constitution Avenue, and will be on display throughout the summer to welcome visitors to the museum. 

The first floor's theme is innovation, which highlights the history of American business and invention.

The New Exhibitions:

  • Mars Hall of American Business - American Enterprise
    • This exhibition focuses on the relationship between capitalism and democracy in America. You'll find exhibits on the history of advertising, biographies of notable figures in American business -- such as Apple founder Steve Jobs and Barbie doll creator Ruth Handler -- and more. Visitors can also try managing a farm or running a cat food business, and step inside the 45,000-square-foot studio of home video games inventor Ralph Baer.
  • Gallery of Numismatics - The Value of Money
    • This exhibition explains all things money: how money is made, how it was developed, and it's designed. Featuring more than 400 objects, the exhibition includes rare finds such as a personal check signed by President James Madison in 1813 and a $100,000 note printed in 1934. 
  • Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Hall of Invention and Innovation - Places of Invention / Inventive Minds
    • Places of Invention features six communities that showcase how surroundings can impact invention, such as Technicolor in Hollywood, California and clean-energy innovations in Fort Collins, Colorado. The various exhibits are interactive -- learn how to DJ in the Bronx or build a Macintosh icon in Silicon Valley.
  • The Education Center features Spark!Lab, the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation Object Project, the Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, the SC Johnson Conference Center and the Early Learning Gallery.
    • At Spark!Lab, kids ages 6-12 can participate in activities that combine the STEM field with art and creativity.
    • The Object Project features more than 300 objects and showcases how everyday items, such as deodorant and refrigerators, can inspire new works and social change. You can also view ready-to-wear fashions throughout history and make your own historical figure. You'll also find countless interactive activities, such as a "Price Is Right"-styled competitive guessing game.
  • The new first floor also features an Archives Center and the Dibner Library.

The museum raised $43 million from the private sector and $20 million from Congress to fund the renovation, according to the Associated Press.

Construction began in 2012 and will continue into 2018 for the rest of the museum. The second floor's theme is democracy, immigration and migration; the third floor's theme is culture. 

Photo Credit: Marina di Marzo]]>
<![CDATA[Beachy Fun + Culture: Boardwalk Art Show]]> Mon, 15 Jun 2015 15:19:20 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/168*120/shutterstock_178129076.jpg

Back in 1956, the first official Boardwalk Art Show was held, with a top prize of $25 and 104 participating artists. Now, Virginia Beach's Boardwalk Art Show is celebrating its 60th year with many special events to commemorate the occasion -- not to mention the 250,000+ art enthusiasts like yourself in attendance.

The kickoff party begins June 18 at 7 p.m. at 31st Street Park, where Vertical Horizon, a popular alt-rock band that formed on the grounds of Georgetown University, will perform on the outdoor stage.

On June 19 and 20, you'll find plenty of activities for kids via the free Family Fest from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Kids can enjoy hands-on art-making, music and outdoor activities at 24th Street Park.

For bigger kids (OK, grownups), the weekend will offer live bands playing in the pop-up beer garden. Along culinary row, you'll find beachy fare like crab cakes and fish tacos, as well as another festival fave, barbecue.

And, of course, there's the art show, hosted by the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. Booths will be set up from 19th to 33rd streets, with more than 250 artists presenting paintings, glass work, jewelry, sculptures and more. The show awards more than $25,000 to artists in several categories.

The art show is free; hours are as follows:

  • Thursday, June 18: noon to 6 p.m.
  • Friday, June 19: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 20: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 21: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Virginia Beach is located about four and a half hours from downtown D.C.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Folklife Festival Celebrates Peru on the National Mall]]> Tue, 16 Jun 2015 15:17:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-101021751.jpg

The National Mall will transform into Peru for two weeks during the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, starting June 24-28 and continuing July 1-5.

For the last 49 years, the Smithsonian has dedicated these two weeks to celebrating cultures all over the world, bringing cooking, crafts, music, artistry and tradition into downtown D.C.

This free outdoor celebration -- this year, featuring all things Peruvian -- will be held between 3rd and 4th Streets, just north of the National Museum of the American Indian.

Taste and learn how to make Peruvian classics, such as quinoa al cubo. Three local Peruvian restaurants will also also be featured, serving dishes such as ensalda con palta y quinua, avocado salad topped with quinoa and a mix of vegetables.  

You’ll also find masquerade dancing workshops, archery demonstrations, painting, storytelling and rope making. See the schedule here for all events and times.

The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day, and some nights, special concerts will kick off at 7 p.m. For those performances, such as six-time Latin Grammy nominee Eva Ayllón, see the schedule here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fly Through the Trees at Sandy Spring's Adventure Park]]> Mon, 15 Jun 2015 16:15:27 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/SSAP_NightClimb.jpg

Zipline and climb your way through the trees at the Adventure Park in Sandy Spring, Maryland, billed as the largest man-made outdoor climbing adventure in the world.

The park's equipped with 190 unique challenges, 29 zip lines and 13 trails ranging in difficulty from beginner to advanced.

Pick your skill level and move from platform to platform high in the trees as you zipline, traverse rope bridges, climb, walk tightropes and more. Don't get too nervous, though -- admission includes that all-important harness, a pair of gloves and a 30-minute safety training session.

Besides the 13 main trails, you'll also find two smaller adventures: the Monkey Grove is 10 trees covered in climbing rocks while the Labyrinth is an enclosed network of bridges and stairs to climb and explore.

You can also explore the trails at night, as they're illuminated by LED lights.

Tickets for the main park get you three hours of climbing; tickets are sold until the last two hours before closing. You can climb for one hour in The Monkey Grove and The Labyrinth.

Groups will need to reserve tickets at least two weeks in advance.

The park is located 45 minutes away from downtown D.C. at the Sandy Spring Friends School (16701 Norwood Road, Sandy Spring, Maryland).

Photo Credit: The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring]]>
<![CDATA[It's All Real: AFI DOCS Film Fest Returns]]> Fri, 12 Jun 2015 14:34:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-105755717.jpg

Looking for a break from this summer’s blockbuster action flicks and rom-coms? Theaters in D.C. and Silver Spring will host the AFI DOCS documentary film festival this June 17-21.

With more than 80 films from 25 countries, AFI DOCS (formerly known as Silverdocs) provides a break from the summer heat and an opportunity to take in a variety of films, including four world premieres.

Festival-goers can enjoy films shown in seven landmark venues, including, of course, the AFI Silver Theatre (8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring). The National Archives and the National Portrait Gallery will host filmgoers as well.

Highlights include the opening night film, "Best of Enemies," a timely look into the roots of political pundit media from its earliest stages with Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, Jr. "Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine," from Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney, gives what The Verge calls an "unforgiving" look into Jobs' influence on the Silicon Valley. "Salam Neighbor" explores the complex lives of Syrian refugees living in Jordan. The screening will be on June 20, World Refugee Day.

An outdoor screening of "Ride, Rise, Roar" will be shown free to the public at Silver Spring’s Fountain Plaza (923 Ellsworth Drive) June 19 at 9 p.m. Indulge in some shopping or grab a meal in downtown Silver Spring before the show.

AFI DOCS will also present the Charles Guggenheim Symposium on June 19 to honor Stanley Nelson. Dedicated to African American film-making, Nelson has been honored at the Sundance Film Festival and won both Peabody and Emmy awards for his work. Previous honorees include Spike Lee and Martin Scorcese.

Find a complete schedule of the festival here.

Advance tickets are available now on AFI's website. The AFI Silver Theatre Box Office and the AT&T Box Office in Penn Quarter (421 7th St. NW) will sell tickets in person during the festival.

Ticketed screenings cost $10 for matinees and $12 for weekend and evening shows. Passes are available and include unlimited access to films.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hit the Trails: Horseback Riding in Shenandoah]]> Thu, 11 Jun 2015 12:31:01 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_607516751.jpg

If you're ready to escape the smoggy summer days in Washington (and you are, aren't you?), look no further than Shenandoah National Park. Only 75 miles west of D.C., the park offers a chance for visitors to get back in touch with nature -- and maybe even do so on horseback.

Skyline Resort (entrances at miles 41.7 and 42.5 in the park) offers visitors guided horseback rides from spring through fall. Parkgoers can take either hour-long or 2 1/2 hour rides through scenic Blue Ridge trails.

Riders must be taller than 4'10" and weigh less than 250 pounds. If children want to ride but aren't tall enough, Skyline Resort offers pony rides as long as their feet reach the stirrups.

Prices range from $7 for 15-minute pony rides to $90 for the longer 2 1/2 hour rides. To reserve a spot on one of the five daily time slots, call Skyline Resort at 877-847-1919. Find more info here.

Riders with their own four-legged means of transportation are welcome to use 180 miles of park trails open to horse and rider, including steep trails for experts and smoother ones for beginners. Get trail maps here.

Lodging is available at Skyline Resort, Big Meadows Lodge, Lewis Mountain Cabins and any flat surface where a tent will fit.

But if you're hoping to keep your whinnying travel companion with you overnight, call the park at 540-999-3500 ahead of time to make plans. Horses can stay at commercial boarding facilities near the park or with campers following specific guidelines. Shenandoah National Park also created overnight horse trip plans to help visitors get the most out of their ride and stay in the park.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Important Stuff: Chesapeake Crab & Beer Fest]]> Mon, 08 Jun 2015 14:08:39 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_125308031.jpg

Crabs and beer. That's what Maryland does. Add more beer, live music and arts and crafts, and you've got the Chesapeake Crab and Beer Festival, coming up Saturday.

The Inner Harbor in Baltimore (610 Light St.) will have 60,000 crabs covered in Old Bay seasoning and an all-you-can-taste beverage selection with 50+ beers, wines and spirits to choose from.

Two sessions (11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-9 p.m.) will both have live performances throughout from the Sauce Boss and the Sons of Pirates. A la carte crab options are also availble.

Tickets are limited; advance ticketing is available online ($59-$89). On-site ticket prices range between $70-$110. Designated driver tickets ($59 advance; $70 on-site) and kids' tickets ($29 advance; $40 on site) both offer unlimited crab tastings. Parking will be limited, but you can reserve a parking space for $3.

If the event sells out before you can get tickets, mark your calendar for Aug. 22, when the Chesapeake Crab and Beer Festival visits National Harbor.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Beer, Bourbon and Barbecue Festival at National Harbor]]> Mon, 08 Jun 2015 14:07:25 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_271445342.jpg

If you enjoy barbecue, beer and bourbon (wait, who doesn't?), you can soon get a taste of all three at National Harbor (165 Waterfront St., National Harbor, Maryland).

This two-day festival of beer sipping, bourbon tasting, and pork worshiping runs June 19-20, rain or shine. Admission to the Beer, Bourbon and Barbecue Festival includes a free souvenir glass for unlimited tastings of 40 bourbons and 60 beers on tap.

Sip and taste to the sounds of live rock, blues and bluegrass all day. You can take a break and cool off in the cigar tent, or tune in to a seminar from a brewmaster in the tasting theater.

Pork lovers can pig out with the Shrine of the Swine, a pig roast cycling in a new whole hog each hour. For a price, you can indulge in all the pulled pork, ribs and brisket your stomach can handle. Bacon lovers can check out the VIP section, which features 10 tasting stations with bacon from local and far-away restaurants, and comes with two extra hours of tasting.

A 5,000-square-foot game area offers cornhole, tricycle racing and foosball.

Ticket options include:

  • Grand Poobah 2-Day All-Access Pass: $99 advance only, includes VIP, both days
  • Whole Hog Friday Night Pickin' Session: $65 advance / $75 on-site, Friday 6-10 p.m.
  • VIP Saturday Bacon & Whole Hog Session: $59 advance / $70 on-site, Saturday noon-6 p.m.
  • Regular Saturday Session: $39 advance / $45 on-site, Saturday 2-6 p.m.
  • Designated Driver Ticket: $29, grants admission only, Saturday, noon-6 p.m.

Advance ticket sales end June 17 at 5 p.m., or when tickets sell out. A portion of all proceeds will benefit the Spirit of Hope Children's Foundation.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Top 10 Maryland Getaways]]> Mon, 08 Jun 2015 15:05:55 -0400 Maryland than just the bay... but OK, the bay is a pretty big part of it. Keep reading to discover our picks for the top 10 Maryland getaways.]]> Maryland than just the bay... but OK, the bay is a pretty big part of it. Keep reading to discover our picks for the top 10 Maryland getaways.]]> http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/181*120/wtd-top-10-eastern-shore.jpg From Baltimore to the beach, Maryland has plenty of reasons for you to pack the car.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Va. Ren. Faire: Last Chance This Weekend!]]> Fri, 05 Jun 2015 16:32:58 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_37763767.jpg

The renaissance is almost over!

The Virginia Renaissance Faire is wrapping up this weekend, June 6-7. You have just a couple more days to visit Lake Anna Winery (5621 Courthouse Road, Spotsylvania, Virginia), as Queen Elizabeth makes her visit to the village of Staffordshire. Dancers, musicians and jugglers will welcome the queen and seek her favor.

Learn the art of jousting as knights on horseback show the process of getting into armor -- and into battle. Skilled archers offer lessons on the long bow to make hunting your dinner a sport. A family circus incorporating four performance puppies can offer both cuteness and daring.

Musicians infuse Celtic tunes with comedic lyrics to create the village atmosphere and to transport participants to that Shakespearean time. Performance groups take the Bard's classics and give them a unique spin by turning tragedies into comedies and giving his works a modern perspective.

You'll also discover plenty of food -- think fish and chips, Mediterranean foods, cinnamon-roasted nuts and more -- as well as plenty of beer and wine. Vendors will offer scores of shopping opportunities, including jewelry, pottery, swords, candles, leather goods and more.

Kids will find various activities including puppetry, arts and crafts and a greeting from Queen Elizabeth.

The Faire runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. General admission is $10 per person; kids age five and younger get in free. Pets are not allowed.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Celebrate Fairfax! Lets You Embrace Virginia]]> Sat, 06 Jun 2015 07:38:37 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_276959894.jpg

Virginia is certainly for lovers -- of a good time. Celebrate Fairfax!, coming up the weekend of June 5-7, is the perfect opportunity to embrace all Virginia has to offer.

This three-day festival is gathering more than 300 exhibitors, food vendors, and interactive activities in the Fairfax County Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway) to start off summer.

Live concerts will take place on nine stages throughout the day, with a special main stage performance each evening, including 3 Doors Down on Saturday night. One stage will feature up-and-coming regional bands Friday and Saturday.

You'll also find a petting zoo, the Fairfax County Karaoke Championship and a full-fledged carnival complete with a Ferris wheel, tea cups and roller coasters, as well as live reptiles and magic shows.

Every evening ends in a blast with fireworks gleaming in the dark sky.

The festival runs from 6 p.m. to midnight on Friday, 10 a.m. to midnight on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

You can purchase tickets online or at any Northern Virginia Wegmans location.

General adult admission is $12; weekend passes are $22 for admission only. Tickets that include admission with rides are $35. Kids' admission is $5; kids' admission with rides is $28. There are several VIP package deals and group rates. You can check the website to catch all the ticket deals.

You can park at the Fairfax County Government Center if you arrive early enough; several off-site parking places are available in case parking runs out. You can park next to the Fairfax Marriott (11787 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway), near the ManTech Corporation Building (12015 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway) and on Fair Lakes Circle.

Free shuttle buses will be running continuously among these parking locations. The shuttle runs from 4:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Saturday and 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Fairfax Connector Shuttle Buses run to and from the Vienna Metro stop on the Orange Line every 30 minutes during fair hours.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Food Truck Race Is On: Taste of 3 Cities]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 16:14:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_275900156.jpg

Food trucks tend to travel in packs, but on Saturday, June 6, it's really going down at the Taste of Three Cities Food Truck Festival in Baltimore.

No fewer than 20 different food trucks will dish up their goodies -- and compete for your affections -- in Baltimore's Patterson Park (27 S. Patterson Park Ave.) from noon to 9 p.m. You'll also find beer and wine, live music, and a kids' area, but let's be honest: You want to hear more about the food.

Maybe you're in the mood for a Charm City Gourmet lobster roll? Or a Miss Twist salted caramel sundae? Sweets and meats are all represented in this collection of gourmet creative cuisine. Check out the list for more participating food trucks. 

While you're noshing, cast a vote from your phone for your favorite truck in the People's Choice competition.

Several early bird ticket specials are available. General admission is $15; a VIP package gets you early admission into the park at 11 a.m., unlimited drinks, and access to special areas. Family packages are also available. Order your tickets online for these discounts.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Groove Your Way Through Capital Jazz Fest ]]> Wed, 10 Jun 2015 13:35:07 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP13052114009_Patti.jpg

Close to 30 national jazz acts will dazzle on two stages at the Capital Jazz Fest all this weekend, June 5-7.

Artists ranging from up-and-comers to top stars will converge at the Merriweather Post Pavilion (10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia), hosted by Eric Roberson.

Tickets are already sold out online for Saturday and Sunday, but they're still available for Friday, when the Friday Night Soul concert kicks off the weekend, showcasing Maze with Frankie Beverly and India.Arie. Tickets are available online here ($56-$105).

You can also browse arts and crafts at the Festival Marketplace as you mingle with crowds of music lovers.

Staying out late? The Late Night Soul Showcase at the Marriott BWI Airport Hotel (1743 W. Nursery Road, Lithicum, Maryland) on Friday will feature Liv Warfield and Brandon Williams & Friends. This event takes place after the main festival, from 7:30 to 11 p.m. Tickets are $22.50 in advance and $30 at the door.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Just Add Wine: Annapolis Arts, Crafts & Wine Fest]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 14:35:14 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_136947212-%281%29.jpg

Where can you shop for art while sipping on Pinot Noir? Just add water and you've got the Annapolis Arts, Crafts and Wine Festival, June 6-7.

This two-day celebration offers samples from more 25 Maryland wineries, jazz and handmade art and crafts in the Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (550 Taylor Ave., Annapolis), not far from the city's historic harbor.

More than 200 of the region's best artists and craftspeople will showcase handcrafted items including paintings, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, wood, leather, metal, glass and photography. Children can enjoy the "Kids Art" area, featuring music, dance and theater performances on stage.

The festival is open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $30 for the wine tasting. Non-drinkers can gain admission for just $8. Admission is $5 for those age 12-18; kids younger than 12 get in free.

You can buy tickets online or at the door.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Raise a Glass: Vintage Va. Wine Fest]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 14:30:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_211363993-%281%291.jpg

Get ready to see your glass half full -- taste wines from 29 local Virginia homegrown wineries during the 34th annual Vintage Virginia Wine and Food Festival, coming up May 30-31.

Virginians have proudly shared their wine since the 17th century. Vintage Virginia offers an opportunity to taste wines from nearly half of the commonwealth's wineries, from some of the largest labels to the new up-and-comers.

You'll find them at the Bull Run Special Events Center (7700 Bull Run Drive) about an hour outside of D.C. 

Good wine, food and music are the golden trifecta of a great wine-tasting experience. More than 20 D.C. food trucks are driving up to the fest, offering culinary options ranging from crab cakes to Cuban sandwiches. Big Tony & Trouble Funk, Love Canon, Bosley, and Blue Mule will perform at the event with a funky flare. In keeping with the local theme, all the musicians are from the DMV area.

General admission for one day is $30 in advance, or $35 at the gate. A two-day pass is also available ($35 in advance; $40 at the gate). The ticket also gets you a commemorative wine glass, and all-day samplings from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Designated drivers get a special discount ($15 in advance; $18 at the gate), and have access to free water and soda throughout the fest.

Kids ages 5 and below are free; kids ages 6-12 get in $7 in advance or $10 at the door. The festival also provides a Family Tent area, where kids can play the day away and watch Gravity Check, a fast-paced juggling act. 

The festival also offers several VIP options, starting at $45. This year brings a new VIP option called the Top 5 Tasting. Under a shaded tent, customers can have a private tasting experience of the top five wines from each participating winery.

A "worry-free" shuttle service travels back and forth between the Vienna Metro station and the festival for $33. If you want to drive to the event, parking opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 8 p.m.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Wine Wednesday: Glass House Winery]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 14:28:54 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/181*120/domer2.jpg

"Unique" doesn't even begin describe Glass House Winery in Free Union, Virginia -- how could it, with a tropical conservatory, private lake and on-site confectionery?

Michelle Sanders and her husband, Jeff, planted their first vines in 2007. They opened Glass House Winery in December 2010, and now have roughly 12 acres under vine.

While the wine's important, it's hard not to be dazzled by all the extras you'll find at Glass House. Michelle Sanders said the inspiration for their tropical conservatory came from their time living off the coast of Honduras, which they did for three and a half years.

"My husband was a huge plant lover," she said. "When we moved back to the States, he said he was going to build the coolest greenhouse you've even seen. We now grow papaya, mango and banana trees in our greenhouse. Customers love it."

One good reason why? When the fruit is ripe and ready to be picked, the couple pairs the fresh fruit with their wine. "Customers can't get enough," she said.

The wine also goes quite well with their homemade chocolates, made on site weekly. The couple makes 600 to 1,000 pieces of chocolate per week, depending on the season. Sanders mixes six flavors, with occasional special flavors for an event. It takes three days to make the chocolates.

When you're too full of chocolate, fruit and wine to move, consider another unique extension of the winery, the five-bedroom Glass House Winery Bed & Breakfast, located in walking distance.

It was named a Top 10 Vineyard Inn of 2014 by BedandBreakfast.com; the Caribbean aesthetic that flows through the B&B is a good indicator of why. The open, simple decor and outdoor pool make you feel like you're on a tropical island, or at least a tropical resort.

Now, as for the wine: Glass House Winery offers four whites, a rose and seven reds. They produce about 3,000 cases per year.

"The wines we make vary from year to year a little bit, as mother nature isn't so reliable, but we try to remain as consistent as we can," said Michelle Sanders.

The couple grows about 90 percent of their own grapes on site. They also buy grapes from nearby Virginia vineyards for a few varieties.

Michelle and Jeff Sanders chose to live in the area because of the school district and their love for wine, but the most surprising element of starting their own Virginia winery was the feedback from other local wineries.

"We were surprised at all the helpful advice we received from fellow wine makers," she said. "Our competitors wanted us to succeed and make good wine. They said, 'If you're going to be a winery, you're going to be a good one. Otherwise you'll make us all look bad.'

And so far, so good. "It's fun," Sanders said. "We grow good grapes and make good wine. We experiment together. The entire industry is all very helpful to us."

The Glass House Winery is located at 5898 Free Union Road in Free Union, Virginia, about 2.5 hours from downtown D.C. Visitors are also encouraged to bring their own picnic and pets.

The tasting room is open Thursdays from noon to 5:30 p.m.; Fridays from noon to 9 p.m.; Saturdays from noon to 5:30 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5:30 p.m.

Wine tasting are $8 per person. 

Photo Credit: Sarah Pixley]]>