<![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 Fri, 30 Jan 2015 01:24:58 -0500 Fri, 30 Jan 2015 01:24:58 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Roots & Blues Festival in Lancaster]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 11:29:54 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/181*120/musicjje.jpg

Join 50+ national music artists for the two-day Roots and Blues Festival in the national historic district of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

The festival, set for Friday and Saturday, Feb. 6-7, will gather artists from around the U.S. to take one of 10 stages. Bringing the 50 artists into such a small town was no easy task, so the fest will be spread across eight venues, all within a few blocks of each other.

For the music pros, master class sessions will be held at the Ware Center on both days. Some sessions will also include talks with famous musicians, including Liberty DeVitto, Billy Joel's drummer; and Kenny Aaronson, a bassist who has played with the likes of Bob Dylan and Neil Schon.

Find a complete schedule of events for the festival online. Tickets start at $20 per day and reach $225 for a two-day VIP pass.

A little fact about Lancaster: The entire city is a national historic district and the only city in the U.S. with that designation. That means tons of history and lots of attractions.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Experience on Winter Wildlife Via Sea]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 13:21:36 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/181*120/dolphinshutter.jpg

Although it's winter, a trip to the beach can still be fun -- it's the perfect time to see winter wildlife around Virginia Beach.

From now until March, Rudee Tours (200 Winston Salem Ave., Virginia Beach) is open for wildlife watching during the winter season. Located just off the shores of the Atlantic, this touring boat gets close to Virginia's most majestic creatures near and in the sea. Be prepared to spot whales, dolphins, seals and many bird species off-shore.

Most of the tour guides have several years of navigating the Atlantic and know where all the hot spots for wildlife viewing are. This type of boat trip is a great reason to get outdoors and enjoy a different type of winter activity. 

The tours use boats with heated cabins, bathrooms, snack bars and full bars. But don't forget to wear warm jackets and hats. Hours for winter wildlife tours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on select days through March.

While you're in Virginia Beach, it's also a good idea to stop by the aquarium. There you can see even more of the region's -- and beyond -- wildlife including otters, sharks, turtles and seals. The Virginia Aquarium is located at 717 General Booth Blvd. in Virginia Beach.

Rudee Tours is located on 5th and Pacific in the Virginia Beach resort area about three and a half hours from downtown D.C. 



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Food, Art and Wine at the Virginia Beach Chill Fest]]> Thu, 08 Jan 2015 12:50:53 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_76145926.jpg

The Virginia Beach Chill Fest has nothing to do with this week's miserable weather, and everything to do with fun. Bundle up and head south -- this fest features three big events (and yes, they're all indoors).

Start off with Restaurant Week (Jan. 10-19), when you can sample local favorites from specially priced, prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus from more than 80 participating Virginia Beach restaurants. You can score a two-course lunch for just $10, with three-course dinners starting at $20.

Just leave some room for extra wine. The Coastal Virginia Wine Fest (weekend of Jan. 17-18) at the Virginia Beach Convention Center will feature 40 Virginia wineries, which will offer hand-picked selections to taste and buy. You'll also find a craft beer garden and up to 80 vendors showcasing specialty foods, arts and crafts. You can even watch local celebs take part in a grape stomping competition. The wine fest will be held Jan. 17 from noon to 7 p.m. and Jan. 18 from noon to 5 p.m.

At the convention center during those same hours, you'll also find the MOCA Art Show. Between the wine and food tastings, the show from the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art will feature 100 juried artists including painters, sculptors, agra-artisans and jewelers. The art show takes place not at the museum itself, but during the Coastal Virginia Wine Fest. Admission is included with purchase of a wine fest ticket, which start at $40 per person.

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



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Educate Yourself: Chocolate & Wine Classes in Va.]]> Tue, 13 Jan 2015 13:51:39 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_50516272.jpg

Ever dreamed about becoming a chocolatier? Or maybe just about chocolate? OK, the latter is more likely, but either way, Artfully Chocolate in Alexandria offers several tasty classes for those interested in a hands-on experience (because who doesn't want more time with chocolate?).

If the wine and chocolate sound great on their own, Artfully Chocolate offers a wine and chocolate pairing seminar. Attendees learn all about the ins and outs of fine chocolate and wine, and how to maximize the flavors of both. Four wines and chocolates are provided during the event. 

For the true chocoholic, a chocolate-tasting class might be the best choice. Tasting classes offer an introduction to the culture of fine chocolate, and teach students what to look for in chocolate. You'll also get an overview on how chocolate has evolved over the centuries. Six chocolates are included in the class. 

If you want to get a bit more creative, take a course on making your own mosaic or painted serving tray. You'll get to taste 2-3 glasses of wine and chocolate pairings during the session.

Each of the three options takes place at Artfully Chocolate, and run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. 

You can pay for classes on Artfully Chocolate's website, but be sure to check out LivingSocial first for a discount on classes.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Wine Wednesday: Otium Cellars in Purcellville]]> Wed, 07 Jan 2015 15:47:47 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/183*120/Screen+Shot+2014-10-27+at+8.18.56+PM.png

If you need a little German-inspired wine pick-me-up, then a trip to Loudoun County's Otium Cellars should be your next stop.

Veer off of Main Street in Purcellville, Virginia and take a drive down a short gravel road to find Otium Cellers (18050 Tranquility Road) next to silos and horse pastures. The winery offers seven varieties: the expected (Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Cab Sav, Pinot Noir) and the not-so-much expected: Blaufrankisch, Malbec and Dornfelder.

The German import varietals offered by the winery give you a look into the Bavarian roots that owner Gerhard Bauer is passionate about.

Otium is expecting big changes this year, with a new addition to the tasting room and the cellar expected around April. Don't worry -- the construction won't hinder your wine tasting; currently you can sip your wine outside in the covered and screened-in pavilion (with a 360-degree fireplace) that overlooks the sweeping views of the hills under vine. We loved the upstairs section inside the main tasting room with large, picturesque views of the farm land.

While visiting, make sure you taste the 2013 Pinot Noir, which deserves a second look because the original vines had to be up-rooted and re-planted in 2010 due to excessive moisture. That vintage is back with a vengeance. The 2012 Pinot Gris also won our hearts with its very light and crisp fruit flavors.

Wine tastings at Otium are $10 and includes eight wines: five reds and three whites. The winery is open Mondays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Fridays, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and weekends 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Otium offers live music most Fridays as well.;

Otium is also part of Goose Creek Farms, a private equestrian facility that breeds world-class Hanoverians and offers weekly riding lessons. Pigs, chickens and ducks also call this farm their home -- and if you visit, bring your dog, too; they are very pet-friendly.

Otium Cellars is located about 70 minutes from downtown D.C.



Photo Credit: Sarah Pixley
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<![CDATA[PHOTOS: Otium Cellars in Purcellville, Virginia]]> Wed, 07 Jan 2015 15:48:51 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/211*120/Screen+Shot+2014-10-27+at+8.25.40+PM.png Veer off of Main Street in Purcellville, Virginia and take a drive down a short gravel road to find Otium Cellers (18050 Tranquility Road) next to silos and horse pastures. The winery offers seven varieties: the expected (Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Cab Sav, Pinot Noir) and the not-so-much expected: Blaufrankisch, Malbec and Dornfelder.

Photo Credit: Sarah Pixley]]>
<![CDATA[Authentic Blue Ridge at the Floyd Country Store]]> Mon, 05 Jan 2015 15:06:53 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2015-01-05_1505_001.jpg

The Floyd Country Store is a lot more than just a country store -- it's a reason we love small towns. And at 206 South Locust St. in Floyd, Virginia, you'll find everything you could want from one: the Floyd Country Store is a music venue, cafe, live variety show and, of course, a store.

Our favorite feature is the monthly live radio broadcast, featuring the best old-timey music from around the Blue Ridge Mountains. The show is broadcast from inside the store and includes comedy quips, skits, jingles and authentic local bluegrass. Tickets are usually $10 in advance. Each radio show is streamed live and then re-broadcast by nearby local stations.

If you feel like shopping, the Floyd store features a variety of items particular to country living. You'll see plenty of enamelware, books and the occasional set of suspenders for your britches. Music is also available for purchase from local Blue Ridge musicians.

For your stomach: The cafe is known for their East Carolina-style pulled smoked pork barbecue, Chicken Brunswick stew and skillet-baked cornbread, but the locals will say the old-fashioned milkshakes are most popular.

The music for your ears: Many local musicians take the stage at Floyd's, mainly because the audience has a deep appreciation for traditional music. You'll find music and dancing every Friday evening, Americana tunes every Saturday afternoon, and a traditional mountain music jam every Sunday. 

This store is worth the trip and Floyd is worth the stay if you choose to make it a weekend adventure. The Floyd Country Store is located about four hours from downtown, D.C. If you need help with accommodations (or other local activities), there's a guide for that, too.



Photo Credit: Floyd Country Store]]>
<![CDATA[D.C. Restaurant Week: Oh, It's On]]> Tue, 20 Jan 2015 13:20:07 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_81319588.jpg

Grab your fork and spoon, D.C. Restaurant Week returns Monday.

More than 240 local restaurants are participating in the twice-annual promotion, which offers three-course prix-fixe lunches for $20.15 and dinners for $35.15. 

Participating spots include 1789, Aggio, Farmers Fishers Bakers, Lincoln, Urbana and of course, many, many more. (See the full list here.) Restaurants in near-in suburbs like Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Arlington and Alexandria have also joined in.

You can make reservations online through OpenTable, and even reserve a preferred parking spot before heading out the door through Parking Panda. 

Restaurant Week will wrap up Jan. 25, although some restaurants have extended their promotions in the past, so keep your eyes open. 

This year, the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) is asking diners to get social with their Restaurant Week experiences by participating in the 7 Days/7 Winners social media contest. 

Diners who want to join in on the fun should post pictures of their delicious Restaurant Week dishes to Instagram using the hashtag #DMVRW, follow @RAMWdc on Instagram and tag the participating restaurant. 

Once you post your photo, you'll automatically be entered to win prizes, including roller derby tickets, brunch gift certificates, cookbooks and a grand prize of two tickets to the 33rd Annual RAMMY Awards and Gala June 7. 

Winter Restaurant Week sponsor True Aussie Lamb is also hosting a photography contest for diners. Diners who upload a picture of a participating restaurant's featured Australian lamb dish to Instagram using the hashtag #AussieLambDC will be entered to win prizes. (Here's a tip: Mazagan Restaurant in Arlington, Smith Commons in D.C. and Graffiato in Penn Quarter will all be offering True Aussie lamb dishes.)



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[An Aerial Adventure in Harper's Ferry]]> Mon, 05 Jan 2015 12:31:07 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_154191794S.jpg

High-flying adventure might be closer to the home than you think.

The Adventure Park at Harper's Ferry is the newest offering in the River Riders family of outdoor fun. The park has six aerial forest trails with 12 elements each, making for a total of 72 challenges and zip lines. 

Elevated wooden platforms high in trees are connected by bridges, swings and zip lines. Participants ages four and older can move at their own pace through self-guided aerial trails, choosing paths that fit any challenge and comfort level.

In addition to the Adventure Park, guests can go whitewater rafting, tubing, kayaking, canoeing and mountain biking in the surrounding area.

Discounted 2015 season passes are also available, which includes unlimited two-hour climbs and other perks, from LivingSocial.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Alexandria Restaurant Week Coming Up]]> Fri, 02 Jan 2015 09:11:50 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_10076518.jpg

The lull between the New Year and Valentine's Day can be dreary, but that isn't a reason to stop making plans with friends and family.

So that's what Alexandria Restaurant Week is for.

During the promotion Jan. 23-Feb. 1, score discounts on lunch, dinner for two, or prix-fixe three-course menus at nearly 60 restaurants.

Participating restaurants include BRABO by Robert Wiedmaier, Cheesetique, Chart House, Teaism Old Town and more.

You can find a complete guide to participating restaurants, including menus and links to make reservations, online here.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[National Children's Museum to Close Sunday]]> Fri, 02 Jan 2015 12:36:31 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2015-01-02_0707.jpg

This weekend is your last chance to visit the National Children's Museum at National Harbor.

 

The museum plans to move back to the District after two years in Maryland. It will close Sunday, but no reopening date has been set yet -- museum officials are still searching for a new space.

Some exhibits will be relocated to D.C. public libraries in the meantime.

The museum cited a lack of affordable expansion space as a factor in the decision to move.

"We're in 17,000 square feet of space now," said Ross Hechinger, chair of the museum's board. "We're looking to at least double that space, if not more."

Museum officials also want to return to D.C. because it's more centrally located.

A quarter of a million kids and families had visited the museum since it moved to Prince George's County.

]]>
<![CDATA[Going to the Winter Classic? Here's What to Know]]> Thu, 25 Dec 2014 13:18:51 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/215*120/2014-12-22_1656.jpg

Hockey fans, rejoice! The 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic is coming to the District, and Washington Capitals fans are already gearing up for the big day.

But before you venture out into the New Year to see the Caps battle the Chicago Blackhawks, we've got everything you need to know.

Where & When:

Nationals Park (1500 S. Capital St. SE) is hosting the big game, which kicks off at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 1.

Getting to the Game:

By Metro: Metro is the quickest and easiest way to get to Nats Park. Take the Green Line to the Navy Yard station, located half a block from the stadium, or take the Orange, Blue or Silver Line to the Capitol South station, which is about a 15-minute walk to the park. Visit Metro's website to get your personalized route.

By Circulator: Hop on the Circulator from Union Station or H Street NE and take it to the Navy Yard. See all stops here.

By Car: Several streets will be closed around Nationals Park on game day, so driving might not be the best way to get to the event. If you do choose to drive, the following streets will be closed or have limited access during the game:

  • N Street SE from 1st Street SE to Van Street will close at 8:30 a.m.
  • Half Street SE between M and N streets will close at 8:30 a.m.
  • Van Street SE between M and N street will be accessible to taxis and stadium traffic only, and will be one-way during the game.
  • 1st Street SE from M Street SE to Potomac Avenue will be accessible to stadium traffic only.
  • Potomac Avenue SE between South Capitol and 1st streets will be accessible to stadium traffic only.

You can find driving directions on the NHL's website, and parking passes are available online here at a variety of prices.

By Charter: Parking for charter buses, limousines and large vehicles is located in Parking Lot W, between M and L streets SE and 7th Street SE. Buses will be permitted to drop off guests on the west curb of 1st Street SE between M and N streets SE.

By Taxi: A taxi stand is located on M Street SE between South Capitol and Half streets SE.

What NOT to Bring:

The following items are prohibited inside ticketed areas:

  • Metal, plastic or glass containers of any kind except for clear, factory-sealed plastic water bottles no larger than 1 liter; juice boxes; insulin containers or baby food
  • Food items except those contained in single serving bags within a soft-sided container or cooler not exceeding 16"x16"x8"
  • Hard coolers or ice chests
  • Backpacks and bags exceeding 16"x16"x8"
  • Umbrellas
  • Weapons, fireworks and other illegal substances
  • Camera lenses in excess of eight inches, tripods and monopods
  • Animals except service animals
  • Beach balls and other inflatable items
  • Laser pens and pointers
  • Alcohol not purchased at Nationals Park
  • Noisemakers not provided by the NHL
  • Skateboards
  • Strollers
  •  Any other item deemed dangerous or inappropriate or otherwise violating the guest conduct policy

Finding Your Seat:
You can find a PDF seating map for the event on the NHL's website.

During the Game:

Re-Entry: Fans may not exit and re-enter the park using the same ticket. In the event of an emergency, guests should contact a gate supervisor, who may permit a guest to re-enter the park at the same gate.

Guest Services: Nationals Park has three Guest Services locations. They can be found behind Sections 103, 131 and 320. Guest services remain open until 30 minutes after the game to assist guests with lost and found items, lost or missing guests, transportation information, emergencies, and accommodations for guests with disabilities.

Fan Support Line: Fans experiencing problems with unruly behavior or a security issue are encouraged to text "NHL" along with a brief description of the issue and their location to 69050 to contact Nationals Park officials during the game.

For more information, check out the NHL's A-Z Guide for game day, or print an Official Game Day Guide to take with you to the game.

]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Pits and Cocktails: Outdoor Dining in D.C.]]> Wed, 31 Dec 2014 13:51:10 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000008800818_1200x675_370484291875.jpg The Washington Post's Lavanya Ramanathan shares how D.C. restaurants and bars such as A-Bar, Bourbon Steak and Iron Gate have incorporated fire pits to enhance outdoor dining in the winter.]]> <![CDATA[Find D.C.-Area Holiday Light Displays ]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 09:58:28 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/520916115.jpg

The days are just about as short as they can get -- good thing there's plenty of holiday lighting displays to light up the night. Check out our top picks in D.C., Maryland and Virginia:

D.C.:

ZooLights (3001 Connecticut Ave. NW) -- Visit the Smithsonian National Zoo for a holiday extravaganza. Enjoy winter treats, live musical performances, and 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights that brighten the Zoo. Through Jan. 1; 5-9 p.m.; admission is free.

MARYLAND:

Washington D.C. Temple Festival of Lights (9900 Stoneybrook Drive, Kensington): The Mormon temple grounds are illuminated by 600,000 lights, and when you want to get out of the cold, duck into the indoor theater for nightly performances that vary from bells to choirs to swing music and more. (Free tickets are available 90 minutes before each performance.) You'll also find Christmas trees decorated in international themes, an exhibit of crèches from around the world, and a life-sized outdoor nativity. Through Jan. 1; most performances 6, 7 and/or 8 p.m. nightliy.

Winter Lights Festival (1950 Clopper Road, Gaithersburg) -- Drive through 3.5 miles of 365 illuminated displays and 65 animated vignettes at Seneca Creek State Park. Through Dec. 31; Mon.-Thurs.: $12; Fri.-Sun. $15. Hours: Sun.-Thurs. 6-9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 6-10 p.m.

Lights on the Bay (1100 E College Parkway, Annapolis) -- Grab your friends and head out to Anne Arundel Medical Center's 20th annual holiday light show, Lights on the Bay. Enjoy a two-mile scenic drive along the Chesapeake Bay with 70 animated and stationary displays lighting the roadway. Through Jan. 1; 5-10 p.m. nightly, including holidays.

Festival of Lights (301 Watkins Park Drive, Upper Marlboro) -- Drive through this holiday display featuring more than one million lights. Through Jan. 1; check site for pricing information.

Bike the Lights (Symphony Woods, Columbia) -- On Dec. 15, you can take spin a around Howard County's Symphony of Lights. Bicyclists can take a 1.4-mile ride while watching the illuminated light displays, featuring more than 70 animations and 250,000 bulbs. Admission is $10 in advance; $12 at the door; children under 10 are free. Dec. 15; 4-5:45 p.m.

Annmarie Garden in Lights (13480 Dowell Road, Dowell) -- Take a walk through the magical woods, where light sculptures of mythical beasts, pirates, circus performers and more will surround you on your journey. Through Jan. 3; 6-9 p.m.; admission $7 for ages 5 and up.

VIRGINIA:

Bull Run Festival of Lights (7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville) -- Visit Santa's Enchanted Lights in the Holiday Village, and watch 40,000 lights dance to the season's holiday tunes. Through Jan. 4; Mon.-Thurs. 5:30-9:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sun. 5:30-10 p.m. Check site for varying ticket prices.

Winter Walk of Lights (9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court, Vienna) -- Now through Jan. 4, take a half-mile walking tour of lights with animated displays. You may run into Flurry the Snowman and Molasses the Gingerbread Man on the trail! Click here for more information on special events in December. Through Jan. 4; 5:30-10 p.m.; $6-$13.



Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Christmas and History in Fredericksburg, Va.]]> Thu, 04 Dec 2014 10:02:07 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/6543086435_783ced6133_b.jpg

The historic town of Fredericksburg, Virginia is never short on holiday cheer. Join in on the many cheery festivities happening this month and beyond.

  • Jingle Bell Christmas Carriage Rides: Now through Jan. 3, you can ride through Fredericksburg’s 40 blocks of historic neighborhoods, where you’ll see the quaint cobbled streets and picturesque architecture. Travel down Caroline Street to see the decorated store windows, past Kenmore Plantation, down Washington Avenue and then wind your way past Fredericksburg's official Christmas Tree.

 

  • Breakfast with Santa at Eileen's Bakery: Three Sundays, Dec. 7, 14 and 20, offer the chance to enjoy a breakfast buffet with an area set up for the kiddos to decorate their own pancakes. Seating times are 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. Each child will have a personal visit with Santa and receive surprise gift.

 

  • Fredericksburg Christmas Parade: On Saturday, Dec. 6 at 5:30 p.m., more than 90 floats from community groups will take to the streets for the annual downtown Christmas parade. The parade begins at the Visitor Center in the 700 block of Caroline Street and winds its way up to the 700 block of Princess Anne Street.

 

  • Spotsylvania Courthouse Luminary: On Sunday, Dec. 7, more than 500 luminaries will be placed on the courthouse lawn, accompanied by music provided by local chorus groups. Sip hot cocoa at this free event which takes place from 4:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Dress for cold weather and bring a blanket or chairs.

 

  • Annual Spotsylvania Christmas Parade: On Saturday, Dec. 6, this frozen wonderland will take over the historic courthouse district starting at 1 p.m. Expect to see fire trucks, antique cars, horses, floats and of course, Santa Claus.

 

  • Holiday Night Walk: On Saturday, Dec. 20, stroll through Fredericksburg while enjoying the lights and sights of the holiday season. Walk at your own pace along three- or six-mile trails. A cookie checkpoint will offer hot drinks and homemade cookies. Start between 3 and 5 p.m.; the free event finishes by 8 p.m.

 

  • Potomac Point Winery Open House: On Saturday, Dec. 6 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Potomac Point will be offering up to 20 percent off wine and gift shop merchandise. Sampling their signature wine grog and shop ready-made gift baskets. You'll also find live holiday music and a visit from Santa.

Fredericksburg is about 54 miles south of downtown D.C.



Photo Credit: Rainier Homoroc]]>
<![CDATA[A Month of Holiday Fun in Alexandria]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 17:28:29 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/cms623.jpg

Listed as one of the top 10 Christmas-Crazy Towns by HGTV, Alexandria has a lot to offer when it comes to holiday fun.

Check out our top picks for seasonal events in and around Old Town Alexandria:

  • City of Alexandria Tree Lighting Ceremony (301 King St.) -- Join Santa and Mrs. Claus the day after Thanksgiving as they help light the city tree in Market Square. You'll also find live entertainment and a community singalong. 6.-8 p.m.; free admission.

 

  • Scottish Christmas Walk and Parade (various locations) -- Immerse yourself in Scottish sights and sounds as bagpipers march in full finery. You'll also have the chance to tour Old Town homes decorated for the holidays, shop for gifts at a holiday marketplace, sample Scotch and more. Dec. 5, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Dec. 6, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

 

  • Mount Vernon by Candlelight (3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway) -- From Nov. 28 through Dec. 21, "Martha Washington" will host evenings of candlelight tours, fireside caroling and festive treats. Saturdays and Sundays, 5.-8 p.m.; $22 adults; kids 11 and younger $15.

 

 

  • Holiday Boat Parade of Lights (105 N. Union St.) -- On Dec. 6, watch as Alexandria's harbor light ups as more than 50 illuminated boats cruise the Potomac River at the historic waterfront. 5:30 p.m. Admission is free.

 

  • Holiday Favorites With the Colonial Handbell Ringers (201 S. Washington St.) --The Colonial English Handbell Ringers will be using more than 80 handbells to perform several loved "Nutcracker Suite" selections, as well as new arrangements of popular classics. Dec. 14, 2 and 4 p.m. Free admission, but reservations are required; call 703-746-4994.

 

  • Waterskiing Santa Comes to Old Town Alexandria (Alexandria's Waterfront between King and Oronoco streets) -- Witness Waterskiing Santa, his wakeboarding reindeer and all of his friends (including the Grinch) perform in a waterfront performance on Christmas Eve. Pre-show at 12:45 p.m.; main show 1 p.m.; free admission.



Photo Credit: R Kennedy for ACVA]]>
<![CDATA[Your Holiday Market Roundup]]> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 15:17:14 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Downtown-HolidayMarket-5.jpg

The holiday season is just around the corner. Gather your shopping stamina and holiday cheer, and check out the best markets the area has to offer.

THE DISTRICT:

  • The festive outdoor Downtown Holiday Market has returned to 8th and F streets NW, featuring more than 150 local artists, crafters and small businesses. Rotating daily, 60 vendors will offer gifts such as jewelry, pottery, paintings and textiles. You'll also find food vendors (think hot donuts!) and live entertainment. Friday, Nov. 28-Tuesday, Dec. 23; noon-8 p.m.

 

  • Modern light displays and public art will dominate the first-ever Georgetown GLOW exhibition. Stroll down an M Street transformed by lights, and view works of art from local, regional and international artists. You'll also find art along the the Book Hill Park area of Wisconsin Avenue, as well as at Washington Harbour and office buildings south of M Street. Many Georgetown stores and restaurants will run promotions throughout the weekend. Friday, Dec. 12-Sunday, Dec. 14.

 

  • Embrace the holiday spirit at the Smithsonian Holiday Festival, which will offer musical performances, films, book signings, apparel and jewelry trunk shows, and family craft activities throughout the museums. Saturday, Dec. 6-Sunday, Dec. 7, varying times and locations; see complete schedule here.

VIRGINIA:

  • Inspired by traditional German Christmas markets, Tysons Corner Center will host their second annual Christmas Market (1961 Chain Bridge Road, McLean). For 20 days, shoppers can explore 20+ exhibitor booths and a large tented pop-up store for Käthe Wohlfahrt, a German merchandiser. Tysons' Winterfest 2014 will also feature a Christmas tree, ice skating rink and beer garden, as well as outdoor seating around fire pits and entertainment. Friday, Dec. 5-Wednesday, Dec 24, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., ending at 4 p.m. Dec. 24.

 

  • For its fourth year, the GRUMP Holiday Arts & Crafts Show (Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington) will feature 75 local vendors, selling everything from locally designed T-shirts to handmade soap. In addition to shopping, you'll find a make-your-own-gift craft station and a gift-wrapping station. GRUMP will also offer kids a gingerbread history lesson, cookie decorating and ornament making, and will air repeat screenings of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Sunday, Dec. 14, 11a.m.-5p.m.

 

  • The Del Ray Artisans Fine Art & Fine Craft Holiday Market (Nicholas A. Colasanto Center, 2704 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria) will feature pottery, jewelry, glass, cloth and paper from local artists. You'll find different vendors and free refreshments each weekend. Fridays through Sundays until Dec. 21: Fridays 6-9 p.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sundays noon-4 p.m.

 

  • More than 90 artisans will showcase handmade jewelry, woodcraft, textiles food and other products at the Fine Arts and Crafts Show (Ida Lee Park Recreation Center, 60 Ida Lee Drive NW, Leesburg). Saturday, Dec. 6, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 7, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

MARYLAND:

  • Stay warm while shopping for gifts at the National Harbor Holiday Market with hot chocolate and other winter treats. On Saturdays, the market (201 Waterfront St., National Harbor) will offer festival carousel rides with Santa and carol performances. Weekends through Dec. 21, noon-5 p.m.

 

  • Charities will offer new ideas at the Takoma Park Alternative Gift Fair. These are gifts that give back: Past events have offered gifts like training kits to educate a rural women's group to produce clean fuel charcoal briquettes ($10) or a month of fresh, local vegetables for a low-income family ($40). You'll find the fair at the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church (310 Tulip Ave., Takoma Park). Saturday, Dec. 6, noon-4 p.m.



Photo Credit: Downtown Holiday Market]]>
<![CDATA[Nearby Slopes Open for the Season]]> Mon, 01 Dec 2014 09:13:27 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/cms626.jpg

Winter is on its way -- or judging from the pre-Thanksgiving snow that fell on the D.C. area, it's already here. Embrace the new season in nearby Pennsylvania, where three almost-local ski and snowboard resorts reopened for the season on Black Friday.

Read on for the details:

Liberty Mountain (78 Country Club Trail Carroll Valley, Pennsylvania) -- Liberty Mountain opened its six trails to the public on the three-day weekend after Thanksgiving. The slopes are closed again Monday through Thursday, Dec.1-4, but will reopen Friday, Dec. 5. Lift tickets are available online. About 80 miles from downtown D.C.

Whitetail Resort (13805 Blairs Valley Road, Mercersburg, Pennsylvania) -- Trails opened Black Friday with the breaking of the resort's "First Chair" ceremony banner. The resort is closed again during the week of Dec. 1-5, but will reopen Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 6-7. Lift tickets are available online. About 92 miles from downtown D.C.

Roundtop Mountain (925 Roundtop Road, Lewisberry, Pennsylvania) -- Slopes opened Black Friday, and unlike Liberty and Whitetail, Roundtop's slopes are open Monday, Dec. 1, although snowtubing is closed Monday. The slopes will be closed Tuesday throught Friday and will reopen the weekend of Dec. 6-7. Lift tickets are available online. About 117 miles from downtown D.C.

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<![CDATA[Holiday 'Stache Bash in Norfolk]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:47:17 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/189*120/shutterstock_208397449.jpg

Although No Shave November is coming to an end, a Norfolk barber shop is asking facial hair connoisseurs to hold off on the clippers and razors for a few more weeks.

On Sunday, Dec. 7, the second annual Holiday 'Stache Bash will host a facial hair fashion show, as well as a competition between mustaches, beards and clean-shaven faces.

The hairy event, co-hosted by Jake's Place Men'’s Barbering Lounge and Spa, will benefit Hope House Foundation, a Virginia organization that supports adults with disabilities at their homes.

The event will start at 4 p.m. at the Belmont House of Smoke (2117 Colonial Ave.) in Norfolk, Virginia. Admission is free, but a $5 suggested donation is encouraged.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock ]]>
<![CDATA[Richmond Tattoo Arts Festival]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:20:08 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/shutterstock_186576560.jpg

Think ink: The Richmond Tattoo Arts Festival is coming up this weekend. Starting Friday, a select group of world-renowned tattoo artists will gather at the Greater Richmond Convention Center (403 N. Third St.), including Big Gus, star of Spike TV's "Tattoo Nightmares."

On-site tattooing will also be available; however, you should schedule an appointment beforehand.

Not in search of new ink? Enjoy shopping from the festival's many vendors, including Chaos Cards, Hardnox Clothing and Belzel Books.

You can also join the audience to watch competitions, like Best Sleeve Tattoo or Best Portrait Tattoo.

The festival runs Friday through Sunday; see the complete schedule here. Tickets are still available. One-day passes are $20; three-day passes are $40; ages 12-17 get in for $5; kids younger than 12 get in free. Military, fire and police personnel with valid ID get a $5 discount.
 



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[VRE Santa Train Tickets Now on Sale]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 08:37:44 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/vre+train.jpg

All aboard!

Tickets for the Virginia Railway Express Santa Trains will go on sale at 9 a.m. Monday.

The trains will run from stations in Fredericksburg, Manassas, Woodridge and Burke Centre. Ticket sales are nonrefundable and are limited to six orders per person for most trains.

Tickets are available for $5 at the four stations and $6 online. All tickets must be purchased in advance. Proceeds will benefit rail safety education.

The stations also will serve as drop-off sites for the Marines Corps Toys for Tots campaign.

Click here for more information.

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<![CDATA[Wine Wednesday: Pippin Hill Farms Winery]]> Wed, 19 Nov 2014 13:43:29 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/cms625.jpg

The closest you can get to a Napa Valley wine experience is closer than you think. All it takes is a trip to the Monticello Wine Trail, which will put you in the realm of the idyllic Virginia winery Pippin Hill Farms.

Husband-and-wife team Dean and Lynn Andrews opened Pippin Hill in 2010. The Andrews originally wanted a location where they could preserve the character of the land and keep it timeless. They came across the Bundoran Farm preservation development and never looked back. 

Their idea behind the winery has always been to make guests feel like they were "coming home." Of course, anyone who visits would probably decide that calling Pippin Hill their home would be a dream come true -- its location in a valley means it offers sweeping views of the hills about 15 minutes south of Charlottesville.

Wine tastings are $6 and consist of a variety of five whites, five reds and two sparkling wines. The winery's fave: the estate-grown 2013 Sauvignon Blanc. The tasting room is open daily (except for Mondays) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

You'll also find vineyard-to-table cuisines to enjoy at the hand-carved wine bar or rustic wooden tables in the tasting room. The menu consists of bistro-style eats, made-from-scratch bread and even artisan catering cuisine.

Whether you're celebrating a wedding in the winery's granery, sitting on the veranda with friends or enjoying a quick sip at the wine bar, Pippin Hill Farms is the ideal event destination along the Monticello Wine Trail.

Pippin Hill Farms is located at 5022 Plank Road in North Garden, Virginia, about three hours from downtown D.C.

The Andrews have also recently opened a restaurant on main street in Charlottesville (401 E. Main St.) called the Red Pump Kitchen. (Not so) coincidentally, you can find the actual red pump to which the name refers on the veranda at the winery.



Photo Credit: Sarah Pixley]]>
<![CDATA[PHOTOS: Pippin Hill Farms]]> Wed, 19 Nov 2014 13:42:48 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/181*120/apip2.jpg.jpg The closest you can get to a Napa Valley wine experience is closer than you think. All it takes is a trip to the Monticello Wine Trail, which will put you in the realm of the idyllic Virginia winery Pippin Hill Farms.

Photo Credit: Sarah Pixley]]>
<![CDATA[Thanksgiving in Natural Bridge, Virginia]]> Mon, 17 Nov 2014 12:55:29 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_588239381.jpg

Forget about cooking and cleaning this Thanksgiving -- spend the holidays at Natural Bridge for an easy (and nearby) holiday getaway. Yes, there's more than just a bridge. There's also turkey.

The Natural Bridge Hotel is offering a Thanksgiving day buffet ($26.95 per person) this Thanksgiving, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Why choose the Natural Bridge Hotel versus any other Thanksgiving Day plan? No cooking, less stress, and, hey, there's also that 215-foot-tall Natural Bridge that Mother Nature carved from limestone located near the hotel (photo op time!).

During your stay, check out the caverns, too. They descend 34 stories underground, swerving through layers of limestone. A tour will last 45 minutes, but book soon, because the caverns close for the season Dec. 1.

The Cedar Creek Trail is another activity you should plan on visiting during your stay. The trail goes under the Natural Bridge, makes its way through the picturesque Lace Falls, a 50-foot cascading waterfall, and ends at the James River a few miles south.

Accommodations at the Natural Bridge Hotel include rooms in the historic hotel ($79-$99 per night) as well as a village of single-room cottages.

Natural Bridge is located at 15 Appledore Lane, Natural Bridge, Virginia, about three hours west of downtown D.C. Call 800-533-1410 for more info.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Find D.C.-Area Ice Skating Rinks]]> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 15:17:47 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Sculpture+Garden.jpg

Grab your friends, family or special date and lace up your skates! We've picked out the top ice skating rinks in D.C., Maryland and Virginia for you to explore.

(Did we miss your favorite? Tell us @DCscene!)

D.C.:

Sculpture Garden Ice Rink (between 3rd and 9th streets NW along Constitution Avenue) -- Bring friends for an artsy spin in the National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden, located on the National Mall. The rink's perfect soundtrack will get you pumped to stay even once you get chilly. $8 adults; $7 kids; $3 skate rentals. Open Nov. 14-March 16, weather permitting. Closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

Washington Harbour Ice Rink (3050 K St. NW) -- The newish rink is D.C.'s largest. You'll find it at the Georgetown waterfront surrounded by restaurants... just in case you need to warm up with a tasty bite when you're done. $10 adults; $9 kids; $5 skate rentals. Opens for the season Nov. 15.

Canal Park Ice Rink (202 M Street, SE) -- If you’re looking to spice up your skating experience, check out College Night on Thursdays, Rock n Skate on Fridays or Cartoon Skate on Saturdays. $9 adults; $8 kids; $4 skate rentals. Opens for the season Nov. 15.


MARYLAND:

Silver Spring Ice Skating at Veterans Plaza (8523 Fenton St., Silver Spring) -- This covered, but outdoor, rink is smack in the middle of downtown Silver Spring. After you're done skating, explore the surrounding restaurants and shops. $8 adults; $7 kids; $3 skate rentals. Already open for the season.

Skating at the Square (131 Gibbs St., Rockville) -- $9 adults; $8 kids; $3 skate rentals. Open through mid-March.

VIRGINIA:

Pentagon Row Ice Outdoor Skating Plaza (1201 S. Joyce St., Arlington) -- Grab your friends and skate on the newly renovated and expanded ice rink. $9 adults; $8 kids; $3 skate rentals. Already open for the season.

The Loy E. Harris Pavilion (9201 Center St., Manassas) -- Take a spin on the ice in Old Town Manassas. $7 adults; $6 kids; $3 skate rentals. Nov. 15-March 1. Closed Dec. 25.



Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Virginia Cider Week: Our Picks]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 14:43:18 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_217621018.jpg

Attention, cider lovers everywhere: Virginia is attempting to entice you with Cider Week 2014. (Is it working yet?) From Nov. 14 to 23, you can bring your friends out for a week full of food, events and most importantly, hard cider.

Here are our picks for the best events this week:

Virginia Cider Harvest Tasting (1797 Hydraulic Road, Charlottesville) -- On Friday, Nov. 14, kick off Cider Week at Charlottesville's Whole Foods for the season's best cider. Free admission; 3-6 p.m.

Cider Under the Stars (5909 Long Fall Lane, Delaplane) -- On the weekend of Nov.14-16, Custom Adventure Tours is putting on a three-day camping event, during which you can go hiking and taste hard ciders at Cobbler Mountain Cellars. Different events each day will let you explore the area and meet new people while tasting hard cider along the way. $195 with camping gear and setup provided; $135 if you bring your own gear.

Richmond Cider Celebration (100 N. 17th St., Richmond) -- On Saturday, Nov. 15, head to the 17th Street Market to taste hard ciders and apple juices, take workshops on juice pressing, and more. Local restaurants will also be offering food for sale. $20 ticket includes 10 cider tastings; free admission for those under 21; 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Cider Press Sampling (Virtue Feed & Grain, 106 S Union St., Alexandria) -- On Sunday, Nov. 16, enjoy the Second Annual Cider Press and taste unlimited samples of hard ciders. This event will benefit SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now) of Northern Virginia. You'll have the chance to win fun prizes and listen to live entertainment. $25 in advance or $35 at the door; 7-10 p.m.

Hill & Holler Cider Dinner (2801 E. Franklin St., Richmond) -- On Sunday, Nov. 16, visit food stations in Libby Hill Park for bites from Richmond's top chefs. Enjoy dinner in a rustic setting with pairings of hard cider with each dish. $65; 3-6 p.m.

Home Cidermaker's Workshop (900 Preston Ave., Charlottesville) -- On Wednesday, Nov. 19, learn the art and science behind cider making. Juice and home cider making supplies from Fifth Season will be available for purchase. Free admission; 6-8 p.m.

Cider Happy Hour with Blue Bee Cider (212 W. 6th St., Richmond) -- On Thursday, Nov. 20, bring your friends to Blue Bee Cider and enjoy six ciders in bottles, with one or two more on tap. Free admission; 5-8 p.m.

Clash of the Pippins (2545 Rural Ridge Lane, North Garden) -- On Saturday, Nov. 22, get your blindfolds ready and be the judge at a blind cider tasting at Albemarle Ciderworks. $15; 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Cider Fest 2014 All-Day Festival (6065 Turkey Sag Road, Keswick) -- On Sunday, Nov. 23, end Cider Week at Castle Hill Cider for a day full of live music and Virginia's best cider. Local performers Erin and the Wildfire and We Are Star Children will be taking the stage. $25; 10 a.m.-6 p.m.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Walking With Lincoln in Virginia]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 13:12:52 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_215837239.jpg

Get to know President Abraham Lincoln with a tour depicting his final footsteps in Virginia. Think of it a scavenger hunt with a historical twist.

The "Walk in Lincoln's Final Footsteps" program will guide you to six of the spots Lincoln last visited in Virginia, as well as offer a few nearby attractions that are also worth the trip.

The itinerary first takes you back to June 1862, with a visit to General Grant's headquarters, and ends in April 1865 with Lincoln's final visit to the Centre Hill Mansion, where he met with Major General George L. Hartstuff to discuss the downfall of the Confederacy and the end of slavery.

The stops in between include Fort Wadsworth, Point of Rocks, Fort Mahone and the Wallace House.

If you're not up for visiting each stop in person, you can also opt to watch a video presentation of each location.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Pittsburgh Hosts First-Ever Juice Fest]]> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 15:16:45 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/shutterstock_215590762.jpg

Mildly obsessed with juicing? Say "carrot-kale-apple-ginger" in a single breath? You're not alone.

Local juice companies, foodies and wellness professionals will converge at the Pittsburgh Juice Fest this Saturday.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., watch live demos, shop from 30+ vendors, attend classes and, of course, sample all the juices the festival has to offer. You'll also have the chance to determine who has the best juice in Pittsburgh. Vote your picks for categories like "meanest green juice," "most unique juice," and "best seasonal juice."

Attendees are asked to check in at the beginning of the event at the Pure Athletex SportsPlex (119 Neely School Road, Wexford, Pennsylvania). The day's first class, Gluten Free 101, gets under way at noon. See the complete schedule here.

Early bird tickets are $10. The VIP package, which includes a T-shirt and an Organically Social membership card, is $35. Children younger than 10 are free.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Silver Spring Throws Tree-Lighting Bash]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 16:02:44 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/tree38.JPG

OK, so it's not Thanksgiving yet, but it's never too early for art. On Saturday, downtown Silver Spring will light up its 35-foot-tall Christmas "tree" -- actually a public art installation made from chimes, bells, pinwheels and ribbons.

The Re-Imagining the Holidays celebration will run from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Fountain Plaza on Ellsworth Drive, and will include an a capella performance by the University of Maryland’s Generics and the B Natural Group of Montgomery College. Tommy McFly of 94.7 Fresh FM wil hosts.

Throughout the evening, you'll also find giveaways, face painting, hot cocoa and dining specials, as well as the chance to meet Maryland Youth Ballet dancers and Nutcrackers. An ice-skating Santa will be on the rink at Veterans Plaza from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.



Photo Credit: Clark Day ]]>
<![CDATA[World of Color Expo: Pop-Up Painting Classes]]> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 15:18:34 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/painterx.jpg

You may be an experienced artist, or maybe you're a novice who wants to hone your skills. Either way, you can encourage your inner creative genius at the World of Color Expo at the Dulles Hilton, coming up Nov. 12-15).

The event brings experienced painters from all over the region into one location to offer classes, seminars and demos. Register to improve your skills or just spend the day with friends learning something new.

Painting classes will be held in well-lit classrooms and vary by skill level. Courses include painting with oils and acrylics, learning how to paint animal portraits in pastels, and mastering the techniques to create breathtaking skies with oils. There's even a kick-off painting party on Tuesday (6:30-9 p.m.) that will be giving out $75 worth of supplies, a holiday wine glass and a painting for each person that attends. Cost of the event is $35.

Regular class fees start at $18 plus supplies for a two-hour session. One-day registration is $40, and is required to get into any class. If you prefer to register for the entire expo instead of an individual day, you'll pay $125. Registration for entire expo includes a goody bag, name badge, unlimited entry and the ability to purchase classes.

Don't feel like painting? That's OK, because painting demos will let you just be a member of the audience -- Bob Ross would be proud.

The World of Color Expo will be held at the Dulles Hilton (13869 Park Center Road, Herndon, Virginia), about 40 minutes from downtown D.C. The Hilton is also offering special packages for guests to stay for the event.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Chocolate: The Exhibit in Philadelphia ]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 12:52:35 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_122911063.jpg

Chocolate is one commodity that will never go out of style. If you love chocolate as much as we do, then Chocolate: The Exhibition at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University will satisfy your all your cacao cravings.

This sweet new exhibit features interactive displays, tastings, special programs and traces chocolate to its rain forest origins. After you've interacted and learned a thing or two about the famous cocoa bean, you'll sample tasty chocolate goodies from Philly's many chocolatiers, mixologists and patissiers.

The exhibit also has four not-to-miss special events:

Sustainable Chocolate Day: Nov. 2, noon-2 p.m. Melted varieties of chocolate will flow through the museum's commons room, with visitors receiving a box of delicious treats for dipping. $8 per person.

Cuisine from the Collections: Chocolate Edition:  Nov. 8, 7-10 p.m. The museum's annual event features edibles from the everyday to the exotic.

Hot Chocolate Bars: Nov. 28-30 and Dec. 27-30, noon-2 p.m.  Visitors get the chance to warm up with the ultimate drink of hot chocolate --- and 20+ toppings. $6.95 per person.

One Last Shot of Chocolate: Beer and Chocolate Tasting: Jan. 15, 7-9 p.m. A reception that offers a sweet to savory menu of foods with just the right kind of beer to go with them. Ages 21 and older; $35 per person.

Admission to Chocolate: The Exhibition is $5, but you can save $2 when you purchase tickets online with promo code "TV2014."

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is located at 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, about three hours from downtown D.C.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[The Maryland Irish Festival Returns]]> Fri, 07 Nov 2014 11:10:04 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/irishfestival.jpg

The Maryland Irish Festival is back at the Maryland State Fairgrounds this weekend, giving you the chance to celebrate Irish culture, Nov. 7-9.

Expect to experience plenty of live Irish music and dance along with a wide variety of Irish cuisine and beer. Kids can enjoy a play area with bouncy castles, activities and games.

Live music includes the Brock McGuire Band and Makem & Spain. You'll also find an Irish baking contest, a book fair and more; see a complete list of events here.

General admission is $20 for each day. For seniors, it's $15; teens, $5 and kids younger than 14 and active military members (with ID) get in free. Three-day general admission is $50; seniors pay $35.

Timonium is located about 75 minutes north of downtown D.C.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Manassas Hosts Veterans Day Parade]]> Fri, 07 Nov 2014 11:25:58 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/206*120/2014-11-07_1124.jpg

Show your patriotic side at the Greater Manassas Veterans Day Parade, coming up Saturday at 11 a.m.

The parade will pay tribute to all veterans and active soldiers, showcasing military and high school bands, a pipe and drum team, dance groups and military units.

The event will start off in historic Manassas at the intersection of Quarry Road and Prescott Avenue, traveling south and then west on Center Street and ending at West Street.



Photo Credit: Greater Manassas Veterans Day Parade]]>
<![CDATA[Richmond Road Trip: Graze on Grace Food Fest]]> Thu, 06 Nov 2014 11:36:17 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_159421754.jpg

The Graze on Grace food fest is set to celebrate local and seasonal cuisine on Sunday, Nov. 9. Road-trip it to Richmond to sample dishes from noon until 5 p.m. as the fest takes over three blocks of Grace Street, from 4th to 7th streets.

Admission to this event is free; samples are $3 from more than 25 of Richmond restaurants offering local, seasonal and sustainable eats. Local farms along with specialty food providers will be offering fresh Virginia produce, meats, cheeses, herbs and artisan breads as well. Several Virginia wineries will also be pouring out their own samples.

Restaurants have posted their menus on the Graze on Grace website; you can expect to nosh on everything from oysters to cupcakes.

You can also catch a special screening of the documentary "Dog Days," which sheds light on urban farming and raises awareness on regulation issues faced  by mobile food vendors.

Guests are also encouraged to bring canned goods to the event in order to help support FeedMore in its fight to end hunger.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Look Back at Local History: Fairfax Train Museum]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 12:41:20 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/181*120/DSC_8091.JPG Fairfax Station wasn't just a train station in the late 19th century; it was a thriving village.

Photo Credit: Sarah Pixley]]>
<![CDATA[Halloween Light Show Back With A Bang ]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 12:23:03 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Edwards+light+show.jpg

Grab your keys, friends and sound system and visit 1816 Woods Edge Drive, Leesburg, Va.  for an entertaining show.

Last year, Edwards Landing Lights went viral after the “What Does the Fox Say?” light display. This year, the singing house is back performing the hit song, “Bang Bang.”

Each year, the owners put on a light show for people to see, but they also broadcast the show on YouTube for the world to watch. Decorated with over 8,500 lights, the house light show is produced by over 2,500 channels of computer animation. The music does not broadcast from the house, but viewers can “hear the lights” by tuning their radios to 98.1FM.

According to the owners’ Youtube account, producing the light show is a personal hobby and is not business-affiliated. The electric bill for the display ranges from $25-35 during Halloween season because they used energy efficient LEDs.

The show runs on a continuous loop from 7-9 p.m. through Halloween.



Photo Credit: EdwardsLandingLights, Youtube.com
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<![CDATA["Frankenstein" Gets a Live Soundtrack in Va. Beach]]> Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:34:01 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_82060474.jpg

You've probably seen or read the story of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster -- but we're guessing it was probably never while sitting in front of a live orchestra.

On Saturday, Nov. 1, you can head to Virginia Beach to catch a screening of the original 1931 "Frankenstein," starring Boris Karloff, with a live accompaniment by the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

Conductor Michael Shapiro will lead the orchestra in his all-new score for this one-night-only event. While the audience watches the film on a big screen, the live orchestra will be playing directly below it, bringing this classic to life... but in a terrifying way. You know, sort of like Frankenstein's monster.

Tickets start at $20; the show begins at 8 p.m. You'll find it at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, at 201 Market St., Virginia Beach, Virginia.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Ocean City Restaurant Week & Oktoberfest]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 23:38:31 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_100188380.jpg

Sure, you may not be able to enjoy the sun, surf and sand, but the Ocean City beaches aren't throwing in the towel just yet. Even though cooler weather has rolled in, Ocean City is celebrating two big events this month: OC Restaurant Week and Oktoberfest.

Ocean City Restaurant Week, conveniently enough, is actually two weeks -- Oct. 12-26 -- and features fixed-price menu options at participating establishments. Choose from $10, $20, $30 or $40 fixed menu options, some even include a tasty dessert. What's kind of experience will you get? It depends on which restaurant you choose, but the 21 participating restaurants have something for everyone, from relaxed to fine dining.

For a list of current restaurant and locations, view the map on the official website.

Still need more options to travel to the beach in October? Try the Beach Maze, happening Oct. 18-19 on Division Street and the OC beach. You'll see pirates on the sand, graveyard ghouls and zombies awaiting your arrival.

The Ocean City Oktoberfest (Oct. 19) features German food, beer, bratwurst-eating contests and arts and crafts.

Ocean City is about 90 minutes from downtown DC.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Week of Fun: Halloween Edition ]]> Mon, 27 Oct 2014 12:13:32 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_220961677.jpg

Are you tired of haunted houses or trick-or-treating? Venture out of the box and check out these events to make your Halloween week full of spooky fun around D.C., Maryland and Virgnia:

Blood and Guts Run (7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville, Va.) -- On Saturday, Oct. 25, fight your way through this obstacle course to reach the finish line. If you can survive being chased by bloody zombies, you’ll receive a Blood and Guts Run T-shirt and finisher medal. When the race is over, enjoy live entertainment, wild costume competitions and food trucks. Race begins promptly at 9 a.m.; new races start every half hour; prices vary; see registration website for more details.

Night on M Street (Dupont Circle area) -- On Saturday, Oct. 25, party all over Dupont for the 15th annual bar tour. Take your pick 30+ of Dupont area's hottest bars for drink specials and, of course, go dressed in costume. Did we mention there's no covers all night long, as long as you register first? Register from 5-10 p.m.; registration fee is $20.

The Haunted Washington Scavenger Hunt (White House Area) -- On Saturday, Oct. 25, grab your flashlight and your team of up to six people to solve the tricky questions about the spooky places you'll visit. You just may see the spirits of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and other lingering ghosts. Hunt begins at 6 p.m.; adult admission is $22.50.

Goodwill Gridiron Halloween Party (7000 Arundel Mills Circle, Hanover, Md.) - On Monday, Oct. 27, have some scary fun while giving back to the community. Head out to Dave & Busters and enjoy an open bar, dancing, a silent auction and more. The Baltimore Ravens' Dennis Pitta, Justin Tucker and Brandon Williams will be hosting this event. Proceeds from auctioned items will benefit Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake. 7 p.m.-midnight; tickets are $150 for individuals and $250 per couple.

17th Street High Heel Race (17th Street NW, between P and S streets NW near Dupont Circle) -- On Tuesday, Oct. 28, watch hundreds of drag queens strut down 17th Street -- in stilettos, of course. This annual block party will last for hours. Parade begins at 7 p.m.; the race starts at 9 p.m.; admission is free.

Day of the Dead Skull Painting (1728 Connecticut Ave. NW) -- On Wednesday, Oct. 29, delve into Mexican culture and celebrate this unique holiday. Honor loved ones who have passed and create your own sugar skull painting with bright, bold artwork. 7-8:30 p.m.; admission is $36 plus fees.

Night of the Living Zoo (National Zoo) -- On Thursday, Oct. 30, take part in a costume contest, listen to live music and performance artists, and play glow-in-the-dark lawn games at this annual zoo event. After getting an airbrush tattoo, you can roam the zoo during the witching hours. 6:30-10 p.m.; tickets begins at $20; see website for more ticket prices.

Halloween Live Thriller Night (7002 Arundel Mills Circle #7777, Hanover, Md.) -- On Halloween night, take it all the way back to Michael Jackson's "Thriller." Moonwalk your way to Maryland Live! Casino, and watch Who's Bad, a Michael Jackson Tribute Band, as they pay homage to the King of Pop. Event begins at 8:30 p.m.; admission is $20.

Boo Cruise (departs from 600 Water St. SW) -- Board the Spirit of Mount Vernon and cruise down the Potomac on Halloween. Enjoy DJ entertainment and spooky late-night views of D.C. under the moon. 9 p.m.- midnight; admission is $44.90; passengers must be 21+.

The Halloween Circus (Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW) -- If you're looking for a unique Halloween experience Oct. 31, go see what the Black Cat'’s Halloween Circus has to offer. Enjoy visual arts performances, slideshows, and Burlesque performances on Halloween night. Begins at 9 p.m.; admission is $12-15; must be 21+. 

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<![CDATA[Fall Harvest Fest at Sky Meadows Park]]> Mon, 13 Oct 2014 14:40:37 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/183*120/skymeadowsff.jpg

The chill of autumn is in the air, bringing along many fall festivals, including the Sky Meadows State Park Fall Farm Festival at at Mount Bleak Farm in Virginia.

This month-long harvest festival features live music, concessions, living history demos and plenty of exhibitors -- plus, of course, all the fall must-haves, including corn mazes and pumpkin patches.

Mount Bleak Farm is located in Sky Meadows State Park (11012 Edmonds Lane, Delaplane, Virginia), is a gem of a property very close to Middleburg. It's a great spot for sunsets (and photographs of said sunsets).

The festival continues through the weekends of Oct. 18-19 and Oct. 25-26, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Each weekend has a theme, with Wildlife and Habitat the theme for Oct. 18-19, when you can attend ranger-led programs, visit with wildlife ambassadors and hike park trails. History is the star Oct. 25-26, with colonial and Civil War encampments, living historians, quilters, blacksmiths and tastes of colonial cooking. Parking and admission are free.



Photo Credit: Sky Meadows State Park]]>
<![CDATA[Vendemmia Wine Festival in Wilmington ]]> Mon, 06 Oct 2014 11:40:20 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_78273733.jpg

More than 3,000 wine lovers are expected to meet up Sunday, Oct. 12 for the Societa da Vinci Vendemmia Wine Festival in Wilmington, Delaware.

From 2 to 6 p.m., you can sample fine wines and other treats from the area's best Italian restaurants and bakeries. The festival will also include live music performances, handcrafted wine and homemade gravy contests, along with a silent auction.

It's all happening at Tubamn-Garrett Riverfront Park (815 Justison St., Wilmington, Delaware).

Advance tickets are $50; tickets at the gate will be $60. Your ticket will also get you a Vendemmia 2014 Wine glass as well as admission to the Italian Beer Garden.

 



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Find D.C.-Area Haunted Houses & Ghost Tours]]> Sat, 25 Oct 2014 08:39:04 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_25302445.jpg

Halloween is just around the corner -- which means it's time to grab your friends, flashlight and courage.

Throughout October, you can visit haunted houses the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area has to offer. Here are our picks:

D.C.:

The Curse of Frau Mueller (50 Florida Ave. NE) -- Now through Nov. 1, roam 50,000 square feet of terror as you listen to spooky background stories. 7-11 p.m.; tickets are $30-$50.

Fright at the Museum (575 7th St. NW) -- From Oct. 23 to Nov. 1, visit the Crime Museum for a night of creepy fun. Roam through this haunted house and view an actual electric chair used in hundreds of real executions. Keep in mind you'll be seeing it in the dark. Tickets are $30; entry times vary depending on ticket.

Nightly Spirits (1475 Pennsylvania Ave. NW) -- This 2.5-hour walking downtown pub tour is led by a costumed tour guide. Explore haunted pubs and buildings in D.C., and at each stop, listen to a popular ghost story as you sip on a cool beverage. Tues.-Thurs. $25.95/person; Friday-Sat. $32.95/person.

Ghosts of LaFayette Park (1520 H St. NW) -- Explore the dark past of our nation’s capital at “Tragedy Square,” filled with crime, conspiracies and assassination. Tour begins at 8 p.m. $17 for adults; $10 for children ages 7-11.

Capitol Hill Haunts (303 Pennsylvania Ave. SE) -- Find out the curse that lurks on the Hills as you watch famous status that dance in the night. Tour begins at 9 p.m. Monday-Sunday; $17 for adults; $10 for children ages 7-11.

MARYLAND:

Laurel’s House of Horror (371 Armstrong Ave, Laurel) -- Located in Laurel’s historic district, this old movie theater is the newest edition to Maryland’s haunted house attraction. Zombies, clowns and other creepy beings (i.e., actors) are waiting to scare you at every corner. $15 online; $20 at box office; $30 speed pass.; dates vary.

Bennett’s Curse Haunted House (82024 Max Blobs Park Road, Jessup) -- Now through Nov.1, visit this haunted house and find your way through frightful mazes with special effects. It takes about 40 minutes to walk through this haunted house, known as one of the largest in the Washington/Baltimore area. Thursdays and Sundays 7-10 p.m.; general admission $30.

Markoff's Haunted Forest (19120 Martinsburg Road, Dickerson) -- If you’re looking for a change of scenery, take a hike through a terrifying forest. Every weekend in October, you can choose from two creepy trails, take part in a zombie hunt, or zipline above it all. Oct. 10-11, and then Thursday through Saturday nights through Oct. 30-Nov. 1; opens at 7 p.m.; ticket prices vary; see website for more information.

Nightmare Manor (10240 Fingerboard Road, Ijamsville) -- Throughout October, enjoy tasty concessions, live magic and and eyeball toss at this 200-year-old cursed estate. Thursdays and Sundays 7-10 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays 7-11 p.m.; tickets start at $20.

Field of Screams (4501 Olney-Laytonsville Road, Olney) -- After walking through the Trail of Terror, seek revenge as you battle zombies in a game of glow-in-the-dark paintball. Sundays and Thursdays 6:30-9 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays 6:30-10 p.m.; see website for ticket prices.

VIRGINIA:

Shocktober (601 Catoctin Circle NE, Leesburg) -- Three haunts. One location. Dare to walk the haunted halls of Paxton Manor, the Haunted Well of Souls, and the Last Ride. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in October; 7-10 p.m.; prices vary.

Route 29 Haunted Farm (4484 Lee Highway, Warrenton) -- On every Friday and Saturday through the month of October, tour the Buckland Farm Market for a 20-minute walk in the night. During the day, enjoy pumpkin patches, moon bounces and hayrides. Fridays and Saturdays in October, plus Nov. 1; tours begin around 7 p.m.; tickets $15.

Darkwood Manor (104 N. Hawksbill St., Luray) -- Enjoy this theatrical haunted house and witness talented actors, detailed sets and original scary stories. Fridays and Saturdays in October, plus Oct. 30 and Nov. 1; 7-11 p.m.; general admission $12; FastPass tickets $24.

Fear Forest (Oak Shade Road, Ashby) -- Aside from walking down a spooky woods trail and getting frightened by zombies, you can take part in a zombie laser hunt and haunted hayride. Fridays and Saturdays in October, plus select weeknights through Nov. 1; opens at 7 p.m.; general admission is $12; FastPass tickets are $27.

Ghost & Graveyard Tour (221 King St., Alexandria, Va.) -- Follow your tour guide dressed in an 18th century costume down the streets of Alexandria’s historic district, Old town. Get ready to find out more about unsolved mysteries, folklore, and ghosts seeking revenge. Tours begin at 7:30 p.m. nightly; Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.; $13 for adults; $7 for children ages 7-17.

WEST VIRGINIA:

Ghost Tours of Harpers Ferry (100 Church St., Harpers Ferry, W. Va.) -- Listen to historic ghost stories and walk revenge several blocks of "Lower Town." Learn more about the Civil War and Harpers Ferry's violent history. The tour begins at 8 p.m.; $12 per person; $9 for children ages 8-12.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Your D.C.-Area Fall Festival Roundup ]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 15:47:02 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_113523676.jpg

If you're ready to break out your fave plaid shirt and seek pumpkin-flavored food items, you're certainly ready for fall -- and fall fests.

See our picks for the best festivals to attend around D.C., Maryland and Virginia for live entertainment, great food and plenty more:

D.C.:

Art & BookFair 2014 (2201 C St. NW) -- On the weekends of Oct. 11-12 and Oct. 18-19, the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide brings you thousands of treasures, used books, jewelry and much more at this annual book fair. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; admission is free.

Shuckeroo Oyster and Beer Festival (1299 Half St. SE) -- On Saturday, Oct. 18, relax with fresh oysters, 60+ kinds of beer, and a game of corn hole. 11 a.m.- 7:30 p.m.; Living Social tickets are $39.

MARYLAND:

34th Annual Pumpkin Festival (22222 Davis Mill Road, Germantown) -- On weekends now through Oct. 25-26, you can head out to Butler's Orchard for a straw maze, corn hole games, giant slides, a pumpkin coach, and more. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; $11 admission ages 2 & up; kids under 2 are free.

Bethesda Row Arts Festival(4841 Bethesda Ave.) -- On the weekend of Oct.18-19, witness downtown Bethesda transform into an outdoor art gallery. 190 artists will showcase their fine arts and crafts for festival goers to buy. Saturday 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.; admission is free.

World of Montgomery Festival (11160 Veirs Mill Road, Wheaton-Glenmont) -- On Sunday, Oct. 19, bring the family to this event and celebrate the rich cultural heritages of the DC area. Two entertainment stages, a global kitchen featuring an international chef and multicultural performers will be showcased at this interactive festival. Noon to 5 p.m.; admission is free.

Fall Frolic (7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo) -- On Saturday, Oct. 25, families are invited to this Halloween-themed event to take part in trick-or-treating, arts and crafts, and much more. Don’t miss out on the pumpkin playoffs, where kids can take part in pumpkin themed games. 1 p.m.-4 p.m.; prices vary.

VIRGINIA:

Tysons Fall Harvest Wine and Beer Festival (8025 Galleria Drive, Tysons, Va.) -- On the weekend of Oct. 18-19, bring the kids to the candy walk and hay maze. Make sure visit the wine and beer garden with more than 75 wines and beers. Wine & beer admission is $35; adult fall festival admission is $10; kids under 15 are free.

NOVA Fall BrewFest (7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville, Va.) -- This is your chance to sample beers from around the world. On Oct. 18-19, stop by the Cooking With Beer Demonstration Tent for brew-filled recipes and enjoy live musical entertainment. 11 a.m.- 7 p.m. Admission is $25; must be 21+.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>