<![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 Thu, 28 May 2015 14:34:57 -0400 Thu, 28 May 2015 14:34:57 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Raise a Glass: Vintage Va. Wine Fest]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 14:30:00 -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[Your Summer 2015 Outdoor Movie Rundown]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 14:16:56 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/DSC_08941.jpg

It's about that time again! Pack up your blankets and coolers for a D.C. summer tradition. All over the area, free outdoor film series are gearing up to provide entertainment when the sun goes down.

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.


Adams Morgan Movie Nights -- Marie Reed Elementary School soccer field, corner of 18th Street NW and California Avenue NW. Movies begin 30 minutes after sunset.

  • May 19: "The Lego Movie"
  • May 26: "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"
  • June 2: "Bicycle Thief"
  • June 9: "Rich Hill"
  • June 16: "Whiplash"
  • June 23: rain date

Golden Triangle: Golden Cinema Series -- Farragut Square, Connecticut Avenue NW and K Street NW. Movies begin at 7:30 p.m.

  • May 22: "Empire Records" (Wear '90s gear or bring a photo of yourself from the '90s for the chance at a prize.)
  • May 29: "The Devil Wears Prada"
  • June 5: "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy"
  • June 12: "The Social Network"
  • June 19: "Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade"
  • June 26: "Hook"
  • July 10: "Nine to Five"
  • July 17: "Miss Congeniality"
  • July 24: "The Italian Job"
  • July 31: "The Wedding Planner"

NoMa Summer Screen -- Storey Park lot (1005 1st St. NE). Movies begin at 7 p.m.

  • May 27: "Dirty Dancing"
  • June 3: "Center Stage"
  • June 10: "Bride & Prejudice"
  • June 17: "Flashdance"
  • June 24: "Strictly Ballroom"
  • July 1: "Grease"
  • July 8: "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo"
  • July 15: "Singing in the Rain"
  • July 22: "Save the Last Dance"
  • July 29: "Moulin Rouge"
  • Aug. 5: "Stomp the Yard"
  • Aug. 12: "Footloose"
  • Aug. 19: rain date/film TBD
  • Screen on the Green -- National Mall.
  • Movies/dates TBA.

U Street Movie Series: Harrison Field Under the Stars -- Harrison Recreation Center field, V Street NW between 13th and 14th.

  • Movies/dates TBA.


Bethesda Outdoor Movies -- Woodmont Triangle, corner of Norfolk and Auburn Avenues, Bethesda. Movies begin at 9 p.m.

  • July 21: "Sixteen Candles"
  • July 22: "Chef"
  • July 23: "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part I"
  • July 24: "Mrs. Doubtfire"
  • July 25: "Imitation Game"

Columbia's Lakefront Summer Festival -- Mondays and Fridays through mid-August; then every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through mid-September. Movies begin at dusk, about 8:30 p.m.

  • Movies/dates TBA.

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

  • May 10: "Big Hero 6"
  • May 17: "Brave"
  • May 24: "Akeelah and the Bee"
  • May 31: "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"
  • June 7: viewers' choice, TBD
  • June 14: "Space Jam"
  • June 21: "Martian Child"
  • June 28: "ET the Extra Terrestrial"
  • July 5: viewers' choice, TBD
  • July 12: "Journey to the Center of the Earth"
  • July 19: "Jumanji"
  • July 26: "The Flintstones"
  • Aug. 2: viewers' choice, TBD Aug. 9: "Back to the Future"
  • Aug. 16: "Back to the Future: Part II"
  • Aug. 23: "Back to the Future: Part III"
  • Aug. 30: "Disney’s The Kid"
  • 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.

  • May 22: "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark"
  • May 23: "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"
  • May 30: "Footloose"
  • June 6: "Jurassic Park"
  • June 13: "Roman Holiday"
  • June 30: "Sideways" (with wine tasting, 7-9 p.m.)
  • June 27: "The Wedding Singer"
  • July 11: "To Kill a Mockingbird"
  • July 18: "The Breakfast Club"
  • July 25: "Frozen"
  • Aug. 1: "Ghost"
  • Aug. 8: "A Good Year"
  • Aug. 15: "Apollo 13"
  • Aug. 22: "The Karate Kid"
  • Aug. 29: "The Princess Bride"
  • Sept. 5: "The Sound of Music"
  • Sept. 12: "The Godfather"
  • Sept. 19: "Guardians of the Galaxy"


Cinema Del Ray-- Mount Vernon Recreation Center, 2701 Commonwealth Ave., Alexandria. Movies begin at sunset. No dogs.

  • June 20: "Anastasia"
  • July 18: "Penguins of Madagascar"
  • Aug. 15: "Finding Nemo"

Crystal Screen: Spark Espionage -- Crystal City, 1851 S. Bell St. courtyard, Arlington. Movies begins at sunset.

  • June 1: "Mission: Impossible"
  • June 8: "Mission: Impossible II"
  • June 15: "Mission: Impossible III"
  • June 22: "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol"
  • June 29: "Charlie Wilson's War"
  • July 6: "RED"
  • July 13: "Argo"
  • July 20: "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
  • July 27: "Body of Lies"
  • Aug. 3: "Enemy of the State"
  • Aug. 10: "The Bourne Identity"
  • Aug. 17: "The Bourne Supremacy"
  • Aug. 24: "The Bourne Ultimatum"
  • Aug. 31: "The Bourne Legacy"

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

  • May 8: "Monsters, Inc."
  • June 12: "Ghostbusters"
  • July 10: "The Princess Bride"
  • Aug. 14: "Cinderella" (2015)
  • Sept. 11: "Miracle"

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

  • June 5: "Rudy"
  • June 12: "Miracle"
  • June 19: "Father of the Bride"
  • June 26: "Angels in the Outfield"
  • July 3: "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs"
  • July 10: "Eat Pray Love"
  • July 17: "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"
  • July 24: "Frozen"
  • July 31: "Ratatouille"
  • Aug. 7: "Despicable Me 2"
  • Aug. 14: "Cinderella"
  • Aug. 21: "Captain America" (2014)
  • Aug. 28: "The Hundred Foot Journey"
  • Sept. 4: "The Lego Movie"

Rosslyn Outdoor Film Fest -- Gateway Park, 1300 Lee Highway, Arlington. Games and prizes before the show; movies start at 8 p.m.

  • June 5: "Wedding Crashers"
  • June 12: "Mean Girls"
  • June 19: "Happy Gilmore"
  • June 26: "Tommy Boy"
  • July 3: "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"
  • July 10: "When Harry Met Sally"
  • July 17: "Anchorman"
  • July 24: "Clueless"
  • July 31: "The Big Lebowski"
  • Aug. 7: "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery"
  • Aug. 14: "The Hangover"
  • Aug. 21: "Despicable Me"
  • Aug. 28: "Zoolander"

Starlight Cinema Centreville -- 5875 Trinity Parkway, Centreville. Gates open at 6 p.m.; music, food and kids' activities before the show; movies begin at dark.

  • Aug. 1: "The Sting"
  • Aug. 8: "How to Train Your Dragon 2"
  • Aug. 15: "Frozen"
  • Aug. 22: "Big Hero 6"
  • Aug. 29: "Paddington"

Photo Credit: Jesse Rauch]]>
<![CDATA[Wine Wednesday: Glass House Winery]]> Wed, 27 May 2015 17:35:45 -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]]>
<![CDATA[PHOTOS: Glass House Winery]]> Wed, 27 May 2015 17:35:09 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/181*120/cornty2.jpg Glass House Winery is located minutes from Charlottesville and features a tropical conservatory, private lake and mountain views that set it apart from most wineries in Virginia.

Photo Credit: Sarah Pixley]]>
<![CDATA[Staycation! Top 14 Memorial Day Weekend Ideas]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 12:25:00 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_153984395.jpg

Not heading out of town for Memorial Day? Make the most of your three-day weekend with these activities and events that'll keep you away from Netflix for a few days. Most events are ongoing, while others happen on specific days, from Thursday through Monday night.

1. Visit One of D.C.'s 18 Outdoor Pools

Cannonball! The District's pools open for the first time this weekend, with all 18 outdoor pools open from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Find your nearest pool with our interactive map here. (The pools will reopen the following three weekends, and will be open daily starting June 20.)

2. Go Kayaking or Stand-Up Paddling

Glide along the Potomac and an excellent view of the monuments with a kayak or stand-up paddleboard rental from Key Bridge Boathouse (3500 Water St. NW, beneath the Key Bridge) and Thompson Boat Center (2900 Virginia Ave. NW; near the Watergate). Or head down to the Nats Park area and grab a kayak from Ballpark Boathouse to glide along the Anacostia, for spectacular views of the Navy Yard, Nats Park and the natural beauty of the river's southern shore. (Tip: Keep an eye out for NautiFoods, D.C.'s first food boat, which sells drinks and snacks right on the water.)

3. Go to the Pink and White Party at POV Lounge

The W Hotel (505 15th St. NW) is hosting a Memorial Day Pink and White Party starting at 7 p.m. Sunday. A $15 cover charge is a small price to pay for the rooftop atmosphere and live music. Table packages start at $50 per person. A portion of the proceeds will also fund the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Remember to don your pink and white attire!

4. Visit Annapolis Harbor

If you want the experience of the beach without the long drive or digging out last year's swimsuit, consider the Annapolis Harbor, a vibrant showcase of Maryland's best. Enjoy various restaurants, bars, boats and history right on Chesapeake.

5. See a Free Outdoor Movie

It's just not summer in D.C. without a ton of free outdoor movies. This weekend's offerings include "Empire Records" in Farragut Square (Friday night) and "Akeelah and the Bee" at National Harbor (Sunday night). Or head to Ellicot City for a two-night double feature: "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark" Friday night) and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" (Saturday night). Find all the details here.

6. Go Rafting or Tubing in Harper's Ferry

Harper's Ferry Adventure Center (37410 Adventure Center Lane, Purcellville, Va.) is having a whitewater rafting promotion through the month of May. Book early online to get half off rafting for four or more people. The Adventure Center certainly lives up to its name, as they also offer ziplining, canoeing, kayaking and tubing.

7. Hit Up a Local Water Park

Cool off as you slither down slides or kick back on a lazy river at one of several local water parks. Check out Splash Down Water Park in Manassas; Cameron Run Regional Park in Alexandria or Chesapeake Beach Water Park in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland, all less than an hour from D.C.

8. Go to a Nationals Vs. Phillies Game

The Washington Nationals are battling the Philadelphia Phillies at Nats Park (1500 S. Capitol St. SE) this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Saturday's game is also Women in the Military Day, as well as Pups in the Park. On Sunday, the first 10,000 fans will score a 10th anniversary poster. Tickets start at $20 if you want to catch the game in person -- or if you want to stay home, invite friends over for a comfy viewing and a backyard barbecue.

9. Go Ziplining or Take a Ropes Course

If you want to take things to the edge, Go Ape, located in the Rockville area of Rock Creek Park, is there to help you take that risk. Go Ape is an outdoor tree-top adventure where you can zipline, swing on ropes and embrace the outdoors from new heights. Tip: Try to go on Friday or Saturday, when the crowds should be smaller.

10. Groove to Jazz in the Garden

The National Gallery of Art's Sculpture Garden is restarting its annual summer Jazz in the Garden series this Memorial Day weekend. Every Friday through Aug. 28, the Pavilion Cafe hosts jazz artists from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. This free event premieres this week with guitarist Tom Lagana.

11. Attend a Memorial Day Concert at Wolf Trap

Wolf Trap (1645 Trap Road, Vienna, Va.) will host a free Memorial Day concert on Sunday evening featuring the United States Marine Band, followed by a fireworks celebration. Stretch out on the lawn with a picnic basket or live it up with real seats. Admission will be on a first-come, first-served basis, and the park will close to new guests once it reaches capacity. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show. The fireworks viewing area will open at about 9:30 p.m.

12. See "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead"

Tom Stoppard's quintessential reimagining of "Hamlet" opened at Folger Theatre (201 E. Capitol St. SE) last week. "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" puts two side characters of the classic tragedy into the limelight and considers their perspective in a modern retelling. Tickets range from $30 to $75.

13. Take Westfield Montgomery Mall's Taste Tour

The season of the restaurant week is upon us -- and right now, it's happening at Montgomery Mall (7101 Democracy Blvd., Bethesda), where restaurants are offering prix-fixe menus, exclusive dishes and special offers for their Taste Tour, now through May 24. Participating spots include Crave American Kitchen & Sushi Bar and Met Bethesda. Lunches are $15; dinners are $35.

14. Visit Great Falls Park

Great Falls Park offers abundant trails and great views on both sides of the Potomac. On the Maryland side (11710 MacArthur Blvd., Potomac, Md.), bike along the C&O Canal or -- if you're feeling up for a challenge -- take a hike on the Billy Goat Trail; the A, B and C sections offer varying terrain. On the Virginia side (9200 Old Dominion Drive, McLean, Va.), hike along the Potomac Heritage Trail or Difficult Run, cruise along five miles of bike trails, or set up shop at a picnic table and get the grill going.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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<![CDATA[GI Film Fest Explores Military Experience on Screen]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 09:00:53 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_3550110.jpg

Just in time for Memorial Day, the GI Film Festival is set to share films about the military experience from American and international filmmakers.

Kicking off Monday, the fest will showcase short and feature-length films, documentaries, and much more, including Q&As with filmmakers, a kick-off cocktail party, red carpet events and special exhibitions. 

Special events include Wednesday night's Journey to Casablanca, which includes French-Moroccan food, drinks and a screening of "One Night in Casablanca." Attendees are asked to arrive decked out in their 1940s best.

Most events are in Fairfax's up-and-coming Mosaic District, with a few in D.C. as well.

The film fest runs through May 24; see the complete schedule here.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Arr, Virginians: Pirate Fest Is Coming Up]]> Thu, 07 May 2015 16:16:08 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Blackbeard+Festival.jpg

If you've ever found yourself thinking, "It's a pirates life for me," now's your chance to temporarily join the ranks of Captain Hook and Jack Sparrow. The 16th annual Blackbeard Pirate Festival will take over Hampton, Virginia the weekend of May 29-31.

Get ready, matey: 50,000 seafaring attendees, more than 100 authentically costumed pirate re-enactors and plenty of activities will invade the streets of the coastal city and transform it into an authentic pirate camp.

Hampton doesn't just put on this festival for the love of pirates -- there's a historical connection. Throughout the late 1600s and early 1700s, pirates plundered the coastal waters of Virginia and North Carolina. Captain Edward Teach, AKA Blackbeard the Pirate, was the most menacing marauder.

Blackbeard's life was later taken in a violent battle, and his severed head was put on a pole near Hampton Creek (now called Blackbeard's Point) as a reminder that piracy would no longer be tolerated in Virginia.

Except maybe the last weekend in May.

The festivities begin Friday, May 29 with the Grand Pirates' Ball. Dance like it's your last dance before you walk the plank from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hampton Marina Hotel. Creative black tie or period attire is enforced. Tickets are $40 at the door, or $35 in advance. You can get advance tickets by calling 757-727-8314 or visiting Hampton Parks & Recreation (5th Floor Hampton City Hall, 22 Lincoln Street, Hampton, Va.).

Saturday, May 30 will be full of street skirmishes between pirates and militia, a replica of Blackbeard's camp, history interpreters teaching sailor skills circa 1700, and the trial and escape of Blackbeard's fellow pirate William Howard.

Blackbeard's fatal battle will also be re-enacted, followed by a ceremony in which Blackbeard's severed head will be granted to Virginia Gov. Alexander Spotswood (1710-1722). Visitors can join Blackbeard's funeral procession and share in the treasure chest booty.

And it wouldn't be a pirate party without ships. This year's festival welcomes three tall ships, MEKA II, Bonny Rover and Serenity.

Kids can channel their inner Peter Pan and participate in many activities in the children's area, including colonial games, dance demonstrations, musicians, and the Picaroon School for Aspiring Pirates.

Visitors can also learn how to use a cutlass and load a cannon, buy items from period vendors, and drink rum in Silkie's Hyde Tavern, a rustic throwback to an 18th century Hampton bar.

Photo Credit: Blackbeard Pirate Festival]]>
<![CDATA[PHOTOS: WWII Planes Soar Above National Mall]]> Fri, 08 May 2015 18:57:58 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/181*120/wwii85.jpg The planes flew at a low 1,000-foot altitude over the National Mall to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day. Hundreds of veterans gathered at the World War II Memorial to watch the historic event.]]> <![CDATA[PHOTOS: Running of the Chihuahuas at the D.C. Wharf]]> Fri, 08 May 2015 16:01:38 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/181*120/chiaiy.jpg The 4th annual Running of the Chihuahuas (AKA #Chirace2015) took place this Sunday at the Wharf in D.C. It was a day to show the world just how fast your chihuahua could run. The winner this year: Woodstock.

Photo Credit: Sarah Pixley]]>
<![CDATA[African-American Museum Preview Exhibit Opens Friday]]> Fri, 08 May 2015 16:01:53 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000010411558_1200x675_441732675798.jpg News 4's Tom Sherwood reports on a new exhibit opening Friday featuring some of the 40,000 artifacts that will be on display at the new National Museum of African-American History and Culture, which opens next year on the National Mall.]]> <![CDATA[PHOTOS: Funk Parade on U Street]]> Mon, 04 May 2015 12:36:35 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/181*120/SJP_5579.JPG Thousands lined the streets of D.C. on Saturday for this year's Funk Parade, an all-day fair and festival that celebrates funk, D.C. and U Street.

Photo Credit: Sarah Pixley]]>
<![CDATA[Road Trip! Your Guide to Philly's Spring Fests]]> Fri, 08 May 2015 16:02:43 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/StreetFestival.jpg

The city of brotherly love is in full bloom. Time to hit the road! Embrace the soulful vibe of Philly at some of their most popular street food festivals this spring. Check out our top picks: 

South Street Spring Festival

Let's see: 40 bands, 30 restaurants, 100+ vendors and 27 artists? Sounds like the perfect recipe for spring fun. This South Street Spring Festival gathers the best of the city into 8+ blocks, offering food, music, shopping and family-friendly entertainment. Feel free to bring your kids along to enjoy an expanded Kids Zone, featuring hands-on arts and craft projects and music appearances on the Kids Zone stage. Along with the annual spring festival, German restaurant Brauhaus Schmitz will host their second-annual Maifest, highlighting German beers, dancers, music and food.

Date: Saturday, May 2 (11 a.m.-8 p.m.); free admission

EATS Philly

You can't beat traditional Philly street food cooked up by some of the finest chefs in the city. Sample a variety of treats from local food trucks and breweries as you watch the region's most popular chefs personalize street cuisine from around the globe. Hosted at the World Live Café by Brian Duffy of Bar Rescue, EATS Philly 2015 is a foodie's paradise. Proceeds from the culinary cook off will go towards improving healthy food access for children in need.

Details: Tuesday, May 5 (6-9 p.m.); tickets $85-$150

Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival

This weekend, experience a unique style of spring festivals with fashion, food and art on Rittenhouse Row. Indulge in samples from a.kitchen, Termini Bros. Bakery, The Dandelion and more, or spend the day sprucing up your spring wardrobe with additions from local shops including Joan Shepp, South Moon Under, Knit Wit and Duke & Winston. Take in the live music and free wine samples after you hit up restaurant tents and food trucks for street-friendly treats.

Details: Saturday, May 2 (noon-5 p.m.); free admission

The Philadelphia Wine + Food Festival

Get ready for a wine Wednesday like no other. The Philadelphia Wine + Food Festival brings over 650 wines (pdf) to Philadelphia’s historic Market Street for an evening of spirited entertainment. Complement your beverages with samples from local restaurants including Amada, Indeblue, Luke’s Lobster, Laurel and more. Proceeds from the festival’s silent auction will benefit The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Details: Saturday, May 6 (5-9 p.m.); tickets $25 - $225

 Night Market Philadelphia

Philadelphia's traveling food festival is back for another taste of the electric city. The annual celebration of street food features more than 300 of the city's finest food trucks, restaurants and vendors. Night Market kicks off at South Street West and continues to three other Philly locations, giving you plenty of opportunities to take advantage of "Philadelphia’s favorite street food festival."

May 14: South Street West (6-10 p.m.)
June 18: Callowhill (6-10 p.m.)
Aug. 6: Lancaster Avenue (6-10 p.m.)
Oct. 1: Frankford & Girard (6-10 p.m.)

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Find Spring & Summer Events in Howard Co.]]> Fri, 08 May 2015 16:03:07 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/marlandparkse.jpg

Want to get away -- but not too far away? Head over to Howard County, Maryland, for a plethora of outdoor activities throughout the season, including cut-your-own flower farms and the 10-mile Rail Trail.


Blossoms of Hope Cherrybration Days: Through April 30, enjoy "pink plate" specials at participating restaurants, as well as 5K races and golf tournaments to help to raise cancer awareness. All proceeds benefit the Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center.

Merriweather Post Pavilion: Merriweather Post Pavilion kicks off their 2015 summer concert series May 1-2 with the M3 Rock Festival. Other big events include Florence + the Machine (June 9), Mumford and Sons (June 10), Sam Smith (July 24) and Willie Nelson (Aug. 19), to name just a few. The amphitheater is surrounded by a 40-acre forest in Columbia.

Wine in the Woods: This wine fest (May 16-17) is one of the premier events in the region, showcasing Maryland wine, local vendors, food and fun, with 30+ wineries in attendance. Tickets are $32 per person in advance.


Larriland Farm: Pick your own flowers at Larriland Farm (2415 Woodbine Road, Woodbine), open from late May through November. In the spring, you can also pick blueberries, gooseberries, currants, seedless table grapes, apples, peaches, plums, Asian pears and the ever popular strawberry. Veggies available through out the season include eggplant, peppers, snap beans and lettuce. The farm closes after the last apple crop harvest in November.

Clarks Eliok Farm: You'll find locally grown vegetables, farm-raised produce and 100 percent grass-fed beef for sale at Clarks Elioak Farm (10500 Clarksville Pike,  Ellicott City), as well as hay and cow train rides, pony rides and educational tours. Kids will enjoy the petting farm, gem mining and enchanted tree forest, too. The farm is open now through Nov. 1.

Sharps Farm: This 530-acre working farm (4003 Jennings Chapel Road, Brookeville) has been around since 1903 and provides hayrides, campfires at night, and farm tours during the day. The corn maze is open all season and the on-site greenhouse offers classes on how to graft vegetables and merge scions to root stocks. Sounds easy, right? Sharps Farm is open April to November each year.

Howard County Farmers' Markets: You can also view a complete list of farmers markets in Howard County online here -- there's one open daily except for Mondays and Tuesdays.


Savage Mill Trail: Enjoy a plethora of wildflowers along the 4.6-mile rail trail, which leads you along a former B&O Railroad line, crosses 10 bridges and ends at Lake Elkhorn in Columbia. Enjoy a short picnic along the trail or just take in the sights of the canopy of blooming trees as you walk. A highlight of your walk will be the 1869 cast iron Bollman Truss Railroad Bridge at Historic Savage Mill.

Walking tour of Ellicott City: On the second Saturday of each month, this guided walking tour will put you near the 2,000 pink and yellow daffodils in bloom all over the historic district. In Oella Garden, find dogwood trees, pink geraniums, purple spiderworts and yellow yarrows that will put a spring in your step. The tour also takes you to the local public and private gardens in the city. Call 410-313-1900 for more info.

Wilde Lake: This 22-acre lake in Columbia also has a 1.46-acre trail.

Lake Kittamaqundi: A 27-acre lake in Columbia Town Center features a boathouse with a wooden pier and is a popular spot for summer festivals. The nearby Kennedy Gardens has Blossoms of Hope, a cherry tree grove. It includes three saplings from D.C.'s famous Tidal Basin trees.

Lake Elkhorn: This 37-acre lake in the village of Owen Brown is surrounded by a two-mile path. The lake has an average depth of 15 feet, making it perfect for trout fishing. It also features a pavilion with a 23-acre park.

Centennial Lake: The 337-acre park will likely let you get a peek at deer, turtles, herons and other birds. A 2.6 mile paved path around the 54-acre lake is ideal for bikes and strollers.

All events and locations featured are roughly 90 minutes from downtown D.C.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Flower Mart Also Offers Food, Crafts, Plenty of Fun]]> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 13:42:56 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_145891364.jpg

Tulips and daffodils are taking over D.C. just in time for the annual Flower Mart at the National Cathedral. Don't let your allergies scare you -- this festival also includes sightseeing, food, music, a massive book sale and activities for kids.

You'll find the Flower Mart on the grounds of the cathedral Friday, May 1 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, May 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Parking will be available in the cathedral garage, and shuttle buses will run from Tenleytown Metro station. In addition, some 30-series Metrobuses and the Old Town Trolley also stop in front of the cathedral.

Sponsored by the All Hallows Guild, Flower Mart 2015 will showcase grand floral displays inside the cathedral and provide a variety of activities:

Celebrating Asia
This year's Flower Mart spotlights Asian flowers and culture. More than 23 Asian countries, as well as Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office and Hong Kong SAR, will participate with indigenous flower displays, ethnic foods, and traditional music and dance performances.

Grotesque Walk
This is a new feature for 2015. Along the outdoor gutter walkway between the two west towers, visitors can get a close-up look at the cathedral's whimsical and creative grotesques and gargoyles (including a Darth Vader grotesque for those anxiously awaiting "The Force Awakens"). This is $5 per ticket on Friday and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Cathedral Tower Climb
Prepare accordingly: This climb is 333 steps up to the bell-ringing chamber, 300 feet above ground. Bring your sneakers on Friday from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. for $7.50 and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (except noon) for $10.

International Floral Displays
Over 25 countries will exhibit indigenous flower arrangements created by foreign embassies to showcase their countries' flowers, histories and cultures. 2015 is expected to break the record for the most floral creations displayed in the nave of the Cathedral.

Mother's Day Shopping
Still need a gift for Mom? Flower Mart falls one week before Mother's Day, and will include more than 80 unique boutiques offering artisan-crafted jewelry, clothing, art and plants.

Book Sale
Brose more than 10,000 books beneath a huge tent on the cathedral grounds. You'll find multiple genres of both fiction and nonfiction -- and at a bargain. Most books are priced between 50 cents and $4.

Iron Florist
New this year is a competition to see who has the greenest thumb, as four local florists compete. The Iron Florist Competition is Saturday from 11 to 11:45 a.m.

Kids' Corner
Kid-friendly activities include an antique carousel, dance and music performances, a puppet show, face-painting, and a climbing wall -- to name a few.

Booths will line the grounds, offering something for any palate. You'll find funnel cakes and ice cream, hot dogs and burgers, as well as D.C. favorites like Ben's Chili Bowl. Continuing with the ode to Asia, Thai, Japanese and Chinese cuisine will also be featured.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Train Rides at B&O Railroad Museum]]> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 13:51:48 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/train76.jpg

The B&O Railroad Museum is open for a new season of train rides, historical events and fun.

Never experienced B&O train rides before? Get ready for some rail history: The experience features a round-trip train ride aboard the Mile One Express, along the first commercial mile of railroad track in the U.S. It's recognized as the birthplace of American railroading.

History buffs also will enjoy "The War Came By Train" exhibitions, which feature galleries, antique railroad equipment, living history interpreters and scale models.

Kids can't keep their hands off the hands-on exhibits at the museum, including the toddler time play area, the train carousel and the Choo Choo Blueville miniature town. "Day Out With Thomas" events are also quite popular. On April 24 through 26 and May 1 through 3, Thomas the Tank Engine will be at the museum to talk to his fans and take them on a 25-minute train ride. Train ride and event tickets for the Thomas the Tank Engine event are $21 per person. 

Regular-season train rides are available Wednesdays through Fridays at 11:30 a.m.; Saturdays at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.; and Sundays at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Train rides are an additional $3 for adults and $2 for children with paid museum admission.

The B&O Railroad Museum is located at 901. W. Pratt St. in Baltimore, about two hours from downtown D.C.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Spend a Night in a Historical C&O Canal Lockhouse]]> Sat, 18 Apr 2015 07:32:07 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/C+and+O+Canal+060413.jpg

Fans of living history take note: Historical lockhouses are now available for rental along the C&O Canal.

As part of the Canal Quarters program, six lockhouses, each more than 170 years old, have been rehabilitated and furnished to reflect particular periods in history. Eras include the 1830s, the Civil War, the turn of the 19th century, the New Deal and the 1950s.

The houses are located at various points along the C&O Canal's route, between Williamsport and Washington, D.C.

Check out the C&O Canal Trust's website for more details on how to register for an overnight stay.

<![CDATA[Spring in Bloom at Longwood Gardens]]> Thu, 09 Apr 2015 11:30:39 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_245406343.jpg

A land of 240,000 tulips in bloom is a land we'd like to visit. Luckily, Longwood Gardens expects their tulips to stick around until late May -- so we still have plenty of time to hit the road.

Longwood Gardens will have thousands of their ever-popular tulips will be on view through May 31 during spring bloom. If you go soon, you'll also be able to scope Easter lilies, pink foxgloves, blue hydrangeas and a pink tower of jewels.

If you visit later on, a must-see is the new Meadow Garden, featuring 86 acres of vast wetland, blooming wildflowers, four learning pavilions and three miles of hiking and walking trails. It's an ideal location to relax and unwind with nature as your backdrop.

Longwood Gardens (1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania) is located about two and half hours from downtown D.C.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Local Farmers' Markets Return, Expand Hours for Spring]]> Mon, 06 Apr 2015 16:10:04 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_137615693.jpg

Warm weather's not the only thing that's back in the area! This week marks the reopening of one of the best parts of spring: farmers' markets.


While many markets are opening up for the season, others have been open throughout the weekend but are now extending their hours.

Due to a series of new innovations this year, including collaborations between fermenters and farmers for fans of wine, cider and kombucha, Fresh Farms says you can expect to see "better local food for everyone and more of it."

Check out our list of all the Fresh Farms markets' opening dates:

Annapolis, Maryland
Sundays, 8 a.m.-noon
May 3-TBD
Donner parking lot, Compromise Street, on the harbor in downtown Annapolis
SNAP (EBT/food stamps) accepted here
Twitter: @FRESHFARMAnpls

Ballston (Arlington, Virginia)
April 23–Oct. 29
Thursdays, 3-7 p.m.
Welburn Square between N. Taylor and N Stuart streets
SNAP (EBT/food stamps) accepted
Twitter: @FRESHFARMBllstn

CityCenter D.C.
Tuesdays, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
May 5–Oct. 27
SNAP (EBT/food stamps) accepted here
Twitter: @@FRESHFARMMktsDC

Crystal City
Tuesdays, 3-7 p.m.
April 7–Nov. 24
Crystal Drive between 18th and 20th streets
SNAP (EBT/food stamps) accepted
Twitter: @FRESHFARMCrystl 

Dupont Circle
Sundays, year-round
Extended hours April 5–Dec. 27: 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
20th Street NW between Massachusetts and Connecticut avenues in the adjacent parking for PNC Bank
SNAP (EBT/food stamps) accepted
Twitter: @FRESHFARMDupont 

Foggy Bottom
Wednesdays, 3-7 p.m.
April 1-Nov. 25
Walkway at 23rd and I streets NW
SNAP (EBT/food stamps) & GWorld cards accepted
Twitter: @FRESHFARMFgyBtm 

H Street NE
Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon
April 18-Dec. 19
13th and H streets NE
SNAP (EBT/food stamps) accepted

Mount Vernon Triangle
Saturdays, 10 a.m.–1 p.m.
May 16-Oct. 31
5th and K streets NW
SNAP (EBT/food stamps) accepted here

Penn Quarter
Thursdays, 3-7 p.m.
April 2–Dec. 17
North end of 8th Street NW, between D and E streets NW
SNAP (EBT/food stamps) accepted
Twitter: @FRESHFARMPennQ 

Silver Spring, Maryland
Saturdays, year-round
Extended hours April 4–Dec. 26: 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
Ellsworth Drive between Fenton Street and Georgia Avenue
SNAP (EBT/food stamps) accepted
Twitter: @FRESHFARMSlvrSp

St. Michaels, Maryland
April 18-Oct. 10
Saturdays, 8:30-11:30 a.m.
Municipal parking lot off Talbot Street behind Sweetie's Bakery
Twitter: @FRESHFARMStMch 


Union Market
Sundays, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
May 3-TBD
500 block of Neale Street NE
SNAP (EBT/food stamps) accepted here
Twitter: @FRESHFARMUnMkt

By the White House
Thursdays, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.
April 9-Nov. 19
810 Vermont Ave. NW (between H and I streets NW)
SNAP (EBT/food stamps) accepted
Twitter: @FRESHFARMWhtHse

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Ford's Theatre Displays Lincoln Artifacts]]> Tue, 14 Apr 2015 17:09:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/cms641.jpg

April 14, 2015 marks 150 years since John Wilkes Booth's bullet struck President Abraham Lincoln during a performance of "Our American Cousin." Ford's Theatre, the site of it all, will honor Lincoln this spring with the exhibition "Silent Witnesses: Artifacts of the Lincoln Assassination."

Priceless items on display at the museum's Center for Education and Leadership include Lincoln's top hat, the contents of his pockets, a bloody sleeve cuff, a playbill for the performance, and John Wilkes Booth's derringer pistol -- to name a few.

"Silent Witnesses" will allow visitors to step into Lincoln's shoes and to examine the historical objects that survived from that evening 150 years ago.

The exhibition runs through May 25. Advanced tickets are available with the purchase of an Acoustiguide ($5). Day-of tickets are limited, and will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.

The carriage that fatefully brought Lincoln, First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln, Major Henry Rathbone and Clara Harris to Ford's Theatre will also be on display at the National Museum of American History through May 25.

In addition, the Smithsonian Channel will air a one-hour special in April called "Lincoln's Last Day." This special will delve into the history behind the displayed artifacts, piecing together those infamous 24 hours.

Photo Credit: Ford's Theatre]]>
<![CDATA[PHOTOS: Ford's Theatre Displays Lincoln Artifacts]]> Tue, 07 Apr 2015 11:32:22 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/cms642.jpg April 14, 2015 marks 150 years since John Wilkes Booth's bullet struck President Abraham Lincoln during a performance of "Our American Cousin." Ford's Theatre, the site of it all, will honor Lincoln this spring with the exhibition "Silent Witnesses: Artifacts of the Lincoln Assassination."

Photo Credit: Ford's Theatre]]>
<![CDATA[Six Flags Opens for Spring Break]]> Fri, 03 Apr 2015 17:31:24 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/188*120/sixflagsmdus.jpg

Six Flags America in Landover, Maryland is open for the season -- and spring break at the theme park is being celebrated through April 12, so you'll have plenty of time to enjoy your favorite roller coasters, attractions and theme park foods.

On Saturday, Six Flags will host a special Easter event. Kids under age 12 can join in on an egg hunt event before the park opens. On both Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., kids can also enjoy chalk art, coloring, hopscotch and hula-hooping. During the same hours, you'll also have the chance to visit with lots of animal friends, including calves, ponies, sheep, rabbits, geese and more.

Full-price tickets to the park are $59.99; guests under 48 tall get in for $39.99.

Six Flags is located about 40 minutes from downtown D.C.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Your Easter Egg Hunt Roundup]]> Fri, 27 Mar 2015 07:45:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/142556195EasterEggHunt.jpg

Pastel-colored eggs camouflaged by spring-green grass can be difficult to find. Luckily, Easter egg hunts themselves are far from hidden in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

Easter falls on Sunday, April 5 this year, but spots in D.C., Maryland and Virginia will host Easter egg hunts spanning from March 28 to April 12. Most hunts are coupled with other springtime, family-fun activities like face-painting, raffles, live animals (including "Easter" bunnies!) and hayrides, to name a few.


Madame Tussauds Egg Hunt

  • Missed the online lottery to secure a spot at the president's White House Easter Egg Roll? Madame Tussauds has the next best thing -- a giant Easter egg hunt through the museum with all 44 (wax) presidents! After the egg hunt in the Presidents Gallery, participants can collect a gift bag, meet the Easter bunny and live animals, and join in on craft activities. Admission is free for children ages 12 and younger, and $25 for ages 13 and up. Order tickets online here.
  • When: Saturday, April 4, 7:30-9:30 a.m.
  • Where: Madame Tussauds (1001 F St. NW)

Lincoln Park Easter Eggstravaganza

  • Go search for the 11,000 eggs hidden in the park! Additional (free) perks include a life-size Easter bunny, cotton candy, face painting, a bike raffle, and other games and prizes.
  • When: Saturday, April 4, 1-3 p.m.
  • Where: Lincoln Park (E. Capitol Street between 11th and 13th streets)

Tudor Place 8th Annual Eggstravaganza

  • Snap pictures with the Easter bunny, hunt for hidden eggs, enjoy an egg roll contest, and decorate bunny masks at D.C.'s scenic Tudor Place! Make sure to bring a basket, spoon and hard-boiled egg. Register and read more information here.
  • When: April 3, 10 a.m.-noon
  • Where: Tudor Place (1644 31st St. NW)


Meadowside Easter Egg Hunt

  • Kids ages 2 to 12 can hunt for hard-boiled eggs, and for an artistic twist, decorate them! Other activities include bunny hat and frog puppet crafts, and a meet-and-greet with live animals. Admission is $8 per child.
  • When: Friday, April 3, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Where: 5100 Meadowside Lane, Rockville

Butler's Orchard Bunnyland

  • Head to Butler's Orchard for the 20th annual Bunnyland! Bunnyland puts a fun spin on the traditional egg hunt by also offering a hayride down the bunny trail, a visit with the farm's Country Bunny, and a playground with inflatables and giant slides. Admission is $8.75 for children and $6.75 for adults. More information here.
  • When: March 28-29, April 3-4, 6, 10-12, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Where: 22200 Davis Mill Road, Germantown

B&O Railroad Museum Bunny Breakfast and Train Ride

  • Maryland’s B&O Railroad Museum once again has a special treat for the Easter holiday. Join in the fun with the museum's annual breakfast buffet, story time, indoor carousel rides and an exciting train ride with the B&O Bunny! Ticket information here.
  • When: April 3-4, 8:30-9:30 a.m.
  • Where: 901 W. Pratt St., Baltimore


Lee-Fendall House Egg Hunt

  • Cheers to the 16th annual Lee-Fendall House Easter Egg Hunt! Activities include a massive hunt for hundreds of colorful eggs, crafts, games, photos with the Easter bunny, and refreshments. Tickets are $12 for kids ages 12 and under, and $5 for visitors 13 and up. NOTE: Time slots are now sold out, but available spots will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis in the event of no-shows. More information here.
  • When: April 3-5, 3 p.m.
  • Where: 614 Oronoco St., Alexandria

Ticonderoga Farm Easter Festival

  • "Don’t tell any bunny," but Ticonderoga Farm is hosting an all-out Easter bash. Eggs-traordinary events include farm animals, face painting, hayrides, a farm market, a bamboo maze, giant slides and more. Cost is $12.95 per person. Additional information here.
  • When: March 28-29, April 4-5; egg hunts at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Where: 26469 Ticonderoga Road, Chantilly, Va.

Four Mile Run Eggstravaganza

  • The Easter bunny is attending this eggstravaganza -- are you? For free, visitors can join the Easter egg hunt, as well as meet the Easter bunny, pet animals, paint faces, break a pinata, and enter a bike raffle.
  • When: Saturday, March 28, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Where: 4109 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria

Morven Park's Eco-Friendly Easter

  • Yes, indulging in candy is a time-honored Easter tradition. But Morven Park's Easter event offers a health-conscious twist. Eco-friendly activities include natural egg dying and learning about healthy Easter treats. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.
  • When: Saturday, April 4, 10 a.m.-noon
  • Where: 17263 Southern Planter Lane, Leesburg

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[9 Cherry Blossom Events You Won't Want to Miss]]> Thu, 02 Apr 2015 13:26:43 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/804269252.jpg

Spring's finally arrived, and that means we have a lot to look forward to: blue skies, short sleeves, ridiculously long lines at car washes... and, of course, the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

Read on for our top nine (blossom-related) things to do in April. Some are free; some are pricey; all guarantee fun during one of D.C.'s biggest annual celebrations:

Paddle-Boating Around the Tidal Basin
throughout spring
1501 Maine Ave. SW

What could be better than paddling around the Tidal Basin as spring comes into full bloom? Pedal past some of the city's most famous sights as you enjoy the scenic view of the blossom-lined basin. Find more info here. Two-person boats $15/hour; four-person boats $24/hour.

Cherry Blossom Kayak Tour
Key Bridge Boathouse (3500 Water St. NW)
Tuesday, April 7; Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11

If you'd rather take a kayak, head to Georgetown and depart from the Key Bride Boathouse underneath the Key Bridge, past the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Memorial and Tidal Basin to reach East Potomac Park, where the cherry blossoms frame the edge of the river. Tickets ($45) include sit-in kayaks, paddles, lifejackets and an instructor.

Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival
Saturday, April 4, 1-9 p.m. (fireworks at 8:30 p.m.)
Southwest Waterfront, 600 Water St. SW

Find music, family-friendly activities, cultural performances, arts and crafts vendors and plenty (seriously, plenty) of food trucks -- plus, of course, a spectacular fireworks show -- during the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival. Admission is free; make sure to stay for the fireworks, which will illuminate the waterfront.

Blossoms and Baseball
Saturday, April 4, 1:05 p.m.
Nationals Park, 1500 S. Capitol St. SE

The Washington Nationals meet the New York Yankees for an exhibition game two days before the season opener. If you order discounted tickets online here, the National Cherry Blossom Festival will receive a $5 donation for each ticket purchased.

Cherry Blossom Family Celebration
Saturday, April 4, 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 8th and G streets NW

Kids (and parents) can enjoy craft-making, live music, a gardening demo, and Tatebanko: Japanese Paper Dioramas during the Cherry Blossom Family Celebration. Admission is free.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade

Saturday, April 11, 10 a.m.-noon
Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th streets NW

The festival's final weekend is capped off by a pink-focused parade and street festival. First, watch as blossom-themed floats, giant balloons, marching bands and famous entertainers cruise down Constitution Avenue. The parade is free, but if you'd like grandstand seating, tickets start at $20. This year's celebrity guests are yet to be announced.

Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival
Saturday, April 11, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 9th and 14th streets

The Sakura Matsuri festival is the U.S.'s largest one-day celebration of Japanese culture, featuring food vendors, crafts, 50+ cultural groups and performances, and plenty more. Tickets are $8 in advance online; day-of tickets are $10 online or at the gate, or $5 after 3 p.m. Kids age 12 and younger get in for free.

Capitol Hill Cherry Blossom Food Tour
Capitol Hill area
Wednesday, April 8 through Friday, April 10

Explore the city in a new way during a three-hour food tour, which will introduce you to a variety of Capitol Hill restaurants featuring cherry-infused dishes and drinks, as well as Japenese-inspired fare. Tickets are $49.

Cherry Blossom Cruises
Fireworks cruise Saturday, April 4; other cruises through April 12

Take in the beauty of the blossoms as you cruise along the Potomac River with your family and friends. Spirit Cruises is offering brunch, lunch and dinner cruises with a view in honor of cherry blossom season. Cruises with meals start at $45.95; sightseeing cruises without food start at $26.78. If you're interested in an especially spectacular view, consider Odyssey's Fireworks Dinner Cruise, which includes a three-course menu, live band and a great view of the fireworks during the Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival on Saturday, April 4. Tickets for the fireworks cruise are $124.90.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Spring Wildflower Viewing in Shenandoah Valley]]> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:31:34 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/181*120/shandoah43.jpg

If you're in the mood for a wildflower-viewing road trip, now's the time to head to Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, which has some of the most abundant varieties in the region.

As the valley blooms, we have a list of spots you shouldn't miss along the way. First off, Skyline Drive: You'll find the most diverse amount of wildflowers at the lower elevations, along streams such as South River, Hughes River, Rose River and Mill Prong.

To get up close and personal, you'll want to attend a spring ranger program, which offer a tour of a mountain meadow full of photo-ready sights -- maybe even some wildlife. Choose from hikes ranging from 20 minutes to two miles. Download the complete schedule here (PDF).

If you'd like to crash in the park overnight, choose from several lodging options or one of four campgrounds.

Skyline Drive sways through the Blue Ridge Mountains for 105 miles around Shenandoah National Park, and joins the Blue Ridge Parkway, where it connects Shenandoah to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.

The Shenandoah Valley is located about two hours from downtown D.C.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Annapolis Film Fest Is March 26-29]]> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:19:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_257017468.jpg

Explore a world of creativity at this year's Annapolis Film Festival, coming up March 26-29. The fest features 70+ films and celeb guests.

Throughout the four-day festival, you'll interact with industry guests, filmmakers and actors, and will have the chance to check out panel discussions, parties and movie premieres.

Highlights of this year's festival include appearance by Rory Culkin, star of "Gabriel," a movie about a troubled man now aware of his mental illness. The premiere will then be followed by a Q&A sessions with Culkin and writer/director Lou Howe.

The opening night film is "The Rewrite," starring Hugh Grant as an actor turned screenwriting professor.

Special events during the festival include a comedy workshop, an opening night after-party and a party Saturday night that is sure to be a place for good networking.

Find out more on all 70+ films here.


  • Four-day general festival pass: $105
  • Four-day student pass: $40 (Valid ID required: Current school ID, 25 & under)
  • One-day festival Pass: $40
  • Adult tickets: $12
  • Senior and student tickets: $8

All four-day passes include the opening night film, the after-party and unlimited films and panel discussions. Films take place at St. John’s College Francis Key Auditorium (March 26), Maryland Hall Auditorium (March 29), Maryland Hall gym (March 27-29) and St. Anne's Parish Hall (March 27-28.) 

Annapolis is located about an hour from downtown D.C.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Fredericksburg Spring Arts and Craft Faire]]> Thu, 19 Mar 2015 13:32:41 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_259945865.jpg

Despite the snow expected Friday, this weekend's shaping up to be springlike -- so make a trip to the Fredericksburg Spring Arts and Crafts Faire this weekend, where you can get one-of-a-kind goods just in time for Easter, Mothers Day and even graduation.

The fest offers handmade goods, jewelry, woodwork and pottery from more than 100 vendors, including Classy Yarns, Drake Hill Woodworking, H. Clark Photography, Scentsy and Lancaster Cuonty Ironworks.

You'll find it all March 21-22 at the Fredericksburg Expo & Conference Center (2371 Carl D. Silver Parkway, Fredericksburg, Virginia). Tickets are $8 at the door. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

Fredericksburg is about 75 minutes from downtown D.C.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Cherry Blossom Festival Still Blooming]]> Sun, 29 Mar 2015 15:50:19 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_258797261.jpg

We're inching ever-closer toward spring, and that means we have a lot to look forward to: blue skies, short sleeves, ridiculously long lines at carwashes... and, of course, the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

The festival (March 20-April 12) is getting off the ground this year a little bit sooner than the blossoms themselves, which are forecast to hit peak bloom April 11-14.

That means the tail end of the festival should be especially spectacular, but the fest is always fun, even when the blossoms are still curled tightly in their buds. Read on for some top events to anticipate:

Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival -- Saturday, April 4, 1-9 p.m. (fireworks at 8:30 p.m.)

Southwest Waterfront, 600 Water St. SW

Find music, family-friendly activities, cultural performances, arts and crafts vendors and plenty of food trucks, all outdoors. Admission is free; make sure to stay for the fireworks, which will illuminate the waterfront.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade -- Saturday, April 11, 10 a.m.-noon
Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th streets NW

It's a D.C. classic. Watch as floats, giant balloons, marching bands and celebrity entertainers (this year's famous names TBA) make their way along Constitution Avenue. The parade is free, but if you'd like grandstand seating, tickets start at $20.

Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival -- Saturday, April 11, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 9th and 14th streets

The U.S.'s largest one-day celebration of Japanese culture features tons of food booths, 50+ cultural groups and performances, and plenty more. Arrive hungry! Tickets are $8 in advance online; day-of tickets are $10 online or at the gate, or $5 after 3p.m. Kids age 12 and younger get in for free.


Pink Tie Party Fundraiser -- Thursday, March 19, 7 p.m.
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW)

In advance of the fest's official start, get decked out in your best "pink tie" cocktail attire for the signature fundraiser, which serves up bites from tons of D.C.'s hottest restaurants, plus cocktails (of course), live music and dancing, silent auctions and more. Tickets start at $225.

Opening Ceremony -- Saturday, March 21
Warner Theatre (513 13th St. NW)

Catch traditional and modern acts by both American and Japanese musicians, including the AUN-J Classic Orchestra; Japanese star Misato Watanabe and classical pianist Manami Morita. Tickets themselves are free, but with a $5 processing fee; you can get them online here.

Blossom Kite Festival -- Saturday, March 28, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Washington Monument Grounds

It's a good time to hope for a windy day. The kite fest features five areas, including the Competition & Demonstration Field, the Family Field, activity tents and more. Catch the Hot Tricks Showdown and the Rokkaku Battle. You can also fly your own kite in the Public Field area, and kids can make their own at an activity station. Admission is free.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Philly Flower Show & Magic Gardens]]> Tue, 03 Mar 2015 14:58:18 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_73529551.jpg

Philadelphia: home of the Liberty Bell, brotherly love, cheesesteaks and... gardens? Yes, gardens. Philly also houses the Philadelphia Flower Show and the Magic Gardens. Be sure to visit both (after grabbing a cheesesteak on your way, of course).

The Philadelphia Flower Show: Feb. 28-March 8

The Flower Show is a dazzling spectacle held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (1101 Arch St., Philadelphia). More than 260,000 people typically flock to the oldest and largest indoor garden show to see large-scale gardens, landscapes and avant-garde floral creations. After viewing the beautiful flowers (and possibly cursing your non-green thumb), check out gardening workshops and lectures run by experts.

Additional events include Wedding Wednesday (March 4), when brides-to-be can sip on champagne while receiving advice on wedding decor and catering from local experts, and a Girls Night Out party, full of shopping, food and wine, on March 5.

Proceeds benefit the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and its City Harvest Program, which feeds more than 1,200 families per week during the growing season. View ticket prices and purchase them here.

While the Flower Show is a limited time event, Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens is open every day. But why not visit them both and make it a garden-filled Philly weekend?

Philadelphia's Magic Gardens

Magic Gardens artist Isaiah Zagar began this project with a humble passion to beautify Philly’s South Street neighborhood. In the '60s, Zagar and his wife, Julia, bought and renovated rundown buildings and transformed them into bright mosaics.

Still devoted to this beautification almost 30 years later, Zagar started work on a lot near his studio, excavating tunnels, and sculpting and mosaicking walls across 3,000 square feet.

When this newly colorful lot went up for sale, the community refused to see his artwork destroyed. Zagar’s work then adopted the titled Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens and is now a nonprofit organization, offering mosaic workshops, concerts and exhibitions alongside the captivating walls.

The labyrinthine design allows visitors to step out of their daily lives and wander around the walls for as long as they please, learning about art and passion along the way.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Bringing Back the Taste of Frederick]]> Tue, 03 Mar 2015 12:26:37 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_61014949+copy.JPG

The annual Taste of Frederick event used to dish up seriously delicious food and fun for the community -- at least until the recession hit in 2008. But it's returning this summer with a grand slam event featuring Carolina League baseball champs the Frederick Keys.

Foodies and families will be able to enjoy an entire day of feasting, fun and baseball with the comeback of the annual event, which returns July 19.

More than 20 restaurants will be serving up samples of their best dishes at Harry Grove Stadium (21 Stadium Drive, Frederick, Maryland) from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., that day, and the Keys will follow with a baseball game against Potomac at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $25 in advance and kids under 12 get in free. Tickets will include unlimited signature tastes from every restaurant, a kids' zone, the baseball game and fireworks.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Find D.C.-Area Ice Skating Rinks]]> Thu, 19 Feb 2015 18:23:17 -0400 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!)


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.


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.


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[National Harbor Restaurant Week]]> Fri, 06 Mar 2015 14:36:12 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_257139343.jpg

Ditch the takeout: Yet another restaurant week is happening right now. But this time you can enjoy an appetizer, entrée and dessert right on the waterfront.

Restaurant Week at National Harbor features more than a dozen restaurants offering prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus. Indulge in Kow Mok Gai at Thai Pavilion or choose between a dulce de leche crêpe and Mandarin orange creamsicle at The Walrus Oyster & Ale House.

Participating restaurants -- also including Rosa Mexicano, Grace’s Mandarin and McLoone’s Pier House -- are offering three-course lunches for $20 and dinners for $35. Fast-casual restaurants such as Elevation Burger provide lunch for $8 and dinner for $16.

Top off your dining experience with live entertainment at Bobby McKey's. The dueling piano bar offers free admission to Restaurant Week patrons with a same-day receipt, and the deals don't stop there. A Restaurant Week receipt will also get you a skyline view of the nation's capital for $12. 

National Harbor's Restaurant Week runs through Sunday. Rack up some extra points by making reservations through Open Table. Check out the full list of participating restaurants and prix-fixe menus right here.

Bon appétit! 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Prince George's Restaurant Week Underway]]> Tue, 03 Mar 2015 12:38:19 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Annapolis+Restaurant+Week.jpg

The weather isn't exactly warming up just yet, but at  least some delicious dishes are, thanks to Prince George’s County’s Restaurant Week (now through March 8).

Monday through Sunday more than 30 restaurants will be dishing up three-course meals for a steal. Most lunches are a mere $20 and dinners are $35 but some are even cheaper. The Italian Inn is serving veal parmigiana lunches for only $8 and NY Strip Steak dinners for $16.

This week is an opportunity to visit National Harbor and enjoy some mouth-watering eats and entertainment at some of the best sports in the county. Try a new cuisine or delve into the deals on your old favorite dishes. There’s a diverse variety of restaurants featured, including The Common, The Walrus Oyster & Ale House, Public House National Harbor, McLoone’s Pier House National Harbor, BOND45 Prime Steak and Seafood.

Sample menus:

KBQ Real Barbeque
9101 Woodmore Centre Drive, Suite 322, Lanham

$16 Dinner:

  • Entrée: Brisket, Pulled Pork, Chicken Breast, Half Chicken, Hot Country Sausage Link, Pulled Smoked Turkey, Two Meats, Four Chicken Tenders, Half Slab
  • 2 Sides: Side Salad, Broccoli Salad, Macaroni and Cheese, Sautéed Green Beans, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Baked Beans, Potato Salad, Cole Slaw, Black Bean and Corn Salad, Seasonal Vegetables, Fresh Cut French Fries, Raisin Carrot Salad
  • Bread: Regular Cornbread, Jalapeño Cornbread, Whole Wheat Dinner Roll, Brioche Bun
  • Seasonal Dessert
  • Beverage

Italian Inn
6221 Annapolis Road, Hyattsville

$8 Lunch:

  • Entrée: Homemade Baked Lasagna, Eggplant Parmigiana, Chicken Parmigiana, Veal Parmigiana, Chicken Alfredo
  • Sides: Soup or Salad

$16 Dinner:

  • Entrée: 12 oz. NY Strip Steak, Chicken Alfredo, Shrimp and Crab Alfredo, Shrimp Alfredo, Fried Jumbo Shrimp Dinner
  • Sides: Garlic Bread, Choice of Soup or Fresh Garden Salad

Redstone American Grill
155 National Plaza, Oxon Hill/National Harbor


  • Appetizer: Seared Beef Rolls, Calamari, Crab Stuffed Mushroom
  • Entrée: Rotisserie Classic Chicken, Pasta Primavera with Grilled Chicken, Teriyaki Flank Steak, Parmesan Walleye
  • Desert: Banana Cream Pie or Truffles

Harrington’s Pub & Kitchen
177 Fleet St., Oxon Hill/National Harbor

$35 Dinner:

  • Soup or Salad: House Salad, Chicken & Leek Soup, Caesar Salad
  • Entrée: Corned Beef and Cabbage, Lemon Herb Broiled Cod, Blackened Chicken Pasta
  • Desert: Golden Raisin Bread Pudding, Pub Sundae, Apple Crisp

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Old Town Winchester Restaurant Week]]> Fri, 06 Mar 2015 15:32:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/wineinside.jpg

Winchester, Virginia brings you small town charm with big city vibes -- their restaurants are proof. Old Town Winchester celebrates Restaurant Week now through Saturday.

Whether you choose to make it an overnight stay or a day trip, Restaurant Week will make it worth your while. Two deals are available: a three-course meal at $25 per person, or a meal for two at just $25.

More than a dozen restaurants are participating, including Cork Street Tavern, Jack Knuckle Gourmet and Village Market & Bistro.  Make your reservation online. Some spots are also hosting contests and giveaways. Check local restos for participation details.

Winchester, Virginia is located about 90 minutes from downtown D.C.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[A "Dog Dogs"' World: Del. Exhibit]]> Fri, 06 Feb 2015 17:01:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2015-02-05_1028.jpg

A new exhibition at the Delaware Art Museum will feature photographs of Elliott Erwitt's most memorable mutt mugs, spanning decades.

Elliott Erwitt: Dog Dogs will showcase 65 photos taken between 1946 and 2004. Erwitt says he got his best shots when he would bark at dogs to get their attention. It's one thing to use the word "treat," but barking is something only the pros know.

About the photographer: Erwitt immigrated to the U.S. in 1939, and eventually studied photography at Los Angeles City College. Dogs have always been a focal point for him, so much so that he's published four books about them, "Son of Bitch" (1974), "Dog Dogs" (1998), "Woof" (2005) and "Elliott Erwitt's Dogs" (2008).

The Dog Dogs exhibit will run March 7 to May 24 at the Delaware Art Museum (2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware), about two and a half hours from downtown D.C. Admission is $12 for adults, and $6 for kids.

Photo Credit: Elliott Erwitt / Magnum Photos]]>
<![CDATA[Experience Winter Wildlife Via Sea]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 14:21:36 -0400 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[2015 Bluegrass Jam in Richmond]]> Thu, 19 Feb 2015 17:58:24 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/181*120/bluegrass43.jpg

Although a cold front is gripping the D.C. area, you may be itching to get out of the house. If so, head down to the Richmond Bluegrass Jam this Saturday, an all-day -- and INDOOR -- music fest featuring 30 bands on three stages.

If you're daring enough, the fest also offers up one stage with a dedicated open mic all day to showcase your budding music skills. Bring your own instruments, of course.

Admission to the fest is free, but donations are strongly encouraged. Local craft beer and food vendors will be set up during the festival, as well as food trucks. The event is family-friendly, with kids' activities throughout the day.

The festival isn't just for music lovers to unite; it's also raising funds for the Fisher House of Richmond, which provides a place for military families to stay while their wounded warriors receive medical care. In the past five years, the festival has donated roughly $64,000 to the veterans and their loved ones.

The festival runs from noon to midnight Feb. 21 at the Cultural Arts Center (2880 Mountain Road, Glen Allen, Virginia), about two hours south of downtown D.C.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Savor, Sip and Style Home Show in Ellicott City]]> Thu, 19 Feb 2015 18:03:59 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/homfeshow3.jpg

You don't have to be in the running for a new home remodel to enjoy a good home show. The Savor, Sip and Style Home Show in Ellicott City, Maryland features food and wine tastings, fashion shows and, of course, plenty of ideas for home remodeling.

If you're going mainly for the wine and food, we recommend buying a VIP ticket ($20 per person) that includes five drink tasting tickets from six wineries, including a winery from the hills of San Gimignano, Italy brought to you by Sarah Fioroni, a featured chef and sommelier from Tuscany.

The home show features other staples like landscaping, home, health and wellness booths along with fashion shows and food and drink exhibitors.

Staying the night before the event may ensure you get the most bang for your buck. The overnight package special ($167.78 per couple) at Turf Valley Resort gives you two VIP tickets to the home show, breakfast for two and accommodations in a Golf View room. The resort features plenty of things to do, including a nature trail, two golf courses, saunas and indoor/outdoor pools.

Tickets for the Savor, Sip and Style home show are $10 per person or $20 for a VIP ticket. The home show runs the weekend of Feb. 21-22 at Turf Valley (2700 Turf Valley Road, Ellicott City, Maryland), about 80 minutes from downtown D.C. The show is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Ways to Celebrate Black History Month Around D.C.]]> Fri, 13 Feb 2015 17:36:12 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_107987048.jpg

Black History Month isn't over yet! There are still plenty of local exhibitions, performances and activities keeping the celebration alive. Check out our list of local activities and events to expand your knowledge of black culture and history.

Newseum – 1965: Civil Rights at 50

Visit one of D.C.'s most popular museums to experience "1965: Civil Rights at 50," a temporary exhibit that explores the influence and dynamic of the media during the Civil Rights Movement. Spend your day exploring the compelling stories, historic images and memorable front pages that changed the history of America.

Dates: Daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (through Jan. 2016)

Admission: $22.95 adults

Frederick Douglass Birthday Celebration

Light 197 candles and get ready to celebrate the birthday of black reformer Frederick Douglass. The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site (pictured above) is hosting its annual Frederick Douglass birthday celebration this weekend. Don't miss out on an array of activities including: a house party, historical trek, book signing, scrapbook workshops, house tours and more! Check out the celebration website to get all the event details.

Date: Friday, Feb. 13 & Saturday, Feb. 14

Admission: Free

Black History Month Cruise aboard the Spirit of Washington

Climb on deck for an educational and entertaining midday cruise highlighting significant influencers and events in African-American culture. Listen to a variety of notable black artists including Duke Ellington, Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross as you cruise along the waterfront.

Date: Saturday, Feb. 21 at 11 a.m.

Tickets: $48.90 adults; $28.50 ages 3-12


Living the Dream... Singing the Dream

Head over to The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts to see the Washington Performing Arts Gospel Choir in action. The choir is bringing back the soulful music and energy it has used to celebrate African-American history for more than 20 years. This year's annual concert honors the life and legacy of Civil Rights pioneer Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Date: Sunday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m.

Tickets: $25 - $70

Black History Month Celebrations at Montgomery Parks

Each Saturday this February, Josiah Henson Park in Montgomery County is offering free entertainment and activities to celebrate Black History Month. Take a guided tour of the park to learn about Henson's journey to escape slavery on the Underground Railroad. You can also drop in for spoken word poetry or a viewing of PBS documentary "The Search for Josiah Henson."

Date: Saturdays, Feb. 14, 21, 28 from noon to 4 p.m.

Black Movements Dance Theatre: Spring Dance Concert

Black Movements Dance Theatre returns to the Davis Performing Arts Center at Georgetown University to perform their Spring Dance Concert in honor of Black History Month.

Date: Friday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 28 at 8 p.m.

Tickets: $8- $10

From the History of The American People: Jacob Lawrence's Struggle

Attend a discussion and artistic exhibition about the collective African American journey at The Phillips Collection. "Struggle Series," a 30-panel collection by Jacob Lawrence, illustrates the common struggle experienced through a variety of events and scenes in African-American history. Discussion panelists include Professor Spencer Crew of George Mason University, and David Driskell, founder of the David C. Driskell Center at the University of Maryland.

Date: Friday, Feb. 27 at 2:30 p.m.

Admission: $12 adults

Bessie and Bill: Black Wings in Flight

Want to involve your children in Black History Month fun? Bring your kids out for a history rich and family friendly performance at the Smithsonian's Discovery Theater. "Bessie and Bill: Black Wings in Flight" tells the captivating tale of the first female African-American pilot, Bessie Coleman, and pioneer African-American aviator Bill Powell.

Dates: Feb. 18-26; various times

Admission: $5-$8  

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Beyond Dinner: V-Day Adventures]]> Wed, 04 Feb 2015 18:39:17 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_146643788.jpg

From comedy shows to dining at your favorite restaurant, there are plenty of local places to enjoy yourself this Valentine's Day. Don't miss out on awesome deals for your day of love.

The Sweetheart Slopes

Celebrate Valentine's Day with the perfect weekend getaway at Whitetail Resort (13805 Blairs Valley Road, Mercersburg, Pennsylvania). Search for red puzzle pieces as you ski or snowboard your way down the slopes. Finding a piece of Whitetail's heart will earn you a V-Day gift courtesy of the resort. Gifts include a Whitetail keepsake, two eight-hour midweek lift tickets and sweets. Then cozy up at one of Whitetail's nine lodging partners after a long day on the slopes.

Date: Saturday, Feb. 14
Lift tickets: $45-$75; equipment rentals extra

We Heart Cheese: Chocolate, Cheese & Baller Bubbly

Sometimes it pays to be cheesy on Valentine's Day -- especially at Union Market cheese shop and bar Righteous Cheese (1309 5th St. NE, Washington, DC). Enjoy an intimate pairing and tasting class featuring special bottles of champagne, handmade chocolates and an assortment of artisanal cheeses. Purchase your tickets if you're a foodie or wine enthusiast looking for a romantic way to indulge.

Date: Friday, Feb. 13 & Saturday, Feb. 14
Tickets: $72-$81

Valentine's Day Adventure

Get your heart pumping this V-Day with a day of adventurous romance at Terrapin Adventures (Savage Mill, 8600 Foundry St., Savage, Maryland). Their Valentine's Day special includes three hours of zip lines, giant swings, challenge courses and high ropes. Chocolate amenities and the chance to win free gifts top off the afternoon of fun.

Date: Saturday, Feb. 14 & Sunday, Feb. 15
Tickets: $100 per couple

My Funny Valentine

Notaviva Vineyards (13274 Sagle Road, Purcellville, Virginia) is providing laughs and liquor for the fourth year in a row at their annual stand-up comedy performance, My Funny Valentine. The Virginia winery combines a variety of wine options with live performances every weekend. This year's headliner is Baltimore native Jason Weems, a semi-finalist on the NBC series "Last Comic Standing."

Date: Friday, Feb. 13 & Saturday, Feb. 14
Tickets: $37

Love On The Run

If you're looking for a way to offset the chocolate and wine this V-Day, look no further. Work up a sweat with your partner at fitness adventure and scavenger hunt Love On The Run (check in at The Ballroom, 5521 Landy Lane, Bethesda, Maryland). Participants who attend this free event have the chance to compete for prizes including a gift card to Whole Foods and more.

Date: Saturday, Feb. 14
Cost: Free (suggested donation of $10 to Bethesda Cares)
RSVP here.

Tango at Philadelphia Museum of Art

It's 5 o'clock somewhere. Various entertainment acts fill the Great Stair Hall at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia) every Friday from 5 to 8:45 p.m. This Friday, Feb. 13, enjoy a special Valentine's edition of the aptly titled Art After 5. The museum will offer dance lessons centered on the romance and passion of tango. This vibrant take on Valentine's Day can be accompanied by a tasting menu at Granite Hill, and museum members can enjoy a sneak peak of the newest exhibition, "Ink and Gold: Art of the Kano."

Date: Feb. 13.
Cost: Free with museum admission ($20 for adults); Granite Hill tasting menu $60 per person.

Natalie Lylo contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Presidents' Day Food, Tours and History ]]> Wed, 11 Feb 2015 18:13:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/469968673.jpg

Party like it's 1732 this Presidents Day weekend.

Alexandria, Virginia -- George Washington's adopted hometown -- is packing February with more than a dozen presidential festivities, and we also have several other suggestions for you to get a taste of history.

George Washington's Birthday Parade: Feb. 16, 1-3 p.m.

Forget a frosted cake and numbered candles -- George Washington's birthday deserves a massive parade. The annual George Washington Birthday Parade follows a one-mile route through Old Town Alexandria. More than 3,000 participants will include bands and horses.

Adulteration of Chocolate Tasting: Feb. 15, 3-5 p.m.

Step inside Gadsby's Tavern Museum (134 North Royal St.) for a delectable tasting experience pairing rum, brandy, whiskey and Madeira -- George Washington's favorite drink! -- with American Heritage Chocolate. Raise a glass to our first president on Sunday, Feb. 15. Along with your chocolate and spirits, you will receive a helping of history on 18th-century beverages and their consumption by our founding fathers. Tickets are $45.

You can see a full list of Alexandria events and information here. And read on for more ways to celebrate Washington, as well as presidents James Madison and Abraham Lincoln:

George Washington's Birthday Weekend, Feb. 14-16

Head south of Alexandria for fun at Mount Vernon. It's is a spectacular site to tour even without special events going on, but George Washington's Birthday Weekend mixes in special extras, including a sample of Washington's favorite breakfast Feb. 14-15 (included in admission). Other events include an 18th-century dancing demo, wreath-laying ceremonies at Washington's tomb, storytelling, a military demonstration with the Old Guard Fife & Drum Corps, and more. All of Mount Vernon's events will be open free-of-charge Feb. 16.

Madison and the Constitution Tour: Feb. 14 & 16

Visit Montpelier in Virginia, the lifelong home of James Madison. Take the Madison and the Constitution Tour (Saturday and Monday, 1 p.m.) to learn more about Madison and his role as father of the Constitution. Tickets are $20 for adults, $7 for children older than six; admission is free for kids under 6.

Ceremony at Lincoln Memorial: Feb. 12, 12 p.m.

Stop by the Lincoln Memorial to honor President Lincoln for a wreath-laying ceremony and a dramatic reading of the Gettysburg Address. Too cold outside? Snuggle in at home that night and watch the 2012 historical drama "Lincoln."

Tours of Lincoln's Cottage: Daily

Lincoln used to retire to his "country" cottage -- in Northeast D.C. back when downtown life got to be too much. Back then, his cottage really was in the country, and even as the city sprang up around it, the beautiful grounds evoke a sense of Lincoln's time and place. One-hour tours of the cottage on the grounds of the Old Soldier's Home are offered daily, on the hour each hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Reservations are strongly recommended because weekend tours often sell out.

Presidential Family Fun Day: Feb. 15, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

The National Portrait Gallery (8th & F streets NW) hosts an afternoon of crafts and performances in the Kogod Courtyard. Kids will get to meet "George Washington" and "Abraham Lincoln," join in activities like Presidential Polaroids and making picture frames, get their pictures taken with the Washington Nationals Racing Presidents and more.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Paladar Latin Kitchen Celebrates Carnival]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 18:12:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/skewersght.jpg

Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar has two weeks of surprises waiting for you during their fourth annual celebration of Carnival.

Paladar restaurants feature a Central and South American-inspired menu, and are best known for their freshly made guacamole. The four locations in the D.C. area will make it easy for you to reap the benefits of their 16-day Carnival Celebration, running Feb. 2-17.

The Carnival Celebration features two weeks of half-price margaritas, hand-muddled mojitos, and sangrias (except Feb. 13-14). You'll also find Carnival street foods available during the two-week celebration, including steak skewers, Brazilian cheese breads, fritters and tostones.

You'll also have the chance to win a $1,000 Paladar gift card. Now through Feb. 16, Paladar is giving out scratch-off tickets, which could let you win up to 25 percent off your check or other prizes. Those scratch-off tickets will then be entered into a contest where you can win the grand prizze.

On Feb. 17 -- the day the celebration coincides with Mardi Gras -- Paladar will have live music at each location. Paladar has locations in Rockville, Annapolis, Gaithersburg and Vienna.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[A Chocolate Lovers Festival in Fairfax]]> Mon, 02 Feb 2015 22:07:56 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/chocochallenge2.jpg

The annual Chocolate Lovers Festival in Fairfax is an excellent leadup to Valentine's Day: It's your chance to buy your sweetheart (or yourself) whatever chocolate goodies they (OK, or you) desire.

The two-day chocolate festival, to be held the weekend of Feb. 7-8, features historic re-enactments, children's activities, and a Kiwanis Club chocolate chip pancake breakfast. You can also check out the chocolate sculptures submitted for the event's art contest. But keep your hands to yourself: All you can do it sit back and drool over the beauty of it.

The Taste of Chocolate event during the festival will have vendors offering samples of their creations, as well as items for sale. Many historic buildings around the area will have open houses for the public to meander through.

Most events are free, but some require a fee. The festival website lists any costs for each event in the festival.

The festival runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. A good starting point for the festival is at Old Town Hall, 3999 University Drive, Fairfax VA 22030

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<![CDATA[Groundhog Day Parties: Yes, They're a Thing]]> Fri, 30 Jan 2015 17:01:46 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_112362842.jpg

Weather maps are blanketed with white and light blue. Terms like "blizzard," "below-freezing" and "record-setting" have been dominating the forecast. This is not OK.

In other words... where is spring?

Famed groundhog Punxsutawney Phil will determine whether we can ditch the down jackets and scarves for a lighter look after Groundhog Day this Monday. Of course, Phil's predictions aren't always accurate, but that doesn't stop celebrations in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia.


Obviously, Punxsutawney is the center of all things groundhog. Various vendors, fun crafts, live music and more will take over the small town about an hour outside of Pittsburgh. You can see the groundhog's prediction up close Monday at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, and later watch fireworks, shop vintage items, and enjoy food and games. See a full list of Groundhog Day events here (PDF).

You can also watch Phil's prognostication inside at Philadelphia's The Grey Lodge Pub (6325 Frankford Ave) from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Events include breakfast, beers on tap, a Hawaiian shirt contest, and a live reenactment of the groundhog's prediction.


Head to the Virginia Living Museum (524 J. Clyde Morris Boulevard, Newport News) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday for a day of activities, including groundhog-related crafts and interactive exhibits. The museum's resident groundhog Chesapeake Chuck will make an appearance. Chuck will be back at the museum Monday for the official annual ceremony.


For those wishing to avoid the cold (and are also 21+), the Baltimore Architecture Foundation's annual Groundhog Day party is Monday at the Peabody Heights Brewery (401 E. 30th St., Baltimore). A ticket gets you drinks, snacks and a tour of the brewery.

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<![CDATA[Roots & Blues Festival in Lancaster]]> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 12:29:54 -0400 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.

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<![CDATA[Food, Art and Wine at the Virginia Beach Chill Fest]]> Thu, 08 Jan 2015 13:50:53 -0400 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.

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<![CDATA[Educate Yourself: Chocolate & Wine Classes in Va.]]> Tue, 13 Jan 2015 14:51:39 -0400 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.

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