<![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 Sat, 25 Apr 2015 07:01:21 -0400 Sat, 25 Apr 2015 07:01:21 -0400 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[New Season of Train Rides at B&O Railroad Museum]]> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 13:51:48 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/train76.jpg

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" exhibits that feature galleries, antique railroad equipment on display, 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.

The 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 Wednesday through Friday at 11:30 a.m.; Saturday at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.; and Sunday 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.

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

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![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.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![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.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![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.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![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.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Wine Wednesday: Otium Cellars in Purcellville]]> Wed, 07 Jan 2015 16:47:47 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/183*120/Screen+Shot+2014-10-27+at+8.18.56+PM.png

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Sarah Pixley
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<![CDATA[PHOTOS: Otium Cellars in Purcellville, Virginia]]> Wed, 07 Jan 2015 16:48:51 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/211*120/Screen+Shot+2014-10-27+at+8.25.40+PM.png Veer off of Main Street in Purcellville, Virginia and take a drive down a short gravel road to find Otium Cellers (18050 Tranquility Road) next to silos and horse pastures. The winery offers seven varieties: the expected (Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Cab Sav, Pinot Noir) and the not-so-much expected: Blaufrankisch, Malbec and Dornfelder.

Photo Credit: Sarah Pixley]]>
<![CDATA[Authentic Blue Ridge at the Floyd Country Store]]> Mon, 05 Jan 2015 16:06:53 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2015-01-05_1505_001.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Floyd Country Store]]>
<![CDATA[D.C. Restaurant Week: Oh, It's On]]> Tue, 20 Jan 2015 14:20:07 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_81319588.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[An Aerial Adventure in Harper's Ferry]]> Mon, 05 Jan 2015 13:31:07 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_154191794S.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Alexandria Restaurant Week Coming Up]]> Fri, 02 Jan 2015 10:11:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_10076518.jpg

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

So that's what Alexandria Restaurant Week is for.

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[National Children's Museum to Close Sunday]]> Fri, 02 Jan 2015 13:36:31 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2015-01-02_0707.jpg

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

<![CDATA[Going to the Winter Classic? Here's What to Know]]> Thu, 25 Dec 2014 14:18:51 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/215*120/2014-12-22_1656.jpg

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

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

Where & When:

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

Getting to the Game:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What NOT to Bring:

The following items are prohibited inside ticketed areas:

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

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

During the Game:

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

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

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

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

<![CDATA[Fire Pits and Cocktails: Outdoor Dining in D.C.]]> Wed, 31 Dec 2014 14:51:10 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000008800818_1200x675_370484291875.jpg The Washington Post's Lavanya Ramanathan shares how D.C. restaurants and bars such as A-Bar, Bourbon Steak and Iron Gate have incorporated fire pits to enhance outdoor dining in the winter.]]> <![CDATA[Find D.C.-Area Holiday Light Displays ]]> Thu, 18 Dec 2014 10:58:28 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/520916115.jpg

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Christmas and History in Fredericksburg, Va.]]> Thu, 04 Dec 2014 11:02:07 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/180*120/6543086435_783ced6133_b.jpg

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

Photo Credit: Rainier Homoroc]]>
<![CDATA[A Month of Holiday Fun in Alexandria]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:28:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/cms623.jpg

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

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

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


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


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



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


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


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

Photo Credit: R Kennedy for ACVA]]>
<![CDATA[Your Holiday Market Roundup]]> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:17:14 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Downtown-HolidayMarket-5.jpg

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Photo Credit: Downtown Holiday Market]]>