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Valentine’s Day in the District

7 Feb

Are you still looking for Valentine’s Day ideas?  Well, below are some of my favorite Valentine’s Day activities in the DC area:

  • Bring a picnic to Gravelly Point (VA) and watch the planes take off and land.

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  • Want to feel relaxed?  Visit a spa.  To make it more “coupley” – get a couples massage.  Matt and I had a couples massage at M3 in Georgetown.
  • Do you want to do the dinner and a movie?  Well, I would recommend dinner at Filomena in Georgetown and then a romantic movie at AMC Loews Georgetown.
  • Like to ice skate?  Go ice skating in Georgetown and then follow it up with dinner and, more importantly, dessert at Serendipity 3.

Serendipidity

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  • If you love chocolate & wine, you must try Coco Sala.  They have a special Valentine’s Day menu for $120 per person with wine pairings.
  • Something I have never done, but would LOVE to do is an Odyssey or Spirit of Washington cruise.  Spirit‘s Valentine’s Day packages start at  $99.90 per person.    Odyssey‘s prices start at $129.90 per person.
  • Another great option is to take a cooking class together at Sur La Table in Arlington, VA (click here).  The price for the class is $79pp and includes the dinner menu you will be able to eat afterwards.

For a list of restaurants with Valentine’s Day offers, check out OpenTable.com.

What are your DC Valentine’s Day plans?

October in the District

1 Oct

October is one of my favorite months in the District.  There are so many great fall festivals and halloween activities.  Here is a list of some of my favorite October happenings around the District of Columbia:

  • Oktoberfest at Biergarten Haus in Washington, DC.
  • Oktoberfest Reston from October 5-7, 2012.
  • Germantown Oktoberfest on October 6, 2012.
  • Snallygaster in Washington, DC.  Saturday, October 13, 2012.
  • Nightmare on M Street.  Saturday, October 27, 2012.
  • Silver Spring Zombie Walk on Saturday, October 27.  You can read my past post here.  This is a MUST see or participate.  You can watch the zombies walk around 8pm in downtown Silver Spring or participate by dressing up as a zombie and walking with the hundreds of other zombies.  It is a lot of fun.
  • Boo at the Zoo.  The National Zoo’s Trick or Treat Event.  October 26-28, 2012.
  • Terrorville in Aldie, VA.  Until October 28, 2012.
  • DC Drag Queen Race 2012.  Tuesday, October 30, 2012.
  • Markoff’s Haunted Forest in Dickerson, MD.  Open until October 31, 2012.
  • Field of Screams in Olney, Maryland. Until November 3, 2012.
  • Summers Farm in Frederick, MD (about an hour outside of DC).  There is so much to do at this farm for all ages.  You can pick pumpkins, pet animals, shoot out apples, challenge yourself at the many different mazes, go through a corn maze, play mini golf, watch pig races, jump on huge “jumping pillows”, ride on a hay ride, and more!  I HIGHLY recommend visiting this farm.  Open until November 6, 2012.

DC Fall Festivities

21 Sep

Fall may be the best season in DC for festivals and activities.  There is just so much going on!  The following is a quick list of some of my favorite festivals/activities in DC in September and October. Please add any other festivals you think of in the comments section.  Please note I will do a later post on Halloween festivities!

Happy Fall!

Adam’s Morgan Day – September 9 (PASSED – sorry!)

H Street Festival – September 15  (PASSED – sorry!)

Fiesta DC – September 23

WalkingTown & BikingTown DC – September 24 – October 1

Turkish Festival – September 30

Mount Vernon Wine Festival & Sunset Tours – October 5-7

Virgin Mobile FreeFest – October 6

Taste of Bethesda – October 6 (see my post about last year’s Taste of Bethesda)

Columbia Heights Day – October 6

Taste of DC – October 6 – 8 (see my post here about last year’s Taste of DC)

Cirque du Soleil’s Totem – now until October 7

Maryland Renaissance Festival – now until October 21

Capitol Skyline Hotel Pool

15 Jun

Capitol Skyline Hotel’s pool is a great hang out spot on Saturdays and Sundays.  Pool parties are thrown by various organizations.  It is a little bit of Vegas in DC.  Last Saturday there was an aerialist, food trucks, DJs, pool toys, and lots of people, perfect for people watching.  In the morning, you will find some children there, but as the afternoon gets on the pool is filled with the 20s-30s crowd.   Click here for information about the Sunday parties.

See you at the pool!

Shortcut to Europe: European Union Embassies’ Open House

5 Jun

A month ago was Passport DC’s “Shortcut to Europe: European Union Embassies’ Open House.”  As the name implies, the EU countries open their embassies to visitors.  The following is my review of the embassies I visited:

BELGIUM:  Free beer and chocolates – what could be better than that?  Must visit!

CROATIA:  Kind of just a walk-in, walk-out embassy.  We took a cool picture though.

DENMARK:  Tour of ambassador’s residence.  Free cheese and bread.  Ride bikes.  Play with Legos.  A lot fewer tourists due to location so I felt less congested.

FINLAND:  Very eco-friendly building.  The year I went (2010) there was a lot of free food and drinks.  The food was seafood-centric.  The ambassador was there, which is nice since it seems that most of the time the ambassadors do not show up to the event.

HUNGARY:  Beautiful dogs.  Food you can pay for.  Girls dressed in traditional outfits.

ITALY:  Food looked good but you pay for it.  A lot of booths.

NETHERLANDS:  Beautiful ambassador’s residence.  Yummy free cookies.

PORTUGAL:  This was probably my favorite embassy this year.  Beautiful video about the country.  Tour of embassy with tour guide.  Free Portuguese dessert and wine.

SWEDEN:  This is the most beautiful embassy.  It is located on Georgetown’s waterfront.  It is a very bright and open building with windows for walls.  And, the rooftop is amazing – views of the Potomac, Georgetown, Kennedy Center, and Watergate.  They gave away free bags here.  Cookies for sale.

UNITED KINGDOM:  A must visit embassy.  You can tour the property.  When I went in 2010 there was free Pimms (it’s a drink).  Lots of free goodies including a bag I still use today.

I have also visited SLOVAKIA, CZECH REPUBLIC, LIECHTENSTEIN, and AUSTRIA.

Around the World Embassy Tour

9 May

Last Saturday, Erika, Stacia and I hit up Embassy Row in Washington, DC, for the Around the World Embassy Tour, which was part of Passport DC. Here are some of my comments about the embassies that we visited:

Brazil:  The Capoeira was entertaining.  The ambassador’s residence was beautiful.  Disappointed by the lack of food and drinks especially for a country that has such great food and drinks.

 Turkey:  Great art and booths about the different areas of the country and Northern Cyprus.  Wine tasting was not so great, but appreciated.  There were some food samples that were ok.

Japan:  Cool exhibits, such as the tsunami exhibit.

Chad:  You kind of just walk in and then walk out.  Super small space, but interesting to learn about a less familiar country.

Cote d’Ivoire:  We were treated like queens at this embassy.  The financial attache took a picture of us with guys dressed in traditional outfits.  We were given a good size plate of food.

Belize:  Not impressed.  Food for sale. No entertainment when we were there.  I think/hope they were still getting set up.

Indonesia:  Beautiful building.  The stairwell took our breathe away.

Mozambique:  Good info.  I really want to go to this country.

Peru:  Free drinks.  Food outside looked good, but they were charging.  Llamas were adorable.  This is a great embassy to visit.

Rwanda:  Supposedly great coffee (they ran out by the time we got there).  Beautiful brochure.  Not much to the embassy.

Venezuela:  GREAT juice!  The guava juice was amazing.  There was a tour, then juice outside, then music, then a tourism room.  Great set up.

Australia:  Best overall experience.  Got fake tattoos.  Did a wine tasting (great wine).  Tried some good cheese.  Saw some lizards.  Great exhibits.

Don’t forget that THIS SATURDAY is Shortcut to Europe: European Union Embassies’ Open House!  I hope to see you out there!

Passport DC

15 Apr

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If you are in DC in the month of May, make sure to check out Cultural Tourism DC’s website for a list of events.  May is “International Cultural Awareness Month” in DC and, to celebrate, Cultural Tourism DC puts on a month-long festival called Passport DC.  The Around the World Embassy Tour, which is part of Passport DC, is one of my most favorite DC events.  This year it is to take place on Saturday, May 5.  The event includes over 40 embassies opening to the public and having food, drinks and cultural events (many of which are free).  There is also a similar European-centric event taking place on Saturday, May 12.  I HIGHLY recommend these events.  Two years ago when I went I visited the Afghan (interesting food), British (beautiful grounds), Belgian (awesome beer tasting), Finnish (a lot of fish foods), Hungarian (cute dogs), Czech, Cape Verde, Austrian, Slovakian, and other embassies.  DO DO DO take advantage of the month-long celebration put on by Cultural Tourism DC.

White House Garden Tours

1 Apr

Every spring and fall the White House’s gardens and grounds open to tourists.  Tickets are free and are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.  The tickets are timed and are distributed by the National Park Service at the Ellipse Visitor Pavilion the day of the tour.  I have had the opportunity to visit the gardens (see photos below) and I believe that is a MUST DO if you are in Washington, DC, the weekend of the gardens and grounds tour.   I was unable to find the dates for the 2012 spring tours, but the tours tend to be in April so continue to check online for the 2012 schedule.

A Monumental Run Around DC

26 Mar

Last Saturday Matt and I ran 4 miles around the Tidal Basin and National Mall. We passed the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and the MLK Memorial. And, on top of that, we were lucky to run on one of the last days of the cherry blossoms. I had my Iphone with me to snap some photos of the beautiful scenery (see below). Despite the dreary weather, we had a great time and got some good exercise. I highly recommend taking a “monumental” run around DC!

Samantha Brown at the Travel Expo

18 Mar

I met the Travel Channel’s Samantha Brown at the Travel & Adventure Show
in Washington, DC, on March 17, 2012. She is a personable entertainer. She signed autographs, took pictures and spoke individually to her fans. When I had the chance to meet her, I asked her about honeymoon destinations. She helped reaffirm Matt and I’s decision to go to South Africa for our honeymoon. When I asked her about honeymoon spots and told her that we were thinking of South Africa, she said that she had wanted to go to South Africa on her honeymoon, but they went to Key West instead. She indicated that we made a good decision. Patricia Schultz (author of “1,000 Places to See Before You Die”) also said during her speech that if there is only one thing you do in life, you need to go on a African safari (she said it a lot more eloquently). Yesterday was a very productive day for Matt and I – South Africa, here we come (in 1 1/2 years…)! 🙂