The Travel & Adventure Show is in Washington, DC, THIS weekend, March 17-18, 2012. There is to be presentations by Samantha Brown, Patricia Schultz (Author of “1,000 Places to See Before You Dies”), and other travel authors and agents; exhibitors featuring many countries and experiences; culinary and dance shows; giveaways, door prizes, and travel specials; and other adventure activities (e.g., rock climbing, scuba diving and more).
If interested in attending, TravelZoo has a deal until Thursday, March 15, for admission for 2 persons for only $9. Click here for the deal.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC is later this month: March 20-April 27, 2013. There are a lot of events around DC, e.g., special exhibits, screenings, etc. – some of which have already started! Many events are free so check the website for details.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival website states that the mean date of blooming is April 4. That of course depends heavily on weather and other conditions. However, if I were to plan a trip to DC, I would plan it around then and/or the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. You can check the blooming status on the National Cherry Blossom Festival’s “Bloom Watch” site.
My favorite location for the cherry blossoms is the Tidal Basin (the area where the Jefferson Memorial is). If you can go paddle boating, I highly recommend that. I also recommend bringing a picnic and eating under one of the trees.
Cherry blossom season in Washington, DC is a MUST DO.
National ShamrockFest is coming up on Saturday, March 24! I have gone to the past two ShamrockFests and loved them both (even with the 2010 rain storm). ShamrockFest includes 50 bands and DJs, 10 stages, food, beer, carnival rides, TVs to watch the games, and more. This year ShamrockFest will have such big names as Dropkick Murphys, Gavin DeGraw, Carbon Leaf, and DJ Chris Styles. If you have not gone to this festival yet, I highly recommend it! You can buy tickets here.
The following are some photos from my time at ShamrockFest:
(Senator Klobuchar and me at a “Minnesota Morning“)
If you are traveling to or residing in the DC metro area, you should take advantage of having breakfast with your senators. Many senators offer a breakfast for their constituents either once a week or periodically throughout the year. You can usually find the schedule by checking out the senator’s website. For example, Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN) offers “Minnesota Mornings” “every Thursday morning when Senate is in session,” according to her website. While, Senator Al Franken (MN) offers his breakfasts every Wednesday (when Senate is in session). These breakfasts are great to take advantage of not only because they are free, but also because you get to have (hopefully) good food (usually food from your home state), talk to people from your home state, and meet your senators.
The Fourth Annual Silver Spring (MD) Zombie Walk took place on Saturday, October 22nd. Thousands of people showed up to participate in the event either as a zombie, zombie fighter, human sacrifice, or as an onlooker. There was fog machines, street closures, a zombie parade route, and spooky music. The event ends each year with a zombie flick at AFI. This year’s flick was Dead Snow. The zombie walk is a lot of fun for everyone and is well worth participating in or merely visiting next year!
Nightmare Screamplex is said to be the largest and scariest Halloween event in the DC Metro area. It sure was large – it took us 45 minutes to walk through the place – but I do hope that there is something scarier out there. The event is creative: you start in a forest, then go through a corn “maze” (there is no real maze, you just follow the path), and then you go through a haunted house. The forest was a casual walk with the occasional “boo” and rock tripage. The corn maze was fun to walk through, but the maze part was sorely missed. And, finally, the haunted house was the best of the three with the different themed rooms that included one high school actor in each room. The acting in the haunted house was great, but it was not the acting that ended up scaring me. The only part of the whole complex that scared me was the walk through the black inflation room. This room plays into any claustrophobia issues you may have. You have no idea how long the room goes for, you can’t see anything, and you are completely surrounded by an inflated wall. Thank goodness Matt was behind me holding the walls in front of me or I may have just lost it.
All in all, this is a great place for young kids who get scaried easily, but older kids/young adults may prefer to go elsewhere to be scared.
A week before Running of the Brides, I was booking an appointment at Kleinfelds when I remembered one of my former colleagues telling me about Running of the Brides. I decided to check out the website and low and behold they happened to be having an event in DC the next week. I told Matt and, to my surprise, he was familiar with Running of the Brides and willing to go with me. We originally thought about going at 7am, but quickly found out from numerous people that the line starts forming the night before and that by 7am there will not be any more dresses on the racks. We read on the website that dresses start going back on the racks around 11am so we decided to go this route (especially since we are in no hurry to get a dress).
On October 14, 2011, after our morning run and doing a few chores around DC, Matt and I casually walked into Filene’s Basement around 11am. The chaos was not as bad as we had imagined (although I am sure that a few hours before that it was complete mayhem). There were those typical Running of the Brides’ brides wearing only a bra and underwear standing around with a group of ladies wearing matching t-shirts. A lot of hoarding of dresses was still happening, but at this time people were being more open about trading dresses. Despite there being dresses throughout the store (on the floor, on racks, on top of racks, everywhere), I did not have much hope in finding “my” dress. By the time we arrived my size looked to be completely gone and most of the dresses were not white. But, as Matt and I always say “it was a learning experience.”
What I learned from this event is that next time I am arriving earlier and with a large group that can run and grab lots of dresses. And, additionally, and probably most importantly, I am not a long wedding dress fan. The short, simple wedding dresses are me. Matt and I fell in love with the Alred Angelo dress that I am wearing in the picture above. We did not buy this dress because it was six sizes too big, it had stains, and it was torn due to the madness at the event. However, hopefully we will find a similar dress at the next Running of the Brides or maybe even Kleinfelds.
Taste of DC was not so much of a “taste” but a whole heap of DC. The food portions and prices were what you would get at any festival, not a tasting. For four tickets (or $6) you could have gotten a Ben’s Chili Bowl half smoke. Or, for one ticket ($1.50), you could get 1 spring roll. This just did not make sense for what was supposed to be a tasting. The Taste of DC organizers need to take advice from the Taste of Bethesda organizers and get their food vendors to actually give out tastings, not their whole product, and charge a reasonable price. I paid more for a half smoke at the festival than I would if I had gone to their actual location! And, it would have tasted much better! The half smoke I ate at the festival was significantly burnt. I do have to say though I was pleasantly surprised to see Guapos Restaurant there. I have to do a shot out to Guapos who satisfied my Mexican food cravings throughout college.
So, as you can tell, the food at the Taste of DC was nothing to write home about. The music on the other hand was great. And, in particular, the Big and Rich concert was a concert worth seeing. My Minnesota country-ness came out at the festival: I sang along to all the songs I knew, I waved my cowgirl hat in the air, and I tried to keep my huge crush of John Rich in tack. Tickets were extremely reasonable: I paid $13 in advance (it was $15 at the festival) and even if you did not buy tickets, you could clearly see the stage from the sidewalk or festival grounds.
All in all, next year I will keep my eye out for the festival entertainment schedule, but I will eat beforehand.
Food. Rain. Food. Rain. Food. Rain. That pretty much sums up my experience at the Taste of Bethesda. What I can say for certain though is that despite the rain, all was a go. Attitudes and enthusiasm were high, which kept our spirits going. Many times we considered seeking shelter, but the smell of barbecue, kabobs, Thai, and even matzo ball soup kept my feet moving. I was able to try quite a bit that by the end of the festival my stomach was satisfied. And, best of all, we only spent $15/per person (which equated to 12 tickets per person to be used towards samples). All in all, great date idea for hungry souls like Matt and me.
The following are the restaurants/foods I tried:
Divino Lounge - Argentine sausage (AMAZING) and skirt steak sandwich (good, but does not beat the sausage)
Nest Cafe - pulled pork (I normally don’t like pulled pork but this was AMAZING) and sweet potato fries (really good – crisp and thin – how I like them)
Olazzo - Penne with meatball (the sauce on the pasta was super good – the meatball was a bit spicy)
Georgetown Cupcake -salted carmel cupcake (good)
Spring Mill Bread Company - bread galore! (yummy)
Uptown Deli - Dr. Brown’s black cherry soda (super good)
Kabob Bazaar - Diet Coke (poor choice on Matt’s part – Diet Coke is gross)
Don’t forget: Taste of Georgetown – October 15, 2011 (http://tasteofgeorgetown.com/)