From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

National Harbor – December 2013

I am going to admit it right here in this column, I am really looking forward to Christmas this year for the first time in several! I really don’t know what to attribute to my unexpected enthusiasm. I think it may have started when I sent my great nephew (meaning I am old and he is also great), Mason, his Elf on the Shelf a few weeks ago. The “Elf” is supposed to watch boys and girls during the day and report to Santa at night when they are sleeping so…I sent Mason’s Elf to his grandmother so he would behave at her house! I know my sister appreciates that. The day after I mailed Elf off, we attended the preview of ICE at the Gaylord Resort and what did I find in that gift shop…a miniature Elf on the Shelf that I immediately purchased and sent to Mason’s father. Now he has to be really good at both houses! For some reason this put me in a holiday frame of mind!

In previous years, ICE was located in a large tent located about a block from the hotel and featured The Grinch and characters from several of Dreamworks blockbuster movies with the likes of Shrek and Madagascar. This year, not only have they moved the location right next to the hotel where you can literally walk out of the atrium and almost right into the tent, the main theme is based on one of my very favorite Christmas poems, “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. I was skeptical about the affect constructing the venue on the Riverview Terrace would have on the landscape of the resort but it seems to have worked fine. I also believe that the price tag on the tickets is a bit more reasonable than in years past.

Enough about the mechanics, let’s talk about the show! I have to admit that I am a big enough sap that I kind of teared up a couple of times during our tour through this incredible maze while listening to the story as we walked through. While the images in this section are good, they don’t do justice to the actual sculptures and I guess the ambiance with the lighting and the music help as well. I attempted one of the 20 foot ice slides and guess I didn’t lean far enough back to just whip down it but I scooted to the best of my ability. When they tell you to lean WAYYY back, do it! It was still fun even though several of the attendants had a good laugh at my expense!

Nativity Scene
Nativity Scene

As an extra attraction, this year ICE has a “Tribute to the Big Apple” section and a beautiful Nativity scene sculpture. The Christmas in New York City tribute is complete with a very festive Lady Liberty and a signature Yellow Cab (you can actually sit in the ice cab) along with the city’s famous skyline. The nativity sculpture is all carved in clear ice and is accompanied by a light show that reflects all sorts of beautiful shadows. All sections of the venue are accompanied with narration and music. To be honest, I may even make a point to go through it again while it’s here. For more detailed information on all of the events taking place during the holiday at the Gaylord Resort, keep the insert that is included in this issue on hand or log on to

While you are in the Harbor please take time to patronize those advertisers who regularly contribute in order for us to keep this section alive: Public House Restaurant, Harrington’s Pub and Kitchen, McLoone’s Pier House, Gaylord Hotel & Resort and Stonewall Kitchen. Look for news about the new retailers who have opened up in the harbor and a report on the introduction of the Tanger Outlet Mall opening in the upcoming January issue.

~ Written by: Lani Gering

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