By the time most of you are reading this issue, New Years Eve will have passed and you are probably in the middle of taking down the last of the season’s decorations! I was the only resident on the north side of our One National Harbor condo building that even put lights on my balcony so I guess my neighbors weren’t as in the spirit as I was! The Harbor looks very festive, however, and there are a few days to come take a last minute look at the decorations and experience ICE – which runs through the 4th.
This is a bittersweet time of the year for many of us. We are sad that the holidays are over but happy that the hullabaloo that comes with them has died down. It’s a good time to take a break and get settled in for the winter for some of us and for others it’s the time to embark on new adventures. Either way, there is something in the Harbor to satisfy both.
For those looking to take a break, it may be a good time to check out the Harbor’s premier spa, Relache! (see add on accompanying page) Relache is located in the Gaylord Hotel and Resort and was named one of “America’s Top 100 Spas” by Spas of America. Their focus is your health, wellness and relaxation. There are 12 very luxurious treatment rooms including one for couples overlooking the river. They offer massages, facials, and body, hand and foot therapies along with a host of the latest treatments. Also available is a co-ed river view relaxation room, saunas and steam rooms. All changing areas have private lockers, showers and personal amenities. This is a place to be no matter your gender.
The Harbor is still growing in leaps and bounds. The Tanger Outlet’s have been open a little over a year and adding new stores every month. I am not a big “shopper” and have to admit I have been to the outlets only twice but I discovered the Tommy Bahama store last spring and it is my favorite!
The MGM Grand Casino began construction this summer and it appears to be on schedule. They have a beautiful plan in place that will be nothing like the other casinos in our commuting area. We will actually have a Las Vegas style, high-end venue with big name entertainment, restaurants and retail! It will do wonders for the convention and visitor business in the area as well as provide another entertainment option for us locals. Right now, however, the traffic pattern and road detours make getting around that area of Oxon Hill Road a little difficult. I have been lost twice trying to get home from treks to Southern Maryland!! The Publisher of this fine publication grew up in that area and he even got lost! Hopefully this will improve as the foundation for the casino gets pulled together.
The Capitol Wheel made its debut on Memorial Day weekend. There has been a bit of controversy among the masses about the wheel – it’s too gawdy, the lights are too bright, etc. All of which is personal taste but I am here to tell you that more people are huge fans than not, including yours truly. While I think the price for a ride is on the high side, I believe we will see a decrease in that going into 2015. They offered all sorts of special rates during the holidays. National Harbor is a resort after all and we want lots of people to come to the resort!
Retail at the Harbor is still trying to find a happy medium. My favorite store, Stonewall Kitchen, has probably been open for the longest period of time. They have good products and know how to market themselves. Several new retail stores have opened in the Harbor in the past year and they out-number the stores that closed. Being a retailer in a resort area is tough when winter sets in. There aren’t any major events and the convention business slows down considerably. I think that once the number of “locals” visiting the harbor picks up (you would be amazed at how many people who live 10 minutes from the place haven’t taken the trek) regular business will settle in.
Last January I talked about looking forward to a new neighborhood restaurant that would fill the space that Ashton Kutcher & partners Ketchup vacated. The Walrus Oyster and Ale House opened last fall. The concept is based on the poem, “The Walrus and the Carpenter.” The menu is a fun one and the drinks are an adventure as well. Redstone American Grill opened up in the huge space on the waterfront – where the Classic Movie Mural was – last summer. This is probably the prime location to watch the Capitol Wheel spin around. Both of these places are a great addition to the restaurant scene. It is worth your while to give them a try. In the meantime, I would also recommend that you treat yourself to a waterfront experience at McLoone’s Pier House on the water, some lively Irish music and accompanying fare at Harrington’s Pub and Kitchen or watch your favorite sports team and grab some great American fare at the Public House on Fleet Street. We can’t forget one of my favorite spots, Bond 45, between Bond and their sister restaurant, Fiorella’s, you won’t be disappointed by either the food or drink.
We hope that getting you all familiar with what is available at the Harbor will entice you to come visit – if you haven’t already – or to make your first trip to this very happening place. Wishing you and yours a very happy and prosperous New Year!
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