A Bridge Too Far…
By Lani Gering
A Bridge Too Far….
I continue to be amazed at the number of friends and acquaintances that live and work in the Alexandria and surrounding area who tell me they have yet to take the short trip across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge to experience the Harbor! What really amazes me is that most of them are within a mere 5 mile radius at the max.
I was talking to Josh Winston, the Honcho of Tourism in the Harbor, last week and he confirmed my suspicions when he told me about an independent survey that was conducted a year ago during the holidays. The number of interviewee’s from the land far, far away across the bridge to the Commonwealth was almost non-existent compared to the other areas of the 50 mile radius in this region. There were significant numbers of people from Anne Arundel, Montgomery, Calvert and St. Mary’s counties in Maryland and these all have close to the same demographics as Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun counties and Alexandria/Arlington in Virginia. So why the vast difference?
After talking, once again, to some of my local pals I find that the stigma about “crossing the bridge” to the Harbor is the same one as “crossing the bridge(s)” to the District. There seems to be something about having to cross a bridge around here (other than for work) to be entertained! My partner here at the Crier is a local and is guilty of the same thing. Sometimes it is all I can do to get him to attend events and meet friends in the District and he actually knows his way around all of the damned circles and one-way streets! It is a phobia of sorts I guess. Now, he has no problem crossing the Woody Bridge on a regular basis since it is on the way to his sailboat…..
I understand that there are lots of readers out there who still think that Prince George’s County isn’t a safe place to be. It hasn’t had the best reputation over the years but it has certainly changed in the 23 years I have lived in the area – especially in the last 8-9 years. It is a HUGE county and there are some scary parts just like in any other area (think the ‘berg in Alexandria, SE area of DC, etc.) but National Harbor is anything but. I live here, I should know. In fact, it is sort of what I imagine living in a resort would be like. It has beautiful landscaping, fantastic bars and restaurants, fun free entertainment on a regular basis, a great assortment of shops, the Capitol Wheel and of course the Gaylord and the upcoming ICE!
With the holidays fast approaching, October may be a good time to make that inaugural visit to the Harbor so you have the lay of the land before all of the festivities kick in. The Harbor is accessible by water taxi from Old Town Alexandria and Georgetown and there is plenty of parking that isn’t any more expensive than anywhere else in the urban area. Really no excuse for not making the trek across that big old bridge – which is one of the best looking in the area if I say so myself!
Publishers Note: The bridges go both ways and we know that there are those of you on the “other” side who haven’t been to Old Town Alexandria for a while or maybe ever. Now is a good time to take the plunge and treat yourselves to some fun on the Virginia side!