From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

When the storm passes #wheelbewaiting

By Lani Gering

As much as I have been trying to keep a “the glass is half full” attitude while this pandemic carries on, it is getting harder and harder to do. I keep telling myself that I live in a “resort” and that the “resort” is basically closed down! Without the Gaylord being operational and all of the restrictions for gathering together, the Harbor has pretty much been a ghost town for the last 8 weeks.  My purpose for penning this column each month has always been to generate foot traffic to the Harbor and we know that even if there was something going on we couldn’t gather anywhere…..even the piers that lead to the water have been closed off so I can’t even walk out to the ends to clear my head. Trust me, I need a little head clearing.

Photo Credit Waymon Meeks

A few of the restaurants are providing delivery and curbside pickup. McCormick and Schmick’s has probably had the most success on this front since they are also offering grocery items at a very reasonable price. As with the restaurants across the bridge in VA, they are selling adult beverages to go along with wine and beer. Retail is virtually non-existent. There are a couple of stores that are offering online shopping deals but I’m not sure how successful they are. It is tough enough for them during the slow season when locals are their main audience so this has really taken a toll.

Normally, whatever that is, we would be getting all squared away for the free fitness classes, the Friday night happy hours, games and live entertainment, concerts, movies on the Potomac and festivals that start up in the Merry Month of May. Bobby McKey’s is “airing” virtual performances on Facebook but I have no clue how, or even if, I can watch them on my television.

Enough of “Debbie Downer”! There have been some bright spots amidst the gloom and I do believe that we will come back stronger. One of the residents here at One National Harbor Condominiums took the initiative to serenade us from his balcony on American Way. Taking the idea from Maurizio Marchini, the Italian tenor who serenaded quarantined residents of Florence, Italy from his balcony in March. Jeffrey sang Stars – one of the many fantastic songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Les Miserable. He sang accompanied by the music score on a beautiful sunny afternoon. It was a little windy but that didn’t put a damper on things. He did a fantastic job. I only wish we had had a bit more notice in order to get more residents to hang out on their Juliette balconies to listen to him. I live on the opposite side of the building so I watched from the street. Little things like this can make a huge difference.

Another “silver lining” is that the little store aka Potomac Gourmet Market that is in the ONH building has been stocked up with more fresh vegetable and meat offerings than they usually have as well as the rest of the grocery line in inventory. They did, however, close the Deli/Café section and that was really disappointing. Their soups were fantastic!

There are Harbor residents that are gathering pandemic supplies – including toilet paper and hand sanitizer – and selling them at cost to their neighbors. Even though we have been forced to come together as a neighborhood, I think there are several of us that never would have connected if it weren’t for the virus and that makes me happy.

The Wheel has been an inspiration on a continual basis. They light it up nightly with an uplifting color scheme and graphics. Think hearts and swirls and all sorts of light tricks. It was blue when the Harbor turned all of the lights blue in honor of those who are on the frontlines of the pandemic. Their current promotion is “Wheel Be Waiting”. I love it.

I am going to close out with I have deemed the Old Town Crier’s pandemic catch phrase:

“Keep Your Distance and Wash Your Hands!”

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