From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

We’re Baaacckk…..

By Lani Gering

We’re Baaacckk…..

…..or at least we are getting prepared to be back in business on some level this month. I am getting so tired of seemingly focusing on the sad and depressing part of our day-to-day these last two and a half months, I decided to let you all in on what the Harbor is doing to keep all of you safe when the actual go ahead to open up to the public is announced. Keep a watch on your local news.

Those of you who have experienced the Harbor know that it is kept pretty darn spiffed up at all times. It’s unusual it even see a cigarette butt on the street on a normal day. Milt Peterson is adamant that this is the norm. That being said, since the beginning of the pandemic, we have had maintenance personnel roaming around the place with sanitizer spray and cloth wipes in hand cleaning all of the obvious handles, railings, and other places people commonly touch in addition to keeping up the regular maintenance. Looks like they got a jump on things.


While I was doing the research for this column aka walking around the place, Harbor personnel were putting some of the final elements in place. Hand sanitizer dispensers, the yellow “spacing circles”, “dots” or whatever they have been named, are in place on corners and in areas known to be gathering places and there are clever signs near the statues along American Way asking that you don’t “touch” as well as other signage letting you know what kind of behavior is acceptable.

I have to say that whoever is heading up this project is pretty clever with the graphics and signage. It sends a much friendlier message than “DO NOT TOUCH, MASK REQUIRED”, etc. There is even a mask on our centerpiece sculpture The Awakening. It is in the form of a Maryland State Flag. He looks pretty cool. Some of the other sculptures have had masks placed on them that come and go – the Harbor marketing people don’t take credit for this so I am sure they are  courtesy of some clever residents. Marilyn even made the cover of Forbes magazine.

At the time of this writing the barricades preventing visitors from walking down the piers and gathering on the plaza were still intact.  In conversing with the security guy who was parked on National Plaza, he said he wasn’t exactly sure how they were going to be able to keep people “socially distanced” once it opens for movies and performances. For some reason I have my doubts about those yellow “spacing circles” actually working. Hell, even I’m a little confused by them.

Photo by Chase

I am hoping that they aren’t cancelling the concerts and movies for the season that take place on the Plaza and that the Carousel and Capital Wheel will be back in business soon. They are both icons here in the Harbor and are what set us apart from the other great hot spots (the good kind) along the Potomac River.

Photo by Waymon Meeks

An official announcement may have come out by the time you are reading this so we might already have the answers to some of these questions/concerns. When it does, I will post the information on our Facebook page @oldtowncrier.

In the meantime, enjoy this fabulous photo of a typical Harbor sunset on the Maryland side of the river and take a look at the other images to get yourself acquainted with our “new normal” markers. I am looking forward to summer with an adjusted attitude!

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