From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, To the Blue Ridge

SPROUT:  To Grow, Spring Up, Come Forth

By Meg Mullery On a beautiful autumn evening last September, Sprout Therapeutic Riding & Education Center in Aldie, Virginia, hosted a gala celebrating Sprout’s Tenth Anniversary. While these kinds of formal events are not unusual in the D.C. area, this one was far from your typical black-tie soiree. Guests entered the event, which took place in Sprout’s riding facility, through a line of stalls that housed a welcoming committee of very excited ponies and horses with heads sticking out hoping for pats or treats. This led to the large indoor riding ring magically transformed into an elegant venue with chandeliers, loads of twinkle lights, large potted palms, dining tables, a dance floor and live music. After cocktails and dinner, the time came to introduce the guest of honor. A Sprout staffer wearing a stunning gown led a large horse named Duke into the event to a standing ovation. Duke was recognized for his many years of patient lesson service and continuing to prove there is a transformative connection between human and horse. Duke is just one of the 18 uniquely trained horses that give hope and confidence to students at Sprout. And then it was time to dance. And dance they did. Party-goers of all abilities crowded onto the floor. If one were to create a tableau that captured the spirit and vision of Sprout, the gala would serve as the model. Sprout encourages and embraces friendship, fun, and community. Each week, Sprout serves nearly 185 individuals ranging in age from a one-year-old diagnosed with spinal muscle atrophy, to a thirty-year-old survivor of a traumatic brain injury, to an eighty-year-old with advancing physical and mental deterioration. Since Sprout began operations in 2011 its programs have expanded to include adaptive riding/driving; equine supported therapies; community lessons; equine assisted learning; competition; and…

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From the Bay, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Keeping Your Boat and Body Cool

By Kelsey Bonham Every Chesapeake Bay sailor knows how hot and sticky a long day on the water can be, but not only can it be unpleasant, it can also be dangerous. As the dog days of summer approach, these tips will help you keep your decks, cabin, and crew cool, making your sailing experience more enjoyable for everyone. Invest in a Bimini or Canvas Tarp Shade is crucial. Biminis are one of the best ways to keep your cockpit shielded from the sun, but if a bimini isn’t in your future, consider purchasing or fashioning a canvas tarp that can be suspended over the cockpit. If you’re feeling really thrifty, an old sail might even do the trick. Open Your Hatches Strategically Cabins are notorious for turning into saunas. Opening any hatches will make a difference but creating a tunnel of airflow through the cabin is best. A combination of an open foredeck hatch with an open companionway will help a breeze flow through most efficiently. Try a Windscoop If opening the hatches alone doesn’t invite enough air down below, consider investing in a windscoop or fashioning one yourself to help guide the breeze into your hatches. Cook on Deck Every galley chef knows how quickly a stove can turn into a heater. If you have a removable stove, bring it on deck and enjoy practicing your culinary skills with a view of your anchorage. If your stove is firmly installed into your galley, consider grilling out over the transom or serving no-cook meals instead. Keep Wet Gear Outside Heat isn’t the only thing keeping you hot—humidity is also a major factor, especially on the Bay. If you have wet gear, whether it’s foul weather gear you stripped off following an afternoon downpour or a collection of sopping swimsuits,…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Stay Cool My Friends!

By Lani Gering Whewie….it was a hot damn (and not in the good way) July! I am sooooo hoping that August doesn’t follow suit. This ungodly hot weather really cuts into our sailing time and how am I supposed to maintain my golden tan if it’s too hot to soak in some sun? On the flip side…there are some “cool”, literally and figuratively, adult things to do inside some of my favorite places in the Harbor this month. Let’s start with a nice cool beverage at the Belvedere Lounge accompanied by the Summer Laser Light and Fountain show in the Atrium of the Gaylord Resort. The whole Atrium comes alive with this spectacular, swashbuckling show! Guests and visitors will be amazed when they view this dazzling display of lights, fountains, lasers and more. After the show head up to the Replay Lounge on the rooftop for a Material Girl Frose, Under the Sea Margarita or a Caribbean Queen Pina Colada – their summer frozen drink collection! Don’t forget to check out Friday and Saturday Night Movies in the Atrium through September 5th as well! Lots of “Hot Deals” taking place at the Capital Wheel this month. Enjoy a cold beverage in the air-conditioned comfort of a climate controlled gondola as you spin above the Harbor overlooking the Potomac from the Washington Monument to Mount Vernon. Just grab your beverage at the Flight Deck before you board and you are in business. They are once again celebrating National Dog Day at the Wheel. I have to admit that the last place I want to take my dog is on a wheel ride or to a baseball game but….I get it…there are lots of you out there who are “on board” J with it. Here is a way to celebrate your favorite…

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Caribbean Connection, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

The Best Caribbean Rainforest Resorts

By Bob Curley Nearly every island in the Caribbean is ringed with beautiful beaches, but there’s more to a Caribbean vacation than sun and sand. Just inland from the coast on many islands you’ll find steep-sided mountains carpeted in lush rainforest, a less undeveloped and often unexplored side to what are, after all, tropical islands. In destinations like St. Lucia, Dominica, Puerto Rico, Belize and Panama, take the path less traveled to one of these beautiful resorts hidden among the palms and ferns: Secret Bay, Dominica Secret Bay promises a “six-star” rainforest resort experience, and this Relais & Chateaux boutique hotel delivers with all-suite accommodations featuring private plunge pools, dining on sustainably sourced food in your private villa or the open-air Zing Zing restaurant, dedicated hosts for each room, and a setting that blends the serenity of the rainforest with a secluded beachfront location — the best of both worlds. Of course, it’s not just the region’s best rainforest resort; it’s one of the best resorts in the hemisphere, period. Fond Doux Eco Resort, St. Lucia Sixteen cottages are scattered in lush tropical gardens on a working cacao plantation in the shadow of St. Lucia’s Piton Mountains. The Green Globe certified resort sources food for its two restaurants from plants and fruit trees growing on site, the Mama La Terre spa uses only organic materials in its treatments, and guest activities include chocolate-making, hikes to Petit Piton, swimming in a trio of pools, tree-planting programs, cooking classes, and a shuttle to the beach. Rabot Hotel/Hotel Chocolat, St. Lucia The Tree-to-Bar experience at the Rabot Hotel has nothing to do with drinks — it’s an immersive experience where guests learn about the process of turning cacao beans into Hotel Chocolat chocolate bars. Yum. And that’s just part of what’s delicious about a…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, Take Photos Leave Footprints

Africa’s Big-Five: A Safari Highlight

By Scott Dicken After what feels like a lifetime, and with the recent easing of COVID testing requirements to reenter the States, I’m finally back on the road (somewhat integral to the writing of a travel column). As I write my column this month, I’m sitting in a traditional Kosovar restaurant in Pristina, Kosovo while simultaneously attempting to plan a forthcoming trip to Mozambique and South Africa. The planning of the latter, which will incorporate several days on Safari in Kruger National Park, has rekindled my passion for safari – something that’s had to be shelved for the last few years. For that reason, the focus of this month’s column is safari’s infamous “Big-Five”. If you’ve ever been on Safari, or even just googled ‘safari’, then you’ve very likely come across the term ‘The Big-Five’. It’s the term used to describe the five animals (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo) that hunters found the most difficult and dangerous to hunt. Thankfully, the term is more prevalently used these days to attract tourists to game parks, reserves, and countries that play host to each of the Big-Five species. There are three important things to note about any attempt to spot the Big-5 on Safari: Just because a country hosts the Big-Five doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to see them all on the same safari on the same day (even with all the luck in the world). For example, you have the potential to see four of the Big-Five on a safari in Etosha National Park in Namibia, but if you want to spot a Cape Buffalo you’ll have to head elsewhere in the country. The combination of poaching, which can cause parks and countries to lose Big-Five status, in addition to the translocation of animals, which, for example, made Rwanda…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, Take Photos Leave Footprints

10 Steps to Planning your Next African Vacation

By Scott Dicken Planning a trip to Africa without professional assistance, particularly if it’s your first time, is an intimidating prospect. Fifty-four countries, thousands of hotels and lodges, hundreds of safari destinations, and prices that can reach eyewatering heights. It can be a lot to take in. To alleviate some of that stress, in this month’s Take Photos Leave Footprints article I’ll highlight an easy ten step process that’ll have you spotting the “Big 5”, or relaxing on an Indian Ocean beach, in no time. Step 1: Pick a Destination With fifty-four countries to choose from, picking a vacation destination in Africa is a daunting task. Be it a classic safari or a beach destination, I’ve created a cheat sheet that highlights some of the most popular African vacation countries and the activities possible in each. The table also provides three of the more popular sights in each of those countries to whet your appetite. INSERT TABLE Step 2: Choose a Time of Year and Length of Trip Choosing a time of year and length of trip is a crucial decision. Two full weeks (14-16 days) is the minimum amount of time id’ advise considering. Any less will feel rushed, particularly because of the long journeys involved. Additional considerations: Weather: As with all vacations, weather is always going to be key. Weather conditions vary across the continent, so you’ll want to check the weather for your chosen destination. One thing worth considering, if you’re partaking in safari activities, is that wildlife is more easily visible during the dry season when the foliage provides wildlife with less cover. Special Events or Seasons: The most obvious of these for East African safari goers is timing your trip to coincide with the location of the great wildebeest migration. However, you might also want…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Hot Times in the Harbor

By Susan Bounds “A bawdy, boozy night of revelry that goes down easy.” -Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Theatre Guide The National Harbor’s Waterfront District premiere restaurant, Bond 45 and New York Producer Holly-Anne Devlin are happy to announce that Speakeasy At The Sunset Room – an all-in-one immersive mixology experience that combines the worlds of cirque, illusion, burlesque and musical theatre with an upscale cocktail flight – will open at the Sunset Room in National Harbor for a limited engagement this summer following a sold out run in New York City.  Hailed as “deliciously decadent” (Newsbreak), and “dazzling, splashy, sexy, intoxicating” (NY Theatre Guide). Enjoy the delectable delicacies of Bond 45, while being tantalized by the world’s hottest stage, cirque and burlesque stars.  Each ticket for this magical mixology experience includes a flight of five cocktails and a delicious appetizer from Bond 45’s world class culinary team. Dinner and a Show packages which include a delicious three course meal at Bond 45 are also on offer.  This is the perfect celebratory night for friends, couples, bachelorette parties, Girls Night’s Out and more! Speakeasy is directed by Holly-Anne Devlin whose Broadway and Touring credits include Jersey Boys, Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays and Bring It On The Musical, choreographed by Broadway’s Michael Fatica (Beetlejuice, Hello Dolly, Frozen) and features the top cirque, burlesque, and theatrical performers in the world including Broadway’s Annelise Baker (Jagged Little Pill) as Imogen; Madison O’Connor (The Radio City Rockette’s) as Amour; Nichelle Lewis (Hairspray) as Bessie Bourbon, Lauren Mary Moore  as Fleur De Lis; international burlesque and opera singing sensation, Opera Gaga; star of Legendary on HBO Max Karma Stylez; Golden Clown of Monaco, international cirque star, Chen Lei,  tap dancing sensation, Brian Davis (After Midnight); and Oscar at the Crown star, Jada Temple as the mistress of ceremonies, Madam Lulu; along with internationally acclaimed burlesque and variety artists, Tansy Burlesque, Audrey Love, MisSa Blue, Chrishon Jerome, Hayley Lampart (Kinky Boots), Barnaby Llewellyn and Peekaboo Pointe; “America’s Got Talent” contortionist, Aryn; All Star Cheerleader Charlee Shae, world renowned cirque artist Allison Schieler and special guest stars from Broadway will also make appearances throughout the run….

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From the Bay, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Abandoned Boats in the Bay Waterways – A Big Problem

By Whitney Pipkin, Bay Journal News Service Whether lurking as hazards beneath the water’s surface or becoming eyesores as they drift ashore, abandoned boats are a growing problem in Chesapeake Bay waters — especially in Virginia. And they’re not as easy to get out of the water as they were to put in. The U.S. Coast Guard has documented 170 abandoned and derelict vessels in Virginia waters since 2013, and state officials are building a list of even more that need to be removed. Some boats are set adrift by storms and, in the absence of a fastidious owner, stay that way for months or years. Recreators who bought a boat during the pandemic may be realizing they no longer want to maintain one. But one of the biggest concerns involves boats built during the affordable fiberglass boat boom that began in the 1960s, which are reaching the end of their lifespans. The number being abandoned appears to be on the rise. “When luxury is built in,” reads one 1980 ad for a 37-foot cruiser with a fiberglass hull, “it doesn’t wear out.” Made with reinforced plastic-and-glass materials, these boats don’t blend into a marshy shoreline as they decompose, like their wooden forebears. Instead, they persist in the environment, shedding microplastic particles and leaching toxic materials over time. The boats often end up left in a marina or set adrift because the owner feels like there aren’t other options for disposal. Getting rid of a defunct boat can easily cost more than the boat is worth. Unlike old cars, whose mostly metal frames can be sold or donated for scrap materials, the fiberglass components of a boat “are practically worthless and tend to cost more to remove, prepare for disposal and dispose of than their parts are worth,” states a…

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Caribbean Connection, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

The Island of St. John Is Back in a Big Way

By Bob Curley The combination of no passport requirements, easy-to-understand COVID-19 rules and strong tourism management led to a boom in visits to the U.S. Virgin Islands from the mainland in 2021, helping to fuel a dramatic turnaround in tourism on St. John, which had struggled in the aftermath of devastating blows from Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. The storm wiped out one of St. John’s most iconic resorts, Caneel Bay, which still hasn’t reopened and possibly never will. But meanwhile, St. John has gained a new private island resort and many other new and revived hotels, restaurants, and attractions are drawing visitors back to the island in record numbers. Now in its second season, the Lovongo Resort & Beach Club is the hottest thing to happen to St. John in a long time. Set on a private cay offshore of Caneel Bay (the body of water, not the resort), Lovongo is a mix of guest accommodations and residential homes; stays can be as diverse as a luxury villa hideaway, a treehouse perch, or nights spend in a glamping tent. Guests also have the option of adding three nights on a charter yacht to their stay — a must do in the Virgin Islands, where the easiest way to get around is by boat. The beach club and waterfront dining only sweeten stays for overnight guests, as well as drawing in boaters and other day visitors. Virgin Islands National Park, which occupies 60 percent of St. John, is basically back to pre-Irma and pre-pandemic operation levels, with major attractions like the Reef Bay Trail, Trunk Bay beach with its famous snorkeling trail, the campground at Cinnamon Bay, and Annaberg Plantation all open to visitors. The Concordia Eco Resort, located within the park on the east side of St. John, reopened in early 2022,…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, To the Blue Ridge

Twilight Polo At Great Meadow

Twilight Polo Club invites you to come enjoy watching polo, people and horses every Saturday summer evening through September 17th. Greenhill Polo Stadium at Great Meadow is a beautiful rural venue in the heart of Virginia Horse Country, 30-60 minutes from the DC area in The Plains, Virginia. Bring your family, friends and coworkers for an evening of fun and excitement in a wonderful outdoor setting. Stunning sunsets, three polo matches, picnicking, wine, food trucks, giant tug o’war games for the kids at halftime, then dance the night away! One ticket admits an entire car load of family and friends. Admission tickets are available online for $25 per vehicle (5 people), or you can pay $30 cash per vehicle at the gate. Limited VIP tailgate and box seat options available, providing and your party a private space to enjoy the night. Perfect for groups, bridal parties, birthdays, corporate entertaining and more! Call or email us for VIP information and reservations: 540-253-9845 or manager@twilightpolo.com See you there! July Schedule 2nd – Stars & Stripes w/DJ & Dancing in your red, white & blue. 9th – Jungle Night – Dress in your favorite animal print. 16th – Peace, Love & Tye Dye – Get groovy. 23rd – Disney Plus Party – Conjure up your favorite Disney, Pixar or Marvel character. 30th – Taco ‘Bout a Fiesta – Margaritas & Mexican food and more.   Gates open at 5:30 Opening match 6:00 Twilight match 7:00 Main game 8:00

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