National Harbor

From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

The Season Has Begun – Finally

By Lani Gering It sure seems like it has taken forever for the Harbor to shake off the wintertime dust! Sure there were some fun events for the Cherry Blossoms in March and April but the real fun starts May 1st. This day marks the beginning of the fun summertime season at the Harbor. The Salute the Sunset concerts are back on, Movies on the Potomac are up and running, the free weekly Fitness Classes are taking place, Friday Summer Sounds is on the schedule and Kids Day starts on Thursdays beginning in June. The Salute the Sunset concert series continues entertaining us with patriotic performances on Saturdays and select Wednesday evenings. This year there will be a Drill at Dusk performance by the US Air Force Honor Guard on select evenings as well. The concerts and the drills are performed by various US Military bands and begin at 7 pm. Bring your chairs and grab some eats to go from one of the many eateries on the Plaza. FREE! May Schedule Drill at Dusk – 4th, 7th, 11th, 18th, 25th Army Band – 14th Navy Band – 21st & 28th Movies on the Potomac A full roster of some of our favorite family classics and date night movies hit the big screen on the Plaza throughout the season. Family Nights on Sundays at 6 pm and Date Nights on Thursdays at 7 pm. The theme for this month is Animals. Pack up some portable seating and join in the fun. FREE! Family Night 1st – Sing 2 8th – Babe 15th – 101 Dalmatians circa 1996 22nd – The Secret Life of Pets 29th – Lion King circa 1994 Date Night 5th – Best In Show 12th – Dream Horse 19th – Jaws 26th – Must Love Dogs Get…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Who Says You Can’t Go Home

By Lani Gering As many of you regular readers of this column know, I had to move out of the condo that I occupied in One National Harbor for over 11 years almost 2 years ago due to the monetary strains caused by the pandemic. It was one of the saddest days of my life. I know it may sound ridiculous to some of you but I truly did love living in the Harbor. I had my routine and liked to go on a walk about to check out new businesses and see what other action was up at my favorite places. I vowed to make it the 4 whole miles back across the bridge from Old Town on a regular basis and I did for the first year, however, it has been less frequent – other than doing the monthly distribution – in these last 9 months. I was struggling with what to write about since about the only notable happening in the Harbor in April is the continuing Cherry Blossom activities that I wrote about in the March column and the springtime and Easter happenings at the Gaylord. So….I decided to take the drive across the Woody Bridge with Bob in tow to spend the afternoon in the Harbor. Wouldn’t you know that the day we picked ended up with the wind blowing a gale and rain pelting down so the walk about didn’t happen. Not to be discouraged, we went ahead and parked the truck in the Fleet Street garage and made the trek through the elements to my all time favorite place in the Harbor – Bond 45. Bond was like my “Cheers” bar when I lived there. I could walk out one of the many ‘secret’ exits from the ONH building and across the street…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Celebrating the Cherry Blossoms In the Harbor With the Region’s Earliest Blooming Cherry Tree Waterfront Display

By Lani Gering I can’t believe it is almost Cherry Blossom time. That is a sure sign that spring is on its way.  With this in mind, I contacted my friend Vickie Bendure of Bendure Communications to see if she had any update on what is happening this year in the Harbor and she came to the rescue. Please check out the following information and put the Harbor first on your list for blossom peeping! National Harbor has become known for its spring display of hundreds of cherry trees lining the waterfront. The trees bloom each year in March and are some of the earliest blooms in the D.C. region. This year marks the 110th anniversary since Japan gifted its beautiful cherry trees to Washington, D.C. and, once again, National Harbor is an official participant of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. To celebrate National Harbor’s own spectacular display, the property is hosting a Cherry Blossom Celebration beginning March 17 through April 17. The month-long celebration will be filled with entertainment, hotel room packages, food and drink specials, classes and more. On Saturday, March 19, Minyo Crusaders will perform from 4 to 5 p.m. on the waterfront stage (150 National Plaza.) The group performs minyo music with Latin and African influences and uses instruments from around the world. They will give a short talk explaining minyo and traditional Japanese dance and then will invite (voluntary) audience participation in learning the dance choreography and being part of the performance. The Japan Foundation organized the performance in collaboration with the Embassy of Japan in the U.S.A. and National Harbor. In addition, there will be a formal cherry tree planting ceremony at 3 p.m. on March 19 with the Embassy of Japan.  National Harbor has selected a special Kanzan cherry tree. They have been…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

National Harbor Celebrates the Year of the Tiger

By Lani Gering I just love the Chinese New Year “stuff” every year. I really get excited when I go to a Chinese restaurant and they have the place mats that have all of the years and animals on them. You know, the ones that tell you who you are and aren’t compatible with, what your personality is like, etc.  According to my reliable source – Chinesenewyear.net – Tigers are the third of the Chinese zodiacs. “According to legend, Tiger was confident that no one could compete with its speed and vigor for the celestial race that would decide the order of the zodiacs. However, when Tiger climbed out of the river, thinking it was first, it was informed that Rat placed first for its cunning and Ox placed second for its diligence. This left the king of the jungle having to settle for third place.” According to my source: “People born in years of the Tiger are fiercely independent and possess strong self-esteem. They like to act alone and are not very gregarious. They are most likely optimistic and enthusiastic by nature, and always seem to have endless energy, especially at work. Their energetic presence and intense eyes are the greatest charm of Tiger natives. Their vitality is apparent to anyone at a glance, and people are instinctively drawn to this larger than life quality in them. Tigers are lively and cheerful, and they love freedom and independence. They are a zodiac sign that absolutely must have their personal space. Tigers usually have a keen sense of justice. When faced with injustices, whether against themselves or others, you can be sure Tigers will not stand aside. However, Tigers may also appear unrefined or thoughtless in the way they handle things. In a less developed person, these traits can easily turn…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Out With the Old, In With the New (kinda)

By Lani Gering Out With the Old, In With the New (kinda) As I was brainstorming about what the subject matter for this column was going to be going into the New Year I decided to dig back into the archives and see what inspired me in years past. Well…2020 found me introducing Ollie – the vehicle that drove itself – and now it’s gone and last year I talked about how to “safely” navigate the stupid virus while dining in the Harbor and that’s still hanging around. I really would have preferred Ollie to stick around! January is normally a really slow month everywhere but after having such a flurry of holiday activity this December compared to the almost total absence of it in the Harbor last December – remember that the Gaylord was totally shut down in 2020 – this January is on its way to being a record setter. And…tack on the fact that there is yet another new variant of the virus roaming around, it isn’t looking like the mask mandate in PG County is going to be lifted again anytime soon. Let’s just hope that those who have yet to be vaccinated and boosted get with the program, follow the science and get taken care of. January is a good month to reflect on the last year and revel in the good stuff and shine on the bad. There is only one way to go and that is forward. I’ve never been one to make a New Year’s resolution because it seems I can never live up to it. It’s the same way when I pretend I’m Catholic during Lent – I am actually Episcopalian aka Catholic lite. In my 68 years I’ve never made it past a week with the Lent business. I guess…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Celebrate Holidays at National Harbor

Celebrate Holidays at National Harbor 2 million lights over acres of entertainment National Harbor celebrates Holidays at the Harbor nightly with a 54-foot tall tree at the Belvedere event space (adjacent to Bond 45, 149 Waterfront St.) and spectacular light show every half hour from sunset to 9 p.m. A fireworks display will take place every Saturday through Dec. 18 at 5:30 p.m. The Christmas movie theme continues in the Waterfront District as National Harbor shows favorite Christmas movies on the outdoor, waterfront screen (150 National Plaza) starting at 2 p.m. on Sundays.  Movies are as follows: Dec. 5, The Year Without a Santa Claus* Dec. 12, Elf* Dec. 19, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation* Jan. 2, It’s a Wonderful Life *these movies are also part of Gaylord National’s I Love Christmas Movies experience. In addition to the dazzling MGM National Harbor conservatory, with its splendid holiday display, MGM will also present Cirque Dreams Holidaze on Dec. 16-19—a family holiday spectacular that will delight all ages. This annual tradition wraps a whimsical, Broadway-style musical infused with contemporary circus artistry. Young children will also enjoy Storytime on Saturdays at 2 p.m. on American Way when the Prince George’s County Library and Mahogany Books will take turns reading to children. Free holiday hot chocolate will be available at various retailers on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. through Jan. 2. Free cocoa mugs will be given out by select retailers with a purchase of $50 or more, while supplies last. Toys for Tots will collect new, unwrapped toys for those in need on American Way on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. As a thank you for a donation, The Capital Wheel will hand out one ticket per family (valid on Dec. 4 only.) In addition to great events and lots of holiday shopping options including 85…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

So. Much. Christmas.

By Lani Gering So. Much. Christmas. Those of you who have followed this column know that I go a little nutty with the holiday happenings in the Harbor and especially those at the Gaylord. It was a very sad holiday last year for me without the Resort being open so I am very happy they are going all out this year. While many of you have asked me what the theme for ICE is this year, I am sad to say it isn’t coming back. But, the new theme – “So. Much. Christmas.” – is literally that! I can’t believe all of the new activities that have been added. I contacted Patrice Clayton, the GNR PR Guru, for some detailed info and she was at the ready.  The newly added experiences include holiday cooking classes, a Christmas-themed pop-up bar, a festive desserts shop and ice bumper cars and a snow ball making and tossing experience. In addition, Gaylord National will feature several suites decked out in holiday décor for a home-for-the-holidays feel. These new experiences perfectly complement the resort’s other fan-favorite Christmas attractions and its new Gaylord Hotels original production, I Love Christmas Movies ™. Visitors can enjoy the following newly announced experiences: Overnight guests can leave Christmas tree-decorating to the experts and book one of the resort’s Christmas Dreams Suites complete with garland, wreaths, lights and even holiday stockings. This home away from home includes a one-hour professional photo shoot in the resort creating the perfect setting for family Christmas pictures or even a sweet holiday proposal. The Christmas Tree Lot is reminiscent of the time-old tradition of selecting the perfect Christmas tree. This “instagrammable” pop-up bar will bring visitors together over spirited holiday cocktails and fun photo opportunities. For guests looking to impress at the next holiday gathering, Gaylord National’s Resort Chef will lead a…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

A Gourd-geous Fall! Wow!

By Lani Gering A Gourd-geous Fall! Wow! That’s all I can say about the “Gourd-geous Fall” display in the Conservatory at the MGM Grand this year. It. Is. Spectacular! I have been lucky enough to have seen almost every display they have had since opening and maybe I should call this one an “exhibit” because it really is like fine art. If you remotely appreciate beautiful things, you should treat yourself to this. A picture is worth a thousand words and more when it comes to describing this year’s display. The three pods feature all sorts of moving parts in addition to the intricate detail of every part of each of them. There is “The Ornate Acorn, The Dragonfly Fairy and the 24 foot Crescent Moon that appears on the cover of this issue. This year’s display was curated by the resort’s horticulture team and designers Le Savarese and Cory Pope of SolarLife Technologies. “A Gourd-geous Fall” by The Numbers 18,013: Flowers and plants throughout the exhibit 825: Pumpkins & gourds of various sizes 60: Team members involved in this season’s display 50: Glass leaves on each fairy’s skirt 7: Illuminating dragonflies 2: Magical fairies I know that there are readers out there who have no inclination to step foot into a casino. I’m definitely not one but….you don’t have to go into any part of the casino to enjoy the beauty of the Conservatory. It is located next to the lobby of the Hotel portion of the MGM and just outside of the entrance into the Theater. The parking is free and there is lots of it if there isn’t a show going on. While you are there you might want to treat yourself to a walkabout and grab something to eat in the Market or at one of…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Replay at the Resort

By Lani Gering Replay at the Resort Many of you regular OTC readers may remember that I touched on the 80’s themed “pop up” that was gracing the Pose Rooftop Lounge space in the Gaylord in the August issue. It was only supposed to have a summertime life span but its tenure has been extended through the fall and maybe into the holiday season! Replay is a take on everything 80’s including the music that streams through the many speakers throughout the space. On my visit there in mid-August, I was so happy to know all of the words to pretty much all of the songs that aired while I was there. You know, like Culture Club’s “Karma Chameleon”….it’s the little things! This place is very interactive with retro games like Pong and the infamous Rubik’s Cube. There are replicas of the televisions of the 80’s and lots of neon and the specialty milkshakes are served on Replay frisbees. The décor is way fun. My favorite seating is on one of the big red lip sofas and there are several different groupings with other very art deco looking designs. The color schemes are soothing in one sense and exhilarating in another. The purpose of my trek to Replay, however, was to “test drive” the new fall “boozy” concoctions. While full bar service (both alcoholic and non) is available at Replay, their specialty drinks and “boozy” milkshakes are the highlights of the house. I love being invited to things like this. I drank every one of the three specialty cocktails and as much of the featured milkshake as I could without getting brain freeze. I have to admit that I was sort of skeptical of the “Scarface” concoction but it was fantastic and I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin spice…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

It’s Time for Summer to Go!

By Lani Gering It’s Time for Summer to Go! The heat and the rain that we have had in this area during the last part of August has me over the edge! I can’t wait until fall rolls in. I can only hope that it is a true fall with a little bit of Indian Summer at the onset and then consistent cooler weather all the way up to the holidays. I know I am probably asking for pie in the sky but it doesn’t hurt to dream. As in years past, September marks the last month of the Salute to Sunset Concerts, the free fitness classes and the other live entertainment that has been taking place during the summer. I guess September in the Harbor is sort of like a dining establishment closing between lunch and dinner so they can clean up from one shift and gear up for the next. The break in September allows the Harbor retailers to push those summer styles and goods out the door to make room for Halloween promotions, Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Restaurants get rid of their summer menus and bring out their fall offerings. Gone is the Froze’ and in comes the spiced cider! Something that does stay consistent during September is the Capital Wheel, The Flight Deck and the Carousel. These guys have all sorts of promotions going on at any given time. Check them out at thecapitalwheel.com for the latest. The impressive statuary along American Way remains year round and one of my favorite things to do at the Harbor is starting at the bottom of American Way with the Awakening and walking up to Fleet Street and seeing tourists reactions to all of fantastic sculptures. My two favs are Marilyn Monroe and Rosie the Riviter and they both…

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