National Harbor

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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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

The Gaylord Lights Up At Night

By Lani Gering The Gaylord Lights Up At Night The Gaylord Resort in National Harbor had officially been open 25 days when I visited to get some updates for this column. If you are a regular reader, you will remember that we published information garnered from the marketing team at the resort in June with what we could expect when they re-opened the doors on July 1st and the majority of their plans came to fruition. #Potomac Lights The most impressive, in my opinion, is the Potomac Lights illuminated river walk that is running through the 18th of this month. I am hoping they keep it going all summer but they may have other fun plans for the beautiful waterfront space up their sleeves. The photos that are featured here don’t do the “show” justice since 90% of the displays have moving parts. There are 11 locations along the self-guided walk with interactive giant glow stones, an illuminated puzzle, and lots of lighting art. The light show that appears on the exterior of the Atrium is very impressive but way too technical for my photo taking capabilities so you will have to check it out in person. Even though the display is at its most impressive at night, it is well worth checking out during the day. There are some really interesting and beautiful new works of art throughout the grounds and lots of comfortable seating areas where you can spend some down time just taking it all in. One of my new favorites is the BIG BLUE CHAIR! It is a perfect place for a photo op! Replay at Pose Rooftop Lounge Pose was initially set up to be the Harbors “Night Club” when the resort first opened, however it never really took off and it has gone through…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

YAHOO! The Gaylord Will Open July 1st

YAHOO! The Gaylord Will Open July 1st When I got the word from our friends at the Gaylord that the National Harbor location was finally opening back up after the year-long shut down due to the pandemic, I literally did a happy dance! The Harbor hasn’t been the same with the Resort being completely shut down. It is a “go to” place for locals as well as the many conventioneers that cross through their doors every year. Even though the facility was shut down, there was a bevy of activity inside while they renovated the rooms and added new attractions – to the tune of around 6 Million dollars as a matter of fact.  Thanks to our friends in charge of the PR for the resort, the following info gives you a sneak peek into what it to come: “Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center is once again ready to welcome guests to the Potomac River waterfront at National Harbor. Following $64 million in guest room renovations, the resort is prepared to open its doors and welcome visitors with totally re-designed guestrooms, Marriott International’s “Commitment to Clean” protocols, family-fun activities, river view yoga, a pop-up rooftop lounge and more.  Guest reservations are now being accepted for overnight stays beginning July 1st. All of Gaylord National Resort’s 1,996 guest rooms and suites have been fully renovated, offering a luxurious space for rest and relaxation. With décor inspired by the peaceful hues of blue found in the numerous bodies of water throughout the region, Gaylord National is perfectly positioned for a quick escape or one-of-a-kind vacation.   Summer celebrations start at the top with Replay at Pose Rooftop Lounge, an 80’s themed pop-up bar offering picture-perfect, over-the-top milkshakes like the boozy PB&J, and a snazzy collection of cocktails including a raspberry rose’ float. The…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

All Is Quiet On the Harbor Front

By Lani Gering All Is Quiet On the Harbor Front I have been at a bit of a disadvantage in resourcing the subject matter for this month’s Harbor Section since I have spent the bulk of the last 6 weeks in Southern Maryland helping the Publisher with his knee replacement rehab. Sure, I’ve commuted a few times up to civilization to check on things on the home front but didn’t have an opportunity to spend any time in my old stomping grounds in the Harbor. That being said, I had to rely on the Harbor’s marketing people and their PR firm for input. At the time of this writing, plans are being made for a big splash over the Memorial Day Weekend but nothing has been set in stone so…..your best bet is to keep checking with the harbor website (nationalharbor.com) and their Facebook page for updates on the scheduled events. In the meantime, you may want to take advantage of the good weather and smaller crowds during the month and check out the tribute to the military statues at the foot of American Way. This is a very popular photo op place in the Harbor and it will be packed with people waiting their turn during Memorial Day weekend. I do know that the MawMaw Miller’s Kettle Corn tent will be set up in the Harbor for the season on May 1st! They will have their full range of kettle corn flavors and fresh lemonade shakers ready and waiting for you to pick up. The popcorn is made fresh as is the lemonade so it really is a treat. Be sure to try my favorite flavor – and the favorite of many others – “Sweet and Salty”!  MawMaw’s is part of the infamous Miller Farm’s Market. This area destination…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Skip the Beach and Hit the Harbor

By Debbie Evans Skip the Beach and Hit the Harbor Take a Ride on The Capital Wheel, the Carousel, Water Taxi or Floatboat 360 at National Harbor!   National Harbor is the perfect destination for a safe Spring Break. Fun seekers can skip the beach and enjoy a safe Spring Break at National Harbor with plenty of open-air fun, room to roam, waterfront attractions and cherry trees in bloom. Keeping health and safety top of mind, visitors will discover numerous dining options including outdoor seating, COVID-19 friendly attractions that allow families to social distance together, and plenty of free things to do.   The Capital Wheel  Take in the beautiful day and nighttime views from 180-feet above the Potomac River. Each gondola is sanitized after every ride and guests always get their own private, climate-controlled gondola. Value-priced packages including tickets, beverages to take on board your ride, and souvenir cups are available. Open 365 days a year.   Flight Deck at The Capital Wheel  The waterfront, outdoor lounge will be open daily during Spring Break offering soda, beer, wine and amazing sunsets. Cozy up to a fire pit, enjoy the fresh air and celebrate spring with plenty of room for social distancing. VIP reserved seating available. events@iconattractions.com  The Carousel  Classic, waterfront enjoyment for kids of all ages. Adults ride free with a paying child.  Open daily beginning through April 11th and then weekends until Memorial Day weekend when The Carousel will once again be open daily. Hours vary.   Water Taxi – Alexandria to National Harbor  Enjoy a short cruise from Alexandria VA to National Harbor. Water Taxi service began for the season on March 19th.  Floatboat 360  Unique round float boats offer a fun and memorable way to experience the Potomac River. Boats seat up to 9 passengers plus a guide….

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Cherry Blossoms, Day Trips & Marriage Proposals

National Harbor By Lani Gering Cherry Blossoms, Day Trips & Marriage Proposals Springtime is just around the corner and you know what this means? Cherry Blossom Time! With tourism being at a virtual standstill due to the pandemic, not nearly as many warm bodies will be clamoring and crowding into the area to witness the annual blooming of these coveted blossoms and to attend the annual festival. The sad part is that the major celebrations are going to be “virtual” and there are millions of tourist dollars that aren’t going to be generated into the economy but the happy part is that we won’t be fighting to find a place to sit on the metro and won’t have to walk shoulder to shoulder on the bike paths and sidewalks in order to take in the beauty of the trees. The traffic in the city will be less congested than in past years as well.   The Tidal Basin isn’t the only place to “blossom watch”. Three years ago, the Harbor added more than 100 Okame cherry trees to its existing collection bringing the number of trees it has to more than 200, many of which line the Potomac River. The trees were planted en mass along the Harbor waterfront so that you are able to see them from the bridge as you drive over the Woody Bridge from Old Town. The Okame species of cherry trees are early bloomers and should be ready for prime time before their famous counterparts that line the Tidal Basin. This means that you can schedule a day trip to the Harbor to see them and then take a day trip into the city to see those along the Basin. No peak bloom forecasts had been made at the time of this writing (2-24) but…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Let’s Celebrate the Year of the Ox at the MGM

By Lani Gering   Year of the Ox 2021 is a year of the Ox, starting from February 12th, 2021 (Chinese lunar New Year Day) and lasting until January 31st, 2022. It will be a Metal Ox year. The recent zodiac years of the Ox sign are: 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021. An Ox year occurs every 12 years. Regular readers of this column know how fond I am of the décor in the Conservatory and the MGM Grand in the Harbor. The holiday display was featured in the December issue and I try to post information about them as they change during the season. As has been the norm, Chinese New Year is the winter theme and 2021 is the Year of the Ox – the display does not disappoint. The photos don’t do it justice since you can’t really tell how massive it is. Keep in mind that it is two stories tall. According to the Chinese, for those born in the Year of the Ox, 2021 promises to be a highly fruitful year with a lot of cheer and power. Professionals will be rewarded financially for their diligence and skills. The family will play a significant role in his life. Single persons will marry, while the married can welcome a new member to the family. People in business can start new partnership ventures. Normal life will be disturbed with useless travel and additional social activities. Even though there has been plenty of consternation concerning China’s role in the current pandemic, one has to admit that, besides really good food, this zodiac custom has brought much entertainment to us over the years. Let’s hope that the Ox horoscope transcends into everyone’s life this year. We can all use a little cheer and power and who doesn’t want to do a little bit…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Bring On 2021

By Lani Gering Bring On 2021 Happy New Year Everyone! Unfortunately 2020 isn’t behind us as I write this but I have high hopes that 2021 emerges with lots of positive things, including restrictions on indoor dining being lifted in PG County. As I write this, indoor dining has been banned and capacity in the shops has been reduced until January 13th. My question is….what in the wide world of sports happens on the 13th that makes it “OK” to open back up? It is ridiculous when restaurants in surrounding counties and across the bridge in Alexandria can still offer indoor dining. Without indoor dining, many of the eateries in the Harbor cannot function. Take out and the minimal outdoor space many of them have will not generate enough income to keep them open. Right now, about the only entity in the Harbor that the new mandate doesn’t affect is the Wheel and the Flight Deck. They operate outside and the pandemic protocols they have had in place pretty much since the inception keep their patrons safe. Sitting by the fire pit with a hot beverage and good friends is always a good time. (See their winter special in the sidebar). I don’t want to start off the year with a “Debby Downer” column, so let’s concentrate on what you can do at the Harbor.  In addition to being able to take a spin on the wheel, there are some restaurants that have the capacity to keep outdoor, semi-enclosed, heated dining available. We can only hope that the January weather is as pleasant as much of December has been. Your best bet is to check with the restaurant of your choice before heading to the Harbor to make sure they are open-especially during the week. No need to set yourself…

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