National Harbor

From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Freeze the Day – ICE! Is Back!

By Lani Gering I am so happy that ICE! is back at the Gaylord after a two year hiatus and runs through New Year’s Eve. One of my favorite things to do is to sip on a holiday beverage or two at the Belvedere Lobby Bar and take in the tree lighting and laser light show before donning the blue parkas and trekking through the fantastic ice maze.  We missed this year’s media preview event so I haven’t taken my ride down the ice slide or ice tubed yet either so….that is on the calendar in the next couple of weeks. I don’t usually like to use press release information but since I couldn’t attend the preview, their PR people provided me with all of the info I needed so I am passing it on: Using more than 2 million pounds – or 1,000 tons – of ice, the amusing holiday classic, ‘A Christmas Story™’ will be brought to life in ice sculpture form by a team of 40 world-class ice artisans from Harbin, China. This is the first time A Christmas Story has been featured at ICE! during the resort’s holiday celebration. This year, guests will experience over 10 scenes from the hilarious family tale in magnificent hand-carved sculptures made of ice. Featured scenes include the old man’s major award, Aunt Clara’s pink nightmare and the ultimate triple dog dare at the school’s flagpole and more! Starting with more than 6,000 massive ice blocks, the carvers work approximately six weeks – more than 12,000 man-hours – to create the nearly 17,000 square foot frozen attraction. The artisans, using skills passed down from generation to generation, follow a 300-page design book to create the ice spectacle. The specially designed ICE! tent will be kept at a frosty 9 degrees Fahrenheit…

Continue Reading

From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Spirit Park

By Lani Gering Patriotic Tribute to the American Flag National Harbor celebrated Flag Day on June 14th with the groundbreaking of a new attraction – Spirit Park – and it is set to open on Veteran’s Day. I wasn’t quite sure why they wanted to use some of the only “green space” we have in the heart of the Harbor as well as taking up a significant number of parking spaces but as it started coming together, I guess I get it. It will definitely add another dimension to the Harbor and it is inclusive of some very cool sculptures and the amphitheater style layout is very attractive. To better tell you what the park will entail, I garnered the following information from Bendure Communications: The park is 1.776 acres (in honor of Independence Day) and will feature a 50 by 80-foot custom-made flag that will go on a flag pole that is 177 feet 7 inches tall (first Flag Day was on June 14, 1777.) The flag will be one of the largest American flags flying in the country. It will be surrounded by 13 smaller flags (representing the original colonies.) Many elements of the park will pay homage to the flag’s signature features, as well as incorporate American themes throughout. Spirit Park is based on the development of a patriotic, historically accurate, educational and moving tribute to the flag. It will include multiple touch points of interest relating to the history of the flag and its iterations from creation through history to what it is today. The park includes an amphitheater with six rows of seating (representing the number of white stripes on the flag) and a 50-foot round stage representing the 50 states. Spirit Park will host everything from military concerts, history lectures, military events, private veteran…

Continue Reading

From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Fall Is In Full Swing at National Harbor!

By Lani Gering I love the month of October! I love fall and I love it that the holidays are just around the corner! I am so looking forward to getting out my sweaters and jeans and wearing the cool socks I have collected over the years with my boots. Don’t get me wrong, I do like keeping my tan as long as possible but I am over the 88 degree days! It has been a little over two years since I moved back to Old Town and I still miss living in the Harbor, especially this time of the year! While the summer activities and concert series have come to an end there are still plenty of things to keep you busy here. The tourist traffic slows down, the weather tends to be cooler and the Gaylord is gearing up for the holidays. If you are football fan, bring your chair or a blanket and sit in front of the big screen on the Plaza and take in the action on the weekends. The NCAA games air at 12 noon on Saturdays and NFL games at 1 pm on Sundays. The “Commanders” – I still can’t get used to calling the Redskins that – will definitely air and you can check the Harbor Facebook page for other games scheduled. There is always something happening at the Capital Wheel and at the Flight Deck right beside it. October is a fantastic month to enjoy a spin around the Wheel and a beer or glass of wine on the Deck. This is probably one of my very favorite places here in the Harbor. It sits right on the water and is a fabulous place to people watch. It is a great location to frequent both during the day and at night….

Continue Reading

From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Harbor Social – The Place To Be!

By Lani Gering Let me tell you my people, it has been a long time since I have been impressed with a new concept in the hospitality realm – most specially in the sports bar arena – and I have experienced quite a few during my 28 years with the Old Town Crier. Remember when the multiple TV’s with every sport in the realm on screen came on the scene? That was pretty cool since you could watch rugby when your pals were glued to football or golf but Harbor Social (HS) has taken the sports bar experience to a whole other level. Located on the ground floor in the Gaylord – former home of National Pastime – Harbor Social has incorporated the wall of televisions for NP (don’t mess with something that isn’t broken) into an amazing interactive experience. Interactive is the key word here. The concept of HS is to get patrons to put down their communicating devices long enough to interact with each other via eye contact and actual spoken words. The drink coasters even get into the act with fun questions that can engage the group. While we were there I got into a conversation with a couple of people of different generations regarding “Favorite Saturday Morning Cartoon?”. Mine was the Jetsons, one guy loved Thunder Cats (????) and the really old guy’s was Mighty Mouse. We had a fun conversation about things in our generations while sipping on an adult beverage and discussing the merits of duck pin bowling. This sports bar brings people together through nine interactive games including duckpin bowling, bocce ball, darts, shuffleboard, pool, air hockey (this is my game and I can’t wait to go back), corn hole and numerous games like a table top version of the popular “islandy” hook…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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….

Continue Reading

From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Let’s Show the Fleet Street Pubs Some Love!

By Lani Gering Every month I am in search of subject matter for this space and some months it’s easier than others. I wanted to do more than just talk about the events and what goes on down on the waterfront and about the time I was about to head back in that direction I saw a Facebook post from one of our many favorite bartenders in the Harbor – Leah Sbitan. She indicated she was back behind the bar roving between Public House and Irish Whisper and picking up shifts at Brother Jimmy’s. A lot has happened since the last time I saw her – she got married, she had two cute kids and she’s embarked on a real estate career. Seeing that she had come back to her “roots” made me think about the last time I wrote anything about our friends on Fleet Street! When I lived in the Harbor I made my rounds to check on my “people” at least once a week and I always ended up at Public House as my last stop. They were the first business to advertise with the OTC when the Harbor was brand new so I have a soft spot in my heart for Jon Ball and his people – many of whom are still close friends. Much has changed since in the last 12 or so years. Public House, Cadillac Ranch, and Bobby McKey’s Dueling Piano Bar have held their ground, Harrington’s Irish Pub closed and the space was split into Brother Jimmy’s BBQ and Irish Whisper (all owned by the same parent company as Public House). Granite City Food & Brewery has come and gone and it is rumored that a Denver-based chain, Tom’s Watch Bar, will be opening in that huge space this winter. The Brass…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

View More