Archive for the ‘DC’ Category

The Willard Intercontinental, DC’s Iconic Hotel, Decks its Halls for the Holidays

November 16, 2018
Willard Hotel, Washington DC

The Nation’s Capital is pure magic during the holiday season and the iconic Willard Intercontinental, where Abraham Lincoln stayed before his inauguration, is offering a Wintertime Holiday Package © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Washington, D.C. – The elegant and historical Willard InterContinental will transform into a holiday-inspired wonderland, a beloved tradition that both locals and visitors have come to anticipate each year.  Beginning on November 24, an unforgettable display of yuletide trimmings, musical fanfare and epicurean delights will permeate the property through January 1, 2019. From the historical happenings at the Round Robin Bar to the highly-sought after holiday afternoon tea in Peacock Alley, guests will have their pick of endless festive offerings.

At the center of each Willard Christmas stands the treasured tree, boasting decades of sentiment on each carefully curated branch. The only hotel in D.C. to feature the White House Ornament Collection, an initiative founded by the White House Historical Association in 1981, each ornament honors a different U.S. President or special White House event. This year will honor Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States, and will reflect three significant changes made by Truman during his administration – one to the Presidential Seal and two to the White House itself.  Another iconic facet of the hotel’s décor is their picturesque gingerbread display in the lobby that pays tribute to an iconic landmark in and around D.C.  This year’s display will pay homage to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and its storied past with a magnificent replica that will include all terminals, lighted runways, a control tower and even parts of the Washington Metro.

As always, Holiday Pies to Go will be available through the Willard’s French-inspired brasserie, Café du Parc.  From November 1 through December 24, holiday foodies can rely on pastry chefs at the property to provide an assortment of homemade, seasonal pies using the freshest of ingredients including the famed Candied Pecan Gingerbread Pumpkin Pie, Classic Chocolate Crème Pie, Citrus-Cranberry Crumble Apple Pie, Cinnamon-Oatmeal Crumble Blueberry Pie and Limencello Merengue Pie created with Executive Pastry Chef Jason Jimenez’s famous lemon curd, a popular favorite at the hotel’s afternoon tea.  Ranging from $30 to $38, forty-eight-hour notice is required for all pie orders, which can be placed by calling 202-942-7000.

Those visiting the hotel or the D.C. area at Thanksgiving and Christmas can indulge in the Thanksgiving Day Brunch and Christmas Day Brunch set against the magnificence of the Willard and Crystal Ballrooms. This scrumptious presentation offers epicurean delights involving both traditional and original Thanksgiving dishes created by Executive Chef Luca De Marchis.  This year’s highlights include a Mash Potato Martini Bar, a Carpaccio Station on a Himalayan Salt Block, a Risotto Station, and a Wild Game Meat Station plus all the holiday fixings. Kids can also rest assure that all the tot-friendly staples will be on hand from chicken fingers and mini cheese burgers to mac and cheese and curly fries. Seatings are offered between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on both November 24 and December 25. The cost is $125 per adult and $55 for children under 12 (complimentary for 4 and under).  Reservations are required and can be booked by calling 202-628-9100.

Café du Parc will offer its customary breakfast, lunch and brunch a la carte options during the holidays in addition to a four-course prix-fixe lunch and dinner menu for $75 per person on Thanksgiving. Likewise, the café will create a three-course prix-fixe Christmas Eve menu for $85 per person and a New Year’s Eve prix-fixe dinner menu at $155 per person for a six-course meal. Reservations are required and can be secured by calling 202-942-7000.

The highly anticipated and quick-to-sell out Holiday Afternoon Tea presented in the grandeur of The Willard’s Peacock Alley will be held daily throughout December from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. (excluding December 24, 25 and 31) priced at $65 per person and $75 with champagne. Surrounded by festive décor, visitors can indulge in a medley of distinctive teas, delectable sandwiches including Mini Pimento “BLT” Cheddar Biscuits and Citrus Crab Salad Vol-Au-Vent and seasonally inspired pastries such as Eggnog Meringue Tarts and Peppermint Profiteroles.

Now in its 17th year, The Willard’s nightly caroling program has evolved into one of the most comprehensive of its kind in Washington, with a wide array of highly accomplished choral and vocal ensembles from around the D.C. metropolitan area.  Between December 1 and December 23, city dwellers and visitors alike can enjoy the sounds of the season with complimentary, nightly chorale performances from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m in the hotel lobby. The Washington Chorus, Gay Men’s Chorus, Arlington Children’s Choir, Potomac Harmony Chorus and Carmina & Illuminare are only a few of the many musical troupes making an appearance this year.

For those seeking a festive night out, The Willard will present a special Holiday Edition of History Happy Hour on December 14 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. This two-hour event combines mixology and history for an unforgettable curated experience. Jim Hewes, the esteemed mixologist and legendary bartender at The Willard’s iconic Round Robin Bar will be joined by former renowned White House Executive Pastry Chef Roland Mesnier.  Bakers and history buffs alike will appreciate an insider’s perspective of White House holiday traditions as Chef Mesnier leads an intimate conversation regarding his 26-year tenure in the White House pastry kitchen. Guests will observe firsthand his famed culinary skills while hearing fresh insight into the six presidencies during which he worked, all while sipping on holiday-inspired dessert cocktails.

The Nation’s Capital is pure magic during the holiday season and the Willard is offering a Wintertime Holiday Package for all those interested in an overnight stay with upgraded accommodations. Booking now for November 16 through February 11, 2019 rates begin at $299 and include a $50 food and beverage credit and a 2018 commemorative White House Christmas Ornament (minimum two-night booking, 72 hours advance notice required, all based on availability).

For more information, visit www.washington.intercontinental.com  or call 202-628-9100.

 

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Discover Holiday Magic in Washington, DC

November 16, 2018
Capitol-DC-nght-011804e2 (c) Karen Rubin

The Capitol Building at night. Washington DC is a sensational destination for the winter holidays © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

(Washington, DC) – The nation’s capital is one of the best destinations for winter holiday travel, and Destination DC (DDC), the official destination marketing organization for Washington, DC, helps visitors craft a magical holiday. Find inspiration for memorable getaways on DDC’s holiday landing page on washington.org, and its Instagram and Facebook channels, including festive hotel packages, menus, holiday lights, ice skating rinks, gift markets, can’t-miss exhibitions and events across the city’s welcoming neighborhoods. Speak with a DC travel expert (1-800-422-8644), Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5pm (EST).

“Washington, DC goes all out for the holidays. Maybe your wish-list includes meeting Santa, light displays and a classic holiday show. It might include visiting the National Museum of African American History and Culture, shopping for made-in-DC gifts then dinner at one of DC’s 15 Michelin-starred restaurants. We’ll connect you with the real DC,” said Elliott L. Ferguson II, president and CEO of DDC.

In 2018, DDC’s print, digital and out-of-home holiday advertising campaign urges national consumers to “Discover Holiday Magic in Washington, DC,” with assets targeting New York City and Philadelphia. For added promotion between Nov. 30-Dec. 2; Dec. 7-9, the tourism bureau hosts a holiday-themed Instagram exchange with influencers from key feeder markets.

HOTEL PACKAGES
• Toast the season with “Caviar and Champagne” at The Darcy. This package bundles late check-out, a welcome Taittinger toast and decadent caviar cookies from Siren, the in-house Michelin-starred restaurant. Rates start at $169, thru Feb. 28, 2019.
• This December, Kimpton’s 10 boutique hotels in DC spread cheer with pop-up shops curated by Shop Made in DC, a retail incubator showcasing local makers. Book a “Make a Getaway” package to receive a swag bag and $15 gift card.
• The historic Willard InterContinental offers a Wintertime Holiday Package that wraps upgraded accommodations, $50 food and beverage credit and official 2018 White House Christmas Tree Ornament, starting at $299 (two-night min.), Nov. 16, 2018-Feb. 16, 2019.

SKATING RINKS
• Twirl around the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden’s rink, November-March. Warm up inside the Pavilion Café.
• Rent skates at riverside rinks at The Wharf, Georgetown and Capitol Riverfront.
• Iceless skating rinks return to the courtyard at the Fairmont Washington, D.C. Georgetown and atop the Watergate Hotel.

HOLIDAY LIGHTS
• Tour America’s historic train stations in miniature at Seasons Greenings: All Aboard! at the U.S. Botanic Gardens, Nov. 22-Jan. 2, 2019. FREE
• Smithsonian National Zoo dazzles with more than 500,000 LED lights, snowless tubing and more at ZooLights, 5-9pm. Nov. 23-Jan. 1, 2019 (closed Dec. 24, 25, 31). FREE
• George Washington’s Mount Vernon celebrates with Colonial dancing, chocolate-making and caroling, Nov. 23-Dec. 31. Candlelit tours run Nov. 23, 24, 30; Dec. 1, 7, 8, 16.
• The District’s Holiday Boat Parade welcomes Santa to The Wharf with lighted boats and fireworks, 6-9pm, Dec. 1. FREE
• Holiday in the Park thrills Six Flags America with lights, rides and s’mores: Nov. 23-25, Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 21-23, 26-31.
• Lit in early December, National Christmas tree in President’s Park on the Ellipse will be attended by 56 decorated state and territory trees, Santa’s Workshop and nighty musical performances thru Dec. 31. FREE
• The National Menorah will be lit on the Ellipse throughout Hanukah. On Dec. 2 at 4pm, American Friends of Lubavitch celebrate with Dreidelman and donuts. FREE

SHOPPING
• The Downtown Holiday Market runs Nov. 23-Dec. 23 in Penn Quarter. Source more local gifts at Shop Made in DC in Dupont; Union Market in NoMa; Brookland Exchange at Monroe Street Market and Steadfast Supply in Capitol Riverfront.
• CityCenterDC dresses up with two monumental reindeer, an overhead installation in Palmer Alley and holiday tree lit on Nov. 24.
• Georgetown Glow, an outdoor light art exhibition, illuminates the historic district between 5-10pm, Dec. 1-Jan. 1, 2019.

PERFORMANCES AND ATTRACTIONS
• The Kennedy Center hosts shows including The Second City’s Love, Factually (Dec. 4-31), Washington National Opera: The Lion, the Unicorn and Me (Dec. 14-16) and the National Symphony Orchestra’s Handel’s Messiah (Dec. 20-23).
• At Warner Theatre, the Washington Ballet’s Nutcracker recasts the classic in the Lincoln White House (Nov. 29-Dec. 28).
• Richly dressed, A Christmas Carol (Nov. 15-Dec. 30) cheers Ford’s Theatre.

DINING AND NIGHTLIFE
• Circle around outdoor firepits at Masseria near Union Market; Bourbon Steak in Georgetown and Tavern at Ivy City Smokehouse, a 2019 Michelin “Bib Gourmand” pick.
• Indulge in holiday teas at Peacock Alley at the Willard InterContinental Washington, DC; the Empress Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC; Tea Cellar at the Park Hyatt Washington DC and the lobbies of the St. Regis Washington D.C. and Line DC.
• Among tempting New Year’s Eve options, humanitarian and Michelin-starred chef José Andrés offers tasting menus at China Chilcano, Jaleo and Oyamel.

Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, is a private, non-profit membership organization of 1,000 businesses committed to marketing the area as a premier global convention, tourism and special events destination with a special emphasis on the arts, cultural and historic communities. washington.org.

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White House Hosts Spring Garden Tours April 14 & 15

April 12, 2018

The White House will open its gardens and grounds to visitors on April 14 and 15, when guests can discover the beauty of the South Lawn of the White House, the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden, and the White House Kitchen Garden © Karen Rubin/ goingplacesfarandnear.com

This spring, the White House will open its gardens and grounds to visitors.  The grounds will be open on Saturday, April 14, from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM, and Sunday, April 15, from 10:00 AM to 2:30 PM.  On these days, visitors can discover the beauty of the South Lawn of the White House.  The Jacqueline Kennedy Garden, Rose Garden, and the White House Kitchen Garden will also be accessible to guests.

This event is free and open to the public.  A ticket is required, however, for all attendees (including small children).  The National Park Service (NPS) will distribute free, timed tickets at a tent stationed near the entry point each day beginning at 8:30 AM.  The entry point for all guests, including those going to the NPS tent, will be located near the intersection of 15th Street and Constitution Avenue Northwest.

Tickets will be distributed—one ticket per person—on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please note the following items are not allowed on the White House grounds:

  • Aerosols of any kind
  • Animals (except guide dogs)
  • Any pointed object
  • Backpacks (oversized)
  • Balloons
  • Beverages of any kind
  • Duffle bags and/or suitcases
  • Electric stun guns
  • Fireworks / firecrackers
  • Food of any kind
  • Guns / ammunition
  • Insulated metal containers
  • Knives of any kind
  • Mace
  • Selfie sticks
  • Smoking (including e-cigarettes)
  • Tablets (including iPads)
  • Toy weapons of any kind
  • Water bottles

The Secret Service reserves the right to prohibit any other personal items.  However, strollers, wheelchairs, umbrellas (no metal tips), and cameras are permitted.  All items needed for medical purposes will be permitted on the tour (such as wheelchairs, electric scooters, glucose tablets, and EpiPens).  Identify and explain all items needed for medical purposes to Secret Service agents upon arrival.

In the event of inclement weather, the event may be cancelled.  Call the 24-hour information line at (202) 456-7041 to check on the status of the event.

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Capital Christmas: A December Vacation in Washington, DC Checks Every Box on a Holiday Wish List

December 5, 2017
Capitol Building at Night, Washington DC

December is an enchanting time to visit Washington DC. Destination DC can help plan a visit © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

(Washington, DC) –- Destination DC (DDC), the official marketing organization for Washington, DC is primed to help travelers plan unforgettable December holidays in the nation’s capital. Washington.org is packed with seasonal inspiration on a holiday landing page including hotel packages and deals, festive menus, ice skating rinks, Christmas markets, can’t-miss events and more. Scroll instant inspiration on DDC’s Instagram and Facebook accounts or speak with a travel concierge (1-800-422-8644), Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5pm EST.

“Whether your ideal December getaway includes a family photo with the National Christmas tree and A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theatre or a morning at the MLK Memorial, an afternoon of ice skating at the National Gallery of Art’s rink and a Michelin-star dinner, we can help you plan an unforgettable holiday in Washington, DC,” said Elliott L. Ferguson II, president and CEO of DDC.

Among special packages and events:

SEASONAL HOTEL PACKAGES

Between Nov. 28-Dec. 20, the Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC displays lavish holiday décor from 20 area designers. The luxury Georgetown hotel treats travelers with 30% off suites, Dec. 4-31, 2017.
The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown’s Deck the Halls offer includes Santa’s milk and cookies at turn-down and an in-suite holiday tree. The Ritz-Carlton Washington, DC welcomes guests to Savor the Season with a 30-foot gingerbread Washington Monument and a $50 food and beverage credit.
Winter packages at the Willard InterContinental include a delicious welcome amenity and the official 2017 White House Christmas ornament thru Dec. 31.

ICE SKATING RINKS

Twirl around the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden’s rink thru March 11, 2018. Warm up inside the Pavilion Café and visit Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry in the West Building thru Jan. 21, 2018. FREE
New: The Potomac-side rink at The Wharf in SW DC joins the party of neighborhood rinks in Georgetown and Capitol Riverfront.
New: Glide on iceless”rinks at the Fairmont Washington, D.C. Georgetown and the Watergate Hotel.

HOLIDAY LIGHTS AND TOURS

ZooLights animates the National Zoo with more than 500,000 LED lights, snowless tubing and concerts between 5-9pm until Jan. 1 (closed Dec. 24, 25, 31). FREE

George Washington’s Mount Vernon offers character-guided candlelit tours, 18th century dancing and fireside caroling, Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 17.
Holiday in the Park illuminates Six Flags America with lights, rides and s’mores Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 22-23, 26- Jan. 1.
Tour America’s roadside attractions in miniature at Seasons Greenings: National Parks and Historic Parks at the U.S. Botanic Gardens thru Jan. 2. FREE
The National Christmas tree in President’s Park on the Ellipse is attended by 56 decorated trees, Santa’s Workshop and musical performances thru Dec. 31. FREE
The National Menorah will be lit on the Ellipse throughout Hanukah. On Dec. 12 at 4pm, the American Friends of Lubavitch celebrates with dreidels and donuts. FREE

SHOPPING

Find only-in-DC gifts at Made in DC, a new store in Dupont Circle and Steadfast Supply in Capitol Riverfront. Pop-up Christmas markets: Downtown Holiday Market in Penn Quarter and Union Market’s Brief Assembly run thru Dec. 23.
CityCenterDC, the Penn Quarter’s luxury shopping and restaurant destination, dresses up with a giant reindeer, a sky-high tree for the season. Between Dec. 1-3, a 12-foot-high igloo adds to the Instagram fun.
Georgetown Glow, an outdoor exhibition of light-art installations dots the historic shopping district between 5-10pm, Dec. 8, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018. FREE

PERFORMANCES AND ATTRACTIONS

New: Digital gallery Artechouse welcomes The Imaginary World of the Nutcracker, Dec. 7, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018.
The Kennedy Center hosts seasonal shows including Merry Tubachristmas! (Dec. 11, FREE), Second City’s Twist Your Dickens (Dec. 5-31) and the National Symphony Orchestra’s Handel’s Messiah (Dec. 14-17).
The Washington Ballet’s version of The Nutcracker (thru Dec. 24) swaps George Washington for the Nutcracker Prince at Warner Theatre.
A richly dressed A Christmas Carol (thru Dec. 31) takes over Ford’s Theatre.
New: Christmas Illuminated is one of many exhibits at the Museum of the Bible.

DINING AND NIGHTLIFE

Toasts the season at Drink Company’s Miracle on Seventh Street, a trio of over-the-top pop-up bars thru Dec. 31.
Find lavish holiday teas in the Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental Washington, DC and Tea Cellar at the Park Hyatt Washington DC. The St. Regis Washington D.C. celebrates 12 days of Champagne (Dec. 12-24).
Among the city’s New Year’s Eve delights, Michelin-starred chef José Andrés offers tasting menus at China Chilcano, Jaleo and Oyamel.

Destination DC, the official destination marketing organization for the nation’s capital, is a private, non-profit membership organization of 1,000 businesses committed to marketing the area as a premier global convention, tourism and special events destination with a special emphasis on the arts, cultural and historic communities.

Visit washington.org.
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Take a Journey through Colombia at 2011 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC

June 24, 2011

“Journey” to Colombia at this year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival, located in Washington D.C. July 1-4 and July 7-11, from 11 am.-5:30 p.m. Beginning with the opening ceremony at 11 am on Thursday, June 30. the festival gives visitors the chance to indulge in the traditions, diversity and culture of Colombia.

This is the festival’s 45th year celebrating culture from all around the world, with this year focusing on Colombia, Peace Corps and Rhythm & Blues.

This year’s program will allow visitors to see, taste and feel the true colors and passion of Colombia. Visitors will be able to move beyond perceptions and discover the offering and experience Colombia has to offer as a booming travel destination.

“For many decades, Colombia was plagued by violence and insecurity fueled by illegal armed groups; but today, we have turned a corner and emerged from the shadows of our past to become a stronger democracy, an economic force in the region and a leader in international affairs,” said Colombian Ambassador to the United States Gabriel Silva.

“As a new day has dawned in Colombia, we now have an opportunity to shed light on the many positive steps our nation continues to make. With this new day comes the opportunity to open people’s eyes not only to the new Colombia of today, but also to the roots and richness of our cultural heritage. The Folklife Festival is by far the largest stage in the United States to showcase our culture, and we invite all to come to the National Mall to behold firsthand the profound beauty of our country, the warmth of our people, the richness of our traditions and the foundation of our cultural heritage.”

The Nature of Colombian Culture program at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival will showcase the real Colombia through lifestyles and traditions from all over Colombia. It will highlight the bio-cultural diversity of the country, along with how the environment is linked to their culture.

“Visitors will be able to see the biodiversity of Colombia in the Folklife Festival; however, the richness of the country is fully experienced when visiting the country, traveling its forests, mountains, savannas, beaches and enjoying the coffee triangle, parties, cities, and numerous possibilities of varied tourism available throughout the country,” said Maria Claudia Lacouture, President of Proexport.

Festival goers will have the opportunity to take a journey to South America and meet those individuals representing Colombia from nine different regions of the country.

To view the day by day schedule of the Colombia program at the 2011 Smithsonian Folklife Festival,visit: http://www.festival.si.edu/2011/schedule_06_30.aspx

 

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Gaylord Hotels Package Benefits Wounded Warrior Project

April 20, 2011

Gaylord National Resort just outside Washington DC. Guests who stay at any of the Gaylord Hotels this May now have the opportunity to help Wounded Warrior Project honor and empower America’s injured service men and women © 2011 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.

Guests who stay at Gaylord Hotels this May now have the opportunity to help Wounded Warrior Project honor and empower America’s injured service men and women.

Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) is the featured charity for Gaylord Hotels’ Rooms for Good co-operative marketing and fundraising program for the month of May. The organization will receive 10 percent of the Rooms for Good package rate booked at all four of the brand’s resorts.

“Our goal is to provide unique programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members,” said Wounded Warrior Project Chief Development Officer Adam Silva. “It’s through the help of organizations like Gaylord Hotels and their Rooms for Good campaign that we’re able to continue this important work and support those who have given so much in defense of our country.”

Rooms for Good packages start at $179* per couple and include one-night accommodations and breakfast for two. A discounted package rate of $139* per couple is available for active and retired military.

The Rooms for Good program will feature a different charity each month. In addition to raising money for non-profit organizations, Gaylord Hotels will also raise awareness of the cause through its advertising, public relations and social media platforms.

“Our Rooms for Good program gives guests a chance to get away while giving back to an important cause,” said Amy Atkinson, Gaylord Hotels’ vice president of leisure marketing and public relations. “We are honored to support Wounded Warrior Project as they work to positively impact the lives of those who have sacrificed so much for our country.”

Over 40,000 troops have been physically wounded during the current military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands more are estimated to be recovering from invisible wounds of war, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression, and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Whether through caregiver retreats, combat stress programs, career and education services, or adaptive sporting opportunities, WWP empowers warriors with the tools essential to not just survive their injuries but to thrive and achieve personal and professional success.

 *The rate varies per resort and excludes tax, parking and resort fee. More information is available at www.RoomsForGood.com

About Gaylord Hotels®
Owned and operated by Nashville, Tenn.-based Gaylord Entertainment, Gaylord Hotels® is a collection of four upscale resorts: Gaylord Opryland® in Nashville, Tenn.; Gaylord Palms® in Kissimmee, Fla., near Orlando; Gaylord Texan® on Lake Grapevine near Dallas, Texas, and Gaylord National® on the Potomac in National Harbor, Md. The brand’s hallmark— “everything in one place”— provides diverse dining options, quality spa and fitness center services, top-notch entertainment, on-site shopping and endless activities—all within each resort. For additional information, visit www.gaylordhotels.com.

About Wounded Warrior Project

Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) raises awareness and enlists the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, helps injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and provides unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, FL. To get involved and learn more, visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org.

See also:

Gaylord National Resort turns family trip to Nation’s Capital into true vacation and slideshow

On the Town in Nashville, Music City U.S.A.

Ice Carvers from China Create Gaylord National’s ICE! featuring How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

November 3, 2010

ICE! at Gaylord National Resort

The welcoming portal to ICE! How the Grinch Stole Christmas! at the Gaylord National Resort in Washington DC © 2010 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.

You can easily imagine what it’s like for the elves at the North Pole when you peak inside the massive tents where 40 artisans from Harbin, China are at work in a 9-degree environment, creating all-new interactive ice sculpture world, “ICE! featuring How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” on view at Gaylord National Resort just outside Washington D.C. from Nov. 18, 2010 through Jan.  9, 2011.

Working with 5,000, 400-pound blocks of colored ice, custom manufactured at an Ohio plant and shipped to the 15,000-square foot structure, over a six-week period the artisans create 10 life-sized scenes straight out of the pages of the original storybook, all sculpted into full-color, with amazing detail that bring the Grinch story about how he learns the true meaning of Christmas into three-dimensions.

Chinese ice carvers work to create ICE! How the Grinch Stole Christmas! at the Gaylord National Resort in Washington DC © 2010 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.

The climax is a room with four two-story slides, entirely created of ice, which adults and children alike will delight in sliding down.

I watched as they worked – some with chain saws, some with chisels, and some with fine tools – the designs laid out in a 250-page book. When they are done, they will have craeted these famous scenes: The Grich’s frozen lair Christmas Eve in Who-ville; The Grinch creating his “ramshackle” sleigh, complete with “reindeer” Max; Mount Crumpit – where visitors can climb to the mountaintop and zip down ice slides to Who-ville; The Grinch stealing Christmas from the Who houses; and Christmas morning in Who-ville and the famous Roast-Beast Feast!

A work in progress: Chinese ice carvers work to create 10 life-sized scenes from How the Grinch Stole Christmas, this year's ICE! event at the Gaylord National Resort © 2010 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.

Some of the sculptures are illuminated internally by some of the exhibit’s specially designed LED tube lights, evoking the ice lanters of old Others are engineered to support thousands of visitors over the exhibit’s 50-day lifespan, such as the ice bridge in the snow forest, the towering Christmas Castle ice slides and the full-sized ice horse and sleigh.

A sneak peak at ICE! How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which will be on view at the Gaylord National Resort during its "Christmas on the Potomac" festival © 2010 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.

A few of the artisans remain behind in order to touch up their sculptures nightly – a spritz of water here, and chisel there.

A master ice carver from Harbin, China, works on the Nativity scene in crystal clear ice that concludes ICE! at the Gaylord National Resort © 2010 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.

ICE! visitors will also enjoy:

  • “The Art of Seuss” Exhibit – a renowned, museum-quality exhibit that features artifacts and memorabilia celebrating the art of Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel.  Highlights include lithographs, serigraphs and sculptures reproduced from Geisel’s original drawings and paintings. (Included with ICE! admission)
  • “From Harbin to WHO-ville” Display – learn about the making of ICE! and the artists who traveled halfway around the world – from Harbin, China – to create our amazing ICE! attraction. (Included with ICE! admission)
  • Meet the Grinch – in this special experience, visitors can meet the hairy, green guy himself and even pose for a photo with him! (Additional purchase required)

Some 185,000 people visited ICE! last year – 8,000 people a day – and more are expected this year.

All four of the Gaylord Resorts have ICE! but they all have different shows – in Nashville, Gaylord Opryland’s ICE! event is themed Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town®; the theme for the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando ICE! event is Twas the Night Before Christmas,and the Gaylord Texas Resort, in Dallas, has A Charlie Brown Christmas. And while there are other ICE! events in the world, these are the only ones in North America.

ICE! is open daily (hours vary), and is priced at $24-29/Adults, $13-18 for Children 4m $18-23 for Seniors (ages 62+), $21/Military Adults  and $13/Military Children. Tickets should be purchased in advance (since many popular days sell out) and can be purchased  online at www.wefrozethegrinch.com; via phone at 301-965-4000; at the Gaylord Concierge Desk (Hotel Lobby) or ICE! Box Office (inside attraction).

But why not make it a real holiday, and stay over?

The Gaylord National is offering value packages for the Christmas Holidays which incorporate a visit to ICE!

The “Christmas Memories” Package provides for one night deluxe room accommodations, one ticket to ICE! and a Souvenir ICE! photo (one per room), daily self-parking and resort fee (a $40 value), for $99 per person, double occupancy (extra adult and child rates are available) The package is available for select dates between November 2010 through January 2011.

The “Grandparent Getaway” Package (because there is no better time than the holidays for grandparents to create lasting memories with their grandchildren),  provides two nights deluxe room accommodations at Gaylord National Resort, one ticket to ICE! and a Souvenir ICE! photo (one photo per room), one ticket to Breakfast with The Grinch, daily self-parking and resort fee for $203 per person, double (with extra adult and child rates available).

There are loads of other activities and entertainment that are all part of the Christmas On the Potomac festivities, and most are open to both resort guests and day visitors.

For more information, to purchase tickets, or make dining reservations, visit www.ChristmasOnThePotomac.com; call 301-965-4000 or 866-9-GRINCH (866-947-4624).

See more about Gaylord National’s “Christmas On the Potomac” at www.examiner.com/eclectic-traveler-in-long-island/karen-rubin.

–Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate

http://www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate