Archive for the ‘Washington 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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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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Gaylord National Resort Announces More Thrills and Chills This Holiday Season

December 5, 2017
Opryland's ICE!

The thrill of coming down the ice slide at Gaylord National’s ice sculpture attraction, ICE! during the resort’s fabulous Christmas on the Potomac festival © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

(National Harbor, Md)– The holiday festivities are already underway at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, just outside of the nation’s capital. Christmas on the Potomac, presented by FUJIFILM INSTAX® features its famous ice sculpture attraction, an indoor Christmas village, ice skating experience and more.

No holiday season would be complete without the resort’s famous ice sculpture attraction, ICE!, presented by Pepsi, featuring a brand new theme. Families and friends can relive the beloved 1964 TV classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, as they walk through 13 scenes of more than two million pounds of colorful ice sculptures that tell the story of how Rudolph’s red-nose first helped Santa guide his sleigh.  Kept at a chilly nine degrees, visitors also can enjoy four thrilling ice slides and a crystal clear, breathtaking Nativity scene.

ICE! opens daily from November 18, 2017 through January 1, 2018. Discounted ticket pricing is available now through October 1 on select days starting at $28 for adults ages 12 and older and $20 for children ages 4 to 11. Tickets after October 1 start at $32 for adults and $24 for children on value days; $38 for adults and $31 for children on general admission days; and $39 for adult and $32 for children on peak days. Kids 3 and younger are free. Military and group ticket pricing is available. Hours vary and can be found at www.ChristmasOnThePotomac.com.

If a winter wonderland of ice sculptures wasn’t enough, the resort also is introducing a new Glacier Glide Ice Skating experience. The young and young at heart will delight in this timeless holiday tradition in the resort’s ornate Christmas Village. Ice Skating costs $16.99 for all ages.

The Christmas Village also is home to a variety of warmer, family-friendly entertainment including Cookies with Mrs. Claus, a carousel, miniature train ride, photos with Santa and Gingerbread Decorating Corner presented by Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas.

The resort also is bringing back its Build-A-Bear Workshop® experience where guests make their very own furry winter friend – a cuddly, cute polar bear plush, designed exclusively for Gaylord Hotels that can be personalized with cozy winter clothing and accessories. For even more fun, families can work together to solve the Build-A-Bear Workshop® Scavenger Hunt to gain a “beary” special prize.

To enjoy multiple experiences at a reduced price, the resort has bundled several attractions in its Play and Save packages. The packages include a gingerbread man decorating kit, scavenger hunt, unlimited rides on the train and carousel and the option to add-on an ICE! ticket. Without ICE!, the package starts at $29.45 for all ages. With an ICE! ticket, the prices vary depending on the day of visit.

The Christmas Village isn’t the only area to experience holiday cheer within the resort. New this year, Gaylord National is introducing a live entertainment show, JOY – A Holiday Spectacular, set within its stunning 19-story atrium. Visitors can enjoy the rich harmonies of classic and modern songs that celebrate the joy of the holiday season performed by Gaylord National singers. The show is immediately followed by a spectacular Tree Lighting Show that includes laser lights, a dancing water fountain, indoor snowfall and holiday music – all centered on the resort’s suspended Starlight Christmas Tree. To reserve VIP seating for JOY, tickets costs $19.99 for all ages.

Gaylord National also will offer a new family breakfast experience featuring the star of ICE!, Rudolph! Rudolph’s Holly Jolly™ Breakfast is a one-of-a-kind interactive character breakfast experience featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster and Clarice. Children of all ages will enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet, play reindeer games and sing-a-long to favorite music from the beloved television special. Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Breakfast is offered on select days and costs $39.99 for adults ages 12 and older and $26.99 for children ages 4 to 11. Kids 3 and younger are free.

To experience the best of Christmas in the Capital Region, the resort offers overnight packages that offer unlimited priority entry to ICE! Packages include:

ICE! Is Nice Package

  • One night room accommodations
  • Unlimited, priority entry tickets to experience ICE!featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Package starts at $219 for two people.

Christmas on the Potomac Package

  • One night room accommodations
  • Unlimited, priority entry tickets to experience ICE!featuring Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • $100 resort credit per night for hotel dining and Relâche Spa services
  • One (1) complimentary souvenir ICE!photo

Package starts at $279 for two people.

For more information on Christmas on the Potomac at Gaylord National Resort and to book a package or tickets to ICE!, visit www.ChristmasOnThePotomac.com or call 301-965-4000.

 

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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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Crescent Hotels’ 3 Properties on Metrorail Silver Line Are Ideal for Attending Presidential Inauguration, Million Woman March on DC

December 14, 2016
Attending the Presidential Inauguration or the Million Woman March in Washington DC? Look for hotels and lodgings located along DC’s metro system. Plan on taking a 4 am rail, dress in layers for the cold and bring water and snacks © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Attending the Presidential Inauguration or the Million Woman March in Washington DC? Look for hotels and lodgings located along DC’s metro system. Plan on taking a 4 am rail, dress in layers for the cold and bring water and snacks © 2016 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

WASHINGTON, DC – The Silver Line Metrorail expansion, connecting Northern Virginia to the nation’s capital, is making Crescent Hotels & Resorts’ three hotels on the line ideal venues for people attending the Presidential Inauguration as well as the Million Woman March, and other high-profile events in Washington DC.

“In the last two weeks, our phones have started to ring off the hook,” said Linda Westgate General Manager of the Sheraton Tysons Hotel, located two blocks from the Spring Hill Silver Line stop, one of the management company’s 14 properties in the Washington DC/Baltimore area and one of the three properties located on the expanded Silver Line.

Westgate credits the growing interest in the hotel to not only the location to Metrorail, but the nearby Tysons Corner Center, the region’s largest shopping complex, hosting over 300 specialty and department stores. The hotel is offering an inauguration package of $329 per night (plus tax) which includes Metrorail passes for two as well as complimentary parking and WIFI. This package is bookable online.

Reston, Virginia, one stop from the Spring Hill station, offers a town center atmosphere with countless dining and shopping options. Don Anderson, Complex General Manager of the Westin Reston Heights and the adjacent Sheraton Reston Hotel, also credits Silver Line for the increased interest in Reston hotels.

“This will be first presidential inauguration where guests will be able to take a complimentary hotel shuttle not only to Dulles International Airport but also Metrorail, connecting them to the city for all key events,” said Anderson, whose hotels offer complimentary shuttle to both Metrorail and the airport. Both hotels are offering Metrorail passes in their inauguration packages and are bookable online, as well as guest room only options.

For Westin Reston Heights: rates starting at $195, click here. For Sheraton Reston Hotel: rates starting at $165, click here. Rates are based on minimum length of stay.

Tim Bowes, Vice President of Crescent Hotels & Resorts, said, “The options for lodging have really opened up for this presidential inauguration. The key really is to be close to Metrorail.”  He also sites new hotels as another option, provided they are close to a rail station. Two hotels that have opened since the last inauguration include the Cambria hotel & suites Rockville located in Rockville Town Center and the Hyatt Place Washington DC/US Capitol, one mile north of the US Capitol Building. Both hotels are two blocks from a Metrorail stop located on the Red Line, one of the system’s main arteries.

Here’s another tip: be prepared to head out by about 4 am in the morning because the lines and security take hours. Dress warmly, in layers, and take some drinking water and snacks.

Crescent Hotels & Resorts operates over 100 hotels and resorts in 27 states in the US and 5 provinces in Canada. Crescent is one of the few management companies approved to operate upper-upscale and luxury hotels under the brands of Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, Hyatt and IHG. Crescent also operates a collection of legendary independent hotels and resorts. Crescent’s clients are made up of hotel REITs, private equity firms and major developers. For more information, visit www.chrco.com.

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Lottery Opens for Tickets to 2016 White House Easter Egg Roll

February 12, 2016
White House, Washington DC

White House, Washington DC © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

WASHINGTON – The President and First Lady announced today that the South Lawn of the White House will be opened up for children 13 years and younger and their families on Monday, March 28th for the 2016 White House Easter Egg Roll. This will be the final Easter Egg Roll of the Obama Administration, and will feature live music, sport courts, cooking stations, storytelling and, of course, Easter egg rolling. In honor of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, this year’s event will also include the first-ever White House Fun Run.

TICKETS 

White House Easter Egg Roll tickets can be requested through an online lottery which opens today, Friday, February 12at 12:00 PM EST and closes on Wednesday, February 17, at 12:00 PM EST. Winners will be notified at a later date; tickets are free of charge and cannot be sold. To enter the lottery, please visit www.recreation.gov.

THEME

To honor the final Easter Egg Roll of the Obama Administration, this year’s theme will be “Let’s Celebrate,” and will feature aspects of First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiatives, as well as the contributions the Obama Administration has made to the Easter Egg Roll.

FUN RUN 

In honor of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, this year’s event will also include the first-ever White House Fun Run.       

SOUVENIR EGGS

This year’s White House Easter Egg Roll features five souvenir eggs, designed by graphic designer and blogger Joy Cho. The collection features four colored eggs with stamped signatures of the President and First Lady on the back, and one gold “Bo and Sunny” egg, with stamped “signatures” and “paw prints” of Bo and Sunny on the back.

The National Park Foundation (NPF), the official charity of America’s national parks, produces and sells the commemorative White House Easter eggs. Each child 13 years and younger who attends the White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn, which sits on President’s Park, will also receive a souvenir egg.

To place your order for the full collection of 2016 White House Easter Egg (all 5 eggs),  visit easter.nationalparks.org.

2016 SOUVENIR POSTER DESIGN CONTEST 

The White House invites all elementary and middle school students to submit original artwork related to this year’s theme for the 2016 Easter Egg Roll Design Contest. The First Lady will select the winning designs, which will be used as a part of the White House 2016 Easter Egg Roll program and souvenir poster.

Submissions for the contest will be accepted starting Friday February 12, and will close on Monday, February 22, at noon EST. Designs should be uploaded towww.whitehouse.gov/eastereggroll. Artwork should reflect this year’s theme. Please note submissions may be made public during the selection process.

For the most up-to-date information on the Easter Egg Roll and other public events at the White House,  visit www.whitehouse.gov/eastereggroll.

 

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Frightfully Elegant Halloween Experience Awaits in the ‘Transylvania Suite’ at The Hay-Adams, Washington DC

October 28, 2015
Washington DC at night. The Hay Adams has a very special Halloween planned for anyone intrepid enough to book "The Transylvania Suite." © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Washington DC at night. The Hay Adams has a very special Halloween planned for anyone intrepid enough to book “The Transylvania Suite.” © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Washington, D.C. – This Halloween no creaking coffins are needed for a night or two of haunting retiring at The Hay-Adams, located at 800 16th Street NW in Washington, DC. Count Dracula and ghost-loving guests who book the “Transylvania Suite” for one or two nights, (available Friday, October 30 and Saturday, October 31) will find the expansive canopy bed dressed in custom designed Italian linens, frightfully embellished with cobwebs and creepily embroidered personalized pillows. This luxurious suite overlooks Lafayette Park towards the White House.

The Hay-Adams Halloween package affords a unique chance to enjoy the legendary elegance of this historic hotel while experiencing a number of creative twists all evening: from a frighteningly outfitted butler to escort guests to the skull- adorned suite, to a gift collection of old and new horror film DVDs, along with more eye-popping surprises. This Halloween experience is priced at $2,995 per night (excluding tax and gratuity).

The “Transylvania Suite” will be fiendishly decorated by designer Barbara Hamilton of the Ociana Group, with all the trappings of a gentrified haunted house. Those brave enough to take the plunge will be treated to a spirited welcome amenity from Pastry Chef Josh Short, tricked with blood-curdling cocktails for two delivered to the Halloween lair, followed by a three-course dinner paired with wines which includes a spidery-inspired dessert, served in the suite’s dining room. A diabolically concocted turn-down surprise will be delivered prior to retiring for the night. The following morning guests can celebrate daybreak with a lavish breakfast in bed at their leisure, and who can resist a spicy Bloody Scary to complete the morning feast.

The award-winning Hay-Adams hotel is located at 800 16th Street NW, Washington DC, 20006, across Lafayette Square from the White House. The historic Hay-Adams offers guests Washington’s most prestigious address with views overlooking the White House, Lafayette Square and St. John’s Church, the “Church of the Presidents.”   The hotel is just minutes from the Smithsonian, the Museums, the Washington Monument, the Capitol Building, the Mall, as well as convenient to Metro stations and the convention center.

For reservations or more information call (202) 638-6600 or visit www.hayadams.com.

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White House Lifts Camera Ban on Public Tours, Encourages Posting Pix

July 3, 2015
Visitors to The White House, Washington DC are now encouraged to post their photos © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Visitors to The White House, Washington DC are now encouraged to post their photos © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

After 40 years, the White House is lifting its longstanding camera and photo ban on public tours.  Guests are now welcome to take photos throughout the White House tour route and keep those memories for a lifetime. Visitors are also encouraged to share their experience using the hashtag #WhiteHouseTour.

To announce the change in policy, the First Lady posted THIS video on her Instagram account.

Permitted Items: Phones and compact still cameras with a lens no longer than 3 inches are allowed inside the White House.  Photography is permitted but may not interfere with the enjoyment of other guests on the tour.  

Prohibited Items: Video cameras, including any action camcorders, cameras with detachable lenses, tablets, tripods, monopods, and camera sticks are not permitted on White House Tours.  Flash photography and livestreaming are not permitted while on the tour.

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First Lady Michelle Obama Announces Opening of Old Family Dining Room on White House Tour

February 10, 2015
First Lady Michelle Obama has opened the Old Family Dining Room to public tours of the White House © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

First Lady Michelle Obama has opened the Old Family Dining Room to public tours of the White House © 2015 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled the Old Family Dining Room for public viewing for the first time in White House history. Through a joint effort by the First Lady and the Committee for the Preservation of the White House, and funded by a special donation from the White House Historical Association, the room has been refurbished and will serve as a showcase of 20th century art and design.  Adjacent to the State Dining Room, the Old Family Dining Room has a rich history that dates back to 1825.  Additional information on the history of the Old Family Dining room can be found HERE.

“It is my pleasure to help pull back the curtain on this special part of the White House,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “Today and moving forward, the Old Family Dining room will reflect the history of our former First Families and represent the legacy and impact of modern American artists.”

As part of the room’s renovation, the several items have been added to the permanent White House collection for display in the Old Family Dining Room:

Resurrection by Alma Thomas (1891-1978), done in 1966. An educator and artist in Washington, D.C. for most of her career, Alma Thomas was one of the renowned members of the Washington Color School. This painting is the first artwork by an African-American woman featured in the White House.

Early Bloomer [Anagram (a Pun)] by Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008), done in 1998, An innovator in many mediums, Rauschenberg received the National Medal of the Arts in 1993.

Study for Homage to the Square: Asking by Josef Albers (1888-1976), done in 1963.

Homage to the Square by Josef Albers (1888-1976), done in 1966. German immigrant artist and color theorist Josef Albers began his “Squares” series in 1950, studying the effects of adjacent colors and the illusions created of squares advancing or receding in space.

Black, White, and Gray by Anni Albers (1899-1994), pictorial weaving adapted as a wool rug done in 1950. A pioneering abstract artist, Anni Albers was best known for her work in textiles.

These were gifts of The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, in honor of Barack and Michelle Obama.

New York World’s Fair Tableware , 1939, ceramic plate, china, and glassware. Silver tea set manufactured by Graff, Washbourne, & Dunn. Received by the White House after the conclusion of the fair in 1940. The coffee and tea pots – spherical with triangular spouts – are suggestive of the Perisphere and Trylon, symbols of the 1939 fair.

White House Tours

Public tour requests must be submitted through one’s Member of Congress.  These self-guided tours are available from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays (excluding federal holidays or unless otherwise noted).  Tour hours will be extended when possible based on the official White House schedule. Tours are scheduled on a first come, first served basis. Requests can be submitted up to six months in advance and no less than 21 days in advance. You are encouraged to submit your request as early as possible as a limited number of spaces are available. All White House tours are free of charge.  (Please note that White House tours may be subject to last minute cancellation.)

If you wish to visit the White House and are a citizen of a foreign country, you need to contact your embassy in Washington, DC for assistance in submitting a tour request.

All guests 18 years of age or older will be required to present a valid, government-issued photo identification. All foreign nationals must present their passport.

Take a Virtual Tour:

As part of President and Mrs. Obama’s commitment to open the White House to as many Americans as possible, the White House has partnered with the Google Art Project and allowed their 360 Street View cameras to capture the rooms that are featured on the public tour. Now anyone, anywhere, can experience the history and art of the White House via their computer. Take the virtual tour.

For additional information about tours of the White House, visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/tours-and-events

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