Now that winter is over, and the trees are in bloom, I am excited for Spring and eager to share my 2015 list of The Best of Spring – Washington, DC .
• Cherry Blossoms – Every year, hundreds of thousands of tourists descend on the Washington, DC region to revel in the beauty of Cherry Blossom trees and the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival http://www.nationalcherryblossomfestival.org/. The current forecast for peak bloom, according to the National Park Service, is April 11-14. Make a plan to see them in person before they are gone!
• Washington Nationals baseball – The local team made a huge winter splash by signing 2013 Cy Young Award winning pitcher (American League, 2103) Max Scherzer. With current stars Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper also leading the team, big things are expected from the Washington Nationals in 2015. We may never again openly say “World Series or Bust” but the expectations are certainly high for the Nats this year. Opening Day is April 6th. Check out the schedule and get your tickets. Play Ball! http://atmlb.com/1FFMLHy
• Waterfront Dining – DC has an abundance of great waterfront views. Why not take advantage and enjoy it with your favorite meal or beverage. Find out more here: http://dcmetroplus.com/dining-category/incredible-waterfront-dining-in-dc/
• Bicycle and running paths – Washington, DC and the surrounding neighborhoods are adorned with hundreds of miles of beautiful trails. Whether you walk, bike or run, find your favorite path and enjoy. http://bikewashington.org/trails/
• National Zoo – Everyone knows that bears hibernate for winter, but come spring there is no place better to see lions, tigers, bears, and of course pandas, than at the National Zoo. Admission is free (parking extra). Metro accessible. http://nationalzoo.si.edu/
• Great Falls and assorted hiking trails – In city adorned by brilliant man-made monuments, we often forget the wonder that Mother Nature created, with Great Falls being among the very best in the area. If you’ve never hiked the Billy Goat Trail, or have not done so in a very long time, you owe it to yourself to get out there this spring. http://www.localhikes.com/Hikes/Billy_Goat_A_8872.asp. For more hiking trails http://dc.about.com/od/hiking/a/BestHiking.htm
• Annapolis, Middleburg, Skyline Drive and more – There are many places to visit within an hour or so drive of DC. Whether it’s the quaint towns of Middleburg and Annapolis or the hiking trails and spectacular views of Skyline Drive (http://www.nps.gov/shen/planyourvisit/waterfalls.htm) there is so much to see and do near Washington. Baltimore and the famed Inner Harbor is only an hour away http://baltimore.org/about-baltimore/inner-harbor (* plan accordingly for weekend and rush-hour traffic). Photo below was taken in the Virginia countryside – part of the Shenandoah Mountains.
• Celebrate Planet Earth – Celebrate the earth, music, and life in general, with a huge Earth Day concert. Earth Day on the Mall on April 18th with a mega-sized free concert, featuring No Doubt (w/ Gwen Stefani), Fall Out Boy, Mary J. Blige, Train, Usher, etc. http://bit.ly/1FdAxXQ
This is just a small sample of the wonderful outdoor activities available in and around our Nation’s Capitol. So get outside and enjoy the Best of Spring – Washington, DC style!
*All photos were taken by Steve from 4Staff.
Are you making any New Year’s resolutions? Do you even remember your resolutions from last year? I’m betting you don’t, and I’ll also bet the reason why is that you didn’t write it down.
Allow me to offer a solution to the failed resolution problem. I have personally never been a big fan of resolutions, simply because they fail far too often. I also don’t see the point of waiting to start something on January 1 as if it has magical and mystical qualities to it. Yes, it’s a new year and a new beginning, but anything that you want to start in the new year can be started today. That’s not tomorrow, it’s today! Tomorrow is full of even more tomorrows. Tomorrow can be endless, but today is today, and tomorrow it is gone.
It has been well documented that writing down your plans and goals greatly increases the odds for successful fulfillment. Writing down your plan is crucial. Most goals will not completed unless you write them down. There’s something about writing it down that makes it more of commitment. And, since resolutions are more often than not, “made to be broken”, I suggest that you don’t make any resolutions. What you should do is make a plan! After all, you wouldn’t start a business without a business plan, would you? If you are a married man, you didn’t propose to your wife without planning to buy the ring and planning to ask her to marry you. It’s not like you went to the movies and just happened to ask her over the popcorn, right?
So make a plan for 2015. Make a plan for the entire year. Plan for your success. Plan time for new and old hobbies. Plan a big present for yourself or your family. Plan to do things that you have never done before. Most importantly, plan for a great year!
Happy New Year, and happy planning, today, tomorrow and throughout the year!
And a Time for Thanks – “Giving”
How many of you have too much stuff in your closets? Come on, raise your hands.
I know that I’m guilty! I can be a “clothes collector”, and at times, reluctant (or just lazy) to clean out my closets. Hey, just because I have not worm that short in 2 years, does not mean that it’s not a perfectly good shirt, right? I might wear it again….someday.
My intentions have always been in the right place. Over the years, I have donated my clothing many times, particularly at the holiday season. I know that I have too much clothes, and I know that someone (less fortunate than me) would be very happy to have them. However, somewhere along the way I got lazy, and it has been a while since I “shared” my clothing.
This Sunday morning, I set my alarm early, and drove with a car stuffed full with clothes, to the Gospel Rescue Mission (Washington, DC) – a homeless shelter for men. I should tell you the reason why I chose to the Gospel Rescue Mission. I did not select the “Mission” for any religious reason. It was for the purpose of putting my clothes to good use. They don’t plan to sell my clothes (for what I believe would be a small fraction of what they are worth), they will USE my clothes to clothe the homeless! I left the mission with a warm and fuzzy feeling, not because I now have cleaner closets, but because I know that I did some good.
I don’t mean to sound sanctimonious, because I know that many give and give again, but just a few days before Thanksgiving, I was reminded of the true meaning of the holiday. I gave, and they were thankful…and so was I. Personally, I know that I should be “thankful” more often. I have everything I need and more than enough to give away.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
For more information on the Gospel Mission Rescue – http://www.missiondc.org 202-745-7118
Veteran’s Day 2014
Honoring our veterans, and all servicemen/servicewomen, at home and abroad.
The Concert for Valor is being held in Washington, DC on Tuesday, November 11, 2014. The Concert for Valor was created to bring artists and celebrities together to honor the courage and sacrifices of retired veterans, active military personnel and their supportive families.
To show your support, please visit http://www.theconcertforvalor.com/ and follow the “support” tab.
Happy Veteran’s Day!
As Bob Dylan once sang, The Leaves They Are a Changin’. OK, so that’s not right. Bob D. didn’t really sing that, but fall is in the air, and the leaves really are changing. Take advantage now, before the trees all shed their leaves for winter. Here are just a few ideas to enjoy fall’s splendor in and around the Washington, DC area.
I’m sure nobody has forgotten about Skyline Drive, but remember to leave early. Traffic is sure to be jam-packed this weekend. For those of you who would rather avoid the schlep and the traffic, here are a few ideas closer to home.
Take a walk, run or bike ride in Rock Creek Park. See the animals at the National Zoo and visit the bears and other animals before they hibernate for winter. Check out the grounds and the National Capitol Columns at the National Arboretum (read these wonderful reviews from Trip Advisor – http://bit.ly/12ikfON). It’s surely one of Washington’s best kept secrets.
If sports is more your style, fall is the time when basketball and hockey season begin. Both the Washington Capitals, and their star, Alex Ovechkin, and the Washington Wizards with John Wall, play at the Verizon Center in downtown, DC. While the NFL season is half over, there is still plenty of time to go see the Washington Redskins, or venture 40 miles to the north to go see the neighboring Baltimore Ravens.
For those of you who prefer amateur sports, you won’t find a more awe-inspiring event than watching over 30,000 runners compete in the 39th running of the Marine Corps Marathon. This year’s event is this Sunday, October 26th. Be sure to take metro, as driving through the district and parts of Northern Virginia may prove very difficult this Sunday.
When looking to entertain the kids, what better place than the Boo at the Zoo. Find details and tickets – http://nationalzoo.si.edu/ActivitiesAndEvents/Celebrations/Boo/.
More kid-friendly ideas include pumpkin patches – http://dc.about.com/od/childrensactivities/a/pumpkinpatches.htm and corn mazes – http://dc.about.com/od/hoildaysseasonalevents/a/CornMazes.htm.
As November turns a bit colder, you might search for the indoors and great photography at DC Photo Week http://www.fotodc.org/ . This year’s event is being held November 8th-16th.
Last but not least, no list of fall activities would be complete without mentioning Halloween. As always, there are a cornucopia of events. If you need a few ideas to help get you going, you can find them here – http://dc.about.com/od/fallfestivalsandevents/a/HalloweenAdults.htm.
So get out and enjoy. Wishing you and yours a wonderful fall!
How many people reading this have personally been affected by the loss of a loved one to Breast Cancer? Who has lost a mother, wife, sister or good friend? Perhaps an aunt, cousin, neighbor, co-worker or acquaintance, and it seems virtually impossible not know someone who lost their battle to Breast Cancer. Hopefully you know a few “lucky ones” who are in remission, or as we like to appropriately call them, “survivors”.
According to statistics, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. Breast cancer is currently the 2nd most common kind of cancer in women, after skin cancer (so please be careful in the sun too!).
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of screening and the early detection of breast cancer. The good news is that many women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early.
More information can be found at http://healthfinder.gov/NHO/OctoberToolkit.aspx and http://www.cancer.org/healthy/morewaysacshelpsyoustaywell/breastcancer
It is time to put an end to breast cancer!
Reprinted (with edits) for October 2014