Fun Fall Ideas for Washington, DC

Autumn is a wonderful time to live in or visit the Washington, DC region. With the hot days of summer behind us, here are a few ways to enjoy the Fall:

> Football season has already begun. Check out the Washington Redskins schedule http://www.redskins.com/news-and-events/schedule.html and enjoy the games with some friends. They play division rivals Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, October 6th. It will be played in Dallas, but you can always watch it on your favorite big screen.

> Kids Euro Festival presented by the 27 European Union Member States at the House of Sweden. http://www.kidseurofestival.org/index.php

> Wine and Beer Festivals – Adult-like fun can be had at one of the select wine festivals featuring Virginia wines. http://www.virginia.org/winefestivals. If beer is more your preference, you may enjoy celebrating at a local Oktoberfest. The Washington Post recently posted their “Top 5” – http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/best-bets/best-oktoberfest-celebrations,91079.html

> The 2013-2014 performing arts season has begun! If you have something more cultural in mind, you should check out http://www.culturecapital.com/

> Taste of DC http://thetasteofdc.org/ Sample favorite DC restaurants and join 40,000 “friends” for food and fun over the Columbus Day weekend.

These are just a few fun ideas to do in DC this fall. Whether you plan fall hikes in Great Falls, Roosevelt Island, C&O Canal, take long scenic drives along Shenandoah National Park, or enjoy one of the many sporting events or concerts, I wish you all a happy, safe and fun fall season!

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Happy Friday 13th!

Are you the superstitious type? Are you already thinking you should have stayed home in bed rather than go to work this Friday? 

Many people will purposely avoid doing anything significant today (i.e. important meetings, major social events, etc.) due to the belief that the day is cursed and a source of bad luck. Some may not be completely scared of this day, but will just as easily think why don’t we have our event another day?  Better safe than sorry! 

Baseball players are generally known to be amongst the most superstitious types of people.  Prior to last night’s Washington Nationals baseball game, the Nationals center fielder received a new pair of cleats.  Denard Span was enjoying a 22 game hitting streak before the new cleats arrived.  When a fellow player (Stephen Strasburg) noticed the new cleats, he asked Denard  if he really wanted to wear them.  Denard thought better of it, and changed back into his old cleats.  During the game, he got another hit, extending his hitting streak to 23 games. As a Nationals fan, I’m hoping he gets another hit tonight to extend his streak.  You know…on Friday the 13th. 

So what superstitions do you have?  Are you afraid of:

Black cats

Having the # 666 pop up

Opening an umbrella indoors

Walking under a ladder

Broken mirrors

Whatever your superstitions  may be, Happy Friday the 13th!  I hope that you find your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

11 Years After…

I have always been very cognizant of the number 11.  The simple reason for that is because I was born on November 11th.  That’s right, I was born on 11/11.  Because of that, I always thought of 11 as my lucky number.  It also happens to be Veteran’s Day.  As a child growing up, I always thought that was special.  Being the child that I was,  I’m sure that it was not due to any recognition of those that served, it was merely good fortune to not have school on my birthday. 

11 years ago today was the infamous 9/11 tragedies.    Who of us could have conceived of a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, much less attacks of that magnitude?   Like many, I was in disbelief.  The day’s events all seemed so surreal.   We were all concerned for those that lost their lives in this unimaginable catastrophe. It was a shocking and frightful day, one that U.S. citizens have never experienced before, and hopefully will never experience again.

To some it may seem that 9/11 was long ago, while others may feel like it was “just yesterday”.  Sadly, far too many people lost parents and children, brothers and sisters, friends and loved ones that day.  As Americans, we will always remember 9/11, and we will always feel a little changed for it.

Today, 11 years after 9/11, as on every 9/11, we pay tribute.  To those that lost, and those that served, to Americans and to the rest of the world, today and all days, we proudly say it out loud and feel it in our hearts, God Bless America!

Meet-up, Greet-up, Get up and Go!

So far I have written two blogs about “things to do” in Washington, DC, – one for Spring and the other for Summer.  I’m pretty sure you can count on me to add another in the Fall.  Until then, I’d like to add helpful hints for people looking for something to do any time of year. 

Meetup.com is a place where you can find things to do all year long.  “Meetup” is an online social  portal that facilitates offline gatherings, by allowing members to join groups of common interest.

A few interesting statistics:  Nearly 9,000 people have signed up for the Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group (don’t worry, I promise they won’t all be there on the hike you join) and the DC Tech Meetup Group consists of over 5,000 members. The 20’s and 30’s Going Out Group has a whopping total of almost 15,000 members!

In the DC metro area, there are thousands of local Meetup groups to satisfy a wide array of interests.  They are available for bikers (bicycles and motorcycles) and hikers, runners and photographers, just to name a few.

If you think that Meetup is only for single people, you’d be wrong.  There are mom groups, dad groups and single parent groups.   There are groups for the the gen-x and gen-y’s and baby-boomers too.  There is a Meetup group for whatever appeals to you. 

If you would like to take a look at meetups in the Washington, DC area follow the link – http://www.meetup.com/cities/us/dc/washington/.

Below are photos that I took while attending two recent photography meetup events.  With the help from some friendly meetup photogrpahers (thanks Vincent, Chris and Subra!) I was able to get a great night-time photo of the Maryland State Capitol in Annapolis (night photos are very difficult to capture if you do not use the proper settings) .  The second photo is of two friendly and diverse “characters” that I met while doing a meetup photo shoot in Dupont Circle.  They were not part of the group, but seemingly, they enjoyed posing for me.

As always, your comments are welcome. 

Until my next Blog…enjoy the rest of your summer!  Steve, aka theguyfrom4Staff  http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevestrauss4staff

 

Top Summer Suggestions – Washington, DC 2012

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I love Washington, DC, and have chosen to call this area “home” since I graduated college from the University of Maryland.  Between the beauty of the monuments, and all the wonderful year-round events, there is so much to see and do in this Capitol City.

There can always be a debate as to what are the best things to do in the area, but I created my own list of Top 5* Summer Ideas for Washington, DC (*addendum added).  I hope that you find my ideas helpful, and if you already live here, I encourage you to act like a tourist in your own town, this summer.

1.       Screen on the Green – One of my favorite summertime events, and a great way to watch a movie.  Watch a free classic flick, surrounded by spectacular views of both the Capitol and the Washington Monument – as they light up the National Mall on a summer’s night.   Get there early to find a good viewing spot, and perhaps picnic beforehand…and don’t forget your bug spray!  This year’s movies start on Monday, July 16th and include;

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, It Happened One Night, From Here to Eternity and Psycho

If you love the idea of an outdoor movie, but would rather stay closer to home, there are several locales that provide alternative options.  For more details, see: http://dc.about.com/od/filmfestivals/tp/OutdoorMovies.htm

2.        The Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps perform every Tuesday evening in the summer at the Iwo Jima Memorial in nearby Rosslyn, VA.  Adorned by this inspirational monument, the Marines play a medley of military standards and other popular songs, all while marching nobly in dress uniform.

Although I have lived in the DC area for the better part of my adult life, 2012 was the very first time that I attended this remarkable event, and I strongly encourage you to add it to your to-do list this summer.  For a good perspective, see three photos that I posted on “Steve’s pictures” page.

For information on other free area concerts see: http://dc.about.com/od/concerts/a/summerconcerts.htm

3.       Washington Nationals – Since relocating to DC from Montreal in 2005, the Washington Nationals have been perennial “cellar-dwellars”.  However,  as they approach the halfway point of the 2012 baseball season, the Nationals are in First Place in the very competitive National League East.  There’s still plenty of time left to take in a game (or several) this season and join in the excitement.  It’s time to get your Natitiude on!

 4.       Free Smithsonian Events – Ranging from Free Friday Jazz at the Sculpture Garden (pretty much self explanatory), http://dc.about.com/od/concerts/a/JazzinGarden.htm, to the renown Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which continues July 4th through 8th.  The Folklife Festival celebrates cultural traditions from around the world, and includes daily and evening music and dance performances, crafts and cooking demonstrations, and more.

For additional details, visit: http://www.festival.si.edu/

5.       Celebrate Independence Day in your Nation’s Capitol –  Saving the best for last, the National Fireworks in Washington DC offers a multitude of spectacular views and eye-popping pyrotechnics.  Celebrate our nation’s birthday by watching the fireworks on The National Mall, adorned by Washington’s magnificent monuments and the U. S. Capitol.  With an incredibly beautiful and patriotic setting, DC provides a perfect way to enjoy America’s Independence Day celebrations.

For more information on Fourth of July Fireworks 2012 in Washington, DC,  Maryland and Virginia, see: http://dc.about.com/od/specialevents/a/4thofJuly.htm.  

A 4th of July parade offers an alternative daytime option.  You can find one to enjoy by visiting: http://dc.about.com/od/4thofjuly/a/4thJulyParades.htm

While your options are limitless, those are my top 5 summer suggestions.  Feel free to comment and share your own ideas.

Happy 4th of July!!

***

Update July 6, 2012

With the Smithsonian Folklife Festival ending on July 8th and the National Fireworks having come and gone, I wanted to add an addendum to my list.   Here are a few additional ideas: 

Outdoor summer concerts at Wolf Trap.  While seating is available, I’ve always preferred to bring a blanket and picnic out on the lawn.  Located in nearby Wolf Trap Park,  there’s a variety of music to fit assorted tastes www.wolftrap.org.  Choices include pop/rock from the 60’s to present times, blues, jazz, country and classical.  If Hip-Hop is more your style, the DC Hip-Hop Theater Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary with free and low cost events centered on hip-hop in the form of theatre, dance, art and music.  From July 11th through July 16th, it is located at venues such as The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and Arena Stage. http://dc.about.com/od/specialevents/a/HipHopFestival.htm

For tennis fans, there is The Citi Open, (formerly the Legg Mason Tennis Tournament) in Washington, DC from July 28th through August 5th www.citiopentennis.com.  The Washington Kastles play July 9th through 28th www.washingtonkastles.com.

If you would rather participate in an activity rather than watch an event, may I also suggest renting a canoe at Fletchers Boat House, www.fletcherscove.com, or go bicycling on the Rock Creek Park trail, the Old Dominion Park trail, the C&O Canal path, or the Mount Vernon trail.  While it is open year-round, the National Zoo, featuring the famous Giant Pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, is always a great visit – summertime or anytime, while beautiful Great Falls is a way to find a nice shaded hike.

So there you have it.  Of course I could go on and on, but it’s time for me to stop typing and go out and do something.  Hmmmm, where should I start?

 Steve/aka theguyfrom4staff

Hello world!

January 10, 2012

Hello all, my name is Steve and this is my first foray into the world of blogging.

So, what’s my blog about? 

It’s a work in progress, so I really don’t know really just yet.   I’m not sure if I will do this monthly, weekly or when the mood strikes me.  I do know, however,  that I’d rather do it for fun than feel obligated to meet some sort of self-imposed deadline.  After all, I have no editor looking over my shoulder and nobody to please, except myself, and hopefully you, dear reader.  Maybe there will be one or two of you out there who follow this, and if so, I hope that you enjoy my blog. 

Wish me luck!

Steve

theguyfrom4staff

http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevestrauss4staff