Join “Mrs. Washington” as she hosts an enchanting evening of candlelight tours! Tours include merry music, dancing, and characters from Washingtons’ world guiding visitors through the first and second floors of the home, adding ambiance and authenticity to a traditional Christmas evening at Mount Vernon.
The event takes place on November 29, 30 & December 1 (Friday - Sunday), December 7 & 8 (Saturday - Sunday only), December 14 & 15 (Saturday - Sunday only), December 21 & 22 (Saturday - Sunday only) from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Starting October 28, tickets may be purchased in advance at the Ford Orientation Center or through MountVernon.org/Christmas. Admission is $22 for adults and $15 for children under 12. This event is not included in general admission.
On the Mount Vernon by Candlelight tour, visitors will meet a cast of friends and family of the famous founding couple. In the kitchen, the final stop on the tour, guests will hear about 18th-century holiday cooking, see a reproduction of Martha Washington’s Great Cake, and be given a complimentary copy of the recipe to try at home. Following the Mansion tour, guests are invited to stroll candlelit walks, join in fireside caroling, and visit Aladdin the Christmas camel.
For more information, please visit: www.mountvernon.org/christmas
One of my favorite holiday escapes is right in Northern Virginia at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. Check out the holiday traditions below for your family, or take a peek at the events calendar
for more happenings!Annual Gingerbread House Opening
Friday, November 29 at 2:00pm
Kick-off the holidays with The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, as the life-sized Gingerbread House is unveiled for guests and the community to enjoy. Located on the lobby level of the hotel, the culinary work of art is large enough for guests to walk around inside and explore the sugary construction created by our talented Pastry Team. Opening day festivities will include holiday confections, hot spiced cider and hot cocoa. Gingerbread House Decorating Classes
Saturday, December 7, 14 & 21, Sundays 8, 15 & 22, 2013; Seatings at 10:00am & 1:00pm
$70 per child, ages 2 to 12, inclusive of tax and gratuity (no charge for kids under 2 years old)
After exploring our life-size gingerbread house, learn to make your own sugary home at a Gingerbread House Decorating Class, taught by The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner’s pastry chefs. The class includes all the ingredients to construct a beautiful gingerbread house as well as a special souvenir.The Nutcracker Tea
Saturdays, December 7, 14 & 21, 2013; Seatings at 10:00am & 1:00pm
$75 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity
Escape into the magical world of The Nutcracker ballet, complemented by afternoon tea and treats. Students of the South Riding Dance Company will delight your eyes with a contemporary twist on the beloved holiday classic, while the Pastry Team will tantalize your taste buds with an extraordinary selection of tea sandwiches, pastries and sweets. All children will leave with a Nutcracker doll. Pictures will be taken with the featured artists and emailed at the conclusion of the tea.The Princess Tea
Sundays, December 8, 15 & 22, 2013; Seatings at 11:00am & 2:00pm
$75 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity (no charge for kids under 2 years old)
Delight your young princesses with a magical theatrical production, featuring treasured Disney Princesses complemented by treats, courtesy of our pastry team. All children will leave with a holiday gift bag. Pictures will be taken with the featured Princesses and emailed at the conclusion of the tea.
Over the weekend, I was fortunate enough to be invited to The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner to participate in their Stay, Play and Write campaign. My mom and her girlfriends were already planning a trip to Tysons Corner Galleria to do some holiday shopping - so I figured it'd be the perfect time to coordinate with them and have a girls getaway. My mom and her friends arrived from Richmond early to get their shop on, so I wasn't surprised when she called to tell me that they had already checked into the room. I was surprised, however, when she said that we had THE RITZ-CARLTON SUITE... like... all 1800+ square feet!
All I could think is that I might be sleeping in the same bed that Harry Styles
The suite greeted us with double doors, a foyer, three bathrooms, king bed, formal dining room with seating for 8, kitchen, and a spacious living room with fireplace. Also -- the suite offers club access to the concierge lounge with 5 food and beverage presentations each day.
I was treated to a seat at the last class in the Fall Epicurean Series on Saturday with the Executive Pastry Chef, Fred. I posted this before, but each Saturday in October, The Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner offered opportunities to cook with their team. I actually ran into a nice lady at the cooking lesson who said she was there because she read it on my blog... pretty cool! If they start this series up again in the future, I'll be sure to post the schedule. For now, you can check their calendar of events
for more happenings.
Anyways, the class was 3-4:30... and I probably would have a lot more to say, but they paired three of the four desserts with cocktails in those 90 minutes and I was just happy I didn't fall off of my bar stool. Chef Fred was pretty amazing and he made everything look SO easy. I am inspired enough to try to make creme brulee at home - his tip was to go straight to home depot and get a blow torch. I think I can handle that! Check out the sweet potato bread pudding, milk chocolate and caramel rounds, sweet potato pie, and pumpkin spice creme brulee:
Aside from enjoying the complimentary food and beverages in the club lounge, we also dined in ENTYSE Wine Bar & Bistro. Since there were 5 of us, we went ahead and made a reservation for 8pm. Good thing we did because it got packed. There was an awesome Latin trio performing - and I've been told that it's one of the only upscale places in the area with live music on the weekends.
For dinner, everyone in our party ordered surf and turf or the filet... you can't go wrong with either option. For breakfast at ENTYSE Bistro on Sunday morning, I had their famous eggs benedict with jumbo lump crab cakes. It was supposed to be a "shopping weekend" in Tysons... but I think we did way more dining then shopping.
The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner is the perfect spot for a weekend getaway - so close to home, but so far removed from the busy hustle and bustle of Northern Virginia.
I was provided with a complimentary stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
National Wildlife Federation (NWF), America's largest conservation organization, is pleased to announce the Hike & Seek™ event at the Seneca Creek State Park on October 19 in Gaithersburg, Maryland
just outside of D.C. Hike & Seek is a family outing that inspires a child’s sense of adventure by combining a nature hike and scavenger hunt.
The event brings families together for a few hours in the great outdoors for some fresh fall air and fun and provides an opportunity to rediscover nature. Hike & Seek is being held on Saturday, October 19, 2013, starting at 9 a.m. at the Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg, Maryland
People are encouraged to sign up at www.hikeandseek.org
early to register and then show up ready to spend some family time in nature. The one to two mile go-at-your-own-pace hike will have interactive “Stop & Study” nature stations with engaging learning activities including fun nature crafts, live wildlife displays, and much more. This year’s events will include a station highlighting an activity about trees themed around Disney Junior's hit animated series "Jake and the Never Land Pirates." Every child participant is given a Map & Mission Guidebook to direct their path and will receive an Honorary Junior Naturalist badge from Ranger Rick at the end of the hike. Hike & Seek is made possible by support from Disney, REI, Mattel, Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies, and National Recreation and Park Association.Be Out There™ is NWF’s movement to reconnect families with the outdoors. NWF’s practical tools and information help make being outside a fun, healthy and automatic part of everyday life. For other helpful resources and to learn more about NWF’s goal to get 10 million more kids spending regular time in the great outdoors visit: www.BeOutThere.org
The 3rd Annual Fredericksburg Zombie Walk, benefiting the Hope House, SECA, the King George Food Bank and S.E.R.V.E, will take place November 2nd, 2013. Please bring a nonperishable food item, a household cleaning product or a roll of paper towels to donate and read the event information in its entirety.
Additional Information on this event will be updated as it becomes available. Follow the facebook event page
for more info.
The Fredericksburg Zombie Walk schedule: November 2, 2013
3:00 PM - Food collection begins, Pre-Walk Meeting, Children's costume contests, Best Undead Family and Best Undead Group costume contests, Prize drawings (don't worry, we'll hold your prizes for you while you walk)
4:00 PM - Get our zombie on and take a walk.
5:00 PM - The Rest of the Adult Costume Contests, More Prize Drawings
All event related activities will be done by 6 PM.For more information, visit the event page.
The internationally acclaimed Cavalia pushes the limits of live entertainment once again with its second production: a 30-million dollar extravaganza that is wowing critics and audiences alike across North America. Cavalia’s Odysseo will make its premiere under the White Big Top at National Harbor in Maryland on Wednesday, October 9, 2013.
With its latest creation, Cavalia marries the equestrian arts, stage arts and high-tech theatrical effects at never-before-seen levels. A veritable revolution in live performance, Cavalia’s Odysseo features 63 horses and 47 artists in a larger-than-life theatrical production that sends hearts racing. This breathtaking ode to horse and man, imagined by one of the co-founders of Cirque du Soleil, is an absolute feast for the eyes that succeeds in delivering the spectacular with soul.
Tickets for Cavalia’s Odysseo
are now on sale online at www.cavalia.net
or by calling 1-866-999-8111. Ticket are priced from $34.50 to $149.50 + applicable taxes and fees. For a memorable evening, the Rendez-Vous
package offers the best seats in the house, exquisite buffet-dinning before the show, open bar, deserts during intermission and an exclusive visit of the stable after the show. This unique VIP experience takes place in a luxurious tent alongside the White Big Top. The Rendez-Vous
package prices range from $154.50 to $229.50 + applicable taxes and fees.
Every Saturday in October, The Ritz-Carlton executive culinary team will present a cooking demonstration that highlights creative ways to incorporate seasonal favorites into your holiday menu.
Saturday, October 5, 12, 19 and 26, 2013
From 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. | $35 per person
Reservations are required and can be made by calling (703) 917-5498.
Hosting the Perfect Dinner Party with Executive Chef Matthew Morrison
October 5, 2013
From simple, yet dynamic hors d’oeuvres and canapés to innovative cocktail ideas, The Ritz-Carlton culinary team will provide creative ways to host the perfect dinner party.
International Cooking with Executive Chef Matthew Morrison
October 12, 2013
From impressive curry dishes with aromatic Persian rice to secret tips for the perfect Pad Thai, our team of international chefs will take you on a journey around the world. Let us introduce globally-inspired cuisine into your kitchen.
Thanksgiving 101 with Executive Chef Matthew Morrison
October 19, 2013
Learn how to cook the perfect turkey as well as other seasonal favorites with The Ritz-Carlton culinary team. Let us help make your Thanksgiving memorable with creative holiday recipes and secret cooking tips from our Executive Chef Matthew Morrison.
Holiday Baking with Pastry Chef Frederic Barasse
October 26, 2013
Introduce the holiday season with new dessert ideas and helpful baking tips from The Ritz-Carlton pastry team. Join us for a seasonally-inspired event that is sure to please your holiday sweet tooth.
Extend your Culinary Adventure with an unforgettable stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner. During October, stay with us on Friday or Saturday night and enjoy weekend rates starting at $209 per night. To plan your epicurean weekend getaway, reserve online or call the hotel at (703) 506-4300.
The 38th Annual Virginia Wine Festival
returns to Great Meadow Event Center in The Plains, Virginia September 14th and 15th. The Commonwealth's original celebration of Virginia wine, the Virginia Wine Festival will feature more than 50 Virginia wineries and offer free wine tastings and educational viticulture seminars to festival-goers during the two-day event. The Virginia Wine Festival will also play host to a variety of local musical talents and vendors, allowing guests the opportunity to experience a little of everything Virginia has to offer.
Confirmed wineries for the 2013 Virginia Wine Festival include: Barboursville Vineyards, Davis Valley Winery, Old House Vineyards, Potomac Point Vineyard & Winery, Veritas Vineyard & Winery, the Williamsburg Winery
Festival musicians include: Inner Rhythm Quartet, Johnny and the Headhunters, Glory on the Floor and Jr. Cline and the Recliners.
A van shuttle to and from the Vienna Metro stop is also available to guests coming from across the Washington, DC metro area. This and food pairing options are accessible to all festival guests through the variety of ticket options.
Tickets for the Virginia Wine Festival are on sale now at virginiawinefest.com
or by calling 888-VA-FESTS. For more information about the Virginia Wine Festival, including a schedule of events and full list of participating wineries, visit virginiawinefest.com
Final Cut: Petite Filet
Between my dad being quite the poker player and my brother being the luckiest man on Earth, there was no better destination to celebrate their birthdays (50 and 25, respectively) than Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races
. To make the night special, we made a reservation at Final Cut
. The high end, contemporary steakhouse was hidden like a gem inside the flashy casino.
Before we even made it to the casino, we all gave my mom hell about wasting her time on the nickel slots. They are her absolute favorite. Of course, she had to play "just $20" before dinner. This time, my mom sat right down and won FOURTEEN THOUSAND nickels. That's quite the return on a $2 bet!
We headed over to Final Cut and sat in the lounge until our table was ready. After being greeted and seated, we were directed to the iPad on the table to preview the drink menu and place our orders. The wine list
was extensive -- over 9 pages long and 300 selections. I was a little overwhelmed... so I ordered Grey Goose Martinis and domestic beers from the iPad and awaited their arrival. Insider Tip: All Martinis are $5 Wednesday-Sunday 5pm-7pm at the bar.
For appetizers, we selected the Shrimp Cocktail and the Seasonal Oysters. The oysters at this time of year are from the Choptank River (what a coincidence as I've vacationed on the Choptank twice already this summer!). They were very fresh and paired perfectly with the bold horseradish in the cocktail sauce.
For our meats, we went with the traditional Filets and Prime Rib. At Final Cut
, all of the steaks are hand cut to order, seasoned with kosher salt and tri color peppercorns, then broiled at 1600 degrees to create a thin charred crust that seals in the natural beef juices.
Our waiter suggested a few sides to pair with our main courses: Truffle Mac and Cheese, Horseradish Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus, and Creamed Spinach. All items were a la carte.Insider Tip: Every Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, Final Cut is offers a special three course Chef's menu that includes an appetizer, entree and dessert for just $39.99 per person.As we enjoyed our meals, we had a chance to meet the chef who explained to us his philosophy behind the restaurant. The best part -- he took a piece of the land at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races and reserved the space for an on-site garden. The staff at Final Cut takes turns tending to the garden and many of the ingredients in the menu items come directly from farm to fork compliments of the green thumbs of the staff!
We hardly had room to finish our meals when we realized we still had to check out the desserts. We slowed down with a cup of French press coffee before completely enjoying Tahitian Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee with Fresh Berries and Sweet Cream & Chocolate Lava Cake with White Chocolate Grand Marnier Mousse. We were so full (and some of us were pretty broke after losing a large amount of coin at the roulette tables) that walking back to our cars was almost like a chore. Insider Tip: Complimentary Valet is offered for guests at Final Cut.
While we weren't so lucky at the table games, we definitely hit the jackpot with the family birthday celebration at Final Cut. Our pockets may have been empty, but our tummies were very full!
*special thanks to Final Cut for inviting me out to dine at their restaurant and providing dinner for my family.
all thoughts and opinions are my own.