March 24, 20175 months ago

2017 Washington Nationals Season Preview

Now that spring’s warmer temperatures will soon be here for good, baseball season is just around the corner. Despite a ho-hum 10-11 record in MLB Spring Training, sports fans in D.C. are hopeful the team can make this the year the Nats’ young sluggers finally take them past the first round of the playoffs.

How did the Nats do last year?

The Nationals had a great regular season in 2016, finishing with a 95-67 record that was second in the league to only the Cubs, who went on to win the World Series. Outfielder Bryce Harper, the MLB’s 2015 MVP, finished the season strong with 24 home runs and 86 RBI. Second baseman Daniel Murphy, who finished second in last year’s MVP race with a phenomenal .347 batting average, ended the season with 25 home runs and 104 RBI.

Despite a successful regular season, the Nationals were eliminated by the Dodgers in the 2016 NLDS. Here’s a preview of some of this year’s biggest upcoming home games and a few other things to do around the stadium in the Navy Yard/Southwest Waterfront area.

Exciting early-season home series

  • Monday, April 10 – Wednesday, April 12 – St. Louis Cardinals
  • Friday, April 28 – Sunday, April 30 – New York Mets
  • Monday, May 8 – Thursday, May 11 – Baltimore Orioles

Other attractions around Nationals Stadium

The Southwest/Navy Yard area of D.C. is one of its trendy, up-and-coming areas. Here are a few places to hang out before or after a game:

  • The Bullpen at Half Street Fairgrounds – this open air plaza of shipping containers, food trucks and lawn games is a popular tailgating destination. The land it sits on was purchased in 2015 and may be re-developed soon, so visit while the Bullpen is still around.
  • Gordon Biersch – a popular burger chain with an assortment of beers brewed on-site as well as upscale American pub fare.
  • Bluejacket – one of D.C.’s biggest local breweries has a pub and tasting room with great pretzels, salads and charcuterie.

Finding a hotel for a Nationals Game

Those traveling to the area to catch the Nationals play should find a hotel that suits all their needs. With a free shuttle to the metro into D.C., easy access to other top sights around the city, and comfortable rooms at affordable prices, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alexandria – Fort Belvoir is a perfect home base for any baseball fan this spring and summer.

March 20, 20175 months ago

2017 D.C. Cherry Blossoms and Festival: A Roller Coaster Weather Ride

In the D.C. region, spring is synonymous with cherry blossoms. The light-pink flowers that bloom on the Yoshino cherry trees around the National Basin are one of the region’s most popular attractions.

Unfortunately, recent winter weather and snow in the region means peak bloom has been pushed back from its original forecasted date of March 14 to 17. On Friday, March 17, the NPS announced that about 50% of the cherry blossoms had been destroyed due to frost and cold.

What’s going on with the cherry blossoms?

Warm temperatures throughout February led experts to believe the blossoms would hit peak bloom early. On March 1, The National Park Service’s initial forecast for peak bloom was between March 14 and March 17.

But after significant snowfall and temperatures in the 20s last week, the NPS has revised their peak bloom forecast to March 19 through the 22nd. It was expected that up to 90% of the blooms could be destroyed, but only about half were ruined from the cold. However, more cold nights are forecasted for this week, which could lead to further damage.

It’s now projected that peak bloom will happen some time at the end of this week and last through this weekend. The NPS still projects an excellent showing; the blossoms that survived should be normal and healthy. No matter what peak bloom is like this year, the opening ceremony of the 2017 Cherry Blossom Festival will kick off this Saturday, March 25.

2017 Cherry Blossom Festival and other events in D.C.

  • Blossoms Kite Festival – April 1, 10 AM to 4:30 PM. Spring is synonymous with kites – head to the Washington Monument near 17th St. NW & Constitution Ave to kick off flying season in grand fashion. Feel free to bring your own kite or create one with on-site supplies (while they last) and join enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds as they fill the sky with colorful kites.
  • National Cherry Blossom Parade – April 8, 10 AM to 12:00 PM. The parade is the crown jewel of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. It runs for 10 blocks from 7th to 17th streets along Constitution Avenue NW and will include marching bands, giant helium balloons, floats, and performers from across the country. Tickets are $20 for grandstand seating along Constitution.
  • Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival – April 15, 2 PM to 9:30 PM. This exciting festival at the District Wharf at 600 Water Street, SW will include live bands, a beer garden, food trucks, and activities for all ages. If the weather is acceptable, there will be a fireworks display at 8:30 PM.

 

Check out the festival website for more information. If you’re traveling to the D.C. region to see the cherry blossoms and need a hotel, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alexandria – Fort Belvoir is the perfect option. With a complimentary shuttle to the metro, easy access to D.C. and Old Town Alexandria, and competitive nightly rates, the Holiday Inn Express is a comfortable, convenient option for those visiting D.C. this spring.

February 22, 20176 months ago

Luck of the Irish: St. Patrick’s Day 2017 in Alexandria

In a few weeks, locals around Alexandria and D.C. will be donning green, toasting to friends and family, and enjoying everyone’s favorite Irish holiday: St. Patrick’s Day. Alexandria has its own parade and a great selection of Irish restaurants that will have you feeling festive whether you’re a local or just here for the green beer.

2017 Alexandria Saint Patrick’s Day Parade

On Saturday, March 4 beginning at 9 AM, Old Town hosts a series of exciting events celebrating St. Paddy’s Day, headlined by the traditional 2-hour parade. This free event kicks off with an Invitational Classic Car Show between King & Cameron Streets and includes a lighthearted dog show followed by a signature parade of military officers, bagpipe musicians, and local celebrities. The parade begins at 12:30 PM at Alfred and King Streets.

DC Whiskey Walk

Fans of Irish whiskey won’t want to miss this year’s Whiskey Walk, a celebration of the distinct blend of liquor produced on the Emerald Isle. On Saturday, March 4, ticket purchasers begin the experience by checking in at James Hoban’s in DuPont Circle between 12 PM and 3 PM. From there, all guests receive a free 1 oz shot of Irish whiskey at 8 participating venues, plus access to food, drink, and whiskey specials at each venue. The Whiskey Walk is a great way to explore new places, try some new whiskey, and meet some new friends.

Irish Pubs in Alexandria

Alexandria is known for being home to some of the D.C. region’s best Irish taverns, including:

  • Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub – this Old Town fixture on King Street serves up popular dishes like stew, corned beef, and cabbage, plus offers a huge selection of draft beer, whiskey and lots of live music.
  • Daniel O’Connell’s Restaurant and Bar – also located in Old Town, this cavernous pub features lots of TVs to catch the game, great food, and a cozy environment that includes a fireplace and upstairs patio.
  • Fiona’s Irish Pub – Located in the Kingstowne area of Alexandria, Fiona’s offers an elegant version of the traditional pub theme, with delicious Irish fare in a modern yet charming environment with an outdoor patio.

 

If you’ll be in D.C. or Alexandria for St. Patrick’s Day and need to book a hotel, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alexandria – Fort Belvoir is an excellent option. With easy access to Old Town, a shuttle to the metro, and competitive rates on comfortable rooms, the Holiday Inn Express is a great choice for celebrating St. Paddy’s Day this year in D.C.

February 15, 20176 months ago

Spring 2017 Events in Alexandria

Old Town Alexandria, with its exciting trails and walking paths just blocks away from the tranquil flow of the Potomac, is a great place to be in the spring. As the weather gets warmer, we’re already starting to think about some of the activities in and around Alexandria that we are most excited about.

Cherry Blossom Wine & Beer Festival

On April 1 & 2, Drink the District is bringing back one of spring’s top events for beer and wine lovers. This 2-day festival takes place at Yards Park, adjacent to Nationals Park and the Anacostia River. This year’s festival offers the same fun games, live music and great drinks you’ve come to expect.

Tastings of more than 100 different kinds of beer and wines, access to the region’s best food trucks, and participation in lawn and social games including Boozy Bingo are included with your general admission ticket.

DC Bluegrass Festival

The 6th annual DC Bluegrass Festival is taking place on March 10 & 11 at the Sheraton Hotel in Tysons Corner. Premiere acts include The Steep Canyon Rangers, Band of Ruhks, and Flatt Lonesome. In addition to workshops, speeches, and open jams, the festival includes a band competition on the 10th with cash prizes available for the top 3 finishers.

Mt. Vernon Estate

The gorgeous waterfront estate where our first president and his family lived for decades is one of the area’s most popular places to visit, especially in the spring. This year’s events include a performance by the National Symphony Orchestra and a special Our American Girl event for fans of the classic children’s dolls – check its official calendar for more details.

Picking a spring hotel in Alexandria

Before you can finalize a trip to Alexandria or D.C., you need to choose a top-quality hotel. The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alexandria – Fort Belvoir is just the place for you and your family to enjoy a lovely visit to the nation’s capital this spring. With excellent amenities, a free shuttle to the metro and a complimentary hot breakfast bar, why stay anywhere else when traveling to D.C. or Alexandria?

February 9, 20176 months ago

Celebrating President’s Day 2017 around Alexandria

President’s Day began as a way for the young United States to honor the birthday of its first president, George Washington. In 1971, Richard Nixon combined Washington’s birthday with Lincoln’s birthday (February 12) to create a new federal holiday on the third Monday in February.

As you might expect in the city where the president actually lives, here in the District there are some exciting parades, celebrations, and displays recognizing this upcoming holiday, which falls on February 20 this year.

George Washington’s Birthday Parade

This Old Town Alexandria parade takes place on President’s Day from 1 PM until 3 PM and bills itself as “The largest Parade Celebrating Washington’s Birthday in the USA!” It’s been held for over 80 years and features an exciting variety of bands, floats, reenactment troupes, and special performances. This year’s parade begins at the intersection of Gibbon and S. Fairfax streets and runs until Wilkes & S. Royal streets

Walking with Washington Tour

On Sunday, February 19 from 2:00 pm until 3:30 pm, this free event allows you to follow in the footsteps of the first president in his hometown. You’ll visit places Washington slept, filled prescriptions, and more. The event begins at the Ramsay House Visitors Center at 221 King Street in Alexandria.

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

Located in D.C.’s Penn Quarter, Madame Tussauds features a fascinating Presidential Gallery that includes all 45 presidents, including a newly-added likeness of Donald J. Trump unveiled just before inauguration day. The Presidential Gallery lets you experience the history of D.C. and its commanders-in-chief, displaying important historical figures like Benjamin Franklin, Rosa Parks and Malcolm X in chronological order along with each president.

Choosing a hotel for President’s Day 2017

If you’re traveling to D.C. for the holiday weekend, you’ll need a comfortable place to stay, in a good location, at a competitive price. The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alexandria – Fort Belvoir offers great amenities like free Wi-Fi, a complimentary shuttle to the metro and a free daily breakfast buffet, making it the perfect hotel for President’s Day for you and your family this year.

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