Posted by Christine Connally on Jul 2, 2014
Washington, DC is a spectacular place to celebrate July 4th! The National Mall is the center of all of the Independence Day Celebrations in DC. There are events all day, beginning with a parade along Constitution Avenue and ending with a fireworks display over the Washington Monument.
Sara, a host mom in our cluster has shared some links with information to help au pairs plan for the upcoming holiday.
Great list of local activities:
Getting to the National Mall & security info:
The Capitol Fourth concert has a dress rehearsal on July 3, that while secure and crowded, is easier to attend than the concert on the 4th, as with July 4th, the gates open at 3:00:
A blog post that may be of interest:
Posted by Christine Connally on Jun 13, 2014
We recently had a cluster meeting in Baltimore. It was the first time I have taken the MARC train to Baltimore on the weekend and it was very convenient. Here is some information on how you can enjoy visiting Baltimore via public transportation. Prices and info are accurate as of June 13, 2014. Please check links to verify prices and schedules before you go.
Getting from DC to Baltimore
The MARC Train Penn Line runs from Union Station (DC) to Baltimore Penn Station. Cost for a one way ticket ($5-7.) Considering cost of gas and parking in the city, if you drive, makes the train a pretty good deal.
View the schedules here –> Weekend Penn Line & Weekday Penn Line
On Saturdays, there are currently running 9 trains from about 9 am (1st train northbound from DC) to about 9:00 pm (last train southbound from Baltimore.) On Sundays, there are currently running 9 trains from about 10 am (1st train northbound from DC) to about 5:00 pm (last train southbound from Baltimore.) It is very important to be sure of the time of the final train back from Baltimore to DC.
On Weekdays, the MARC Penn Line runs from about 6 am (1st train northbound from DC) to about 9:15 pm (last train southbound from Baltimore.)
In our cluster area, here are your options:
- Take the Metro Red Line to Union Station and get on the MARC Penn Line there.
- Take the Metro Orange Line to New Carrollton and get on the MARC Penn Line there.
- Drive or take a bus to Bowie State Station (off Rt 197) and get on the MARC Penn Line there.
Free Way to Get Around Baltimore
Baltimore offers a FREE Charm City Circulator service that features 4 shuttle bus lines and 1 water taxi line. The shuttle buses run about every 10 minutes. Visit the website here to view the maps: Charm City Circulator
To visit the Inner Harbor take the Purple Line from Baltimore Penn Station to stop #302 – S. Calvert St. & W. Pratt St.
Posted by Christine Connally on Nov 26, 2013
In the spirit of Thanksgiving and sharing, our au pairs came together to make over 300 sandwiches for DC Central Kitchen. I would also like to thank the Seekers Church in Takoma Park for allowing us to use their space for a very reasonable cost.
Posted by Christine Connally on Jun 18, 2013
Kids Get in Free July 1 Through Labor Day
The Newseum offers everything from the Berlin Wall and Pulitzer Prize-winning photos to interactive games and presidential pets. And this summer, there’s one more great reason to visit — kids get in free! July 1 through Labor Day, the Newseum waives admission for youth visitors age 18 and younger. Up to four kids visit for free with each paid adult or senior admission, or Press Pass membership.
Whether you have just a few hours or want to spend all day, you’ll find something for everyone in the Newseum’s 15 theaters and 15 galleries. See “JFK,” an exploration of the life and legacy of president John F. Kennedy, watch “I-Witness” and take a 4-D adventure through time and journalism history, or test your reporting skills in the NBC News Interactive Newsroom.
Time running short? Remember to save your admission ticket and come back the next day for free!
Summer Fun Deal Ticket Prices
Adults (19 to 64)
$21.95 plus tax
$17.95 plus tax
Youth (7 to 18)
Children (6 and younger)
- Summer Fun Deal tickets are not good in conjunction with other discounts.
- Up to four discounts per transaction.
- All ticket sales are final.
- Summer Fun Deal tickets purchased online must be used between July 1 and Sept 2, 2013.
- There are no refunds for no-shows or unused tickets.
Posted by Christine Connally on Jun 7, 2013
Visit your local zoo or aquarium or set up a pretend zoo with play animals and blocks. Invite the host parents to visit your pretend zoo. Read One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish or If I Ran the Zoo, both by Dr. Seuss. Encourage the children to make up their own animals and draw them. Think of all the animal sounds you can and play a game guessing what animal you are. You may find that the same animal says one thing in America and something quite different in your own country!
Here are links to our local zoo & aquariums.
National Zoo – Washington, DC
National Aquarium - Washington, DC
Maryland Zoo – Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore Aquarium – Maryland
Photo: Joseph Bylund
Posted by Christine Connally on Apr 18, 2013
Last weekend we had a cluster meeting enjoying the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade and going paddle boating on the Tidal Basin. As a lifetime resident of the DC area, this was my first time doing either of those things! We had a beautiful day.
Posted by Christine Connally on Mar 14, 2013
The National Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual event that celebrates springtime in Washington, DC as well as the 1912 gift of the cherry blossom trees and the enduring friendship between the people of the United States and Japan. This year’s festival will be MARCH 20-APRIL 14!
The predicted peak blooming period of the cherry blossoms for this year is – MARCH 26–30.
They have Free Apps for iPhone & Droid to help you keep track of the festival events and share your festival experiences via social media.
Here are some of the highlights:
Family Day - Saturday & Sunday, March 23-24, 2013
National Building Museum
401 F Street, NW
Metro Judiciary Square, Red Line
Sat – 10 am-4 pm & Sun- 11 am-4 pm
Smithsonian Kite Festival – Saturday, March 30, 2013
Washington Monument Grounds
10 am-4:30 pm
Fireworks Festival - Saturday, April 6, 2013
Waterfront Park – 600-900 Water Street, SW
Fireworks at 8-9 pm
Cherry Blossom Parade – Saturday, April 13, 2013
Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Streets, NW
10 am- 12 pm
There are many more great events, visit the festival website for more information.
Cherry Blossom Festival Website
National Park Service Bloom Watch
Metro Website (use the trip planner feature on this website to find the metro options, taking metro is much better than driving for the festival events)
Posted by Christine Connally on Jun 27, 2012
The Folklife Festival will take place June 27-July 1 and July 4-8.
The Annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival is an international exhibition of living cultural heritage. Attracting more than one million visitors yearly, the two-week long celebration is the largest annual cultural event in the United States.
The Festival is held outdoors on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between the Smithsonian museums. There is no admission charge. Visitors should dress for hot and humid weather. Parking around the Mall is extremely limited, so visitors are advised to use Metrorail. The Smithsonian station (Mall exit) is at the Festival site. Federal Triangle and National Archives stations are close by. For general Smithsonian visitor information, call 202.633.1000.
Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with special events taking place most evenings.
I highly recommend that you visit their website to plan your visit http://www.festival.si.edu/
Posted by Christine Connally on Jun 12, 2012
On Sunday, several area clusters participated in a scavenger hunt and flash mob at the Smithsonian National Zoo in DC. Au pairs came out of no where and started to blow bubbles. Here are a few pics of the fun.
Posted by Christine Connally on Mar 29, 2012
We have a Special Guest Blogger who has written a series of posts highlighting places to visit during spring in DC. Sara is a longtime host mom in our cluster.
Post 2 of a 5 part series. To read all the posts click HERE.
Walking around the Capitol Hill will also give you a taste of what nature has to offer. In this neighborhood behind the Capitol and away from the Mall, the house plots are small, and many homes plant to maximize the beauty of their small gardens. If you’ve not been to Eastern Market: http://www.easternmarket-dc.org/default.asp?ContentID=1 on a Saturday morning when the Farmer’s Market and arts & crafts vendors display their goods, this is a good season for it. I highly recommend Market Lunch, although lines can be really long. While the softshell crabs are not for the squeamish (yes, you can really eat the entire crab), they are delicious. Locals won’t eat oysters in a month that does not have an “r” in it, so there’s one month left until the long summer without them. For meat lovers, there is the Carolina style pulled pork (vinegary).
Photo: Flick rjs1322