Labor Day Weekend


Well, I guess you win.

All of you pumpkin lovin’, latte sippin, sweater snugglin’, autumn lovers.

Summer’s over. Are you happy??

You killed it with all of your wishing for cooler weather. WHY? WHY?

Why can’t it be beaches forever? And tank tops and sunnies? Why can’t all footwear be replaced by flip flops?


Ok, fine. It doesn’t HAVE to be summer FOREVER. But since when does AUGUST signal thoughts of pumpkin flavored beverages and fall decorations??

Can I get a Dog Day up in here?

Can we LIVE in the moment, people?


But alas, Labor Day is the symbolic “last weekend” of the summer, so here are some things to do around town for those of us who have eschewed out of town travel and decided to staycay it up.


Jazz in the Garden – Tonight is the last night for the weekly summer series at the National Sculpture Garden.  They’re playing Zydeco, Cajun and Louisiana Funk. Whatever, man.  I’m down.  Will I see you there?

jazz in park

Source: JulesDTD

National Sculpture Garden  9th and Constitution Ave  5pm – 8:30pm


Have you been to that BIG MAZE at the National Building Museum? Yeah I haven’t either, but lookit:

dc maze

Photo credit R. Lopez (

Pretty cool! Tonight is the last night of extended summer hours. It costs to walk the maze but you can join the Summer Block Party with Hill Country’s Backyard BBQ for free on the west lawn.

National Building Museum – The BIG Maze , 401 F ST NW Washington, DC .  Extended summer hours are from 5pm to 9pm. Follow link for admission rates, etc


Hey, you Marylanders:  Greenbelt’s Labor Day Festival starts tonight at 6pm and runs through Monday. Also, it’s FREE!

So there, if you’re a PG County resident and you don’t want to travel too far check this out.  Carnival rides, games, live entertainment, food, art…it’s a festival.  You know what it’s about.



Greenbelt Labor Day Festival Roosevelt Center 101 Centerway Greenbelt, MD  Friday Aug 29th 6pm thru Monday Sep 1st 6pm


If you haven’t made it to the Maryland State Fair, this is your last weekend to go! Not free, but very cheap, plus kids 5 and under are FREE.

You know what to expect at a state fair: rides, games, food, art, karaoke, live entertainment, liveSTOCK. One of the daily events listed is “Birthing Center”.  Like for cattle.  Sooo go and traumatize your kids with THAT.

md state fair


Maryland State Fair  200 York Road, Lutherville-Timonium, MD 21093



DC Blues Festival  The festival is free from 12 to 7.  The after party’s gonna cost ya though, but not much.  So if the names Shirletta Settles and Shakura S’Aida mean anything to you, go on and get your blues on tomorrow at the Carter Barron Ampitheater Rock Creek Park. 3545 Williamsburg Lane, NW Washington, DC


Epicurience Virginia,  This is for you foodie dudies with a little more cash to spare, and I mean more than a little. This food and wine festival is an annual, epic, epicurean experience in Leesburg, VA.


Over 40 food and wine vendors, so lots of vino and bites for tasting and sampling. There are wine classes and tasting competitions, as well as chef demonstrations.  If the the words heirloom, farm to table, Saveur magazine, and Chef Scott Drewno mean anything to you, you’re a foodie. Go treat yourself.  You didn’t do anything all summer–get classy wasted, then Uber home.

Epicurience Virginia 2014 at Morven Park, Leesburg, Virginia.  Tonight’s opening tasting is sold out but the event runs through Labor Day.


Let’s get artsy, shall we?

Kennedy Center’s Page to Stage Festival is an annual event that kicks off the Kennedy Center’s upcoming play season. Sit in on open rehearsals and readings of new plays by local theater companies as well as national playwrights.  FREE!

Kennedy Center Saturday 12 noon–10 p.m Sunday 6–7 p.m. and Monday 11 a.m.–10 p.m.


Let’s get a little nerdy, shall we?

Maryland Renaissance Festival

Roche Renn Fest_1


Travelest thou back in time to a merry olde day wherein which ye…wanderest the…aisles of…

No.  Sorry. I can’t.

RennFest–dress up in Olde English costumes (or not).  Eat big meats on a stick (or less scary food). Take in a jousting. Listen to ancient music. And uh, I’m sure you can make candles and pottery and throw your annoying little cousin in the stocks.  Look, either this is your thang or it’s not.  People seem to like these fests, sooo..

Maryland Rennaissance Festival 1821 Crownsville Road



Last but not least, why not begin the weekend turndown with a little class and elegance?

Labor Day Concert at the U.S. Capitol  A little Pops in the Park on the west lawn of the Capitol. The concert is free and starts at 8pm or come earlier for the rehearsal from 3 to 6.  You can bring food but no alcohol or glass bottles.

Hope you guys have a wonderful holiday weekend!  Goodbye, Summer.  You were gone too soon.


More Virginia Love – Occoquan


I have become everything I have ever mocked.

Thanks to this blog, I have turned into an incessant shutterbug.

20140704_150347 20140704_155317

Whenever I go ANYWHERE I have to take a jillion pics before finally putting away my camera, only to whip it out again later and annoy the people around me.


Trust me, I don’t enjoy it. But I do what I must, to bring my little tales of unique excursions to the masses.

I do it for you, beloved readers.

All zero of you.

So after our July 4th kayaking trip, our lil group decided to hang out on Mill Street in Historic Occoquan.

I wholeheartedly recommend finding a quaint, charming, little city just outside of metro area, to do some walking and window shopping.


Occoquan is far enough south to feel like you’ve gotten away but close enough to make it a spontaneous day trip.

We found the historic district to be particularly artsy.  The storefronts and signage alone were so cute and unique!


Coooool window box!   Mill Street Studio  — not only an art studio, but also a gallery, where apparently they have:


This little town has no shortage of galleries and boutiques.  Who knew they were so hip?


vintage boutiques,


artist owned co-op studios,


.international clothing and handmade accessories.

How ADORABLE is this Secret Garden Cafe?  Walk by fast and you’ll miss it!


It’s just raining sunshine in this little hidden patio.  Brunch anyone?

We had the best of luck that day, as we stumbled upon a free wine and beer tasting at Tastefully Yours!

20140704_15500020140704_153845 20140704_153744 20140704_154433

If memory serves me correctly, they did not skimp on the vino. ;-)

We had a knowledgeable, engaging and hilarious sommelier. She had a ton of stories and she basically told us that we Yanks don’t know jack about how to properly store and serve wine.  Touché.  We left so much the wiser.

Not only do they have free wine tastings but they had artisanal olive oil tastings downstairs.

And gelato.

And fancy pants cheese.

And outdoor seating.

Just GO.

We ended our trip with an outdoor lunch overlooking the river at Madigan’s.

20140704_155841 20140704_15585020140704_16010120140704_155934

“Act like you’ve been somewhere.” – said Bday girl’s husband as I snapped this pic.

HA! Ok, ok, I’ll put the dang camera down.


SO!  Any little nearby/faraway feeling towns that I should check out? Let me know in the comments or everywhere @outtheboxdmv . You just may plan my next mini getaway! 


Scenes from the Weekend – Artscape 2014


I spent my whole weekend at “festivals”.

I told you guys about Saturday’s Reggae Festival at Linganore Winery .  Those tickets sold out fast! Glad I got mine ‘cuz the music, the wine tasting and the vendors were great. I took one lonely picture. I’m not uploading it.

Then on Sunday, I somehow wound up at Artscape in Baltimore.  Which, as a DMV “events blogger” (is that what I am? Nah), I totally knew all about and was SO in the loop of and planning to attend anyway.

Yeah right.

This year, like every other year, I completely forgot about this cool 3 day event despite my weak intentions to go.  So how did I end up there this year? Word of mouth reached my ear about a FREE Anthony Hamilton concert in Baltimore…


Yep, I found out via good ol’ fashioned grapevine. Take THAT internet!

Turns out, the concert was a part of the annual Artscape festival! I finally made it! We strolled around for hours and barely put a dent in all there was to see. Let’s see…what did we happen upon as we made our way to the concert stage?

20140720_16224620140720_160930 - CROP

…painters, uh, painting.


…local artists’ booths with some really neat work on display. Neat AND nifty.


…bands that make ya dance


…stunted out cars


…cool crafts..and trucks covered in 10,000 bottle caps

20140720_160855 20140720_160901

…ponies selling fruit. I kid you not.

20140720_16075820140720_160823 - Crop



…stuff for the kiddies.


…general random weirdness

And finally—–



Hey, don’t miss this event next year!





Reggae Festival – Linganore Winery

Hey y’all!

Just poppin in to tell you about this weekend’s Reggae Festival at Linganore Winery in Mt. Airy, MD.

Look at me, informing you about stuff BEFOREHAND for once.

Tickets will not be sold at the door so you must purchase them online.

I’ve visited Linganore before with a couple of friends and had a great time. We took the tour and did a tasting and it was fabulous.  They make great wine there. Plus it’s a winery, so you know–scenic and beautiful and all of that.

There will be reggae bands, Caribbean food, and wine tasting. Bring blankets, chairs, and more food if you like but DON’T bring your own alcohol.

Wanna see some really pretty pics of  Linganore? Google it. This is just a pop in post,  people.

Why are you still reading this anyway? Go to the website and get your tickets!

Saturday, July 19, 2014 and Sunday, July 20, 2014 • 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM both days

Linganore Winecellars
13601 Glissans Mill Rd., Mt. Airy, MD.


Kayaking on the 4th


This post is dedicated to someone so EXPLOSIVELY individual, it’s only fitting that she came skyrocketing into this world on Independence Day. 20140705_211806

Someone who, on the 4th, happened to be celebrating a, uh, “milestone  birthday”, as it were.

“WHICH milestone is irrelevant!” I can hear her saying.

So I’ll omit the which. Ok, ok. It was her 21ST!! ;-)

HA. Birthdays ARE for wishin’, amirite?

Now, most ladies celebrate this particular day with an over the top “age-ain’t-nothin’-but-a-number-i’m-still-sexy-hand-me-my-tiara” type of shindig.


DJS Events via Huffington Post . I WISH I were allowed in events that swanky.

With heels, champagne toasts, $500 reserved rooms at upscale lounges, and dancing all night in an age inappropriate dress to rap songs you don’t understand or ever listen to.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that AT ALL.

You havin’ one of those parties? Invite me, please.

But this blog is about doing something a little different every once in a while. Trying things you’ve never tried. Going places you never go.

I mean, how many ladies choose to celebrate the BIG UH-OH with a kayak and a paddle board?!20140704_142322 20140704_142307

So cool.

Well, she originally chose PAINTBALL because, my gosh she’s cray.

Hey, I was down for that, too, but the backup plan worked out splendidly.

If you’ve never heard of paddleboard think of a gondola operator on a surfboard.


Engage your core. Try not to fall in. No! You’re thinkin too hard! Now you’ve fallen!

The weather was perfect. Clear skies. No humidity.  Look at that ripple on the water! 20140704_130833 20140704_140600

The wind was in full force and it got a bit choppy out there, especially beyond the bridge.  So I don’t have any pictures of the deep, wide open area as I was trying to not capsize, lose my camera, or wash away to sea.


Seriously, the winds were so strong you had to paddle against it just to stay in place! Nothing better than a full body workout while you’re having fun!

So, if you’re up for a little adventure, check out Penguin’s Paddling at Hamptons Landing Marina on Neabsco Creek in Woodbridge, VA. 20140704_104446

Yep, VIRGINIA.  Finally showing VA some love on this DMV blog. 20140704_104609

Book their boats for the day or by the hour. Check out their website for pricing and directions. 20140704_142249

As for you, Bday Girl, your enthusiasm for life, your adventurous spirit, and your willingness to always try something new is why AFTER ALL THESE YEARS,  you STILL make 21 look good.

All these many years…



MANY years..

…. many.

Hey stick around–cuz after the party was the AFTER PARTY! Check back for my next post where I continue to put VA in the spotlight, and follow me everywhere @outtheboxdmv



Aquatic Gardens

The thing I love about DC is that 100 yards from this:

quarles street

Is this:


and this:


Who’da thunk it?

As is the case with just about any urban area, you can find yourself dodging bullets on one corner, and in a quaint upscale boutique on the next. Or in this case, whisked away from a blighted urban landscape to the tranquil retreat of, not just any ol’ garden, but an aquatic garden.

In northeast D.C. no less. Right off of Kenilworth Ave where 295 and route 50 meet.

Lotus flowers and water lilies…


Lavender and reeds…


So much beauty. So relaxing.  This guy gets it:


Yep. The zen factor has been “monk-approved”.

You know me, I love a good trail. So we ventured off towards the right along the Anacostia River and missed out on the boardwalk.  Next time definitely, and I’ll upload some pics .

The park is open daily from 7am to 5pm and houses all sorts of wildlife from frogs and lizards to beavers, minks, muskrat, and photogenic deer serving up Instagram worthy FACE before dashing off into the woods faster than you can pull out your camera.  Oh! And dragonflies.  So. many. dragonflies.

The parking is onsite and is free, as well as the entry. Click here for directions.


What are you waitin’ for? GO!

Did you check it out?  Tell me about it in the comments!  Also, click the link on the left to subscribe for updates and follow me on Twitter and Instagram @outtheboxdmv .


Dirty Sneaks – Vol 2


There’s this trail near my job.


On my lunch break, when I’m feeling particularly adventurous (OK, guilty about not making the time to work out) I walk a half mile or so in and a half mile or so out.

Cardio – done.

The trail runs along the Patuxent River and is beautifully shaded, minimizing the need for a post lunch shower.


Just a little midday rejuvenation to mix things up a bit.

There’s this sign at the beginning of the trail: “Lake Elkhorn 3.5 miles”

“I must see this lake! I’m SO gonna walk there one day.” I promise myself each time, but that’s definitely not a lunch break trek. Time being a factor, as well as the inevitable necessity for that aforementioned shower.

No, I would have to reserve such a journey for the weekend.

And a few weekends ago, I made good on my promise. I set out one sunny Saturday morn to find Lake Elkhorn.

Now, 3.5 miles isn’t that far. However, when you don’t quite know where you’re going…

or how far you’ve walked…

And your walking partner, who promised several times in advance to accompany you on said walk, BAILS ON YOU AT THE LAST MINUTE so you’re rollin’ solo—

You know who you are.



I went over the river…



Through the woods…



I even found Grandma’s house!


Sadly, it had been foreclosed upon.

Yet this lake… this Lake of the Elkhorns remained elusive.

Nevertheless, I soldiered on as the wooded trail turned into wooden bridges and the bridges turned into concrete paths and then back to wooded trails…

Still no lake.

I began to wonder if “the lake” was a metaphor.

Was I supposed to find the lake within myself??

What the hell does that even mean???

Thankfully, the path seemed to be a popular one as I was ever accompanied by other walkers, joggers, bikers, etc.


“Which way is the lake? Is this lake this way?” I tossed out to random passerbys.

“Yep! Just keep straight ” was the perpetual, cheerful reply.

Gotta love endorphins.

Determined, I kept moving forward.

Soon, I began to feel a cool breeze and heard the bubbling sound of fresh flowing water!

But it was just another darn river bridge! Grrr!


Stupid beautiful nature.

Fortunately for me, I’m willing to embrace that crap about the journey being the destination.  So I just soaked up the scenery and got my shutterbug on.

And just when I thought I couldn’t take another step, the trail opened up…

and the lake appeared before me.


Hm. Pretty nice.

There’s a cool lookin’ dam…


some fishing action, a gazebo, benches, playgrounds..some dude in a canoe.

And it’s several miles big so …more walking.


It would have to wait for another day.

I was an hour and a half away from my car and in desperate need of hydration.

Buoyed by the satisfaction that only comes from achieving a goal that you’ve set for yourself, my dirty sneaks and I began the long walk back from whence we came.

But next time, I’m driving to that lake.


Wincopin / Patuxent Branch Trail and Lake Elkhorn

Howard County MD

Lots of ways to enter this trail. There’s a  parking lot on Vollmerhausen Rd which separates the Wincopin side from Patuxent Branch side. I’ve only ventured a short ways down  Wincopin but did see lots of deer and small wildlife. Apparently the Wincopin Trail is also home to some really cool blue rocks that look like they glow? I will definitely check that out and at least post some pics of it for you.


Go find a trail near your work and home and explore! Tell me about it in the comments!

See Dirty Sneaks – Vol 1 here.