The Features, Tourism

Ice Ice Baby

IMG_1498ICE! penguins by Corinne Whiting

I’ll be the first to admit that planned communities and “town center” mini-metropolises aren’t really my thing. I find them rather soulless and frankly a little creepy, so I tend to steer clear. But on a recent snowy Saturday, I was lured over to Maryland’s National Harbor—that relatively new complex of colossal convention centers and hotels, shops, eateries and a man-made “beach,” site of the relocated Awakening sculpture that I loved to crawl atop as a kid (at its former Hains Point home).

The draw this past visit? A mini-city of ice created by forty Chinese artisans flown over to sculpt 5,000 blocks that cumulatively weigh two million pounds. I was intrigued. Despite fears of rambunctious tots dominating this surreal ice world, the experience was a pleasant one. Visitors purchase timed tickets to enter Gaylord National’s ICE!, housed in a tent on the resort’s property that contains a 15,000-square-foot “cold room.” To combat the nine degree inside temps, guests borrow XXL blue parkas before entering, turning the masses into a sea of super-size Smurfs (wee ones shriek in horror as they attempt to wiggle free; adults belly laugh, delighted by the silly scene). Groups then get their photo snapped by staff as if about to board a cruise ship, before slipping beyond the warmth into the winter wonderland. The vibe’s a bit cheesy, but charming all the same.

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The Daily Feed

Worried about ice? You should be!

Watch Your Step - by Mr. Ducke (Creative Commons)

Watch Your Step - Mr. Ducke (Creative Commons)

As I walked to the metro this morning, I realized that I saw a lot of sidewalks in my area that still had the awful combination of snow and ice all over them.  The first thing I thought is “why haven’t they shoveled”?  But I felt better when I realized that Arlington would quickly come down on those who didn’t shovel…

… I shouldn’t have been that hasty.  It turns out that Arlington, like many other counties and cities in the area, don’t require homeowners or businesses to shovel their sidewalks.  So although the streets are clear, the pedestrians are out of luck.

I don’t know about you – but I think that’s just ridiculous.  This isn’t a rural community with no sidewalks.  Plenty of people in the DC metro area have been convinced to give up commuting by car and walk to a bus stop, metro station, or to work.  So why don’t they require business and homeowners to clear their own sidewalks?

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The Daily Feed

Winter Storm Watch


As of today, South Carolina, Las Vegas, and the United Arab Emirates have all gotten more snow than Washington, DC this winter. The city has seen a few flurries and even a dusting or two in the suburbs, but our total accumulation so far has been pretty much zero. That might be about to change, however, with this winter weather watch.

Latest statement from NWS has us starting with mostly snow late tonight or early Tuesday morning, transitioning to freezing rain late Tuesday afternoon and evening, then changing to just rain on Wednesday. So things will gradually go from fluffy and picturesque to messy, wet, and slippery. I also estimate a 65% chance of longer grocery lines for milk, bread, and toilet paper.

Arlington, Fun & Games, Sports Fix

Capital Summer

Slapshot Banner
Slapshot at Game 7
Modified; originally uploaded by clydeorama

Now that the dust has (partially) settled, let’s look at the Capitals. Yes, that’s right, I said Capitals. Hockey in July.

Because the summer is when a team’s foundation is made.

First off, Brooks Laich and Shaone Morrisonn elected to take the team to arbitration. Nothing to get worked up over, just that Ted’s going to pay a bit more for their services if things proceed as normal. Laich wants about double of his current $725,000 salary.

Matt Cooke has gone north and signed with the Penguins. Not terribly surprising, after Matt Bradley signed his three-year extension back in May. Continue reading