Archive for category Fun Fall Things to Do

Day of the Dead Altar at the Mexican Cultural Institute

La Catrina – In Mexican folk culture, the Catr...

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November 1st, the Day of the Dead, is one of the most important traditional holidays in Mexico.  Through November 23rd, the Mexican Cultural Institute will showcase its traditional and impressive Day of the Dead Altar.  Admission is free (street meter parking).

For many celebrants, the offering is the most significant attribute of the commemoration, and is based on the belief that the dead return to enjoy the essence and aroma of gifts of food and drink provided to them by their family members. In this way, the celebration revolves around welcoming and bidding farewell to souls.

Visit the Altar through November 23rd

Monday – Friday 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Saturdays from November 11th,  12:00 to 4:00 pm

MEXICAN CULTURAL INSTITUTE

2829 16th Street NW, Washington, DC, 20009

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Arlington Walkabouts: Take a Fall Walk

If you haven’t tried an Arlington Walkabout, you should give it a try.  The leaves are beautiful right now, it’s great exercise, and Arlington was just made (literally) for walking.  It’s a fun way to discover parts of Arlington you might not notice by car, such as park trails.  Arlington has some fine examples of residential architecture, and many homes have fun Halloween decorations right now.

My son and I plan to complete all 16 Arlington Walkabouts in the brochure, which you can download from their website or pick up at some locations in Arlington.  Each walkabout features a different neighborhood.  The associated maps provide landmarks of interest, distance, and walking difficulty level.

I walk 3 miles every day but it seemed like the first walkabout was a lot longer than 2.3 miles.  But it was fun.  Not only did it include sidewalk walking through neighborhoods but also detours to the W&OD trail and over a hiking trail near Lubber Run.   A little of everything.  You may need to budget in extra time to figure out the maps and directions, as the walkabout maps can be a little confusing.

Tips:

  • Budget extra time.  It’s easy to get a little lost, and then you will have to backtrack.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. There are places to stop and rest, though.
  • Definitely bring water (also cash if you want to stop somewhere).
  • A supplementary Arlington street map is a good idea.  The walkabout map is cute but not all the streets are marked.

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Fall Market Fair at Claude Moore Colonial Farm Oct 14 – 15

Enjoy a fun day outside surrounded by costumed interpreters (1771 historical period), entertainers, demonstrations, children’s activities, and lots of delicious foods.

You can purchase a variety of items, from handcrafted soaps to plants.

Food for sale includes savory meat pies, roast chicken on the spit, cooked over an open fire, bread and cheese, pie, and mulled wine and ciders.

Learn to dip candles, make potpourri, or turn a piece of wood on the carpenter’s lathe.  The farm is also open during the Market Fair.

This is a great, low-key, non-crowded event for kids and adults.

Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children 12 and under and seniors. Use your AAA card to get a discount on admission.

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Apple Harvest Festival at Graves Mountain

Saturday, William and I went to the Apple Harvest Festival at Graves Mountain in Syria, Virginia.  It’s happening October 15-16 and 22-23, as well.  Admission is free, and parking is also free.  There was a big crowd, and people seemed happy with the event.

This man is making apple butter over a hot fire. It takes 12 hours to cook.

Graves Mountain is less than 2 hours drive from the Washington, DC area.  The festival is not really my favorite time to go there, because of the crowds, and the staff is so busy.  I like to go when the pace is more relaxed.  Still, it’s a nice way to spend a Saturday or Sunday.  The festival is a popular event and features live bluegrass music, food for sale, apples (pick your own or  buy there), apple butter, and a collection of vendors.  We also saw a small Civil War “re-enactment” area that was interesting.

I didn’t find the vendors all that interesting — it was pretty much the same stuff you see at every fair and outdoor festival.  However, the bluegrass music was fantastic and worth the trip.

Wagon rides are $2, there are pony rides, and visits to the educational farm is $1 (worth it).  The line for the wagon rides was pretty long, as were the lines to get food (brunswick stew) or drinks.  We wanted to sample the apple fritters but the lines were really long.

Fortunately, we had made reservations at the Lodge for a barbecue lunch.  I’ve been to Graves Mountain a lot, so I knew what to expect.  The cold salads on the buffet included a green salad, a very good mustard vinaigrette,  cole slaw, three bean salad, that jello fluffy salad I am always afraid to try.  The hot items included a wonderful minced pork barbecue in a spicy sweet sauce, chicken casserole (I didn’t have that), lima beans, and macaroni and cheese, as well as a few other items.  Everything was good except for the macaroni and cheese.  My son was happy with the wonderful home made rolls, apple butter, and barbecue.  Dessert was a dry but tasty apple cake topped with vanilla ice cream.  For $11.95 (half price for kids under 17), I was happy, and very glad I didn’t have to stand in a long line for food at the festival.

It's fun to rock for a bit after a big meal and look at the mountains

If you go, be prepared to wait a bit in the queue to park, and I would advise that you bring cold water or drinks with you, as the lines are long for drinks.

It’s a pleasant way to spend a few hours.  I don’t think this is an “all-day” event.  The drive is very pretty.  Oh, a quick reminder: cell phones don’t work there, and your GPS probably won’t work, either.  It’s a good idea to print directions before you go.

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Spooky Gardens Seminar at Merrifield Garden Center

Time
Saturday, October 15 · 10:00am – 11:30am

Location
Gainesville (Inside our Greenhouse)

6895 Wellington Road
Gainesville, Virginia

Created By

More Info
Karen Rexrode, Plant Specialist, and Regina Lanctot,
Tropical Plant Specialist, Merrifield Garden Center

If you love Halloween, this seminar is for you. Have a great time learning how to decorate your garden with black foliage, unique plants and unusual containers and terrariums. Be ready for accolades from family and friends.

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Howl-O-Scream opens today at Busch Gardens

Ready to get your Halloween on?  Busch Gardens‘ Howl-O-Scream in Williamsburg, Virginia begins Sept. 23 and continues every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 30.

Howl-O-Scream is rising to a whole new horrifying level in honor of its 13th anniversary, with new scare zones, shows and gruesome creatures lurking around the park.

The park’s younger guests will be treated to Halloween happenings with their favorite characters at Sesame Street Forest of Fun.

For more information, visit http://www.howl-o-scream.com/va or call (800) 343-7946.

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Free Halloween Carnival in Falls Church this Saturday

Saturday, October 30

Halloween Carnival: Falls Church City

6 p.m. – 8: 30 p.m.

Admission: FREE

Falls Church City Community Center, 223 Little Falls Street, Falls Church, VA

For babies and children through the grade 6.  Carnival games, moon bounce, face painting, crafts, haunted house, movies, candy, and a live creature show featuring the spookiest reptiles in nature.

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Falloween in Clarendon this Saturday; get out your cameras!

 

Photo of a Halloween trick-or-treater, Redford...

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From 10 a.m to 2 p.m., the Market Common Clarendon (you know the shops in Arlington with Crate and Barrel, the Apple Store, Pottery Barn, etc.). will offer day time trick or treating at local shops (that is a really good idea, especially if you have little ones) and a children’s costume parade. Fun way to spend the early part of your Saturday! Also promised: a petting zoo and face painting.  Admission is free, of course.

Market Common Clarendon
2800 Clarendon Boulevard
Arlington, VA 20190

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Vienna Halloween Parade Tonight!

As they have done for more than 60 years, Vienna closes down the main drag and puts on quite a party!  Everyone is invited to come in costume and parade.  This is a very popular, annual event, with 35,000 spectators (!).  I have managed to miss it EVERY year, so I don’t have any insider tips to share, unfortunately.  This year, I’m going, however, and I hope I see you there, too.  Here’s the bad news: you know traffic in Vienna and Tysons Corner during the week is awful at best.  Now this.  Expect traffic delays, road closures, and detours. Check the website for parking suggestions.  If it were me, I would go as early as possible, maybe even take a bus or metro (although that’s a pretty long schelp), or park somewhere and catch an early dinner in town.

If your kids want to march, be sure to assemble by 6:30 p.m. at Virginia Commerce Bank.

64th Annual Vienna Halloween Parade

7 p.m. – about 8:30 p.m. (Costumed kids gather at 6:30 p.m. at Virginia Commerce Bank)

This is a FREE event.

Maple Avenue (Route 123) from Brand Road to Center Street, Vienna, VA

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Don’t miss the National Cathedral Gargoyle Tour this Sunday, 2 p.m.

What is more spooky than gargoyles?

The National Cathedral in Washington, DC is offering their last Gargoyle Tour of the year this Sunday, October 24, at 2 p.m.  This tour explores some of the 112 or so whimsical stone gargoyles and grotesques that decorate Washington National Cathedral, and includes a slide show followed by an outdoor tour.

Gargoyles, in case you didn’t know, are stone carvings with water spouts that help keep water from running down the walls of a building.  Most are scary looking but the National Cathedral gargoyles also depict real people and animals.  The grotesques don’t carry away water.  Some of the National Cathedral’s more unique gargoyles and grotesques include

  • A Basenji dog (north side of the building)
  • A birdwatcher with binoculars (west side of the building)
  • A donkey (south side of the building)

Look for Darth Vader (a grotesque), as well!

Admission for the tour is $10 per adult; $5 per child (12 and under); or $30 per family. Meet at the 7th floor auditorium, using elevators just inside the Wisconsin Avenue doors. No reservations required. Binoculars recommended. Cameras welcome.

If you can’t make the Gargoyle Tour, you can take a self-guided Gargoyle Tour during Cathedral visiting hours.  Download the PDF self-guided Gargoyle Guide descriptions here.

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