As the Potomac River flows in the distance, George Mason’s historical Georgian mansion overlooks sprawling fields, hiking trails, and a 250-year-old boxwood allée. A senior statesman, Mason laid the foundation for this site in 1755, building his new family home just yards away from the site of his grandfather’s house. Though the original 18th-century carriage roads, tree banks, and wide vistas have since disappeared, experts have reconstructed much of the property’s original splendor through archaeological digs; the written memoirs of George’s son, John; and the testimonials of kidnapped time travelers.
Today, trained guides lead guests on tours of the mansion, which features more than 50 pieces of art and furnishings detailing the life of the politician, his wife Ann, and their family. As guests learn about Mason’s role as the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights and as an advocate of freedom of the press and religious tolerance, they walk through opulent halls and rooms designed in French modern, neoclassical, and Chinese styles. In addition to tours, the house and grounds host seasonal events such as an old-fashioned candlelit Christmas celebration, a spring kite festival, and an autumn séance to summon the Great Pumpkin.
The Metropolitan School of the Arts - formerly the Metropolitan Fine Arts Center - was founded more than 14 years ago. This multidisciplinary performing-arts organization takes a holistic approach to teaching and encouraging performance-arts skills, creating performance opportunities in dance, music, and theater for a diverse population of students of all ages and abilities. Its students have gone to perform on Broadway, at The Juilliard School, and in highly esteemed companies, such as the Mark Morris Dance Company, The Washington Ballet, and Ford's Theater and Signature Theater. Youth programs include year-round programs in dance, theater, music, music-theater, and acting, as well as a performing-arts program in the summer, all for children as young as 2. Adult classes range from basic to advanced, including ballet, jazz, and tap lessons, plus yoga and ballet-barre fitness workouts.
When Lazy Susan Dinner Theatre's doors open for each evening's performance, guests are greeted and escorted to their tables where they can order cocktails. Then, with thirsts parched and pocket watches swinging, they move onward to a hot buffet of made-from-scratch Pennsylvania Dutch dishes, including breads, roast beef, chicken, fish, and housemade desserts. But sweets aren't the only treat here. After dessert, the curtain opens to family-friendly Broadway-style shows that incite laughter, explore American history, or challenge theatergoers to discern which actors are real ghosts. And to tie the dinner and show together even tighter, the performers are the same people pouring the coffee. DC Metro Theater Arts notes that "the warm ambiance found at The Lazy Susan is indeed half of the fun of going."
The 2nd Annual Art, Wine & All That Jazz Festival promises a day of world-class jazz and the chance to sample an array of palate-delighting wines. This year's line-up includes soulful jazzy vocalist Ericka Ovette, Maryland blues 'n' boogie musician Deanna Bogart, and jazzy axe-shredding group the Dan Leonard Trio. Fermentation fans can smell, taste, and fill squirt-guns with the wares of regional wineries such as Lexington Valley Vineyard, Philip Carter Winery of Virginia, and more. More than 125 artists will be on-hand and eager to issue high-fives, do demonstrations, and chat about their work. Lectures covering art and wine will take place in the performance tent throughout the day.
There's no question that Master Seum earned his title. Growing up in Thailand's Ubon province, he started training in muay thai at the tender age of 11. Martial arts became a way of life for him, leading him to pursue a professional fighting career in which he's won 70 out of 86 bouts without ever suffering a knockout loss. His impressive r?sum? and penchant for chocolate coins earned him the nickname Golden Boy and a ranking as the No. 5 contender in Northeast Thailand. He eventually came to the United States to teach, and after a few years of sharing his expertise at other gyms, he decided to start his own school: Seapeanong Thai Boxing.
Master Seum conducts beginner, intermediate, and fight team training with his co-founder, Emilio Gonzalez, a fighter known for his kicking power and old-school boxing skills. Cross-trainer Melanie Odria keeps bodies in fighting shape with a blend martial arts training and traditional exercise techniques.
Positivity. Simple as it sounds, it's a central pillar of the philosophy behind Life Champ Martial Arts. At each of the school's five locations, the warm, supportive atmosphere starts with the instructors. Sure, they pass along years of martial arts wisdom, but they also strive to help students?younger ones, especially?realize that having fun doesn't necessarily mean sitting in front of a TV, or arguing the legitimacy of the moon landing with an imaginary friend. Through programs for kids, teens, and even entire families, Life Champ's instructors lead students along a path that builds self-confidence and improves self-defense techniques. Instructors build on these same skills in extracurricular offerings, which include after-school programs, birthday parties, and week-long summer camps.