The trio of seasoned tour guides understands that being a guide is more than just being able to carry a microphone and CDL driver’s license with style. Being a guide is a great responsibility; it means safeguarding history and passing its great secrets and wisdoms on to others. Whether visiting DC’s iconic structures and memorials in the daylight or evening, they passionately share the stories of the individuals, ideals, and food-based dares that shaped the United States into what it is today. Fueled by the realization that planning a trip to the nation’s capital may be a once in a lifetime experience for some people, they put extra effort into ensuring that experience is as memorable as possible, leading all of their tours in a luxurious 2012 Mercedes bus.
It's early in the day when the airplanes land on Virginia soil, bearing fresh seafood from such far-off places as Maine, Hawaii, and Japan. Lumbering trucks transport the cargo to the little town of Sterling, where Hooked Seafood & Sushi Bar chefs await to fillet and prepare the catches for the night's dinner. The sushi chefs carve plump morsels of eel, tuna, and scallops in traditional Japanese style before rolling them into intricate rolls adorned with mango, caviar, and tempura. Meanwhile, other chefs tend to grills of sizzling teriyaki dishes and simmering pans of lemongrass halibut and stuffed trout. The Hooked team has been crafting these fresh sushi dishes and innovative specialties for the last six years, earning accolades from Northern Virginia Magazine and Taste of Reston in the process.
Vibrant photographs of the chef's dishes flash across the flat screen in the sleek dining room, casting a glow on the tall stools that line the sushi bar. Cushy booths surround vibrant red tables, and glimmering curtains dangle above the dining room. On the outdoor patio, a dancing fountain gushes with streams of water alongside a central fireplace roaring with flames. The staff strives to recreate an apropos oceanic atmosphere at the restaurant, lighting up seating areas in shades of turquoise and sea-green and requiring all servers to master basic seal calls.
In 2001, husband-and-wife team Todd and Anne realized two of their biggest dreams: they started a family and opened The Bike Lane. Throughout the store, bikes by Trek, Electra, Felt, Mirraco, and Surly lean on their kickstands alongside accessories such as water bottles, bells, or high-heeled spokes for date night. Certified staffers leap down from their stationary penny-farthings to perfectly match riders with new bikes through fit services that are free with purchase of a triathlon/TT, road, or mountain bike. In the repair shop, mechanics with 40 years of combined experience service bikes, overhauling brakes, installing parts, or custom-fitting wheels. To stay connected with its network of riders, The Bike Lane organizes educational safety events, advocates for bicycle-friendly communities, and sponsors more than 50 cycling events per year.
In the shadow of national monuments and blooming trees, a chorus of camera shutters click while photographers usher once-fleeting moments into eternity. Premier Photo Tours' staff helps foster such experiences, giving shooters skills with which to go after their photographic pursuits. Each a combination of instructor and guide, the company's camera pros lead themed walks around town that teach kids and adults how to frame scenic shots or get a stubborn art sculpture to smile. Deeper instruction comes in the form of Photo Mentor classes for photographers who want to take a more artistic and technically savvy approach in any stage of their photography development. During any of Premier's sessions, snappers have the opportunity to build community with one another around their budding talents, which can be enhanced on group travel excursions to some of the world's most photogenic locales.
The staff at Potomac Outfitters arms outdoor enthusiasts with high-quality outdoor adventuring apparel and gear from trusted outfitters including Patagonia and Superfeet. In addition to stocking running shoes, luggage, and clothing for both men and women, they also maintain a specialized collection of kayaking and standup paddleboarding equipment. Their water-ready stock includes wetsuits, throw ropes, and protectant spray, which guard vessels against waves with teeth.