Clarke's Grill & Sports Emporium After internships at the Ritz-Carlton in St. Thomas and on the Laguarian Sea Coast in Italy, chef Clarke Congdon winged his way to Boston, eventually opening his own restaurant, Clarke's Grill & Sports Emporium. Chef George Zwetkow was trained at the Culinary Institute of America and distills 35 years of experience into each dish he sears, to say nothing of this polyglot's fluency in English, Russian, and Spanish. The third pillar of the eatery, Mike Larkin, gives the establishment its sports aesthetic, having played minor-league hockey for five years before cultivating marketing prowess. Framed jerseys, photos, and sports memorabilia make the walls as athletic as Bo Jackson and are available for love-struck patrons to purchase after sharing a platter of nachos and dreams with an autographed hockey jersey. Plates of the signature fish tacos, topped with creamy chimichurri sauce and fresh cilantro, steal outside onto the sprawling patio. The outdoor space features weekly events including bean-bag tournaments and wine tastings, and flat-screen TVs light up the full bar, displaying both Red Sox and Yankees games to satisfy rival fans without inciting a duel over the remote or with remotes.
Former Masters champion Fred Couples has competed on golf courses around the globe. So he had plenty of inspiration to draw from in designing Westfields Golf Club, which incorporates Northern Virginia's unique topography into its 18 holes. Amid the rolling hills, natural wetlands, and towering beech and oak trees that pepper the course, a lake looms to the left of the signature third hole as players take their tee shots. Other features make the course unmistakably Virginian—on hole 13, for instance, a Civil War burial site comes into play on the right side. After taking in all the course has to offer, players can relax and untangle their coiled hips by visiting the clubhouse's indoor and outdoor dining areas.
Course at a Glance: * 18-hole, par 71 course * Total length of 6,897 yards from the back tees * Course rating of 73.3 from the back tees * Course slope of 139 from the back tees * Five sets of tees per hole * Scorecard
A whir emits from the skee-ball machine as a long string of tickets emerges from its depths. With his parent’s help, the child counts them off, eager to see if he’s won enough for the coveted prize at the counter, or at least enough to trade with his sister for the window seat on the way home. At Majestic Fun, kids of all ages dive into an 8,000-square-foot spread of games, rides, and food. As Maximillion the Dalmatian and Ellie the Elephant wander around to give birthday kids high-fives or to steal a french fry, friends race each other at driving games or compete in furious rounds of air hockey. Tykes can put gravity in time out on the moon bounce or savor rides on the pintsize carousel. Between games, players find nourishment at the snack bar, munching on pizzas, sub sandwiches, and mozzarella sticks.
Bubbles rush from beneath the diving group’s masks—one of the only nearby signs of moving life—as they float beside the sunken submarine U-352. More than 70 years resting in 110 feet of North Carolinian coastal waters have transformed it into a reef of sorts—rife with small tropical marine life—but the unmistakable shapes of torpedo hatches, a conning tower, and the massive propeller give away its identity. Above and around the hollow hull float Blu Water Scuba’s instructors, guiding a detailed tour to the wreck, which is considered among the most unique wrecks to inhabit American waters.
The dive shop’s owners-cum-teachers regularly plan excursions from their base in D.C. to explore seldom-seen, deeply submerged portions of the Atlantic. To ensure that as many people as possible can share such amazing experiences, they offer basic certification courses in open-water diving as well as in a slew of advanced underwater skills, such as rescue diving. They start training sessions in enclosed spaces such as classrooms, local pools, and senators' private hot tubs, ultimately diving in outdoor locations such as the local Lake Millbrook flooded stone quarry, where they administer certification tests. Apart from full PADI certification, they also teach introductory diving skills in the safety of local pools.
The summer sun is shining, the chickadees are chirping, and the Northern Virginia sky is a dazzling azure blue—SplashDown Waterpark was made for days like today. The 13-acre water park, lauded as one of the best places to cool off in the area by Northern Virginia Magazine, abounds with aquatic attractions, including two four-story water slides.
Inflatable tubes meander down the park's 770-foot lazy river, and youngsters frolic through watery obstacle courses. Over in the 25-meter lap pool, American Red Cross–certified instructors conduct private swim lessons, teaching students how to tread water and convince dolphins to carry them when that gets tiring. The park also features an array of eateries and concessions stands full of hamburgers, pizzas, and sugary funnel cakes.