Gaylord National sits on the banks of the Potomac River, which flows south from DC to the Atlantic Ocean. Outside the resort, a water taxi ferries passengers across the Potomac to the port town of Alexandria, Virginia, a former tobacco trading post and George Washington's hometown, founded in 1749. Visitors can shop along the cobblestone streets, step into a historical museum, or try on replicas of Washington's wooden teeth.A famous pair of giant pandas reside at the National Zoo in the tree-lined Woodley Park neighborhood of DC, about 15 miles from the resort. Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, two of the United States' few captive pandas, amble about and munch on bamboo in their 12,000-square-foot enclosure, which features streams, a water-cooled grotto, and an indoor habitat. The National Zoo houses about 2,000 animals from around the world, including elephants, cheetahs, and gorillas.Located just north of the National Mall in downtown DC, the Newseum chronicles the modern history of journalism, with artifacts that run the gamut from the Unabomber's cabin to an exhibit of eight 12-foot-high concrete slabs of the Berlin Wall. One gallery is dedicated solely to Pulitzer Prize–winning photographs, and another to the media coverage of 9/11.
Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Duck, Duck, Goose. Musical Chairs. These traditional games barely hold a candle to the party activities enabled by Kingdom Inflatables. The festivity emporium equips gatherings with enormous, multicolored bounce houses, some with cartoon themes and slides. Bouncers can perfect their craft watching kernels spring to life in the rentable popcorn machine, or cool down with frozen treats or summertime snowball fights from Kingdom Inflatables' snow-cone cart.
Established in 1998, Cornucopia Cruise Line's three ships transport guests along the New York City harbor or the inland waterways along the New Jersey and Staten Island shorelines. Each ship is appointed with uplit ceilings, brass railings, hardwood dance floors, and glittering lights. During evening cruises, wait staff serve a sit-down dinner of surf-and-turf entrees as the DJ's tunes coax diners onto the dance floor. Excursions on Saturday and Sunday sate guests with buffet-style lunch or brunch, respectively. The ships range in size from the Cornucopia Majesty's vast 1,200-person capacity to the Cornucopia Destiny's intimate 250-person quarters, where guests should wear business-casual attire, eschewing gym shoes on their feet and flip-flops on their hands.
An old-fashioned ambiance reigns in The Carlyle Club, expressed in an art-deco design scheme, frequent visits from respected jazz musicians, and guests’ predilections for saying “horse feathers.” Tall palm fronds back cushy leather booths and elegant marble tables loiter near the bar, all within sight of the intimate, blue-curtained stage. A bow-tied wait staff completes the back-in-time vibe, as do vintage posters and the intricately patterned wallpaper.
All of Bittersweet's enormous cupcakes undergo a delicate upbringing from roots of real butter and other gourmet ingredients. Flavors range from classic chocolate to more inventive tastes such as PB&J, which is loaded with a strawberry filling core and given a top hat of peanut butter buttercream. If you prefer to paint your own cakesterpiece, customize a creation by pairing a cake flavor, such as lemon, coconut, or spice, with a buttercream flavor, such as orange, mint, or cream cheese frosting. Whether you phone in or drop in, be sure to peep through the bakery window on North Alfred Street and say hello to executive bakery chef Angel, who is known for melting the buttery hearts of swooning passersby by reciting romantic passages from the encyclopedia. With a dozen chances to spread your confectioned love, you won't have to play favorites with all the jury members.