Touring Washington D.C. can get tiring very quickly, whether because of trying to cover its expansive acreage on foot or in a bus crowded with an exorbitant amount of passengers. ELD Touring Enterprises opts for a less weary mode of transportation, as guides chauffeur groups of six people around the city in minivans and SUVs. This makes each tour private or semi-private, giving sightseers more intimate access to the destinations they're exploring. Longer daytime tours hit many of the major destinations, including Arlington Cemetery and the White House, while evening tours are reserved for those landmarks that are dramatically lit at night, such as the Lincoln Memorial or Teddy Roosevelt's hot tub. Groups can also opt for themed tours, such as an African-American history tour, or work with ELD guides to come up with a custom route.
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.
For more than two decades, Alexandria Art and Framing's knowledgeable staffers have meticulously enveloped and conserved images with expert framing services that transform personal memorabilia into elegant artwork. Elegant rectangles line store walls in an array of shapes, colors, and styles—including gold frames with antique appearances and stained wood etched with ornate motifs. Alexandria Art and Framing's artisan picture enhancers put their passion into practice to beautify each image with mat boards, mouldings (from such brands as Larson-Juhl and Roma Moulding), and box frames, a specialty of the frame shop. From valuable baseball cards to blue ribbons from hot-dog-eating contests to poster-size family portraits, any piece of artwork can be skillfully encased before proudly displayed.
Part art gallery, part cocoa bar, Artfully Chocolate was established in 2007 when owner Eric Nelson quit his job as an executive in order to pursue his artistic passions. Needing a little something extra to draw attention to his shop and unwilling to sound a tornado siren after every purchase, Eric called on the services of friend and chocolatier Rob Kingsbury. Kingsbury instantly infused the colorful gallery with the sweet allure Eric was seeking.
Today, the duo's handiwork takes center stage inside two different locations: Eric's masterpieces parade across the walls, and Rob's expertise reveals itself in sips and bites of decadent drinks and pastries. They also host tasting classes, including a wine-pairing class and chocolate-tasting class.
The art-preservation specialists at Adler's Art & Frame furnish masterpiece-seekers and magnum-opus owners with high-quality framed artwork and framing services. Garnish your wall with the snow-sprinkled front lawn of the nation's most famous house with Rod Chase's piece America's Home ($60+), or commemorate your favorite equine barbershop quartet with a picture of Nancy Glazier's Amazing Grays III ($60+), a glimpse of four horses posing in a field for their eponymous album cover. Prices for framing services depend on the size of the artwork and the apparatuses used. Bestow borders upon your favorite family portrait or your cat's kindergarten report card with an 8"x10" custom framing ($88), which includes one mat, conservation glass, and frame, or add another mat for extra memory conservation ($113).
Gallery Lafayette offers customized-framing treatments and original prints, watercolors, and gifts. Using special conservation glass and acid-free mat boards, skilled frame-ologists protect prized photographs and collectibles from the damaging effects of light, humidity, acidity, and Father Time's righteous fists for unblemished wall hanging. The average custom-framing order is around $180—combine two Groupons and frame your favorite oversized obedience-school diploma or Ken Burns–autographed placemat. Inside the gallery, customers will find an assortment of gifts featuring pen-and-ink illustrations of classic Old Town landmarks such as Captain's Row and Gadsby's Tavern. Images are magically transferred onto tote bags ($30), tea towels ($15.95), and more. Snag a set of eight note cards ($12.95) to start a one-man letter-writing campaign to rename the Route 1 IHOP to the William Howard Taft Memorial House of Pancakes.