Anniversary, Transportation, Cultural, Destination, Culinary & Hotel News
Top Stories for 2016
100 years of National Park Service
The National Park Service celebrates its Centennial this year and Capital Region USA will be pulling out all the stops to mark this impressive milestone. On the 25 August 2016, the country will celebrate the achievements of the stewardship for America’s national parks and for communities across the nation. With more than 20 parks in Virginia including the mighty Shenandoah, 16 in Maryland and the National Mall in Washington DC, the region boasts some of the most vast and varied sites in the country. Encompassing historical landmarks, mountain ranges and scenic trails, they’re all considered local treasures, and give visitors insight into the rich history and topography of the area. Washington, DC will host its annual National Cherry Blossom Festival in three National Park Service locations: around the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park, in East Potomac Park (Hains Point), and on the Washington Monument grounds. The festival parade will take place 16 April 2016. Also leading up to the centennial, NPS is inviting the public to participate in Find Your Park Experiences to learn, discover, be inspired, or simply have fun in national parks.
For more information, visit www.FindYourPark.com
Baltimore to host the USA’s first ever International Light Festival
The city of Baltimore in Maryland will present the first large-scale international light festival in the United States from 28 March until 3 April 2016, welcoming international artists from around the globe, including UK art and architect collective, Aether and Hemera. Light City will transform Baltimore with world-class light displays, cutting-edge sculptures, video projections on buildings and interactive technologies to create once-in-a-lifetime experiences for families, residents and visitors. Aether and Hemera is a multi-disciplinary art and design studio based in Newcastle upon Tyne and their piece ‘Voyage’, which will be displayed at Light City, consists of 300 illuminated floating ‘paper-boats’ and is designed to be an interactive experience which people can engage with through their mobile phones.
For more information, visit www.lightcity.org
New Smithsonian: National Museum of African American History and Culture to Open for Autumn 2016
Construction on the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture continues. The building, designed by David Adjaye, will occupy a space between the Washington Monument and the National Museum of American History, the last designated museum space on the National Mall. When the museum opens in the autumn of 2016, it will be a centre-piece venue for performances, symposia, ceremonies and exhibition space.
For more information, visit www.nmaahc.si.edu
New Virginia Oyster Trail now open
Virginia is recognised as the “Oyster Capital of the East Coast.” The Commonwealth’s seven different oyster regions produce the largest quantity of fresh wild-caught and farm-raised oysters in the United States and each region produces oysters with distinct flavours, offering an oyster for every palate. Looking to spur more growth and opportunities for Virginia watermen, the marine product sector, and other oyster-related businesses, The Commonwealth has created the Virginia Oyster Trail, a major tourism development project connecting travellers to Virginia oyster purveyors, raw bars and restaurants, and the watermen culture throughout Coastal Virginia, the Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula and Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The first portion of the trail opened in November 2015, giving Virginia visitors the ideal way to experience the Virginia oyster this year. Now visitors can also enjoy their oysters directly on the river in Virginia Beach with Pleasure House Oyster’s new Chef Table Tours. In addition to their regular boat tours, the oyster farm now offers a chef’s table dining experience, allowing visitors to enjoy a fresh meal on the Lynnhaven River, right there in the marsh, as well as one-on-one time with oyster farmer Chris Ludford. The trail will take visitors to the distinctive river and bay towns throughout the Chesapeake Bay area, including Cape Charles and Irvington.
For more information, visit www.virginiaoystertrail.com
BWI Airport Hits Biggest Month Ever
More than 2.3 million passengers travelled through Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI Marshall) in July 2015, hitting a new all-time record for any month as well as International passengers climbing 52.5 percent to 137,791 helping to establish the airport as a major international gateway. Growth is expected to continue in 2016 as a number of airlines launched services to seven new international destinations from BWI Marshall, including the new WOW Air flights from Gatwick and Bristol via Reykjavik (with Bristol flights starting in May). A major capital improvement, the D/E Connector programme, is now underway in order to increase international capacity and to add new passenger amenities. New airlines and new nonstop destinations, along with a strong emphasis on customer service, are believed to be the reasons behind the growth.
For more information, visit www.bwiairport.com
Culture and Arts News
Washington, DC Celebrates Milestone Anniversaries at Cultural Landmarks
2016 is the year for major anniversaries at several of DC’s top arts, cultural and historical attractions. The National Gallery of Art will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2016 hosting special exhibitions in the spring and is set to reopen its renovated East Wing. The Washington National Opera is celebrating a big birthday, marking 60 years since it first began. The 50th annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which showcases many exemplary practitioners of diverse, authentic, living traditions—both old and new, will be held in 2016. The goal of the festival is to strengthen and preserve these traditions by presenting them on the National Mall. Tradition-bearers and the public can connect with and learn from one another and, in a respectful way, begin to understand cultural differences and similarities. Finally, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum will also celebrate its 40th anniversary.
For more information, visit http://washington.org/
A History of Annapolis in 99 Objects
In November 2016, Historic Annapolis, Inc. (HA) will open its “History of Annapolis in 99 Objects” exhibit to present a complete history of the city through the centuries. Anchored at the historic Brice House at 42 East Street, the exhibit will include stationary items, such as historic buildings, as well as paintings, photos, furniture and artifacts. All interested parties are invited to submit objects for consideration via the HA website. Individuals who wish to follow the history of Annapolis through the 99 Objects will be travelling throughout Annapolis to do so.
For more information, visit www.annapolis.org
The Black History Museum and Cultural Center Moving to Historical Location in $13 Million Project
Dating back to the 1890s, Richmond’s Leigh Street Armory housed the First Battalion Virginia Volunteers — Virginia’s first African-American regiment. Now the armory is under renovations to become the new home of the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia. A $13 million project slated to open later this year, the museum’s new location will create more room and opportunities for larger exhibits.
For more information, visit www.blackhistorymuseum.org
New Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Maryland to open in 2017
The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park, is a 17-acre tract adjacent to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Opening early 2017, it will offer exhibits, programmes, tours and be located about 12 miles south of Cambridge. Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park was approved by Congress in late 2014 and authorises the National Park Service to acquire additional acreage in the area of Tubman’s likely birthplace, the plantation where she worked as a young girl and the plantation from which she escaped slavery. The congressional action comes a year after President Obama set aside 480 acres on the Shore as a national monument honouring Tubman. Maryland also acquired 17 acres south of Cambridge in 2007 for a state park honouring Tubman.
For more information, visit www.nps.gov/hatu
New Walking and Cycle Route – the Virginia Capital Trail is Now Open
The Virginia Capital Trail is officially open, having just celebrated their ribbon cutting on 2 October 2015. A dedicated, paved pedestrian and bicycle trail that connects the Commonwealth’s past and present capitals of Jamestown and Richmond along the Scenic Route 5 corridor, The Virginia Capital Trail covers approximately 52 miles, four jurisdictions, and more than 400 years of history along one of the first inland routes in North America.
For more information, visit www.virginiacapitaltrail.org
Culinary, Beer and Wine News
50th Anniversary of the St. Mary’s County Oyster Festival
2016 will mark the 50th Anniversary of the St. Mary’s County Oyster Festival in Maryland, a huge event which hosts the National Shucking Championship and National Cook-Off. The shucking championship draws people from all over the United States to come and compete to become the US champion who will then travel to Ireland to compete for the International Championship. The Governor of Maryland will open the festival 9 November 2016.
For more information, visit www.usoysterfest.com
Annapolis has a Culinary Explosion with New Restaurant Openings
Annapolis has welcomed several new restaurants to its ever-evolving culinary scene including Fox’s Den which opened at 179-B Main Street in summer 2015. The American craft gastropub specialises in local and small-batch beers and a brick oven menu. Preserve opened in April 2015. As its name implies, owners Jeremy and Michelle Hoffman use sustainable and local products. Pickling, preserving and fermenting are a passion and focus on their casual American menu. Chef Teddy Folkman of Food Network fame opened BAROAK Cookhouse and Taproom in March 2015. Folkman is serving up mussels and frites with a twist, along with international and local craft beers. And it’s not just new restaurants having their moment, the iconic mom and pop Chick & Ruth’s Delly on Main Street in Annapolis celebrated its 50th anniversary in August 2015. With more than 120 sandwiches and dishes named after past and present elected officials on its menu, the 90-seat restaurant is always introducing something new. Owners Ted and Beth Levitt began serving made from scratch pies – in 40 flavours – in February 2015. Since 1989, Ted’s been inviting customers to join him in saying the Pledge of Allegiance each morning. People of all ages enjoy the impromptu magic shows Ted’s been performing tableside since 1987. His 6 lb. Colossal Shake is popular with families as well as individuals who dare to take the “Man vs. Food” challenge.
Bike for your beer in Loudoun County on brand new LoCo Ale Trail as Virginia’s craft beer industry blows up
The craft beer industry in Virginia has grown very quickly from just a handful of breweries a couple of years ago to more than 100 now, with more to open and its popularity has led to Loudoun County launching a bikeable brews itinerary as part of its new LoCo Ale Trail. Loudoun County features numerous craft breweries with several recent additions including, Dirt Farm Brewing and Ocelot Brewing Company. Loudoun also is home to the Mid-Atlantic’s first commercial hops processing operation – Black Hops Farm. The new facility will greatly increase the amount of hops produced in Virginia, allowing more breweries to craft their beer from 100% Virginia products. Craft breweries are popping up all over the Commonwealth, from Pale Fire Brewing in Harrisonburg to Fairfax County’s newest brew spots, Forge Brew Works, Fair Winds Brewing Company and Caboose Brewing Company. Two new breweries just opened in Woodbridge, Ornery Beer Company & Public House, Prince William County’s first brewpub, and Growling Bear Brewing Company, a small veteran and woman owned micro-brewery where the beers are made from whole grains with an emphasis on organic and local ingredients.
For more information, visit www.visitloudoun.org
New MGM National Harbour Resort to open in 2016
Autumn, 2016 will see the opening of MGM Resorts International’s brand new, waterfront resort, the MGM National Harbour in historic Maryland. The resort will boast a luxury hotel and spa, fine dining from local and celebrity chefs, world-class shopping, entertainment and a casino.
For more information, visit www.mgmnationalharbor.com
Trump International Hotel scheduled to open in 2016
The Trump Hotel Collection was chosen to redevelop the iconic Old Post Office building (DC’s second tallest building). Following a $200 million redevelopment, the hotel will feature 270 guest rooms, meeting and event space, a street-level steakhouse as well as a 4,000-sq.ft. Mar-a-Lago Spa by Ivanka Trump.
New Hyatt Place Hotel to Open in Arlington in 2016
Hyatt Place in Arlington’s Courthouse neighbourhood at 2401 Wilson Boulevard will open in 2016. The 8-storey, contemporary metal and glass Hyatt Place hotel will have 161 rooms and a branded hotel bar and restaurant. The developer is committed to achieve LEED Gold Certification – Arlington’s first LEED Gold hotel, and Hyatt’s first LEED Gold Hyatt Place in the United States.
For more information, visit www.schuppcompanies.com/properties
New Luxury and Boutique hotel openings in Baltimore
With three new upscale hotels recently opening their doors, Baltimore offers even more options for the discerning traveller. The Ivy Hotel is Baltimore’s newest luxury boutique hotel. Located in Mount Vernon, the Ivy houses a luxury spa and restaurant in a historic mansion inn. Also in Mount Vernon, Hotel Indigo is perfect for the traveller searching for a bit more charm with his or her stay. As a pet-friendly hotel with a 24-hour fitness centre, close proximity to Penn Station and Baltimore’s world-class restaurants and attractions, Indigo offers just that. Hotel RL is re-creating the hotel experience for a new generation of travellers, starting in the lobby and ending with the RL food truck and artisanal coffee. Part café, part restaurant, part workspace, and decorated with curated art, the hotel offers a free-flowing creative and comfortable space.
To find out more the Capital Region USA, visit www.CapitalRegionUSA.co.uk
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11 January 2015
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