Head to National Harbor for holiday fest

Right across the Potomac from Alexandria, a tad to the right on the far shore, lies National Harbor, one of the Beltway’s neatest shopping, entertainment and dining venues. You can get there by boat or by car. Either way, the trip is worth it – especially over the ensuing three days. That’s because it’s time for the Harbor Holiday Festival At National Harbor.

Friday Nov. 30 – Sunday Dec. 2 the festival will be rife with shopping opportunities. Some 150 specialty boutiques are arrayed in a Holiday Village setting, mimicking the markets of Europe. Fine art, woodcrafts, pottery furniture, jewelry, food and – yes – toys are there to be had. You’re going to want to bring along something commodious to carry all this back home with you.

Saint Nick will be round and about the show each day from 1 till 4. Bring your own camera to catch some pictures with the kids.


Christmas decorations at the Gaylord Hotel, National Harbor, Maryland

Christmas decorations at the Gaylord Hotel, National Harbor, Maryland. Photo by nicole_writes


In an area separate from the Village lies Santa’s Cellar & Store, a place suffused with earthly holiday spirits. Our favorite libation: Sobieski Karamel Vodka.

The soundtrack for all this is awesome. Start with classical guitarist Rich Barry performing a repertoire of holiday favorites. That starts at 11 a.m. on Friday. From noon till 2 The Patriot Brass Ensemble holds forth. The mission of the group is to improve the quality of life for veterans and military families. One way they do that is through music. At 3 p.m. Friday Baltimore-based keyboardist, vocalist and composer/arranger Brian Simms performs more holiday music on the piano. The guy was voted 2009’s Musician of the Year by the Washington Area Music Association. Wrap up Harbor Holiday Festival’s first day with jazz from the ‘30s and ‘40s, courtesy of Laissez Foure, a quintessential jazz quartet.

(Featured image by krossbow)

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