• Easter Morning on the C&O Canal Towpath

    Billy Goat Trail C - North Parking Lot

    Let's go for a Easter morning jaunt along the C&O Canal towpath. Happily, I will not be wearing the giant rabbit outfit that I wore at Filene's Dept. store in Boston for a Beatrix Potter promotion many years ago. This will be a straight hike with a simple loop - no creeks, no rocks, no hills - just plenty of elbow room for conversation. ● What we'll do: - From the Billy Goat Trail C - North Parking Lot, we’ll walk upstream along the C&O Canal towpath to the Stop Gate, cross the canal, head downstream along Berma Road to Angler's Footbridge, cross the canal again, and continue downstream to our start point along the C&O Canal Towpath. - The total distance is 5.9 miles and should take a little over 2 hours, including a break. The surface is fairly level and smooth gravel/dirt. - Google map: https://tinyurl.com/y8pk6ak2 ● How to get there: From the I-495 Capital Beltway (either direction), take exit 41 onto Clara Barton Parkway and follow signs for Carderock. On Clara Barton Parkway, take the first exit right at the brown sign marked "Carderock Carderock Div. NavSurfWarCen." After exiting, turn left to cross over Clara Barton Parkway, then continue straight, going around a curve and through a tunnel under the C&O Canal. At the T-junction, turn right and drive to the furthest parking lot. Do not rely solely on GPS coordinates; they have led some attendees astray in the past. Here's a couple of Google map directions: - From the outer loop: https://goo.gl/maps/3m7VZZfg9PM2 - From the inner loop: https://goo.gl/maps/AgPsc8nC1VQ2 - Sorry, this is not a Metro-accessible hike. ● What to bring: Water, comfy shoes and your furry friend if desired (leashes please). Sunscreen and insect repellent are recommended. ● Weather: Forecast is partly sunny and 67 degrees. Updates here: http://tinyurl.com/q6s64kc ● Advisory: As a reminder, this is an adult group, and you are ultimately responsible for your own safety and well-being during events. No one under 18 years of age is allowed at this event, either as members or as guests, to include babies in carriers and/or strollers. ● Administrative stuff: There are public restrooms at the parking area (three stars) and at the Old Angler's Inn entrance (four stars). ● Notes: - NPS website (for park alerts): https://tinyurl.com/y7fgg7gu - NPS Great Falls trail map (pdf): http://tinyurl.com/nzfhxgr

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  • Springtime at Great Falls Park

    Great Falls National Park, VA

    Saturday is a free entry day at the National Parks, so let's enjoy a springtime hike at Great Falls Park! It's a popular park, so we'll beat the rush with a slightly early start. • What we'll do: This is a two-part hike: - The first part is a 3.2 mile loop; south from the meetup point along Old Carriage Road and the Ridge Trail, and returning north along River and Potowmack trails. After returning we'll take a short break for a pit stop. - The second part is a 1.6 mile out-and-back; north along the Potomac Heritage Trail to the Conn Island spillway and returning south along the same route. - The total distance is about 5 miles, plus a little extra to check out the overlooks. Plan for around 3 hours at a moderate pace. The surface is dirt or gravel throughout, except for the River Trail, which is broken and rocky. The going is easy to moderate except for the River Trail, which is moderate to strenuous. - Google map: http://tinyurl.com/h6w786v • How to get there: - Driving: From the I-495 Capital Beltway (either direction), take exit 44 onto VA-193/Georgetown Pike towards Great Falls. Follow signs for Great Falls. Drive 4.4 miles west along Georgetown Pike. At the traffic light at the intersection with Old Dominion Road, turn right to enter the park. (There is a park sign.) Drive 1 mile along Old Dominion Road and note the Visitor Center on your right. Continue another 0.1 miles (just past the Visitor Center) and turn right to enter the main parking area. Arrive early! Even at 9 am, there may be a line to enter the park! See https://goo.gl/maps/5vqE4ngmbsn - Metro: Sorry, this is not a Metro accessible hike. • What to bring: Water, comfy shoes or boots with tread on them and your furry friend if desired (leashes please). Sunscreen and possibly insect repellent are recommended. A poncho may be handy if we run into any showers. The trails may be muddy in places due to Friday night rains, so a change of shoes may be useful for after the hike. • Weather: The forecast is partly cloudy and a high of 70F, with a 15% chance of showers and 14 mph S winds. Updates here: http://tinyurl.com/mek9mf4 • Advisories: - As a reminder, this is an adult group, and you are ultimately responsible for your own safety and well-being during events. No one under 18 years of age is allowed at this event, either as members or as guests, to include babies in carriers and/or strollers. - The River Trail runs along the edge of sheer cliffs in many sections, so if you have difficulties with depth perception, you may wish to avoid the River Trail and return to the start point along Old Carriage Rd. As the NPS website notes, "Your safety is your responsibility." Exercise caution and keep a close eye on your furry friend! • Administrative stuff: There are restrooms and drinking fountains at the Great Falls Visitor Center. There are no trashcans in the park! If you bring it in, you pack it out! • Notes: - Great Falls Park, 9200 Old Dominion Dr, McLean, VA 22102: https://tinyurl.com/h87o99t - Trail Map: http://tinyurl.com/obbjbc - Free Entrance Days at the National Parks: http://tinyurl.com/go82aan

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  • Mozambique

    The Dairy Godmother

    Let’s take an easy evening stroll in Del Ray! The Dairy Godmother is featuring one their most delicious custards, "Mozambique," with hints of cinnamon and cloves. • What we’ll do: - Starting from outside the Dairy Godmother at 2310 Mount Vernon Ave, we'll walk south to Del Ray Ave and cut over west to continue south on Commonwealth Ave. At E. Mason Ave. we'll turn left and walk until we run out of street at the Alexandria YMCA, turn left, and walk north five blocks along Leslie Ave. to E. Custis Ave. At E. Custis Ave we’ll turn right and walk a block east to Del Ray Animal Hospital at the intersection of Custis and Mount Ada Avenues. - From a hidden (shhh) entrance near Del Ray Animal Hospital we'll enter Mount Jefferson Park and climb up a steep hill to follow the trail northwest along the roadbed of the defunct Washington & Old Dominion Railroad all the way to Commonwealth Ave. Arriving at Ashby St and Commonwealth Ave, we'll walk south along Commonwealth Ave to Mount Vernon Ave and continue south to our start point. - The walk is just over 2.5 miles of smiles and should take between 40 minutes to an hour. With the exception of the first part of Mount Jefferson Park, which is a dirt path, it's sidewalks throughout. - Google map: https://tinyurl.com/ybj6yhb2 • How to get there: - Driving: From VA-1/Jefferson Davis Highway (either direction), turn west onto Custis Ave. and drive four blocks west to Mount Vernon Ave. Turn right, and the Dairy Godmother is on your left a block and a half along. Parallel park anywhere in the neighborhood. - Metro: From Braddock Road Station, walk 0.2 miles west on Braddock Rd, turn right onto Mount Vernon and walk 0.9 miles north. See https://goo.gl/maps/HHYgtncjNy52 • What to bring: Water, comfy shoes, and your furry friend if desired (leashes required). We should be through before twilight ends, so a flashlight isn't really needed. • Weather: Not sure about the weather forecast yet, but we'll keep our fingers crossed. Sunset is at 7:47 pm and civil twilight ends about 30 minutes later. Updates here: http://tinyurl.com/ovnojef . • Advisory: As a reminder, this is an adult group, and you are ultimately responsible for your own safety and well-being during events. No one under 18 years of age is allowed at this event, either as members or as guests, to include babies in carriers and/or strollers. • Administrative stuff: - There are restrooms at the Dairy Godmother and at the nearby Mount Vernon Recreation Center, open until 9 pm. • Notes: - Dairy Godmother, 2310 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22301, (703)[masked], http://thedairygodmother.com - Mount Vernon Recreation Center, 2701 Commonwealth Ave, Alexandria, VA 22305, (703)[masked]

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  • Bluebells and Buttercups at Lake Accotink Park

    Lake Accotink Park

    Let's take a chance on the possible showers/thunderstorms and go for a walk around Lake Accotink! ● What we'll do: - Starting from the railroad trestle at the foot of the dam, we'll walk clockwise around the lake. The total distance is 4 miles and should take about an a hour and a half. The trail is a mix of fine gravel and paved paths, with a short stretch on sidewalks halfway through the walk. There are some inclines here and there, but overall it's pretty flat. - Google map: http://tinyurl.com/zk8qo6n ● How to get there: From I-95, take Old Keene Mill Road west. (If you are coming from Franconia, note that Franconia Road becomes Old Keene Mill Road in Springfield.) Turn right on Hanover Avenue and drive north about a mile. Turn left onto Highland Street and drive west about a quarter of a mile to a slight right turn onto Accotink Park Road. Follow Accotink Park Road and watch for the entrance to the park on the left; then follow the road through the woods to the parking lot by the railroad trestle at the foot of the dam. See https://goo.gl/maps/UodjwqQx1MH2 ● What to bring: Water, comfy shoes, and your furry friend if desired (leashes please). Sunscreen, insect repellent, and a poncho/umbrella look are recommended. ● Weather: The forecast is cloudy and a high of 77F. Showers early, probably ending around 8 am, with a chance of thunderstorms later, time dependent on which weather forecaster you check. Light SE winds, shifting to S. Updates: http://tinyurl.com/367lwm ● Advisory: As a reminder, this is an adult group, and you are ultimately responsible for your own safety and well-being during events. No one under 18 years of age is allowed at this event, either as members or as guests, to include babies in carriers and/or strollers. ● Administrative stuff: There are public restrooms and drinking fountains near the park marina. ● Notes: - Lake Accotink Park, 7500 Accotink Park Rd, Springfield, VA 22150,[masked]. http://tinyurl.com/d928nn9 - Park trails: https://tinyurl.com/y7mn8h3r

    4
  • Bluebells at Seneca Park, Virginia

    Seneca Park

    Let's go for a hike in Seneca Park and enjoy the Virginia Bluebells! ● What we'll do: - From the trailhead in Seneca Park, we'll walk about a half mile north and east to a rock outcrop overlooking the Potomac River. From there we'll head downstream along the Potomac Heritage Trail through woodland trails carpeted with bluebells and other wildflowers. Reaching the eastern boundary of Seneca Park, we'll turn back and retrace our steps to the trailhead, except that we will take the graded road to the trailhead rather than reascending to the outcrop. - This is an easy modified out & back hike of just under 4 miles and should take no more than two hours at a moderate pace. The surface is a mix of gravel and dirt paths, with footbridges and fallen logs here and there. Aside from the descent into and climb out of the Potomac River Basin, it's fairly flat and easy going. - Google map: http://tinyurl.com/j2vjxwm ● How to get there: From I-495 (either direction): Take Exit 47A for VA- 7/Leesburg Pike/Falls Church towards Tyson's Corner. Merge onto VA-7 W/Leesburg Pike and drive west for 9.4 miles. Turn sharp right onto SR-193E/Georgetown Pike, then take the immediate left onto SR-602/Seneca Road. Follow Seneca Road north about 3.7 miles until it ends in the parking area for Seneca Park, just north of the intersection of Seneca Road and Stonehouse Place. See https://goo.gl/maps/RtqkkuWuxkL2 ● What to bring: Water, comfy shoes, and your furry friend if desired (leashes please). Sunscreen is a good idea. It is early, but consider bringing insect repellent, just in case. ● Weather: The forecast is mostly cloudy and high of 76F, with a 5-6% chance of showers and 7-9 mph SW winds. Updates: http://tinyurl.com/m2yjqtj ● Advisory: As a reminder, this is an adult group, and you are ultimately responsible for your own safety and well-being during events. No one under 18 years of age is allowed at this event, either as members or as guests, to include babies in carriers and/or strollers. ● Administrative stuff: Sorry, there are no public restrooms in Seneca Park! There are commercial establishments nearby in Seneca and Great Falls Plaza for a pit stop en route to the hike. ● Notes: - Seneca Regional Park, 101 Seneca Rd, Great Falls, VA 22066. http://tinyurl.com/jbc69lf

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  • Kenwood

    Bethesda Metro station

    Kenwood, a Chevy Chase neighborhood near Bethesda, has 1,200 cherry trees lining its streets, many dating back to the neighborhood's development in the early 1920s. Kenwood's trees are of the Kanzan variety, which typically bloom later than the Yoshino variety most common around the Tidal Basin. They're in full bloom now -- let's go check them out! ● What we’ll do: - From the Bethesda Metro Station Plaza (GPS[masked], [masked]) we'll walk south along Wisconsin Ave to Bethesda Ave, turn right, and walk a block west. At the PAUL Cafe we'll turn left onto the Capital Crescent Trail and walk southwest to Dorset Ave, where we'll turn right to enter Kenwood. After a 2-mile walk around Kenwood streets we'll retrace our steps to the Bethesda Metro Station. - This a 5-mile modified out-and-back walk that should take about 2 hours. The surface is paved and fairly level throughout. ◦ Google map: https://tinyurl.com/yd9muurw ● How to get there: - Metro: The Bethesda Metro Station is on the Red Line. See the WMATA website for connection info: https://www.wmata.com/ - Driving: ◦ From the I-495 Capital Beltway Inner Loop, take exit 34 to merge onto MD-355 S/Rockville Pike toward Wisconsin Ave/Bethesda and drive 2.7 miles. ◦ From the I-495 Capital Beltway Outer Loop, take exit 34 for Maryland 355 toward Rockville/Bethesda/Wisconsin Ave. Merge onto MD-355 N/Rockville Pike, and after driving north 0.4 miles, make a U-turn at Tuckerman Lane and follow MD-355 South for almost 3 miles. ◦ Parking: There are several public parking garages in the area that are free on weekends. The nearest is Waverly Garage, just east of the Metro Station at 7401 Waverly St, Bethesda, MD 20814. NB: Driving and parking in Kenwood itself is prohibited. ● What to bring: Water, comfy shoes, and your furry friend if desired (leashes, please). ● Weather: The forecast is partly sunny and a high of 71F, with a 20-35% chance of scattered thunderstorms and light SE winds. Updates here: http://tinyurl.com/hkqbbo2 ● Advisory: As a reminder, this is an adult group, and you are ultimately responsible for your own safety and well-being during events. No one under 18 years of age is allowed at this event, either as members or as guests, to include babies in carriers and/or strollers. ● Administrative Stuff: There are restrooms in commercial businesses near Bethesda Station and in Bethesda along our route. (See the Google map.) The closest one to our meetup point is Dunkin' Donuts at 7500 Old Georgetown Rd MRGR2, Bethesda, MD 20814. ● Notes: - Public parking garages: https://www.bethesda.org/node/263

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  • Sunset on the National Mall

    Smithsonian Metro Mall Entrance

    Let's enjoy the cherry blossoms at sunset and the illuminated monuments on the National Mall! ● What we’ll do: - From the Smithsonian Metro Station, National Mall entrance, we'll do a clockwise loop around the Tidal Basin, the monuments in the west end of the National Mall, and the White House. - The walk is just over 5 miles and should take a little over two hours at a moderate pace. The surface fairly level and mostly paved. - Google map: https://tinyurl.com/ybt294ez ● How to get there: Metro is recommended. - Driving: The approximate street address is 1129 Jefferson Dr SW, Washington, DC 20560, GPS =[masked], [masked] . There is metered parallel street parking in the area, but leave yourself some extra time to find a spot. - Metro: Take the Washington Metro from wherever you are to the Smithsonian Metro Stop. Exit the station to the north, towards the National Mall. We'll be at the top of the escalator; see https://goo.gl/maps/ynGYpqSFk9o . Don't forget, the metro stations close at 1 am Sunday morning. ● What to bring: Water and comfy shoes. Your furry friend is welcome, but note that leashes are required and only service animals are allowed on the Metro. A flashlight might be a handy option for the last part of the walk. ● Weather: It's too early to see the forecast, but updates are here: http://tinyurl.com/2d9xa6k . Sunset is at 7:36 pm and civil twilight ends at 8:03 pm. The New Moon will set at 8:59 pm (only 2.1% illumination). ● Advisory: As a reminder, this is an adult group, and you are ultimately responsible for your own safety and well-being during events. No one under 18 years of age is allowed at this event, either as members or as guests, to include babies in carriers and/or strollers. ● Administrative stuff: There are public restrooms near the Sylvan Theater, at the FDR Memorial, and at several other locations along our route. ● Notes: - National Cherry Blossom Festival: http://tinyurl.com/h37fr - Cherry Blossom Watch: http://tinyurl.com/zt97dt6

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  • Second 2019 Cherry Blossom Walk

    Enid A. Haupt Garden

    Let's go for a walk on the National Mail and see how the cherry and magnolia blossons are coming along. ● What we’ll do: - From the Enid Haupt Garden, we’ll make a 5-mile clockwise loop around the Tidal Basin, which should take around 2-3 hours, depending on breaks and sightseeing stops. The surfaces are paved and pebble, with some steps here and there. - Google map: https://tinyurl.com/y9m3a353 ● How to get there: Metro is recommended, but use the Metro Trip Planner to check for any service disruptions along your route: http://tinyurl.com/hfnqzdv - From the Smithsonian Metro Station, walk east 0.1 miles on Independence Ave SW toward 12th St SW, turn left and walk north into the garden. - From L'Enfant Plaza Metro Station, walk north along 7th St SW to Independence Ave, turn left, and walk two blocks west to L'Enfant Plaza. The gate to the Haupt Garden will be on your right. ● What to bring: Water, comfy shoes, and your furry friend if desired. (Leashes, please. Service animals only inside the Smithsonian Visitor Center.) Sunscreen and the layered look are recommended -- it will be 20 degrees cooler than Saturday! An umbrella or poncho might be handy, but let's hope not. ● Weather: The forecast is cloudy, clearing to mostly sunny, with a high of 56F. Showers likely in the morning, tapering off around 10 am. Updates here: http://tinyurl.com/y592dgfl ● Advisory: As a reminder, this is an adult group, and you are ultimately responsible for your own safety and well-being during events. No one under 18 years of age is allowed at this event, either as members or as guests, to include babies in carriers and/or strollers. ● Administrative stuff: There are restrooms, drinking fountains and a snack bar in the Smithsonian Visitor Center, and public restrooms at several points along our route. ● Notes: - National Cherry Blossom Festival: http://tinyurl.com/h37fr - Cherry Blossom Watch: http://tinyurl.com/zt97dt6 - Smithsonian Maps and Directions: http://tinyurl.com/lckwzd8

    2
  • Carderock: C&O Canal Towpath and the Berma Road

    Billy Goat Trail C - North Parking Lot

    Let's go for a hike on the C&O Canal towpath and the Berma Road! This will be a straight hike with a simple loop - no creeks, no rocks, no hills - just plenty of elbow room for conversation. ● What we'll do: - From the Billy Goat Trail C - North Parking Lot, we’ll walk upstream along the C&O Canal towpath to the Stop Gate, cross the canal, head downstream along Berma Road to Angler's Footbridge, cross the canal again, and continue downstream to our start point along the C&O Canal Towpath. - The total distance is 5.9 miles and should take a little over 2 hours, including a break. The surface is fairly level and smooth gravel/dirt. - Google map: https://tinyurl.com/y8pk6ak2 ● How to get there: From the I-495 Capital Beltway (either direction), take exit 41 onto Clara Barton Parkway and follow signs for Carderock. On Clara Barton Parkway, take the first exit right at the brown sign marked "Carderock Carderock Div. NavSurfWarCen." After exiting, turn left to cross over Clara Barton Parkway, then continue straight, going around a curve and through a tunnel under the C&O Canal. At the T-junction, turn right and drive to the furthest parking lot. Do not rely solely on GPS coordinates; they have led some attendees astray in the past. Here's a couple of Google map directions: - From the outer loop: https://goo.gl/maps/3m7VZZfg9PM2 - From the inner loop: https://goo.gl/maps/AgPsc8nC1VQ2 - Sorry, this is not a Metro-accessible hike. ● What to bring: Water, comfy shoes and your furry friend if desired (leashes please). Sunscreen and insect repellent are recommended. ● Weather: Forecast is sunny and 65 degrees. Finally! Updates here: http://tinyurl.com/q6s64kc ● Advisory: As a reminder, this is an adult group, and you are ultimately responsible for your own safety and well-being during events. No one under 18 years of age is allowed at this event, either as members or as guests, to include babies in carriers and/or strollers. ● Administrative stuff: There are public restrooms at the parking area (three stars) and at the Old Angler's Inn entrance (four stars). ● Notes: - NPS website (for park alerts): https://tinyurl.com/y7fgg7gu - NPS Great Falls trail map (pdf): http://tinyurl.com/nzfhxgr

    1
  • First 2019 Cherry Blossom Walk

    Enid A. Haupt Garden

    Let's go for a walk on the National Mail and see how the cherry and magnolia blossons are coming along. ● What we’ll do: - From the Enid Haupt Garden, we’ll make a 5-mile clockwise loop around the Tidal Basin, which should take around 2-3 hours, depending on breaks and sightseeing stops. The surfaces are paved and pebble, with some steps here and there. - Google map: https://tinyurl.com/y9m3a353 ● How to get there: Metro is recommended, but use the Metro Trip Planner to check for any service disruptions along your route: http://tinyurl.com/hfnqzdv - From the Smithsonian Metro Station, walk east 0.1 miles on Independence Ave SW toward 12th St SW, turn left and walk north into the garden. - From L'Enfant Plaza Metro Station, walk north along 7th St SW to Independence Ave, turn left, and walk two blocks west to L'Enfant Plaza. The gate to the Haupt Garden will be on your right. ● What to bring: Water, comfy shoes, and your furry friend if desired. (Leashes, please. Service animals only inside the Smithsonian Visitor Center.) Sunscreen and the layered look are recommended. ● Weather: The forecast is sunny, a high of 53F, and 19-20mph WSW winds. Updates here: http://tinyurl.com/2d9xa6k ● Advisory: As a reminder, this is an adult group, and you are ultimately responsible for your own safety and well-being during events. No one under 18 years of age is allowed at this event, either as members or as guests, to include babies in carriers and/or strollers. ● Administrative stuff: There are restrooms, drinking fountains and a snack bar in the Smithsonian Visitor Center, and public restrooms at several points along our route. ● Notes: - National Cherry Blossom Festival: http://tinyurl.com/h37fr - Cherry Blossom Watch: http://tinyurl.com/zt97dt6 - Smithsonian Maps and Directions: http://tinyurl.com/lckwzd8

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