Snow is in the forecast for DC this weekend, which makes it the perfect time to consider some winter fun! Bundle up and take your family outdoors!
Hit The Slopes!
The weather has been warm this winter and the local ski resorts have been struggling to keep snow (man made) on the mountain, but with the colder temperatures over the past week, the two closest ski resorts to DC, Whitetail Resort (https://skiwhitetail.com) and Liberty Mountain (https://www.libertymountainresort.com/), have been making snow around the clock. As of today (Friday), 8 trails, the terrain park, and 6 of 8 lifts are open at Whitetail with ongoing snow making. Liberty reports that 8 of 16 trails and 5 of 9 lifts are open and is also making snow. While skiing is never an inexpensive option, both resorts offer somewhat discounted junior pricing for kids ages 6 to 12. Whitetail also has adventure tubing if you need a break from the slopes. Liberty has the same, but according to their website, it isn’t open yet.
Whitetail is 89 miles and Liberty is 78 miles from DC. Both resorts offer overnight accommodations if you want to spend the night and make it a ski weekend. Check the resort websites for lift ticket and ski rental rates.
If you want to stay in town, there are plenty of ways to get outside with the whole family.
Throw a Snowball!
Standby for the Washington DC Snowball Fight Association to announce plans for an event if we get enough accumulation. Check their Facebook page for details. Be warned that if they hold a snowball fight, you might want to keep to the periphery as it can get pretty intense in the scrum, but my kids always enjoyed watching the spectacle. Alternatively, if the snow is too wet or heavy to be safe for snowballs, the group organizes a snow sculpture contest , usually in Dupont Circle or another park. (https://www.facebook.com/DCSFA/).
Take a Hike!
There are plenty of places in the area to take a walk and enjoy the changing winter scene. Below are some of our favorite family walks that even our three year old can handle, along with some options for refueling and playing to fill your day! Keep in mind that with the federal government shutdown parks run by the National Park Service may be closed or without visitor services.
Theodore Roosevelt Island (https://www.nps.gov/this/index.htm)
This one is always fun. You can walk the perimeter of the island on the raised boardwalk and spot wildlife. We once witnessed a big black snake slither up a tree and routinely see deer, birds, and squirrels. At the center of the island, there’s a tribute to – you guessed it -Theodore Roosevelt. My kids love to take a stick and poke at the ice in the fountains in the winter. There is a small, free parking lot at the island. Afterwards, head into Georgetown for a pizza at Pizzeria Paradiso or grab a burger and a toasted marshmallow milkshake at Good Eats.
C&O Canal (https://www.nps.gov/choh/index.htm)
Try beginning your hike in Georgetown at the end of K Street. As you hike along the canal on the old towpath, you’ll see some of the old locks and catch glimpses of the Potomac River. If the canal is frozen, ice skating and sledding are permitted at your own risk (no ice skating is permitted in the widewater areas of the park). The towpath is reasonably flat, but a jogging stroller will make your life easier if you have a child that likes to ride! Before you head out on your hike, stop in at Dog Tag Bakery (https://www.dogtagbakery.com) for a cup of something hot and a delicious egg sandwich. If you want to combine your hike with some indoor fun, stop by Pinstripes for a bowling session and a bite to eat (https://pinstripes.com).
Dumbarton Oaks or Hillwood Estate
Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection is known for its Byzantine and Pre-Columbian art, but we love to go and wander in its beautiful gardens. Even with a wintery landscape, they are stunning! Entry to Dumbarton Oaks is free during the winter season, but the gardens are open for more limited hours in the afternoon only. The garden and house are adjacent to Montrose Park which has a small playground if your kids have any energy left or head into the trails that lead into Rock Creek Park if you want to continue your hike. There is street parking available around Dumbarton Oaks.
Hillwood Estate is the former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post. The house is a treat to explore and the museum is currently hosting an exhibit of exquisite Faberge Eggs until January 13, but we have always enjoyed just roaming the beautiful gardens. Hillwood has a fee to enter, but during the government shutdown it is offering free admission to federal employees with a Government ID. There is free parking on site.
If you want to try ice skating, check out our post on local ice rinks: https://happyactivefamily.com/blog/where-skate-and-dine-winter-dc/
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Whatever you do, we hope you have a happy, active weekend!!!
Liz and the Team at Happy Active Family