Last Thursday (Christmas Eve Eve), Caroline, Craig and I went to see the ICE! Experience at the Gaylord National Hotel at the National Harbor, which is situated just across the Potomac River in Maryland. Oh, and just so you know, you have to say ICE! with jazz hands. It's not just ice. It's ICE!.
It was cold and WINDY Thursday afternoon, as we walked around the National Harbor area. It's an area comprised mostly of hotels, shops and restaurants (and the beautiful shore line of the Potomac River); it's charming and decorated so festively for the holidays.
I told you it was windy; just look at the flags flapping in the wind!
We walked around (and took pictures, which I'll share with you tomorrow) until our faces were permanently frozen. You know, the more I think about it, the more I realize that it gets really windy here. Last year (or maybe it was two years ago?) on the very same day, we visited the Washington Monument and our cheeks nearly froze from the crazy winds.
What's up with that?
Anyway, we found refuge (and an early dinner) at Potbelly.
Truer words have never been spoken.
Caroline raved about the grilled cheese sandwich she ate. Seriously, all throughout dinner she kept saying how good her sandwich was.
We're easily amused.
After fueling up, we braced ourselves for the unfriendly wind, and walked on over to the Gaylord National to pick up our reserved tickets for ICE!.
This place is enormous. And SO pretty.
There are Gaylord hotels in Dallas, Nashville, DC and somewhere in Florida. If you ever have the chance, you should visit one. They're simply beautiful.
I'm pretty sure this tree is made of glass.
Look how tall the windows are.
Caroline was particularly enamored by the dancing fountains.
While I enjoyed all the beautiful holiday decorations.
From this view, you can see the Woodrow Wilson bridge, which crosses the Potomac and connects Virginia and Maryland.
All the buildings across the river in this next picture are in Alexandria. The trail that Craig and I run on (Mt. Vernon Trail, which is 18 miles long and stretches from Mt. Vernon to Rosslyn) runs right along the river. We can see the National Harbor from the trail. And let me tell you, it's more beautiful up close and, in particular, much lovelier when you're not running.
The ICE! experience was located in a separate tented area near the Gaylord. We followed the decorations to get there.
A Christmas tree made of marshmallow Peeps!
When it was time for us to see the ice sculptures, we bundled up in blue parkas and entered Who-ville.
I think the parkas made us look like meat packers or people who work in the frozen food warehouse.
Just follow the people in blue.
As its name would suggest, everything was made of ice. It was also 9 degrees in there, which explains the parkas.
An ice slide!
But wait, our trip to icy Who-ville may be over, but look, there's baby Jesus!
It's an odd combo, Dr. Seuss and a nativity scene, but hey, what can you do?
After we shed our parkas and walked through the conveniently located souvenir shop, we attempted to ice skate.
$24, two pairs of ill fitting skates and a serious (and painful) case of under-pronation later, we skated for about 10 minutes and then went in search of hot chocolate.
The ice was choppy and the skates made our ankles unstable.
It was fun while it lasted.
After we returned our skates, we headed back to the Gaylord National to see the Christmas tree all lit up.
Near the tree lighting festivities, we found drinks to warm us up: hot chocolate (with a marshmallow Peep!) for Caroline, a mocha for Craig and the sweetest vanilla latte in the history of lattes for me.
And then it snowed!