Trips and Tips

Featured Events This Week


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Holiday Greens Workshop
Why spend money on expensive holiday décor when you can make your own natural ones! Seneca Creek will supply cut pine boughs, pine cones and other natural elements, plus some florist foam. Bring your own container and any accessories to make a unique center piece for your table. Gardening gloves recommended. Please bring your own garden clippers if you have them. Suggested $5 per person donation to the Friends of Seneca Creek State Park. RSVP required. Dec. 14, 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm; Seneca Creek State park, Gaithersburg. More details and reservations.

Holidays at Hampton - The 19th Century World
You are invited to find your park this holiday season at Hampton National Historic Site. This year we will be highlighting traditions of the 19th century as experienced by the family that owned the estate and the enslaved individuals who once lived and worked there. Walk the halls of the historic mansion and discover the origins of well-known holiday traditions, such as the Christmas tree. Join a guided tour of the Lower Farm and learn about the holiday traditions and experiences of the enslaved. Other activities will include arts and crafts, music performances, African American storytelling, and more. Admission and participation in all programs and activities are free. Dec. 14, 9:00 am to 8:00 pm and 9:00 am to 6:00 pm Dec. 15; Hampton National Historic Site, Towson. More details.

Rocks for Jocks Hike On the Billy Goat Trail
You don't have to be a jock for this roughly 9-mile hike on the Instagram-perfect Billy Goat Trails "A" and "C" on the C&O Canal. But this adults-only hike along the Potomac River is not for newbies or acrophobes. Billy Goat "A" is famous for its boulder scrambles and a short scamper along a rocky cliff. "C" entails more dirt (or mud!) trails than rock scrambles, but it also features a few boulders and maybe a small stream crossing. We will walk briskly on the dirt towpath connecting the two trails and stop for a snack and selfies at the Great Falls overlook. Dec. 15, 11:00 am to 2:00 pm; Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park, Potomac. Registration.

Masonville Cove Winter Celebration Day
Create beautiful ornaments to celebrate the holiday season using objects from nature and explore the property with a winter scavenger hunt! Activities will be open to all ages. Free shuttle from Enoch Pratt and free Uber ride (up to 5 miles) to the campus. Dec. 14, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm; Masonville Cove, Baltimore. More details.

Gunpowder Falls Hereford Area Hike
Enjoy a few mile hike with the Baltimore Sierra Club. Hike a few miles from the parking lot at the end of Bunker Hill Road. Up and down hills, two stream crossings and turn around at the river. Return the same path. Moderate(Hills are moderate, can be mud). Free. Dec. 14, 10:00 am to 12:30 pm; Gunpowder Falls State Park, Parkton. More information.


Ornament Making at Columbia Crossing
Create your own tree decorations from natural materials like pine cones and acorns at the Columbia Crossing River Trails Center. All the paint, glitter, and glue you need to get creative will be provided. Suggested donation of $2 per person. Dec. 14, 10:30 am to 3:00 pm; Columbia Crossing River Trails Center, Columbia. More details.


Alexandria Yuletide by Candlelight
Experience the holiday season with festive activities and fare at historic sites throughout Alexandria! Discover Alexandria's holiday traditions through the centuries. Dance in the ballroom at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. Warm yourself by the fire at Carlyle House, or make a Victorian keepsake at Lee-Fendall House. Enjoy seasonal decorations, refreshments, and take advantage of a 10% discount at the participating Museum Shops! A cash bar for adult beverages will be located at Gadby's Tavern Museum. Ticket includes admission to Gadsby's Tavern Museum, Carlyle House Historic Park, Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden, and the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary. A free shuttle will run between all participating sites throughout the event! Dec. 14, 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm; Alexandria. Tickets and more information.

Luminary Nights & Carriage Ride
Cedar Creek Trail will be lined with candle-light luminaries and the bridge will be lit with festive colors. Natural Bridge State Park would like to invite you to join us for a Luminary Nights Event. Make sure to bring family and friends to a luminary lined stroll, or horse-drawn carriage ride, under the Natural Bridge. Admission for this event is $3 per person or $8 per family. Horse Drawn Carriage Rides under the Bridge will be $10 per rider. Pre-registration is required for Carriage Rides. Dec. 14-15, 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm; Natural Bridge State Park, Natural Bridge. More details.

Jingle Bark in the Park
Enjoy a day of photo ops and a short hike with your pooch and a special canine Holiday Hat/Outfit Contest.
Walkers will receive a set of "Jingle Bells." Dogs will receive a special treat. Coffee, hot chocolate, and goodies will be provided by the Friends of York River State Park. Donations of pet food and supplies will be accepted for the Pet Pantry. Parking fee applies. Call for reservations. Free and open to all ages. Dec. 14, 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm; York River State Park, Williamsburg. More details and reservations.

Gingerbread House Contest and Dollhouse Show
The Gingerbread House Contest and Exhibit and Doll House and Miniature Show are long-standing holiday traditions at George Washington's Ferry Farm! Adults and children alike will enjoy the sights and smells of the festive gingerbread creations displayed at George Washington’s Ferry Farm! This year's theme is "Holiday Songs.” At historic Kenmore enjoy an exhibit of highly detailed, replica dollhouses - including the mansion - and miniatures in the Crowninshield Museum Building. Share memories of your dollhouse with your family as you explore life in miniature! Put your mind and eye to the test with our “I Spy Miniatures” challenge – fun for young and old alike! Dec. 8-30, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm; George Washington Birthplace National Monument, Fredericksburg. More details.

Drift into the Holiday Season
Make your very own unique and awesome rustic driftwood holiday tree. You can use it all year long. We will spend about 2 hours gathering drift wood from the beach, and 1 hour constructing our trees. All hardware will be provided. Bring a bag lunch for your party. $30.00 per tree. Paid reservations are required as space is limited. Dec. 14, 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm; Caledon State Park, King George. More details.

Winter Wreath Workshop
Learn more about the symbolism and uses of wreaths across the globe and discover how you can turn an invasive species into a festive winter wreath. Using an assortment of natural and found materials, we'll work together to create a masterpiece. Some materials, such as pine boughs, vines, berries and ribbons will be provided, but feel free to bring your own additional material. Supported by the Friends of Pocahontas State Park (, a suggested donation of $10 per wreath is appreciated (cash or check only). Light refreshments will be provided and program is suitable for ages 10 and up. Dec. 14, 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Pocahontas State Park, Chesterfield. Reservations.


Camp Hill/Virginius Island, Harpers Ferry NHP Hike
Join the Eastern Panhandle Sierra Club for this moderate 2.5-mile hike. This hike will give us a chance to enjoy the park and the town on the last day of Olde Tyme Christmas. We will meet at the Park Visitor Center off US340 and ride the Park shuttle to the lower town. From there we will walk the stone steps to Jefferson Rock and continue on the Cliff Trail to Virginius Island for an easy return to the shuttle station. Winter always offers expansive and rocky views in Harpers Ferry and occasional chances to see some wildlife. We'll also view some of the history along the way, including the remains of mills that once bustled along the Shenandoah River. Changes in the weather have the potential to alter or shorten our plans. Gathering for an early supper at one of the local restaurants will be an option after the hike. This hike is free and open to anyone able to handle uneven footing on varied terrain, but park admission is required. Dec. 15, 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm; Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Harpers Ferry. More details and registration.

December 5, 2019

Main image: Photo courtesy Virginia State Parks
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