Any three-day weekend is a cause for celebration in our book—especially when it’s paired with sunny skies and balmy temps. No matter how you choose to spend the Memorial Day weekend—relaxing on the beach, grilling out in your backyard, discovering the city’s hidden gems—we’ve got plenty of useful information for you to take advantage of.
- Vodka-infused watermelon
- 20 recipes to celebrate spring and summer
- An easy gin drink for a crowd
- A bathing-suit-friendly veggie burger recipe
- 3 easy and delicious strawberry recipes
- Pools in DC, Maryland, and Virginia
- Great day trips
- Hidden gems
- What to do this weekend
- The mayors of Lewes, Ocean City, and Rehoboth Beach
pick their favorite things
- Area farmers markets
- 4 unusual fitness-friendly ways to celebrate
What’s your favorite brunch spot? Where do you go to people-watch? We want your nominations for the best of Washington! Take our survey for a chance to win tickets to our Best of Washington party on July 17.
Finance executive Russell Ramsey—the R in the local investment bank FBR—and wife Norma have put their Great Falls estate on the market for $8 million. The listing for the 12,000-square-foot house reads like something out of an MTV Cribs episode: indoor golf barn, clay tennis court, pool, outdoor kitchen, five-car garage, and two-bedroom, three-bath guesthouse with elevator.
The Ramseys bought the property in 1992 for $1.3 million and are building a new house in McLean along the Potomac River.
Well-known local interior designer Barry Dixon helped the couple decorate the house over the years, adding touches such as antique Waterford-crystal chandeliers and walls lined with Italian fabric. “Upholstering a room in Fortuny—there’s nothing more elegant than that,” Dixon says. “It needed no staging.”
This article appears in the June 2013 issue of The Washingtonian.
A new 24/7 gambling casino has opened its doors in western Maryland, bringing the number of casinos operating in the state to four. A fifth is scheduled to open in Baltimore, and proposals have been made to develop a casino in Prince George’s County.
Rocky Gap Casino & Resort started taking bets this week. It was originally developed 15 years ago as a multimillion-dollar taxpayer-and-bond-funded resort, but never really caught on and got hit with labels like “boondoggle.” It was sold last year and transformed into a gambling destination by its new owners, Minnesota-based Lakes Entertainment, which added 550 slot machines and ten gaming tables, and renovated the lobby, rooms, restaurants, and golf course.
“We are excited to open the first destination casino resort in Maryland and the surrounding communities,” said general manager Scott Just in a statement. “Our team is experienced in gaming and hospitality.”
The other three Maryland casinos are Hollywood Casino in Perryville, Maryland Live! in Hanover, and Ocean Downs in Berlin. The Horseshoe Casino is expected to open next year in Baltimore.
Five months after their first-round playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the Washington Redskins are facing their traditional off-season rivals: critics of the team’s name. Writers, activists, and scholars have argued for years (correctly) that “Redskins” is a racial slur against Native Americans. The name has been declared “derogatory” by the US Patent and Trademark Office, and opponents have sued—so far unsuccessfully—to have it changed. Now members of the DC Council are joining the fight.
At-large council member David Grosso introduced a nonbinding resolution in early May calling on Redskins owner Dan Snyder to scrap the team’s moniker. “The name ‘Redskins’ is historically racist and derogatory,” Grosso said in a letter to Snyder. As a replacement, he suggested the Washington Redtails, a reference to the Tuskegee Airmen, a celebrated group of African-American World War II pilots.
He hasn’t heard back from Snyder, nor does he expect to. “Their level of respect for our body is probably not that high,” says Grosso, one of the only DC Council members not recently embroiled in a scandal of some sort. And although Snyder insists he won’t change the team’s name, here are some recommendations.
The Washington Half-Smokes
Brought to you by Ben’s Chili Bowl.
The Washington Filibusters
Motto: “If you can’t beat ’em, talk.”
The Washington Red Tape
Requires only a minor tweak to “Hail to the Redskins.” Opponents will fear the long lines and triplicate forms.
The Washington Lame Ducks
Not as imposing as they were four years ago, but still influential.
The Washington Super PAC-ers
Downside: Management will have to clear a roster spot for a campaign-finance lawyer. (Sorry, Reed Doughty.)
The Washington Shadow Senators
An opportunity to inspire players with a message of humility: Who needs a vote in Congress when you get to park this close to the Capitol?
The Washington Tax Dodgers
Team motto: “The only thing worse than losing is paying top marginal tax rates.”
The Washington BlackBerrys
Pursuing a goal even more ambitious than a Super Bowl championship: winning the morning.
This article appears in the June 2013 issue of The Washingtonian.
May has been a month of happy and sad for Tudor Place, the historic Georgetown museum house and garden that was built in the early 1800s for Martha Custis Peter, the granddaughter of Martha Washington. The sad came a week ago, when one of the property’s 200-plus-year-old trees, a white oak that was beginning to lean dangerously, had to be cut down. Wednesday night, though, the mood was decidedly different, as 450 supporters in colorful and festive fashions gathered on the lawn for the museum’s 21st annual spring garden party. According to organizers, the party raised a record $250,000.
Each year the garden party honors an individual, and this year it was a descendent of the Peter family, Phillips S. Peter, a lawyer, former head of the board of trustees, and former executive with General Electric.
As it always is, the party was a draw for the so-called “cave dweller” set, who enjoy the many bars and several buffet tables, as well as the chance to take a seat at a table on the five and a half acres of sweeping lawn that still have some impressive trees. There’s a lot of imbibing, merriment, and showing off of hats.
Throughout the year, Tudor Place hosts a range of events, including cultural tours, history, garden and decorating lectures, school programs, and workshops, as well as birthday parties and summer camps. As for the missing old oak, Tudor Place plans to replant a new white oak in its place.
While he’s effectively been in the job for a year, Dan Tangherlini on Wednesday moved one step closer to becoming the official head of the General Services Administration. In a White House statement, President Barack Obama announced that he plans to nominate Tangherlini as administrator of GSA. He became “acting” administrator at the beginning of April 2012.
Tangherlini is well known in Washington, where he served mayors Anthony Williams and Adrian Fenty in several positions in the city government: CFO of the Metropolitan Police Department, head of the Department of Transportation, acting head of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and city administrator. When he left the city government in 2009, he became assistant secretary and CFO at the Treasury Department. Though a Massachusetts native, he talks fondly of his connections to Chicago, which is President Obama’s hometown. He has two degrees from the University of Chicago and a masters from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
The mayors of the Washington area’s nearest beach towns are preparing for what they hope will be a big summer season along the Mid-Atlantic ocean. One reason for their optimism is the expectation that Northern vacationers may be looking for an alternate beach while rebuilding continues on New Jersey and New York beaches hit by Hurricane Sandy last October. First up, though, is Memorial Day weekend. The forecast looks good: sunny, dry, and not too hot.
Mayors obviously have to be advocates for their communities, but even mayors can have favorite things. We checked in with the mayors of Lewes and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and Ocean City, Maryland, to ask for a shortlist of what they’d recommend to visitors, whether first-timers or regulars.
Lewes mayor Jim Ford, who is in his tenth year as mayor, named these favorites:
- Ice cream at King’s Homemade Ice Cream or 2 Dips, or soft serve at Dairy Queen.
- The Lightship Overfalls and its park. The Overfalls is one of only 17 remaining lightships built between 1820 and 1952.
- The shopping on Second and Front streets.
- While he recommends the bay beach, Lewes Beach, he says, “If you want the ocean, Henlopen State Park is my favorite.”
- Restaurants: the Buttery, Striper Bites, Agave, Half Full, and the Rose & Crown.
Ocean City mayor Ken Meehan, who has been mayor since 2006, named these favorites:
- A morning bike ride on the boardwalk. It’s two and a half miles long and has just been rebuilt as part of a planned infrastructure improvement.
- Taking his grandson to Trimpers Rides and Amusements to “let him ride the same rides my kids rode when they were [young],” followed by a visit to Alaska Stand for hamburgers and Thrashers for French fries.
- A late lunch outside on the deck at Fager’s Island Restaurant and Bar, or an evening trip to catch the sunset—“a relaxing way to enjoy the bay front.”
- A crab feast at home for family and friends with steamed crabs from the Crab Bag or Crabs-to-Go.
- A round of golf at Eagles Landing or one of the other 16 championship golf courses “all within a half hour of Ocean City.”
The Bassin sisters, who are landlords to Max’s Best Ice Cream in Glover Park, say it was their decision alone to evict the ice cream store owner, Max Keshani, and offer the lease to its next-door neighbor, Rocklands Barbecue, owned by John Snedden. In a statement released Tuesday morning, they also say that while some community members have suggested they give a short-term lease extension to Max’s, they have received no such request from Keshani or his lawyer.
Barbara and Gail Bassin said they felt “compelled” to issue a statement “in light of recent media and community attention” to their tenant decision. They noted that some of the attention has been negative toward Rocklands and their own property manager, Ruppert Real Estate. They called the unfavorable attention “grossly unfair, misinformed, and unjustified.” This is the first time the landlords have spoken out in a dispute that began in early May, when Keshani was informed his lease would not be renewed and Snedden announced it had been offered to him and that he planned to expand.
“In offering John the lease we sought to support his efforts to improve the service that he provides to the Glover Park community,” the statement read. “We are saddened to hear that members of the community have taken it upon themselves to be critical of and abusive to John over what is our decision to allow him to expand his business.”
In the scheme of things, barbecue and ice cream should be the best of friends, because they go so well together. But that’s not how it’s gone down on Wisconsin Avenue in Glover Park, where, at the beginning of May, Max’s Best Ice Cream lost its lease to its next door neighbor, Rocklands Barbecue. Max’s owner blamed Rocklands’ owner, and ever since there’s been community turmoil that heated up last week to a few angry incidents aimed at Rocklands—one a “projectile” thrown at the store and separate acts of “harassment” inside the store. Now the landlords plan to weigh in with a statement that, at best, could calm down the neighborhood.