An exploration of things to do in Arlington

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Wine Wanderings

I'm not really a big "winery tour and tasting" person. I don't know, it just never seemed that exciting to me. But this past weekend, I went on a trip with staff from Long Branch Nature Center, and I now have a new appreciation for how nice and enjoyable a setting a vineyard can be.

This trip went out to Farfelu, which advertises itself as Virginia's first winery. Once out there, I was pleasantly surprised at how much there was to enjoy that did not include wine (having offered to drive, I did not partake of the tastings). First, there was this really pretty hike, by the river - short and simple, but very nice.

Second, they had bocce ball and horseshoes set up. Bocce ball is such a funny little game, and yet strangely addictive and lots of fun. Also, the setting was just really nice - just generally pretty and relaxing.

So, my "take home" points?
Well, I've got a couple:
1) Visits to vineyards are fun and relaxing - even if you don't partake of the wine.
2) Arlington's nature centers offer lots of cool programming - see previous posts on Films in the Forest, and hikes, for more examples. To stay in the loop, just sign-up for the What's Up Arlington! newsletter.

Hope to see you out!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Towers Park

A friend reprimanded me the other day for not blogging more. Of course, I was ready with a quick excuse - I've been busy with playing a lot of sports -- tennis, soccer, ultimate, and flag football - and haven't had much time to do as many "events" as I would like.

And then it occurred to me what a lame excuse that was. I spend a lot of time in Arlington parks, and Arlington has great parks. And if you're anything like I was about 18 months ago, you probably are not totally aware of how many and how great Arlington's parks are.

So, I don't think I'll go as far as to call this a series, but I pledge to write more about Arlington's parks as I spend time in them.

Since I was in Towers Park this weekend playing tennis, I'll start there.

Location: Towers Park is located at 801 S. Scott St - right off of Washington Blvd and Columbia Pike. It's not right of a Metro, so it gets a strike there, but otherwise it's in a convenient location - kind of between Pentagon City and Clarendon.

What's there? Towers is a very nice park. There are four lighted tennis courts - one of the nets is a little high and one is a little tattered, but I can live with that. There are also two designated areas with tennis backboards. I'm not a big fan of tennis backboards, but what I hate is when they are right on a court - but these are off to the side, I like that.

There is also a very nice, full-court, lighted basketball court. I'm not there enough to say what kind of games/crowds it gets but Saturday afternoon it was empty.

If you've got a dog, there is a really nice dog park. There are also picnic tables, grills, a gazebo, and a playground. Oh, and I almost forgot - there's a really nice sand volleyball court.

All in all it's a great park, not huge, but very nice. One of these days, as part of this "parks in Arlington" series/non-series that I"m doing, I'll write a piece about all the benefits of parks- lower stress levels, etc. But for now, I'll just say they are nice places to be. Hang out in park and you feel better, happier and more relaxed.

And if you're looking for a park, Towers is a nice place to be.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Being Caribou

Forgive the redundancy, but I'm addicted to this whole "Films in the Forest" thing. This past Friday I headed over to Long Branch Nature Center to check out Being Caribou. Friday's showing turned out an even bigger crowd than Whale Rider from a couple of weeks ago, although I would say the age tilted slightly older than the Whale Rider showing. For me, I would say that's because a Friday, 7:00 showing can be a bit difficult to get to, but maybe there are other reasons. But there was a really good crowd, and a fair number of 20s/30s somethings who came out as well, some of which brought their picnic dinner with them. (Sorry, I digress)

Anyway, I'm not sure I have anything to say about the Films in the Forest series that I haven't previously said. It's a fabulous setting and a really fun event.

Being Caribou was a cool film - a good environmental film that was surprisingly funny at times. It definitely could have used Morgan Freeman as the narrator, (see March of the Penguins), but then, what film couldn't use Morgan Freeman! The story telling rambled a bit, and I didn't learn as much from the film as I wanted, but the photography, or I guess that is cinematography was absolutely gorgeous and well-worth the price (FREE) of admission.

Unfortunately, there are no more "Films" scheduled this year. With the good turnouts, though, I'm hoping this will become a regular feature next summer.