Around Town: 155th Anniversary Reenactment of the Battle of Cedar Creek @ Middletown, VA — 10/18-10/20/19

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Greg and Shirley Pituch with their medicine wagon, supplied with medications, dressings, and amputating table. (Photo by Chester Simpson)

Oct. 19, 1864  — 155 years ago, the last and largest Civil War battle in the Shenandoah Valley was held on the original battlegrounds in Middletown, Virginia. General Jubal Early of the Confederates launched a surprise attack on the Union Army and pushed three corps from their positions. Union General Phil Sheridan arrived and counterattacked, driving the Confederates back. This battle helped Abraham Lincoln win reelection in November 1964.

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Excursion: Babalú!!! Musicians of Cuba

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Cuban musicians perform at Hotel Marqués de Prado Ameno, La Habana Vieja, Cuba, in March 2019. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

Babalú! Those of us who’ve reached a certain age, or any fan of “I Love Lucy,” will recognize that famous cry. Ricky Ricardo’s celebrated signature song introduced countless Americans to Cuban music and culture. Desi Arnaz, who played the television show’s Cuban band leader, had already made “Babalú” an established musical number for his orchestra in the 1940s.

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Excursion: History Hike @ Washington DC Monuments

Patrol Over D.C.
Washington monuments along the National Mall in DC (Photo by Coast Guard News)

People go hiking for different reasons. It can be to explore a new location, exercise, spend some quality time outside, or even as part of a gastronomic day out as in the case of our Excursion: Happy Hour Brewery Hike. That 4.1-mile hike featured stops at 3 different brewing companies in Washington: Hellbender, 3 Stars, and Denizens, and was the perfect combination of exercise and relaxation.

Now, we present to you another hiking suggestion, and it does not involve booze this time (feel free to stop at any establishment though). There will, however, be plenty of history along the way. And what better time to hike DC than the Independence Day holiday?

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Around Town: Celebrate National Park Week @ Shenandoah, 4/16-4/24/16

Rock Creek ParkRock Creek Park is free this week! Oh wait…

All week (April 16-24) is National Park Week! You can get into any National Park for free.

Time to put your hiking boots and backpack in the car and head over to Shenandoah National Park this weekend (April 23-24).

You can also just stay local and use the already free parks or in the city or nearby. Rock Creek Park is a great hiking or biking destination, if you’ve forgotten.

Check out any of National Park Service managed sites in:

 

The overall National Park Service system has 409 designated ‘units’. 59 of those get designated as ‘National Parks’ and those usually cost money to get into. But not this week. See the complete list of all ‘units’ in the USA.

 

In the Top 10 of most visited ‘units’ in the country, we have three (all free), as follows:

#4 Lincoln Memorial
#6 George Washington Memorial Parkway
#9 Viet Nam Veterans Memorial

 

Don’t Miss: The Sierra Club’s Annual One Day Hike, 4/30/16

C&O Canal TowpathThe world is wide open on the C&O Canal Towpath

Hike 50 kilometers. Or 100 kilometers. In one day. It’s your choice.

If you’re looking for a challenge, convince a friend to join you on Sierra Club’s 43rd One Day Hike (ODH) along the C&O Canal Towpath on Saturday, April 30, 2016.

If you’re a first time aspirant of this long-haul hike, I recommend the 50K (after all the 100K is 62.2 miles…). I’ve hiked the 50K four times now and only briefly considered the 100K…but no. Someday, maybe.

The 100K hikers start in Georgetown at 3:00am, while the 50K hikers start in White’s Ferry, Maryland at 10:00am. Both end in Bolivar, West Virginia (just up the hill from Harper’s Ferry) at the community center.

You can hike at your own pace, fast or slow, you just have to finish by midnight.

The event is well-organized and there are plenty of volunteers on hand to assist you or feed you.

Each support station (four for the 50K; seven for the 100K) doles out snacks, sandwiches, soup, coffee, Gatorade and more. At the end, there is even chili (turkey and veggie), sodas and pizza. I usually eat like a king on these hikes.

Support stations are also full of volunteers ready to give aid, including the all important foot care. Blisters are the leading reason people don’t finish the hike.

Once you’ve mastered the One Day Hike, you can take a shuttle from Bolivar to the Shady Grove Metro stop. But the recommended strategy is to stay overnight in Bolivar or Harper’s Ferry. There are a number of hotels or hostels. Then you can catch the only train (11:00am) back to DC.

The registration opens this Monday, February 1st at 5:00pm. Check the One Day Hike Facebook page for more details.

(Note: Last year the hike filled in just under an hour. But if you miss out, there is still a chance. Some people will cancel as the hike draws near, so more spots do become available.)

Sierra Club’s One Day Hike 2016
C&O Canal Towpath
Saturday, April 30
Registration: Monday, February 1 @ 5:00pm
50K @ 10:00am at White’s Ferry (100K @ 3:00am at Georgetown)
$55
Ages 13+ for 50K (16+ for 100K)

 

Tips for the 50K
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Around Town: DC’s First Street NE is Voted #6 Best New Bike Lane of 2015

First Street NE Bike LaneFirst Street NE Bike Lane near Union Station (Photo Credit: Mike Goodno)

PeopleForBikes has released their 10 best new bike lanes in America in 2015.

Congrats to DC and the DDOT for having the #6 best new bike lane in the country!

They gave the honor to First Street NE and the new, protected lane that runs next to Union Station.

This is the third year they’ve released a best list, and in 2015 they had 80 new projects across the country to choose from.

Read the full article here.

 

PeopleForBikes is the movement to make riding better for everyone. By collaborating with millions of individual riders, businesses, community leaders, and elected officials, we’re uniting people to create a powerful, united voice for bicycling and its benefits.

Around Town: Streetfilms Features Two of DC’s Bike Lanes

19.PennsylvaniaAvenueBikeLane.NW.WDC.4July2011Biking on Pennsylvania Ave

Streetfilms put together a couple of videos featuring DC’s bike lanes. They produce short films showing how smart transportation design and policy can result in better places to live, work and play.

One video takes you on a journey of the protected bike lane along 1st Street NE (which goes by Union Station).

Washington D.C.’s Protected Bike Lane Treatments on 1st Street from STREETFILMS.

 

The second video looks at how the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lane came about.

D.C.’s Pennsylvania Avenue Bike Lane Story (with Gabe Klein) from STREETFILMS.

 

The Word of the Day is:

Armadillo (or zebras): those black and white barriers used to prevent cars and taxis from pulling U-turns. (Note: The DDOT had stopped using these on Penn Avenue, but they are back.)