Saturday, December 05, 2009

Finally, the ICE Post

I'll finally update about ICE! What a wonderful outing! The Gaylord National Hotel is located in National Harbor, Maryland and it's really the coolest place. The whole area is centered around the HUGE hotel/resort but there's way more going on than just the resort. It's almost like this small town atmosphere in the shadow of the hotel. I was just going expecting to go to the hotel and couldn't get over how cute the whole area is.

We parked at the first garage we saw when we got off 295 not knowing how crazy it might be closer to the hotel. It was a bit of a walk and we could have parked MUCH closer, but I'm glad we had the chance to walk through the little "town." ICE is located right next to the Gaylord and it was amazing. My only complaint is that it's hard navigating it with a stroller since it's crowded and that I was having some anxiety/worry about Piper getting cold. It's 9 degrees in the tent and everyone is outfitted with parkas for over your coat but since Piper is so little, they are too big, so we just kind of put it over her. I wished I had brought a blanket b/c the coat was so bulky. Plus, everyone else is walking around and keeping warm while Piper was in the stroller. However, I'm still very glad we did it.

Here are a few photos - mind you with my old camera that has been having a hard time lately:




The ice Nativity was really beautiful!



It was amazing to see everything made of ice and we all enjoyed a slide (or two) on the ice slides - they go FAST! And when it's over and you take off the parka, you feel like your regular jacket is really thin and then it feels "balmy" outside.

We grabbed a quick dinner at one of the local restaurants on the main drag (there are lots of really cute places) and then headed back to the Gaylord for the indoor snowfall in the atrium and to check the Christmas display out. The snowfall was pretty, but not real snow which was a tad disappointing. The "snow" was actually soap suds but they've clearly done a lot of work with it because you don't realize it's not snow until it's right in front of you. But it falls like snow and sure looks like it. Bryce said as soon as he realized, "HEY! This isn't real snow!" The atrium was PACKED for the 6:15 snowfall but soon thinned out afterward. The atrium is a must see - it's an 18 story glass atrium with indoor trees, little "houses," fountains and Christmas decorations everywhere. It really felt like Christmas in there. I tried to get some good shots of the kids by the glass tree, but Piper wasn't having it (nor was my camera cooperating). We let he kids run around and just kind of enjoy the scenery and instead of staying for some "boring" holiday music performances (as I'm sure my kids would have though them), we headed outside to the banks of the Potomac to check out the view. It was beautiful out there too with lots of lights and the kids ran a muck a little longer. Here they are with the hotel behind them:



Finally, everyone was getting tired so we headed back to the car but because we parked further away we had the chance to walk down another street in the little town. I'm so glad we did because that must have been the real "main drag" and it was all decorated and we got to see the big, waterfront Christmas tree. They had Christmas music piped in along the street and with cobblestones and lots of people out and about, it really did feel like Christmas. Thankfully the fairly mild temperatures made it comfortable for walking and we made it back to the car unscathed.

I'd definitely go again in the future and can only dream about a possible overnight at the hotel someday. My mom already was getting big ideas about meeting up with some friends there because they liked it so much as well, even without Christmas it's a really cool place. And now Disney has announced plans for a resort there as well - it's certainly an up and coming place that's pretty easy to get to.

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