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The National Harbor in Washington DC

I grew up in the DC area, and still go back every year to visit family and friends, but we usually don’t do a lot of sight-seeing.  This summer, I had the chance to see the relatively new National Harbor, and the Gaylord Resort and Convention Center, just off of I-95 on the Maryland side of the Potomac River. 

The Awakening

The Awakening

What I didn’t realize was that a sculpture called “The Awakening” had been moved to that location from Hains Point, a park in DC that I had visited a number of times in years past.   When we walked around the National Harbor, I was surprised to see the same statue.   I learned that in 2007, it was sold and moved to this new location.   It’s an amazing statue made of five separate aluminum pieces buried in the ground, giving the impression of a panicked giant trying to pull himself to the surface.  It’s buried in sand, and people were milling about, posing for pictures sitting in his hand or leaning against his face.

Gaylord Resort Fountains

Gaylord Resort Fountains

The harbor itself seems to have sprung up from nothing.  It’s been open for over a year, and includes several hotels, the cornerstone being the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.  That in itself is a destination, with tropical decor and a courtyard fountain show.  Shops and restaurants fill the area, so for those not attending meetings, there’s lots to entertain.  

National Harbor

National Harbor

The area was quite lively when I visited on a beautiful Saturday in July, with vendors selling their wares and flute music filling the air.   After some shopping time and a sip of coffee at Mayorga Coffee Roasters, a calm water taxi ride across the Potomac to Alexandria fit the bill.  The taxis also take visitors to Mt Vernon or Georgetown.  A stroll through Old Town, dinner at one of the restaurants and a return trip to the Harbor round out a lovely day!

So if you’re heading to DC, I know there are so many sites to see, but if you want to take a break from the downtown and head to a waterfront destination, I’d highly recommend a visit to the National Harbor!

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