The end of summer and start of school elicits different responses from us parents. Some are elated, ready for a return to routine and quieter days, and others are sad to see the kids head out the door, backpacks full of promise for a new school year. Either way, we all have something in common: We are tired. Take a moment to celebrate your summer accomplishments sans kids by enjoying some adult-only fun. Here are seven options that appeal to your inner crafter, sommelier, hiker and staycationer.
Photo: Maggie via Flickr
Maryland Renaissance Festival
We parents hear how great this is for kids, but there’s no reason we can’t escape to another time and place without the children in tow. Catch a performance by the Baltimore Shakespeare Factory – a new addition this year – or Aerial Silk Fantasy. Take a tour of the food and drink of 16th-century England, or watch a courtesan talk about her loose morals during “The Perfect Touch.”
Cost: Through Sep. 10, $19 for adults 16 to 61, $17 for 62 and up, $8 for kids 7 to 15. Sep. 16 to Oct. 22, $22/adult. $21/senior, $10/child. Children under 7 are free.
Where: 1821 Crownsville Rd. (Annapolis, Md)
When: Sep. 9-10, 16-17, 23-24 and 30; Oct. 1, 7-8, 14-15, 21-22
Photo: Andrea C. via Yelp
Leave the picky palates at home and head out to the Fairgrounds at Yards Park for this food truck festival. Grab bites such as Creole comfort food, tapas, lobster rolls, hand-dipped homemade ice cream and Spanish sandwiches by one of D.C.’s most famous chefs, Jose Andres. Bonus: Enjoy live music and games while you stuff your face.
Cost: Free admission, food costs vary by item and truck
Where: 1201 Half St., SE
When: Sep. 22
Wine & Design Happy Hour
Crafts aren’t always for kids. Channel your creativity by creating some postal-themed art projects, fueled by free wine or beer. The next class will be Sep. 14 with the theme of embroidered greeting cards. After that, try your hand at thank-you notes, calligraphy and holiday cards. At each event, a free ticket for the next one is raffled off.
Where: 2 Massachusetts Ave., NE
When: Second Thursday of every month, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Photo: Mount Rainier National Park via Flickr
Rock Creek Park
Lose yourself to nature smack-dab in the middle of the city, taking one of three half-day hikes in the 4.47-mile park. The 2-mile Rapids Bridge Hike takes you parallel to Rock Creeks’ whitewater section, while the 1.75-mile Milkhouse Ford Hike passes a Civil War-era fort. The longest hike is the Boulder Bridge at 3.5 miles. It also parallels the whitewater section and crosses two bridges, including Boulder Bridge, which was constructed in 1902, making it one of the park’s oldest bridges. Note: Teddy Roosevelt lost a ring at the bridge during one of his hikes a century ago, so keep an eye out for that.
Where: 5200 Glover Road, NW
When: Daylight hours
Photo: Savanna Smiles via Flickr
The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Washington, D.C.
Slough off your sunburned, salted and/or chlorinated summer skin with the 110-minute Revitalizing Ritual. It starts with a foot cleanse before the therapist applies an orange peel-infused scrub high in vitamin C to boost immunity – something we parents likely need as our kids start bringing home germs from school. The treatment ends with a moisturizing massage with hot stones.
Cost: $300 Monday through Thursday, $330 Friday through Sunday
Where: 1330 Maryland Ave., SW
When: 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Staycation at National Harbor
Grab one of the 2,000 rooms at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center or one of 308 rooms at the MGM National Harbor and escape it all without ever really leaving town. On this slice of land across the Potomac River from Old Town Alexandria, there’s lots to do. Shop till you drop at Tanger Outlets, ride the Capital Wheel ($13.50 to $15), or get your groove on during the Salute the Sunset Concert Series on Saturdays at 7 p.m.
Cost: $10 for Aug. 31 to Sep. 3
Where: Intersection of Waterfront St. and National Plaza, Oxon Hill
When: Friday to Sunday through Sep. 3
How do you plan on celebrating your kid’s return to school? Tell us in the comments below.