Put a reminder on your calendar because amid the soccer practices, gymnastics meets, dance rehearsals and baseball doubleheaders comes Mother’s Day on May 12. For many moms, it’s a welcome day of pampering and acknowledgment, flowers and homemade cards. Traditionally, it’s an opportunity for a delicious brunch, but the D.C. area offers so many more ways to celebrate: tours of historic homes, bowling and even a free movie night. Here are 11 ways to celebrate Mom, but check out last year’s list, too, because many of the same opportunities are available again.
Weekend at Mount Vernon
George Washington is often called the father of our nation, so spend Mother’s Day with the mother of our country, Martha Washington – or at least at the place she called home. A modern-day Martha will give all moms a lavender sachet on the mansion’s piazza. Tour the house where they lived and entertained in a spectacular aqua-colored room that doesn’t look a day older than its 200-plus years. Meander through the property’s well-kept and blooming gardens. There are plenty of places for that perfect family photo op, too.
Cost: $20/adult, $12/child age 6-11, free/child 5 and younger, $19/senior over 62
When: May 11-12, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon
Gadsby’s Tavern Museum Open House
Not in the mood for Martha’s mansion but still looking for a connection to the Washingtons? Try this museum, which consists of two buildings: a tavern dating to 1785 and a hotel dating to 1792. George – along with other patriotic patrons such as John Adams and Thomas Jefferson – frequented the spot. Mothers enjoy free tours of the museum on their special day.
Cost: $5/adult, $3/child ages 5-12
When: May 12, 1-5 p.m.
Where: 134 N. Royal St., Alexandria
Lunch and Tour at the Mansion on O Street
Keep the history buff happy with lunch and a tour of the quirky Mansion on O Street. Lunch has two seatings – noon and 2:30 p.m. – and consists of choices such as beef tenderloin, pasta, salmon, marinated beets and goat cheese, fruit, and dessert. After lunch, tour the mansion, made of five interconnected townhouses, more than 100 rooms and 70 secret doors. It dates to 1892, and the rooms offer varying architectural, artistic and design periods, ranging from the Victorian Age to Art Deco.
When: May 12, noon and 2:30 p.m.
Where: 2020 O St., NW
Tourat Darnall’s Chance House Museum
One more for the history lover, this museum is offering free tours to mothers and grandmothers accompanied by paying children, who will have a chance to make a Mother’s Day card. This location is fitting for moms because its goal is to show what colonial life was like for former owner Lettice Lee and the other women who lived there. Youngsters can have a chance to fight for independence during a hands-on program and pretend to be part of a spy mission for Washington (there he is again!).
Cost: $5/adult, $2/child ages 5-18, free/child ages 4 and younger, $4/senior
When: May 12, noon-4 p.m.
Where: 14800 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Upper Marlboro
Weekend at Clark’s Elioak Farm
Recently reopened for the season, this farm offers a cow train, pony rides and a chance to pet farm animals. Plus, there are the Enchanted Forest attractions, which features larger-than-life features of classic fairytales. For instance, there’s the Cinderella pumpkin coach, Mother Goose, Papa Bear and the Old Woman’s Shoe, to name a few. On Mother’s Day, mothers and grandmothers accompanied by a child will enjoy free hayrides. Don’t forget to wish a happy Mother’s Day to all the new animal moms on the farm!
Cost: $7/person ages 12 months and up
When: May 11-12, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Where: 10500 Clarksville Pike, Ellicott City
Tour at all Prince William County’s historic sites
Hang onto your historian and take mom on a tour of the county’s many notable sites. For instance, take a guided tour of Rippon Lodge (15520 Blackburn Road, Woodbridge; $5/adult, $3/active military), built in 1747. Besides the house, there are walking trails and formal gardens. Or head to Lucasville School (10516 Godwin Drive, Manassas), a reconstructed one-room schoolhouse that interprets post-Civil War African American education in the county.
Cost: Free for mothers and children under 6
When: May 11-12, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: See website
Tea at Green Spring Gardens
A chef and food historian will offer culinary traditions of mothers and Mother’s Day. There’s also cooking demonstrations for chocolate-dipped strawberries and strawberry shortcake. Those who attend the tea get a favor bag to take home. While you’re there, walk off the food – or work up an appetite beforehand – by strolling through the gardens, which include a greenhouse and wooded stream valley.
Cost: $50 for program and tea, $18 for program only
When: May 12, 1 p.m.
Where: 4603 Green Spring Road, Alexandria
Brunch at Pinstripes in Georgetown and North Bethesda
OK, so brunch is kind of a staple on Mother’s Day. Spice it up by having it at a bowling alley and bocce court. Pinstripes also has a bistro, so we aren’t talking your standard alley fare of pizza, burgers and soda. Here, moms get bottomless mimosas and waffle, omelet and carving stations. Plus, there’s bowling ($20/hour) and bocce ($10/hour).
Cost: $40/adult with mimosas, $34/adult without, $15/child 6-12, free/child 5 and younger
When: May 12, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: 1064 Wisconsin Ave., NW, and 11920 Grand Park Ave., North Bethesda
Catch a Family Movie on the Potomac
Let Mom skip dinner prep on her day. Take her to one of the X eateries at National Harbor and follow it up with a free movie under the stars. Tonight’s showing is “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which Common Sense Media recommends for ages 9 and up. Bring your own chair or blanket and relax knowing there are no dishes to wash.
When: May 12, 6-8 p.m.
Where: 165 Waterfront St., National Harbor
Help a Mom in Need
As you make your plans and reservations, remember the moms less fortunate – namely, those who live in shelters for victims of domestic violence – and consider donating money so that they, too, get cards on Mother’s Day. A couple organizations that do this are Arlington-based Doorways for Women and Families and Jewish Women International.
Mother’s Day Cruise Aboard the Odyssey
Depending on the time of day, take a two- or two-and-a-half-hour cruise along the Potomac River, seeing historic D.C. landmarks from the water. All three cruises have live music and dancing. The brunch buffet includes choices such as smoked salmon and build-you-own Belgian waffle, while the lunch menu offers prime rib, salmon and a dessert station. The dinner cruise offers a plated menu featuring lobster soup, jumbo lump crab cakes, braised beef short rib and a salted caramel cake with dark chocolate ganache.
When: May 12, various times
Where: 600 Water St., SW
Bluemont Vineyard Mother’s Day Garden Party
In true garden party fashion, there will be lawn games like life-sized Jenga and cornhole as well as live music. Loudoun Valley serves as a scenic backdrop while you enjoy table-side tea and wine service plus tea fare (read: small bites). Established in 2007, the vineyard has seven varietals of grapes and produces an average of 6,500 cases of wine each year. Note: Reservations are required.
Cost: $16/adults; $8/kids
When: May 12, 12 pm-5 pm
Where: 18755 Foggy Bottom Rd. (Bluemont, Va)