Colonials Weekend is filled with more than 50 scheduled activities crammed into four days, but not all are worth dragging your family members across campus to attend.
Some events are worth attending, but others simply serve as space fillers. Here’s The Hatchet’s guide to which Colonials Weekend events will entertain the whole family and others that will have them yawning.
George Washington’s World: An Afternoon at the Mount Vernon Estate
The Mount Vernon Estate is the home owned by the University’s namesake and his wife from 1754 until the early 1800s. The Estate is located about 35 minutes away from the Foggy Bottom Campus and is difficult to get to without a car, as it isn’t close to a Metro stop, so embarking on the GW-planned trip for $40 per person is worth your while. Saturday afternoon, guests will get a brief history lesson and then take a tour that includes the Mount Vernon Mansion, the gardens and the tombs of George and Martha Washington.
What’s the Buzz All About?: GW’s Honeybees
GW Buzz is GW’s undergraduate honeybee research laboratory and apiary where 12 honeybee colonies are currently being housed on top of Lisner Hall and cared for by undergraduate students. The group extracted 175 pounds of honey last month, according their website, and some of the honey is used to sweeten cocktails at the restaurant Farmers and Distillers. Saturday’s free event will take place from 3:30 to 4 p.m. and includes an information session about how researchers take care of the honeybee population in Bell Hall. Guests will then be given a behind-the-scenes look at the apiary. Visitors can get up close and personal with the honeybees, but never fear, GW Buzz will be providing beekeeping protective clothing to handle the honeybees.
Colonials Weekend Jazz Brunch
The annual jazz brunch will be hosted by WRGW in University Yard Sunday from 9 to 11 a.m. As you enjoy an outdoor brunch with family, The Jazz All-Stars, an ensemble made up of faculty members, will play. Other groups of students and faculty will also perform. Tickets for this event can be bought on-site and are $20 for adults and $12 for kids 12 and under. An outdoor brunch with live performances is tough to find in the District, so take advantage of the University’s offering this weekend.
Feel free to skip:
Brunch at Pelham Commons
Students who live on the Mount Vernon Campus usually brunch at Pelham Commons on Sunday mornings, but when your family is here for the weekend you’ll want to upgrade your menu. The cost of the buffet is $12.95, which can be comparable to other brunches around the city at places like the popular soul food restaurant Florida Avenue Grill or The Diner in Adams Morgan, so grab a reservation instead. Plus you’ll have to ride the bumpy Vern Express with your complaining family, which will cancel out any positive parts of the egg white frittata and french toast that will be served.
Washingtoniana Exhibition Tour
The Textile Museum sits at the heart of the Foggy Bottom Campus, so taking family there is an easy trip. The Washingtoniana exhibit recollects the history of D.C. from the 18th to the 20th century. The Colonials Weekend tour will take place Saturday at 2:45 p.m. Although this would usually be an interesting exhibit, D.C. is saturated with museums that house fascinating installations and some of the history itself is written on the many streets and monuments that fill the city. Taking a trip to one of the Smithsonian museums like the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery or the classic Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, located near campus, will give a bigger and better history lesson.
The Boundary Stones of Washington D.C.
The Boundary Stones are one of the oldest and most obscure federal monuments in the U.S. There are more than 40 boundary stones that surround D.C. and were commissioned by George Washington in 1790. The Daughters of American Revolution have put fences around each of the markers and the D.C. DAR chapter will be holding a session Saturday morning in the Marvin Center that is entirely about these stones. D.C. is full of monuments that are recognizable to people around the world, so visit one of those instead and skip this strange classroom history lesson.