Nestled among lush green forests and a tributary of the Potomac River outside of Washington D.C. and Arlington is the United States’ first and only national park dedicated to the performing arts, Wolf Trap. Though the land was once a farm retreat, it was later donated to Congress in 1966 and eventually constructed upon to include three different stages: The Filene Center, The Barns and The Theatre-in-the-Woods. Today the national park is also home to a non-profit program that sponsors a residency for young, rising opera singers as well as an education program for performers of all ages. The incredible Filene Center stage, however, is the place to catch a memorable concert, though performances at the amphitheater or intimate barn venue are quite stunning too.
Wolf Trap’s first performance took place in 1971 and showcased the New York City Opera. Over the years, the music venue has hosted artists such as Aretha Franklin, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Royal Ballet. From its first year on, the performance hall has also initiated and hosted the National Council for the Traditional Arts and the National Folk Festival. With roots in folk music, the venue’s celebration of Joni Mitchell’s Blue and Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks make for a great show.
On Nov. 30, some of the best local musicians such as Kipyn Martin, Luke Brindley, Kenny Wesley, Laura Tsaggaris, Tony Denikos, Sara Curtin, Maureen Andary, Margot MacDonald, Eddie Hartness, Paul Bell, Mike MIlls, Arch Alcantara and Ronnie Newmyer will perform the albums. Set in The Barns, this concert will be smaller and more intimate.
Photo from bigbirdz’s Flickr page
Doors open at 6:30 p.m., so plan to catch dinner or a nightcap after the show. Bazin’s on Church has a great selection of wines by the glass with more than 400 bottles to choose from as well as American fare for dinner until 10 p.m. closing. Another option is Pazzo Pomodoro, which is open until 1 a.m. for late-night dining. The casual Italian eatery is an easy decision that will please everyone.
While Arlington is just a couple of metro stops away from Vienna, the city in which Wolf Trap is located, venture further into Washington D.C. for the rest of the weekend. Easily accessible by the metro, D.C. is home to tons of modern museums worth visiting. Wander the halls of the National Museum of Women in the Arts or take one last look at the Newseum before it closes its doors at the end of 2019. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is another must, but plan ahead and schedule a tour to ensure entry.
Molly Harris is a freelance journalist. You can often find her on the highway somewhere between Florida and North Carolina or taking life slow in Europe.