Crafting and Creating in the DMV

By Charlotte Sturm and Esther Hidalgo, Host Committee Members

Unleash your creativity while in DC with a visit to one of these amazing locally owned craft stores or art spaces. Shop with purpose and a project in mind, or wander the aisles or galleries in search of inspiration.  

Looped Yarn WorksLooped

Tucked away on the second floor of 1732 Connecticut Avenue NW in Dupont Circle, Looped is the closest yarn shop to the official SAA conference hotel. It’s a completely charming setting, with a bright and airy front room that offers a cozy seating area for those who may want to craft with others or get started on their new project immediately after purchasing its components. The hallway and back room are stocked full of items which knitters and crocheters will find irresistable. Looped offers a wide variety of gorgeous and functional yarn, plenty of notions, fabulous and funky accessories, and diverse publications. The yarn menu is impressive, featuring familiar brands like Cascadian, Berrocco, and Rowan, while also offering a wide array of less familiar brands, like Quince & Co., Wool and the Gang, Loopy Mango, and Qing Fibre.

During SAA, the Knit Doctor is in on August 18 at 1 pm to help with any tricky knitting bits you may be struggling with. There is a $10 fee for this class, but pre-registration is not required. While away an hour or an afternoon (we won’t tell) browsing the store, working on your latest yarn object with fellow crafters, and contemplating all the things yet to be made.



FibreSpace may be the best known yarn store in the DMV and is well worth the trip. Located a short walk from the King Street Metro Station in Alexandria Virginia, FibreSpace is two amazing, at times perhaps overwhelming, floors of yarn, patterns and books, notions, and gadgets and tools which support knitting, crocheting, spinning, and weaving. The unusual mannequins found throughout the store feature finished objects and complement the outerspace theme of the shop. FibreSpace specializes in unique yarns and fibers from hand dyed, independent, local, and U.S.-made sources. Some of the many brands on offer include Neighborhood Fiber Company, The Fiberists, Woolfolk, Miss Babs, Manos del Uruguay, Spincycle Yarns, Shepherd’s Wool, Brooklyn Tweed, and Hedgehog Fibres. If the names aren’t intriguing enough, the vibrant color palettes of solids, ombres, variegated, and hand painted yarns will surely draw you in.

FibreSpace, like all good yarn shops, offers classes for beginners and more advanced crafters, but most are necessarily multi-week events. During SAA week, visiting crafters are in luck! FibreSpace has several one-day classes, offering instructions on crocheting a cowl, knitting a beanie hat, or weaving a scarf or table runner.


The Lemon Collectivelemon

Lemon Collective is a free-form workshop, learning and art space “founded by three DC hardcore crafters.” The space is located in the Park View neighborhood of DC. Workshops and events are hosted by a range of artists, makers, and entrepreneurs. You might wish to take multiple peeks at their August course calendar for updates and last minute offerings, including  Indigo Dye Day, Painting the Universe: A Watercolor Workshop, and Bring Your Own Embroidery. 


Pyramid Atlantic Art CenterPyramid

The Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, located in Hyattsville MD, offers workshops in printmaking, letterpress, paper making, screen printing, and book arts. They also provides gallery space for exhibitions. Pyramid’s August classes do not coincide with SAA week, which is perhaps for the best. There will be a new exhibition by lithographer Kathryn Polk in August. Titled The Innate Thread, Polk’s work explores women’s activities in daily life, considering the past and the present. A trip to Pyramid Atlantic for art appreciation and inspiration should be in your future.


These four stores and studios and their events barely scratch the surface of DC’s creative opportunities. This recent article shows how mad DC residents are for artistic expression. While you’re in the nation’s capitol, join in the fun and see where it leads you.


Free Outdoor DC Concert Guide

By Anna Yallouris, Host Committee Member

There are a variety of free outdoor concert series in the D.C. area during the summer featuring local bands, musicians and the Armed Forces. Many of these concerts are Metro accessible and are a fun way to take in the city. Here is a quick guide to a few of the more popular performance locations. They can fill up quickly so be sure to arrive early, pack a picnic, and enjoy the music!


Concert by the U.S. Marine Band on the White House grounds, Washington, D.C. Washington D.C, 1921. Photograph. a caption


Jazz in the Garden: Fridays from 5 to 8:30 p.m. through Sept. 2 at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, across the street from the National Archives on 7th St. and Constitution Avenue NW. Accessible from the Archives/Navy Memorial metro station.

Concerts on the Avenue: Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. at the U.S Navy Memorial featuring the Navy Band and Navy Ceremonial Guard. Steps away from the Archives/Navy Memorial metro station. Also check out the Military Band Concert Schedule for a complete list of performances from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force bands in the D.C. area.

Music at the Monument: Concerts held at the Lincoln Memorial. Check out the schedule here.

Salute the Sunset: Military concert series featuring various bands from the Armed Forces at the National Harbor every Saturday at 8 p.m. Driving is best, but there are public transit options.

Live from the Lawn: Strathmore’s concert series every Wednesday at 7 p.m. August 15 is their annual Ukulele Festival. Accessible from the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station.

Rock at the Row: Thursdays from 7 to 9 p.m. in Arlington, VA. Accessible from the Pentagon City metro station.

Washington Harbour-Georgetown: A variety of local musicians perform on the plaza along the Georgetown Waterfront every Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. About a 15 minute walk from the Foggy Bottom -GWU metro station.

Capitol Riverfront: Fridays from 7 to 9 p.m and the Yards Park. Accessible from the Navy Yard metro station.


Bubley, Esther, photographer. Washington, D.C. Listening to the U.S. Army band play at a free concert in front of the Capitol. District of Columbia United States Washington D.C. Washington D.C, 1943. June. Photograph.



Delightful Day Trip to College Park

By Charlotte Sturm, Host Committee Member

You might be wondering, with all of the amazing things on offer in Washington, D.C., why would you ever bother exploring the District’s surrounding areas. Well, let me try to convince you by telling you a little bit about all of the things you can see and do (and eat!) in College Park MD, one of DC’s many flourishing suburban communities. Most destinations mentioned in this blog post are Metro accessible from the College Park_U of Md Metro Station (Green Line), but they do require a bit of walking.

The College Park Aviation Museum is within easy walking distance of the College Park-U of Md Metro Station. Co-located with the College Park Airport, the Museum is the site of America’s first military flight school. Exhibit areas focus first on the military history of aviation in College Park; museum visitors then move through other exhibit areas which highlight the early history of air mail service, the exploits of daring early aviators, and the achievements of innovative aircraft inventors, designers, and engineers. The museum also examines aviation from social history and local history perspectives in featured exhibits such as Over Here & Over There: Aviation & Prince George’s County During World War I.


Aviators, College Park, Md. July 1, 1919, Parachute experiments; Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division [LC-DIG-npcc-18478]

Another exhibit, The Plane of Tomorrow, Today! delves into the personal aircraft craze of the post-World War II era, with a specific focus on the manufacturing and marketing history of the Ercoupe, a personal use aircraft manufactured in Riverdale MD, just south of College Park. Museum visitors can see both a full Ercoupe and a cutaway view of the plane. Interspersed throughout the exhibits are features on women aviators, and a multi-panel exhibit on the mezzanine level highlights the first African Americans to operate a licensed airport in Maryland, the Columbia Air Center. The Museum is a great destination for kids too, offering plenty of interactive areas to try flight simulators, dress up as aviators, and climb around in 2 different aircrafts.


Ercoupe, College Park Aviation Museum; author’s personal photograph

Grab a quick snack or a full meal at one of the four new eateries at The Hotel at the University of Maryland, located about a mile from the College Park-U of Md Metro Station. Bagels ‘n Grinds offers tasty bagels and other baked goods, sandwiches, soups, and salads. Potomac Pizza serves up pizza, sandwiches, subs, wraps, calzones, and Italian fare. For those with more time to spare at meal time (and more to spend), the Old Maryland Grill (with the very clever acronym OMG) creates Maryland-inspired dishes using fresh and regionally-sourced ingredients. Seafood offerings feature prominently on the lunch and dinner menus, including a well-stocked raw bar, and adult beverage choices showcase local beers, wines, and spirits. The small plates of delectable Mediterranean foods at Kapnos Taverna allow diners to sample and share a variety of dishes without filling up on just one thing. The dolmades, bifteki, and roasted salmon are all highly recommended. The sampler of three spreads with flatbread is a great starter, sure to please everyone at your table.

Across the street from The Hotel is the University of Maryland itself. Take a stroll around the beautiful campus, full of stately brick buildings thoughtfully intermixed with more modern glass, concrete, and steel structures. With its long fountain surrounded by academic building and leafy trees, McKeldin Mall is a serene place for a brief respite. Hornbake Library, home to the University Archives and Special Collections, will be hosting SAA attendees on Wednesday evening for a tour of the George Meany Labor History Archives. Tucked away outside of Stamp Student Union is a charming statue of University of Maryland alumnus Jim Henson in conversation with his most famous creation, Kermit the Frog. And various incarnations of Testudo, UMD’s terrapin mascot, can be found in statue form across campus; rub the nose of one of the bronze Testudo statues for good luck!


Bronze statue of the University of Maryland’s mascot, Testudo; By Bgervais [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, GFDL ( or Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

For those willing to wander further afield and those seeking a bit of nature, a visit to Lake Artemesia in nearby Berwyn Heights will fit the bill. The walking trail around the man-made lake is an easy walk or bike ride for all, and you might see finches, orioles, ibis, and other birds while on the Luther Goldman Birding Trail. Other walking and biking trails in the College Park area, including the Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail (formerly known as the College Park Trolley Trail) and the Paint Branch Trail and Northeast Branch Trail (both of which are segments of the Anacostia Tributary Trail System) are all lovely routes for some outdoor explorations.

With so much to see and do in College Park and its surrounding areas, we do hope you’ll make time for a visit. When you return to the conference in DC, share your fun experiences and perhaps your newfound appreciation for the oft-maligned suburbs with your friends and colleagues so they can plan a play date in College Park too.

DC Weather: August Can Be Hazy, Hot, and Humid

By Mandie Vasquez, Host Committee Member

weather blog 2

Men with weather balloon on roof of the U.S. Weather Bureau Building in Washington, DC Library of Congress

Congress has traditionally taken their recess in August because of the oppressive heat and humidity the month brings. While July is the hottest month in Washington, August is not far behind. According to the Weather Chanel, the average high temperature in the city for the month of August is 87 °F degrees and the average low is 70 °F. The record high for the month is 106 °F. The local meteorologists describe DC’s weather at hazy, hot, and humid.

Back in May, NBC4 Meteorologist Doug Kammerer predicted that this summer would be particularly warm, observing that 2018 had similar weather patterns compared to 2012, which was brutally hot. He explained that the DC area averages 36 days at or above 90 °F per year, but 2012 saw 53 days at or above 90 °F and 8 days at or above100 °F. Time will tell if this summer will be a record breaking heatwave, but so far this summer has been hot.

weather blog 3

August 2017 predictions NBC4 Washington

“I didn’t realize I needed an umbrella today!”

The midday heat and humidity frequently give way to afternoon thunderstorms. A bright and sunny August day can dramatically change when dark storm clouds quickly approach. These ominous storm clouds travel from the west to the east. Many times these storms pass through quickly, and occasionally they can be violent and produce tornadoes. The DC area averages 2.93 inches of rain in August. While visiting DC you are more likely to experience a quick, but heavy, rain fall, than a washout, rainy day. An umbrella is still recommended.

weather blog nbc4

Late afternoon storm preparations NBC4 Washington


Bring a sweater

A savvy traveler always dresses in layers. Be prepared to be warm while walking around. Another good piece of advice for summertime in Washington, DC: be prepared and carry a sweater. To combat the heat and humidity, restaurants, offices, and hotel conference centers blast their air conditioning. The contrast between the blazing heat from the summer sun and the frigid temperatures of the air conditioning can be a shock to the system, especially if you were caught in an afternoon storm. If you are prone to being cold, pack that awesome archivist’s cardigan!

Drug Stores and Other Traveler Needs

By John Martinez, Host Committee Member

Sometimes when you are on the road you have unexpected needs. Maybe you forgot to refill a prescription before you left, or you have a dying cellphone, or you just need to withdraw some cash. Here are a few resources that we pulled together in case the unexpected occurs while you are at the conference.


For your ATM and other banking needs, there is an ATM machine in the Marriott Wardman Park, and there are several options nearby. M&T Bank is one of the closest to the hotel, at 2620 Connecticut Ave NW. A bit further away are the Bank of America Financial Center at 1835 Columbia Rd NW, and Wells Fargo at 1804 Adams Mill Rd NW. Continuing south on Connecticut Ave, you will find TD Bank at 1753 Connecticut Ave NW.

vaultLibrary of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division [LC-DIG-highsm-17566]

Drug Stores

Closest to the Marriott Wardman Park is the CVS at 2601 Connecticut Ave NW. A bit further south is the Rite Aid at 1815 Connecticut Ave NW, and a bit further north at 3000 Connecticut Ave NW is Cathedral Pharmacy. If Walgreen’s is your preference, you can jump on the Metro to the Dupont Circle station to get to the nearest one at 1217 22nd St NW.

28986vLibrary of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division [LC-DIG-npcc-28986] 

Dry Cleaners

If you have a last-minute wardrobe emergency (or just need your outfit pressed before your presentation), there are several dry cleaners nearby. Debonair 1 Hour Dry Cleaners is at 2612 Connecticut Ave NW, and practically next door is Custom Cleaners at 2637 Connecticut Ave NW. A bit further east is The Press Dry Cleaning & Laundry at 1963 Calvert St NW, and one Metro stop north (near the Cleveland Park station) is Uptown 1 Hour Cleaners at 3333 Connecticut Ave NW.

8b31570rLibrary of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division [LC-DIG-fsa-8b31570]

Electronics and Mobile Service Providers

A few stops north on the Red Line near the Tenleytown-AU Metro station is one big-box option, Best Buy at 4500 Wisconsin Ave NW, or a short ride south to the Metro Center station puts you near the Staples at 1250 H St NW. If a trip to the Apple Store is a must, you’ll have a bit of a trip to Apple Georgetown at 1229 Wisconsin Ave NW.

For mobile providers you can find:

T-Mobile at 1796 Columbia Rd NW

AT&T at 1759 Columbia Rd NW

Boost Mobile at 1737 Columbia Rd NW

Cricket Wireless at 1652 Columbia Rd NW

A stop or two away on the Red Line between the Dupont Circle station and Farragut North station, you can find these providers nearby:

Sprint Store at 1208 18th St NW

T-Mobile at 1146 Connecticut Ave NW

Verizon at 1736 L St NW

04529vLibrary of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division [LC-DIG-mrg-04529]

Urgent Care

For non-emergency, non-life threatening medical care needs, there are a few options in the area, though none are very close to the hotel. Two stops down the Red Line near the Farragut North station is Farragut Medical and Travel Care at 815 Connecticut Ave NW. MedStar PromptCare Adams Morgan is a bit closer to the hotel at 1805 Columbia Road, while GW Immediate and Primary Care is at 2902 Porter St NW, near the Cleveland Park Metro station.

8b26520vLibrary of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division [LC-DIG-fsa-8b26520]