Walking on Sunshine

Shine a Light on the Drab of Winter by Becoming a Tourist in Your Hometown

By Annamarya Scaccia

Winter can be a cruel, cruel friend.

The freezing rain, brittle snow, and nasty cold can discourage even the most adventurous of social butterflies. Instead of enjoying the city, we lock ourselves indoors, wrapped in layers of quilted blankets while munching on junk food and watching hours of “Criminal Minds” reruns. We just become boring.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Even though commuting in the chilly weather can seem daunting, it’s well worth it when you’re traveling to take in the beauty and romance of Prince George’s County. From historic museums to avant-garde theater and scientific wonders, the county is a hot bed of exciting indoor activity during the winter months—you just have to know where to look.

Luckily, we’ve made it easy for you. Just check out our list below of some of the interesting places that will help you rediscover Prince George’s County—and turn you into a tourist in your hometown.

The Arts are Alive!

The University of Maryland University College in Adelphi has developed and enriched two ostentatious permanent art collections for the last 30 years: The Maryland Artist Collection, which is one of the largest displays featuring works from Maryland artists, and the Asian Collection, which includes groundbreaking works from Japan and China. But those are not UMUC’s only contributions to the arts. The institution also curates changing exhibits and events throughout the year that are always captivating. One of its current exhibit, “Joseph Sheppard: A Voyage from Memory 1930-1960,” focuses on Sheppard’s devotion to American history and culture as illustrated in his realist paintings (it closes March 25.) UMUC will also host “Diaspora Dialogue,” a three-month long exhibition of art by African artists Kawbena Ampofo-Anit, the late Alexander “Skunder” Boghossian and Victor Ekpuk (it opens Feb. 12 and ends May 31.)

Bowie State University offers an impressive array of African American, African and South American art and artifacts with its Bowie State University Art Collection. On display in the BSU Gallery, the collection is a mixture of diverse art styles and techniques from both renowned and underground artists including James A. Porter, James L. Wells, and Elizabeth Catlett.

North Brentwood’s Prince George’s African American Museum also displays seminal African-American works, currently showcasing the powerful collage and mixed media pieces of Ulysses Marshall in the exhibit “Paper Dolls.” The collection, which closes April 13, also includes response poetry from county poets and spoken word artists.

Know Your History

The Frederick S. DeMarr Library of County History in Greenbelt houses about 6,000 volumes of Maryland history, with particular focus on Prince George’s County. From maps to antique photos and old journals, the DeMarr library is one place where budding historians can sink their teeth into the county’s past and get lost for hours in the stories of architectural inventions, educational advancements, military achievements and transportation developments.

If you’re a news junkie, the Bowie-based National Capital Radio & Television Museum offers a concentrated look into broadcasting and electronic media, and its impact on public life. Containing seven galleries, the museum has curated a chronological history of radio and television receivers, as well as displays different radios, televisions, books and periodicals that shaped communication throughout the years.

For aspiring pilots, the College Park Aviation Museum is 27,000-square-feet of space telling the excursions of College Park Airport’s many innovations in flight to today. Housed on the airport grounds, the open gallery space contains distinctive artifacts, historic and reproduction aircrafts from aviation history. It also holds special events, programs, and activities for children.

Relax, Relax, Relax

For any tourist, a day of exploration either begins and/or ends by sampling local cuisine. But it’s not enough to just eat. To really understand Prince George’s County culture, you have to be among the residents that really bring the county to life. Two places to do just that, and at any time of day: Busboys and Poets in Hyattsville and New Deal Café in Greenbelt. Both places offer a variety of intellectually and creatively stimulating events that enrich the soul (jazz fusion acts, open mic nights, and thought-provoking spoken word to name a few), while boosting delicious and unique menus (New Deal gives patrons a taste of Lebanon, while Busboys satisfies the New American and vegan palate.) Plus, the atmosphere of each cafe is one of ease and friendliness–you’ll never feel rushed or out of place.

But, if you’re a night owl with a taste for whiskey sours and chill-out music, Pose Ultra Lounge in National Harbor is your scene. Located on the lobby level of the Gaylord National Hotel, Pose mixes deluxe ambient sounds with hand-crafted cocktails and 18-foot floor-to-ceiling windows that expose a sweeping panoramic view of the American capital.

Interesting in seeing more of Prince George’s County? Visti www.visitprincegeorges.com.

College Park Aviation Museum: pgparks.com
BSU Gallery Photo: Darren S. Higgins
Busboys & Poets: http://www.flickr.com/photos/busboysandpoetsphotos
Published on Prince George’s Suite – Monday, January 28, 2013

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