Alexandria Living Magazine - March/April 2020

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Alexandria Wedding Showca se

Seasons of Love Ideas for your Alexandria wedding, from food to flowers!

The Future of Transportation in Alexandria ALEXANDRIALIVINGMAGAZINE.COM March / April 2020


April 26

See p. 43 for detai


Quintessentially Everything Alexandria Joan Shannon, Founder, The Shannon Group

When Joan Shannon was growing up working in her family’s construction business, she learned the only thing that leads to success is rolling up your sleeves and taking a straightforward approach to any challenge you face. Joan understands that a lot of life changes come with buying or selling your home. For more than nineteen years, Joan has helped Old Town Alexandria clients achieve their real estate goals through her strong negotiation skills and hyperlocal knowledge. To learn more, connect with Joan today.

Joan Shannon, REALTORÂŽ I tel. 703.507.8655 I I Old Town, Alexandria 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 I tel. 703.549.9292 Equal Housing Opportunity


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See events and activities that are coming to Alexandria this spring.


















Alexandria writer Stuart Perkins' musings on life from everyday encounters in Alexandria. In this issue, he finds the key to kindness from strangers.

Learn how local police are helping senior citizens with an assist from the gallant horses at Simple Changes Therapeutic Riding Center.

Wondering what to do if you get a surprise visit from a squirrel, snake, opossum or other wild critter? We've got you covered.

We know about Alexandria's many accolades, but our town has some competition. Meet Edenton, North Carolina, "the prettiest small town in the South."

Columnist Scott Hendley gives readers his expert insight and tips on serving wine at your wedding reception.

The Hollin Hills House + Garden Tour is coming up and we have a sneak peek of one of the homes that makes this mid-century modern neighborhood so special.

Wedding expert Monte Durham has got Alexandrians buzzing about his new salon, Monte, opening soon near Old Town Alexandria's waterfront. We recently caught up with the star of "Say Yes to the Dress - Atlanta."

58 March / April 2020 •



32 Getting Around Now more than ever, Alexandrians are discussing and debating the best ways to get around town. We dive deep into the issue — from scooters to the Seminary Road Diet.

39 Weddings Alexandria is pictureperfect for weddings and in this issue, we're looking at several aspects of the big day — from flowers, food and jewelry to dressing the bride and wedding party. No time for a wedding? Elopement is always an option! Alexandrian Scott Shaw talks about the new website he's launching, The Art of Eloping, with business partner, Kim Olsen.

ON THE COVER Annalisa Dow models a gown at River Farm.



4 • March / April 2020

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Don’t Sell For Less We front the cost of improvements to increase your home’s value. DAVIDZ ADA R EK Y. CO M /CO M PASSCO N C I E RG E 703. 49 9. 4 24 0 Compass is a licensed real estate brokerage that abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is not guaranteed. All measurements and square footages are approximate. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Compass is licensed as Compass Real Estate in DC and as Compass in Virginia and Maryland. 106 N. Lee Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 | 703.277.2152


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A Letter from Our Founders


Beth Lawton EDITOR


Christian Cunnane Lora Jerakis DESIGN

Jessie Leiber PHOTO EDITOR


Susannah Moore

Alexandria Living Magazine is published six times per year by Alexandria Living, LLC ©2019. 201 N. Union St. Alexandria, VA 22314. For newsstand or distribution locations or to subscribe for home delivery, go to CONTACT US or call (571) 232-1310.


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Welcome to the March/April issue! We hope you're enjoying signs of spring — Easter egg hunts, cherry blossoms, Alexandria's St. Patrick's Day Parade, Washington Nationals baseball and more. You can find information on these events and others in our packed spring calendar, starting on Page 8. Around here, it's also a season of love — with Alexandria couples planning for the big day in 2020 and beyond. This issue dives into all things bridal, from gowns and flowers to jewelry and receptions, and even elopements, starting on Page 39. Wine columnist Scott Hendley also weighs in, with advice for choosing the best fruit of the vine for your reception, on Page 27. And we give a hearty thank you to wedding expert Monte Durham for his opinions sprinkled throughout our stories. He will be our special guest on Sunday, April 26, at the Alexandria Wedding Showcase at The Westin Alexandria Old Town in the Carlyle neighborhood. Tickets are on sale at to the event, and you could win 250,000 Bonvoy travel points — enough for a free weeklong honeymoon in Paris, Hawaii or another destination! You can find more information about the Alexandria Wedding Showcase on Page 43. You can also read more about Durham in The Last Word, on Page 58.

Beth Lawton, publisher, and Mary Ann Barton, editor |


writer Glenda Booth recently visited one of our competitors, Edenton, N.C., dubbed "the prettiest small town in the South." Read her travel story on Page 24. If you enjoy "Mad Men," architecture, art and woodsy rolling hills, be sure to mark your calendar (and get your tickets now) for the Hollin Hills House + Garden Tour May 2. Get a sneak peek of the neighborhood's mid-century style, starting on Page 28. There's plenty more in this issue including the latest from "The Small Things" columnist Stuart Perkins on Page 20, how Alexandria police and a stable of horses are helping local seniors, on Page 21 and what to do when wild critters find their way into your house uninvited, on Page 22. We hope you enjoy this issue as much as we did putting it together. We'll see you back here in May!

This issue is chock full of other good reads, starting with "Reimagining How We Move," on Page 32. It delves into Alexandria's transportation revolution, with changes being made to roads, cycling routes and modes of transportation. Alexandria's many accolades include being named one of the prettiest cities in the South by Southern Living readers. Alexandria • March / April 2020

Mary Ann Barton and Beth Lawton Founders

Our Team Meet some of the contributors to this issue.

LISA DUNN Contributor


Kalista is a recent T.C. Williams High School graduate and former layout/art editor for T.C. Williams’ student creative talent magazine, Labyrinth. Old Town, Alexandria has been Kalista’s home for the past 18 years but she is excited for the next four years in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she is joining the University of Virginia Class of 2023. Kalista is studying Marketing and Advertising at the McIntire School of Commerce.

Lisa is a freelance writer, copywriter and ghostwriter who develops high-quality content for businesses and non-profit organizations. For over two decades, her work has been featured in well-known publications including Forbes, VentureBeat, Mashable, Huffington Post, Wired, The Business Journals, USA Today, among others. Lisa has lived in Alexandria for 20 years and resides with her children and mixed-black lab, Ryder.

Scott is a lifelong wine enthusiast, wine traveler, and founder and managing editor of the National Wine Review (NWR), based in Alexandria. Scott wrote feature reviews of wines and wineries for the Shenandoah Valley’s Mountain Courier and the Alexandria Times before establishing NWR as an independent online wine publication in 2012. Scott is a self-described “equal opportunity” wine taster and routinely tastes and evaluates wines from around the world; but he holds a special affection for California wines.



BUZ NACHLAS Cover Photographer


Lucy lives in Woodstock N.Y., where she’s been drawing since she could hold a crayon. She is self-taught and known to spend hours filling her sketch books with elaborate drawings of eyes and lips. When she isn’t drawing and painting, Lucy spends her free time playing tennis, running track and swimming. She loves playing with her British shorthair cat Genki and her Australian Shepherd Auggie.

Susannah has called Alexandria home for the past four years. After traveling the world as an Army brat, she graduated from the College of Charleston as a double major in Political Science and Jewish Studies. She has worked in the political and legal fields but is excited to rekindle her interest in writing. In her free time, she can be found practicing yoga, singing, running along the Potomac with her husband, and spending as much time as possible with her golden retriever, Rosie.

Buz enjoys photography whether he’s capturing the Red Rocks in the American Southwest or snapping an image of an iconic monument at dusk in the nation’s capital. He often visits Alexandria and most recently snapped this month's cover photo at River Farm. When he’s not taking photos, you might find him cycling on one of the Washington area’s bike trails. A native of Wisconsin, Buz makes his home in Ashburn, Virginia.

Stuart is originally from Richmond and has called Alexandria home for nearly 10 years. He enjoys relating observations and the inherent lessons found in everyday situations. Some of these stories have been shared in publications such as Virginia Living and Chicken Soup for the Soul. When not writing about special moments in daily life, Stuart works at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

GLENDA BOOTH Contributor Glenda is a freelance writer who has lived in Northern Virginia for more than 40 years covering travel, history, people and conservation for local, state and national publications. Glenda has volunteered for Earthwatch in Botswana, Greece, France, Saskatchewan (Canada) and the Galapagos. She earned a bachelor’s at Longwood College and a master’s at the University of Virginia. A gardener, outdoors woman and lifelong learner, she lives in Fairfax County and is the mother of two grown sons.


March / April 2020 •




Tell Us About Your Events! Did you know you can put your own events into our online events calendar? Go to events/submit.html. Your events should be somewhere in Alexandria and open to the public.

The American Horticultural Society's Spring Garden Market will be held April 17 & 18 this year | PHOTO BY THALIA ROMERO


Calendar of Events

EVEN T K E Y Arts Film Food & Dining Family-Friendly

Moonlight and Magnolias Feb. 29 – March 21 | various times


The Little Theatre of Alexandria presents a comic telling of the frantic rewrite of one of the most iconic films of all times, “Gone with the Wind.” The plot centers around legendary film producer David O. Selznick, who realizes, 5 weeks into filming, that the script and director must be replaced or risk the failure of the entire production. Over the course of a few days, three writers hysterically craft the screenplay that generations have come to enjoy. Tickets range from $21 - $24.


The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe St.,

Historic/Educational Live Music Nightlife Pet-Friendly Recreation & Outdoor


March • March / April 2020

Woodlawn Needlework Show March 1 – 31 | various times Woodlawn Estate was the first family home of Eleanor “Nelly” Custis, granddaughter of George and Martha Washington and one of America’s most skilled early needlework makers. This annual Needlework Show & Sale honors her legacy. As a judged (but not juried) show, all entries that fit a few important guidelines are displayed. The annual Needlework Show & Sale is a fundraiser for the non-profit historic site. The show is every March and showcases needlework from artists all around the world. Closed Tuesdays. Woodlawn and Pope-Leighey House, 9000 Richmond Hwy.,

CALENDAR OF EVENTS Presidential Primary Election March 3 | 6 a.m. – 7 p.m. Democrats will vote on their preference for a presidential candidate. To locate a polling location, visit elections for the City of Alexandria voters or for Fairfax County voters. Republicans will hold a nominating convention later this spring.



Jazz Heritage Series featuring Peter Bernstein March 5 | 7:30 – 9 p.m. Join the Airmen of Note for the Jazz Heritage Series featuring jazz guitarist Peter Bernstein. This performance will feature original jazz compositions for big band and guitar. Admission is free but tickets are required. Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center, 4915 E Campus Dr.,

The Oak Ridge Boys March 6 | 7:30 p.m. The Oak Ridge Boys are legends in country music and are known for their unique four-part harmonies and upbeat songs like “Elvira” and “Bobbie Sue.” The band was originally formed as a gospel quartet in the 1940s but became the Oak Ridge Boys in the 1960s and shifted its style to country. The band has won numerous awards and has performed with Johnny Cash, Paul Simon, George Jones and many others. Tickets are $59.50.


St. Patrick’s Day Parade March 7 | 12:30 p.m. Join Alexandria’s Irish Heritage organization, the Ballyshaners, for one of Alexandria’s largest events, the 39th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade begins at the intersection of King Street and Pitt Street in Old Town and features pipe bands, Irish dance schools, community groups and other musicians and performers. This year’s Grand Marshal will be John Brennan, owner of Daniel O’Connell’s Irish Restaurant & Bar. On the evening before the parade, recognize the Grand Marshal at the Grand Marshal Dinner. The dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. on March 6 at The Alexandrian at 480 King St. Tickets are $95. Catch the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria’s Fun Dog Show in Market Square right before the parade begins. For $15, owners can register their dogs on the Ballyshaner’s website or onsite beginning at 10:30 a.m. the day of the parade. Old Town Alexandria,

The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

Tea with Martha Washington Story Time for Little Historians March 7 and April 4 | 11 a.m. – noon Bring your little ones to the Alexandria Black History Museum for cultural stories and creative craft activities that introduce world history and folklore. Story time will take place every first Saturday of the month at 11 a.m. Explore the museum exhibits afterwards to learn about local Black history. All ages are welcome, but most suitable for children 3 – 6 years old. Tickets are $3 and include museum admission. Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe St.,

An Intimate Evening of Songs and Stories with Graham Nash

March 7 | 12 p.m. Join Martha Washington for an intimate fireside tea and conversation at the Mount Vernon Inn. Tickets are $45. Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway,

March 10 | 7:30 p.m. Join renowned musician, songwriter, activist and visual artist Graham Nash for an evening of his songs and stories. Nash has won numerous awards and honors and was inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame as a member of the English pop/rock group The Hollies and then as a member of the folk/rock group, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Some of his most well-known songs are “Our House” and “Teach Your Children.” Tickets are $90.50. The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,


March / April 2020 •



March 13 | 7 – 10 p.m. Celebrate the Irish spirit in support of the Alexandria Central Rotary Club Foundation which advances literacy for children and adults and/or improves the lives of children, youth, seniors, and others with special needs in the Alexandria Virginia Community. Beneficiaries will include local youth with Irish Dance scholarships. Enjoy food and drinks from local restaurants and a variety of music and entertainment. Purchase raffle tickets for the chance to win exciting prizes for a good cause. Tickets are $50. The Atrium Building, 227 S. Washington St.,

The High Kings March 13 and 14 | 7:30 p.m. This Irish Folk group has achieved major popularity with their beloved renditions of traditional Irish songs and a few of their own originals. They performed for President Barack Obama on his visit to Ireland and were subsequently invited to perform at the White House St. Patrick’s Day celebration in 2012. Tickets are $55. The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

Civil War Women’s Day March 14 | 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Explore the roles of women on the home front, in camp and on the battlefield during the Civil War through this interactive program. Kids will enjoy the opportunity to make crafts such as a fan or a patriotic cockade ribbon. Admission is free. Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site, 4301 W. Braddock Rd.,

Guest Artist Series featuring George Curran March 19 | 7:30 – 9 p.m. The United States Air Force Band presents their 2020 Guest Artist Series featuring internationally acclaimed bass trombonist George Curran. This performance will feature traditional and contemporary works for concert band and bass trombone. Admission is free but tickets are required. Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center, 4915 E. Campus Dr.,

10 • March / April 2020


Sips for Saints



National Cherry Blossom Festival March 20 - April 14 The weather determines the peak bloom for the cherry blossom trees around the Tidal Basin and here in Alexandria, but the National Cherry Blossom Festival lasts for three weeks in the spring and celebrates the beauty of cherry blossom trees and the arrival of spring. Key events include the Pink Tie Party fundraiser presented by ANA at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, the Opening Ceremony at the Warner Theatre, the Blossom Kite Festival on the Washington Monument grounds, Petalpalooza at The Yards Park and the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade presented by Events DC. The Potomac Riverboat Company here in Alexandria offers Cherry Blossom Monument Tours, transportation to DC’s events and more. Also explore options from the National Mall Water Taxi and the Wharf Water Taxi. In addition, stay here in Alexandria and enjoy “Cherry Picks” from some of Alexandria’s best restaurants. D.C. and Alexandria, and

All 80s All Night March 20 | 8 p.m. Do you love the 80s? If so, put on your best period fashion and come ready to dance for an All 80s All Night dance party. DJ Darin from Belt It Out Productions will deliver music from Prince, Madonna, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Billy Idol, Duran Duran and many others. Prizes will be given out for best 80's fashion and “Name that Tune” winners. Tickets are $15 and there is a $25 minimum dining fee per person. The Carlyle Club, 2050 Ballenger Ave.,

Book Talk with Garrett Peck March 21 | 7 p.m. Author of the book “Prohibition in Washington D.C.: How Dry We Weren’t,” Garrett Peck, will discuss the colorful

history of Prohibition in our nation’s capital with stories of bootleggers, speakeasies and jazz. Books will be available for purchase and signing after the talk. Tickets are $5; members of the Lee-Fendall House are free. Lee–Fendall House Museum & Garden, 614 Oronoco St.,

A Tribute to Aretha Franklin March 27 | 8 p.m. The Carlyle Club will honor the Queen of Soul in this tribute concert. The Brencore Allstars Band, featuring R&B Recording Artist Ameya Taylor, will honor Aretha’s music throughout the night by performing some of her greatest songs. Tickets are $35 and there is a $25 minimum fee per person in the dining room. The Carlyle Club, 2050 Ballenger Ave.,


ONGOING Helen Olivia Flowers Workshops Learn to arrange flowers at one of the March/April workshops. Floral themes include Advanced Bridal Bouquets, St. Patrick’s Day, Spring in Bloom, Easter Basket and Totally Terrariums. All tools, flowers, vases, and instruction will be provided. Prices range from $105 - $125 per workshop. Check website for details. Helen Olivia Flowers, 1519 Leslie Ave.,

inductee is the daughter of Johnny Cash. She has achieved success for her work which spans the genres of country folk, pop, rock, blues and Americana. Some of her most popular songs include “Seven Year Ache” and “September When It Comes” which she recorded with her father shortly before his passing. Tickets are $69.50 and the April 1 performance is sold out. The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,


Cherry Blossom Jubilee March 28 | noon – 5 p.m. Torpedo Factory Art Center hosts an Alexandria satellite celebration for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Enjoy a lively afternoon of cherry blossom-inspired hands-on activities, performances and works of art to shop and explore from all three floors. Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union St.,

Trace the experiences of the women who have shaped the Lee-Fendall House over the centuries. Beginning in 1791 with Mary Lee Fendall, the tour will culminate in the story of the women who fought to save the house from development in the 1970s. Tickets are $10, members of the LeeFendall House are free. Lee–Fendall House Museum & Garden, 614 Oronoco St.,

Roseanne Cash March 31 and April 1 | 7:30 p.m. This four-time Grammy Award winner and Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame

The “Grandest Congress”: The French and Indian War in Alexandria April 4 | noon – 4 p.m. In 1755 Major General Edward Braddock, Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty’s Forces in North America, stayed at Carlyle House. During his stay he had a meeting with five colonial governors which he called “the Grandest Congress” in order to raise support for his campaign against the French. During this event, visitors to Carlyle House will experience Braddock’s visit and the French and Indian War firsthand through costumed interpreters. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

Virginia Craft Spirits Roadshow April 4 | noon – 5 p.m. PHOTO BY KALISTA DIAMANTOPOULOS

April 2 | 1:05 p.m.

March 28 | 2 p.m.

Dominion High School, 21326 Augusta Drive, Sterling, VA 20164,

Carlyle House Historic Park, 121 N. Fairfax Street,

Washington Nationals Home Opener

The Women of Lee–Fendall House

Authority. Admission is free and open to the public.

The 2019 World Series Champions, the Washington Nationals, will kick off the season playing the Mets at Citi Field on March 26. Their home opener will be on April 2 at Nationals Park also against the Mets. Nationals Park, 1500 S. Capitol St. SE, Washington, DC 20003,

2020 Northern Virginia Housing Expo

Sample artisan spirits as well as craft cocktails from 10 Virginia distilleries. Guests can mix, mingle and engage with Virginia distillers firsthand! Tickets also include beer samples from Caiseal Beer. Purchase any bottles of distilled spirits to take home (store them at concierge station during the event). Food from Peruvian Brothers Food Truck will be available for purchase.Tickets are $20 for one general admission, or $35 for two general admission tickets. Day of/onsite: $30 for one general admission. Designated driver tickets are complimentary. The Garden by Building Momentum, 5380 Eisenhower Ave., Ste. C.,

Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day

April 4 | 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. If you are looking to rent or buy a home or apartment in Northern Virginia, visit the 10th Annual Northern Virginia Housing Expo featuring dozens of exhibits and workshops for renters and first-time home buyers. The event is hosted by First Home Alliance in cooperation with representatives from the counties of Arlington, Prince William and Loudoun, the cities of Alexandria and Falls Church, as well as the Virginia Housing Development

April 4 | various times Lee–Fendall House Museum and a number of other museums in Alexandria and the D.C. area will be offering free admission as part of the Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day, a one-day event in which participating museums and cultural institutions across the country provide free entry to anyone presenting a Museum Day ticket. Look up museums and get tickets at museum-day-2020

March / April 2020 •



Under the Same Roof: Enslaved and Free Servants at the Lee-Fendall House

children and adults are welcome to enjoy other activities. Tickets for this event usually sell out quickly!

April 5 | 2 p.m.

Lee–Fendall House Museum & Garden, 614 Oronoco St.,

Explore the Lee-Fendall House through the stories of the enslaved and free African Americans who lived and worked in the home as domestic servants, both before and after the Civil War. This acclaimed tour presents a fuller story of the many people who shaped this house over the course of its history. Tickets are $10, members of Lee-Fendall House are free. Space is limited so advance tickets are recommended.

Average White Band April 17 and 18 | 7:30 p.m. This Scottish soul and funk band was founded in 1972. They are best known for their instrumental hit “Pick Up the Pieces.” They have had several gold selling albums and multi Grammy nominations and their songs have been used in many TV shows and movies. Tickets are $55. The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

Lee–Fendall House Museum & Garden, 614 Oronoco St.,


BunnyFest 2020


The Late Shift: Emerging Artists April 10 | 7 – 10 p.m. In April, Torpedo Factory Art Center’s signature seasonal evening series features inspiring nights of eclectic art and activities returns. Explore three floors of open artists’ studios, discover gallery receptions, thought-provoking artist talks, pop-up performances, hands-on projects, local drinks, lively music and more. Meet the 2020 Emerging Artists in Target Gallery and stay to enjoy the night’s festivities. Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union St.,

Easter Egg Hunt April 10 – 12 | various times Lee–Fendall’s 21st Annual Easter Egg Hunt returns to Alexandria on Easter weekend. The museum’s garden will be filled with hundreds of colorful, toy-filled Easter eggs! Other activities include games, crafts, refreshments, and photos with the Easter Bunny. The Hunt schedule is Friday, April 10 a.m. at 3 p.m.; Saturday, April 11 at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.; and Sunday, April 12 at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. All children age 12 and under are eligible to participate in the Easter Egg Hunt. Older


April 11 | 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.


Artists throughout the Torpedo Factory Art Center will display bunny-themed artwork! Visitors will have the opportunity to make crafts and participate in other bunny related activities. A portion of proceeds from the event will go to Friends of Rabbits rescue.

Virginia Historic Garden Week

Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union St.,

John Mass: Author Talk and Book Signing April 14 | 7 – 8:30 p.m. Attend the book launch of "The Battle of Guilford Courthouse: A Most Desperate Engagement," about the Revolutionary War Guilford Courthouse campaign by military historian, John Maass. Alexandria History Museum at the Lyceum, 201 S. Washington St.,

Blossom Ball Dance Classes April 16, 23 and 30 | 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.

April 18 – 25 | various times The Garden Club of Virginia hosts this 8-day statewide event that welcomes visitors to over 250 of Virginia's most beautiful gardens, homes and historic landmarks. Tour proceeds fund the restoration and preservation of more than 40 of Virginia's historic public gardens and landscapes, a research fellowship program, and a Garden Club of Virginia Centennial project with Virginia State Parks. The tour of Old Town's private homes and secluded gardens is April 18 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and includes refreshments at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House and a marketplace at the historic Athenaeum. Tickets allows access to several nearby historic gardens and properties, including Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden, and two Garden Club of Virginia restoration projects: George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens and Green Spring Gardens. Tickets are $45.

In preparation for the Blossom Ball on May 2, learn 18th-century English country dancing from expert dance instructors. The Blossom Ball is a Regency-era ball with live music, English country dancing, cash bar and seasonal dessert collation. Regency attire or cocktail attire welcome. Those not familiar with dance styles of this period are strongly encouraged to attend a class prior to the ball. Price is $30 for the dance class series. Tickets for the Blossom Ball are $45, and space is limited.

Various locations,

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 N. Royal St.,

Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union St., • March / April 2020

Art Supplies Market April 18 | noon – 5 p.m. Artists of all ages and skill levels can buy or trade a variety of used and surplus art supplies in all visual media. From paints and papers to beads and books, discover deals and perhaps some unusual but must-have finds. Bring extra items for the school supply donation area.

My vision is 2020! Coming Very Soon: Homes in Belle Haven, Historic Clifton, Belle Haven on the Green & Water View National Landing Celebrating 25 YEARS of service to my clients and my community!

Janet Caterson Price Alexandria Real Estate Specialist NVAR Lifetime Top Producer 703.622.5984 | |

109 S Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 Equal Housing Opportunity

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See website for details and hours.



events, computers, musical instruments and art and classroom supplies.



Mount Vernon Rec Center, 2701 Commonwealth Ave.,

Stolen: A Book Talk with Richard Bell April 25 | 7 – 9 p.m.

Active for Autism 5K April 19 | 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Spring2ACTion 2020 Campaign Spring2ACTion, hosted by ACT for Alexandria, is set for April 29, with early giving starting earlier in the month. The annual campaign raises millions for local nonprofit organizations and community support groups. Participating nonprofits represent a wide variety of causes, including health and wellness, food and shelter, arts and music, schools and PTAs, children and families, veteran’s programs, animal rescue and more. Alexandria residents are among the most generous in the nation. Spring2ACTion started in 2011 and is now one of the most successful giving days in the country, according to the donation platform GiveGab. Since 2011, more than 65,000 generous donors have given more than $10 million to 160-plus nonprofits through Spring2ACTion. In 2019, Spring2ACTion raised more than $2.04 million. “We are so proud to be part of such a generous community,” said Heather Peeler, President and CEO of ACT for Alexandria. For more information on Spring2ACTion and ACT for Alexandria, including how to participate, visit


The Organization for Autism Research will be hosting the second annual Active for Autism 5K! This 5K will help spread autism awareness while raising money to fund new research, help award scholarships to students on the spectrum and provide free resources to families and educators. The race is family and autism friendly featuring a safe, flat, out-and-back course along the Potomac Yard Trail in Alexandria. There will also be a kid’s dash and post-race party. Registration for the 5K is $35 in March, $40 in April, and $45 on race weekend. The kids dash is free but requires registration. George Washington Middle School, 1005 Mt Vernon Ave.,

Carlyle House Wedding Open House April 25 | 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. You are invited to join Carlyle House for a free look at their site, the services they provide and the vendors they recommend for weddings. Light refreshments will be served. No registration is necessary. Carlyle House Historic Park, 121 N. Fairfax Street,

Shawn Colvin Steady On 30th Anniversary Tour April 30 | 7:30 p.m. This American folk singer-songwriter won a Grammy in 1998 for her song “Sunny Came Home.” She is known for her personal style of storytelling in her music. She has lent her vocals to songs by James Taylor, Sting and Mary Chapin Carpenter. Tickets are $65. The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

MV Big Flea April 25 | 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. Attend Del Ray’s largest flea market of the year! All proceeds benefit the Mount Vernon Community School and are used for field trips, enrichment activities, special • March / April 2020

Dr. Richard Bell, Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland, will discuss his new book “Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and Their Astonishing Odyssey Home.” The book tells the gripping and true story about five boys who were kidnapped in the North and smuggled into slavery in the Deep South— and their daring attempt to escape and bring their captors to justice. Book signing will follow. Tickets are $5, members of the Lee-Fendall House are free. Lee–Fendall House Museum & Garden, 614 Oronoco St.,

Blue Stockings April 25 – May 16 | various times This 2012 historical drama was first performed at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in 2013. The play follows four female students fighting for education and equality. Set in 1896 at Cambridge University during the height of the women’s suffrage movement, the protagonists must navigate their male counterparts and faculty. The play’s title refers to a then commonly used derogatory term for female intellectuals. Conflicts between generations, social classes and genders abound in this period piece. Tickets range from $21-$24. The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe St.,

The George Washington Parkway Classic April 26 | 8 a.m. Run 5k or 10 miles along the Potomac River during one of the country’s most scenic running events. The 5k begins at the Belle Haven Marina and the 10 miler begins at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Free shuttles are available. Both races finish up at Oronoco Bay Park in Old Town where there will be tacos and beer provided by Port City Brewing Co. Kids can run the 600-meter Kid’s Dash at Waterfront park beginning at 10:30 a.m. Spaces for the Kid’s Dash are limited and cannot be purchased on race day. Various locations,


May Alexandria Earth Day 2020 May 2 | 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Alexandria Wedding Showcase April 26 | 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. The Alexandria Wedding Showcase is the premier event for couples as they plan to create memories that will last a lifetime. Both regular and VIP tickets are now on sale. VIP tickets include a limited-access brunch with Monte Durham of "Say Yes to the Dress" prior to the Showcase and VIP lounge access throughout the day. All attendees will be entered to win 250,000 Bonvoy Travel Points, which can "pay" for an entire weeklong honeymoon in thousands of locations worldwide. The event is sponsored by Alexandria Living Magazine.

Learn about the importance of protecting the environment at Alexandria’s 27th annual Earth Day celebration. The event will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Earth Day movement and will feature exhibitors demonstrating their commitment to the environment, through displays, activities and engagement, highlighting each of our roles in sustaining our Earth. Attendance is free and open to the public. Lenny Harris Memorial Fields at Braddock Park, 1005 Mt. Vernon Ave.,


Revolutionary War Weekend at Mount Vernon May 2 and 3 | 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Step back in time during one of the largest Revolutionary War re-enactments in the country at the estate of General Washington! Activities, demonstrations and more are included in admission to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, but advance purchase is recommended. Mount Vernon Estate, 3200 Mt. Vernon Hwy.,

The Westin Alexandria Old Town, Courthouse Square,

When considering whether to invest in a private school education for their children, many parents assume that high school is the best time to make the switch to an independent school. Actually, earlier is better for sending your child to an independent school, with the preschool-middle school years being crucial to academic and social-emotional development. A pre-K education is the most critical building block of a child’s foundation. Preschool promotes kindergarten readiness, social-emotional development, language and math, among other skills that will serve a child for life.

Children must learn to read before they can read to learn. Being a successful reader requires trained instructors who recognize the many skills required for fluency. Research supports that a 3rd grade child behind in reading will rarely catch up with their peers. In preschool-8th grade, children have opportunities to try new subjects without the fear of needing to be “an expert.” By high school, students have determined the areas where they can compete. At Browne Academy, all students, from preschool-8th grade, have art, music, Spanish, PE and innovation as part of their curriculum. There are also multiple athletic and performing arts opportunities, all of which give students a safe place to try new things and develop new passions. In a preschool-8th grade school, the entire curriculum is built for these developmental ages; the teachers are trained in child development, and Discussing emotional strategies through role play. they are intensely focused on the child as an individual. High school teachers are often subject-area specialists, with limited training in child development. In an intimate school like Browne, teachers get to know each student’s learning style, strengths, and challenges. This informs individual instruction and facilitates a smooth transition from grade to grade as a child grows and develops through the years. Social-emotional development is as important as academics for young learners. Browne’s social-emotional program begins in preschool and runs through 8th grade, giving our students the proper support and sense of security they need. As they leave Education is the most important investment parents will make in their children. Making that investment early will provide the biggest return., 703.960.3000

March / April 2020 •


April 29, 2020 Are you ready to Spring2ACTion? Spring2ACTion — Alexandria’s annual Giving Day — helps you make a difference in your community. We connect you with local causes you’re passionate about, providing an easyto-use platform to allow you to donate to nonprofits in your neighborhood. Since 2011, 65,000 generous donors have given more than $10 million to more than 160 nonprofits through Spring2ACTion, making it one of the most successful citywide giving days in the country!

On April 29, we will be celebrating 10 years of Spring2ACTion. Join us in giving back to the community we love! Give online! Early giving starts April 15 and you can give through April 29.

Attend an official Spring2ACTion event! Events will be happening around Alexandria on April 29.

Raise your hand to fundraise! Choose an organization or cause, and set a goal.

Spread the word! Tell your friends, post on social media using #Spring2ACTion and share your donor story.

For more information and to learn how you can get involved, contact Brandi Yee at or visit today.

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A Stranger’s Act of Kindness BY STUART PERKINS

Hitting the road early, I stopped by McDonald’s near Duke Street and Quaker Lane on my way to the out-oftown wedding of a friend. I picked up my order at the drive-through window and pulled into a parking spot to eat before being on my way. I preferred the silence of my car over the clamor of the dining area inside. It was quiet and peaceful with no screaming kids. “Mommy!” a kid screamed. It was a little girl. She and two older kids stood next to an old car parked a few spaces away. “Mommy!” she screamed again. Panic in her voice this time. All three looked around but never moved from their spots. Puzzled, I stopped eating and tried to understand. That’s when Mommy appeared from a strip of trees across Wheeler Avenue, a baby on her hip and a long thin stick in her hand. “Where’s Daddy?” the little girl screamed to Mommy, clearly upset by their predicament. Daddy appeared from the same trees holding a toddler’s hand. He also carried a long thin stick. As Daddy used the stick to fumble around the edge of the car window, I realized they were locked out of their car. Mommy and kids stood by while Daddy tried with first one long stick then the other. No luck. The first stick was too thick and the second broke just as he seemed on the verge of success. Maybe they need a coat hanger. I popped my trunk. It only took seconds to go into my luggage and grab a wire


Illustration by Lucinda Jennings

coat hanger. I heard an odd rattle, but in a hurry I paid no attention and shut the trunk. Daddy’s eyes lit up as I approached with the hanger. Mommy herded the kids aside so he could try again. The upset little girl was crying now. Mommy had her hands full with the other four, so I squatted down beside the quietly sobbing girl. “Don’t worry, it will be OK,” I said, patting her arm. Her Daddy, grunting, contorted himself during several attempts to wedge the coat hanger into the window. Pop! “And there you go!” I said to the little girl when the lock popped. Mommy and Daddy thanked me profusely as they packed the kids back into the old car. Daddy joked, saying worst of all, his coffee was now cold. I waved as they drove off. Bang! Bang! Their old car backfired twice, maybe in celebration. Heading back to my own car, I reached into my pocket for the keys. They weren’t in my pocket. They were in the trunk. That was the odd rattle I heard as I searched for a hanger. I could pop the trunk from inside the car. Simple enough. No. The car was locked. It was still early and no one was around. • March / April 2020

Unsure of how long it would now take to be on my way to the wedding, I leaned against the door and shook my head. Bang! Bang! Around the corner of the McDonald’s came the old car. As it turned out, Daddy couldn’t tolerate cold coffee, so he had circled back for a fresh cup. By the look on his face, I could tell he knew what had happened. He pulled beside my car, coat hanger in hand, and set to work. He struggled a bit. My car gave him more trouble. He bent the coat hanger several ways, trying each new bend to see if it was the right angle. His family watched intently, but everyone stayed in the car. Everyone, that is, except the little girl who had been so upset. I looked down to see what was tugging at my shirt. “It will be OK,” she said, patting my arm. I smiled at her but wasn’t so sure. Daddy seemed to struggle with the coat hanger and had worked up a slight sweat. I expected him to give up, but he kept at it. I heard him grunt. I resigned myself to making some calls to a locksmith and likely being late to the wedding festivities. My hope was fading, but the little girl stood confidently beside me patting my arm. Daddy grunted again. Pop! “And there you go!” the little girl said as she skipped back to their car.


Simple Changes, Big Results Alexandria Cops Assist Local Seniors with Horse Therapy BY SUSANNAH MOORE

A few elderly Alexandria residents are spending time with the police and it’s not because they are in trouble. Local Alexandria police officers have been assisting them with horse therapy at Simple Changes Therapeutic Riding Center in Mason Neck, who has an ongoing partnership with Goodwin House Incorporated (GHI), a nonprofit senior living and healthcare services organization. Goodwin House Alexandria is GHI’s senior living community located in Alexandria. Residents from Goodwin House participate in horse therapy for a number of different reasons. Goodwin House social worker Barbara Bolin explained, “Some residents are living with dementia, others are invited because they need social support and an opportunity to connect with old skills or interests, or they struggle with depression or anxiety.” In one particular instance, the police officers were able to assist one participant mount and ride a horse. Afterwards, the participant could not stop talking about how he had a police escort on his ride. “Having the police officers on hand to walk next to [him] on his ride helped to keep him safe, and it gave him a great story to tell his friends and family,” Wallingford said. During their time at Simple Changes, participants practice memory skills, receptive and expressive language, and enjoy


some fresh air and time with animals, said Simple Changes Executive Director Corliss Wallingford. “They learn about horse behavior and horse care by grooming and leading the horses. They share stories of their past and present by writing Haiku and playing memory games. Horses are a great social mirror as they reflect back our energy -- helping to encourage self-awareness and self-control.” This year, Sgt. Misti Battle, supervisor for the Community Oriented Policing unit (COPS) from the Community Relations Division of the Alexandria Police Department, learned about the horse therapy program from Bolin because they both serve on the Dementia Friendly Alexandria action team. The City of Alexandria was named a Dementia Friendly Community in April 2019, meaning the city and its residents are informed and respectful toward individuals with dementia and their families. In addition, the city provides support and focuses on quality of life for residents with dementia. The Dementia Friendly Alexandria initiative is part of a larger, nation-wide movement called Dementia Friendly America that began in September 2015.

Battle and Bolin agreed that including police officers as part of the program would be an excellent way for them to develop sensitivity and understanding while interacting with seniors, especially those living with dementia or memory loss. Battle said police officers who have helped with the program have found it fun and rewarding. They have enjoyed watching the residents interact with the animals and making a difference with people who have been part of the Alexandria community for a long time. Battle credits the forward-thinking leadership of APD Chief Michael Brown and Assistant Chief Don Hayes for seeing the need for police participation in these types of programs. Battle says she has been contacted by APD officers from other sections who have heard about the program and want to participate.

For more information about Simple Changes, visit For more information about Dementia Friendly Alexandria email

March / April 2020 •




Encounters What to do when outside animals are inside your house. BY BETH LAWTON

Living in Alexandria’s West End, we’ve had our fair share of wildlife encounters in the past few years: Two squirrels in the house, a snake in the basement, deer eating still-green tomatoes from our garden and a few mice. Several neighbors have dealt with raccoons in the attic. We’ve seen foxes, opossums and turtles on our street. Most of the time, animals keep to themselves and stay away from people, but as people encroach on animals’ homes in our woods and parks, wildlife encounters in Alexandria become more common. What to do when residents and wildlife meet depends on the animal and the situation. The City of Alexandria contracts with the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria’s Animal Services to provide assistance and support to wildlife. If you live in another jurisdiction, their Animal Control teams may also be able to help with wildlife concerns. “Virginia law forbids our officers from interfering with animals in the wild that are not ill, injured or presenting a threat to people around them,” according to the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.“ Animal Services can also assist Alexandria residents

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A six-point buck in a West End backyard | PHOTO BY BETH LAWTON

with wild animals loose in their homes, though if those animals are trapped in contained spaces (such as in chimneys or under floorboards), officers are not allowed to cause potential home damage to apprehend those animals and can provide information for a licensed wildlife removal specialist.” Particularly in the spring, you may find baby animals that seem abandoned or birds who can’t fly (yet). Keep your distance. In most cases, the mom will come back or the bird will figure out how to use its wings. Stop, wait and observe from a good distance before calling animal services. SQUIRRELS

A neighbor discovered the first squirrel in our house while we were on vacation, and he managed to shoo the squirrel out through the back door. The second squirrel came down our chimney a few years later and eventually scurried out our front door after taking a running tour of the living room, dining room and kitchen (much to the delight of our kids, who thought the whole situation was hysterical). If you have a squirrel in the living area of your home, try to contain it in a room or area and open the door or a window for the critter

to escape to the outside. (If it’s on an upper story, only open windows that are near trees or grass to the squirrel doesn’t get hurt falling onto a hard sidewalk.) You may also put a rope down your chimney to give the squirrel a way to climb out. If there are squirrels nesting in your attic insulation, try to make them want to leave with loud noises, bright lights or the smell of apple cider vinegar. Once they leave, you can figure out how they came in by looking for tracks, nests and other clues. Call a home repairperson to seal up those entry points. Keep your chimney flue closed, too. RACCOONS

Raccoons are generally nocturnal, but, like foxes, they are often active during the day — and that doesn’t mean the raccoon is sick or a danger. Raccoons live in the woods, often in a tree or a burrow. The key to keeping raccoons away from your home is to make sure your garbage cans are securely closed, compost bins are covered and any dog or cat food is brought inside nightly. Motion-detecting lights can help keep raccoons away, too. Raccoons are very skilled at climbing and digging, and can claw their way into your attic. If you have a raccoon in your attic, it’s best to call in the professionals to have the animal relocated humanely. SNAKES

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Snakes, like mice, can squish themselves into surprisingly small spaces, letting themselves into your home through ground-level cracks and holes. They come inside searching for prey, and homeowners often find them in dark corners of the basement. While most snakes in Virginia are not venomous, snake bites still hurt and can become infected, so it’s best to remove them by setting a humane snake trap or calling a professional. Try to keep snakes out by sealing up those small holes at ground level that they can crawl through. BATS

Bats have a bad reputation, but they do a lot of good, particularly by keeping the mosquito population under control.


However, if you find a bat in your home that may have had contact with a human, do not try to catch it. Call animal services, which will determine whether the bat needs to be tested for rabies. Like other animals, bats can come in through your chimney or through small holes in your attic, porch or basement, so make sure any holes are sealed up. Before beginning any deterring measures, you should contact the Virginia Wildlife Helpline (703-440-0800) or the Animal Services/Animal Control team for your jurisdiction.

For more information on wildlife in the City of Alexandria, visit In Fairfax County, visit

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A Visit to the ‘Prettiest Small Town in the South’ BY GLENDA C. BOOTH

From a worn cardboard box under the Byrum True Value Hardware’s cash register, Jean Byrum Brown pulled out two stapled-together, three-by-five-inch index cards, one for the bride and one for the groom. The anxious customer, a cousin of the groom, had three hours before the wedding on the town green to buy a gift and asked to see the bridal registry. After a quick scan, he disappeared into the store and returned in two minutes with a sawhorse. “Well, I can’t wrap that, but I can put a bow on it,” Brown chirped. This is quintessential Edenton, North Carolina, population, 4,800. 24 • March / April 2020

Brown, an Edenton native, is a third-generation member of the Byrum family running the hardware store founded by her grandfather. She knows her customers’ first names. “We’re friendly. We know how to welcome people,” she commented. Peggy Ann Vaughn, wife of former mayor Roland Vaughn, concurred: “Everybody knows everybody and cares about everybody." "We are so friendly we have two visitor centers,” bragged Nancy Nicholls, tourism director. Edenton was once described by a travel writer as "the prettiest small town in the South," and the name has stuck.


Clockwise from bottom left: 1767 Chowan County Courthouse; Rowing by Roanoke River Lighthouse; Sailing by Baker House Inn; Capain's Quarters Inn; Kayaking on the Bay | PHOTOS BY KIP SHAW

Not only is Byrum’s hardware a symbol of small-town hospitality, its variety store section is a cornucopia bursting with thousands of items: Ribbons, craft supplies, decorations, North Carolina sports memorabilia, sewing notions, Pyrex dishes, gardening tools, shower heads, sillcocks, bike helmets, you name it. The bridal registry dates from the 1940s and Byrum’s even stocks samples of crystal and fine china for couples. It’s a bulging-at-the-seams curiosity shop, much more welcoming and touchy-feely than the Walmart 30 miles away. PRETTY AND HISTORIC

Tucked into the western end of Albemarle Sound, 70 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, Edenton boasts colonial history, water-oriented recreation and many restored Victorian, Georgian and Federalstyle homes. “We don’t tear down. We save or move them,” explained Nicholls. The walkable, one-stoplight main street, Broad, is lined with mom-and-pop boutiques sporting homemade signs for the upcoming wild game cookout, spaghetti supper and pork chop fundraiser. Daily live-narrated trolleys chug around town, introducing visitors to the waterfront, mansions, late-1900s cottages and inviting front porches. Blount’s Drugstore serves fresh-squeezed orangeade and limeade. The Steamers baseball team sports a clam logo.


Sir Walter Raleigh explored the area in the 1580s. In 1712, the state legislature designated Edenton North Carolina’s first capital, a time when the town docks were a bustling, cotton and tobacco shipping center. (The more central Raleigh became the capital in 1792.) In 1819, President James Monroe dined on the second floor of the Chowan County Courthouse, built in 1767, the oldest government building in North Carolina. In 1842, Harriet Ann Jacobs, born into slavery in Edenton, hid in an attic for seven years and dressed as a sailor, sailing north to freedom on the maritime underground railroad. She wrote Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl under a pseudonym. Edentoners love the story of their other “female rebellion” in 1774, told today in the Penelope Barker House’s “Women of Distinction” exhibit. Barker organized area women to sign a letter to King George protesting his tea taxes, a brazen move that generated a British satirical cartoon that caricatured them, labeled them “treasonous” and carped that they should be tending to their wifely, domestic duties. On the town green, the 250-pound bronze Edenton Teapot perched on a Revolutionary War upright cannon memorializes their bold protest. March / April 2020 •



IF YOU GO Amtrak has several trains a day from Alexandria to Rocky Mount. Hertz and Enterprise rent vehicles for the twohour drive to Edenton or you can fly to Norfolk and drive two hours or to Raleigh and drive two and-a-half hours.

Above: Polka Dot Palm, Right: The Table | PHOTOS BY KIP SHAW

The 1758 Cupola House, topped by a cupola for ventilation, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Its Prussian blue, Georgian woodwork includes wainscoting, mantles, pediments and moldings, some of which are reproductions because the original was sold to the Brooklyn Museum. Slaves likely lived in the much plainer upstairs.


For more “modern” history, the Mill Village Museum details how the Edenton Cotton Mill from 1898 to 1995 employed 100 at its peak, worked in hot, dusty conditions and made cotton into yarn, supplying the U.S. armed forces in World War I, among others. It is the heart of Mill Village, once 70 modest bungalows where the 400 worker families lived. Exhibits describe close-knit village life and milling equipment. The last batch of yarn made there is displayed.

Dining on the wraparound porch of the Cotton Gin Inn, a B&B surrounded by tall trees and gardens, might invoke your Scarlett O’Hara fantasies. While waiting for your Rhett Butler, imaginary or otherwise, you can munch on lightly fried chicken with remoulade sauce, homemade biscuits, fried-green tomatoes, arugula salad and a scrumptious dessert of Charleston coconut cake with custard. The brick two-story was built 1900, is on the National Register of Historic Places and claims to have the only brick outhouse in North Carolina.


Captain Mark Thesier, Edenton Bay Cruises, regales his passengers with history, boating lore, flora, fauna and local miscellany. Passengers learn about the invading Union troops’ shenanigans when they occupied the town in the Civil War and strategies of enslaved people who escaped on boats. Today’s boaters often see ospreys, black bears, white tail deer and red wolves. The Roanoke River Lighthouse displays the keeper’s furnishings and tools of the trade, including a crank radio used to communicate. The lighthouse is the screwpile type, perched on a platform underpinned by a “screw” on the bottom twisted into the river bottom. It was moved from one-half mile offshore. SHOPPING

Broad Street’s unique shops, many woman-owned, offer much “retail therapy.” Feathers sells women’s clothing in their “preloved” section and racks for curvy girls and “working mamas.” Finders Keepers offers hand-painted furniture and décor. Downtown Diva sells jazzy tops, bottoms and rompers. The Polka-Dot Palm, a self-described “hip gift boutique,” specializes in “cute.”

26 • March / April 2020

The Edenton Bay Oyster Bar on Pembroke Creek touts crispy-fried oysters, fried oyster salad and oysters with pimento and ham. The house-made pimento cheese is rolled with sweet baby gherkins in country ham. Creamed collards are popular.

There’s also plenty of classic American and Southern cuisine, pizza and sandwiches around town. Eager eaters can work it all off at the Edenton Bay Trading Company’s Vinyl Night, an outdoor, rollicking, twist-and-shout dancing joint with live disc jockeys playing actual vinyl records non-stop. Lodging favorites include many elegant B&Bs in former homes near downtown. One choice is the Greek-Revival-style Captain’s Quarters Inn built in 1907. Innkeepers Diane and Don Pariseau serve lunch and dinner. Don makes his own sausages and bread and smokes trophy-winning BBQ ribs. On their spring and fall “mystery weekends,” guests venture out on scavenger hunts around town. Edenton smacks of small-town warmth and exudes friendliness at every turn. “Here, if you have five people in front of you at the stoplight, we have a problem, a traffic jam,” quipped Linda Tiller, a local.

For more information, visit

Wine & Weddings BY SCOTT HENDLEY

If you are planning a wedding wine must be on your mind. Wine is essential to all wedding events – from bridal shower to rehearsal dinner to reception. Whether to serve wine at your wedding events is not in question; rather, the question is how you go about planning and carrying out your wine service in a way that delights you, as a couple, as well as your guests and creates a memorable experience for everyone. We believe wine should be woven into your wedding events and memories, not just a sideline. Here we offer some ideas that may help you make quite the splash – red, white, pink and bubbly – at your nuptials.

Make it personal

Nothing falls flatter than run-of-the-mill wine at a wedding event. Avoid, if you can, serving wines that are commonplace in the supermarket. Instead, select and serve wines that have some personal significance and memorability for you, the wedding couple. If you appreciate wine, especially as a couple, have traveled to wine country together or have special wine discoveries or favorites, select and serve wines that reflect your personal experiences. If you have a favorite winery or two, for instance, source your wines directly from those wineries. “Direct-to-Consumer” wine shipping within the United States – the ability to order wines directly from the winery and have them delivered to your door – makes it easy to do this, and if you happen to be a “club” member of any given winery you are likely to receive some helpful discounts on wine and shipping costs.


Another option is to personalize your wines with customized labels that commemorate your wedding. There are a number of wineries around the DMV and across the country, as well as scores of online wine retailers, that offer “private label” wines for special events. If this is something you would like to pursue, first ask your favorite winery if they offer private labels. If not, Google will lead you to many options to choose from. While private label wines would provide a memorable touch to your wedding events, it is a costly option to consider only if your budget allows.

Make it local

We in Virginia enjoy an abundance of wineries from which you can “locally source” wines for your wedding events or where you can actually hold your wedding events. Many Virginia wineries, from just outside of the Beltway and beyond, offer wedding venues in picturesque settings ripe for lavish wedding celebrations and, of course, photos. Some offer personalized wine labels, as well. There are a number of wedding planning sites online that list Virginia wineries with wedding venues, including, herecomestheguide. com and More recent to the local wedding venue scene are two wineries in Washington, D.C. One is City Winery ( on New

York Avenue in Northeast D.C.; and the other is District Winery ( in the The Yards neighborhood along the Southeast waterfront. Both establishments offer wedding facilities and services as well as personalized wine labels.

Make it intimate

If you plan to hold any of your wedding events at home or another private location and want wine service, consider hiring a “mobile wine bar.” One such service is Alexandria’s own VinoBLU Wine Bar (see photo, above), established and operated by fellow Alexandrian and wine specialist Wakeya Henry. VinoBLU offers full wine service for weddings and other special events and will set up a wine bar wherever you may like, indoors or out, with wine servers on staff. VinoBLU will select and source wines based on your preferences and can provide walk-around charcuterie and/or dessert service. VinoBLU serves the entire DMV Metropolitan area. (;; 703-244-5965). (NWR) is an online wine publication based in Alexandria. It is dedicated to exploring, evaluating, and reviewing unique wines from around the world. Scott Hendley founded NWR in 2012 with fellow Alexandrian Richard Stone.

March / April 2020 •



Hollin Hills Mad About Mid-Century Modern BY LISA DUNN

The Hollin Hills House + Garden Tour takes place every two years, showcasing the gardens and homes designed more than 50 years ago by architect Charles Goodwin. The neighborhood of woodsy rolling hills and Mid-century Modern homes is located in southeast Fairfax County between Belle Haven and Fort Hunt. Lucky for lovers of the "Mad Men" style, the tour comes around again this year on May 2.

28 • March / April 2020

Two years ago, Jessie and Matt Cornelius admired homes on the biannual Hollin Hills House + Garden Tour, and that summer they moved into their own 1952 Goodwindesigned Hollin Hills home, along with their four pugs: Gigi, George, Ranger and Birdie.


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"We were fortunate to have found it," Jessie said. "There was little on the market. In fact, our house wasn’t even on the market. It was in the process of being renovated. An architect — Deborah Lerner — was redesigning it and we made an offer while it was under construction." They were drawn to Hollin Hills by the architecture and landscape, but the sense of community has only enhanced their move. "Now that we’ve lived here for a year and a half, we’ve grown to love the sense of community in the neighborhood as much as the architecture," she said. "There’s a very special spirit in Hollin Hills. It’s engaged, passionate and caring. It’s why it will be preserved and treasured for generations to come."

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"We’ve lived in several places around the country and this is the first time that we feel we could stay forever," Jessie noted. The exterior of the one-story, slab-on-grade home is a mixture of brick, vertical board and glass. It has a wall of windows along the back that stretches more than 20 feet, which is characteristic of the model. It’s surrounded by new flagstone patios installed last summer, tied in with pre-existing flagstone near the front door. The home features two driveways and one carport. "Our favorite feature in the backyard is a mature weeping blue atlas cedar. It’s magnificent," Jessie said. The original house was a version of Goodman’s Unit House No. 2 design. Depending on the options that were selected, the unit number varied. For example, if four feet was added in the kitchen, the model number modified to No. 2K4. Jessie and her husband are in the process of finding the exact floor plan. Originally, the house had three bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen, living room, fireplace and utility room. Before Jessie and Matt moved in, the home was expanded. Architect Eason Cross added to the original structure. From pictures, the Corneliuses say it looks like the addition was a den with flagstone floors, a separate office and a laundry room.

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Architect Deborah Lerner was the third architect to work on the house. Her design enhanced the flow from the original house to the addition designed by Cross. Now, the interior is an uninterrupted circular path, which the pugs like to do laps around, Jessie said. Lerner also converted the office and laundry room area into a master bedroom, bathroom and walk-in closet. The laundry was relocated to a closet in the hallway. Lerner also added a half bath. "It’s an efficient house and she made great use of the space," Jessie said. During the renovation, a large tree limb fell on the roof over the new master bedroom/ bath/closet area so a new roof was put on, which is pitched over the bedroom. Now, the home has four bedrooms, two full baths, a half bath, living/dining area, den, kitchen and utility room. The fireplace is original. Since Matt and Jessie moved in, they’ve expanded the back patio, added a front patio, removed four trees, added landscape lighting, sodded the front yard, renovated the walkways and added a gravel path around the perimeter of the house.

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Jessie recommends taking the tour. "Anyone who loves architecture, Mid-century Modern, art, sculptures, houses, landscaping and design," she said, "would really enjoy it."

March / April 2020 •




From scooters to SmartMobility, the way Alexandrians get around town is changing quickly. We talked to City officials and residents about how technology and policy are shaping transportation, including the pros and cons of smart streets, Vision Zero and more. 32 • March / April 2020

Seminary Road and scooters: Those were the two topics that dominated many of Yon Lambert’s conversations throughout 2019 and into early this year. Lambert, director of Transportation and Environmental Services (T&ES) for the City of Alexandria, said that while those highly visible topics are important, decisions made about them are actually rooted in years of policy that envisions a city where residents can safely get around town in a variety of ways. “The one word that most captures what it is that we’re trying to provide people is ‘choice’,” Lambert said from a City Hall conference room in late December. “Our goal is to make sure we are providing people with a range of options for how to move around safely and efficiently.” 2019 was a particularly investment-heavy year as Alexandria worked toward providing more transit choices to residents: • The City and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) broke ground on the new Potomac Yard Metro Station. • The Alexandria Transit Company (DASH) adopted the new Alexandria Transit Vision (ATV) Plan — a complete reimagining of the local bus network — that will “create a more useful and equitable bus network that encourages more people to get to more places using transit,” according to the ATV website. • Alexandria made significant progress on its SmartMobility plan, which is modernizing the way traffic and transit are managed.

Many residents say the investments are working: According to the 2018 National Citizen Survey Community Livability Report for Alexandria, “For Mobility, respondents’ scores for ease of travel by alternative modes (walking, bicycle and public transit) were higher than in other communities nationwide.” That doesn’t mean getting around Alexandria — or anywhere in Northern Virginia — is easy. Multiple studies, including reports from Inrix (a Washington-based firm that analyzes traffic problems) and the Texas Transportation Institute, have given Northern Virginia the unwanted title of having some of the worst traffic in the nation. The question is what to do about it.

THE ALEXANDRIA MOBILITY PLAN As part of the overall efforts to increase safety and efficiency, City officials are working on a new Alexandria Mobility Plan, set to be released in 2020. The Alexandria Mobility Plan is an update to the City’s Transportation Master Plan, which was last fully updated in 2008. First, some history: The City of Alexandria’s 1993 Transportation Master Plan focused on roads and intersections that city officials wanted to build. By 2008, city officials incorporated plans for people who walk, bike and use transit, including the biggest idea to come from that plan — the creation of transit corridors, Lambert said. Since 2008, smart phones have saturated the market, Waze (a popular mobile app that recommends efficient routes and warns of traffic issues) launched, and Uber, Lyft and other ride-share services emerged. Dockless mobility — primarily scooters, but also electric bikes and now, mopeds — hit the streets, as well. The new Alexandria Mobility Plan ( MobilityPlan) is designed to think about how people move with a nod to the effects of technology. In a region that’s rapidly urbanizing and facing no slowdown in growth, “the only way to move around safely and efficiently moving forward is by finding more ways to help people get around,” Lambert said. “None of the transportation policies we’ve adopted as a City have said that we shouldn’t let people drive through the City, so we’ve been making large-scale investments in transit to help all users of our streets make safe choices for commuting and daily errands.”

March / April 2020 •


None of the transportation policies we’ve adopted as a City have said that we shouldn’t let people drive through the City.

MOVING SMARTER With an eye toward technology, which could someday include driverless cars, Alexandria is moving forward its SmartMobility initiative. “Alexandria is committed to investment in transportation technologies that improve road safety and traffic management while preparing the City to take advantage of future transportation infrastructure advancements, such as self-driving cars and real-time traffic management,” according to the City’s SmartMobility website at The City’s investment in transit and transportation choices include massive capital projects such as broadband and IT infrastructure improvements, as well as SmartMobility. SmartMobility involves implementing transportation technologies that improve road safety and traffic management while also readying the City to take advantage of future transportation advancements like self-driving cars and real-time traffic management. “What we want our signals to be able to do is adapt all the time to traffic conditions, but also to talk to each other so one traffic signal is not only telling another traffic signal to adjust when there’s a lot of traffic,” Lambert said, “but also to adjust when there’s a bus coming and there are a lot of people on that bus.” That’s already starting to happen: “Alexandria is rolling out intelligent traffic signals that respond and adapt to real-time vehicle location and movement data, optimizing traffic flow, decreasing delays, and reducing stops at various intersections throughout the city. The new signals are equipped with technology to prioritize transit and emergency vehicles, allowing equipped vehicles to request preemption at intersections and bypass stopped vehicles or congestion,” according to the City’s SmartMobility website. Other technology already in place includes field devices such as traffic cameras and pavement sensors that can capture real-time data.

“How we manage the flow of traffic is almost as important to managing congestion as adding lanes,” Lambert said. Of course, infrastructure (both physical and virtual) costs money. “There’s a lot of money going into this program, almost entirely grant funded,” Lambert said. “The funding agencies recognize that particularly in urban areas, this is a really important part of safety and congestion mitigation.” And some residents have expressed concern about privacy. Some elements of smart streets programs use Bluetooth signals from drivers’ smartphones to measure traffic volume and speed. “Unlike an app, streets and parks can’t require their users to check a dialog box consenting to how their personal information will be used before granting access. In public spaces where personal information is collected — take video footage that records people’s faces in a crowd — there is no easy way for people to opt out of giving their consent,” wrote Alex Ryan of MaRS Solutions Lab in a opinion piece this year. The key is ensuring that companies providing these services are fully anonymizing data — or you can shut your phone off while driving.

VISION ZERO In 2017, Alexandria joined an increasing number of cities that adopted Vision Zero. “Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all. First implemented in Sweden in the 1990s, Vision Zero has proved successful across Europe — and now it’s gaining momentum in major American cities,” according to the Vision Zero Network, a not-for-profit organization that promotes the strategy. “For too long, we’ve considered traffic deaths and severe injuries to be inevitable side effects of modern life. While often referred to as ‘accidents,’ the reality is that we can prevent these tragedies by taking a proactive, preventative approach that prioritizes traffic safety as a public health issue,” according to the organization. To do that, Vision Zero calls for road systems and transportation policies minimize the errors in judgment people make while driving, biking or walking. This means lower speed limits, safer intersections and an educational component to make people aware of road changes and conditions, as well as safe practices. Unfortunately, you can’t engineer away stupidity. Despite the City’s best efforts to improve safety, some people will make poor choices. It’s all too common to see drivers who speed, tailgate, cross the center line

34 • March / April 2020

signs, which tell drivers when they are going too fast. Data from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation (USDOT) shows these signs are effective in reducing traffic speeds and increasing speed limit compliance, but they only work for a limited time before drivers start to ignore them. As of this writing, speed cameras, common in the District of Columbia, are not legal in Virginia for routine usage in residential areas — but the Virginia legislature is considering new laws that could make them legal.


What we want our signals to be able to do is adapt all the time to traffic conditions.

Many residents have confused Complete Streets with Road Diets — they are not the same, nor do they always go hand-in-hand.

to avoid speed cushions, run red lights, or illegally pass speed-limit-abiding drivers; some bikers blow through intersections at high speeds, and some pedestrians jaywalk, adding to the chaos. While the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and several injuries is laudable, some of the methods used to move toward that goal can be controversial. This year, New York City’s Uniformed Firefighters Association officials said Vision Zero is increasing response times for emergency vehicles because of poor planning. Here in Alexandria, there have been a number of questions and concerns from residents about whether emergency response times are slower on Seminary Road near INOVA’s Alexandria Hospital. Through official channels, Alexandria Fire Department Chief Corey Smedley, who was acting chief during the Seminary Road debate, said there were no complaints from emergency responders and that all the fire department’s concerns about the Seminary Road Diet have been addressed. (For more on the Seminary Road controversy, go to and search "Seminary Road.") Alexandria is implementing several tools toward its Vision Zero goal. Those tools include Complete Streets, Road Diets, Leading Pedestrian Intervals (which give pedestrians a few seconds to start crossing before cars get a green light), speed limit reductions, no turn on red restrictions and more. Frequently used in Alexandria: speed-awareness

Lambert described Complete Streets as a “paradigm shift in how we think about roads.” Every time a road is scheduled for repaving in Alexandria, city officials and residents look at ways to make it safer and more usable for all types of commuters — pedestrians, bikes, scooters and cars alike. While that may include a road diet in a few select cases, “There is no singular design prescription for Complete Streets; each one is unique and responds to its community context,” according to Alexandria’s Complete Streets website. “A complete street may include: sidewalks, bike lanes, special bus lanes, comfortable and accessible public transportation stops, frequent and safe crossing opportunities, median islands, accessible pedestrian signals, curb extensions, narrower travel lanes, roundabouts and more.” (Learn more about it at In Alexandria, City officials have added stop signs and shared bike lanes have been implemented to create safer streets for pedestrians, bike commuters and vehicles. Residents are also noticing an increase in speed cushions, dedicated bike lanes, new sidewalks, bump outs and more.

WHAT IS A ROAD DIET? Seminary Road was part of the Complete Streets program — and one of the few cases in Alexandria where officials determined the best course of action was a Road Diet. “A classic Road Diet typically involves converting an existing four-lane, undivided roadway segment to a three-lane segment consisting of two through lanes and a center, two-way left-turn lane,” the USDOT explains. That’s exactly what was implemented on Seminary Road in 2019.

March / April 2020 •


development, according to the Alexandria Mobility Plan Foundations Report. Much of this growth will be in northeast Alexandria near Potomac Yard and Del Ray, along the Eisenhower Avenue corridor and in the northwest corner near the Mark Center. (The report is available through In addition, commuter flow is largely into the City. 2017 data from the U.S. Census Bureau showed that on a typical day, 70,600 people commute into the City of Alexandria to work, and only 57,200 commute to other jurisdictions. Another 11,100 people both live and work in Alexandria.

How we manage the flow of traffic is almost as important to managing congestion as adding lanes.

Done correctly, the USDOT reports that Road Diets can reduce crashes by 19 to 47 percent. Additional benefits may include slower traffic, safer usage by all road users and more. “A key feature of a Road Diet is that it allows reclaimed space to be allocated for other uses, such as turn lanes, bus lanes, pedestrian refuge islands, bike lanes, sidewalks, bus shelters, parking or landscaping,” according to the USDOT. However, road diets must be implemented smartly. Simply narrowing vehicle lanes or reducing the number of vehicle lanes will not make a street safer. In fact, done incorrectly, road diets can make a road more dangerous. While these projects are highly visible and affect a lot of drivers, they are not a huge area of financial investment for Alexandria compared to other transportation projects and priorities. Still, Road Diets are not without controversy, as the Seminary Road project has demonstrated: An increasing number of residents are joining a Seminary Road anti-diet Facebook group, citing concerns about continued speeding at some times of the day, traffic backups at other times, questioning whether emergency vehicles can respond to needs in a timely manner, and lamenting that bikers and walkers aren’t making enough use of their new facilities.

Thus, in some ways, there’s no avoiding traffic in Alexandria — it’s just “geographic reality,” Lambert said. The City is surrounded by the Beltway, and I-395 goes right through it. Drivers from Maryland taking the Woodrow Wilson Bridge into Virginia often end up on Alexandria streets on their way to Arlington, the District, Fairfax County or the Mark Center. Numerous residents have asked why Alexandria won’t put ‘no through traffic’ signs on secondary roads or limit access to certain roads by non-Alexandria residents through a permit program. Alexandria has a handful of roads where traffic safety conditions warranted turn restrictions during certain hours, but these regulations also make travel more difficult for residents in those neighborhoods. Consistent enforcement of rush-hour turn restrictions for non-residents would be difficult to sustain, according to local police. Other residents have suggested more aggressive measures, including physical barriers to prevent cutthrough traffic from using certain residential streets. “We can’t just cul-de-sac all the neighborhoods,” Lambert said.

It’s convenient (and somewhat cathartic) to blame Maryland drivers for Alexandria’s traffic woes, but it isn’t entirely their fault.

While doing so would force cut-through traffic to use main roads, it would also have a serious negative affect on local residents, who would just get stuck in the traffic that results from funneling all cars onto arterial roadways.

Alexandria’s own population has been increasing at a rate of about 1 percent per year since 2010, and that rate of growth is expected to continue or increase with the arrival of Amazon and other

The ability to use side streets to avoid traffic benefits us all, Lambert said, but there are ways to make neighborhood roads safer for residents and less attractive to cut-through traffic.



Other studies have shown that during certain times of the day, more than 40 percent of traffic can be attributed to cut-through drivers. • March / April 2020

With the advent of Waze and other traffic-avoidance apps, drivers would simply end up on other roads. “Really, these programs would just be shifting the problem from one road to another, not eliminating or reducing cut-through traffic overall,” Lambert said. Legally, courts have determined that Alexandria cannot simply ban Waze, as some residents have suggested doing. So what is Alexandria doing about cutthrough traffic? • Road design is part of the equation. By designing roads to accommodate local traffic and enhance safety for all users, highways and major arterial roads will look like a better, faster option for commuters. • The Virginia Dept. of Transportation is working on solutions, including additional information signs for Beltway and I-395 Drivers (such as those signs that say “D.C. Line 9 miles, 10 minutes”). • Smart Mobility will help improve signal timing to keep people moving on the arterials and provide data for traffic engineers to make well-informed decisions. • The Alexandria Transit Vision will help make public transit more efficient and a more attractive option. • Increased regional cooperation combined with increased investments in transit will make transit more efficient and effective for commuters, which may also help alleviate congestion. • Intelligent development will help, as well: Alexandria is increasingly focused on new developments that are walkable, mixeduse and “live, work, play”-focused, which can help reduce car trips. Residents may also consider making adjustments when they can — planning ahead to combine trips, running errands during off-peak travel hours, and adjusting work schedules or telecommuting. And before getting in the car, as local traffic legend Bob Marbourg used to say, “Pack your patience.”

Your Take Over the winter, we asked Alexandria residents to answer this question: “What is your biggest concern about transportation and/or commuting in the Alexandria area, and what do you think should be done to make it better?” You can read all the complete responses we received at You can add your opinion by commenting on the online story. Here are a few excerpts:

“If Alexandria’s goal is to create a great place to live, it will have to improve the way city officials bring together transit professionals, boards and commission members, elected officials, designers, developers, and the public to solidify a shared vision.” – RAFAEL LIMA “To improve Alexandria’s transportation performance, travel lanes must be maintained on major arteries and throughput must be prioritized over the idealistic implementation of a multi-modal transportation plan that simply isn’t serving Alexandria best.” – ALEXIS SARGENT “I would like to see the restoration of many streets recently ‘road dieted’ to four-lanes so we can have sound traffic flow to expedite travel through to 395, the Wilson Bridge and 495. Alleviating traffic congestion will go a long way to restoring quality of life for many Alexandrians now stuck in traffic, losing time they can never recoup.” – FRAN VOGEL “The city regularly complains they don’t have enough traffic officers to patrol. Speeds cameras would solved this instantly. Further, hands-free smartphone use should be the law everywhere in Virginia especially in the era of Waze. People with their noses in phones are a huge hazard for bikers, pedestrians and other motorists.” – PETER TURNER “While Seminary Road and King street is a great start for helping to promote bikers and create traffic calming measures, there failed to be a balance of congestion control methods. This lack of balance causes frustration for ALL users of the roadways, bikers, and cars, alike. … I applaud what the City Council has done already and hope they continue to build in a smart balanced and sustainable way. I’m also ashamed of the polarization that this topic has caused within my city. I understand it’s not perfect but the pure hatred I’ve seen over this topic is just sad and short-sighted.” – OCEAN EILER March / April 2020 •


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Seasons ofLove Alexandria’s


Alexandria is known for being one of the most romantic cities in the country.

It’s the perfect place to get married — spring, summer, winter or fall — with

plenty of charming and historic venues to choose from for the perfect wedding. In the following pages, we’ll look at some of the top wedding trends, from wedding dresses and jewelry to flowers and catering.

Couples — be sure to mark your calendars! You won’t want to

miss the Alexandria Wedding Showcase, coming up on Sunday, April 26 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Westin Alexandria Old Town. For more information, see Page 43.

March / April 2020 •


Seasons of Love

Here Comes the Bride “Here comes the bride, all dressed in white,” is the old saying, but wedding gowns don’t always have to be white. Although about half of the brides who walk through the door of Ellie's Bridal Boutique at 225 N. Washington St. in Old Town Alexandria go for ivory, the other 50 percent trend toward everything from lighter pinks to nude tones, according to the store. In some cultures or religions, white wedding dresses are not the norm. Indian brides typically wear colorful sari or lehenga and Chinese brides wear red, the color of good luck, happiness and prosperity. At one time, Spanish Roman Catholic brides wore black dresses to show their devotion until death. One of the top trends seen at the boutique are three dimensional florals with texture, to give the dress depth. Decorative backs — a very low back or an illusion sheer back are also popular. How about black lace over white? That more unusual choice was recently highlighted by Alexandria’s Global Bridal Gallery, 689 S. Washington St., in a video they created to show off some of the wedding dress styles they have available.

40 • March / April 2020


A "royal" look to consider: “Statement” trains and veils (think Meghan Markle’s 16-foot veil two years ago) and veils are expected to continue to be a trend in 2020, according to the “Women Getting Married” podcast. Elegance by Roya, 1311 King St., recently showed off a double-tiered train by wedding dress design company Enzoani. For fall and winter weddings, many brides are showing interest in higher necklines and long sleeves. One wedding dress trend we endorse? Pockets (perfect place to tuck a "something old" heirloom handkerchief). Anna’s Bridal, 8804 Pear Tree Village Court in the Mount Vernon area, showed off the trend in an A-line NEVA dress, Aire Barcelona, a beautiful example of the trend, on its social media pages. Details make the difference. "We're seeing pleating back, buttons on the back of the gown and bows are big," according to wedding expert Monte Durham. If a bride wants to wear lace, it's often worn with a darker shade underneath, to show the pattern of the lace.

SHOPPING TIPS Ellie's Bridal Boutique offers these tips for shopping for your wedding dress: Floral designs incorporated into the dress, in the form of floral lace embroidery or colorful hand-printed flowers, are something to consider if a garden wedding is in your future, as well. Tiaras worn with hair in ballet knots are also big this wedding season, Durham said.

1. Try not to get overwhelmed. The first appointment is not so much about finding your dress, but more about finding your style.

For the extreme fashion forward bride: styles coming out of the most recent fashion shows in Europe show brides in blazers and business suits, according to Brides Magazine.

2. Try everything, even if you don't think it's for you. 3. Don't shop around too much or "it will just mess with your head." 4. Not everyone has that "I'm going to cry" moment. 5. Consider shopping on a weekday, when bridal salons are less crowded. 6. Bring shoes, a slip and wear undergarments that work with a wedding gown.

DON’T FORGET THE GROOM! The classic black tuxedo is still a great option for men, but increasingly, men are choosing a look that is a bit more individual.

7. Don’t bring a large entourage — too many opinions may cause doubt.

Tuxedo by Sarno, 600 S. Washington, suggests trying on at least two colors (midnight blue is a big trend). And some men are ditching the tuxedo and going for a three-piece suit, or adding more personality through unique, stand-out ties. March / April 2020 •


Seasons of Love


Wedding Party One of the biggest decisions you’ll make for your wedding is choosing who will be part of your bridal party on your special day. After that, you’ll have to decide what they will wear during the ceremony and reception. Most bridal shops, including Bridals by Natalie, 705 King St., offer bridesmaid gowns as well as mother-of-the-bride dresses. When you're deciding on the color of your bridesmaids' gowns, wedding expert Monte Durham says one of the things to keep in mind is the season you are getting married. “You want to stay away from reds and oranges,” for a summer wedding, for example, he said. In the spring, think color and rejuvenation. In the winter, think jewel tones. While Durham applauds making several dress styles in the same color as an option to bridesmaids in order to offer a better fit for a variety of body types, he still enjoys the uniform look of the ‘60s, he said. “I’m still a fan of dyeable shoes,” he said. “I’ll get shot for saying that. I’m all about monochromatic.” A change in color trends? Fewer black bridesmaid’s dresses. “They do that because they say they’re going to wear them again. Newsflash: They’re not,” he said. Another consideration to keep in mind when dressing your bridal party is the venue. “What you’re going to wear to a beach is going to be different than a mountaintop or a religious facility,” he said. If you’re having a hard time deciding on what your bridesmaids and wedding party should wear, Durham advises coming up with three adjectives to decide what you want for your wedding, as in “I want my wedding to be … elegant, understated and sophisticated or romantic, soft and lovely or fun, interactive and full of joy,” he said. “Get those three things, write them

42 • March / April 2020

down and every time you go to make a selection, it’ll keep you on track.” If you’re still having a hard time, make an appointment at a local bridal shop just for looking at bridesmaid dresses. Rosalin’s Bridal Boutique in Falls Church is a mom ’n pop shop where brides say they feel comfortable and get personal service, including shopping for bridesmaid dresses. Some trends to look for in bridesmaids gowns this year, according to Wedding Wire, include cowl necklines and midlength hemlines (between mini and maxi). Other trends to keep an eye on: Halter dresses and structured silhouettes. Sapphire blue and silky, satiny fabrics are also trends to look for in bridal party dresses. Typically, while brides choose what their bridal party will wear, wedding experts say that each bridesmaid is expected to pay for the dress and the rest of the outfit, including shoes. They also pay for their own travel costs if they’re coming from out of town. Brides might consider hiring a makeup artist on the special day for the entire bridal party. The eyes have it when it comes to makeup trends for the bride and bridal party. Attention is on “very strong and intense eyelashes and brows,” Durham noted. “Eyes are the big hit. Lips? It’s ‘bring out the Chapstick.’”

Seasons of Love Alexandria Wedding Showcase Win a Free Honeymoon and Meet Monte Durham Alexandria Living Magazine and The Westin Alexandria Old Town request the honor of your presence at the 2020 Alexandria Wedding Showcase on Sunday, April 26. Tickets are already available through for this day of fun, fashion and festivities, giving local couples all the information and services they need to create a truly memorable event. One lucky couple will win 250,000 Bonvoy points, which can be used for flights, hotel stays and even food in amazing locations worldwide. The points can add up to a free honeymoon in Paris, Hawaii or other beautiful locales.

The day will kick off with a VIP brunch at 10 a.m. hosted by Alexandria resident,


business owner and host of "Say Yes to the Dress" Monte Durham. Durham will also host the wedding fashion show at the 11 a.m. public opening of the Alexandria Wedding Showcase. The Alexandria Wedding Showcase will also include other prize pack-

VIP tickets, including the limited-access brunch with Monte Durham and access to the VIP lounge throughout the event, are $50. Early bird tickets are $20 per person (or $35 per couple) through April 10.

ages from The Westin and several Alexandria-based businesses. The Alexandria Wedding Showcase is designed for couples who are in the market for jewelry, venues, caterers, flowers, dresses, formal wear, honeymoon destinations and a variety of services.

The award-winning Westin Alexandria Old Town is located at 400 Courthouse Square in Alexandria’s Carlyle neighborhood. The hotel is easily accessible from the Eisenhower Avenue or King Street Metro stations. On-site parking is also available.

We look forward to a day of champagne, cake and celebrating with you on Sunday, April 26!

from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at The Westin Alexandria Old Town Enter to win prizes, including 250,000 Bonvoy Travel Points that you can turn into a dream honeymoon! Reserve tickets for the VIP Reception with Monte Durham of “Say Yes to the Dress!” Meet jewelers, caterers, florists, photographers and check out some of the region's most unique venues, too!

Visit for more information or to purchase your ticket. March / April 2020 •




Shop local for your picture-perfect wedding. From gifts to accessories to must-have services and more, the Old Town Boutique District has what you need. Here are some ideas!





5 2

3 9

1 | Everything you need for you

honeymoon without breaking the bank! Tanya Taylor dress, $231.99; Lizzie Fortunato clutch, $98.99; Stuart Weiztman shoes, $129.99. MINT CONDITION, 103 S. ST. ASAPH ST., 703-836-6468, SHOPMINTCONDITION.COM.

2 | Bridal hair and services, starting at $120. SALON DEZEN, 118 N. FAYETTE ST., 703-549-1400, SALONDEZEN.COM.

3 | Make your own personalized jewelry in

our Wedding Party Workshop, from $40 per person. WEAR EVER JEWELRY, 1112 KING ST., 703-299-0921, WEAREVERJEWELRY.COM, 703-299-0921.

4 | Shredding for the wedding? Personal training with custom nutrition guidance at Get Fit Studio is the key. GET FIT STUDIO, 277 S. WASHINGTON ST. #120, 703-721-3074, GETFITSTUDIOVA.COM.

5 | Smooth moves! Permanent Laser Hair Removal, $120 to $680.


6 | Designer fashion from Sara Campbell.

Metallic jacquard open jacket $358 and sleeveless sheath $288. SARA CAMPBELL, 320 PRINCE ST., 703-996-9074, SARACAMPBELL.COM.

7 | Bad posture on a bride is out of fashion. Come back to health for your prewedding health care. Prices vary.


8 | Barre Brides: Don’t forget to prepare

your body and mind for your big day! Plus, gift your bridal party a group class or membership. PURE BARRE ALEXANDRIA, 429 JOHN CARLYLE ST., 703-303-8146, PUREBARRE.COM.

9 | Picture perfect hair by Hazel O. Salon, prices range from $45 to $375.



GIFT IDEAS 13 | For the newlywed’s home: Michael Aram, $55 - $155.


14 | Get great gifts for the groom and


groomsmen including: a bottle opener made from a Washington Nationals game-used bat, $120, or a baseball money clip, $90. TWIST BOUTIQUE, 109 N. FAIRFAX ST., 703-566-2341, TWISTSTYL.COM.

15 | Offering custom wedding signs or a venue for unique bridal showers and events, visit AR Workshop, a boutique DIY studio. $55 - $125.



16 | For the bride-to-be, a 3-month unlimited package at Studio Barre, $450.


17 | The perfect gift for bridal shower

hosts or bridesmaids, multiple colors and may be engraved, Vietri Bud Vase, $46. BOXWOOD, 128 S. ROYAL ST., 703-537-8996, BOXWOODOLDTOWN.COM

18 | A great gift idea for a maid of honor

or bridesmaids! Available as a special order, 14K Gold Itty Bitty Best Babes Charm Bracelet, set of two, $450. SHE’S UNIQUE, 205 KING ST., 703-836-8863, SHOPSHESUNIQUE.COM.





10 | Doggie of the bride? No wedding is

complete without your best friend at your side. Hand-sewn rose ring, $70, and Chloe and Max Black Bowtie, $17.99.




11| Honeymoon in style! Poupette St. Barth Bonnie Short Jumpsuit, $330.


12 | Pilates, HIIT, Yoga and Barre classes to get wedding ready.

SCULP’D, 1103 QUEEN ST., 703-567-4442, FACEBOOK. COM/SCULPD.


Seasons of Love


Flower Power Style, budget, color palette, venue, season... There's a lot that comes into play when choosing fresh flowers for your wedding. Whatever style wedding you choose, you'll want your flowers to enhance your overall theme. That’s where working with one of Alexandria’s many local floral designers will help you create the wedding of your dreams. Conklyn’s Florist suggests taking one of the latest wedding trends — a floral backdrop made with either hanging flowers or a flower wall — to create some Instagram-worthy memories. You can thank celebrities, including Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, for pushing that trend forward. Once you've decided on a style, your most important (and most photographed) floral arrangement for your wedding will be the bouquet. There are at least seven popular styles, according to Grace Ormonde Wedding Style: Cascade: Gives a "waterfall" effect and features lots of trailing vines and greenery. Posy: Usually a rounded shape, tied with ribbon. Hand-Tied: A rustic feel as if freshly picked from a wildflower forest. Round: Formal looking and usually monochromatic; often featuring roses or peonies. Nosegay: Small and compact, accompanied by greenery. Pomander: Round spheres of flowers hanging on a ribbon. Composite: Composed of individual petals, this is for the bride looking to add some drama to her wedding style.

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If you’re not sure what Most brides (nationally) flowers to choose, the spend an average of $1,500 annual International Floral on flowers, according to Distributors Flower Trends Wedding Wire. Consult Forecast, which tracks conwith your florist on ways sumer preferences for flowto stretch your budget ers and consumer buying patto get the look terns, said these flowers are you want. on trend right now: Peonies, Garden Roses, Ranunculus, Dahlias, Butterfly Ranunculus, Spray Roses, Chrysanthemum Disbuds, Tender Vines, Hydrangea and Tillandsia. Flower forecast experts Derek Woodruff and Helen Miller say the flower trend that will be most prevalent for weddings this year will be what they call "Black Tie + Barefoot." The style features “moody-colored flowers and soft, feminine textures. The look is created using muted and muddy color flowers combined with lacy and airy foliage unexpectedly paired with dried flowers and tender vines. The color palette will be grayed tones of pink, lavender, blue and green with a heather-ish pink being the most prevalent. Roses, peonies, dahlias and a host of flowing vines will be most popular for creating Black Tie + Barefoot décor." Don’t forget the groom, best man and groomsmen. If you’re looking for something unique, Alexandria’s Helen Olivia Flowers suggests a favorite wedding trend: Custom boutonnieres made up of a mix of thistle, guinea feathers, lavender and leather cording.


Floral Tips




Did you know there's a proper way to hold a wedding bouquet when you're walking down the aisle? Some brides make the mistake of holding them up too high, obscuring the bodice of their wedding gown while walking down the aisle, wedding expert Monte Durham told us. An easy way to remember how to carry your bouquet? Hold it down in front of you and tilted out, as if you were holding a flashlight.




Often, couples allow guests to take tabletop and other arrangements home, but you can also give them to anyone working at your wedding including bartenders and waitstaff. Or, have them delivered to a nearby assisted living center — just be sure to make arrangements with the center ahead of time. You can also remember a late relative or another loved one by leaving flowers from your wedding at their gravesite. To preserve your wedding bouquet, hang it upside down for several weeks to dry. Experts say it will last another six months to a year. Another unique way of preserving your posies? Pluck petals and leaves out of the bouquet, press them between wax paper, iron and add them to a frame that includes your wedding invitation.

It’s how you Celebrate This Love

March / April 2020 •


Seasons of Love

Put a Ring on It

What is changing now is the way diamonds are attained. The more traditional diamond is mined, but an increasing number of couples are turning to lab-grown diamonds that are less harmful to the environment and lessen the human toll from mining operations. What hasn't changed? The most popular cut for a diamond engagement ring. "Round diamonds are always the most popular, but lately we have been getting a lot of requests for ovals," said Cathy Bradford, owner of King's Jewelry 609 King St., which has been in business since 1955. The round brilliant consists of 58 facets that divide the stone into a top and bottom half, the American Gem Society notes. Runners up, according to the gem society, include the oval cut, princess cut and the emerald-cut. The cushion cut, which combines a square cut with rounded corners, like a pillow, is getting more popular, as well.

Congratulations! You just got engaged. That means you're likely wearing a ring given to you by your true love. The tradition and history of engagement rings dates back thousands of years, evolving in the past few centuries to today's popular diamond engagement ring. Diamonds weren’t always the norm. For centuries, engagement rings were sapphires or other stones, usually paired with diamonds. It was in 1947 that the lines turned: That was the year DeBeers launched its slogan, “A Diamond is Forever.” According to the American Gem Society, “The implied durability of a diamond conveyed the meaning in the American psyche that marriage is forever.”

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Many couples considering getting engaged often do their homework by searching for rings they like on social media. Pinterest notes that elongated cuts including oval are popular, and searches for pear-shaped and elongated cushion engagement rings are up 143 percent. After doing their homework, many couples often go ring shopping together before a proposal, Bradford noted. "We usually get couples who come in and look first so that the groom has an idea of what she likes. Later, he comes back and picks a ring he knows she will love." While about 80 percent of brides stroll down the aisle wearing a diamond engagement ring, some opt for something more unique. Aside from diamonds, "sapphires seem to be the most popular colored stone because it is harder than other colored stones and produces excellent sparkle," Bradford said.





Purchase an engagement ring less than two months before a proposal.

Of grooms-to-be purchase the ring from a brick-andmortar store.

Of grooms-to-be get down on one knee during the proposal.

Of couples share their engagement news on social media within a few hours.

The word "diamond" comes from the Greek word adamas, meaning "invincible."

When it comes to the average amount spent on an engagement ring, the Mid-Atlantic region spends the most, with an average of a whopping $7,500, according to wedding authority The Knot. The guidance to spend two to three months’ salary on an engagement ring was made up by marketers, and financial advisers recommend spending only what you can afford without going into debt. (You can always upgrade with a nice anniversary ring later.) When it comes to popping the question, the most popular days are Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day and Valentine's Day. And a small-but-growing number of heterosexual couples are swapping roles, or at least thinking about it. Searches on Pinterest for “women propose to men ideas” increased 336 percent from 2017 to 2018, the most recent year data is available, Brides magazine reported. But it’s still something only about 5 percent of women do. After the proposal, most couples are engaged for just over 14 months before the big day.

WEDDING RINGS While the engagement ring gets a lot of attention before the wedding, it’s the wedding rings that play a big role in the ceremony. Wedding rings come in an endless variety from simple bands in gold to more complex designs in titanium. They can come with or without gems, or be paired to complement an engagement ring. Some couples are opting for vintage rings, and matching bands are no longer necessary. So where do you start? Stop by a local jewelry store or start searching social media for what you love – this is something you’ll probably be wearing every day for the rest of your lives together, after all. Keeping your lifestyle in mind will help narrow the selection, too. If you play sports or work with your hands a lot, a simple band may be the safer choice, according to The Knot.

WEDDING JEWELRY For the bride, choosing jewelry to go along with the dress can be a stressful experience. Here are a few tips: 1. Consider the color of your dress: Silver or platinum might go best with a white dress, whereas gold may bring out the hues of an ivory-colored dress. 2. If the dress itself is particularly ornate, go for understated jewelry. If the dress is plain, a necklace and earrings can make more of a statement. 3. Keep your personal style in mind, too. Just like your dress, your jewelry should be comfortable and reflect your taste.

March / April 2020 •


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Seasons of Love


Sit-Down Formal T O FO O D T R U C K FU N

Thinking of having cupcakes, donuts or pies at your wedding reception? It's a trend that appears to be on the way out as a substitute for a wedding cake — but some of those fun foods are making appearances at other times over the wedding weekend. Janet Daniels, who handles events at the popular River Farm, located on the banks of the Potomac River, said "we seem to be past the smaller individual desserts. I also find couples to be more interested in good-tasting food rather than 'interesting' or 'foodie' food." Many couples are looking to reflect parts of their culture on their wedding day menus, serving a variety of ethnic foods or hometown favorites, said David Magsumbol, Catering Sales Manager at The Westin Alexandria Old Town. But before you even contact a caterer, Rocklands Barbeque & Grilling Company advises having your confirmed date, time and location, as well as your budget and number of guests before setting up a meeting. It can't hurt, they note, to also give caterers an idea of the wedding reception style you're going for — peruse Pinterest and bring photos of some styles you like. If you're hosting a crowd with multiple diet needs, a menu with variety is the key, Daniels said. "Think about your guest list and any food requirements that may be necessary (gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, vegan, kosher, halal, etc.) and, while it is difficult to make everyone happy, try to select a menu that hits a number of those points but is still something that you enjoy."

52 • March / April 2020

If you're trying to make your reception unique, many couples personalize their bar choices, she noted, by choosing local providers for beer, cider, wine and spirits (think Lost Boy Cider, Aslin Beer Company or Port City Brewing). Couples can also get creative when it comes to the traditional wedding cake by adding a splash of color to white cake/ white icing with adornments — "be it flowers, ribbons or lacework..." And pastry chefs and cake designers are getting creative, Daniels noted, using gum paste and sugar to add color to cakes. It comes down to personal preference on whether to offer a sit-down meal or buffet for your guests, she said. "Buffets let your guests choose what and how much they want, but plated meals offer the elegance of wait staff service. Both have the same issue of timing if you have a larger event. Some guests are finished with their meal as other guests are just being served or going to the buffet."

Wedding expert Monte Durham of "Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta," said that formality is in these days. "Tablescapes are low, without the tall candelabra, so everyone can see each other, but formal with scattered candles." And details make the difference, he said. "I love a double-padded table, it's such a gracious thing. I'm all about those details." The waterfall napkin fold, for example, "is still important," he said. Another popular trend with many brides and grooms is adding some fun and informality to a pre-dinner reception or late-night dancing by offering noshes from a favorite food truck. A popular one in Alexandria is Meggrolls, which offers a variety of tastes wrapped in bitesize egg rolls in flavors from Buffalo wing to chicken parm. Another great late-night choice? Gourmet donuts from Alexandria's Sugar Shack. Two popular flavors are Salted Caramel and Maple Bacon (washed down with some ice-cold milk).

Feeling frazzled by all the choices? Daniels' reception tips for brides include hiring a wedding planner. "I tell all my couples to get a planner of some sort," she said. "Either full planning, partial planning, or month-of coordinating." By hiring a planner, she said, "it lets you release all the details at the rehearsal and lets you and your family and friends enjoy the day and being together. There is so much that won’t go according to plan on the big day but everything will come out fine anyway and you don’t need to concern yourself with the problem or the solution. You just need to end the day married, and let someone else sweat the small stuff."

March / April 2020 •


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Seasons of Love

Eloping Evolves


When Scott Shaw was planning to get married, he visited a bookstore to find a guide on eloping. He was certain that out of the hundreds of books in the wedding aisle, there would be at least one. After scouring the shelves with no luck, he sought the help of a bookstore employee who was equally surprised when a search through the store’s system came up with nothing.

and many meetings and brain-storming sessions later, their new company, The Art of Eloping LLC, was born. The company will launch a website this spring, and a new book about how to elope is in the works through publisher Chronicle Books.

Shaw and his now-wife Camille Shaw decided to elope anyway, but the experience inspired him to write a book on the topic. His book, “Let's Elope: The Definitive Guide to Eloping, Destination Weddings, and Other Creative Wedding Options,” came out in 2001.

Merriam-Webster wrote about the evolving meaning of the word eloping from “to run away to secretly get married, usually without parental approval” to "small destination wedding," "wedding that is not financially insane," or "wedding that allows us to not invite all the people we would rather not invite."

Following the book’s release, Shaw moved on, started a family and eventually went on to become a founding partner of Alexandria Restaurant Partners and chair of the board of directors at Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, but he never shook the feeling that the idea behind his book could become something more.

Elopement is on the rise. In 2019, Pinterest reported that the search for “Elopement Photography Ideas” went up 128 percent from the previous year.

Fast-forward nearly 20 years later when Kim Olsen, who at the time was writing for Washingtonian, interviewed Shaw in his role as co-founder of ALX Community and it’s new coworking location in Alexandria. Olsen found out about Shaw’s book,


Scott Shaw, left, with his wife Camille, at their elopement | PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SHAWS • March / April 2020

The concept of eloping and the reasons for eloping have changed significantly over the years. “Twenty years ago eloping was this sort of oddball thing to do — you could go to Las Vegas and get married or you could find a justice of the peace. Now there’s this quiet movement going on that’s not getting a lot of publicity, but younger couples are going, ‘Hey, I just don’t want the traditional big wedding,” explained Shaw. “A lot of it is the new frugality, the other [factor] is just people who want a more meaningful experience.”

When discussing some of the reasons couples elope today, Olsen said, “We’ve been interviewing lots of couples. We went into it thinking it was money as the reason [for eloping] and all the articles online supported it, but when you actually talk to couples, everybody says it’s the stress. They’ll spend $25,000 dollars on an awesome destination elopement, but they don’t want to send out save the dates. Many times it is about

 128% Elopement is on the rise. In 2019, Pinterest reported that the search for “Elopement Photography Ideas” went up 128% from the previous year.

the money, but it wasn’t as big of a factor as we thought it was going to be.”

streamline the planning process. “Eloping is simple so your

Shaw added that the increase in same-sex marriages is a factor, since same-sex weddings can often times be “minefields of family relations.” Eloping allows couples to avoid the pressure to invite unsupportive family members.

The wedding industry is built to support traditional wed-

Beyond avoiding the money, stress and unwanted guests that are generally associated with larger, more traditional weddings, couples who elope today want more personalized and intimate weddings. Unlike in previous generations when eloping meant a Las Vegas chapel or the courthouse steps, couples today, who have often had long engagements, want a ceremony that best reflects them as a couple. Often times this means choosing locations that are meaningful rather than convenient, like where the couple met or where they got engaged. Typically, couples hire photographers who are able to creatively and intimately capture these ceremonies.

planning should be, too,” said Olsen.

dings, but the Art of Eloping website was created exclusively for couples who plan to elope. Users will not have to dig around or feel less prioritized than couples planning traditional weddings. Olsen and Shaw pointed out that Alexandria is a popular elopement spot, with its picturesque alleys and historic venues that lend themselves perfectly to intimate ceremonies. The Washington, D.C. area is a well-established wedding destination, giving couples access to a large number of vendors. When asked for her top advice for couples considering elopement, Olsen answered “Just do it. Don’t be swayed by family members who want you to do a certain thing.”

Even mainstream wedding vendors and planners have picked up on the increased popularity of eloping. “Many mainstream vendors have elopement packages or small dinner parties…there are different ways to go about it [eloping] in these more traditional places as well,” Olsen said.

Not one couple Olsen has interviewed has regretted eloping.

To help couples navigate their eloping options, the website will include destination guides, information on marriage laws, vendors who specialize in these types of weddings and an Elope Diaries series featuring real couples and their elopement experiences. Users of the site will be able to collect vendors onto one page with a lot of tools available to

end, they should do what they want — whether it’s eloping

Wedding company Zola conducted a survey in 2017 of 500 engaged and newly married couples and results indicated that almost half of couples considered eloping. Olsen emphasized that every couple is different and, in the or planning a large, more traditional wedding.

To stay updated on the launch of the Art of Eloping website, follow their Instagram account @artofeloping.

March / April 2020 •



The Full Monte Whether he’s hosting the American Horticultural Society annual gala (wearing Dolce & Gabbana, of course) or going for a run in his neighborhood near the George Washington Parkway, Monte Durham is at home in Alexandria. The longtime co-host of "Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta" has much to be excited about these days. For starters, there's a lot of buzz about the opening of his new salon, Monte, opening soon on South Union Street at The Watermark, next door to Hotel Indigo. “I have ‘Said Yes’ to Alexandria’s waterfront,” Durham quipped earlier this year before a Visit Alexandria audience at the Carlyle Club, announcing new business openings in 2020. “I am beyond excited and maybe a tad overwhelmed with this salon deal,” he said. He's getting an assist from local interior designer Robin Wagner, ASID. Sketches by Wagner show an elegant space with sophisticated details. The salon will host three stylists in addition to Monte himself, and feature the MONTE haircare line. Durham is creating a men's product line as well, and he hopes to eventually add a makeup line.

Monte Durham pictured with an exact replica of Jackie Kennedy's 1953 wedding dress | PHOTO BY NAN RYANT

Durham said he plans to work at the salon about 30 hours a week. "I understand time and talent," Durham said. "Those are two things I'm going to concentrate on — not overbooking. That's the way I want the salon to run. If your appointment is at 5, you're going to be in the chair by 5:10." The menu of services at the salon will be "secondary to your experience." His private style room at the salon will feature a portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy wearing his favorite color, yellow. Durham became enamored of the late first lady while growing up in West Virginia, where his parents revered President Kennedy, and he's always admired Jackie’s grace under pressure. Durham has a collection of Jackie Kennedy memorabilia at his home and was even gifted — by Priscilla of Boston, for his work promoting their wedding gowns — an exact replica of the dress Jackie wore in 1953 when she married John F. Kennedy. The salon will also include a few tributes to Monte’s mother, who passed away last year. “She held the ladder for me to climb to the stars,” Durham said. If it sometimes seems that Durham's life is like something out of a TV show, get ready. Producers are filming a “sizzle reel” about the style guru and his new Alexandria salon — a possible precursor to a new television pilot — and he has an inspirational book about his life in the works.


58 • March / April 2020

Durham will be the guest of honor at a VIP brunch at the Alexandria Wedding Showcase on Sunday, April 26 at The Westin Alexandria Old Town. He will also emcee a bridal-themed fashion show to kick off the annual event.

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