Alexandria Living Magazine - May/June 2020

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Old Town Renovation Historic Charm Meets Modern Conveniences



The Scoop

on Alexandria's Frozen Favorites

Living, Loving, Listing Old Town Lauren and Archie Bishop, McEnearney Associates

There is something extraordinary about living in Old Town... the sense of community, my morning walk with Archie, or bumping into friends. I truly love this town and love even more helping my clients find their special place in Alexandria. Wherever you are in life, your first home or third, connect with me to talk about how I can help you with your next move.

Lauren Bishop, RealtorÂŽ I tel. 202.361.5079 I I Old Town, Alexandria 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 I tel. 703.549.9292 Equal Housing Opportunity

Thank you. We are grateful to all the people in our community who are putting their own health at risk in service to others. To our healthcare workers, first responders, volunteers and others helping our community fight against COVID-19 — we appreciate everything you're doing.

June 28, 2020

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.



See events and activities that are coming to Alexandria.



















The founder of Wholistic Hound offers us her best tips for an enjoyable experience at the dog park for you and your pet.

Alexandria writer Stuart Perkins muses on life from everyday encounters in Alexandria. In this issue, he considers the value and memories that ordinary objects can bring.

Although Alexandria doesn't have a dedicated vegan restaurant, there are plenty of tasty options in town.

Forbes magazine calls Alexandria the "Ice Cream Cone Capital" of the country. Here's the scoop on our city's ice cream, gelato, fro-yo and frozen custard emporiums.

Get inspired to start your own summer reading list with this excerpt from "Jones Point," a mystery thriller by local author John Wasowicz, set in Alexandria.

Four beach getaways within a fourhour drive of Alexandria, plus what you can do ahead of time to ensure a fun time for the whole family.

Jaqueline Tucker talks about her new job as equity officer for the City of Alexandria.

31 May / June 2020 •




36 Indoor Get inspired! An Old Town renovation and addition, housewarming gifts, plus how to choose paint colors.


49 Outdoor Whether you have a postage-stamp sized backyard or an acre of land, we have tips on making the most of your outdoor space.

ON THE COVER The deck and backyard of a Southeast Fairfax home.



4 • May / June 2020

 @AlexLivingMag

 @AlexandriaLivingMag










If you are thinking of buying or selling your Old Town home, call Babs and put her expertise to work for you!

Babs Beckwith, Specializing in Old Town Properties for 25+ years tel. 703.627.5421 I I 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 I off. 703.549.9292 Equal Housing Opportunity

A Letter from Our Founders


Beth Lawton EDITOR


Christian Cunnane Lora Jerakis

Cleo Chitester Nicola Tate



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.


Alexandria Living Magazine fully supports the local business community and offers several unique ways to partner with the publication. • Sponsored articles and multimedia content on the website, in our popular email newsletters and on social media. • Highlighted events in our events calendar, email newsletters and social media. • Sponsored real estate listings. • Brand awareness through online banner ads designed to boost your business. • Contests, sweepstakes and giveaways.

To learn more about how partnering with Alexandria Living Magazine can help build your business, contact us at or call (571) 232-1310.


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Subscribing to Alexandria Living Magazine is easy! You can go to to pay securely online by credit card, or mail a check with the subscription mailing address to Alexandria Living Magazine, 201 N. Union St. Suite 110, Alexandria, VA 22314. Subscriptions are $14.95 for one year or $24.95 for two years.


As we prepared this issue, Alexandria and the rest of the world were just beginning to come to grips with the new realities thrust upon us by the novel coronavirus and COVID-19. We hope by the time this is in your hands, there will be signs of hope for our future health and wellbeing. Meanwhile we soldiered on, while social distancing of course, working on your May/ June issue and the rescheduled Alexandria Wedding Showcase, June 28. This issue features several home and garden stories starting on Page 36 that we hope offer inspiration for you to spruce up your own castle this spring. We delve into an Old Town renovation/addition, container gardening, increasing your home's curb appeal, housewarming gifts, choosing the right paint color and backyard projects. With warmer weather, many of us will be out with our pets enjoying a romp at the dog park in the sunshine. For some tips on ensuring the best experience for your dog and others, Susannah Moore takes a look at dog park etiquette, Page 20. Alexandria columnist Stuart Perkins is at it again in this issue with his observant takes on everyday life. Find out the meaning behind a red marble in "I Might Just Keep That," Page 22. Summer book lists aren't just for kids. With summer's official arrival on Saturday, June 20, why not create your own summer book list? Stake out a shady spot by the pool or a cozy hammock, and dig in. To wet your whistle, we've excerpted an exciting portion of "Jones Point," a mystery thriller set in Alexandria by local author John Wasowicz, starting on Page 28. Thanks, John! Alexandria's many accolades also includes being called the "Ice Cream Cone Capital of the United States" by Forbes magazine. In addition to a summer reading list, why not make a list of ice cream shops to try? We've figured you can try two shops per week most of the summer and never visit the same one twice. Check out the map of more than two dozen ice cream (and frozen yogurt, gelato • May / June 2020

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


and frozen custard) emporiums, starting on Page 25. This summer may be a good time to hit the road and visit some of the region's great beach vacation spots. We're offering up four you can visit that are under four hours from Alexandria. Be sure to check out some handy travel tips starting on Page 32 to "know before you go." In "The Last Word," we meet Jaqueline Tucker, the City's first equity officer, who talks about this new trend local governments are undertaking to reduce social and racial inequities. We also want to share some sad news — our wine columnist and friend, Scott Hendley, whose expert take on wines and vineyards graced our pages, passed away in March. Scott was the co-founder of National Wine Review and spent much of his free time exploring unique wines from around the world. He had a warm heart, constant smile, and he was a true pleasure to work with. We will miss him greatly. Please enjoy our May/June issue and we'll see you back here in July.

Mary Ann Barton and Beth Lawton Founders

Our Team Meet some of the contributors to this issue.




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.

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.

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.

IN MEMORIAM Scott Esten Hendley, 54, of Alexandria, VA, passed away peacefully, but unexpectedly, from cardiac arrest on Monday, March 16, 2020. He was an Alexandria resident for 29 years. Scott was born in Tyler, Texas, as the youngest of three sons born to William Esten (aka Buddy) and Mary Elaine Hendley. Scott graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. He was hired directly out of graduate school by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) as a Presidential Management Intern, and he was an exceptional public servant whose career spanned more than 30 years as a policy analyst supporting 10 Attorneys General. Scott is survived by the lights of his life, who will dearly miss him: his wife, Renée, and their children, Nathaniel and Kathryn (Katya), who both attended T.C. Williams High School.

NAN RYANT Photographer

JENN VERRIER Photographer

GEORGE BROWN Photographer

Nan is a retired occupational therapist and longtime Alexandria resident. In her spare time she enjoys taking photos of people, nature and in this issue, ice cream. In addition to photography, she enjoys painting, swimming and travel. She lives in the West End with her husband Ches and their two dogs Gracie and Charlie.

Jenn is a photographer who specializes in creating beautiful images of built spaces. Her clients are primarily interior designers, architects and home builders. Jenn photographs a variety of residential and commercial projects that are used in her client's portfolios, in various publications and for award submissions. Jenn's work has been featured in the New York Times, Washingtonian Magazine, Arlington Magazine, Home & Design Magazine and more. More of her work can be seen at

George's interest in photography began in high school but took off at Rochester Institute of Technology, where he earned his Bachelors of Science degree in photography in 1984. As a commercial photographer, his interests lie primarily in the realm of architectural and artistic subjects. Over the years George’s photos have appeared on a dozen national magazine covers, in a book by renowned landscape architect James van Sweden, and on four U.S. postage stamps. He lives in Alexandria with his wife and teenage son.

In his free time, Scott wrote feature wine reviews for the Shenandoah Valley’s Mountain Courier and the Alexandria Times before establishing the National Wine Review as an independent online publication in 2012. He recently joined the team at Alexandria Living Magazine, where he highlighted the attributes of Virginia wines. Scott was a self-described “equal opportunity” wine taster and tasted and evaluated wines from around the world, but he held a special affection for California wines, especially along the Sonoma Coast. His family kindly requests all to please consider making offerings to a cause meaningful to Scott's family. Send donations in Scott Esten Hendley’s name to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation via

May / June 2020 •




G e t t i n g f i r s t- t i m e b u y e r s, u p s i ze r s,d o w n s i ze r s, new-to-town, been-in-town, and every client we work with, to the settlement table - it’s what we do. R e a dy t o m a k e a m ov e ? C a l l . c l i c k .t e x t.t o d ay

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On March 30, Gov. Ralph Northam instituted a stay-at-home order due to coronavirus concerns. If Alexandrians are able to “flatten the curve” of positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, there is an outside chance that events may resume in early June. Please check with the event organizer for postponements or cancellations.

EVE N T K E Y Arts Film Food & Dining Family-Friendly Historic/Educational Live Music Nightlife Pet-Friendly Recreation & Outdoor Shopping Theater Kayaking on the Potomac | PHOTO BY CHRIS MILITZER


Calendar of Events June Martha Washington’s Birthday Celebration June 2 | 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Commemorate Martha Washington’s 289th birthday at Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon Estate, 3200 Mt. Vernon Hwy.,

Stories from the Past June 4, 11, 18 and 25 | 11 a.m. This reading program introduces historical and cultural concepts to young learners through stories, crafts, experiential play, and special tours of the museum designed to engage young audiences. Recommended for children ages 3-6. Each week is a different

book and theme. Space is very limited so advance reservations are encouraged.

because spots fill up fast! Team limit is 6 members, ages 21+ only. Outside food is permitted, but no outside alcohol.

Tickets are $5 per child. Parents and chaperones are free. Lee–Fendall House Museum & Garden, 614 Oronoco St.,

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

32nd Annual Clean the Bay Day

Trivia Nights at Historic Sites

June 6 | 9 a.m. – noon

June 5 and 19 | 7 p.m.

Each year on the first Saturday of June, thousands of Virginians descend on the rivers, streams, and beaches of the Chesapeake Bay watershed to remove harmful litter and debris. Thirty years strong, Clean the Bay Day is a true Virginian tradition and an annual opportunity for families, military installations, businesses, clubs, civic or church groups to give back to local waterways.

Staff members at Carlyle House Historic Park and the Lee-Fendall House Museum along with special guests hosts combine their knowledge to create bi-weekly trivia nights throughout the summer starting in June in the beautiful gardens of the LeeFendall House. Test your knowledge on everything from pop culture to history. Tickets are $5 per person and include one drink ticket. Additional drinks can be purchased at the cash bar. Register early

Register online. Various locations in the Alexandria area, clean-the-bay-day/

May / June 2020 •



Gone West Featuring Colbie Caillat June 7 | 7:30 p.m. Gone West is an American country group formed in 2018 with members Justin Young, Jason Reeves, Nelly Joy and hit singer Colbie Caillat. The group is recognized for their unique four-part harmonies and lush, powerful vocals. Tickets are $55. The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

Beyond the Battlefield: A Walking Tour of Civil War Alexandria

Gordon Lightfoot

June 6 | 10 a.m.

June 8 | 7:30 p.m.

This walking tour tells the stories of soldiers, citizens, and enslaved people in Civil War Alexandria, including the military occupation, the conversion of public and private buildings into hospitals and emancipation. The tour lasts approximately 90 minutes. Walking tours take place rain or shine. Please wear appropriate shoes and clothing, and bring drinking water.

Join highly acclaimed folk, folk-rock and country music singer-songwriter, Gordon Lightfoot as he performs on the Birchmere stage. Lightfoot’s hits include "If You Could Read My Mind,” "Sundown,” "Carefree Highway,” "Rainy Day People,” and "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

Tickets are $10, members of Lee-Fendall House are free. Tour space is limited. Lee–Fendall House Museum & Garden, 614 Oronoco St.,

Civil War Camp Day June 6 | 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Civil War reenactors present camp life activities, drills and firing demonstrations, displays of clothing and equipment, and civilian impressions. Program includes a Union Army surgeon, a Quartermaster’s tent and fort tours. Step inside the furnished Officers’ Hut, a typical living quarters in the Defenses of Washington, and visit the restored Northwest bastion. Program is weather dependent.

Tickets are $95. The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

Keb’ Mo’ June 10 and 11 | 7:30 p.m. Join five-time Grammy Award winner and American blues musician Keb’ Mo’ as he performs at the Birchmere. Tickets are $89.50. The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

The Late Shift: ALX Pride June 12 | 7 – 10 p.m. Torpedo Factory Art Center’s signature seasonal evening series features inspiring nights of eclectic art and activities. In the 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. In June, join the Alexandria LGBTQ+ celebration during Capital Pride weekend. Find Pride displays, hands-on activities, music and art. Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union St.,

Brandenburgs & Brew June 12 | 7:30 p.m. Members of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, led by Music Director James Ross, present an evening of music by Bach and Handel, in the intimate setting of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Hear the ASO’s rendition of Brandenburg Concertos No. 3 and 6 with principals from the ASO featured as soloists along with festive concert pieces by Handel. Come early or stay after for a reception in Norton Hall to mingle with the musicians and Maestro Ross. Receptions at 6:15 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Please choose one. Casual dress. Tickets are $40 for adult and $5 for youth. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 228 S. Pitt St.,



Suggested donation: $2 per person, $5 per family. Fort Ward Museum and Historic Site, 4301 West Braddock Rd.,

12th Annual Taste of Del Ray June 7 | TBD

10 • May / June 2020


This event is very popular and sells out quickly. Ticket holders will enjoy live music and tastes from over a dozen Del Ray restaurants (and can cast their votes for the People's Choice award). Tickets for this fun community event will be available through the Del Ray Business Association website.


Old Town & Alexandria R E A L E S TAT E


109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 | 703.549.9292 | | Equal Housing Opportunity




5:00PM to 7:00PM

5:00PM to 7:00PM



Follow us: @trademarkdrinkandeat

Follow us: @trademarkdrinkandeat | 703.253.8640

703.838.8085 | 703.253.8640


2080 Jamieson Avenue, Alexandria, VA

register today for

2080 Jamieson Avenue, Alexandria, THE BEST SUMMERVAEVER May / June 2020 •






Wine Class with National Wine Review June 14 | 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Alexandria Living Magazine invites you to a special wine tasting and class Sunday, June 14 in Old Town. Meet National Wine Review's expert Richard Stone, who will talk about the senses involved in wine tasting and traits each of these reveal about different wines. He will also talk about how they assess aroma and flavor profiles. Plus, taste several of the wines they have reviewed for Alexandria Living Magazine and for There are only 25 seats per session for this event (with classes starting at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, June 14). Early bird registration is $20 per person. ALX Community, 201 N. Union St.,

Father’s Day Weekend at Mount Vernon June 20 – 21 | 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Spend Father’s Day with the Father of the Country and hear George Washington share his thoughts on fatherhood. Mount Vernon Estate, 3200 Mt. Vernon Hwy.,

Free Father’s Day Museum Tours June 21 | 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

 ®


Fathers enjoy free tours at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum and Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum.


The Festival of Speed & Style Returns This Fall Fast cars, local fashion and fundraising will converge in Old Town on September 6th. Dozens of classic cars, including a 1962 Ferrari 250 and a 1970 Ford Pantera, will line the streets of Old Town as part of the second annual Old Town Festival of Speed & Style.

Alexandria families. The USO serves military service members and their families. It all comes together thanks to car-enthusiast volunteers and other members from the community. The Festival benefits local businesses and the community, and generates widespread visibility for Alexandria. (Reports are that some ice

Alongside the cars, models from the Old Town Boutique

cream shops did so much business that they ran out of some

District will showcase the latest local trends in a fashion

flavors during last year’s festival.)

demonstration, matching stylish fashion with the elegance of the cars. The community-focused event, which drew thousands of people last year, will raise money for ALIVE! here in Alexandria

Leading sponsors include Burke & Herbert Bank, McEnearney Associates and Ferrari, along with dozens of local businesses. Admission is free.

and for the USO Metro Washington-Baltimore. ALIVE! is a non-profit that provides emergency food and services for

More information is available through

May / June 2020 •




Independence Fireworks at Mount Vernon June 26 – 27 | 6 – 9:45 p.m.

A Tribute to the Music of Motown June 21 | 3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Treat Dad to a great concert and dinner at The Carlyle Club. Brencore Entertainment presents “A Tribute to the Music of Motown,”

Start your Independence Day celebration with a bang! Enjoy an evening of family fun and fireworks choreographed to patriotic music and celebrate our nation's founding. Member tickets start at $20-30. Non-member tickets start at $22-$33. Mount Vernon Estate, 3200 Mt. Vernon Hwy.,

its sound to the Birchmere stage. The band’s hits include songs “Fire” and “Love Rollercoaster.”

featuring The Brencore Allstars Band, a talented 14 - piece musical group from Washington, DC. Enjoy the music of the

Tickets are $69.50.

Temptations, The Four Tops, Diana Ross

The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

& The Supremes, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, Smokey Robinson, Jr., Walker and The All-Stars, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson,

Carlyle Block Party

Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and The Pips. Advance reservations are $35 and there is a $25 minimum fee per person in the dining room. The Carlyle Club, 2050 Ballenger Ave.,

June 27 | noon – 8 p.m.

Ohio Players June 26 and 27 | 7:30 p.m. Popular funk, soul and R&B band that rose to fame in the 1970s, Ohio Players brings

Carlyle Vitality Initiative invites the community to the Carlyle Block Party for live music, food, games and fun! John Carlyle Park, 300 John Carlyle St.,


Creating a Positive Real Estate Experience

703.951.7655 I

14 • May / June 2020

109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 I 703.549.9292 | Equal Housing Opportunity




Alexandria Wedding Showcase June 28 | 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. The Westin Alexandria Old Town, Courthouse Square,

Save the Date Save the date for the celebration of Alexandria’s 271st birthday and the 244th birthday of the USA on July 11, 2020 from 6 – 10 p.m. at Oronoco Bay Park, 100 Madison St. There will be free birthday cake, a fireworks display, live music and more.

Alexandria is strong, resilient, and generous. ACT for Alexandria would like to thank the companies who partner with us to support our nonprofit community.

May / June 2020 •



Build Relationships That Build Your Business Tips from Toni Miller/ Mortgage Banker with Ameris Bank As a mortgage broker for Ameris Bank, Toni Miller understands the importance of building strong relationships. Bonds are solidified when she guides clients through the complex process of purchasing a home - but they’re cultivated well before someone takes possession of their new house keys. Because relationships are so important to her business, Toni has become a master at developing them. Below she shares a number of sales tips on how to develop relationships which turn into business: 1. Realize new opportunities are everywhere – Everyone you come across is a potential client or knows someone who could be a client. Recognizing that anyone can be a potential source of new business will open you up to opportunities you never knew existed. 2. Listen – Take time to really listen to people. People are fascinating. When you are actively listening, you gain more clarity on their needs and become better prepared to support them. 3. Ask better questions – Instead of using standard small talk, ask open-ended questions that will provide you insights about their needs, passions and goals. 4. Start one new conversation each day – Sales is a numbers game, and you need to be committed to engaging people to be successful. It’s important to make yourself available by starting new conversations daily. In our new age of social distancing, this can translate to sending one new LinkedIn connection request or InMail each day. But remember, the best conversations are always in person.

5. Take note of important events – Make the effort to send a handwritten card or a personal email. This makes people feel special and valued. 6. Surround yourself with new people – most people see the same people in the same office every day. I recognized that in order to grow my business, I needed to be around new people. So I joined ALX Community — Alexandria’s premier coworking community — where I was instantly surrounded by a diverse collection of small business and startup professionals I never would have encountered while working in a bank office. The result: I doubled my business in one year as a result of the relationships I developed from joining ALX Community. Toni Miller’s growing mortgage business is a testament to recognizing the importance of relationships to your businesses, developing and sticking to a plan which focuses on building them over time and putting yourself in the best position to succeed. Fortunately, cultivating relationships are a learned skill and with strategy, commitment, and implementation of a few of the tips Toni provides above, any business person can develop the tools needed to develop relationships which transform into business opportunities.

Sponsored by ALX Community. ALX Community is Alexandria’s newest and best coworking community. Learn more about our community, available desk and office plans, and meeting spaces at

Dear Community Members, All of us here at Volunteer Alexandria hope you are keeping well. I am writing to you as our community continues to deal with the effects of the worldwide coronavirus outbreak. Volunteer Alexandria has always been on the front-line helping our neighbors in need. Our organization focuses on inspiring and mobilizing people of all ages to volunteer for a stronger Alexandria community. This spring our volunteers have been a powerful force in solving immediate and continuing community problems, and they are essential for a healthy, productive and engaged community. Our commitment to the citizens of Alexandria is solid! Our core mission at Volunteer Alexandria does not and cannot stop under the most trying times our community may face. The need for community support is, now, greater than ever and our volunteers matter more than ever. In response, we created COVID-19 Care for Community. Its purpose is to mobilize and deploy volunteers quickly and efficiently to those in need. For weeks, our volunteers have helped to distribute and deliver meals to our schools and other needy organizations. In addition, we have moved our volunteer force to action through a series of online volunteer opportunities and small-team projects. This allows us to continue to help while ensuring that our volunteer and broader community remains as healthy as possible. It is imperative that we not only ensure the public's safety, but also each and every one of our volunteers' health as well. For us to answer this immediate call to duty, we are asking you to please become an EMERGENCY RESPONSE DONOR. You can donate securely online through or mail a check to the address below. Every dollar will help! Since its founding in 1980, Volunteer Alexandria has served as a link between individual and group volunteers and area nonprofit organizations and Alexandria agencies in need of support. Volunteer Alexandria works in partnership with nonprofits, government and the business community to inspire people to volunteer and to engage volunteers in activities that strengthen our community. Volunteer Alexandria has helped to make a critical difference in so many lives with volunteer opportunities for individuals, families and community groups. The severity of this coronavirus situation took us all by surprise and we must all react just as quickly. I hope you will join me in keeping the CALL to ACTION alive. Please support our neighbors and community and make a donation to support Volunteer Alexandria's efforts at this challenging time. Thank you for your support and stay well. All the best,

Marion Brunken, Executive Director Volunteer Alexandria 123 N. Alfred Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 703-836-2176


Guide to Old Town Wellness 23. Back to Health 24. Hazel O. Salon 25. Izalia Spa 26. Your CBD Store 27. Salon deZEN

Fashion 1. Bishop Boutique 2. Periwinkle 3. Sara Campbell 4. The Hive 5. The Lucky Knot 6. The Shoe Hive 7. TSALT

Restaurants 28. Augie’s Mussel House 29. Hummingbird Bar & Kitchen 30. Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza 31. Mason Social 32. Mia’s Italian Kitchen 33. Theismann’s 34. The Majestic 35. Urbano 36. Vola’s Dockside Grill & Hi-Tide Lounge

Consignment 8. 529 Kids Consign 9. Mint Condition 10. Twist Boutique

Kids/Pet/Home 11. AR Workshop 12. Boxwood 13. Monday’s Child 14. Patina Polished Living 15. Spice & Tea Exchange

Jewelry 16. She’s Unique 17. Wear Ever Jewelry

Fitness 18. Get Fit Studio 19. Pure Barre 20. sculp’d 21. Studio Barre 22. Xtend Barre

Insta Worthy Spots 37. Old Town ALX Mural 38. Mural @ 529 Kids Consign 39. Butterfly Mural 40. Captain’s Row 41. Garage Door of Torpedo Factory 42. Wales Alley

Insider Spots 43. Bellacara 44. BRUT Wine Bar 45. fibre space 46. Fontaine Cafe 47. Fountains Day Spa 48. King’s Ransom 49. The Handover 50. The Dog Park

Learn more about OTBD O L D T O W N B O U T I Q U E D I S T R I C T.C O M #LoveLocalOT








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Dog Park Etiquette How to Create an Enjoyable Experience for You and Your Dog BY SUSANNAH MOORE

It’s common for dog owners to say that their dog starts whining, barking or wagging their tail in excitement as soon as their owner’s car pulls into the parking lot of their favorite dog park. Usually a fun place for dogs and their humans, the City of Alexandria has 17 dog parks and nearby southeastern Fairfax County has 11. These spaces provide room for dog owners to exercise their dogs off-leash. However, not all dog parks are the best place for all dogs. Sandy Modell, founder of Wholistic Hound Academy, a dog training center in Alexandria, has concerns about dog parks because many dog owners lack proper etiquette and knowledge of dog body language. To make dog parks a safe and healthy place for everyone, the City of Alexandria code lists the following rules for all city dog parks on their website: • Dogs must be attended at all times • Only three dogs per person in these areas • Dogs must be 4 months or older • Dogs must have a current rabies vaccination • Dogs must be licensed • No female dogs in season • Owners must clean up feces

20 • May / June 2020

The American Kennel Club website has a few more tips for dog owners to remember including not bringing ill or infectious dogs, monitoring your dog for any aggressive behavior, leaving food and treats at home and not allowing your dog to run in a pack with other dogs. Unfortunately, not everyone plays by those rules. Dog parks in Alexandria are self-policed, which can cause problems with rule enforcement. Modell believes it would be beneficial to have a registration system for dog parks with key-card access (some other states have this), plus free seminars on dog park etiquette offered to potential users.

Terra Michelle, who takes her dog to Westgrove Dog Park off of Fort Hunt Road in Fairfax County, said the two biggest challenges to her are “dog owners missing when their dog poops and not picking it up,” and “adults bringing children under the age of 9 into the park, which can be dangerous, as it is against the off-leash dog park rules in Fairfax County.” Shanese Hermas thinks distraction is the biggest culprit for owners at the park. “I try not to be on the phone at all at the dog park, so I’m able to be more aware — no distractions while I interact with my dog,” she said.

The most important issue to dog owner Ira Peppercorn is that “people should pay attention to their dogs and be ready to step in if there is a fight.” Michelle does not want the public’s focus to be on the list of rules and the occasional negative experiences that can occur at the dog park. “Dog parks are fun places and just watching dogs play can relieve stress and make us laugh and helps us get outside and talk to other humans too, which we sorely need right now,” she said. Peppercorn added that “the vast majority of people who go to Westgrove are loving and responsible dog owners.” Modell said that around 40 percent of households in the City of Alexandria have dogs but the number and size of dog parks is not sufficient to welcome them all. Overcrowded parks contribute to hyper-excitability in dogs, which can quickly lead to aggressive behavior. She said that dog parks can be a great, fun place for already socialized dogs, but all it takes is one provoked dog or a distracted owner to ruin the experience. Ultimately Modell says not all dogs enjoy going to the dog park. As an alternative, she suggested owners take their dog on a walk or putting them a 50-foot long line in an empty field or park. It is important for owners to know their dog’s temperament and to be able to recognize when their dog is not comfortable at the park, especially as dogs age. For more information on City of Alexandria dog parks visit In Fairfax County visit parks/rules/dog-park.

HOW TO ENSURE A SAFE AND FUN VISIT Modell provided this advice for dog owners to make their experience as pleasant as possible: About half of dog park altercations happen at the entrance to the park, so Modell encourages owners to call their dogs away when a dog is entering the park, allowing the new dog to acclimate without being overwhelmed.

between negative and positive dog behaviors. It is good when dogs engage in balanced play where they take turns initiating contact but some warning signs to watch out for are listed below:

Most owners call their dogs and leash them when it is time to leave the park but Modell recommends calling them, leashing them and then unleashing them a few times before it’s time to go so, they do not associate the leash with the end of their fun.

• One dog being chased by multiple dogs

Modell suggested that users visit dog parks in off hours when there are fewer people and dogs around. And, try to go at the same time every week, as dogs tend to play better with dogs they are familiar with and see regularly.

• Stalking or shadowing • One dog dominating during play • Jumping up on owners

Modell also recommended owners stay standing and close enough to their dogs to intervene when their dogs are overstimulated to redirect their attention. It is not safe for small children and very small dogs at most dog parks, because their presence can enhance the prey drive in larger dogs or lead to accidents. Modell emphasized how essential it is for dog owners to know the difference

• Tail wagging that is fast and low (this can signal anxiety or stress) • Tail wagging that is fast and high (this can indicate too much excitement) • A dog trying to make itself small, tucking its tail and hiding • Bullying, pinning, rolling or broadsiding • Excessive mounting or humping which signals too much arousal • Snarling or raised lips, fixed gaze or hackles up

One issue the City of Alexandria and Fairfax take seriously is the physical safety of pets and their owners. If a human handler or dog are bitten by another dog it must be reported to the Alexandria Animal Control (703-746- 4774) or Fairfax County Police Department Animal Protection Services (703-691-2131).

May / June 2020 •



I Just Might Keep That BY STUART M. PERKINS

Made it! I was barely through the door of the metro car when the sing-song voice over the speaker warned me politely to “Step back, doors closing.” Most metro stops are crowded on weekday mornings and mine at King Street Station was no different. I made my way through standing passengers when I spied what was apparently a still empty seat. It wasn’t completely empty. Crumpled papers, a lipstick and two fingernail files sat atop a mound of other items in the way. In the seat next to the mess sat an elderly woman digging intently through a massive purse. She smiled apologetically when she saw me and quickly reached over to move her items. A small pack of tissues, a couple of pens and a set of colored pencils were part of the heap of belongings she put back into her purse. I took my seat and gasped when something jabbed me in the left buttock. “I think you forgot this,” I said, handing her the bristled end of a broken hair brush. “Sorry!” she shook her head. “I wanted to clean out this old purse on the ride to work and I have thrown things everywhere.”

“Well look at this.” she said wistfully. She held a small red marble between her thumb and forefinger. “I found it in my


“You should hold on to it then,” I said. She stared at the marble she held in her fingers. There was a pause. “Nahhhh…I’m too sentimental as it is,” she said and handed me the tiny red object. “Here. If someone says you’ve lost your marbles, now you have proof you haven’t!” We both smiled as she pressed the red marble into my hand. “It’s crazy to hold on to it just because it reminds me that my son was once a tiny boy.” she turned and stared through the window as trees whizzed by. “Isn’t it?” “Not really.” I said. “I have boxes of things like this marble." I slipped it into my coat pocket. She turned back toward me and tossed the last few items into her purse that were still scattered across her lap.

I told her about various items I’ve saved, any one of which could look like meaningless trash to others. To me, each one has something to say. Who could know the number of times my grandmother’s caring hands opened the cracker tin? The sharp little puppy tooth is a reminder of my furry best friend. The peach pit basket was carved by my son with the help of my father who passed away a few years ago. Every tiny silly trinket I keep is accompanied by a wonderful story. All I need to do is pick one up to go back in time for a minute or two. Good reminders of great times. At the mention of each of my keepsakes, the woman beside me eagerly agreed she just might keep that one too. I stopped talking when she stared straight ahead, seemingly disinterested. Her eyes were a little watery, but a slight smile came over her face. She turned to me and pointed at my coat. One step ahead of her, I had already reached into the pocket.

“You wouldn’t keep something as silly as a marble, would you?" she asked.

We both smiled as I pressed the red marble into her hand.

“Oh yes.” I said, remembering some of my sentimental trinkets. “For decades I’ve kept a puppy tooth our collie lost, a feather from a quail I hatched in an incubator and a heart-shaped rock I found in the pasture. Everything has a story.”

“I just might keep that,” she said.

“I just might keep that,” she smiled out of courtesy. I continued. “I have the cracker tin my grandmother used in her kitchen, a tiny basket my son carved from a peach pit, and a pocket knife my favorite uncle gave to me.” “I just might keep that too!” she smiled again and seemed to enjoy the notion of relevance in everyday trinkets. • May / June 2020


The train continued its route and she continued her cleaning. From the corner of my eye I watched as she sat bent over and shuffled through random pieces of old mail and checked and rechecked zippered compartments in the giant purse. As we approached the station at Braddock Road she stopped digging and suddenly sat upright.

yard one day as I was leaving the house and forgot I’d put it in here. My son is now grown with kids but he had a set of red marbles he played with all the time. I’m sure it was one of his.”

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May / June 2020 •



A Vegan’s Guide to Eating Out in Alexandria BY SUSANNAH MOORE

Alexandria may not have an exclusively vegan restaurant but that doesn’t mean it is impossible to enjoy a meal out if you are eating a plant-based diet. “Over the course of the time I’ve lived here, restaurants have started catering more to vegans, so now there are a lot of vegan options at different restaurants” said local Compass Realtor and vegan MaryAshley Rhule, who developed a guide for vegan eating in Alexandria. Rhule’s top advice for vegan diners is to talk with the restaurant. “Most of the restaurants will have vegan options or are willing to make something for you specifically,” she said. While grabbing a drink recently with a friend at Blackwall Hitch, Rhule said there was nothing vegan on their menu, but her friend encouraged her to ask the chef who ended up making Rhule a dish from scratch. Her friend said that Rhule’s meal looked amazing. Rhule is particularly excited for the transition of Sugar Shack into Elizabeth’s Counter, located at 904 N. Henry St., which advertises itself as primarily vegetarian and plant-based counter service restaurant. She said it was “dangerous” when she discovered that most of Sugar Shack’s donuts were vegan and she is excited to see what other dishes they



will add to their menu over the coming months now that the Alexandria Sugar Shack location has rebranded.

Rhule’s favorite Alexandria restaurants that offer vegan options:

Rhule said her primary reason for going vegan was for ethical reasons. She and her two sisters grew up rescuing horses, cats, dogs, bunnies and other animals and continue to be involved in animal rescue and activism.

Del Ray Pizzeria offers

A vegetarian since she was 18, Rhule said her sisters asked her to try going vegan one January in lieu of a Christmas gift. Rhule, who already enjoyed cooking, said she experimented with plant-based proteins like tofu, tempe and seitan in addition to a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables.

bagels and they are working on a vegan cream cheese, but they also offer hummus and peanut butter as an alternative.

In the years since going vegan, Rhule learned about the environmental and health benefits of eating a plant-based diet. The meat industry is one of the biggest sources of pollution and even just cutting back on the amount of meat one eats can make an impact. The book “How not to Die,” by Dr. Michael Greger, reveals that a plant-based diet has been shown to reduce the effect of many diseases common in America, like heart disease and diabetes. Rhule was quick to point out that she does not judge people who choose to eat meat. Her two children, ages 4 and 6, were offered meat and chose to eat vegan as well. She believes it is important to educate children on where meat comes from and let them make the decision for themselves. She has a dog — appropriately named Broccoli — who was rescued from Lucky Dog Rescue. She also adopted two cats, Tofu and Tempe, from King Street Cats, but sadly Tempe passed away after a battle with lung disease. For anyone interested in trying a plant-based diet, Rhule said she is happy to serve as a resource and answer questions. She often posts recipes and tips for healthy living on her Instagram @maryashleyrealestate or Facebook page at

3 entirely vegan “impossible pizzas” on their menu.


Bagel Uprising has vegan


Stomping Ground has a

tofu stir fry that can be made vegan and is a great breakfast choice because most breakfasts foods traditionally contain a lot of eggs, cheese and dairy. 2309 MOUNT VERNON AVE.

Vermillion is one of Rhule’s

favorites because they are very accommodating and are often able to alter their dishes to make them vegan friendly. 1120 KING ST.

Junction Bakery and Bistro has a delicious tofu stir fry that can be ordered minus the egg. 1508 MT VERNON AVE. #1718

Hawwi Ethiopian Restaurant and most other Ethiopian restaurants offer vegan platters. 1125 QUEEN ST.

Pita House makes all of their

Lebanese food from scratch. Rhule often orders their falafel sandwich and fries with her kids, who are also vegan. 719 KING ST.

Chop Shop Taco has vegan • May / June 2020

options. 1008 MADISON ST.


The Scoop on Alexandria's Frozen Sweets BY MARY ANN BARTON

Alexandria is the kind of city made for strolling through the streets whether you're doing some shopping, visiting friends for lunch or showing visitors around and playing tourist. And to make it even better? Add ice cream! Forbes magazine once called Alexandria the "Ice Cream Cone Capital of the United States.” Plus, a 2019 study from Gravy Analytics showed the District ranked third in the United States for ice cream consumption.


On sunny summer Saturday evenings, it’s common to see lines out the door at some of Alexandria’s most beloved ice cream shops. That includes the oldest shop in continuous operation in the same location, The Creamery at 110 King St., which opened in 1984. Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream, across the street at 109 King St., opened later, but its namesake Ray “Pop” Giovanni was in the ice cream business as early as the 1940s.

on N. Fairfax Street, where the most pop-

Frozen Yogurt — Unlike ice cream, frozen

ular flavor is salted caramel — is usually

yogurt is made from cultured milk instead of regular milk or cream. Often, the sugar content in frozen yogurt is actually higher than it is in traditional ice cream.

Alexandria has plenty of options from traditional hard, scooped ice cream to soft serve, custard, gelato and frozen yogurt. Here’s what you should know about the differences.

milkfat and more egg yolk. This summer,

Gelato — Gelato is often called "Italian ice

frozen custard truck operation which has

cream" and is made with less butterfat than traditional ice cream. Most gelato — like what you would find at Dolci Gelato

in the historic Ice House on Commerce

lower in fat than traditional ice cream.

Custard — Custard and ice cream are both made from cream or milk and sugar — the difference is in the amount of egg yolk and milkfat in the recipe. Ice cream is supposed to have at least 10 percent milkfat and less than 1.4 percent egg yolk, while custard contains at least 10 percent we’re looking forward to stopping by The Dairy Godmother in Del Ray, Alexandria’s most famous frozen custard spot, and also trying out Goodies, a Wisconsin-style plans to open its first permanent location Street in Old Town this summer.

Soft Serve — Soft serve ice cream is generally lower in milkfat than scooped ice cream, and it is produced and served at a warmer temperature than traditional ice cream. Soft serve also has air mixed into it during the production process, which is a major factor in its texture.

Looking for a summer challenge? Try to hit up every one of the frozen treat spots on the map on the following pages. (Pace yourself! There are 15 weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day, so aim for an average of 2 per week, which will leave you some time to revisit your favorites at summer’s end.)

May / June 2020 •




Hot Spots to Cool Off 1


103 S. Union St.



102 S. Patrick St.


111 S. Payne St.


1104 Queen St. (Coming soon)


239 Swamp Fox Rd.


682 N. St. Asaph St.



3219 Duke St.


6307F Richmond Hwy.


1401 Belle Haven Rd.


1500 Belle View Blvd.


1325 Richmond Hwy.


7702B Richmond Hwy.

1012 King St.


726 King St.




107 N. Fairfax St.


1701 Centre Plz.

212 King St.


110 King St.



109 King St.



2310 Mt. Vernon Ave.



6446 Landsdowne Ctr.


7001H Manchester Blvd.



5926 Kingstowne Ctr.


6451 Edsall Rd.


289 S. Van Dorn St.


1470 N. Beauregard St.

1552 Potomac Greens Dr. • May / June 2020







10 11





5 4

2 3



17 18 19

Brain Freeze



If you get the dreaded “brain freeze” headache from eating ice cream too fast, press your tongue against the roof of your mouth or drink something warm. An ice cream headache happens when your sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia nerves toward the back of your palate, which are sensitive to cold, go into overdrive.

May / June 2020 •



“Jones Point” by Alexandria author John Adam Wasowicz, combines an Agatha Christie mystery with a Tom Clancy action thriller. JONES POINT PHOTO BY CHRIS MILITZER

Catch up! These were some of the most popular books checked out by Fairfax County residents in 2019. If you missed any of them, be sure to put them on your summer reading list!

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

The Reckoning

Kick Off Your Summer Reading BY MARY ANN BARTON

Summer will soon be upon us and hopefully that means lazy days and nights catching up on some great fiction and non-fiction.

by John Grisham

While children often make a summer reading list with help from parents, teachers

Educated: A Memoir

and librarians, adults can do the same either with a book club, a bookstore or library.

The Library Book

Local bookstores Old Town Books, Hurray for Books! and Book Bank are just a few

by Tara Westover by Susan Orlean

spots where Alexandrians can stop in to find a stack to add to their reading list.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry

Discovering local landmarks in novels and non-fiction books about Alexandria can

by Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

make reading even more fun. Check out "The View from Prince Street" by Mary Ellen Taylor or "Hidden History of Alexandria" by Michael Lee Pope. Get a taste with this excerpt from local author John Wasowicz's latest novel, "Jones Point" set in Alexandria.

28 • May / June 2020

 In the scene below, a firefight erupts on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, initiated by the heroic action of Alexandra policewoman Sherry Stone, one of the story’s main characters.

DRAWBRIDGE AHEAD PREPARE TO STOP WHEN FLASHING Lights were flashing. Metal gates began to lower in front of the drawbridge. Traffic on the bridge ground to a halt in front of the gates. Dusk loomed. The sky slowly turned from crimson to dark blue. The first star of night sparkled. Lightning crackled across the city’s skyline. Alexandria policewoman Sherry Stone stood at the entrance of the pedestrian walkway to the Wilson Bridge. She wore sneakers, black tights, and a baggy sweatshirt that hid her service revolver. A cool breeze swept over the river and the bridge, rushing down the walkway and brushing against Stone. She finished listening to the song streaming on her phone. It was “Heroes” by David Bowie and Brian Eno. She removed her earplugs, turned off the music, and tucked the phone in her sweatshirt’s pouch. Stone jogged along the walkway as the gates dropped. She passed a stenciled marker on a jersey wall that read WWB MILE 0.7. A short distance ahead, a man held out his arms, his palms facing her. He was shouting something at her. As she jogged a little closer, she could hear him. “You have to turn back,” he hollered. She sped up. When she reached him, she turned, whipping a leg in the air and catching the man’s chin with her sneaker. Her entire body lunged through the air. He fell backwards, hitting the pavement hard. She struck him twice in the torso, flipped him around, pulled his hands behind his back, and quickly slapped a handcuff on his wrist. She spun the other handcuff around the metal railing along the jersey wall. Stone jumped over the jersey wall and onto the empty traffic lanes on the far side of the gates. She looked down and

realized she was standing near the metal lip of the drawbridge. That section of the bridge shook and jerked and slowly began to rise. She raced forward and catapulted over the lip of the drawbridge like Evel Knievel clearing a ramp at Caesars Palace on his Triumph Bonneville t120 motorcycle. The side of the drawbridge that rose shuddered to a stop as it formed a 90 degree angle to the bridge, serving as a metal screen blocking the sightline of motorists stopped on the Virginia side of the bridge. There was now an empty space in the bridge. A large SUV was parked at the edge of the hole, which looked down to the water below. A string of four flatbed trucks idled in the far lane. The operation to retrieve the crates was underway. A noise suddenly filled the air, a pulsating sound caused by a blade hitting the wake vortex of the previous blade, a phenomenon known as “blade slapping.” Stone looked up, as did the men on the bridge. To the west, lights cut through the clouds, drawing closer by the second. The whir intensified as helicopters came into view, the silhouette of their rotating blades and dark bodies clear against the last light of day. One of the men grabbed a sidewinder missile launcher. He hoisted the weapon onto his shoulder and pointed it in the direction of the sound, which he and the others now realized were three rapidly approaching helicopters. Stone popped up from behind the Jersey wall and fired her service revolver at the man balancing the sidewinder on his shoulder. She hit him in the leg. He stumbled, hobbled into the middle of the road, pointed the weapon upward, and fired. The bridge trembled as a streak of light blasted into the air, a plume of smoke and fumes behind it. The small missile struck one of the helicopters, spewing

its innards across the sky. The helicopter’s twirling blades stopped rotating. It fell straight down like a bird struck by a hunter and crumpled as it hit the pavement of the two HOV lanes, causing a horrific crash that shook the bridge. The darkening sky suddenly erupted into an array of red, blue, and white emergency lights. An assemblage of police cruisers, vans, fire trucks, ambulances, and SUVs stormed across the three empty lanes of traffic and raced at breakneck speed toward the enemy forces gathered around the crane. The men began firing their semiautomatic weapons at the approaching army of police vehicles. Billowing clouds of smoke from the helicopter lying in the HOV lanes wafted across the bridge and created a barrier between the men and the onslaught of vehicles headed in their direction. The battery of law enforcement vehicles burst through the cloud of smoke like Patton’s tanks at Meuse-Argonne. The vehicles stopped and executed 90 degree turns, forming a shield that faced the men standing around the crate. Officers jumped out of the vehicles and began firing. Their arsenal of weapons dwarfed the firepower of their adversaries, who were caught off-guard and unable to retrieve the weapons in the crates to make use of them. Warring factions exchanged gunfire. Bullets struck the bridge at awkward angles, their sounds echoing across the bridge and over the water, the sound of metal against metal, now a firestorm created as the two sides confronted one another. The men unloading the crates scattered, some seeking shelter from a mounting barrage of bullets by ducking behind the metal container lifted from the barge while others sought refuge inside the crane.

Editor's note: Look for "Jones Point" at local bookstores.

May / June 2020 •



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With many flights and cruises canceled into the summer due to the coronavirus outbreak, this may very well be the summer of the roadtrip. On the next few pages, we take a brief look at where to go for some fantastic weekend or mid-week getaways. Whether you’re going solo or bringing the whole family, pack a book, a beach towel and sunscreen for these trips.

May / June 2020 •




Stock your car: In the warmer months, hydration is key, so bring water and food in case a traffic accident keeps you on the road in the heat longer than you anticipated. A first aid kit and roadside emergency kit are always good to have along with chargers for your mobile phone so you can call for help if needed.

Pack up your car safely: Spring and summer are the perfect times to take road trips, but it is important to make sure you’re packing your car safely. To start, put heavier items on the bottom of the cargo area and toward the front to preserve the integrity of the car in case you need to swerve suddenly in an emergency. Next, always avoid loading SUVs beyond the height of the rear seat backs to help keep a clear rear view and also to prevent your items from flying around and possibly hurting someone in a collision.

Make sure the kids stay safe: Road trips make for a great family vacation, but make sure the kids are safe throughout your road trip. Of course, all passengers must agree to wear their seat belts and all children under 13 should ride in the back seat. With soaring temperatures, never leave a child unattended in a parked car as they can quickly experience heatstroke.

32 • May / June 2020

Look for cars that offers a reminder system, such as the Chevrolet Traverse’s Rear Seat Reminder, which monitors rear door usage to remind drivers to check their rear seats before walking away from their vehicles.

Don’t get stuck on the road: Prepare your vehicle in advance for your trip: perform a basic safety check of your vehicle’s tire pressure, wiper blades, fluid levels, lights and air conditioning, and make sure you take your car in for regular maintenance throughout the year. Many mechanics will do a quick battery strength test for you, too.

Go hands free: As more states prohibit having a cell phone in your hand, be sure you’re set up for completely voice-controlled calls and navigation. If you rent a car or consider buying a new one, be sure to choose a car that allows you to go hands-free while staying connected. For example, the Chevrolet Traverse offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which allows you to send and receive texts and access your music, maps and more all while you keep your eyes focused on the road. - by Rebecca Lindland, on behalf of Chevrolet




Long Beach Island




Long Beach Island is an 18-mile long stretch of land that is home to six Jersey Shore towns, each with its own character. On the northern end is Barnegat Lighthouse State Park with Fantasy Island Amusement Park toward the southern end. Long Beach Island has everything from quiet cottages, party mansions and fine dining to breweries and dive bars. Arcades, minigolf, parks, galleries, seaside shops and plenty of sandy beaches make this a great weekend getaway. LEARN MORE AT WELCOMETOLBI.COM.


May / June 2020 •


2 3




The Virginia Beach area has something for everyone. There are plenty of nice hotels and rental properties along the wide sandy beach lined by a 3-mile boardwalk. Nearby, the waterfront neighborhood offers everything from fine dining to classic beachside arcades and bars. Head south toward the Backbay National Wildlife Refuge or False Cape State Park for some easy hikes, or head north to the scenic Cape Henry Lighthouse. On rainy days, take in the impressive Virginia Beach Aquarium or the Military Aviation Museum. GO TO VISITVIRGINIABEACH.COM FOR MORE IDEAS.


Maryland’s Eastern Shore




“The Eastern Shore” is bigger than you may think. Lined with charming towns, farms and bays, the Eastern Shore includes 9 counties and is 70 miles from north to south. Areas worth exploring include quiet and charming St. Michaels, unique shops and boutiques in Cambridge and the arts and entertainment scene in Salisbury. Head south to see the wild horses or go camping on Assateague Island, or try your luck at the arcades in Ocean City. This is definitely more than a weekend trip. Fortunately, it’s close enough to go multiple times this summer. SEE YOUR OPTIONS AT VISITMARYLAND.ORG.








For decades, Colonial Beach was the place to be — and many people called it the “Playground of the Potomac.” Colonial Beach is on Virginia’s Northern Neck midway between Washington, D.C. and Richmond, and it is home to Virginia’s second-longest beach. Expect to see a variety of cute rental cottages, plenty of golf carts (they’re street legal) and some great places like Colonial Beach Brewing, Monroe Bay Vineyard and the Tides Inn. If you’re looking to relax somewhere with a welcoming, small-town feel, this is it. LEARN MORE AT VISITCBVA.COM.


May / June 2020 •


36 • May / June 2020


Historic Charm Meets Modern Convenience in Old Town Renovation STORY BY MARY ANN BARTON PHOTOS BY JENN VERRIER

For Nick and Downey Magallanes, purchasing a 1940s rowhome in southeastern Old Town was a homecoming, of sorts. Nick grew up in Old Town, attended St. Mary Catholic School, and married Downey at the church. His parents live nearby. So, when he and Downey bought their first home, Old Town was a natural fit. Most of the homes they looked at in Old Town were a bit small for what they knew they’d need someday. Working with The Patterson Group real estate team at TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, they settled on a 1940s rowhome with a large backyard — perfect for a bump out. “We went into it knowing what we were going to do,” Nick said. “The house was very quaint and nice, but it was only two bedrooms.” Before they even put in an offer on the home, they talked to both an architect and a builder to make sure expanding the home was possible. “We knew it needed some work, and knew we’d need to expand it, but it had that really big backyard, so we were confident we could expand it out, and make it a long-term house that we could have kids in,” Nick said.

to get final approval from Alexandria’s Board of Architectural Review. Construction started in March of 2019 and lasted through Labor Day. They began their renovation journey by working with Alexandria architect Lyndl Joseph, AIA, NCARB, and then, with plans in hand, started the search for a builder that could help them achieve their goals and stay within budget.

They got the timing right: Their first child was born right around the time their massive home renovation was completed in early September 2019.

Their vision was to take their three-story, two-bedroom rowhome and add a rear addition to all three floors. In addition to expanding the main floor to add a powder room, create a much larger kitchen and add a great room, they wanted to add a rec room and legal bedroom in the basement, and add a new master suite to the upper floor.

Nick and Downey closed on the 1,500 square-foot, 1940s home in January 2018. It took until almost the end of that year

On a recommendation from friends, they reached out to Marks-Woods Construction Services, a full-service Class A

May / June 2020 •



we get these large materials in very narrow passageways? Sometimes you're bringing in cranes for building materials. Those are always fun challenges," Greg Marks said.

residential general contractor based in Old Town, who put together a proposal. "We're used to working in Old Town," said Marks-Woods co-owner Drew Marks. "You have to be very friendly with the neighbors and establish some trust with them, 'cause you're right on top of each other." Property access can also be a unique challenge with older rowhomes in Old Town. “In Old Town, you're always working with access to the home — how can we dig right up against the property line? How do

38 • May / June 2020

Fortunately for the Magallanes’ budget, a crane wasn’t necessary. The home had a narrow alley down the north side of their home, and Marks-Woods was able to build a ramp just wide enough to squeeze an excavator into the backyard to dig out the basement. It took about two weeks — while the Magallanes were still living in the home — to dig out the basement and pour the new foundation. Then, the couple decamped to Nick’s parents’ nearby Alexandria home. One of the lessons that Marks-Woods learned after being in business the past 18 years is the benefit of having in-house interior designers to work closely with homeowners from the start of the project to help pick out all materials — from windows and doors to paint colors, cabinets, countertops, bathroom tiles and backsplash tiles.

It’s an almost-overwhelming number of decisions to make with a renovation this size. The one thing that caused the most doubt: The large size of the kitchen island. But it proved to be the right call, and Nick said they’re both really glad they made the kitchen the focal point of the addition. With a nod to the past and Nick’s Old Town roots, the couple saved and rehung an old dining room chandelier that was a family heirloom.

We love the homes we do - everything from highly traditional to rock star!

Blending the old with the new is an art form, Marks noted. "The idea of a good home renovation is you wouldn't be able to tell what's new and what's old." For this project, the couple chose gold accents in the kitchen, instead of a safer choice such as stainless steel or black. "I'm a fan of gold, I think it's really stunning," said Danielle Walther, the Marks-Woods interior designer who led the design on this project — to the benefit of the homeowners’ busy schedules — much of which could be done virtually. "We put together a comprehensive selection packet that could be finetuned as we go," she said. "As we make selections, I'll add that to the packet, send them an email so they can review it. They'll see links so they can read more about the actual

Call us and let us help you love your home!

SERVING ALEXANDRIA FOR 25 YEARS 703-299-0633 May / June 2020 •



That way, there's no surprise on cost. It allows a more stress-free environment and helps project managers know when to release materials." As the project neared completion, New Jersey interior designer Campbell Minister (sister of homeowner Downey), collaborated with Walther on interior design, helping stage the home. "It was really fun to work with Campbell, she is a very seasoned designer," said Walther. In the end, the couple — and their new baby — had a practically new home that doubled their living space. products and learn about pricing. As we get into the nitty gritty of design, they'll see overall what the feel is like and what they'll be getting." The gold finishes highlight the kitchen’s lights, cabinet hardware and faucets in the kitchen, which features white cabinetry and countertops. "The gold added a lot of warmth to the space," Walther noted. "One of the biggest lessons we've learned is the homeowner and contractor have to be in tandem, on the same page," Marks said. "We try to take care of a lot of the selection process up front.

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There are now three bedrooms on the second floor. The new master bedroom suite has his-and-her separate closets, a large linen closet and a bathroom with an oversized shower. The first floor has the new dining room, kitchen, great room and powder room. The kitchen and the bar area have plenty of storage. The newly expanded basement has a rec room and legal bedroom in addition to the laundry room, an office and storage space. The backyard is still large — in addition to grass and trees and space for their high-energy golden retriever, the Magallanes have a new patio and have officially returned to their “new” Old Town house.

A Full Service Interior Design Firm and Online Home Decor Boutique Specializing in Designer Furnishings


May / June 2020 •


Sponsored Content

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Interior Designer Claire Schwab, ASID has been decorating in Alexandria for over 30 years. She loves helping clients transform their spaces and meet their design needs. Her first retail showroom in the 90’s moved into her home while she raised her 3 children, and now she comes back with more experience, insight, and fervor. She shares her pop up space with The Queen Bee and Antiques at the Inn through the end of summer or maybe longer! CLAIRESCHWAB.COM | 825 S WASHINGTON ST. MON: BY APPT ONLY; TUES – SAT: 11-6; SUN: 12-5 TO SCHEDULE, CALL 703-615-9495 OR EMAIL CSCHWAB@CLAIRESCHWAB.COM

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1 | Silk and dried flowers make a lovely house warming or get-well gift, or a treat for yourself. This ceramic cache pot ($26) pairs well with a drop-in silk Denrobium ($42). 2 | Visit the local market in style and be the envy of other shoppers! This basket is American made, sturdy wicker with wheels and a handle ($245). It also serves as a good container in your home. 3 | These delicate, whimsical floral and moss balls fill bowls or trays in a clever way — a great way to bring the outdoors inside ($11 each).

As an Interior Design firm, we offer custom furniture, upholstery, refinishing and pillows. We represent a variety of furniture manufacturers with a wide range of pricing, fabrics, and styles. Delivery is between 4 and 8 weeks.

4 | We also have pieces in the store for purchase, such as this chair with Kryton fabric and spring blend down cushion ($2,200) and this side table in gold leaf metal with glass (24” x 22,” $325).

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5 | This selection of ceramic garden stools for inside or out range from $200 - $400. The enamel iron aluminum urn in a classic blue color is perfect to soften a corner or display on a ledge in a stairwell or 2 story foyer ($260). 6 | Framed watercolor “Lake Front” (24” x 24,” $360), one of many pieces of art we showcase from traditional to contemporary artists.

Gift Certificates for In-home Consultation are Available To schedule, call 703-615-9495

Jordan Richards of Antiques at the Inn showcases carefully curated antique accessories that define an elegant home, including ceramics, porcelains and silver, with special emphasis on table top articles, vases and other vintage treasures.

7| English Staffordshire transfer plates (Left/Right: $120). 18th C. Clews pearlware depicting an exotic hunt (Center: $85).

The Queen Bee, voted DC’s Most Popular Jewelry Designer, showcases her collection here with custom-made and well-priced bobbles for you, your friend, or a special someone. Allison Priebe Brooks has shared her jewelry talent with Alexandria for over 18 years.

9| Her necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and wrap dresses sell between $25 to $250. She also offers customization and jewelry repair.

8 | Anglo Irish lead glass decanter ($60), 10| Candles and room sprays are the engraved sterling silver tray ($90), perfect gift or personal pick-me-up! early 20th C. silver candlesticks ($60), We offer over 15 fragrances, all in repousee sterling basket for jewelry or decorative packaging ($18 - $35). hand soap ($120), salt bowl with cobalt liner ($98 / pair). May / June 2020 •



Local Warmth Housewarming Gifts 1






Flowers, cookies, wine. While these are the three most common housewarming presents that new homeowners receive, we’re pretty sure that with all the great local boutiques in Alexandria, you can give something better. These housewarming presents from Alexandria shops will hit the right note for your neighbors or friends. 44

1 | Blue and white enamel chamber pot — perfect for a creative flower arrangement, $42. URBAN REDEUX, 8742 COOPER RD., URBANREDEUX.COM

2 | Set of 8 tin chargers, 14 inches diameter, a perfect base for those who love entertaining, $48.

4 | Olive Wood Paddle cutting board to serve appetizers or cut garnishes, $25. THE HOUR, 1015 KING ST., THEHOURSHOP.COM

5 | Felted wool flowers handmade through a microbusiness program supporting women in Nepal. Flowers are sold by the stem from $6-$20 each and can be turned into a bouquet.



3 | Molly M Designs super absorbent Yves Felt Laser Cut Coasters, $45 (boxed set of 4).

6 | Breezeway Coral Rocks glasses from Alexandria-based The Modern Home Bar, $62. • May / June 2020





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7 | European mineral wax candles in handblown glass containers, $85. HOME ON CAMERON, 315 CAMERON ST., HOMEONCAMERON.COM

8 | Get the party started with a popcorn shaker gift set — the perfect way to customize popcorn, $39.99. THE SPICE & TEA EXCHANGE, 320 KING ST., SPICEANDTEA.COM/ALEXANDRIA

9 | These machine-washable throws in a variety of colors are sure to add color and comfort to any home, $135. PATINA POLISHED LIVING, 605 FRANKLIN ST., PATINAPOLISHEDLIVING.COM

10 | Acrylic vases in a variety of cheerful colors and shapes. Made in Italy, $68-$75. HOME ON CAMERON, 315 CAMERON ST., HOMEONCAMERON.COM

11| Stick candles are perfect for the host that likes a traditional gift, but with a modern twist — these candles are made in North Carolina out of 100 percent beeswax, cast to a real maple or hickory stick, $35 - $38. BOXWOOD, 128 S. ROYAL ST., BOXWOODOLDTOWN.COM

12 | For the extra special occasion, bring a gorgeous bud vase like this one handblown in Italy. Colors include green, pink, aqua, amber, cobalt, white and clear, $54. BOXWOOD, 128 S. ROYAL ST., BOXWOODOLDTOWN.COM

13 | Custom pillows are just one of the fun presents from AR Workshop Alexandria. The workshop also offers wood signs and home décor that customers can customize, DIY and more. Custom orders start at $45. AR WORKSHOP ALEXANDRIA, 1212 KING ST., ARWORKSHOP.COM/ALEXANDRIA

May / June 2020 •


Bring Joy to Your World...

with Paint Color BY BETH LAWTON

Have you ever started painting a wall only to realize halfway through that the color you chose was a little bit lighter, darker or – eek! – greener than you thought? With thousands of paint colors available in a variety of finishes, it’s no wonder homeown-


of paint companies and interior design firms have started to offer color consulting to homeowners who feel overwhelmed by the range of options available. When we moved to our current home in Alexandria’s West End in 2010, we painted the walls a cream color that can best be described as … well, nondescript. While it was a huge

ers can get paralyzed with choices.

improvement over the seafoam green that

In the past few years, an increasing number

was boring. • May / June 2020

the previous owners left behind, the color

Shut the front door! Coye said he’s seeing a trend toward black or various shades of red on Alexandria’s exterior doors.


Daphne SW 9151

Favorite Jeans SW 9147 The role of a paint color consultant is not to tell homeowners what the "in" color is these days — plenty of interior design magazines can do that — but they do help guide homeowners toward what will make them happy to walk in the door at the end of a long day. With a unique understanding of color theory and interior design, color consultants watch and listen more than talk as they focus on finding the “right” color for a residential or commercial space. A yellow that sparks happiness for one person can really irritate someone else. “I like to use things in your house to guide me,” said Florence Jones, founder of America’s Color Consultants, as she walked around my living room, dining room and kitchen. Did I like the deep red in the dining room area rug? (Not really.) What colors do I gravitate to in my wardrobe? (Jewel tones.)

In fact, color standards company Pantone chose Classic Blue as its 2020 Color of the Year, citing its ability to “instill calm, confidence and connection.” In my home, Jones recommended Accessible Beige (SW 7036) for the walls. Her recommendon an accent wall, were blues called Daphne

Sleepy Hollow

(SW 9151) and Favorite Jeans (SW 9147), both

SW 9145

ed accent color, applied through stenciling or

a bit lighter and less saturated than Pantone’s Classic Blue. Coye said much of his painting these days is bright white trim with Worldly Gray and Mindful Gray accented with darker blues like Naval. (Those are all Sherwin Williams colors, though other paint companies have similar hues.)

CHOOSING A FINISH When Jones asked if I had any preferences on

“Colors work better when they flow, and when they don’t flow, they start to irritate you,” Jones said, drawing attention to the areas where our paint colors don’t flow.

the finish of the paint —flat, matte or satin


“If you have kids and dogs, you don’t want to

In the past year or so, grays and blues have been the most popular colors for homeowners, said Patrick Coye, owner of Patrick’s Painting, a painting company in Alexandria. He was standing in my newly painted living room, where a fresh coat of Sherwin-Williams Bright White (SW 7007) was being applied to the ceiling.

Balanced Beige SW7037

— my answer was that I want it to be easy to clean. With two kids in the house, being able to wipe fingerprints off easily was critical.

use flat,” Jones said. A matte finish gives a little destructive, eggshell may serve your needs

Accessible Beige

better. The more sheen you have in a paint

SW 7036

more durability, but if your kids are particularly

finish, the more light bounces off the wall, which means you “lose” a little bit of the color, Jones said.

May / June 2020 •


Don’t Relocate, Renovate! It takes time and money to find a new house, and moving is a hassle. Turn your existing house into your dream home! It’s an affordable and easier way to get the home you fantasize about.

• • • •

Borrow up to 133% loan-to-value1 of your home Loan Amounts up to $250,000 Fixed Rate as low as 6.99% APR2 Terms up to 15 years Visit, stop by any branch, or give us a call at (703) 823-5211.

Main Branch 4875 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304 Monday – Thursday: 8:30 am – 5:30 pm Friday: 8:30 am – 6:30 pm Saturday: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

LTV = Loan-to-Value. The 133% LTV only applies to the Home Improvement Equity Loan. Home equity loans are available on primary residences located in Virginia, Maryland, Washington, DC, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Please check with your tax advisor regarding loan interest deductibility. Closing costs include credit reports, appraisal fee, flood certification, title search, recording fees and mortgage transfer taxes. Members will be obligated to pay the closing costs associated with the closing of this loan request. If a drive by or a full appraisal is required to support the loan request, this expense will paid by the member. Total closing costs generally range from $100 to $1,000 based on the loan amount. Closing costs can be incorporated and paid with the loan proceeds. Members should retain a copy of the home equity disclosures. Member may receive a refund of any fees if the rate changes and the member decides not to complete the process. Property insurance is required and flood insurance may be required. Loan is for home improvements only and documentation of bid/material list/ invoice will be required before loan disbursement. Granting of a home equity loan may result in the credit union acquiring a security interest in the property. Certain restrictions apply. 2APR = Annual Percentage Rate. Rates are subject to change at any time. All credit union rates and terms are based upon the evaluation of applicant(s) credit. Your actual rate may vary. Rate is also tiered on loan terms. Maximum loan term is 15 years and minimum loan term is 5 years. 1

48 • May / June 2020

Federally Insured by NCUA



Fresh Air Whether your home's outdoor space is a small deck or a huge yard, here are ways to make the most of your great outdoors this spring and summer.

May / June 2020 •



to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

An Old Town Alexandria home with loads of curb appeal. | PHOTO BY @DCCITYGIRL/INSTAGRAM

10 Ways


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Before any curious potential buyers or long-lost relatives show up on your doorstep, there are a few quick and easy things you can do to amp up your home's curb appeal.

Green, green grass of home. Front lawns started to appear at homes as early as the 18th century, but became standard in the United States in the 1930s. If your soil feels particularly hard under your feet, aerate your lawn to improve soil texture, then fertilize once per year with compost by raking it into your lawn. You can get your soil tested by a local nursery, and they may recommend a pH adjuster to help your grass stay healthy.

Add some color. Plant beds in front of your house should be 6 to 8 feet wide, with taller plants in the back and shorter, showier flowers in the front. Flowers should stay in the same color family for the best look. Plant bushes at least a foot away from your house to prevent damage to the roots and to allow you room to maintain them. Add a clear border with bricks or stone.

Light it up. Outdoor lighting can make a big difference in your front yard, whether it's a decorative light hanging from your front porch, sconces on either side of the front door, lighting along your front path or lighting that showcases a tree or landscaping. For additional charm, go for gas lights instead of electric.

The long and winding road. A charming addition to any home is a winding stone, slate or brick walkway from the street or driveway to the front door. You can DIY or hire a local company to handle the project.


If you're considering putting your house up for sale or maybe having that big family reunion this summer, you'll want your home to shine and make a great first impression. In addition, to making you feel good as the homeowner, increasing your curb appeal can increase your home’s value by 3 to 5 percent, according to Consumer Reports.

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Looking for inspiration?

Check out photos of local award-winning homes on the Alexandria Beautification Commission website at Every year, the Beautification Commission presents awards to homeowners, businesses and homeowners' associations for their efforts on making outdoor spaces beautiful. The deadline for applications this year is May 25. More information is available on the Beautification Commission’s website.



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Your front door sets the tone for guests, so be sure to put some focus on it. Here’s how:

Shut the front door! Painting your front door is the cheapest and simplest way to ramp up the curb appeal of your home, according to most home decor specialists. Current colors on-trend are black and various shades of red (sun-dried tomato in particular). Be sure to use a gloss or semi-gloss paint. Make sure the color you choose complements your landscaping and other elements of your house.

Knock, knock. You can add a focal point to your front door with a decorative door knocker. If you're putting your house on the market, don't choose a door knocker that is overly personal, like a monogram.

Don't wait for the holidays. You don't have to wait for the holidays to roll around. Wreaths made from boxwood, lavender or hydrangeas would make beautiful summertime wreaths.

Wipe your feet! Has it been awhile since you've added a new welcome mat to your front door? It might be time to freshen up with a new one made of coir (coconut husk).

Kick it. Another way to dress up your front door is to add a kickplate in brass or nickel. It's also functional, keeping your door from getting scuffed, dented or nicked.

Wait a minute, Mr. Postman! Depending on your neighborhood or HOA, you may not have a lot of options here, but if you have a freestanding mailbox, you can dress it up by either painting it, adding new numbers or planting flowers around it. Instead of a mail slot, you may consider a hanging mailbox next to your front door, too.

Top: This West End home won a 2019 award from the Alexandria Beautification Commission. Bottom: This Old Town home shows the idea of layering large plants and smaller, flowers plants within a color family. This home also won a 2019 Alexandria Beautification Commission award. PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE ALEXANDRIA BEAUTIFICATION COMMISSION

May / June 2020 •


Get Creative with

Container Gardening BY MARY ANN BARTON

If your “backyard” is the size of a postage stamp — or if you’re in a condo or apartment building with just a small balcony for outdoor space — you can still enjoy tomatoes right off the vine. Container gardening is a great way to boost the look of your patio, deck or front porch. Plus, it gives you the flexibility to add a splash of color from unique containers, flowers or plants in spaces that could use some help. If you're working with a small space, go vertical! Shop for hanging plants on hooks or add a tower to a pot for a flowering vine to climb. If you're thinking of growing cherry tomatoes or hot peppers, you can do those in a pot that is as small as 14 inches wide, but they'll do best in a 20-inch pot with five gallons of soil.

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One of the hottest things to hit the container gardening market are tower gardens. Designed for indoor or outdoor use, tower gardens allow you to grow things like lettuce in a vertical space. With recent concerns about e-coli in lettuce, more people are going the grow-your-own route with certain vegetables. Some things to consider before heading to your local garden center: • Go to your favorite home décor websites and magazines for ideas that will work with the size of your deck or patio. • Make sure you keep track of how the sun hits your gardening space. Most plants at your garden center will have labels with recommendations about which ones are better for full sun, partial sun or shade. (You can also ask your nursery whether the plant you're considering needs a lot of sun or shade.) • When choosing containers, make sure they have drainage holes in the bottom so roots won't sit in the water.


Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia suggests adding some drama to your containers by going with the "Thriller, Filler, Spiller" recipe. It works like this:

Thriller Put a showy upright plant in the center of your container to add height. Examples of thrillers are spikes, canna lilies, caladiums or tall ornamental grasses.

Filler Add bushy, medium-height plants to fill in the spaces in between. Some plants that make great fillers are lantana, nemesia, diascia and coleus.

Spiller For your "spiller," use trailing plants that spill over the side to create a lush feel. Some examples would be sweet potato vine, creeping jenny or petunias that trail.

Here are a few choices when it comes to the types of containers you can use; you should be able to find several choices at your local nursery in Alexandria or online.

Pottery Whether it's plastic (lighter and holds water better) or clay (heavier, less likely to blow over and better at preventing root rot), both are good choices for container gardening.

DIY wooden pallet for herbs Stand the pallet (you can find them for free at garden centers, just ask them if they're throwing them away) against an outdoor space and add herbs in flower pots. Get extra creative by painting the pallet.

Window boxes This is a charming choice to plant flowers or vegetables and comes in a variety of materials from wood to metal to vinyl. You might need some help from someone handy to handle installation. Wellmaintained window boxes are also a way to boost your home's curb appeal (no faux flowers or garden projects turned to weeds, though, please!).

Fabric pots Smart Pots are made of black polypropylene, a breathable fabric, great for growing vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant and potatoes. They come in a variety of sizes (starting at about two gallons) and from several different manufacturers. You can also cut into the fabric for "side planting." They last three to five years and are dirt cheap (starting at about $5).

Fun 'n funky If you have the space, an old metal bathtub or an antique wheelbarrow are fun choices for your space. Want to learn more about smallspace gardening? Check out a variety of educational programs from Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia at

May / June 2020 •



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If you have a little bit of space and a lot of vision, the possibilities for your backyard are endless. In recent years, the typical expanse of grass and trees has become less popular with homeowners as more people opt for sophisticated backyards with expansive decks, stone patios and outdoor living rooms, kitchens and bars. Even weather-proof outdoor televisions are becoming more common in local backyards. In fact, landscaping and indoor-outdoor living areas can pay for themselves in the amount of value they add to a property. On this page and the following pages, we take a look at some of Alexandria’s prettiest backyard projects. At left: Alexandria-based Landed LLC was called on to help transform a plain backyard into an indoor-outdoor space for entertaining and relaxing. The owners of the newly-built home brought in Landed to design and build an area that connected the home’s living space and backyard, which included a sport court. The home sits on nearly an acre of land near Waynewood. The timber frame structure, made of Douglas Fir with a Pine tongue-and-groove ceiling, houses an outdoor living room complete with a fireplace and outdoor television. The floor is made of manufactured paver stones (Blu60 by Techo-Bloc) allowing some water permeability. Outside the living room is an outdoor kitchen and dining bar made of natural stone, a fire pit and an additional seating area. The project took about 6 months to complete. Landed designed, built and now maintains the space.

May / June 2020 •


Landed transformed a dated backyard pool in the Chapel Hill neighborhood of Alexandria City into a peaceful oasis. The homeowners added a deck with a gutter system, allowing them to use the seating area underneath the deck even in rainy weather. The lower level of the home leads out to the covered seating area through large windows and glass doors that can be pushed aside. They created an expanded pool deck with Blu60 by Techo-Bloc permeable pavers, multi-level and spacious seating areas, walls and waterfalls added elegance. A custom, gas-powered fire pit now complements the pool. Aaron Gorski of Landed said many homeowners are trying to use native plants around their pools. In this yard, they added year-round color by using a combination of perennials, annuals and flowering bushes.

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The homeowners of this Southeast Fairfax County home along the Potomac River had a few goals: They wanted to increase their indoor-outdoor living by creating spaces they could use earlier in the spring and later in the fall. And they wanted those spaces to be low-maintenance. Groff Landscape Design built a deck with a screened-in porch underneath, an expansive patio and outdoor grilling area. The deck, which is off the home’s kitchen, was made of a Trex composite material with Trex aluminum railing, preserving the river view. The screened-in porch underneath with a porcelain tile floor was also built primarily with composite materials for durability. Groff Landscape Design also extended the stone veneer on the back of the house and created an outdoor patio Techo-Bloc concrete pavers, which are designed to last longer than traditional concrete pavers. The landscaping was also designed to be low-maintenance but colorful.

May / June 2020 •



Jaqueline Tucker Helping bring equity to Alexandria Earlier this year, Alexandria hired its first equity officer — a unique position charged with collaborating with City departments and employees, community members and other stakeholders to ensure all voices are heard in Alexandria. Jaqueline Tucker will see more people in similar positions hired in the coming months and years. Positions like hers are being created nationwide as local and regional governments start looking at how to reduce social and racial inequalities. Before coming to Alexandria, Tucker was East Region Project Manager for the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a national network of governments working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. The City of Alexandria joined GARE in February 2019. Tucker also has experience in law (she attended Howard University for law school and worked as an analyst for Deloitte & Touche), and she was a middle school reading teacher in an underserved area Houston. Her other roles include working as a Freedom of Information ACT (FOIA) attorney with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a community organizer with Families Empowered and an aide to several members of Congress. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Butler University in Indianapolis. Tucker is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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What skills are you bringing with you to this new role that you think will help?

Honestly, I think my most valuable skills come from my days in the classroom teaching middle schoolers in an underserved school [in Houston]. I taught sixth and seventh grade reading in a school that didn’t have a library. I was really instilling the value of education, and making content relevant to them and meeting them where they are. I think a lot of what we’re talking about with racial and social equity, is knowing that everyone has built-in biases and preconceived notions, [and that] we have a culture that we operate in in our personal lives, in our professional lives … and I think a significant part of what I will do is meet people where they are.

What are you hoping that will change long-term in Alexandria?

My hope long-term is that we reduce and eliminate the disparities that are based on race and other social indicators. That is a heavy lift because we’re going against hundreds of years of systemic and institutional oppression. If we’re going to be realistic, that is something that I’m working toward, and it will be a journey, but maybe not something that I would actually live to see. But the fact that we’re now having the conversation after X amount of years is indicative of us making progress toward that goal.

What do you do in your free time?

Huey is my Labradoodle. He’s 2 years old, so lots of dog parks. I’m starting to read a lot more. I feel like I’m always learning — there’s always something to read about a new best practice. I’m a certified yoga instructor. I don’t actually teach, so don’t try to find me at any classes, but I am certified and I have a regular yoga and meditation practice that is personal to me, so I devote some time there. I’m not a foodie but this area has a lot of unique restaurants. Speakeasies are becoming more of a thing and I’m looking forward to scoping out those places where you need a special password to get in.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be somebody who helped people. That could have been a doctor, a teacher, a social worker… A lot of people help people. I know that I wanted to have an impact on people’s lives in a way that was positive.

Marks-Woods specializes in residential renovation projects. From concept to construction, we create beautiful home design solutions customized for each client’s unique lifestyle and necessities. For a limited time, we are offering 10% off your home renovation! Visit our website and use the code “ALM” in your contact form to claim your discount!

Looking for more design inspiration? Visit our website and follow us on social media for the latest photos and updates from our client projects!

Facebook: MWConstructionServices Instagram: @mwconstruction

205 S. Union Street Alexandria, VA 22314 703.838.9788

106 N. Lee St., Second Floor Alexandria, VA 22314.


Celebrating 40 Years in the Alexandria Community

For our fortieth anniversary, we are launching our 40 for 40 campaign that will highlight 40 philanthropic ways we give back to our community. Follow us on social media to connect to our campaign. McEnearney


Alexandria, Old Town Office 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 main 703 549 9292 | Equal Housing Opportunity