Alexandria Living Magazine - Nov/Dec 2020

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Made in Alexandria

Spotlight on artistic entrepreneurs

The Colonel in the Attic





Living, Loving, Listing Old Town Lauren Bishop, McEnearney Associate

One of my favorite things about Old Town is when the seasons change... and I don’t necessarily mean just the weather. It’s the mood, culture, and energy that comes out to greet us. It’s the celebrations, holidays, and traditions. It’s the community, friends, and neighbors. I love Old Town, and love even more helping my clients find a special place here to call home. 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, Realtor® 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


Cabinetry design and sales

Space planning

Installation and installation assistance

3D renderings and detailed concept drawings

Design solutions through cabinetry

One-on-one client consultations

GET INSPIRED AT OUR NEW DESIGN STUDIO! 205 S. Union Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 571-290-0645 WWW.BRAEMARCABINETRY.COM








CALENDAR OF EVENTS Have some fun this holiday season at these events both in-person and virtual.













In the COVID era, pet companions are more in demand than ever. The Humane Society of the United States gives us tips to watch out for when adopting man's best friend.

Alexandria columnist Stuart Perkins finds the value in "old stuff."

The Landini family — whose restaurants include Landini Brothers on King Street near Alexandria's waterfront — share a beloved family recipe to enjoy during the holidays.

Doing more outdoor entertaining these days? The outdoor spaces at this 1970s Fort Hunt Dutch Colonialstyle home get a makeover.

Chocolate martinis at Hersheypark, dog sledding at Nemacolin, dolphin watching at The Tides Inn? There's plenty of R&R within driving distance of Alexandria this holiday season — plus some options for New Year's Eve celebrating.

Meet Izetta Autumn Mobley, museum educator with the Office of Historic Alexandria, who welcomes visitors to Freedom House.

53 November / December 2020 •



17 The Colonel in the Attic After a decades-old military uniform was found in an Alexandria attic, the author reached out to an online community for answers and within 24 hours, the mystery was solved.

32 Made in Alexandria In the age of Etsy, Alexandria's makers discuss their passion for making everything from Wish Stones to seasonings.

ON THE COVER A watercolor by local artist Alexandra Schmeling of George Washington's gristmill and distillery.


SOCIALIZE WITH US  • November / December 2020

 @alexlivingmag

 @alexandrialivingmag




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A Letter from Our Founders


Beth Lawton EDITOR


Cleo Chitester Lora Jerakis DESIGN & ILLUSTRATION

Jessie Leiber


Susannah Moore INTERN

Sara Dingmann Alexandria Living Magazine is published six times per year by Alexandria Living, LLC ©2020. 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.

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We're about to wind up one of the most challenging years in our history and as we head into Thanksgiving and the December holidays, we hope that as difficult as this year has been, you're able to count your blessings as the clock counts down to a new year. At Alexandria Living, we're thankful for the folks who help us put the magazine together — from photographers and illustrators to story tellers and designers as well as the business partners who help fuel our endeavors in print and online. Once again, we're bringing you an issue that is chock-full of stories about our city — from some of the creative makers around town who are spotlighted on Pages 32 - 47 to a decades-old mystery that started in Alexandria, in The Colonel in the Attic, on Page 17, by local writer Ann Cameron Siegal. One of the better things to come out of this pandemic is an uptick in pet adoptions. So many, in fact, that dogs, cats and other critters are sometimes hard to come by. The Humane Society of the United States gives us some pointers on what to look for if you're seeking out a furry friend, on Page 20. Alexandria writer Stuart Perkins explores the ideas behind the "value of everything and the price of nothing" as he chats about his "old stuff" with a colleague in his column, The Small Things, on Page 22 with a fitting accompanying illustration by Lucinda Jennings. If you live in Alexandria and have never dined at Landini Brothers, you're missing a real treat when it comes to cuisine, ambiance and service. (If you've chosen not to dine out due to the pandemic, you can always order and pick up these days.) Noe Landini generously shares a holiday recipe with us, on Page 24, from his father, Franco, the co-founder of Landini Brothers. • November / December 2020

Beth Lawton, publisher, and Mary Ann Barton, editor


With temperatures cooling as the pandemic continues, you might be looking to stretch the outdoor season. If you're looking for ways to perk up your outdoor spaces, check out this makeover in Fort Hunt on Page 27. The holiday season for some of us might mean a quick getaway. We've put together a few luxe options within driving distance (no flying required) including a look at resorts and activities in Farmington and Hershey, Pennsylvania, and Irvington, Virginia, starting on Page 53. One of the things we're most excited about in this issue is right on the cover — an enchanting watercolor painting of George Washington's gristmill and distillery by local artist Alexandra Schmeling. Be sure to check out her work (and endeavors by other local artisans) by visiting, an online home of local makers, artists and creators. This new partnership with Alexandria Living is where you can shop for gifts, housewares, art and more. Find out all about it on Page 49. We hope you enjoy this issue as much as we did putting it together. We wish you and yours health, wealth and happiness in the new year ahead. We'll see you again right here, come January.

Mary Ann Barton and Beth Lawton Founders

Our Team Meet some of the contributors to this issue.




Ann started her writing and photography career with the Alexandria Port Packet in the late 1970s. A "meandering minimalist," she is always looking around the next bend for interesting experiences. Since 2001, many of her finds have been featured in The Washington Post. Ann and her husband Glenn just celebrated their 50th anniversary by driving cross country, savoring amazing landscapes along the way.

Sara is a senior at the University of Missouri, where she is studying journalism. She is spending her fall semester in the area. In the past she has contributed to publications in her hometown of Rochester, Minnesota. When she isn’t working, you will find her getting coffee or ice cream from every local shop she can find. After graduation in the spring she hopes to work as a multimedia journalist.

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




Susannah has called Alexandria home since 2015. 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.

Alexandra came to Alexandria in 2018 and fell in love with Old Town for its small-town charm. She studied photography at Yale and earned a teaching degree. When not working as an account manager for an education technology company, she spends time honing her watercolor skills for fun and for local fundraisers. You can follow her on Instagram @alexandra.schmeling and at

November / December 2020 •



ways to support Alexandria small businesses this holiday season

This year, it’s more important than ever to show your love for Alexandria’s locally owned businesses as the community embarks on an unusual holiday season. Thankfully, there are many ways to enjoy seasonal delights, go through your gift list and show support for our city’s independent businesses.

1. Shop Small to Show Your Love As the region’s shop small headquarters, Alexandria’s impressive collection of boutiques offer smile-inducing gifts and personal service you won’t find just anywhere. Browse through Visit Alexandria’s curated digital shopping guide for inspired ideas to fill your holiday shopping needs.

2. Find Time to Unwind with Meals-to-Go Savor takeout from your favorite Alexandria restaurants to create a cozy vibe on a cold winter’s night or celebrate a low-stress holiday with chef-driven family meals to-go.

3. Mark Your Calendar for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday Get ready to take part in Alexandria’s biggest shopping days of the season, snagging deals on Black Friday on November 27 and enjoying special promotions on Small Business Saturday on November 28.

4. Enjoy a Sweet Pick-Me-Up Stave off any wintery blues with treats from Alexandria’s many sweets spots, like an affogato from Dolci Gelati or a fresh-baked cupcake from Lavender Moon or Alexandria Cupcake. Then, order a showstopping centerpiece cake (plus cookies for Santa) from Buzz Bakeshop.

5. Raise a Glass of Local Beer and Cider Say “cheers!” with a locally crafted drink from Northern Virginia’s first urban cidery, Lost Boy Cider, quirky critics’ favorite Aslin Beer Co. or award-winning Port City Brewing Company. Serve seasonal offerings alongside holiday meals or gift a taste of Alexandria to loved ones.

6. Buy from Black-Owned Businesses Whether you’re practicing self-care virtually with PIES Fitness Yoga Studio, warming up with a chai latte at Café du Soleil or gifting eco-friendly fashion from Threadleaf, you’ll find lots to love this holiday season from dozens of Black-owned businesses:

7. Pick Something Up for the History Buff Our history-rich city has you covered with 18th-century-inspired gifts from historic museums, Black history and culture-themed merch from Manumission Tour Company, and much more.

8. Share Your City Pride with Alexandria-Themed Gifts Peruse Alexandria-themed home décor, fashion, flavors and more from local favorites like The Old Town Shop, Red Barn Mercantile and the Alexandria Visitor Center.

Head to VisitAlexVA.Com/ShopSmall for more ways to support Alexandria’s local businesses.

EV E N T K E Y Arts Food & Dining Family-Friendly Historic/Educational Live Music Nightlife Pet-Friendly Recreation & Outdoor Shopping Theater Workshop

Cameron Run Ice & Lights, Nov. 20 – Jan 9 | PHOTO COURTESY OF NOVA PARKS

FALL 2020

Calendar of Events November Art on the Avenue

Christmas at Gaylord National

Election Day



Nov. 3 | 6 a.m. – 7 p.m.

The 25th Annual Art on the Avenue festival has moved to a virtual format for 2020. The event launched on Oct. 3 and will be running through the holiday season. The event will feature more than 150 artists, virtual experiences and a wide range of opportunities to support local artists and connect as a creative community while social distancing.

In past years, we’ve seen amazing things at the Gaylord National, from acres of decorations to holiday activities. While things might be tweaked this year for physical distancing, we’re sure it will be amazing. Visit the event website to stay updated on the program lineup for this year’s Christmas on the Potomac.

General election for U.S. president and vice president, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. To find your polling station and the most up to date information visit Elections if you live in the City of Alexandria or if you live in Fairfax County. Look up the location of your polling place at

The Gaylord National, 201 Waterfront St., National Harbor,

Due to ongoing concerns about the spread of COVID-19, some of the events listed here may move online, be postponed or be canceled. Keep an eye on for an updated events calendar or check in with event organizers before heading out this fall! November / December 2020 •



Belle of Amherst Nov. 6 – 22



A one-woman show by William Luce, that explores the life of Emily Dickinson, one of America’s most enigmatic, eccentric and beloved poets. Drawing largely from Emily’s poetry and letters, this play places us inside the mind of a true American nonconformist. Only 45 people will be able to attend each performance and CDC guidelines will be followed. All performances are free. The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe St.,

Virtual Paint Class with Kellie Sansone Yoga & Mimosas Nov. 7, Dec. 5 | 9 a.m. Join the Carlyle Vitality Initiative for a series of instructor-led yoga classes. Free mimosas will be provided by Trademark Drink & Eat and a brunch menu will be available after class. The cost is $5 per person, per class and attendees must bring their own yoga mat, water and follow COVID-19 guidelines. Space is limited so RSVP at Attendees are encouraged to drink responsibly. Trademark Drink & Eat, 2080 Jamieson Ave.,

The Parkway Classic Nov. 7 | 5k Nov. 8 | 10 miler This year the Pacer’s Running PNC Parkway Classic is allowing runners to participate from their own neighborhoods. In addition, they are working on options for a safe way for runners to participate in the more traditional race. Visit the race website for the most up to date information on the event and how to participate.


Nov. 8 | 7 p.m. Join Alexandria Living Magazine and local watercolor artist Kellie Sansone for a virtual painting class, where participants will paint an Alexandria-themed scene. A portion of proceeds will benefit Volunteer Alexandria, a local organization that matches volunteers of all ages with opportunities here in Alexandria. The cost of your ticket includes supplies in addition to the class. Tickets are available through

Under the Same Roof: Enslaved and Free Servants at the Lee-Fendall House Nov. 7 | 2 p.m. Explore the Lee-Fendall House through the stories of the enslaved and free African Americans who lived and worked in the home as domestic servants, both before and after the Civil War. This tour presents a fuller story of the many people who shaped this house over the course of its history. Tickets are $10, members of Lee-Fendall House are admitted free. Space is limited so advance tickets are recommended. Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden, 614 Oronoco St., • November / December 2020

American Horticultural Society (AHS) Virtual Garden Party Nov. 8 | 4 p.m. The American Horticultural Society (AHS) will transform its annual fall fundraising gala into a live virtual “garden party”

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smart! register today! Winter Break Art Camps Drop-in Classes & Holiday Workshops Weekly Classes in the Studio or Live Online

private bookings too! Outdoor Classes & Parties Live Virtual Birthday Parties Mobile Classes for Schools & Pods

art kits


gift cards (703) 660 - 4814


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event – “Celebrating Together: Arriving Home.” Friends and supporters from around the country are invited to join AHS for an afternoon of seasonal style and entertaining inspiration, fall gardening and home decorating tips and tricks. It will feature nationally (and internationally) known lifestyle experts James Farmer and Monte Durham. A mixologist will whip up specialty cocktails, and there will also be a surprise celebrity guest with a royal connection.

Mount Vernon Salutes Veterans Nov. 11 | 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. All active-duty military, veterans and retired military will receive free admission at Mount Vernon. Throughout the day, visitors can write a thank you letter to an active duty service member in the Vaughan Lobby. Honored guests are also invited to place a flower at Washington’s Tomb. Visit the Smith Auditorium at 11 a.m. for a performance by the Harmony Heritage Singers. A concert by the United States Air Force Strings Orchestra will take place


at 3 p.m. Lady Washington will also be on site to greet veterans. Veterans and their families will receive 10 percent off at the food court, Mount Vernon Inn and the Shops at Mount Vernon. George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy.,

won an American Comedy Award for Best Female Standup Comic and has appeared on numerous television and radio shows. Tickets are $55. The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

Carlyle House Architecture Tour Nov. 12 and Dec. 10 | 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Carlyle House is one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture on the East Coast. Join historians for a one-hour tour of Carlyle House solely focused on the architecture and restoration of Carlyle House. Reservations are required, as space is limited. All COVID-related procedures will be in place during this tour. Carlyle House Historic Park, 121 N. Fairfax St.,

Del Ray Vintage & Flea Market Paula Poundstone

Nov. 14 | 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Nov. 13, 14 and 15 | 7:30 p.m.

Join Del Ray Vintage & Flea Market for their last market of the 2020 season! Find hidden treasures from dozens of vendors.

Join renowned comedian, author, lecturer, host and actress, Paula Poundstone for an evening of laughter and wit. She has • November / December 2020

1900 Mt. Vernon Ave.,





Alexandria Architecture Walking Tour Nov. 14 | 10 – 11:30 a.m. Alexandria has grown from a small town in the 18th century to a bustling small city in the 21st century. Join Carlyle House Historic Park staff for a tour of Alexandria as they explore various architecture styles that adorn the city streets and make it one of the best places to live and work. Reservations are required as space is limited. All COVID-19 procedures will be in place during this tour. Please wear comfortable shoes for this 90-minute guided tour. Tour is held rain or shine unless there is severe weather. $15 per person.


Black Friday and Small Business Saturday

Carlyle House Historic Park, 121 N. Fairfax St.,

Tell Me Your Name

Nov. 27, 28

Nov. 17, Dec. 15 | 4 – 5 p.m.

This holiday season, make a special effort to support Alexandria’s local, familyowned businesses for the best presents! On Black Friday, Nov. 27, wander the shops of Old Town, Del Ray and beyond for special discounts, giveaways and events. Shop local small businesses for more deals and discounts on Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28. For more information on the deals, discounts and more go to

DIY & Brunch Series: Clay Mask and Makeup Foundation Education Nov. 14 | 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. SkinScholars ( will create a fun-filled experience as they teach you how to create your own clay face mask, followed by makeup foundation education by Tres Belle Beauty, LLC. Brunch is a separate purchase through Trademark Drink & Eat and special brunch menu, based on the event series will be available after class. All materials are provided. Cost is $10 per participant per class. Sponsored by the Carlyle Vitality Initiative:

Join Carlyle House Historic Park staff for a tour focusing on the experiences of the enslaved community at Carlyle House and his plantations. The guided tour will explore the historical context of slavery in 18th century Alexandria and the importance of ongoing research efforts to connect with descendants. Reservations are required as space is limited. All COVID-19 procedures will be in place during this tour. $10 per person.

City of Alexandria, The Carlyle Council and the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership.

Carlyle House Historic Park, 121 N. Fairfax St.,

Trademark Drink + Eat, 2080 Jamieson Ave.,

Twilight & Tipple Fall & Winter Evening Tours! Nov. 19, Dec. 15 | 6 p.m. Experience Frank Lloyd Wright’s PopeLeighey House by twilight. This tour series is a chance to see one of Wright’s houses illuminated against a night sky, bringing a whole new dimension and radiance to the typical tour experience. PopeLeighey House staff only offer a few tours a year in the evening, so seize this great

November / December 2020 •



opportunity today. Grab a drink, which is included in the price of your ticket, and take an informative and fun open-house tour with plenty of time to take stunning photos. Tickets are $35. Pope-Leighey House, 9000 Richmond Hwy.,


Ice & Lights: The Winter Village at Cameron Run Nov. 20 – Jan 9 | 5 – 10 p.m. Enjoy food, shopping and lots of holiday lights and cheer in the Winter Village! Ice skating reservations must be made ahead online for one-hour time slots. Ice & Lights will have a few extra safety precautions this year, including requirements for physical distancing, sanitation and masks. For more information and tickets visit the event website. Cameron Run, 4001 Eisenhower Ave., events/ice-lights


a prominent Alexandrian through building and operating Green’s Mansion House Hotel. Join Carlyle House Historic Park on a tour to learn about James Green and his family’s life here in Alexandria. Reservations are required as space is limited. Please wear comfortable shoes for this 1.5-hour guided tour. Tour is held rain or shine unless there is severe weather. Masks are required. Tickets are $15 per person.

with Sew So Fab. Choose to sew your own scarf, pet bandana or bowtie. All materials are provided. Cost is $10 per participant per class. Brunch is a separate purchase through Trademark Drink & Eat and a special brunch menu, based on the event series, will be available after class.

Carlyle House Historic Park, 121 N. Fairfax St.,

Holiday Candlelight Tours

A Christmas Carol

Celebrate the holiday season with evening candlelight tours of the Lee-Fendall House decked out in Victorian splendor. An antique toy exhibit will also be on view. Space is limited and reservations are required. Face masks and social distancing will be in place throughout the tour. Tickets are $8 for adults and $3 for children ages 6-13.

Stories in the Architecture

Nov. 28 – Dec. 19

Nov. 21 | 2 p.m.

A new, updated version of a holiday classic, perfect for unusual times. Only 45 people will be able to attend each performance and CDC guidelines will be followed. All performances are free.

Venture behind the scenes, from the basement to the attic, and explore the history of the Lee-Fendall House through its architecture. Changes in style and home technology have all left their mark on the home, from when it was built in 1785 through its continued use as a home in the 20th century. This tour includes parts of the house that are not regularly open to the public. Tickets are $10, members of Lee-Fendall House are admitted free. Space is limited so advance tickets are recommended. Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden, 614 Oronoco St.,

Green Family Walking Tour Nov. 22 | 3:30 – 5 p.m. In the early 19th century, William Green started the Green Furniture factory in Alexandria and by 1823 his son, James, had taken over. James expanded his father’s factory and established himself as


The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe St.,

Holiday Kissing Ball Workshop Dec. 3 | 6:30 p.m. Dec. 6 | 2 p.m. Learn how to create your own traditional holiday kissing ball using fresh boxwood from the Lee-Fendall garden. The cost to participate is $20 per person. All materials are provided. Space is limited to 10 participants per workshop. Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden, 614 Oronoco St.,

DIY & Brunch Sewing Class Dec. 5 | 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. Join the Carlyle Vitality Initiative for their DIY & Brunch Series and learn how to sew • November / December 2020

Trademark Drink + Eat, 2080 Jamieson Ave.,

December 5, 12 and 19 | 5 – 8 p.m.

Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden, 614 Oronoco St.,

Colonial Winter Nights Dec. 5, 12 | 5 – 8 p.m. Experience the holiday season with Carlyle House focusing on how the Carlyles and their enslaved workers observed the holidays during the 18th century. Stay tuned for updates about live music. Be sure to check out last minute deals in the Museum Shop. Space is limited and reservations are required. Tours are offered on the half hour. All COVID-19 procedures will be in place during this tour. Tickets are $8 per adult and $3 per child (ages 6-13). Carlyle House Historic Park, 121 N. Fairfax St.,


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Gordon Lightfoot Dec. 6 | 7:30 p.m. Join highly acclaimed folk, folk-rock and country music singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot as he performs on the Birchmere stage. Lightfoot’s hits include “Sundown,” “Carefree Highway,” and “Rainy Day People.” Tickets are $95. The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

A Victorian Christmas Dec. 12 |10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Experience the wonder of the season by visiting the Lee-Fendall House for a family-friendly Victorian Christmas. Enjoy traditional décor, music, seasonal crafts, a visit by Santa and more. Timed tickets are available through advance registration. The House will be following all recommended health requirements, including face masks and social distancing. Tickets are $8 for adults and $12 for children ages 2-12. Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden, 614 Oronoco St.,

November / December 2020 •




Christmas Illuminations at Mount Vernon Dec. 18 – 19 | 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy.,

Holiday Open House

Dec. 18, 19 | 5 – 8 p.m.

Dec. 31 | 5 – 8 p.m.

Discover how Christmas was celebrated when the Green family lived at Carlyle House and the Mansion House Hotel was being used as a Civil War hospital. Stay tuned for updates about live music. Be sure to check out last minute deals in the Museum Shop.

Wrap up your year with a visit to Carlyle House on New Year’s Eve. Guests will learn about holiday traditions of old, some which we still enjoy today. Stay tuned for updates about live music. Be sure to check out the Museum Shop Clearance Sale. Tours offered on the first floor with timed entry on the hour and half hour. Space is limited and reservations are required. All COVID-19 procedures will be in place during this tour. Tickets are $8 per adult and $3 per child (ages 6-13).

Tours offered on the first floor with timed entry on the hour and half hour. Space is limited and reservations are required. All COVID-19 procedures will be in place during this tour. Tickets are $8 per adult and $3 per child (ages 6-13). Carlyle House Historic Park, 121 N. Fairfax St.,

Carlyle House Historic Park, 121 N. Fairfax St.,

Waterskiing Santa Dec. 24 | 1 p.m. Stand along the waterfront and watch Santa and his merry crew waterski into historic Old Town Alexandria during this beloved annual holiday tradition. Old Town Alexandria Waterfront, 1 King St.,

Artful Living


16 • November / December 2020




Kick off the holiday season with sparkling fireworks overlooking the Potomac River. Visit with re-enactors throughout the estate. See how 18th century chocolate was made. Visit our holiday guest, Aladdin the camel. Warm up by the bonfire with hot chocolate or cider. Visit museum exhibits. Shop for holiday gifts at The Shops at Mount Vernon. Food and drinks will be available for purchase. Tickets start at $20 for members and $22 for non-members.

Mansion House Christmas


The Colonel in the Attic BY ANN CAMERON SIEGAL

As ramifications of COVID-19 shutdowns threaten my usual long list of blessings this Thanksgiving, one real smile-maker still warms my heart. In May, dozens of Alexandrians came together online via to help me solve a decades-old mystery in less than 24 hours.

In 1986, after my mother’s passing, my husband and I found a World War II uniform hanging on a peg in the attic of her Green Street home. The uniform had no ID, but its dozen colorful military ribbons and six overseas service bars suggested some very impressive service. Mom was a WWII Army nurse, so we assumed it belonged to a relative or friend. In a nearby trunk, her own carefully preserved Army uniform, hats and unlabeled black and white photos from her service days spoke to a life I knew little about.

November / December 2020 •



Vowing to do more research later, we tucked the mystery uniform into mom’s trunk for storage. Well-intentioned promises took a back seat though as children and life’s twists vied for our immediate attention. The trunk sat forgotten until this spring when shutdowns prompted us and many others to use our free time for purging long-stored stuff. Hauling the trunk out, we found both uniforms looking as if they’d been stored yesterday. Our youngest daughter, researching what each award on the mystery uniform represented, discovered that this officer served in both WWI and WWII. The ribbons represented the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, the WWI Mexican Border campaign medal (1916-1917) and an Asiatic Pacific medal with five stars from WWII. There were also Victory ribbons from both World Wars, and the Philippines Liberation Medal (1 Star). Combining those with the

18 • November / December 2020

Statue of Liberty shoulder patch of the 77th Infantry Division, our thoughts of a family member being the possible owner evaporated. The next logical step was to find whomever mom purchased the house from in 1964. With the lockdown, obvious research venues such as the land records office and libraries were closed. And needed sales records didn’t show up in our online searches. So, on May 17, I posted a notice on Del Ray’s message board: “Hoping to connect local family to a piece of their history,” I wrote, accompanied by a photo of the uniform. With lightning speed, several dozen strangers-to-us chimed in, each drawing from their own expertise and hunches. Historians, genealogists, real estate agents and out-of-the-box thinkers all worked like a cheerful cohesive team, quickly pulling the missing pieces together while cheering each other on. A military historian, cross-referencing his resources for WWI and WWII awards, determined that our soldier had to be born before 1899 to make it to Mexico and reach senior rank by WWII.


The very defined series of decorations led him to three local possibilities, one being Colonel Royal L. Gervais (1895 -1967) interred in Arlington National Cemetery. Simultaneously, an ancestry buff found partial online records for my mom’s house showing a John M. Gervais living there from 1950-52. Then, the historian found a report that in 1949, Royal Leonard Gervais left the same Green Street address to travel aboard the USAT “Thomas Barry” bound for Germany. “Found him!” he posted on May 18. I could almost feel hugs and high fives as online kudos were joyfully shared. Research continued. A family tree on included Royal L. Gervais, but I was crestfallen after seeing the site’s owner hadn’t logged on in over a year. I sent an inquiry anyway and surprisingly got a same-day response saying, “That was my great grandfather,” from the tree’s manager. He later said something just told him to check Ancestry that day. After telling him of our collective efforts via Nextdoor, he responded, "I am amazed at the speed and diligence of the community research — perhaps my favorite part of this story!"

We’ve learned so much more about The Colonel in the Attic since May, but one big question loomed. Why was his uniform in the Green Street attic for 36 years? Alexandria’s land records office reopened Aug. 31. Assisted by helpful staffers there, I discovered my mom purchased her home directly from Col. Gervais, who purchased it in 1950 as an investment property. I can just see them sharing war stories across the settlement table! When the 100-plus folks tracking the mystery were updated on this find, one wrote, “I'm glad the City offices weren't open because it gave us all this fun little story/hunt to follow along with.” On Sept. 13, 2020, Colonel Royal Gervais’s uniform — after residing in an attic through 14 years of tenants and 22 years of my mom’s ownership, then in our closet for 34 years — was returned in person to members of his family as they shared photos and memories of the Colonel with us. I know nothing about the politics, creeds or lifestyles of any of those who participated in this incredible project. I just know that it feels like a huge, caring, extended family came together quickly and efficiently to free the amazing Colonel in the Attic and begin to tell his story.

Above: Col. Royal L. Gervais' uniform returns to family members — great granddaughter Kris Eyler of Haymarket, Va., grandson Bill Gervais of North Carolina and great grandson Todd Ebert of Falls Church. PHOTOS BY ANN CAMERON SIEGAL

November / December 2020 •



P ws for Thought: Your Pet Adoption Options BY MARY ANN BARTON

Across the country, animal shelters, rescue groups and breeders have reported an increase in pet adoptions as people are looking for some extra companionship during the pandemic. If you’re thinking about welcoming a new member to your family, your first thought should be to consider adopting from the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. There are dozens of dogs, cats, rabbits and other friends waiting for their forever home. In fact, the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria discourages a pet as a surprise present, instead telling gift givers to have their loved one meet potential pets first to make sure there’s a good match. “Whether you adopt the pet as a gift that day, or put a hold for future adoption, your new best friend is just as likely (and maybe even moreso) to be a welcome addition because your recipient met them first,” according to staff there. If you don’t find your new sidekick at the AWLA or at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter, you can broaden your search to one of the many rescue organizations (including breed-specific ones) in our region.



If you’re considering going to a breeder, the Humane Society of the United States has tips you should consider. There are many responsible breeders who treat their dogs with care and provide exercise, personal attention and spacious, clean and comfortable living quarters. Unfortunately, there are also more than 10,000 puppy mills in the United States. Before you begin to search for your family’s new pet, the Humane Society of the United States provided this information for anyone considering adopting a pet, asking potential pet parents to take a good look at these statement commonly made by questionable sellers, and what they may really mean:

Puppy mills say: “My place is hard to find. I'll meet you in the local parking lot.” What they mean is: “I don't want you to see where I keep my dogs.” Be extremely wary of anyone who discourages you from visiting their facility or who invites you to their home or property, but only shows you one puppy at a time. Responsible breeders have nothing to hide and will be glad to show you not only the puppy you are interested in, but his or her parents and the other dogs • November / December 2020

on the property as well. They will also show you the areas where both the adult breeding dogs and the puppies spend their time.

Puppy mills say: “My puppies come with a health guarantee.”

What they mean is: “If you sign this, it limits my liability if your puppy gets sick.” While a health guarantee itself is not a sign of a bad breeder, it’s important to read health guarantees or contracts with a critical eye. They are often designed to protect the seller’s interests more than yours. They can be full of exclusions and loopholes and often require you to return a sick puppy to the seller in order to get a refund — which might be the last thing on your mind when you are trying to save a sick animal’s life.

Puppy mills say: “Our puppies come with a health record on our kennel's letterhead listing all the care we provided.” What they mean is: “We ‘play vet’ to save money.” A truly responsible breeder will be able to provide you with the name and number of their veterinarian, as well as proof of the puppy’s full veterinary examination on their veterinarian’s letterhead.


Many will also provide you with health reports and screening results for the puppy's parents. Less reputable breeders will give you a list of treatments they administered themselves, rather than a record from a licensed vet. Amateur breeders who skip veterinary exams to cut costs are likely to be cutting costs elsewhere as well — often at the expense of the dogs in their care. If the seller has administered their own vaccinations, ask for a detailed explanation. Each vaccination listed on the record should be accompanied by a small label with the expiration date and lot number of the vaccine (which the manufacturers provide in self-stick format with each vaccine for this very purpose).

Puppy mills say: “Ours is a family business. We raise healthy puppies on our 20-acre farm.” What they mean is: “We produce puppies.” Almost every breeder, even disreputable ones, has a family and many commercial breeders breed puppies on family-owned farms. Don't assume that a website offering “farm-raised" or “family-raised” puppies isn’t a puppy mill. Once again, you need to see the property for yourself and view the areas where the dogs are living. Unfortunately, being raised on a 20-acre farm doesn't mean that the dogs have access to the space. Too often, the breeding dogs at puppy mills are forced to live in small cages on the property; frequently they can see open, grassy spaces but never run and play in them.

In addition to local and regional shelters, breeders and rescue groups for various breeds (labs, collies, cocker spaniels and more) and lovable mutts, there are a variety of organizations where you can find a dog or cat: Lucky Dog Animal Rescue Homeward Trails Animal Rescue

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loans subject to normal credit approval. November / December 2020 • All


The Priceless Value of ... ‘Old Stuff’ BY STUART PERKINS

It was a beautiful day in Old Town with so much to see, do and taste. An outdoor seat at any waterfront eatery guarantees great people-watching, but on an early fall day like this, walking and window-shopping were in order. I strolled past the front window of one of several antique shops in the area. Sunlight reflected in a hundred directions as it struck crystal glasses lined up along a shelf. The rainbow of sparkles caught my eye and I stopped to look. My mother has glasses like these, I thought. On a shelf below was a huge punch bowl. My mother’s is very similar. Staring at these old pieces reminded me of a conversation I once had with a coworker at the office. A pre-virus discussion before Zoom meetings replaced water-cooler chats. My office was just down the hall from Karen’s.


22 • November / December 2020

I glanced in her door on my way to the copier. She motioned frantically when I passed

by, barely looking up from her computer as her hand waved me toward her desk. She was breathing heavily. “Isn't this antique Italian walnut burl carved armoire beautiful?” she asked. “What?” I wasn’t even sure what language she was speaking. She shoved the monitor in my direction, pointed at the screen and waited for me to be awed. “Oh.” I said. “A wardrobe.” “You have one?” she asked with a slight smirk. “No, but I have a cedar wardrobe that was my great-grandmother’s,” I answered. “Of course.” She frowned as she slid the monitor back toward herself. “I love proper antiques.” “I like old stuff too.” I left to go to the copier. I have plenty of old stuff. Not just old, but meaningful. Each piece belonged to someone in my family and was passed down and down again until landing with me. Most may not be so valuable in dollars, but each has a story. When I look at them, I imagine the person who first owned them, how they used them, and whether they ever imagined that a

hundred years later a relative would be grateful to have them. The Italian armoire that affected Karen’s respiration was pretty, but it meant nothing to me. I would rather have my great-grandmother’s simple cedar wardrobe than all of Italy’s armoires. Then again, I don’t know antiques. I only know my old stuff. Some weeks later, I invited coworkers over for Friday night pizza. Karen was the first to say yes. “I’ll get to see your armoire!” she squealed. “It’s a wardrobe,” I reminded her. “Of course,” Karen said. Friday evening arrived and with plates full of pizza, everyone launched into small talk and office gossip. Everyone, that is, but Karen. She was only interested in inspecting my wardrobe. “What a fabulous vintage mid-century cedar wardrobe!” Karen felt obliged to confirm. She smiled, and then suddenly looked down at her feet.

mahogany telephone table. And matching chair!” she noticed. “Did you find it at an auction?” “No, I found it in my grandmother’s farmhouse upstairs in a spare room. She used it for decades and always told us grandkids about the funny things she’d overhear while making calls back in the time when party lines were common.” “Of course,” Karen said. The show-and-tell process continued for the next few minutes as Karen moved from room to room examining all of my old stuff. She stopped finally in front of the worn and rusty hand-held pruning shears I kept on a shelf. She didn’t guess or even comment. She simply pointed at the shears and waited. “Oh.” I took my cue. “They were my grandmother’s and I just keep them to remember her and her love of gardening.” Karen actually smiled. “Does everything have a story?” “Of course,” I said.

“Wait. This appears to be an American folk art style hooked rug, likely from the 1930s, is my guess.” She leaned down for a closer look and glanced back up at me. “Did you pick it up from a specialty shop?”

Everyone regrouped in the living room to begin goodbyes and run through their weekend plans. Someone asked Karen if she would hit the antique shops in the morning, her well-known Saturday routine.

“No, I picked it up from my mother’s hallway,” I laughed. “I told my mother I liked it so she rolled it up and gave it to me. It belonged to my great-aunt who decades earlier rolled it up and gave it to my mother.”

“No.” Karen tapped her chin with her forefinger. “I have enough of those,” she said.

“Of course,” Karen said.

She looked toward the rusty old pruning shears as she spoke again.

She eyed the small table in my hallway. “What an absolutely beautiful

Conversations stopped as we looked at her in disbelief.

“What I need is some old stuff.”

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The Landini Family Shares a Favorite Holiday Recipe Franco and son Noe Landini pause for a photo in front of Landini Brothers in Old Town Alexandria.



Last year, Landini Brothers restaurant celebrated its 40th anniversary, welcoming patrons to enjoy menu prices from 1979. That's when Tuscany natives and brothers Franco and Piero Landini opened the doors to a nowlandmark Italian eatery at 115 King St. near Old Town Alexandria's waterfront.

weddings in a building that dates to

For years, customers have enjoyed the restaurant’s classic Italian fare while toasting birthdays, anniversaries and

him throwing a line in the water. Now,

1775. The Old World atmosphere of chandeliers and flickering candlelight playing on the exposed stone and brick walls and rustic timbers, along with attentive service from its longtime wait staff, make it a top-notch experience. Franco Landini has been a fixture for years at the restaurant, often greeting patrons at lunch and again at dinner, but these days, the 76-year old enjoys spending more of his time in southern Florida, where you can often find restaurant-goers are more likely to see his son, Noe Landini.

As managing director and CEO of REX Management, Noe helps run Landini’s, along with other Alexandria restaurants Junction Bakery & Bistro, Fish Market & Anchor Bar and Pop’s Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Co., among other businesses. The family has made changes to its restaurants to adapt to the pandemic, including adding some specialty grocery items at Junction Bakery and offering a mobile app for diners who want to order from Landini Brothers. (It’s available in the Apple and Android app stores or you can text “LANDINI” to 33733 to download the app.) Growing up, the Landini family enjoyed returning to Italy to visit with their extended family. Of course, that often involved elaborate meals. We asked Noe Landini if he could share one of his family’s favorite holiday recipes with our readers, and he graciously obliged. “This is a great recipe that I’ve used for years when entertaining guests at my home or theirs,” he noted. “It’s a recipe my Dad came up with years ago and I’ve modified it a bit over the years.”

24 • November / December 2020

“Choose a tenderloin from your local butcher or grocery store,” he said. “You’re going to want the entire loin; I prefer Choice or Prime.” Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, “although I recommend holding the tenderloin overnight in your refrigerator after it’s rubbed,” he said. “It’s still good if you cook it right away.” Bring the tenderloin to room temperature before dressing it. Combine all ingredients for the wet rub in a blender (see ingredient list). You may need to add a little more or a little less of any of these ingredients depending on how big the cloves, shallots and sprigs are. Maybe more evoo (extra virgin olive oil) as well. A good gauge is that the consistency is somewhere between a paste and liquid form because you want the rub to stay on the tenderloin and not slide off. Before you dress the tenderloin, give it a nice rub of kosher or sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Dress the loin. It should be completely covered — meaning you don’t want

to see the red meat, you only want to see green. Once the loin is dressed, place on a roasting rack or hotel pan and put it in the oven. Roast for 20-35 minutes (or longer depending on your oven and size of the loin). The internal temperature should be about 125 – 130 degrees when you pull it out for a nice medium-rare roast. Let the loin rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting it. When you cut the loin, cut quarter-inch slices against the grain of the loin. “This is great to serve at parties and family gatherings,” Landini said. “You can make a sour cream horseradish sauce to accompany, red wine reduction or just about anything you love with roasted beef. The leftovers are fantastic for sandwiches.” “If you feel like going for it, roast some potatoes ahead of time in a hotel pan and place the loin on top of the roasted potatoes then roast the loin in the oven over the potatoes,” he said. “You can use your favorite roasted potato recipe.”

Beef Tenderloin Wet Rub • 2 tablespoons kosher or sea salt (Although the Landinis like salt, so keep going if you want)

• 3 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil • 8 cloves of garlic • 2 shallots • 6 sprigs fresh thyme • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary • 6 sprigs fresh sage

“Buon appetito!”

November / December 2020 •


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1970s Colonial Gets a Facelift and a Dose of Southern Charm A complete exterior transformation creates space for outdoor entertaining and family memories.

Exterior, before


November / December 2020 •



When you drive through the neighborhoods in Fort Hunt, it feels like a different era. Children are riding bikes and playing games in the street and everyone waves at you as you go past. As you turn the corner onto Parry Lane, one house in particular jumps out at you. It is a two-story Colonial with whitewashed brick and white siding with contrasting black shingled roof and shutters. With a white picket fence and a brick walkway that leads straight through a well-manicured lawn to a pillared portico, the house looks like it belongs in a small town in the Carolinas, not 15 miles outside of our nation’s capital. This 1970s Dutch Colonial looked very different five years ago when Anne and Brent Merchant purchased the home after relocating to Alexandria. The beige vinyl siding, brick and washed-out blue shutters looked every bit of the home’s 45 years. Despite its exterior, Anne Merchant could see the potential for the house to become the home of her dreams.


Deck before screening

“I grew up in North Carolina, we grew up in a very traditional brick Colonial home… so I knew we wanted that type of style house,” she explained. “My main inspiration is part of where I grew up, the type of architecture and homes but also really drawing from the things and the people I love.” She inherited an eye for design from her mother who passed away a couple years after they bought the house. Some of her favorite flowers, hydrangeas and yellow roses, are planted throughout the yard to honor her. Merchant had a vision of how she wanted the house to look but with the extent of the changes she wanted to make on the exterior, it came together in stages. The Merchants knew they wanted plenty of space for them and their two boys to entertain friends outside. • November / December 2020

A few years of saving money and filling Pinterest boards later, the first phase of construction began in summer 2018. Woodbridgebased Sunshine Contracting replaced the vinyl siding with white HardiePlank® siding and began construction of a new front porch and screened-in back porch. The Merchants were able to save money by bundling the projects together. Patrick’s Painting painted the exterior brick and wood. Merchant originally wanted a front porch that ran the front of the house and a large screened-in back porch but cost, Fairfax County regulations and the smaller size of lots in Northern Virginia hampered the original plans. The size of the back porch was limited by a basement egress, a Dominion power box and the requirement to stay within 25 feet of their property line. A lot of detail went into the finishes of the back porch, which serves as a focal point of the backyard space. A single-sloped roof with two skylights allows light to enter the interior back room of the house and gives a modern twist to the traditional, Colonial style of the room and the rest of the house. The porch room was finished last spring which has allowed the Merchants to enjoy it through four seasons. A ceiling fan makes the room more comfortable on hot days while blankets on the couch and a space heater keep the room warm enough through the winter. This allows for plenty of movie nights and watching sports on the TV hung above the doors leading from the interior to the porch.

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Anne Merchant’s Advice Don’t feel like you have to do everything at once. If you’re doing a large exterior renovation do it in phases. Be on site as much as possible. If issues arise or you or crew members have a question, it is easier to address them quickly. You are essentially a project manager. Know your HOA bylaws and regulations ahead of time. Have your property surveyed. It affects things like fence building and landscaping. Choose contractors who are licensed, bonded and insured by doing your research or word of mouth. They will be able to pull permits and save a lot of future headaches. Ask if contractors will give you a discount or bundle a multi-phase project. You never know unless you ask! Show a little Southern hospitality! Treat the crews to lunch and a cold drink, since they are doing the hard work and making your dream a reality.


The second phase involved landscaping the backyard as well as building a patio and fire pit area. The Merchants picked Kingstowne Lawn and Landscape for this part of the project because of their ability to do both landscaping and hardscaping. Merchant could not say enough about their excellent customer service and their willingness to build a relationship with her as a customer.

and holly trees were planted to create year round greenery. The yard was filled with southern plants like crepe myrtles, magnolias, camelias, gardenias and azaleas to add of touch of home for Merchant. A gravel pad was laid for a new, larger shed that matches the exterior of the main house. Byler Barns, based out of the Shenandoah area of Virginia built the shed on site.

Merchant appreciated Kingstowne Lawn and Landscape for helping them think through some of their options for the backyard area. They chose to put in a gas fire pit over wood because, although it is more expensive, it saves the time and hassle of having to build a fire — and that allows them to focus on spending time enjoying s’mores around the flames. A short wall around the fire pit with a built-in bench allows for more seating.

Finishing touches really brought the charm to the whole project. Black metal light fixtures from Shades of Light in Richmond and a pine storm door from Raleigh, North Carolina invites visitors to enjoy the space along with the Merchant family.

They also put in a new concrete driveway to replace the old 1970s asphalt as well installed the brick front walkway. Lining the driveway with bricks helped tie the front of the house together. The third phase of the exterior transformation wrapped up in September of this year. Kingstowne Lawn and Landscape installed a privacy fence along the back of their yard • November / December 2020

Merchant said she is done with renovations for now. The interior of the home already works well for them and she could not be happier with the result of the exterior transformation. “We’ve tried to bring it out of the 70s and bring it to a little more modern southern but still traditional. Merchant explained. “This was the main focus when we bought this place. The exterior is what need[ed] to happen to make us enjoy it. It makes me happy to drive around that corner and see what I envisioned come together.” At a time when outdoor space is more important than ever, the timing could not be more perfect.

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he online shopping platform Etsy, where thousands of makers sell their creations, has seen explosive year-over-year growth

— another side-effect of the global pandemic that made 2020 the year no one expected. As people searched for handmade masks this spring, they stumbled across a whole host of products, decor and jewelry, increasing sales across a wide variety of categories. This fall, we dove into Etsy and we surveyed the local membership of the Alexandria Makers Market collective to find out what residents are making. Whether it's a passion for art or a business idea (or both), there are dozens of Alexandrians who are creating amazing and beautiful things. So if you're looking for holiday gifts or just some inspiration for your own creativity, these six Alexandria-based makers and the other makers we love are as varied as their crafts.

November / December 2020 •




When artist Laura Beth Konopinski was asked by her longtime friend Julie to create a piece of art memorializing Julie’s father out of his ashes, neither of them knew what the end result would be. Julie’s family wanted to spread her father’s ashes all over the world, as he had been an avid adventurer, but years and years passed and the family was never able to coordinate that trip.


their ashes in a special location, planting a tree or keeping their ashes in a decorative urn. Konopinski’s company, Scattered Glass, provides people with the opportunity to honor and remember a loved one in a way that keeps them close.

Instead, Julie entrusted her father’s ashes to Konopinski and asked her to use her artistic talents to create a lasting memorial.

Through different glass sculpting techniques, Konopinski creates a piece of art containing the ashes of a loved one. In addition to Wish Stones, she offers jewelry and other custom pieces.

With those ashes, Konopinski created the first Wish Stone, encapsulating cremains between layers of glass. “And when [Julie] received the piece, I was shocked at how emotional she was,” Konopinski said. “She said to me, ‘This is so beautiful and amazing to have. You have to do this for other people.’”

“They want to hold a memory and try to remember their loved ones in a positive way,” Konopinski said about clients coming to her. “And something with glass, something even as simple as selecting a certain color, can really resonate with people.”

People memorialize a loved one who has died in many ways — by scattering • November / December 2020

Konopinski has been sculpting with glass since 2004. As an artist, she has been doing commission work and her


Laura Beth Konopinski SHOP NAME

Scattered Glass TYPE OF WORK

Custom artwork and jewelry

own creative projects for many years. It wasn’t until 2016 that she officially launched Scattered Glass. “I had never done something like that before,” Konopinski said. “However, in my own personal work I have been incorporating different organic materials and I’ve been using different processes to preserve the organic materials. So, I was kind of familiar with how I could go about doing that.” Konopinski created a line of products called the Remembrance Series, focusing on creating smaller glassworks. Scattered Glass sends a collection kit specifically for collecting ashes, allowing people all over the country to ship ashes to her studio in Kingstowne. “A lot of the pieces I make are typically smaller pieces,” she said. “People want to keep them with them — wear

it around their neck or keep it in a pocket.” The idea for the name Scattered Glass came from the idea of scattering ashes. Wish stones, like the ones Konopinski made for her friend Julie, can be given to family members or left somewhere meaningful, much like the way someone would scatter ashes, as Julie did. “She was really scattering his ashes where they were supposed to go,” Konopinski said. Konopinski is very passionate about working with a family to create a piece or series of pieces that will properly honor their lost family member or pet. “Folks come to me in different stages of the grieving process,” she said. “I’m very honored to help... wherever they are in that process of losing someone.”

She is currently enrolled in classes at the University of Vermont to become an End of Life Doula to better understand the stages of grief and how to best communicate with her clients as they go through the grieving process. Konopinski is very dedicated to inclusivity and caters to any belief system. While Konopinski does do custom work, the website is a good starting place for conversations about how to best honor someone. It takes about four to six weeks to get an order returned, and around the holidays extra time may be needed.

If you would like to order memorial glasswork, visit

November / December 2020 •



Blacksmith Forged from Reality TV

Channel show Forged in Fire, about blacksmiths recreating blade weapons, that inspired him to try out the craft. Wylupski got his first opportunity to try blacksmithing when he took a weekend hatchet-making class with a friend a


couple of years ago, just for fun. “That was pretty cool. It didn’t turn out the way I hoped it would have turned out,” Wylupski said matter-of-factly, but


he was not willing to give up so easily. Eager to learn more when he got back


Have you ever watched something that has inspired you to pick up a new hobby or project?

things that weren’t “sparking joy” after seeing Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Oftentimes, this inspiration does not lead to much of anything outside a few burnt cakes.

For many people this year, it was attempting to bake Swiss rolls after watching The Great British Bake Off, or ridding their home of clutter and

For Warren Wylupski of Del Ray Metalworks, his televised inspiration led him to start what is now a growing business. Specifically, it was the History • November / December 2020

from the weekend workshop, he found a place in Arlington where he could take more blacksmithing classes — and he hasn’t stopped learning since then. The blacksmithing classes lead to welding classes and purchasing supplies to work on projects at home. Wylupski never considered himself artistic.


Warren Wylupski SHOP NAME

Del Ray Metalworks TYPE OF WORK

Functional home goods made from recycled materials

“I wouldn't be able to just take some metal and then twist it off and … make something look really pretty,” he said. “I don't have that capacity — but replicating and fabricating, I think I do pretty well.” He was able to craft a radiator cover for his house based on a design his wife described. He found that his interests didn’t lie with creating weapons like on Forged in Fire. “I've made a couple knives, but it's not really my forte,” Wylupski explained. “My interest was like, someone wanted six identical hooks. Making six identical anything was kind of hard to do, but I was able to do it. So that was pretty cool.” He describes himself as a rustic blacksmith, meaning he focuses on repurposing materials. Like turning railroad spikes into bottle openers or horseshoes into door knockers.

Even when he started selling hooks and door knockers at Art on the Avenue in Del Ray last year, he didn’t plan on turning his work into a business. “We made out pretty well during Art on the Avenue. But then when I went to file my sales tax, I had to get my city license and found out I couldn't do the work in my house,” Wylupski said. He got a membership at The Garden at Building Momentum in Alexandria’s West End to use as his workspace, and keeping the business going was the next step. “If I'm going to go through all that, I might as well try to keep this up as a business.” He started signing up for more artisan fairs and looking to create not just projects he finds fun, but figuring out items people will really find useful, such as custom wine racks. And he is even planning as far ahead as Valentine’s Day. “I thought I could make a bunch of metal flowers now, and kind of perfect

my technique for those and have them ready for [the] virtual Art on the Avenue coming up, or from the holidays, and then we're rolling into Valentine's Day,” Wylupski said. One of his most popular items is a railroad stake bottle opener, which he created to participate in the Makers Market at Port City Brewery last November. He does all of this around his day job as a contractor for U.S. Department of Energy, spending evenings and the weekends at the workspace in The Garden. He plans on learning more techniques and growing his range with both metalworking and welding. If you're looking for a gift for your rustic-obsessed friend, or for a new fun bottle opener for the holidays, head to Wylupski’s Etsy shop at Some larger pieces, such as wine racks, take longer to make, so be sure to order early or ask Wylupski for a time estimate.

November / December 2020 •





After years of friends complimenting the way he spices his food, Eddie Gonzalez decided to do something about it.

mesquite, he wasn’t getting any of that

Growing up in Texas, Gonzalez was used to grilling using mesquite and seasoning with little more than salt and pepper. When he first grilled on a propane grill he couldn’t figure out why his food didn’t taste the same. Quickly it dawned on him that without the

seasoned salt. He decided to mix them

extra flavor from the wood. He started playing around with spices to add flavor to his food and found himself using the same three ingredients - garlic powder, lemon pepper and together into bottles and gave them away as gifts to friends and family. Five years ago, some of his friends encouraged him to go commercial. In addition to his original grilling and • November / December 2020

roasting spice he added a spicy version with chipotle and white peppers, an extreme version of the spicy seasoning and an herb seasoning. He came up with the name Apothecary Spices and began selling his blends at comic book conventions. He gave them fantasy-themed names like “Eye of Newt” and “Dragons Breath” but recently, Gonzalez decided to go more mainstream. In addition to his four basic seasonings he also developed a special pizza and pasta seasoning, a black bacon salt and a vegetarian “phacon” salt. “I just kept adding things that I would use that were flavor profiles that made sense to me. There is something about them that does appeal when people try it that gets them kind of hooked.” Gonzalez explained. “You can’t grill processed foods so for me it’s about vegetables, meats and proteins. I like the food tasting like it was meant to taste, with just a little spice and flavor.”


Eddie Gonzalez SHOP NAME

Apothecary Spices TYPE OF WORK

Boutique spice blends

He also sells a travel kit that contains his basic grilling and seasoning mix, spicy pepper mix and herb seasoning and a field kit that contains all of his current products. They come in heavy duty, tactical pouches that are perfect for campers, hunters and travelers. He has ideas for other spices but is limited by storage since he currently bottles, packages and sells everything himself. Like for many other online local businesses, COVID-19 has affected Apothecary Spices, despite offering local delivery and contactless delivery. A quarter of Gonzalez’s yearly sales typically occurred at Del Ray’s annual Art on the Avenue festival. While he is curious to see how the virtual version of the festival will go this year, he has been looking for other smaller markets and fairs to attend to supplement online sales. He has found Virginia and in particular, Alexandria, a wonderful place to start a business. “There is an atmosphere

of wanting to support a local look and feel…You get a good vibe of being part of that small business community.” In addition to mixing spices on the side, Gonzalez is a program manager for the Society of American Military Engineers and leads scuba trips to the Caribbean back in pre-COVID-19 days. He enjoys the ability to express his love of cooking and grilling and exploring his entrepreneurial side through Apothecary Spices. His long-term goal is to shift to the retail market and find a fulfillment partner that will allow him to expand and step back to a quality-control role. He would love to source to local restaurants who would want to use his seasonings. While most of his previous sales have been at fairs marketed towards artist and crafters, he is looking to get into food shows. “If I can get people to try it, I’m very confident in my flavors,” he said. Gonzalez receives a lot of questions about what goes into his spices. He does not use MSG and sources his ingredients (all of which are listed on

the bottles) from a local restaurant supplier. For people who are trying to cut back on sodium, he warns that most of his blends contain salt. The only one that doesn’t is his herb blend. The most common question he receives is if his spices are organic or he grows them himself. He responds to this question by explaining to customers that “you’re buying my recipe. I’m not over-speaking the individual ingredients, I am really trying to highlight how they all come together to make these combinations.” Gonzalez is excited to announce a few new blends that will be ready just in time for the holiday season. He will be adding to his basic seasoning to create a cheddar popcorn salt, a spicy cheddar popcorn salt and a butter popcorn salt. They are a must-have for holiday movie marathons and would make the perfect stocking stuffer. Find spices, sampler packs and gifts at

November / December 2020 •




Danielle Kell was a stayat-home mom who was looking for a way to work — sort of. Still wanting to dedicate her time to being a mom, she started searching for something that was meaningful, flexible and positive.


It started when a friend sent Kell a photo of a molded crayon. “I had been telling her, ‘I wish I had an Etsy business like you,’” Kell said. “’You find a way to make money, yet you are also a stay-at-home mom.’ And I admired that so much.” When Kell saw the crayon art she knew instantly that was something she could get behind. She went to Target • November / December 2020

the next day, and it took off from there. Crayon creation fit the mold of her life. Cosmic Crayon launched in September 2019. The first molds she purchased were letters. She began making marbled names and then eventually branched out to other shapes, like dinosaurs, rockets and teddy bears. Her mom had moved to the area from where Kell had grown up in Bermuda, so for the first time Kell and her husband had extra support. The Etsy shop fits her life because she wants to still be a stayat-home mom for her preschooler and 6th grader. “This was the first time I was able to say, ‘I want to try to sink my teeth into something.’” With her family in a place where she could contribute financially, she started searching for an opportunity. “I felt that I wanted something for me,” she said.


Danielle Kell SHOP NAME

Cosmic Crayon TYPE OF WORK

Personalized and custom crayon art

When she first started, business was slow, so she continued to research and figure out the platform. It was around Halloween when she started seeing more orders, and with each one she and her kids would happy dance.

“You never know how the crayon is going to melt,” Kell repeatedly said.

Even with her Etsy business fitting around her job as a mom, working from home has come with its challenges. During the pandemic especially, everyone is at home and it becomes more difficult to find spare moments.

While she finds inspiration for her products and designs everywhere in the community, her children have been the basis of some of her best-selling lines.

“You know, my son learned how to play better by himself, and I learned better how to set him up with something,” Kell said. “My husband helps more because I need him more. It’s all positive.” She spends a lot of late nights working, and she works during those stolen moments throughout the day. She loves the moment of being able to pop the crayon out of the mold and see how it melted.

But she is always thinking about the child who will be receiving the crayons. She wants each side of the crayon to be a new color.

Her son was always coloring the Avengers, so Kell created a crayon series where each crayon is themed for a different superhero. The superhero line did really well, as did the fruit basket line, which her daughter inspired. Her daughter is also a big supporter of keeping yellow in Kell’s rainbows, a color that is usually left out of crayon rainbows because there is usually only one yellow crayon per box. “She called me out on that,” Kell said, laughing.

While she is doing this business to be creative, at the end of the day she says she is doing it for her kids. “Even if it has nothing to do with them, every crayon is inspired by them,” Kell said. “I did this for them. I want this for me, but it is so great for them to see that as a mommy that I have something to be proud of and a little something to work on now and then.” Her creations make the perfect gift for any creative child. All names are custom and there is a wide variety of shapes available as well on her Etsy site. While she does typically create an order within a couple of days of purchase, as she gets closer to the holidays that timeframe will change. She suggests ordering early if looking for holiday gifts. To see crayons and order, go to Kell's Etsy site at cosmiccrayoncompany.

November / December 2020 •



Creating Community around (Wo)man's Best Friend PAWSGO IS GOING NEW PLACES THIS YEAR. BY SUSANNAH MOORE

There is a reason Alexandria is considered one of the most dog-friendly cities in the country. It is nearly impossible to walk down one of the city’s main streets without seeing water bowls, jars of dog treats and a wide variety of breeds taking a stroll with their owners.


It is her dogs that inspired longtime Del Ray resident Karen Johnson to start the online community PawsGo. “Dogs bring us together. Dogs take us places we wouldn’t go otherwise. You meet so many people in Alexandria through your dogs. They break down barriers for us either through ourselves or with others…They just make our lives so whole and they make us healthy,” Johnson explained. • November / December 2020

One day while walking her Australian Shepherd, Boomer, Johnson thought about how lucky she was to live in Alexandria and have a dog (she has since added a second Aussie to the family named Poppy). She wondered if there was a way to share this feeling and the idea for PawsGo was born. PawsGo started out as an online community to promote an active lifestyle for women with dogs. Members can share tips and let other people know about places to visit with their dogs. Soon, PawsGo became so much more. Over time, it became a way to give back to local artisans, businesses and dog rescue organizations in Alexandria. Johnson frequently takes Boomer to the Eugene Simpson dog park in Del Ray. A few years back, when the City did not have enough money for improvements to the park including adding lights, Johnson worked with local artists and designed a T-shirt to raise money. Sales from the T-shirts, printed with the words “My dog digs Del Ray” on them, raised $3,000 for the project.


Karen Johnson SHOP NAME


Dog-themed shirts, totes. notecards and more

Seeing the success of these T-shirts, Johnson decided to create more products as part of her PawsGo brand. Working with other local artists and DC Shirt and Print, she created a line of clever, dog themed T-shirts and hoodies as well as coasters, dog toys, notecards and tote bags (there are even cat coasters for those who prefer felines). She also developed a line of T-shirts where the profits are donated to various dog rescue organizations including Lu's Labs, The Pet Rescue Alliance, Operation Paws for Homes, Project Second Chance and BREW (Beagle Rescue Education and Welfare). The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough on PawsGo, which relies heavily on in-person pop-ups and festivals for the majority of sales. An attempt to do an online pop-up with a few other Del Ray businesses was not as successful as she had hoped. “Support local, but local in Alexandria is beyond brick and mortar. There are those of us who are online only that don’t have that visibility.” Johnson explained.

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, Johnson found a way to give back to the community she loves. “In Del Ray, restaurants are the foundation of our neighborhood,” said Johnson. Seeing their struggle because of the shutdown, Johnson took her usual pop-up budget and worked with local artist Lisa Carey and Chris Bishop to create 400 shirts which she gave to restaurants to sell for $25 each to raise money for their employees. The shirts in either purple or green featured two dogs eating out and the hashtag #togetherdelrayva. Johnson is keeping her focus on the future of PawsGo. She and a friend recently started a podcast, or as they call it a “pawdcast” where they feature local dog businesses and discuss dog related topics. In February, Johnson applied for and got a press pass for the Westminister dog show and was able to interview the show’s communications director on the podcast. On another episode they spoke with Andrew Hager, a historian with the Presidential Pet Museum.

Johnson, who works full time as a lobbyist in the not-for-profit education sector, would love to see PawsGo become a national brand. While right now it is a fun side business, she can see it becoming her exit strategy when she retires. She hopes to get products on other retail sites and stores, while still retaining the PawsGo commitment to support dog rescues and spread the joy of having a dog. Through her work with PawsGo, Johnson is grateful for the business owner friends and repeat customers she has met. She urges Alexandrians to support small businesses this holiday season. “Help us end 2020 a little better. Even if you don’t have a dog I bet you know somebody who does.” After all, in Alexandria, it would be almost impossible not to.

Shop for gifts for your two- and four-legged friends now at

November / December 2020 •




Many of life’s special moments are celebrated with a strong drink — but what happens to all those empty bottles after the last drop of wine or liquor is finished?


For some of us, there’s an empty bottle sitting at home collecting dust, whether it’s a bottle of champagne from your engagement or a bottle of spirits from a memorable vacation that you just can’t bring yourself to throw in the recycling bin. That’s where Rebecca Ingram, founder of Liquidated Glassets, can help. • November / December 2020

Ingram cuts and repurposes bottles into something functional while still retaining the beauty of the original keepsake. Ingram’s business idea began with a Pinterest fail. “There was this hack that you could wrap this string dipped in nail polish remover, light it on fire and dunk it in cold water and it would cut the bottle. That did not work,” she said with a laugh. Later, she purchased a bottle cutter that allowed her to cut round bottles straight across, but this was not enough for Ingram. Ingram said that she does not consider herself artistic but has always liked to solve problems and fiddle with things. “I’m from Kentucky and I drink bourbon and whiskey and these bottles are beautiful and I want to be able to cut them,” said Ingram. She began to experiment and soon she found a way to cut bottles of all shapes and sizes. She quickly realized she had found a niche that nobody else was doing at the time


Rebecca Ingram SHOP NAME

Liquidated Glassets TYPE OF WORK

Home goods made from recycled glass bottles

and that there might be a larger market for her work. In 2018, a friend suggested that she sign up for Art on the Avenue, a multicultural arts and music festival held every October in the Del Ray neighborhood. (This year, Art on the Avenue went virtual.) The show’s deadline forced Ingram to come up with a business name and website, as well as start making enough products to sell. Another friend who is a writer and Alexandria resident, Claire Henline, came up with the clever name Liquidated Glassets. After the festival, Ingram said that her business slowed down. As a full-time soldier in the Army and a mom, she simply did not have the time and energy to devote to promoting it. Unlike many small business, the COVID-19 pandemic created a boost for Liquidated Glassets. Suddenly, Ingram found herself working from home with more free time to focus on her art.

Over the past few months, business has really taken off. Friends and neighbors who know what she does will leave empty bottles on her front porch. She has received so many orders that she has an eight-week lead time. Ingram’s favorite bottle to work with is Blanton’s Bourbon bottles due to their unique design, horse toppers and beautiful labels, which she has figured out how to reverse and even customize. Cigar ashtrays (or spoon rests for those who like to cook!) made from Blanton’s bottles or other liquor bottles have been one of her most popular items.

personal piece. One of her favorite experiences was working with a local man on a wine decanter his wife had bought for him years ago that had broken. Ingram was able to cut off the cracked neck and create a beautiful and useful piece for him to treasure. If you had asked Ingram what her plans for Liquidated Glassets were prior to COVID-19, she would have answered that it was a fun hobby. Now, she hopes to turn it into her retirement plan after the Army.

In addition to ashtrays, Ingram also makes bowls, drinking glasses, vases and other items. With all of the donated bottles Ingram receives, there is no need for customers to provide their own bottles.

Ingram’s pieces make thoughtful gifts for the holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and Valentine’s Day. If you are considering ordering for the holidays, keep in mind that Liquidated Glassets currently has a lengthy production time.

For those who have bottles with sentimental value, Ingram is happy to work with customers to design their own

Visit the Liquidated Glassets Etsy shop at

November / December 2020 •



Makers We Love Alexandria is home to dozens of makers, crafters and inventors. In addition to those we’ve profiled on the previous pages, here are just a few more of the local makers we think you should check out!




Owner Leah Buckley learned to sew from her mother and today creates handmade fabric pouches, makeup bags, clutches, face masks and much more with high-quality, bright fabrics. Her accessories are practical but beautiful.

Founder Sue Henry finds beauty in the details of her products for Tulusa. Among other things, she carves linoleum blocks and uses them to make prints which she combines with embroidery. Her finished textile products include pillows, tableware, masks, bags and much more.

This eclectic design and illustration business sells ink prints, greetings cards and more — some of which are a bit tongue-in-cheek. Prints and products can be customized and are often colorful and fun.

46 • November / December 2020

MEG BY HAND Meg Talle is a juried resident artist at the Torpedo Factory Art Center and creates jewelry to be worn and enjoyed. Often inspired by nature, her signature technique involves making hundreds of tiny pieces to arrange in jewelry that is reminiscent of seeds, leaves and grass.



From razors to ice cream scoops, letter openers to gift boxes, Hatch offers a wide variety of creative gift items. Founder and artist Maritza Maxwell started the company to pass along the joy that she finds in creating beautiful things, and she teaches classes where you can learn temari, paper folding, Danish paper crafts and much more.

From a backyard garden in Del Ray, Truly-Life Eco Gifts owner Mellenie Runion creates eco-friendly, all natural, handmade soaps, loofahs, lotions and much more. In addition to online sales, you can find Truly-Life products in local hotels and stores.

BETSY SMALLPEOPLE Artist Betsy Jones creates vintage miniatures with intricate details in addition to art prints and paintings. You can send Betsy images for inspiration and she will create a custom miniature land for you.



Heather Dilatush creates original abstract art on wood and turns them into challenging jigsaw puzzles. Perfect for the pandemic, many of her creations are so beautiful that you’ll want to frame them after you finish putting them together.

C&A Soy Candles creates high-quality, affordable vegan soy wood-wick candles, soy wax melts and liquid reed diffusers in small batches. The company, based in the West End of Alexandria, uses a variety of natural scents (you can request custom scents, too!) and does wholesale orders, wedding favors and more.

November / December 2020 •


, y b a B

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Subscribe and pay online at with complete security through our partners at Subscription Genius. Or, subscribe by mail. Send a check to Alexandria Living Magazine. Mail it to 201 N. Union St., Suite 110, Alexandria, VA 22314. A 2-year subscription is just $24.95. Or, call us at 571-232-1310 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. We can take your order over the phone.

Made in ALX is the online home of makers, artists and creators — where you can shop for gifts, housewares, art and more, knowing you're supporting people right here in Alexandria.

Here's just some of what you can find on Made in ALX now: ‘Alexandria Originals’ Posters We’ve commissioned four gorgeous paintings from local watercolor artist Alexandra Schmeling and created a limited number of 18 x 24” artist-signed high-quality posters from her paintings. (One of them is featured on the cover of the magazine.) Check out the website at to order one of these posters and to see additional items made here in Alexandria!

November 2020 • Made in ALX, LLC • 201 N. Union St., Suite 110, Alexandria, VA 22314/ December •







Gift Guide

3 4

This year was not the year any of our local businesses expected to have. For many shops, business was brisk in January and February — but by mid-March, the rest of the year was anyone’s guess. By early April, Alexandria-area residents started to step up, focusing on hometown pride and choosing to shop from independent, family-owned retailers. While sales are still slower than usual at many stores this fall, business owners have met the challenge head-on, getting creative quickly about curbside pick-up and delivery services, Instagram shopping and even banding together to create unique specials and deals. This holiday season, we’d love to see an even greater emphasis on local shopping. Here are some ideas from our local boutiques and personal care professionals to get you started!



DESIGNER HANDBAGS AND LEATHER GOODS We make gift giving easy here at Mint Condition, bringing you the best designer handbags and leather goods at a fraction of the price and all in “mint condition!” Surprise that special someone with the bag of their dreams... Our supply is constantly changing but check our Instagram @shopmintcondition for daily updates on all things designer. Grab it before someone else does, we can’t say we didn’t warn you! Prices vary. BUY IT: Mint Condition, 103 S. St. Asaph St., 703-836-6468,


HOME | GARDEN | GIFT Offering the finest in luxury gifts, jewelry, artful objects and home décor, stop by for inspiration! Patina is a great resource for finding unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. Prices vary. BUY IT: Patina Polished Living, 605 Franklin St., 703-780-6800,


HOLIDAY FASHION GIFT BAG Give the stylist lady in your life a Holiday + Fashion Gift Set which includes rabbit fur gloves, an animal print eye mask, white ceramic bubble holiday ornament, 14 oz essential oil • November / December 2020

and crystal infused candle in a reusable barware glass wrapped up in a burlap gift bag with silver holiday design. Spoil your lady by adding a gift card for her shopping enjoyment (sold separately). Gift bags can be easily customized. $100. BUY IT: Twist Boutique, 109 N. Fairfax St., 703-566-2341, 4

GRANDMA / NANA / MIMI NECKL ACE Treat your grandmother to a beautiful, personalized gift this holiday season! $125. BUY IT: She’s Unique, 205 King St., 703-608-2845,


THE HOT TEST ACCESSORY: THE MASK CHAIN Tired of wearing your mask around your ear, or misplacing it? Grab the hottest accessory! With so many different options, it would be hard to not find one you liked. We have mask chains from local designers here in Old Town! The Neon Camel gives us all the fun color we love, with colored glass beads, Kathy Schiller makes mask chains from upcycled designer ribbon paired with fresh water pearl or Skvoraki crystals and 52thursdays designers Sarah and Michelle give us a more polished look (but chic!)






with gold paper clip and pearls mask chains. All available at Mint Collective! Prices vary. BUY IT: Mint Collective, 101A S. St. Asaph St., 571-312-5443, 6




FIRST EVER SURPRISE JINGLE BOX Kick off the Holiday Season with a Surprise Jingle Box from AR Workshop Alexandria! Carefully selected, The Jingle Box will include a mix of seasonal favorites, handmade, local and new items from our Gift Shop. Think fresh new decor, winter-themed items for you and your home and an exclusive mini DIY Kit. Who is this box for? The box is perfect to gift yourself, friends, family, college students, teachers, clients or colleagues! Pretty much anyone you think deserves a fun holiday surprise! Arriving early November! $95. BUY IT: AR Workshop, 1212 King St., 703-566-0177,




Let your day’s stress and tension melt away with CBD-infused Soothing and Recharging Bath Bombs. Using perfected blends of natural ingredients and essential oils like Lavender, Eucalyptus, Arnica Spearmint, Peppermint, and Hawaiian Black Salt, you can give your joints, muscles and skin the attention and love they deserve with a bathing experience fit for royalty. $8. BUY IT: Salon deZEN, 118 N. Fayette St., 703-549-1400,

The perfect gift! SC-1045, Cashmere fringe bottom pullover. Available in four colors: Stonewash, pink, wheat (shown) and glacier. $298. BUY IT: Sara Campbell, 320 Prince St., 703-996-9074, 7



PICASSOTILES BUILDING SET PicassoTiles is a fun S.T.E.A.M. toy and shape building sets. Utilizing unique features that immerse boys and girls and creative adults into crafting 2D and 3D art! The perfect gift for all ages! $45. BUY IT: 529 Kids Consign, 122A S. Royal St., 703-567-4518,


Tall shaft boot with mid-heel in cognac brown vachetta leather. Padded footbed with gold stamped logo. Almond toe, pulls on. 2-inch heel. $695. BUY IT: Bishop Boutique, 815B King St., 571-312-0042,

Give the gift of great hair with a Hazel O. Gift card available in amounts of $50 or more. There's nothing like getting pampered and walking out with great hair. Gift cards are applicable to any service. BUY IT: Hazel O Salon, 108 N. Washington St., 703-566-6367, 12 CREATE A BUZZ: QUEEN BEE DESIGNS

Let Queen Bee Designs give you the royal treatment this holiday season with our spectacular jewelry, wrap & maxi dresses, dazzling accessories, antiques and luxurious home decor from Claire Schwab Interior. Visit us in South Old Town to see why we are one of the area's premiere jewelry designers and spotted on the most fashionable ladies who want to create a BUZZ. We offer concierge services including gift wrap and custom designs. Our 5,000 square foot Showroom is breathtaking and located in the former William Sonoma with a complimentary parking garage behind our building. We look forward to your visit. Prices vary. BUY IT: Queen Bee Designs, 825 S. Washington St., 703-329-6768,

November / December 2020 •


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Getaways Holidays FOR




he holiday season is at our doorsteps and for some of us, it means squeezing in a quick getaway before getting back to business as usual in January. And as we continue to practice distancing due to the pandemic, a few days at a festive locale dressed up for the season might be just what we need to perk up our holiday spirits and reflect on the year that was. We’ve compiled a list of unique locations and activities (chocolate martinis, dog sledding, dolphin watching, anyone?) within driving distance of Alexandria where you can unwind with friends and family…and start plotting to make 2021 your best year yet. (And of course, be safe — don't forget your masks and sanitizers!)

November / December 2020 •


Chocolate Martinis LOCATION

Hersheypark, Hershey, Penn. DRIVE TIME

2 hours, 24 minutes

The Sweetest Place on Earth offers up several accommodations including Hotel Hershey, Hershey Lodge and Hersheypark Camping Resort. Each property provides unique experiences and stunning holiday decorations for guests to enjoy. Hersheypark Camping Resort offers cozy two-bedroom cabins which include indoor plumbing, heat and a kitchenette. The campground offers the Hersheypark Christmas Candylane Package, which includes tickets to the Park for one or two days. The Hotel Hershey and Hershey Lodge offer various dining options for Thanksgiving and December holidays, including curbside pickup options. Chocolate-lovers should be on the lookout for chocolate cream and peanut butter pies, house-made gelato and more. At the Iberian Lounge, you’ll find a variety of chocolate martinis as well. The Spa At The Hotel Hershey and MeltSpa by Hershey day spa offer a pumpkin spice massage, the Great Pumpkin Facial and other assorted seasonal experiences through November. Hersheypark Christmas Candylane is open on select dates from Nov. 13 through Jan. 3. This year's event will feature more than 5 million twinkling lights — the most ever for the seasonal celebration; rides and coasters, including the all-new Candymonium; Santa; an up-close look at all nine live reindeer on a newly expanded viewing platform, and holiday shopping in the all-new Hersheypark Supply Co. and HP Collections shops. Hershey Sweet Lights, a drive-through holiday spectacular with nearly 600 illuminated displays, will also be open throughout the holiday season. Be sure to check out the Cookies From Santa Package at The Hotel Hershey and Hershey Lodge, on the website. PHOTOS COURTESY OF HERSHEYPARK

54 • November / December 2020


Dog Sledding LOCATION

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Farmington, Penn. DRIVE TIME

3 hours, 15 minutes

Grab your gear and head to Nemacolin where you can ski, snowboard, dog sled and snow tube on Mystic Mountain (weather permitting). Look for “Light Up Nights” every Friday with donation presentations featuring lighting of the Chateau Christmas Tree, live entertainment, a visit from Santa and Mrs Claus, a life-sized gingerbread house and more.


Guests will enjoy specials at the restaurants and beautiful views of the Laurel Highlands during the holiday season with lights and installations all around the property. Seasonal spa specials will be featured at the Woodlands Spa. If you really need to relax, check out a CBD massage and the holistic healing center with a cryogenic chamber. Other activities at the resort include art tours around the property, holiday shopping at the Laurel Lane Shops and dining at Aqueous, Rockwell’s, Lautrec, The Tavern and PJ’s Ice Cream Parlor. The Adventure Center offers Jeep off-roading, a ropes course and bowling. Field Club activities include clay shooting and wildlife experiences at the Wildlife Academy. Look for live entertainment at the various dining outlets as well. Due to the filming of the next season of ABC’s “The Bachelor” at the resort during October and November, Nemacolin won’t start taking reservations until Nov. 24.

November / December 2020 •


Dolphin Watching LOCATION

The Tides Inn, Irvington, Va. DRIVE TIME

2 hours, 44 minutes

Located along a half-mile of waterfront along Carter’s Creek in the heart of Virginia’s Northern Neck and dating back to 1947, the inn debuted a multi-million dollar refinement this year. Major renovations included its spa, 66 rooms and four all-new luxury suites providing a coastal retreat rich with dramatic views of the water, mahogany wood and leather details, separate living spaces, contemporary spa-like bathrooms and charming in-room bar carts. The Bayside Explorers Club for kids ages 4 to 12 offers an array of activities including sailing courses, fishing academy, Steamboat Museum tour, crabbing and fishing on Carter’s Creek, learning about ocean life, and creative arts and crafts. Families can also enjoy some holiday vacation together-time playing parlor and garden games. Couples can head to the Virginia Wine Trail, take a boat ride for two, play some golf at Golden Eagle, feast upon seafood offerings and more. Spend a little quiet time on the water or shoreline and you may enjoy sightings of the beautiful, fun-loving dolphins that visit each year in the fall (including in November). The dolphins bring their new offspring to feed just in front of the Tides Inn. (To register for the Carter’s Creek Dolphin Watch, contact the inn.) If you’re planning a Thanksgiving stay, be sure to bring your running shoes and join the Tides Inn for a Southern-inspired celebration, beginning with the 21st annual Irvington Turkey Trot. Happy travels!

56 • November / December 2020



Ring In 2021! Out with the old and in with the new — it’s time to say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021! Here are a few options to consider.



White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.




Deep Creek Lake (McHenry), Md. DRIVE TIME

3 hours


Williamsburg, Va. DRIVE TIME


2 hours

New Year’s plans at this historic resort include a “Resolution” fun run, ballroom dance class, painting workshops for kids and grown-ups, a kids’ “Neon New Year” party, a New Year’s Eve Dinner Buffet, a casino club party and a champagne toast and balloon drop. Call 855-453-4858 to make reservations.

As we write this, there are plans afoot for the annual New Year’s Eve dinner at the inn’s elegant Regency Room, but details were scarce. Previous celebrations have featured five-course meals with optional wine pairings. Be sure to also check on Busch Gardens Williamsburg New Year’s Eve plans, which were unavailable at press time.

3 hours, 47 minutes


Looking for something more lowkey and romantic? This bed and breakfast on the lake features cozy Mission style lighting and decor and many of the rooms include views of the lake. Nearby activities include skiing, snowboarding, sleigh rides and snowmobiling (depending on the weather). All rooms have gas fireplaces and some have spa tubs. Book your reservations now (the inn requires a three-night stay for the holiday weekend).

Fine Jewelry, Outstanding Results KatherineHelena is relaunching its fine jewelry fundraising collection. Support the programs of The Campagna Center through a special curated collection this holiday season!

100% of proceeds from the purchase of pieces from the fundraising collection go directly to The Campagna Center, which equips children and families with the tools they need to thrive and succeed. The organization offers programs that foster a dedication to learning among children and adults. Learn more at Learn more, view the curated collection and purchase at November / December 2020 •



What is your favorite aspect of your job with the OHA?

There are many things I enjoy about working with OHA, but I particularly enjoy working with students and children who come to the museums. I love hearing how they perceive history, how they are processing information, their excitement (or even sometimes resistance) to learning about history. I like the challenge of making history relevant to young people.

Izetta Autumn Mobley Museum Educator

Native Washingtonian Izetta Autumn Mobley is a Museum Educator with the Office of Historic Alexandria (OHA) where she tells the complex stories of the past in order to help people address the issues of today. What led you to pursue a career in history?

My doctorate is in American Studies which is an interdisciplinary field. While I work in history, I also do work in art history, visual and material culture and disability studies. I think of myself as an educator first – whether that’s working to ensure that low-income students have access to college, addressing inequity or working in museums or with cultural institutions. I think understanding [historical] context can be a useful tool in problem-solving and innovation.


Since beginning to work at Freedom House at 1315 Duke Street – the site of Franklin & Armfield, the most prolific traffickers in enslaved people in the nineteenth century – I recognize even more fully that I have a commitment and passion for making history relevant to people. I think museums have a dynamic potential to be sites of lifelong learning and engagement – spaces for us to grapple with and explore history and ourselves.

What is OHA doing to preserve and share the full story of Alexandria's past?

We want to provide visitors with rich and full histories of Alexandria. OHA works across more than a dozen sites – that’s a lot of history! With Franklin & Armfield, I think we’re really striving to tell a story about Alexandria that has always been present but may have been submerged.

How is learning about the past important in the ongoing fight for racial justice in America?

We need accurate, nuanced, complex, engaging and relevant ways to grapple with and attend to our nation’s past. A past without nuance or accuracy, a past that invents, or one that obscures difficult realities including racial injustice - fails to make vital connections between the present and the past, [and] does a disservice to us as a society. When we engage with the realities of racial injustice in the United States – when we attend to the histories that make us quake, or feel angry, or feel ashamed, or sad, or reveal that things are not actually as we thought, or that we struggle with – we are building something that can take the pressure of what it means to truly live out democracy together. History, accurately and ethically told, is a form of justice. • November / December 2020

T H R E E P E O P L E ( PA S T O R P R E S E N T ) T H AT I N S P I R E M E M O S T:

Ida Barnett Wells, Pauli Murray and Octavia Butler. FAV O R I T E S P O T I N ALEXANDRIA:

For reflection, I find the Freedmen’s Cemetery a powerful place to visit, sit and think. Runners up: Fibre Space and seeing Alexandria from the Water Taxi. FAV O R I T E P O D C A S T:

The Moth and RedHanded. If I had a podcast it would be all about books! CURRENT READ ON MY N I G H T S TA N D :

As an academic and museum educator, I am never reading just one book! Currently, I’m working my way through four books - Dr. Marcia Chatelain’s “Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America,” “Song in a Weary Throat” the autobiography of Pauli Murray, Stephanie Jones-Rogers book “They Were Her Property: White Women Slave Owners in the American South,” and “Disability Visibility: First Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century” edited by Alice Wong. I F I C O U L D T R AV E L ANYWHERE, I WOULD GO TO:

A tour along the east coast of Africa, stopping in Zanzibar, and continuing to Ethiopia, and Egypt. SOMETHING SURPRISING ABOUT ME:

Though I work in fields that require me to give public talks and engage a great deal with people, I’m an introvert.

2020 HIGHLIGHTS ACT for Alexandria is Alexandria’s community foundation. For more than 15 years, ACT has worked with donors, nonprofits, and civic leaders to turn ideas into action and resources into results. ALEXANDRIA RESILIENCE FUND (FORMERLY THE ACT NOW COVID-19 RESPONSE FUND) In partnership with the City of Alexandria, ACT awarded $900,000+ to 82 nonprofits on the frontlines. This fall, ACT and the City plan to award another $2 million in grants. SPRING2ACTION Hearing that the need was immediate for Alexandria's nonprofit community, ACT accelerated the timeline for Spring2ACTion and the giving day raised a record-breaking $2.45M for 162 nonprofits. RACIAL EQUITY WORK Along with community and civic leaders, ACT launched Shared Voices, a Town Hall Series to promote sharing and understanding about how systemic racism impacts Alexandrians. Over 1,200 people have participated.

ALX CARES GROCERY GIFT CARD PROGRAM In partnership with the City of Alexandria and 7 community organizations, ACT is coordinating the distribution of more than 6,000 grocery store gift cards to neighbors in need.

I ACT...

" ensure that Alexandria remains a vibrant, supportive, & welcoming community for people of all races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds."

"...because our children deserve a community where they can become leaders." -Adriana Gomez Schellhaas, Casa Chirilagua Exec. Director

-Ericka Miller, ACT Board Member

How will you ACT? Visit to discover how you can ACT for Alexandria.

201 N. Union St., Suite 110 Alexandria, VA 22314



Weichert (Old Town)


RE/MAX (Alexandria)


Coldwell Banker (Old Town)


Redfin (Fall Church)


TTR Sotheby’s (Old Town)


Keller Williams (Old Town)


Compass (Old Town)


Long & Foster (Old Town)


McEnearney Associates (Old Town)

Helping Alexandria residents buy and sell homes for 40 years.

Data obtained from Bright™ MLS for all residential sales settled in Alexandria City for January 1-August 31, 2020. Sales data is deemed to be accurate but not guaranteed.

428 N Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 Exclusive Representation by Lauren Bishop | $3,895,000

Old Town Office | 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 tel. +1 703 549 9292 | Equal Housing Opportunity

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