Alexandria Living Magazine - September/October 2020

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Autumn Hikes Near Alexandria Building Boom: 24 Brand-New Developments





Rethink what a real estate agent does Sandy McMaster, McMaster Real Estate Licensed in VA & DC

Most agents get into the business because they like helping people. Most agents don’t take it much further than that. I do, though, because I recognize that my job isn’t simply to help you buy or sell a house. My job is to show you how to build a life you want in a home you love. That’s a much higher bar to clear. I clear it by redefining what an agent is supposed to do. I will help you build a life you want in a home you love. To learn more, visit www.SandyMcMaster.RealEstate.

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Have some fun this fall at these indoor and outdoor events.























Couples are saying “I do“ during the pandemic. Here’s how.

Saying goodbye to man’s best friend isn’t easy, but there are things you can do to ease the pain.

Del Ray’s ”bee guy“ talks about how he and his family became passionate for pollinators.

While COVID-19 might change football this season, one thing is constant: Our love of wings! We tried a bunch from around town. Here are our findings.

How to simplify your life and save the planet: Find out about zero-waste living.

Is there a solar roof in your future? Find out about the benefits of this eco-friendly trend.

Looking to renovate your bathroom? Here’s a look at three sanctuary styles.

Feeling the tug of the great outdoors this fall? There may be an RV in your future! Test drive the lifestyle with an RV rental and head out on the open road.

Gretchen Bulova, director of the Office of Historic Alexandria, invites readers to contribute to items her office is collecting to chronicle the pandemic.

56 September / October 2020 •



42 Business While COVID-19 has devastated some Alexandria businesses, there are signs of life. Here’s a look at 24 new developments on the drawing board.


48 Health & Wellness Your next adventure awaits! Try one of these local day hikes this fall that will make you feel like you’re worlds away.

ON THE COVER Photographer Jessica Bowser takes in the view at Mary’s Rock Summit in Shenandoah National Park.



4 • September / October 2020

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A Letter from Our Founders


Beth Lawton EDITOR


Cleo Chitester Lora Jerakis Nicola Tate DESIGN & ILLUSTRATION

Jessie Leiber


Susannah Moore

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.


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Welcome to fall in Alexandria! This issue celebrates our second anniversary in print and all we can say is: ”Time flies when you’re having fun!“ It’s a joy to bring you all that our City and surrounding area have to offer, in our magazine and on our website. Of course, with the cloud of the pandemic hanging over us all, like you we’re seeing so much of our lives from a different perspective these days — from work and school to shopping, travel and our social lives. Although the fall calendar of events in Alexandria is not as robust as usual due to attempts to stop the spread of coronavirus, there are still plenty of goings-on, from outdoor yoga and movies to classic car and wine festivals. Check out the fall calendar starting on page 9. Another way this pandemic has changed our lives is planning or attending weddings. On page 18, we explore how couples are continuing to say ”I do.“ (If you’re planning a wedding, be sure to sign up for our virtual Alexandria Wedding Showcase taking place in September. For more information, see page 17.) One of the hardest things to do is to say goodbye to a pet, especially during these tough times when they’re such a source of comfort. If you’re a ”pet parent“ you’ll want to read up on how to prepare for the inevitable on page 22. Spending more time at home these days? Who isn’t! You may want to turn to page 24 to consider an unusual hobby: beekeeping. We caught up with the family behind Del Ray Bee to learn more about how to help the environment and the declining bee population. With all of us becoming such homebodies, you also may have noticed you’re making and tossing out a lot more trash. There are ways to streamline your life by trying to live a zero-waste lifestyle. Get advice from local residents who are doing this on page 30. You might also notice that your electric bill is going through the roof with everyone in your household plugging in for office work, school work and extra movie time. Instead of your bill going through the roof, how about putting solar panels on it? Find out more on page 34. Visited Home Depot or Lowes lately? You may have noticed a lot of folks are busy sprucing up their homes since they’re spending so • September / October 2020

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


much time there due to COVID-19 restrictions. Now might be the time to spruce up your bathrooms. We’re showing off three beautiful renovations, starting on page 37. One of the benefits of working on this issue? Taste-testing wings! The official snack of fall football required us to check out several Alexandria restaurants’ take on wings. Read our reviews, starting on page 27 (and drop us a line, we’d like to hear where you get your wings!). If you’re like us and endlessly fascinated by Alexandria’s booming growth, you’ll want to read up on the — count ’em! — 24 biggest and most interesting projects going up around town, on page 42. Need to clear your head from all the online conference calls? You’ll want to get out and discover some of the nearby nature trails and hikes featured in our cover story by Kalista Diamantopolous on page 48. You’ll find another way to explore the great outdoors in our travel story on hitting the road in an RV on page 56. Who has the best job in a city that just celebrated its 271st birthday? Some might say Gretchen Bulova, the director of the Office of Historic Alexandria. We find out her pet peeve (it has to do with history), what she’d do with an unlimited budget and what she’s most proud of in The Last Word on page 60. We hope you enjoy this issue of Alexandria Living Magazine as much as we did putting it together! We’ll see you back here in November, preparing for the holidays. Until then,stay safe and enjoy a wonderful fall season in Alexandria!

Mary Ann Barton and Beth Lawton Founders

Our Team Meet some of the contributors to this issue.

JESSICA BOWSER Cover Photographer


SAM HURD Photographer

An outdoor enthusiast, photographer and conservation advocate, Jessica recently launched a weekly podcast, Virginia Outdoor Adventures (VAOA). Listeners will hear insights, stories and recommendations from the Old Dominion’s most knowledgeable and innovative athletes, conservationists, authors, park guides, educators and local business owners. To listen, subscribe or learn more about the VAOA community check out

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


REGIS VOGT Photographer

ROSIE Funtributor

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.

Regis loves capturing the people and places of his hometown Alexandria, from weddings and events to beautiful homes and historic spaces. An alumnus of UVA and the Institute for Documentary Filmmaking at GWU, Regis has been entrusted to create images and visual stories for many leading performing artists, civic leaders, home builders and interior designers. Follow him on Instagram @regis_vogt.

Born on the Big Island of Hawaii, Rosie spent the first 18 months of her life on the beach. She was skeptical when she moved to Alexandria with her parents, but she quickly adapted when she realized it is one of the dog-friendliest cities in the world. For fun, Rosie likes to run after tennis balls (and not bring them back), find the largest mud puddles and roll in them, befriend strangers at the dog park and dress up for doggy trickor-treat in Old Town every Halloween.

Starting out as a political news and celebrity portrait photographer in D.C., Sam was instantly drawn to wedding photography as a space to promote more inventive ideas. Sam’s focus is on photographic techniques that are deceptively simple, but have potential to transform difficult or uninspiring shooting environments into one-of-a-kind opportunities for every photo made.

September / October 2020 •


Artful Living


8 • September / October 2020

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

Colonial Market & Fair, Sept. 19-20 | PHOTO COURTESY OF MOUNT VERNON

FALL 2020

Calendar of Events September Yoga and Mimosas Sept. 5, Oct. 3 | 9 a.m. On the first Saturday of each month through December, 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.

meet at Oronoco Bay Park. Parking is

Trademark Drink & Eat, 2080 Jamieson Ave.,

park. Participants should bring drinking

available at the end of Madison Street, and additional parking is available around the water, a face mask and wear clothes they

Alexandria Waterfront Cleanup

don’t mind getting dirty. Volunteers must complete a safety waiver preferably in

Sept. 5 | 9 a.m. – noon Oct. 3 | 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

advance. Waivers can be downloaded here:

Help keep the Potomac trash-free! Join the Potomac Riverkeeper Network at the Alexandria Waterfront! Gloves and bags will be provided. Participants will

content/uploads/2019/04/prkn-volunteer- Oronoco Bay Park, 100 Madison Pl.,

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! September / October 2020 •



Bootcamp Fitness Series Saturdays, Sept. 5 – Oct. 17 | 10 – 11 a.m. The Carlyle Vitality Initiative is hosting a series of boot-camp classes at John Carlyle Square Park led by 3 Step Fitness. Cost is $5 per person, per class and participants should bring a towel and water and follow COVID-19 guidelines.



John Carlyle Square Park, 300 John Carlyle St.,

Fall Season at the Little Theatre of Alexandria Starting Sept. 11 The LTA will put on four one-act and twoact shows for the fall season featuring only one or two actors. Only 45 people will be able to attend each performance and CDC guidelines will be followed. All performances are free. “Love Letter” by A.R. Gurney: opens Sept. 11

The Old Town Festival of Speed & Style

“Mixed Doubled” by Rick Lore: Oct. 2 – 18 “Belle of Amherst” by William Luce: Nov. 6 – 22

Sept. 6 | 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

“A Christmas Carol”: Nov. 28 – Dec. 19

Burke & Herbert Bank will sponsor the second annual Old Town Festival of Speed & Style. The event will feature more than 100 rare and unusual “super cars” and vintage motorcycles from around the world for up-close viewing enjoyment. The

The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe St.,

Del Ray Vintage & Flea Market Sept. 12, Oct. 10 | 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Find hidden treasures at the second season of the Del Ray Vintage & Flea Market!

event will span three blocks on lower King Street near Old Town’s waterfront. Proceeds will benefit the USO (Metro Washington Baltimore) and Alexandria nonprofit ALIVE! The event will also feature a fashion show presented by the Old Town Boutique District from noon. to 1 p.m. In addition, the event will include live music and street vendors and provide festival-goers an opportunity to explore Old Town shops and restaurants. Admission is free. 100-300 blocks of King Street,

1900 Mt. Vernon Ave.,

Prohibition in Alexandria Walking Tour

Saturday Cinema Series

Alexandria Old Town

Sept. 12, Oct. 17 | 10 a.m.

Sept. 12, 19, 26 and Oct. 3

Art Festival

Discover the forgotten stories of teetotalers and bootleggers on this walking tour of Prohibition-era Alexandria. Learn about the dramatic campaign to ban alcohol in Virginia, which threatened a long tradition of alcohol production and sale. The tour begins at the Lee-Fendall House, home to the Downham family, one of the city’s most prominent liquor dealers prior to Prohibition. Tickets are $10, members of the Lee-Fendall House are free. The tour lasts approximately 90 minutes.

The Carlyle Vitality Initiative is hosting a

Sept. 12 | 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

series of movies at John Carlyle Square Park

Sept. 13 | 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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


in the Carlyle Neighborhood. Bring your own seating and snacks and be prepared to follow COVID-19 guidelines. Movies begin at dusk and are free for all! Sept. 12: Dolittle Sept. 19: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

The former King Street Art Festival has been renamed and moved to the Carlyle neighborhood. All artwork is juried, which provides a higher level of quality, diversity and creativity of art on display, exemplifying gifted artists from all over the

Sept. 26: Mulan

country. Admission is free.

Oct. 3: Jumanji: The Next Level

John Carlyle Square, 300 John Carlyle St.,

John Carlyle Square Park, 300 John Carlyle St., • September / October 2020


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George Washington Patriot Run Sept. 13 | virtual This year, the usual 5k or 10-mile race will be virtual. Runners will be able to visit Mount Vernon as part of their race achievement. Check the event website for updates on prices and course information.

Gordon Lightfoot Sept. 16 | 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.

and a special brunch menu, based on the event series, will be available after class. Trademark Drink + Eat, 2080 Jamieson Ave.,

The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

DIY Tea Blending Workshop and Tea Party Sept. 19 | 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Alexandria Wedding Showcase Sept. 15 | virtual The Alexandria Wedding Showcase is the premier event for couples as they plan their special day. Check out page 17 for details.


Learn how to make your own loose tea with a workshop and tea party, part of the DIY and Brunch Event Series. Juices & Berries Apothecary will teach you how to create your loose tea bag, followed by an English tea party with three afternoon tea courses, hosted by Lady D’s Traveling Tea Party. Afternoon tea courses will be prepared by Trademark Drink & Eat. The cost is $10 per participant, per class. Brunch is a separate purchase through Trademark Drink & Eat • September / October 2020


Colonial Market & Fair Sept. 19 – 20 | 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Discover an 18th-century marketplace at Mount Vernon’s annual Colonial Market & Fair. Experience early American life with dozens of historic craftspeople and re-enactors. Price is included with the cost of admission. George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy.,



Hindsight is 2020: Revisiting Misconceptions of the Revolution Sept. 26 | 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Join Emerging Revolutionary War for their Second Annual Emerging Revolutionary War Symposium. Co-hosted by Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, this year’s symposium speakers include: Michael Harris, Vanessa Smiley, Travis Shaw, John U. Rees and Mark Maloy. Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 N. Royal St.,

Due to concern for guests and volunteers, Lee-Fendall House Museum is taking their fifth annual Sips & Secrets: A Speakeasy Night online. Ticket purchasers will receive a pick-up gift bag of fun themed treats, then go online for a cocktail-making lesson, dance demonstration, behind-the-scenes virtual tour and more. All ticket purchases will support Lee-Fendall’s ongoing work to provide connections to and context for local history.

American violinist and philanthropist Damien Escobar will bring his unique combination of classical, jazz, pop, R&B and hip hop to the Birchmere. Escobar grew up in Queens and graduated from Julliard at the age of 13. Tickets are $59.50. The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

Art on The Avenue Oct. 3 | virtual Alexandria’s annual multicultural arts festival, which usually takes place in the Del Ray neighborhood, is going virtual this year with a kick-off on Oct. 3.

Alexandria Symphony Orchestra: Beethoven’s Ninth The season launches with a joyful noise, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 featuring the Alexandria Choral Society. Saturday’s performance will premier works from Carnegie Hall’s All Together Project, “A Global Ode to Joy,” celebrating Beethoven’s legacy of joy in our times. Sunday’s performance will present Schumann’s Konzertstück with the National Symphony Orchestra horns.

Sept. 26 | virtual, 7 p.m.

Oct. 14, 15 | 7:30 p.m.


Oct. 3 | 3 p.m., Oct. 4 | 8 p.m.

Sips and Secrets: A Speakeasy Night

Damien Escobar

Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall & Arts Center, 4915 E Campus Dr.,

Alexandria Sister Cities 8th Annual Whiskey Tasting Oct. 16 | 7 – 10 p.m. This annual whiskey-tasting is sponsored by the Alexandria Sister Cities Committee. Great food, whiskey, wine, live music, raffle and more! Benefits educational and cultural activities with sister cities, Dundee, Scotland and Helsingborg, Sweden. The event includes two whiskey-tasting sessions and food, drinks and entertainment; gift bag with an official Glencairn whiskey glass. This year’s raffle includes a golf outing, more than $1,000 in jewelry and gift cards to local restaurants and proceeds will help send several Alexandria college students attend a program in Dundee. Kilts and tartans encouraged. Tickets are $100 before the event and $125 at the door. Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 N. Royal St.,

Fall Wine Festival and Sunset Tour

Jeffrey Osborne

Oct. 9 – 11 | 6 – 9 p.m. Enjoy live tunes and spectacular views of the Potomac River at the Fall Wine Festival and Sunset Tour. Taste samples from 20 Virginia wineries at one of the most popular wine festivals in the Washington, D.C. area. Member tickets start at $42. Non-member tickets start at $46. Tables start at $1,100 for members and $1,200 for non-members.

Enjoy a performance by Grammynominated singer-songwriter Jeffrey Osborne. A former member of the R&B/ soul group, L.T.D., he embarked on a successful solo career that produced hits like “Really Don’t Need No Light“, “Don’t You Get So Mad,“ “Stay With Me Tonight,“and ”You Should Be Mine (The Woo Woo Song).“ Tickets are $85.

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

The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

Oct. 17, 18 | 7:30 p.m.

September / October 2020 •



the weekend (while supplies last). Price is included with the cost of admission.


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


Alexandria Crypto, UFO and Paranormal Conference Oct. 30 – Nov. 1 | 5 p.m.


Trick-or-Treating at Mount Vernon

The Alexandria Cryptozoology and Paranormal Society will host their annual conference. More details are available on the group’s Facebook page: alexandriacrypto.

Grief & Ghost Tours

Oct. 31 | 3:30 – 6:30 p.m. Trick-or-treat at Mount Vernon! The estate will open its gates for Halloween fun and spooktacular activities. Participate in a special scavenger hunt, take a wagon ride on the 12-acre field and create a boo-tiful Halloween craft. Watch wool carding and spinning, historic chocolate-making and fishnet making demonstrations in the historic area. Try 18th-century dancing in the upper garden before greeting Martha Washington. Walk in a children’s costume parade around the historic area. For safety reasons, candy will be pre-bagged for pickup at the end of the event. Member tickets: $8. Non-member tickets: $10. The event will take place rain or shine. George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy.,

Oct. 30, 31 and Nov. 1 | 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Celebrate Halloween with a look at Victorian mourning traditions coupled with stories of tragic deaths and mysterious occurrences at the Lee-Fendall House. Customs such as draping the mirrors after a death, funeral practices, hair jewelry, mourning clothing and séances will be explored. These tours offer a rare opportunity to see the house after dark. Tickets are $10; members of Lee-Fendall House attend free. Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden, 614 Oronoco St.,

Boney James: Solid Tour 2020 Oct. 20, 21 | 7:30 p.m. Grammy Award nominee, saxophonist and songwriter, Boney James will be at the Birchmere for two nights. His style is a mix of jazz, contemporary jazz and R&B. Tickets are $79.50. The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,


Fall Harvest Family Days Oct. 24 – 25 | 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Celebrate the autumn season with 18thcentury activities at the Pioneer Farm at Mount Vernon. Take a horse-drawn wagon ride and play colonial games on the bowling green before heading to the Pioneer Farm to observe 18th-century demonstrations and greet Gen. Washington. Find your way through a straw-bale maze and listen to the Itinerant Band play colonial tunes. Sightseeing cruises will be free throughout • September / October 2020



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The Whispers Oct. 30, 31 | 7:30 p.m. The legendary R&B male vocal group, The Whispers, will bring their hits to the Birchmere stage. Founded in 1963, the group has received a number of awards and recognitions for their work. Tickets are $85. The Birchmere Music Hall, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

Ongoing Huntley Meadows Monday Morning Birdwalk Ongoing each Monday | 7 a.m. A weekly event at Huntley Meadows Park since 1985, the Monday Morning Birdwalk takes place each week, rain or shine, at 7 a.m. It is free of charge, requires no reservation and is open to all. Birders meet in the parking lot at the park’s entrance at 3701 Lockheed Blvd. Questions should

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

be directed to park staff during normal business hours at 703-768-2525.

lessons for kids) and book a tour through the ship’s website.

Huntley Meadows Park, 3701 Lockheed Blvd.,

Tall Ship Providence Tours Daily | various times The Tall Ship Providence is open for tours! Crew members look forward to welcoming you to the ship. Aboard awaits Providence history, exploits, children’s stories, activities and more! In addition to tours, the ship is available for private tours and happy hours. Learn more about the ship (including online

Yoga on the Magnolia Terrace Tuesdays and Saturdays through Oct. 27 Work out the kinks and center yourself through yoga outside on the Magnolia Terrace at Carlyle House Historic Park every Tuesday from 5 – 6 p.m. and Saturday 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Bring your mat, bandana (to cover nose and mouth in case you have a sneezing fit), towel and water. Email to reserve your spot for the week ahead. Questions? Call 703-549-2997, ext. 103. $5 per class or $20 for five classes pass. 121 N. Fairfax St.,

September / October 2020 •



Sounds of Hope and Harmony – 18 Live Concerts Saturdays through Oct. 3 | 6 – 7 p.m. and 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. Sunday Oct. 4 | 6 – 7 p.m. and 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. Classical Movements presents a series of intimate, socially-distanced hour-long concerts and recitals, in solidarity with musicians who are eager to perform concerts for live audiences once again. Through October, Classical Movements will present a diverse range of ensembles and genres, including rising stars of opera and jazz, the first concert of live choral music, as well as dazzling programs by instrumental chamber ensembles of musicians who are members of the National Symphony Orchestra. Concerts will be presented Saturday evenings at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Concerts take place rain or shine, but in case of severe weather, the rain date will be the following Sunday. Seating will be provided, with chairs wiped down and disinfected between performances. Chairs will have at least six feet between individual or family pairs. To maximize social distancing, seating will be assigned by the presenters; tickets and concert programs will be provided by email. Hand-sanitization stations will be available for audiences as they arrive and exit. The Rectory on Princess Street, 711 Princess St.,



Sundays | 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Old Town North Thursdays year-round 3:30 – 7:30 p.m. (summer) 3 – 7 p.m. (fall) Montgomery Park, 901 N. Royal St.,

Carlyle Hamilton the Musical Tour at Mount Vernon Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. While there is no record of Alexander Hamilton visiting Mount Vernon, evidence of Hamilton the Musical abounds at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. What ideas was Lafayette fighting for with the guns and ships the French brought? Where are the vines? Where are the fig trees? Get the answers to these questions and more on this hourlong tour. Opportunities “that we can sing along in harmony” will all be optional. Tours are limited in capacity to allow for social distancing, and new safety protocols are in place on the estate. Tickets are $10.

Fridays through Oct. 30 | 3 – 7 p.m. The Carlyle Vitality Initiative is hosting a new farmers market at John Carlyle Square Park. Vendors will be following CDC guidelines for safety. Bring face masks and social distancing etiquette. Special priority shopping hours for those at high risk for COVID-19 will be from 2 - 3 p.m. John Carlyle Square Park, 300 John Carlyle St.,

Old Town Saturdays year round 7 a.m. – noon Market Square, 301 King St., oldtownfarmersmarket

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


Four Mile Run • September / October 2020

4109 Mount Vernon Ave.,

West End Market Sundays through Oct. 29 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Pre-orders and pick-ups only this season due to COVID-19. Ben Brenman Park, 4800 Brenman Park Dr.,

FAIRFAX COUNTY McCutcheon/ Mount Vernon Wednesdays through Dec. 23 8 a.m. – noon 2501 Sherwood Hall Lane, parks/farmersmarkets/mccutcheon-mountvernon

Kingstown Market Fridays through Oct. 30 3 – 7 p.m. Kingstowne Towne Center, 5870 Kingstowne Towne Center, farmersmarkets/kingstowne




Alexandria Wedding Showcase Join Alexandria Living Magazine for the 2020 Alexandria Wedding Showcase… Digital! Whether you just got engaged, your wedding was postponed or you’re looking to redesign your wedding in the time of coronavirus, the Alexandria Wedding Showcase has all you need to create your perfect day.

Tune in digitally on Sunday, Sept. 13 to hear from a variety of vendors on trends, wedding industry changes and what you need to know while planning your wedding during a pandemic. This digital event is designed for couples who are looking for information and inspiration – featuring a variety of vendors including jewelers, venues, caterers, florists, formal wear and a variety of other services.


Tune in for a chance to hear updated wedding trends, learn from vendors and access information to create a truly memorable event. Free tickets are available online.

For more information and to register, visit:

September 13, 2020

Virtual Event Talk to vendors, get inspiration for the wedding of your dreams and get helpful advice from event planners about making your day perfect!

Visit for more information or to purchase your ticket. September / October 2020 •


Henry and Amanda celebrate their wedding during the pandemic with friends near and far. | PHOTOS BY SAM HURD

For Better or for Worse Pandemic sparks ‘new normal’ wedding trends. BY MARY ANN BARTON AND BETH LAWTON

With the “new normal” during the coronavirus pandemic sparking changes in everything from work life to education, it’s no surprise that it’s also changing one of life’s biggest traditions: weddings — and the $78 billion-a-year wedding industry.

18 • September / October 2020

“One Saturday evening near the end of March, I ran into a couple in the Old Town Trader Joe’s who were dressed in a tux and wedding gown,” said Kim Olsen, co-founder of Art of Eloping, an online guide to small weddings. “They were supposed to get married that weekend at Miami Beach Botanical Garden, but because everything was shut down, they instead eloped in the bride’s parents’ living room in Sterling. Their reception menu featured snacks and bubbles from Trader Joe’s, since no restaurants were open. And they couldn’t have been happier.” Couples planning to wed have always had big decisions to make, but these days the biggest of those questions is whether to have a big wedding at a later date or scale down and say “I do” with a smaller party or even via Zoom.


seriousness of a pandemic, it really puts priorities into focus. Do you really need 150 guests and a donut wall to be happy on your wedding day?” “When you’re forced to whittle down your guest list to 10, it makes you really consider why you’re getting married, and why you thought you needed all the hoopla that comes with a big wedding to begin with,“ she said. ”Some couples say they were actually relieved to be off-duty from wedding planning and all the stress that came with it.“


With fewer people, couples can opt for a more luxurious experience, since the costs won’t be as high. Art of Eloping has a guide on its website,, to venues and vendors who can help with small, intimate events.

“It seems like two schools of thought,” said Kristin Longwood, lead planner and owner of Boxwood & Bloom events. “I have one couple who are postponing to late 2021 so they can have everyone attend without worry of travel, restrictions and possible venue limitations. On the other hand, I have another couple who are leaning on keeping their date but downsizing to a smaller wedding…. It’s a very personal choice, but a lot of couples are looking outside of the box and coming up with new ideas.” Olsen agreed. “When gatherings of 50 people or more — or 10 people or more, depending on where you live — were banned, thousands of weddings around the country were canceled or postponed. But some couples chose to stick with their wedding dates, and got married in incredibly creative, micro, makeshift ways that could include their loved ones via streaming channels,” she said. If a couple is planning to dive in and hold a ceremony in the near future, there are some emerging trends that might prove helpful as they plan their special day.

“For this year, we have encouraged all couples to still get married, in an intimate celebration, with immediate family and just the maid of honor and best man present,” said Julie Park of Birch Event & Design. “We feel that love isn’t on hold and couples shouldn’t wait to start their life together! The whole purpose of a wedding is to unite two individuals who love each other and want to spend the rest of their life together, and the great news is that we can still do that this year!” Mayor Justin Wilson has officiated a handful of weddings this spring and summer. By the end of July, he had wed three couples — one in a courtyard in Parkfairfax, one in a courtyard in Auburn Village and one at Carlyle House Historic Park. “I guess this is ‘other duties as assigned,“ Wilson joked. “It’s definitely quite enjoyable, especially in a time of so much bad news and heartache.” If you’re looking to have a small wedding, you can look to companies such as The Tiny Wedding Shop event and photography services or Wedding Ceremonies by Jeff, which is conducting small family weddings and signing marriage licenses in private homes or public spaces. But many couples are finding that they can still use their original vendors in a scaled-back way without losing special touches.

Think Small: ‘Minimonies’

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, guest lists are being cut. Gone are just about all 300-person wedding celebrations, and elopements are on the rise. An elopement as Olsen defines them is not running off to get hitched in secret, it’s just a movement away from the traditional, huge wedding. The new trend is to call these ”micro weddings“ — generally 50 people or fewer — or “minimonies” of 10 people or fewer. “What ultimately emerged was — and still is — a more widely accepted embracement of elopements and small weddings,“ Olsen said. ”Yes, this was borne out of necessity, but with the


September / October 2020 •


“In some ways, the COVID-19 crisis has allowed us to realize and start to realign how we approach weddings, for me as a photographer and artist,” Johnson said. “With our weddings moving forward we are striving to further this and focus more closely on smaller weddings that allow us to develop and capture the intimacy and love of the day even closer.” Local wedding photographers are increasingly teaming up with videographers to help stream weddings via Zoom or Facebook Live for guests near and far. “We are also encouraging, if the budget allows, for the couples to invest in a small two-hour videography package,” Park said. “This way they can stream the ceremony for those who are unable to be there in person, or send it at a later date with a wedding announcement. This is a special day and should still feel like it!” Local wedding photographer Sam Hurd has done this by working with a video team to help bring the ceremony to family and friends who can’t be there in person. “The current state of the world has really forced everyone to boil down wedding days to the absolute core of what they’re all about, and it’s clear to me that photography is included in that,” he said. “The creativity and ‘outside the box’ thinking that my couples have brought to the table is incredible,“ he noted.

Newly wed, Ashlee and Jamar Gould share an intimate moment. PHOTOS BY STEVE JOHNSON

Park suggested considering scaling back with original vendors to have “a single musician for the ceremony, scaled-down flowers from the florist, a two to three-hour photography package, champagne toast and small cutting cake from the bakery.” To help with physical distancing, the Alexandria Circuit Court Clerk’s office is scheduling virtual appointments via email and mailing marriage licenses to couples. “Due to COVID-19, we have seen a significant increase in couples postponing or significantly altering their wedding plans,“ said local photographer Steve Johnson. ”For one of our couples, they have had to move dates about three times, as well as change venue and reduce guests by 50 percent.“

On Etsy, you’ll find “Just Married” face masks, wedding toppers with the messages “Quarantine Couldn’t Stop This Wedding,” “You & Me & Quarantine” and “Happy Lockdown Wedding.” “In working with primarily brides this spring and summer on the challenges of planning in this environment, we have really emphasized patience and reassurance and extended flexibility,“ Johnson said. “We have had several weddings postponed to 2021, and have tried to stay close to the couples and provide support, flexibility and reassurance.“ For those who are saying “I do” and aren’t putting their lives on hold, in addition to planning a small ceremony now, some couples are also planning what they’re calling a “sequel wedding“ for the post-pandemic future. “Bottom line: A wedding is one day,“ Olsen said. “A marriage is not. It’s about the love — not the fluff.“

Guest lists aren’t the only thing that are shrinking. If you’re shopping for a gown, don’t plan on bringing a large entourage to try on dresses. At Global Bridal Gallery in Alexandria, they’re asking brides to bring no more than three guests and to wear masks. FaceTime, Zoom and Wedding Masks

Photography packages are getting smaller, too. In preCOVID-19 times, it was common for wedding photographers to spend several hours (with a second photographer) at large weddings. Sometimes, a smaller wedding can result in better photos.

20 • September / October 2020

Mike and Charlotte Orren celebrate their wedding day. | PHOTO BY STEVE JOHNSON

n w o We’re Growing — T d l O e Th and S Hiring! hop Ad Alexandria Living is looking for a new team member to help us partner with local businesses in unique and creative ways. The right person has multimedia sales experience, a warm and welcoming personality, a proven track record of professional success, and great communication skills! • Work from home (or from our Waterfront office). • Flexible hours. More information is available at

September / October 2020 •



Saying Goodbye to Man’s Best Friend BY MARY ANN BARTON

It was the middle of the night when my cocker spaniel, Teddy, had a stroke. I didn’t realize that’s what it was at the time, but I knew there was something wrong. At 14, he had recently had surgery to remove some large lumps that turned out to be cancer. I adopted him from a shelter three years ago and he was the perfect companion — loved to go on walks, sit by my side, ride in the car and play with his toys. He usually got the last bite of everything I ate. He was a great alarm clock — when Teddy was ready to wake up and get his breakfast, there was no going back to sleep. I wrapped him in a towel and rushed him to an all-night emergency pet hospital, VCA Southpaws on Route 50. Under COVID-19 restrictions, I called from my car and someone came out to get him. I filled out paperwork in the car and waited there to hear the verdict. After about 30 minutes to an hour, a vet called to say Teddy was suffering from internal bleeding and his cancer had probably spread. After a talk with the vet I realized that a dizzy spell Teddy suffered a few days before had likely been another stroke. Even with (very expensive) surgery, he likely only had a very short time to live. I had to make a hard decision. The vet office allowed me to come inside (wearing a mask); they gave me gloves and had me wait in a nicely furnished interior room. They wheeled Teddy in and he was awake. I got a chance to talk to him and hold him while they injected him to put him to sleep.

22 • September / October 2020

Kate and Teddy celebrate the holidays. | PHOTO BY MARY ANN BARTON

It’s never easy when a pet passes away, leaving a void that comes after that steady, friendly presence is no longer there. There are ways you can educate yourself and prepare your family for that inevitable day that will make the time a little less difficult. Here are a few things I’ve learned after saying goodbye to Teddy and, a few years ago, our yellow Lab Ginger: • If your pet is elderly or has been diagnosed with a serious illness, talk to your veterinarian about how long they have to live and figure out a game plan for when that tough decision will come. • If you’re taking your pet in, talk to the vet office before you leave your home about the possibility of having to put your pet down when you come in so everyone can prepare. • If that’s the case, you’ll want any family members to either say goodbye to the pet before you go to the vet or if they’re up to it, come along to say goodbye. • If you can, take another family member or friend along to help with driving, calming your pet or handling paperwork. It might take two people to carry your pet if they aren’t able to walk.

Remembering Your Pet Some of the options you have to remember your pet include receiving their ashes, having their ashes placed in an urn or wooden box with their name inscribed and receiving a print of your pet’s paw. There are even custom stuffed animals handmade to look like your pet called Cuddle Clones. You can quickly frame one of your favorite iPhone photos of your pet by sending your image to

Remember your pet with a paw print, ashes and a photo. | PHOTO BY MARY ANN BARTON

• Bring along a familiar toy or blanket to make your pet’s last moments more comfortable. • Bring towels and paper towels; when a dog is at the end of their life, accidents might happen. • Ask to be with your pet when the veterinarian or vet tech injects them to “put them to sleep.” We’ve heard that during the pandemic, some veterinarians aren’t allowing people to hold their pets when they are being put to sleep. Luckily, the emergency vet I was visiting in the middle of the night allowed me to come in and hold Teddy during his last moments. You can cradle your pet and talk to them as they peacefully slip away.

Once your pet has passed away, in addition to cremating and/or keeping your pet’s ashes at home, other options include burial: • You can contact Noah’s Ark Pet Cemetery (703-573-8800) for burial in a pet cemetery in Falls Church. • The Pet EcoForest Cemetery (540-687-6262) offers burial in a forest located in Camp Highroad in Middleburg. • Virginia law allows animals to be buried in your yard. (Some advise against this as it could attract other animals or wildlife.) If you do bury your pet, burying the animal swaddled in plastic inside a wooden box at least three feet deep is advised.

• Other options include having a vet come to your house to put your pet down. Sunset Pet Services in Alexandria offers the service as well as urns and markers. Ask your vet if they

Books that will help your child when losing a pet:

offer this service.

The Goodbye Book

Cat Heaven

The Rainbow Bridge... A Dog’s Story

I’ll Always Love You

If you’re faced with an after-hours emergency, in addition to VCA Southpaws, other 24-hour animal hospitals in the area include Columbia Pike Animal Hospital & Emergency Center and

Dog Heaven

Paw Prints in the Stars

the Regional Veterinary Referral Center in Springfield.

September / October 2020 •



Hive and Home The family behind Del Ray Bee shares their passion for beekeeping with their community. BY SUSANNAH MOORE

For Chris and Laurie Young and their daughter, Kate, spreading the word about beekeeping, native plants and other insect and animal pollinators is a family affair. Even their golden retriever, Griffin, had his own unfortunate run-in with the bees when he ate one. He fully recovered from his swollen face but has left the beekeeping to the humans ever since. The Youngs first started beekeeping in 2012 in the backyard of their Del Ray home, but their journey to beekeeping started long before that.

The Youngs at Art on the Avenue | PHOTO COURTESY OF DEL RAY BEE

science behind the process, Young realized it was something he could do. Around the same time, a family friend had moved to a 3 acre “farmette” and was struggling with the lack of bees on her property. Chris Young discovered the Northern Virginia Beekeepers Association and began to take classes. Through the classes he met a lot of neighbors who were also interested in beekeeping including his mentor, Whitney Long. In addition to the threat of Varroa mites or other parasites which can literally suck the life out of the bees, Chris Young shared that sometimes your own ignorance and clumsiness can be your biggest enemy.

His wife is a gardener and was learning about the positive environmental impact of planting native plants. Growing up, he remembered having a neighbor who kept beehives in his backyard, although he didn’t interact with them except as a dare from his friends.

He recalled a time when he accidently drowned one of his queen bees in honey. He also made the mistake of wearing dark colors around the bees once and was immediately circled by the guard bees. There is a reason beekeepers usually wear white, because a person dressed up in all dark colors can look very similar to a bear trying to raid the hive. He quickly learned that beekeeping is a lifelong process of trial and error, made easier by comparing notes with fellow beekeepers and sharing each other’s experiences.

After reading “A Book of Bees” by Sue Hubbell, where the author detailed her experience managing 300 beehives at her home in the Ozarks, selling honey and the

Beekeeping is an investment of time and money. Del Ray Bee currently manages four hives. Three are located in their backyard and one sponsored hive is in

“I wish I could say that there was some really big event that said, ‘A-ha! Now I’m going to keep bees!’ but it really was a series of small things,” explained Chris Young.

24 • September / October 2020

a neighbor’s backyard. During the busy harvest season in early summer, managing those can take up as much as 8-10 hours every other week. Harvest season can get messy and it’s not unusual to have door knobs around the house sticky with honey. The equipment needed to properly keep the bees can also costly and take time to accumulate. While Chris Young is the primary person dealing with the hives, his wife and daughter help out in other ways. Laurie Young designed their logo and makes sure the yard is filled with many native flowers and plants to support the bees, while Kate Young has taken an interest in the native bee population.

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Looking at the comb | PHOTO COURTESY OF DEL RAY BEE

The Youngs are happy to share their knowledge on the important pollination process with their community. Neighbors know Chris Young as the “bee guy” and often come to him to identify bees, wasps and yellow jackets near their homes. They rented a booth at Del Ray’s annual Art on the Avenue three years ago offered honey tasting, samples of plants to support local pollinators and an observation hive. They also attend science nights at local elementary schools Cora Kelly, Mount Vernon and Patrick Henry. One of the most rewarding moments at one of these science nights was when a father came up to their display with his two young daughters. The father, who was blind, was able to touch and explore what is on the inside of a hive (without the bees!) and share that moment with his family. Del Ray Bee looks forward to continuing to share with the community. They have plans to build a new platform for the hives. They are also at the point where they will be harvesting enough honey to sell and are looking into bottling and selling at local farmers markets in the future.

When a conforming mortgage isn't enough, it's time to think big. Contact me today to learn more. Be a Friend to the Bees According to Del Ray Bee, late summer and early fall are a tough time for bees because there is often a shortage of nectar sources for them. Consider planting a few of the following plants in your garden to help out local bees • Sedum

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One Hot Debate Ranch or Blue Cheese? Our Buffalo native said most restaurants in Buffalo serve blue cheese with wings, but it’s often house-made blue cheese, not something out of a bottle. Ranch dressing on wings, he said, is “sacrilege” where he’s from. Chef Reyburn from Union Street Public House said most of his customers order ranch with their wings, and that’s particularly true with people who are from the South. The results of a non-scientific poll we posted on Alexandria Living Magazine’s Facebook page showed a definite preference for blue cheese over ranch. One person wrote, “Growing up there, you will be chased out of Buffalo if you ask for ranch. Just saying.”

Even if football season isn’t what we thought it would be this year, it’s game on for chicken wing season! Whether you’re team ranch or blue cheese, here’s where to go for Alexandria’s best wings. What makes a good wing? We talked to Chef Mark Reyburn from Union Street Public House for his take on what diners should look for in a “good” wing. “It has to be the sauce,” Reyburn said. “You have to have hot sauce, butter and there’s normally a secret ingredient to give it a little kick.” If you want your wings particularly crispy, you should ask for your sauce on the side, he said, because the longer the sauce is on the wings, the softer they get. “Just like French fries or deep-fried fish

or calamari, it normally has a window — and it’s about 30 seconds — so as chefs, as soon as something comes out of the fryer, we’re saying, ‘Get that out to the diner, immediately.’” Wings are not something to order for takeout, he said, because they’re really best when they’re hot and fresh out of the kitchen. (In fact, Reyburn said he took calamari off of Union Street Public House’s take-out menu because it doesn’t travel well.) Union Street Public House offers a variety of wings from Classic Buffalo to naked, Old Bay and more. Reviewers praise Union Street Public House’s wings for being ”tremendously tasty.“ Over the summer, we gathered a group of seven taste testers from a variety of backgrounds — including a native of Buffalo, New York and a few people who say they always order wings as an appetizer. We ordered two sets of wings from several restaurants based on recommendations from friends and family (and a few complete strangers).

September / October 2020 •



Due to the pandemic, we had to do exactly what Chef Mark said not to do: We ordered take-out.

The highest of compliments, our Buffalo native said Mackie’s came the closest to real wings from Buffalo. We ordered both the classic Buffalo wings and the jerk chicken wings. Our testers said both options were meaty, cooked perfectly and “flavorful,” though some of our tasters thought the jerk wings were just a tad on the salty side.

We ordered Buffalo and Old Bay wings from Chadwicks. Both got positive reviews, but the Old Bay won the “order again” vote from our testers. With just the right amount of spice and not too salty, the Old Bay wings had a “nice kick.” The Buffalo wings ran a close second to Mackie’s for our Buffalo native.

We ordered the spicy classic wings (made with a rub, not a sauce) and ginger sesame wings. One of our tasters said the spicy ones should be called “8-second wings” because it’s about 8 seconds after swallowing that your mouth feels the heat. The ginger sesame wings are a good alternative for those who like sweet wings with just a little kick. Bon Chon’s wings were by far the largest wings with thick, crispy batter (too much batter, some noted).

Honey BBQ and Buffalo wings were our choices from Wing Zone in Del Ray, where options are the name of the game. The honey wings were “crispy, sweet, unexpectedly good!” one of our testers noted. The Buffalo wings were “hot, but not fire-engine hot.”

We also received very high recommendations from people for the wings from Union Street Public House, T.J. Stone’s and Glory Days Grill (particularly for the variety and customization options available there).

28 • September / October 2020

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September 23rd Visit For more information, visit

From the comfort of your own home, come together with all of ACT’s faithful supporters, mingle, enjoy some entertainment, and toast our collective efforts to support our community during this unprecedented time.



Find out why reducing trash is important and what you can do to make a difference. BY SUSANNAH MOORE

Since the coronavirus pandemic started, many Alexandrians have started to clear out clutter. Some people, like Alexandria residents Anna and Justin Marino, have taken it even further.

in o

The term “zero waste” can be intimidating. At a time when convenience and online shopping are the norm, the thought of not producing waste and avoiding single-use plastics and paper products is overwhelming. It is easier to ignore the increasing environmental impact caused by waste management problems and the limitations of recycling.


The Marinos are part of a zero-waste movement, trying to live entirely without single-use plastics and other waste.

bottle that your parents used back in the ’70s are still here on this planet,” Justin Marino explained.

M Ju a sti n + Ann

“If we look at everything we buy, consider its usable life, and what we will do when we are done with it, it can be eye-opening. … That toothbrush you used when you were a child, that ring pop that brought you so much temporary joy one Halloween, that shampoo


According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the amount of municipal solid waste (MSW) in 2017 was 267.8 million tons which averaged out to 4.51 pounds per person per day. Worse, these numbers do not include construction and demolition debris, municipal wastewater sludge or other non-hazardous industrial wastes. In fact, 52.1 percent of MSW ended up in landfills, which are the main cause of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Studies show that 40 percent of trash worldwide in landfills is burned, which can release dangerous • September / October 2020

levels of carbon monoxide and other toxins into the atmosphere. The World Bank predicts that global waste will increase by 70 percent by 2050 unless urgent action is taken. Why Isn’t Recycling the Solution?

Recycling, as it currently operates, is not the solution. According to a study published in Science Advances, the use of plastic has skyrocketed since the 1950s. Only nine percent of plastic is recycled; the vast majority of it ends up in landfills and much of it ends up contaminating our waterways and oceans. Plastic can break apart into smaller pieces but is not biodegradable, and it can harm fish and wildlife that mistake it for food.


The amount of Municipal Solid Waste generated per person per day.


Bulk Foods

Mason and Greens Bulk Food Section

If you’re interested in buying food in bulk or without packaging, check out these three local grocery stores:

Some of the reasons so little plastic is recycled is because it is expensive and there is little market for recycled goods. China, which previously bought and processed a large amount of recycling from the United States, stopped doing so a couple of years ago. About 25 percent of American recycling is contaminated, which makes it expensive to sort through and often clogs up the machines used to process it. To combat this recycling problem, the City of Alexandria came up with a Recycling at Home program which you can find on their website to inform residents on which items can and can’t be recycled and why it matters. This initiative is part of a greater 20-year strategic plan called WasteSmart that the City adopted in January 2019. This plan will

Global waste is expected to grow by 70 percent by 2050.



guide Alexandria as it seeks to be more sustainable in its waste management and resource recovery programs.

Mason and Greens, 913 King St.

Advice for Joining the Zero-Waste Movement

Whole Foods Market, 1700 Duke St.

A growing number of Alexandrians are taking the matter into their own hands and are proactively changing their relationship with waste. The Marinos started this journey a few years ago. They were inspired to begin their own zero-waste journey when they looked into what happened to the large amounts of trash they were producing after they rolled it to their curb every week. In March, the family opened Mason & Greens, the first entirely zero-waste grocery store in Alexandria. In their store, they carry durable, biodegradable or compostable products to use in place of single-use plastic or paper. They also sell bulk food that shoppers can buy and store in reusable containers. They only source their products from companies that align with their zero-waste mission, which means

Mom’s Organic Market, 3831 Mt Vernon Ave.

not shipping in extra packaging and selecting vendors as local as possible. Marino shared a few practical tips for others who want to reduce the amount of trash they produce: • Find alternatives to commonly used items that are not packaged. For example, instead of buying shampoo bottles, consider shampoo bars or filling up your old bottle at a bulk store. • Eliminate paper towels by using regular cloth towels or Swedish dishcloths, which can absorb up to 20 times their weight, are reusable and often come in fun patterns. • Start using reusable produce bags, totes and containers in place of their single-use counterparts.

September / October 2020 •


Look for household and personal care products that come in paper or metal instead of plastic packaging, she added. Wright warned about “greenwashing” or products that falsely claim to be eco-friendly. As an example, she mentioned hair products that look like they come in compressed cardboard packaging but when cut open they contain plastic.


h Originally from California, Alexandria resident Emily Wright has always had a keen awareness of the environment. When she moved to the D.C. metro area, she was struck by the damage that human pollution from sewage, agricultural runoff and illegal dumping has caused to the Chesapeake Bay and the negative impact it has had on the wildlife that call it home. She can often be found picking up trash along the Potomac River in Old Town Alexandria.

Wright had her own tips for reducing waste. She suggested buying fruits and vegetables at the store loose instead of placing them in plastic bags. If they need to be stored in plastic to be refrigerated, she suggested reusing plastic bags you already have laying around the house. Having glass jars to buy items in bulk is essential for anyone working toward a zero-waste lifestyle. Wright recommends keeping reusable canvas totes in your car or somewhere else where you will see them and remember to use them instead of plastic bags.

“Trash is the underpinning of everything,” Fonner stressed. ”Environmentalism in any form, shape or kind is driven by what we consume, how we consume it and what happens to this stuff that we consume after it has been consumed.“ “I can stand up and say I love the ocean, I might go and clean up litter on the beach, but if we don’t do anything about what is happening inside our own homes, inside our own life, that is incomplete,” she said.

“A zero-waste lifestyle becomes largely about three things: buying without plastic, using the plastic we do have over and over again and minimizing the environmental impact of the production and transportation of the goods we buy,” Wright said. Living a zero-waste lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean going out and immediately buying a bunch of eco-friendly products. An example that Wright gave was to keep your used car if it’s still running well, instead of buying a new hybrid. “Thirty percent of the lifetime carbon emissions for the average car occurs during assembly and transport,” she explained.

32 • September / October 2020



ly Wri g



i Em

F r ee do m


Wright Picking up Trash along the Potomac

From a young age, Alexandria resident Freedom Fonner has been passionate about the environment. It wasn’t until just a few years ago that she realized she was a part of the problem.


The Fonners and Their Zero Waste RV | PHOTO BY FREEDOM FONNER

Fonner is not all words and no action. She founded Design by Freedom Labs, an invention company whose motto is “Reimagining Our Future to Make Trash History.” The company’s goal is to create 100 inventions by 2025 to move every American home to a zero-waste and zero-emissions future. She and her husband lived in a zero-waste RV and traveled to 47 states spreading the word on zero waste, before settling in Alexandria. Fonner admitted that her zero-waste journey started out small. She was inspired by a simple coffee cup sleeve with the words “made for single use only” printed on it. Her initial reaction to it was “Why?” so she wrote that on the sleeve and kept it with her. From there, it was like a game figuring how to best eliminate certain trash items from their lives. She believes it is important for leaders of the movement to have empathy and recognize that the term ”zero waste“ can be intimidating and inaccessible especially for those with lower incomes who often have been left out of the conversation. Fonner encourages others to start off small, by making little changes to their normal routine: • Start a trash journal and track everything you throw away for one week. Put a stop to junk mail.

• Install a bidet on your toilet or only buy toilet paper that is made from recycled paper or bamboo instead of trees. • Purchase reusable sanitary pads or menstrual cups. • Carry a handkerchief — there is a reason people used them for centuries! • Buy clothing made from natural materials like hemp, cotton, silk or wool and wash them using cold water. Washing clothes made from manmade materials releases millions of microplastics into the water which cannot be removed. • Consider using reusable diapers and potty training at an earlier age. • Go to the store and buy one jar of food in bulk. • Compost by taking food scraps to Mom’s Organic Market or your local farmers market. • Make one meal a week completely from scratch. With many people now spending more time at home, starting to incorporate some of these tips is easier than ever. If everybody takes one step toward reducing the amount of waste we produce, it will have a positive impact on the world we all share.

For more information on recycling in Alexandria and Fairfax County, go to and search Wishcycling. For more information on picking up trash while exercising (also known as “plogging”) along the Potomac, go to and search Plogging. Freedom Fonner’s guide to buying zero-waste groceries during the COVID-19 pandemic: guide-to-eliminating-plasticwaste-during-grocery-shoppingbuying-bulk-during-thepandemic-and-saving-the-earth/

How to stop junk mail:

Alexandria’s Recycling at Home webpage: recyclingathome#unacceptable

Alexandria’s WasteSmart Initiative:

September / October 2020 •


Sunshine and Savings Going solar in Alexandria. BY BETH LAWTON

The older I get, the more often I find myself apologizing to my mother. This summer, I told her I’m sorry for the number of times she turned off lights that I left on in our home when I was growing up. Bedroom lights, bathroom lights, basement lights. Day and night. All on, all the time, all costing her money. Like so many things, it wasn’t until my husband and I bought our own home — and had kids — that I realized how irritating this was. Aside from turning off lights multiple times a day in hopes of a lower electric bill, I didn’t pay too much attention to


our actual energy usage until May, when Vivint Solar called. With encouragement from my friend Chris Weymont and two other people who installed solar panels in my neighborhood, we dove in. “Check this out!” Weymont wrote to me on Facebook in June, sending me a copy of his $0 due bill from Dominion. He hadn’t paid for electricity since his solar power system started generating energy in February. A longtime environmentalist, Weymont first started working with solar while working for the Peace Corps in Africa. He eventually moved to Alexandria and bought a home. • September / October 2020

“It feels really rad to put solar panels on our roof,” he said. “There were some bumps along the way, but we’re very happy with our system and it’s really a cool thing seeing that we’re building up energy credits on our bill.” How Solar Works

Vivint Solar designed two systems for us — one using just the south-facing roof on the front of our home, and another that also used an east-facing roof on the back. The second of those two options was designed to come close to entirely replacing our Dominion electric bill — and close to getting those $0 statements that Weymont sent me. Several other solar power companies are also working in Alexandria, including


Tesla offering solar roof shingles and systems, SkyNRG, BlueStar Solar and Celestial Solar Innovations, to name just a few. The City of Alexandria and Fairfax County both offer “Solarize” programs that can help homeowners save money, as well. By the middle of June, our 34-panel, 10.71 kW solar system sat atop our home. It was fully operational by early July, after Moore & Wright completed some tree work to allow more sunlight to hit the panels and the City of Alexandria and Dominion inspected the system. Our system collects solar energy during the daylight hours to power our home, and sends any extra power back into the grid. At night, we draw power from Dominion like everybody else. The theory is that the extra power we send into the grid during the day is equal to or more than the power we use at night. But Isn’t Solar Expensive?

Our Vivint Solar plan called for payments of less than $200 per month until the system is paid off, with $0 down. If we sell the home, we can transfer the contract. The $37 difference between our flat-rate, monthly Dominion bill and our Vivint Solar contract should be entirely offset by property tax reductions from the City of Alexandria’s Solar Energy Equipment Tax Exemption program and by federal tax credits. (Act on this quickly, as some of these credits are expiring soon.) Through Virginia’s Solar Renewable Energy Credit system, which started this

summer, we also have the opportunity to earn money by selling solar certificates (similar to selling carbon offsets). In addition, the system increases the value of our home by as much as 4 percent, according to Zillow. We did not buy a battery back-up system that would have charged batteries with solar power during the day to supply us with off-grid power at night, on rainy days and during power outages. Adding that would have been a hefty expense that was not in our budget. (The estimate for a Tesla Powerwall system for our home was $23,000.) Are there drawbacks to going solar? Some people argue that large solar farms take up land that cannot be used for other purposes, like grazing cattle or farming, according to the Renewable Resource Coalition, a nonprofit organization. “The environmental impacts associated with solar power are land and water use and pollution, habitat loss and use of highly hazardous materials in the manufacturing process,” according to the group. But we’ll also be saving the environment in other ways — in July, our carbon offset was close to 500 pounds of coal or 50 gallons of gas. As of this writing, it’s too soon to tell if we’ll have to pay an electric bill next month. But on several sunny days in July, our system generated more power than we used.

our old hot water heater, furnace and air conditioner — which are all on borrowed time — with more energy-efficient systems. A few new windows will also help our home be much more efficient. Until then, I’ll be channeling my mother. “Why is this light on?!”

Your Household Energy Usage According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a part of the U.S. Dept. of Energy, here are the things in your home that use the most electricity.

15.9% Furnace, Heating Fans and Heat Pumps 14.7% Air Conditioning and Cooling Fans 11.9% Water heater 9% Kitchen Appliances

6.2% Lights 6.1% Televisions, Computers and Other Electronics 4.8% Clothes Washer & Dryer 31.4% Other (microwave, garage

door, electric lawn mower, etc.)

In the next few years, we’ll be replacing

September / October 2020 •


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

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

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36 • September / October 2020

205 S. Union Street Alexandria, VA 22314 703.838.9788


Design a Better Bath BY BETH LAWTON

If you’ve been spending a lot more time at home these days, you’ve probably noticed things around the house that could use some improvement. Remodeling a bathroom may not fully pay for itself in resale value (the return on investment is typically 70 to 80 percent, according to Investopedia), but making your bathroom brighter, more functional and up-to-date can make your home a much more pleasant place to be stuck. Before you take the sledgehammer to that cracked tile or start to rip out an old tub, there are a few things you should do:

Think about your ideal bathroom. “Just because the shower is in one corner right now doesn’t mean it has to stay there,” said Heloise Mitchell, founder and creative director of Alexandriabased Mintwood Home. “We just took two feet of dead space in our hallway to extend our daughter’s bath, which then gave our bath two extra feet as well. It is a HUGE game changer.”

Create a wishlist. “When approaching a bathroom renovation, it’s helpful for clients to establish a wishlist of features that they would


like to have in their new space,” said Danielle Walther, interior designer with Marks-Woods Construction Services. “A lot of clients approach us with questions about how they can renovate their bathroom with an eye toward aging in place or universal design.”

Evaluate your needs. Look at the current storage you have in your bathroom. Is it enough? Is it convenient? Make a list of what your normally store in the bathroom and what you’d like to store there. That list will help your designer understand your needs and come up with targeted, customized storage solutions.

Be flexible. “If you’re hiring a designer, use their expertise and experience to your advantage,” said Nadia Wall, Designer and Showroom Manager at local cabinetry specialist Braemar Kitchen and Bath. “A little bit of flexibility when making material selections with your designer is the best way to find products that meet your needs and also your budget. Bathrooms are a hardworking part of the home, and using materials that are durable and long-lasting are key in a successful design.”

On the following pages, take a look at some recently-renovated bathrooms for inspiration for your own space.

Here are a few more tips and examples of smart bathroom design from Marks-Woods Construction Services Interior Designer Danielle Walther and Nadia Wall of Braemar Kitchen & Bath: • Recessed oversized medicine cabinets aren’t just for over the vanity. Any bit of open wall space can be used for a hidden medicine cabinet that looks like a mirror. • Tall vanity cabinet towers capture valuable above-counter storage space and can also be a nice way to separate a double vanity. • Toekick drawers are a great addition to a small bathroom vanity. • Add a matching cabinet to the unused space above the toilet. • Entry pocket doors keep the swing of the door from interfering in a tight space. • When wall space is at a premium, robe hooks are better than towel bars. • Frameless glass bi-passing shower doors save space and no longer have the unsightly bottom metal track. They can also function as towel storage. • Wall-mounted toilets save precious inches of floor space and are much easier to clean under and around.

September / October 2020 •




arks-Woods Construction Services was brought in to renovate two existing full bathrooms in a historic rowhome in Old Town Alexandria. The existing master bathroom was transformed, including changing from a tub/shower to a large enclosed shower.


38 • September / October 2020

To provide additional storage in a tight space, custom built-ins were added on site by the Marks-Woods Construction team. To tie the whole bathroom together, the design team selected polished nickel for all of the bathroom fixtures.

To make the shower pop, the in-house design team at Marks-Woods created a feature wall of bold tiles supplied by local tile specialists Architectural Ceramics.



he hall bathroom was designed around the existing clawfoot tub, which the owners wanted to keep and really highlight through the renovation. Known as a pull-and-replace renovation, the bathroom was stripped to the studs, removing all of the existing materials. Only the clawfoot tub remained.

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If the current bathroom layout is functional, a pull-andreplace renovation is an excellent option when working in an older home. Since the existing plumbing stays where it is, we save time and money by not having to relocate plumbing and electrical. The time and money saved can either be pocketed by the homeowner or used on higher end finishes,” said Danielle Walther, interior designer.

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40 • September / October 2020

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hen the homeowners of this four-story Old Town Alexandria townhome were ready to renovate their dated master bathroom, they hired Marks-Woods Construction Services to design and construct a new master retreat. Even though the existing bathroom was large, it featured an oversized jetted tub and black marble that made the space feel dark and small.

The Marks-Woods design team created a spa-like retreat by incorporating various sizes and patterns of marble tiles.

 To provide additional height and storage as well as privacy and separation, the design team added a tower storage unit to the oversized white vanity. Getting the custom vanity by Braemar Cabinetry to the top floor was no small task: At over nine feet, the vanity had to be carried up in pieces to the top floor. The construction team then assembled and installed the vanity and tower storage on site. PHOTOS BY REGIS VOGT; DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION BY MARKS-WOODS CONSTRUCTION SERVICES

September / October 2020 •







Potomac Yard


The Arden


Oakville Triangle


South Alex


1200 N. Henry St.

15 Belle Haven Shopping Center


The Muse, Old Town N

16 North Hill


APTA Complex



The Venue

18 Victory Center


801 N. Fairfax St.

19 Greenhill South


The Alexan

20 Landmark Mall


Lineage Apartments



Top Golf

The Blake

10 Sunrise Senior Living

22 Upland Park


The Heritage

23 The Spire


Wegmans/Carlyle Crossing

24 The Waypoint at Fairlington





42 • September / October 2020








5 7


8 10




Building Blocks BY BETH LAWTON


There’s at least one thing that coronavirus did not slow down this year — development. 14


Across Alexandria and Southeast Fairfax County, construction companies are working to build new apartment and condo buildings, retail developments and more office space. Cranes are visible over the much-anticipated Wegmans-anchored development in Eisenhower East, hundreds of new homes are on the horizon in several neighborhoods and Virginia Tech is making moves to completely reimagine Potomac Yard. In addition, a handful of office buildings are turning residential, and an old hotel is undergoing a major transformation. Here are some of the biggest developments underway and upcoming in our region, and those that have drawn the most interest from our readers.


September / October 2020 •



Potomac Yard Virginia Tech Campus (1)


Learn more at and at

Oakville Triangle Inova Health System and Stonebridge Associates will be constructing a new Inova HealthPlex as part of the larger Oakville Triangle redevelopment. The neighborhood


may include a mixed-use development with retail and residences that include townhomes and apartment or condo buildings.

Potomac Yard, National Landing Virginia Tech is reimagining the current Potomac Yard shopping center as a walkable neighborhood with a unique focus on education and a $1 billion Innovation Campus at its core. The first part of the development, including an academic building and office, will break ground soon north of the now-closed Regal Potomac Yard movie theater. The first phase complex was designed by Virginia Tech and SmithGroup, in partnership with Virginia Tech Master Planner Sasaki. In addition to Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus, the development will include new retail buildings, residences, office space and below-ground parking. Construction on a new Metro station nearby is already underway.


Crowne Plaza Hotel site (6)

The Alexan (8)


Three buildings currently owned by the American Physical Therapy Association could be redeveloped from office to residential and arts. The sale of these buildings is not complete yet, so there is a possibility that this project won’t move forward. The project plan from developer Community Three includes affordable housing, arts activation, retail and improved park space. The three buildings are located at 1033, 1055 and 1111 N. Fairfax St. and back up to Tide Lock Park and the Potomac River.

Learn more at


1200 N. Henry St. A new daycare, retail and residential building will be going up on the north end of Old Town in the Braddock neighborhood. Plans are moving forward for a 7-story building at 1200 and 1230 N. Henry St. Currently, the property is primarily occupied by a single-story warehouse and automotive business building. NOVO Properties acquired the building and land in 2019.


The Muse The Carr Companies is building The Muse, luxury condo buildings at 1201 N. Royal Street. The two buildings will overlook the Potomac River and the new Arts Corridor, including an outdoor “Arts Walk” and park space, and a new home for The Art League. The architect is SK&I Architecture. For more information, visit • September / October 2020

APTA Complex


The Venue (Crowne Plaza Hotel) CIM Group and Carr Companies have started the redevelopment of the 12-story former Crowne Plaza Hotel at 901 N. Fairfax in the Old Town North neighborhood. The 13-story building will become 122-unit residential condominium tower dubbed Venue. In addition to the condos, the project will include 41 new townhomes adjacent to the tower and a 7,000-square foot performing arts theater, MetroStage, at the base of the tower. More information is available through project manager McWilliams|Ballard at and at


Lineage Apartments (9)



Learn more about the project at ramsey-homes or at

10 Sunrise Senior Living

Sunrise Senior Living broke ground on its new facility at the intersection of North Washington and Princess streets early this year. The McLeanbased company is building a 93-room assisted living community. The architect for the new complex is Rust | Orling Architecture.

The Alexan (‘Bus Barn’) More than 280 apartments are under construction on the site of the former Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) “bus barn” at 600 N. Royal St. The WMATA garage (called the “Bus Barn”) had been vacant for several years, and Trammel Crow Residential acquired the nearly 50,000-square foot garage for about $26 million in late 2019. New residents will move in sometime in 2022. More information is available at


about finished building the new public housing community at Ramsey Homes. Replacing outdated residences, the new four-story, 52unit mixed-income community will be welcoming its first residents in the coming months.

801 N. Fairfax St. A commercial-to-residential building transformation at the corner of North Fairfax and Montgomery streets could start to move forward this fall in the same building that exists on the site today. The building is currently empty and could have up to 55 residential units inside when the transformation is completed.

Lineage Apartments (formerly Ramsey Homes) Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) is just

Wegmans (12)


The Heritage Asland Capital Partners is making plans to replace the current garden-style apartments (The Heritage) near Wilkes Street Park with a much larger mixed-income community, including affordable housing. The new Heritage would boast more than 770 new residences. The project architect is Hord Coplan Macht. More information is available at

12 Wegmans/Carlyle Crossing

The most anticipated grocery store opening in years is coming to the Carlyle neighborhood. A Wegmans grocery store is under construction now as part of a larger, mixed-use project on a 5-acre site, according to developer StoneBridge Associates. The grocery store has signed a lease for the 84,000-square foot store at Carlyle Crossing, just north of the popular AMC movie theater. Expect several hundred residential units, a dog park and additional retail, too. Learn more at carlyle-crossing.

13 The Arden

The Arden will be a two-building multifamily development at the intersection of Huntington Avenue and Biscayne Drive. It will include studio, one, two and three-bedroom units with almost all of the homes serving households earning 60 percent or less of the Area Median Income. The project is a partnership between the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) with Wesley Housing, and Wesley Housing will move its main offices to this location. For more information, visit

September / October 2020 •



South Alex (14)

14 South Alex

Combined Properties was making significant progress on the new South Alex residential and retail development when a five-alarm fire last fall caused $48 million in damage and significantly pushed back the project timeline. Originally set for delivery in 2021, the developer described South Alex as “A vibrant mix of distinctive shops and residences in an art inspired setting of bright community spaces.” A new delivery date is to be determined. More information is available at combined. biz/properties/south-alex.

15 Belle Haven Shopping Center

The Belle Haven Shopping Center on Belle View Boulevard also suffered significant damage from a 2019 fire, and businesses there are still working toward reopening. However, a developer submitted preliminary plans through the South County Site-Specific Plan Amendment Process to redevelop the shopping center and add residences to the property. Any redevelopment would be years away. Through the same process, developers submitted ideas for the


Residences at North Hill (16)

nearby Beacon Hill Apartments and multiple other sites in Southeast Fairfax County. Learn more at south.

16 North Hill

A new residential development project, called North Hill, will include 216 affordable multifamily apartments, 63 units of affordable independent living for older adults, plus 175 market-rate townhomes and a 12-acre park. The development covers 33 acres in Southeast Fairfax County and is a partnership between Community Housing Partners and Philadelphia-based developer Pennrose. More information is available at community-development/north-hill.

17 Top Golf

America’s first Top Golf, in Kingstowne, has closed. Conceptual redevelopment plans call for a mix of residential and retail, but the property owner has not moved forward on bringing specific plans to Fairfax County officials. • September / October 2020

18 Victory Center

The property owner, multi-family investment company Stonebridge Associates, sold the east parking lot to Winchester Homes who plans to build 138 townhomes to the east of the Victory Center office building at 5001 Eisenhower Ave., which remains vacant at this time. A construction timeline is still to be determined. Stonebridge has also presented to city staff approximately 9,000 sf of retail storefronts to the site. 19 Greenhill South

Known to some as “Pickett Place,” developers have proposed reimagining the area just southeast of the intersection of South Van Dorn Street and Edsall Road, where there is now a large shopping center. The property area borders Backlick Run and ecological restoration of the land is part of the plan. There are few other details available at this time. Learn more at property-listings/alexandria-properties.


The Victory Center (18)

20 Landmark Mall

The last retail tenant of Landmark Mall — Sears — closed its doors this summer. The entire property is now vacant and awaiting a redevelopment that has been in the works in various forms since 2005. Current owner Howard Hughes Corp. had been fast-tracking the development in 2019, but a corporate shakeup there put brakes on the project. Howard Hughes Corp. representatives said they will update residents as soon as they have more information on when they’ll be moving forward with plans for the valuable 51-acre site in Alexandria’s West End.

21 The Blake

Monday Properties is developing a residential complex at 2000 N. Beauregard St. that will include 300 residential units. It replaces an office building. The company also owns buildings at 1500, 1600 and 1800 N. Beauregard St. that may be redeveloped at a later date. Architects: Davis Carter Scott. More information is available at

The Blake (21)

22 Upland Park

24 The Waypoint at Fairlington

Developer Hekemian is interested in developing a residential (and possibly retail) neighborhood on land occupied by a number of small single-family homes in Alexandria’s West End near the intersection of North Beauregard Street and Seminary Road. Initial plans called for more than 500 residential units, a hotel and more, but those plans may be changing. More information will be available in the coming months at

The City of Alexandria has requested federal funds to help build a new, 81-unit development in partnership with Fairlington Presbyterian Church and Wesley Housing. Designed by Heffner Architects PC, the affordable housing complex will have efficiency units and one, two and three-bedroom apartments to serve residents making up to 60 percent of the area’s median income. Delivery is expected in early 2022. Learn more at the-waypoint-at-fairlington.

23 The Spire

AHC Inc. has partnered with the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection to redevelop the church’s property on North Beauregard Street near Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria’s West End. The project will include 113 new affordable apartments and a new worship center for the church. The apartments will be a mix of efficiencies and one, two and three-bedroom units. Learn more at

STAY UP-TO-DATE Keep up with the progress of these developments plus other local construction projects, restaurant openings, business news and more at

September / October 2020 •


Back to

Nature by Kalista Diamantopoulos

48 • September / October 2020

Alexandria and the entire DC region are known for revealing beautiful foliage every autumn. (While fall officially arrives Sept. 22, colors are best in late October.)

Take advantage of the season and check out these hikes, all easily accessible from Alexandria. Get out there and listen for birds, keep an eye out for deer and enjoy the wonders of nature as you reflect on this crazy year!

September / October 2020 •







5 4

2 1



6 3 7



Washington, D.C.


5 miles, 15 minutes

Located in the Potomac River near Washington D.C. is Theodore Roosevelt Island and National Memorial. The 88.5 acre island was given to the federal government by the Theodore Roosevelt Association in memory of 26th president. While the island may seem like it flourished naturally over time, it was actually a designed landscape — cleared and replanted to look authentic. There are three different trails available for hiking at Roosevelt Island, each named after the


respective habitats they pass through. The Swamp Trail is a 1.5-mile loop that runs through a cattail marsh and a swampy forest. The Woods Trail is roughly .3 miles and takes hikers right through the center of the island. Along the way, hikers can stop and view the statue and fountains at the memorial plaza. The final trail is the Upland Trail, a .75-mile trail that passes through a forest and circles around the former location of the Mason Mansion. There is a parking lot past Memorial Bridge for visitors with cars but the park can be easily accessed by metro, bike or on foot as well. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT NPS.GOV/THIS/INDEX.HTM. • September / October 2020



McLean, Virginia


15 miles; 25 minutes

Just off the George Washington Memorial Parkway is Turkey Run and the Potomac Heritage Trail. The Potomac Heritage Trail is a designated National Scenic Trail that connects various trails in Virginia, Maryland, D.C. and Pennsylvania. A section of the trail can be hiked beginning at the trailhead found at Turkey Run Park. Hikers can park at the Turkey Run Park parking lot and then embark on a 4.6-mile that will take them from Turkey Run Park to




McLean, Virginia


18 miles; 30 minutes

The Occoquan Regional Park rests along the Occoquan river and offers 400 acres of recreational space, a 2.7mile paved loop for walking and biking and access to the Fairfax County CrossCounty Trail. The full Cross-County trail is 37.1 miles and of moderate difficulty. By following the trail, visitors can hike all the way to Great Falls. Occoquan Regional Park offers multiple parking areas that are open from dawn to dusk.

Tucked away in the suburbs of McLean is Scott’s Run Nature Preserve, a Fairfax County park. Scott’s Run offers hikers 336 acres of untouched wilderness and multiple trails to enjoy, abutting the Beltway. The preserve features a river and waterfall hike as well as the ruins of a historic home, Burling House, named for Washington attorney Edward Burling who had used the property as a weekend retreat. The 2.2mile loop offers several trails with difficulty ranging from easy to challenging, with easier trails being appropriate and safe for families with small children. Hikers can park in one of two parking areas, both of which are accessible from Georgetown Pike. Visitors may have difficulty parking on weekends and holidays when the preserve is busier. The preserve is open a halfhour before sunrise until a half-hour after sunset.




Scott’s Run Nature Preserve while offering a scenic riverside view. The trail is considered a moderately difficult trail with certain parts being more challenging than others. Alternatively, hikers may also deviate from the Potomac Heritage trail and hike the connecting Turkey Run Loop Trail. This loop trail is moderately rated and about 7.3 miles. It takes hikers along a portion of the Potomac Heritage Trail and cuts through Langley Oaks Park. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT NPS.GOV/GWMP/ PLANYOURVISIT/TURKEYRUN.HTM.



Lorton, Virginia


19 miles; 25 minutes

Occoquan Regional Park


September / October 2020 •





Great Falls, Virginia


22 miles; 35 minutes

Sitting along the banks of the Potomac River in Fairfax County is Great Falls National Park. The 800-acre park offers nine different trails adding up to a total of 15 miles. Visitors can enjoy trails ranging from easy to hard as well as a breathtaking view of the Great Falls cascades which span a distance of 76 feet. The cascades can be viewed from several viewing platforms or from one of the park’s riverside trails. The park offers ample parking space but it is known to fill up quickly on nice weekends, especially when the leaves start to turn. When hiking the Patowmack Canal trail, be sure to look out for the Matildaville ruins, historical remnants of a small Virginia town. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT NPS.GOV/GRFA.







Clifton, Virginia



Lorton, Virginia


25 miles; 40 minutes

20 miles, 45 minutes

For those looking for a longer hike, Bull Run Occoquan Trail spans 19.7 miles, running parallel to Bull Run tributary. Hikers can begin either at the Bull Run Regional Park trailhead in Centreville or the Fountainhead Regional Park trail-head in Fairfax Station. The trail can also be accessed at Route 28 near Centreville as well as Bull Run Marina and Hemlock Regional Park in Clifton. The trail takes hikers through beautiful scenic woodlands, streams and ravines throughout the year but during the middle of April, a 1.5 mile stretch of the trail is in full bloom with bluebells and 25 other types of wildflowers. The trail is open from dawn to dusk.

Mason Neck State Park in Lorton sits on a peninsula surrounded by Pohick Bay, Belmont Bay and the Potomac River. The Park offers nine different hiking trails, none of which exceed 3 miles. Mason Neck features a variety of landscapes such as wetlands, forests, open water, ponds and open fields all rich with wildlife. Seven of the trails are easy and two are rated at moderate difficulty. Hikers can park their vehicles at parking areas near Marsh View Trail, Dogue Trail, Bayview Trail, Kane’s Creek Trail and Marsh View Trail.






Urbana, Maryland


50 miles; 1 hour, 5 minutes



Gaithersburg, Maryland


32 miles; 45 minutes

Seneca Creek State Park is a recreational area roughly 30 miles from the D.C. area. It extends along 14 miles of Seneca Creek and encircles the scenic Clopper Lake. The park is 6,300 acres and offers 50 miles of trails ranging from easy to moderate. Each individual trail ranges from about 1 to 16 miles long. There are 17 parking lots scattered across the park area. The trails run through a picturesque forest of mature pine trees and seas of ferns that cover the forest floor. Fun fact: Seneca Creek State Park was a location for the 1999 cult hit film The Blair Witch Project. FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT DNR.MARYLAND.GOV/PUBLICLANDS/PAGES/ CENTRAL/SENECA.ASPX.

Just 10 miles from Frederick, Maryland is Sugarloaf Mountain. The mountain, reaching only about 800 feet, is named Sugarloaf because of its rounded form, resembling a ”loaf“ of sugar (which is how sugar used to be packaged). Sugarloaf offers hikers four different trails: Blue, Purple, White and Yellow. The 5-mile Blue trail, also called the Northern Peaks trail, begins at the West View parking lot. The Purple trail provides hikers with an alternate route to White Rocks. On its own, the Purple trail is about 1.5 miles but as an alternative to the Blue trail, adds about half a mile to the hike. The White trail or Mountain Loop Trail takes hikers on a 2.5 mile hike around the summit. When added to the Northern Peaks trail, the hike increases to 7 miles. The Yellow trail is a 7 mile loop around the base of the mountain. This trail is open to horses and hikers all year-round but open to bikers only from Labor Day to Memorial Day. Roadside parking is prohibited at Sugarloaf Mountain. Instead, visitors should park their vehicles in designated areas.

Bears, Oh My! There’s a chance you may encounter a black bear in the woods on one of your hikes. They’re mostly shy and would rather not spend much time with you. Often, when they hear people or cars coming, they climb into a nearby tree. For safety, be sure to keep about 150 feet (at least four bus lengths) between you and your new friend. Do not run away — that can trigger a chase.



September / October 2020 •



Rolling Meadows Trail, Sky Meadows State Park | PHOTO BY JESSICA BOWSER







Delaplane, Virginia


65 miles; 1 hour, 10 minutes

This 1,860-acre Virginia state park near Delaplane offers scenic views, wooded trails and a historic farm. The peaceful spot to the east of the Blue Ridge Mountains has 10.5 miles of bridle trails, 22 miles of hiking trails, plus bike trails and access to the Appalachian Trail. The Sky Meadows Loop Trail (6.2 miles) will take you past beautiful wildflowers and some wooded areas. Your best chance to see wildlife is on the out-and-back Ambassador Whitehouse Trail. The park also includes a children’s discovery area and a sensory trail. Admission is $7 to $10 per passenger vehicle, and there is plenty of parking available.



Bluemont, Virginia


65 miles; 1 hour, 15 minutes

69 miles; 1 hour, 15 minutes

In search of a breathtaking view? Just off Route 7, Bear’s Den Overlook in Bluemont offers a beautiful vista of the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. Hikers can reach the overlook via the Bear’s Den Overlook trail, a short 1.8 mile hike up the Appalachian Mountains (a moderate 280 feet of elevation). From the Snickers Gap trail, hikers can follow a connector trail to the Appalachian Trail which features steep hills. For hikers looking for a challenge, the Raven Rocks trail has three steep ascents and descents.

The 860-foot Mt. Weather provides hikers with a relatively short and easy hike. Hollow Brook Trail is 3.8 miles long and features a stream, a pleasant walk to the summit of Buzzard Hill, as well as a scenic waterfall at the top of Hollow Brook. The trailhead is located on Morgan Mill Road. Be aware that parking is limited and keep an eye out for red ”no parking“ signs along the way. This hike is rated easy in terms of difficulty and is perfect for all skill levels.





Bluemont, Virginia • September / October 2020


Shenandoah River at sunset taken from Culler’s Overlook at Shenandoah River State Park | PHOTO BY JESSICA BOWSER



Bentonville, Virginia


80 miles; 1 hour, 30 minutes

Located along the south fork of the Shenandoah River, this 1,600-acre park features more than 5 miles of shoreline in addition to scenic views of Massanutten Mountain and Shenandoah National Park. There are more than 24 miles of trails that range in difficulty from easy to moderate. About 14 miles of the trails are multi-use and can be used for biking and horseback riding, too. For some of the best views overlooking the river, consider taking the Everett Cullers Overlook Trail or the Wildcat Ridge Loops. There are opportunities for wade fishing (license required), plus camping.

Lace Up! When you’re walking in the woods, flip flops are not your friend. For these hikes, you can wear sneakers but proper hiking shoes are probably your best choice. For a good fit, be sure to buy them at the end of the day when your foot is a little bit swollen, and be sure to break them in a bit before your first long hike. Wear synthetic socks — they’ll dry faster if your feet get wet and you’re less likely to get blisters.


September / October 2020 •


A First-Timer’s Guide to

Hitting the Open Road in an RV BY MARY ANN BARTON


56 • September / October 2020


With the pandemic keeping many Alexandria travelers homebound these days, people are getting creative about getting out of town and seeing some new surroundings. Even if you don’t have your own rig, you can get behind the wheel of a Recreational Vehicle (RV) by renting one in Northern Virginia and striking out for the hinterlands. Not unexpectedly, rentals of RVs are up this year, according to the Reston-based RV Industry Association, with many travelers looking for a vacation option that allows them to control their environment, maintain social distancing, get outdoors and have a little fun. There are several RV rental companies in the area including Ace RV Sales and Rentals in Herndon and Beckley’s RV Rentals in Frederick, Maryland. You can also rent an RV from an Airbnb-like company called National RV rental companies are also good options, including El Monte RV and Cruise America. In addition, you can check out the website and click the tab “Where to Find,” then click on “Rentals.” You’ll pay an average of about $225 per night for an RV — rates start at about $100 and can go up to $350, depending on the time of year you rent, the size of the RV, the location and demand. Gas for motorhomes is not included, so be sure to budget for that based on the vehicle’s gas mileage and the distance you’re traveling.

September / October 2020 •



Check out the RV life on YouTube, where lots of families on the move post videos of their road trip adventures. One of the best is "Keep Your Daydream," where Marc and Tricia post weekly videos for their 200,000 subscribers.


TYPES OF RVS Travel trailers. Over 88 percent of the RVs sold in 2019 were travel trailers. Smaller models can be towed by mid-size vehicles, including the family car, minivan, SUV or pickup truck equipped with a hitch. Larger travel trailers, like fifthwheels may require a heavy-duty pickup outfitted with a special hitch located in the bed of the truck.

Motorhomes. These make up the next largest category with 11 percent sold in 2019. This group includes the smallest mini-motorhomes (Type C), to Type B camper vans all the way up to the mack daddy Type A motorhomes with many sizes in between. The layouts and amenities can seem as varied as homes.

WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN RENTING AN RV First things first: Decide whether you want to drive a motorhome or tow a travel trailer. If you don’t have any experience towing, a motorhome may be preferable. If you decide to tow, it’s important to match the loaded weight of the RV to the towing capacity of the tow vehicle. Always check your vehicle owner’s manual for towing weight restrictions and have your tow package professionally installed. Once you’ve decided between tow or drive, you’ll want to choose an RV that has enough room for everyone. Everyone should be seated using a seatbelt when the RV is moving. Some offer “over cab” beds, others have bunk beds, and most offer a pull-out couch that turns into a bed.

CAMPGROUND CHOICES You won’t want to hit the road until you nail down reservations at a campsite. Campgrounds, much like RVs, have different prices for site rentals depending on the season, location and amenities. They range from rustic to fully equipped. Campgrounds with few amenities but often-great scenery might cost between Cape May KOA campground | PHOTO BY CLAUDIA KRUSCH

58 • September / October 2020

$35 to $60 per night. Other campsites might include pools, miniature golf, activities and hook-ups for water, electric, cable and sewer. Those can range from $70 to $150 per night. Luxury campsite options might include wine tastings, spa treatments, golf courses and concierge-like amenities. That will cost $100 to $250 per night. Campgrounds in the region include: • Cape May KOA in Cape May, New Jersey • Jellystone Park in Quarryville, Pennsylvania • Endless Caverns RV Resort in New Market, Virginia • Cherry Hill Park in College Park, Maryland • BayShore Campground in Rock Hall, Maryland You can also stay at nearby vineyards, breweries or farms by joining member-based Harvest Hosts ( If you’re thinking about joining, you can look at a map to see generally where some of their hosts are located. There are several options in Virginia, but you won’t get

Words from the Wise We decided to ask an expert on having fun: John Busby, director of hospitality at Rodney Strong Vineyards in Healdsburg, Calif., (who also just happens to be my little brother). An occasional RVer with his wife Debbie and daughter Kendall or his UT Longhorn buddies, he offered a few tips for first-timers: • Reserve your camping spot in advance if possible.

• Know the exact height of your vehicle for clearance purposes. • Pack smart and be sure all your items are stowed properly, as things have a tendency to bounce around when you’re on the open road. • Know how to operate gray and black water tanks (and know what those are). • Read your user guide/operating manual thoroughly prior to departure. • If you’re renting, the dealer should provide you with a service phone number. Keep it in a safe place. • Bring a small portable grill and a short length of garden hose.

Under Canvas Great Smoky Mountains camp. | PHOTO BY PAUL JOYNER

specifics until you pay the annual $79 membership fee. If you plan to make a reservation at one of the Harvest Host spots, you must have a self-contained RV with a toilet, water tank and inside cooking facilities. No tents are allowed. Overnight stays are limited to one night. (We must admit, vineyard-hopping sounds fun!)

LUXURY CAMPING OR ‘GLAMPING,’ ANYONE? If the idea of roughing it just doesn’t sound like a vacation to you, you might want to try luxury camping or ”glamping.“ You can try it out in the Great Smoky Mountains, about a seven-hour drive from Alexandria, where luxury camping company, Under Canvas, features nine safari-style tent options on its 182-acre property. Tents come with beds, bathrooms, showers, wood stoves and decks.

• Have a plan for shade if your rig doesn’t come with an awning.

The camp is located about 10 miles from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, just minutes from the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Luxury camp amenities include: Daily housekeeping, USB battery packs, picnic areas and grills, fire pit and s’mores, West Elm furnishings, organic bath products, on-site dining, a guest experience coordinator and complimentary camp activities. In addition to guided hiking tours, other activities campers can take part in include whitewater rafting, zip-lining, ATV rides, fly fishing, helicopter tours and horseback riding. The camp is open through Nov. 30. Under Canvas has other locations as well, including at Yellowstone, Moab, Zion, Mount Rushmore and Glacier National Parks. A variety of vacation packages are available. Check out the options at their website,

"Finally...and this is important...spring for the highest quality steaks and finest wine your budget allows — trust me," he said.

A Few Additional Tips Make sure you read the contract and the fine print. Some rentals charge extra if you go over a certain number of miles, use the generator more than the specified time or have fees if you don’t empty the RV tanks or return it without cleaning it. Make time for the tutorial on how to drive the RV and use the operating systems. It normally takes between 30-60 minutes. Tip: Use your phone to take short videos during the tutorial, they’ll come in handy when you’re unsure how to work something. Insurance is needed. You can purchase it from the rental agency or check with your own insurance agent for a quote.

September / October 2020 •




Famed Alexandria tavern-keeper John Gadsby, the mysterious “Female Stranger” who died at Gadsby’s Tavern in 1816 and my Italian great-grandmother who sailed to America in 1895 (losing her infant son during the voyage).

Gretchen Bulova


A Room With A View FAV O R I T E M E A L :

My mom’s cheese manicotti. Yummmmm.

Director, Office of Historic Alexandria

The director of the Office of Historic Alexandria, Gretchen Bulova, is a selfdescribed “history nerd” …. “and proud of it!” The Fairfax resident still lives in the same neighborhood she grew up in. “My neighbors consider me their “go-to” source for things to do in Alexandria.” What do you enjoy most about your job? I love working in Alexandria. I love the vibe, the commitment to history and my fellow dedicated co-workers. I love this job because almost all of American history is represented in our City and I have the opportunity not only to help interpret that history, but to explain why it is relevant to our community and nation today. I also love the variety — no two days are ever the same.

If friends or relatives are visiting Alexandria, where would you take them? My first stop would be a visit to the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum. It is like stepping back in time! Not only is it an example of a family-run business that operated between 1792 and 1933, but it is has artifacts that everyone can relate to — older visitors will recognize products used by their parents/



grandparents and younger visitors will enjoy finding Dragon’s Blood, Unicorn Root and other Harry Potter herbs.

How is your office chronicling the pandemic?

The Office of Historic Alexandria is actively collecting examples of how Alexandrians are responding to and experiencing two significant historical events — the COVID-19 pandemic and the legacy of George Floyd. We are inviting residents to contribute to these national stories at our local level by sharing photographs, journals, personal stories, home-made items and other artifacts that capture this unprecedented moment in our history. We have received some thoughtful submissions so far and appreciate this opportunity to spread the word about these important collecting initiatives. If Alexandria Living Magazine readers would like to learn more, I encourage them to visit Historic for more information and the submission links.

If you had a larger budget, what would be on your “wish list?” First on my list would be to create a Waterfront History Museum to interpret Alexandria’s seaport history and showcase our four recently excavated 18th/19th-century ships and related artifacts. The City’s history is tied to our relationship with the river and this potential site would help explore these important untold stories. • September / October 2020

That people think John Smith was married to Pocahontas. It was John Rolfe. I highly encourage everyone to visit Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement to get the real scoop. I’M MOST PROUD OF:

Helping to facilitate the City’s recent purchase of Freedom House. The preservation and interpretation of this site — the former Alexandria Slave Pen — is more important than ever. Our vision is to create a space that more expansively interprets Alexandria’s difficult history in connection with the domestic slave trade and its legacies so that it can serve as a catalyst for change by fostering dialogue and reconciliation. YOU’D BE SURPRISED TO L E A R N T H AT I :

Am an avid scuba diver and enjoy underwater explorations with my kids. We really love shipwrecks! M Y FAV O R I T E U. S . P R E S I D E N T I S :

George Washington. He was not perfect, but his impact on the creation of our nation is important to consider and evaluate as we head toward America’s 250th birthday in 2026. M Y FAV O R I T E WAY T O R E L A X I S :

My family would tell you that I am not very good at relaxing in the traditional sense, which is probably true. But what helps me rejuvenate is taking excursions with my family out into Virginia, exploring museums, visiting historic sites, enjoying the beautiful landscapes and stopping by the occasional winery.

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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-June 30, 2020. Sales data is deemed to be accurate but not guaranteed.

601 & 607 Oronoco Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 Exclusive Buyer Representation by Lauren Bishop

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

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