Alexandria Living Magazine - July/August 2019

Page 1





Dream ‘Staycations’ in Alexandria



Peace and Wildflowers

Bloom in Franconia

Sixth-generation Alexandrian If you don’t find Betty Mallon in her garden or spending time with her family and friends, you’ll find her helping clients buy or sell their special place in Alexandria. As a sixth-generation Alexandrian, Betty knows the nuances of every street, from one city end to the other. For more than 35 years she has specialized in residential real estate with a very personal, hands-on approach and acute attention to every detail. Betty is more than just an agent— she has deep roots and connections throughout Alexandria and beyond. Betty Mallon featured outside her home in Alexandria.

Betty Mallon, McEnearney Associates I tel. 703.989.8548 I I Alexandria I Arlington I Kensington I Leesburg I McLean I Middleburg I Spring Valley I Vienna I 14th Street 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 I tel. 703.549.9292 |

B • July / August 2019

Enjoy a Patriotic Summer at Mount Vernon Join us this summer to celebrate America’s birthday with the man who did more than any other individual to secure our freedom and establish our Republic. Free general admission for Members! LOVE Installation at the Distillery & Gristmill, July 3-10 The Virginia is for Lovers brand celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Join the celebration

Lobby, where visitors can enjoy wine and soft drinks, mingle with the artist, and view the paintings he created.

letters at the Distillery & Gristmill site, located

Purple Heart Commemoration, August 10

three miles from the estate’s main entrance.

Pay tribute to the oldest military decoration

by snapping a photo in front of the iconic LOVE

in the U.S. at the home of its founder, George

An American Celebration, July 4 Salute the first commander in chief during Mount Vernon’s annual Independence Day event! Witness a citizenship ceremony for 100 new Americans, enjoy dazzling made-for-daytime fireworks over the Potomac River, view special military re-enactments, and a watch a wreath-

Washington. In 1782, George Washington created the military badge that would later be known as the Purple Heart to honor the service of ordinary, common soldiers. The ceremony at Mount Vernon will include the presentation of the colors and a

General and Mrs. Washington.

Plein Air at Mount Vernon, July 12-14

support Mount Vernon by becoming a member of this most American cause. In addition to free general admission, members receive exclusive access to pre-sale ticketing for our evening events, as well as discounts at the Mount Vernon Inn and Shops. Learn more and sign up for membership at

musical performance by the Old Guard Fife and

or present this ad at the ticket counter

Drum Corps.

to claim your $20 new member discount. For questions, email Kara

laying ceremony at George Washington’s tomb. You also can enjoy free birthday cake and visit with

Show your patriotism this summer and

George Washington Patriot Run, September 8

Hershorin, membership manager, at

Take part in one of the area’s most unique USATFcertified 10K and 5K courses. The race takes

During this first-ever event, watch artist Simon

participants up and down the beautiful George

Bull at work painting flowers, trees, and scenes

Washington Memorial Parkway. Runners will

from the gardens on a mural-sized canvas. This

trace George Washington’s footsteps through the

residency concludes with a ticketed evening

historic area at Mount Vernon and cross the finish

reception on June 14 in the Education Center

line in front of the Mansion!

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

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9 16

Calendar of Events See events and activities that are coming to Alexandria.

Around Town Tall ship Providence, a 110-foot replica of the Continental Navy’s first war ship, sails into Alexandria; find out about a New York artist chosen to bring new public art to the waterfront in the fall.






Food & Dining


Wine Review








Home & Garden


The Last Word






Splish, splash! With summer temperatures on the rise, find out where to cool off at these outdoor pools in the area.

A popular Front Royal music festival has its roots in a band that started in the basement of a house off of Russell Road in Alexandria.

Volunteer at a winery? Sign us up! Here’s how you can get closer to the fruit of the vine.

Alexandrian Scott Hendley, managing editor of National Wine Review, looks at the wines from a Shenandoah Valley winery.

Del Ray couple Chris and Anne Gabriel started a natural and organic pet food store. Chris discusses how it all got started and more.

Find out how to get your voice heard on Capitol Hill, with Alexandriabased Lobbyists 4 Good.

Find out how and why the Bright family started a wild plant nursery in Franconia.

Want your party table to be Instagramworthy? A new Alexandria company makes it simple. Plus, tips on how to throw a summer soiree.

It’s the stuff of ... operas? In 2016, opera singer Krista McClellan Clouse made headlines after her arrest for violating a noise ordinance. Now, she and the City are singing the same tune.

July / August 2019 •



36 Summer ‘Staycations’ Dreaming of getting away from it all this summer? We’ve got five dream itineraries ... and the best part is, you don’t even have to leave town.


52 Travel A dad takes his college-bound daughter on a spring road trip neither will forget.


Courtney Fratzke and Eddie Kaye paddle at Dyke Marsh in kayaks from the Belle Haven Marina.



4 • July / August 2019





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A Letter from

Our Founders


Beth Lawton EDITOR

Mary Ann Barton MARKETING

Heidi Fielding Lora Jerakis Marguerite Leopold

Allen Anderson Meredith Bonitt Annalisa Dow DESIGN

Jessie Leiber PHOTO EDITOR

Chris Militzer INTERNS

Kalista Diamantopoulos Mae Hunt Alexandria Living Magazine is published six times per year by Alexandria Living, LLC © 2019. 106 N. Lee St., Second Floor, Alexandria, VA 22314. For newsstand or distribution locations or to subscribe for home delivery, go to CONTACT US or call (571) 232-1310.


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

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


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Subscribing to Alexandria Living Magazine is easy! You can go to to pay securely online by credit card, or mail a check with the subscription mailing address to Alexandria Living Magazine, 106 N. Lee St., Second Floor, Alexandria, VA 22314. Subscriptions are $14.95 for one year or $24.95 for two years.


Welcome to the July/August issue of Alexandria Living Magazine! We hope you have your favorite cool beverage handy as you peruse our latest issue. Summertime is all about slowing down, relaxing and maybe trying new things. That might involve travel and these days, it can sometimes be a hassle getting in and out of airports or sitting in traffic. In this issue, we’re all about exploring our own home town, offering you five “staycation” itineraries, starting on Page 36, with a mix of activities you can explore with friends and family. There’s no shortage of happenings during the summer in Alexandria. Our events calendar, starting on Page 9, is packed with fun activities whether you plan to check out some new restaurants during Alexandria Restaurant Week, see the Bacon Brothers during their stint at The Birchmere or enjoy an evening movie in the great outdoors. Alexandria is home to so much talent, sometimes we don’t know where to begin when it comes to writing about the people who live here. On Page 20, writer Susannah Herrada explores the band Scythian, which got its start performing their Celtic music on the steps of the Torpedo Factory and started their own music festival now in its fifth year in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Herrada also looked into a volunteer gig that wine lovers may want to sign up for — picking grapes and bottling wine at a Virginia winery. In addition to fresh air and sunshine and a possible vineyard-hosted meal or two, volunteers go home with a new appreciation for the wine-making process. Read all about it on Page 23. We also welcome wine columnist Scott Hendley, an Alexandrian who founded and contributes to the National Wine Review. In this issue, he looks at wines from Muse Vineyards, within driving distance of Alexandria, on Page 25. If you’re a summer gardener or just hoping for a green thumb some day, you’ll want to read writer Isabelle Baldwin’s story about a community garden. Started more than 20 years ago and still going strong, the Bright • July / August 2019

Beth Lawton, publisher, and Mary Ann Barton, editor. Photo by Matt Mendelsohn, taken at Virtue Feed & Grain.

family’s endeavor in Franconia specializes in growing native wild plants, with 290 species in production. You won’t want to miss Photo Editor Chris Militzer’s sentimental road trip with his college-bound daughter through the Midwest, starting on Page 52. The two explored great food, bowling, breweries and more. In The Last Word, we hear from Alexandria opera singer Krista McClellan Clouse, who made international headlines after her arrest in 2016 for violating the City noise ordinance while singing on the street. Earlier this year, the City issued an apology. Now the two are singing from the same song sheet and promoting the importance of the arts in Alexandria. Last but not least, be sure to enter our staycation sweepstakes! The winner will enjoy a two-night stay at Hotel Indigo, two free rentals from Pedego electric bikes, passes to Mount Vernon, kayak or sailboat rental from Belle Haven Marina, passes to the Tall Ship Providence and more! Details on entering on Page 13. The deadline to enter is July 15. See you in September!

Mary Ann Barton and Beth Lawton Founders


Our Team




Susannah is a freelance writer living in Arlington. Her relatable, transparent style can find glamour in precast concrete or make finance feel accessible. When she’s not putting a scintillating spin on IT or DIY, Susannah hits the road. She logs the adventures and misadventures of family trips, along with collecting the stories of less heard voices from around the globe. Some of her bylines include Washingtonian Magazine, AAA Traveler Worldwide and Home & Design Magazine.

Angela is a freelance reporter based in San Francisco. She previously covered education at the San Mateo Daily Journal and technology at the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Her Daily Journal work garnered awards from The California Teachers Association and Peninsula Press Club. She interned at The Washington Post, The Investigative Reporting Workshop, All Things Digital (now Recode), and The Palo Alto Daily Post. Her work also appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle and Palo Alto Weekly.

Isabelle is an artist and writer from western North Carolina, currently living in Washington, D.C. She received her BFA in Photography with a minor in Sustainability from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. She specializes in writing about visual arts as well as environmental and women’s issues. Her work has been published in the Catholic News Service, Aint-Bad Magazine and Oxford American. When she isn’t working, she enjoys drinking iced chai lattes, returning to the mountains, and cuddling with her dog, Luna.




Chris is a Virginia photographer whose work has been featured by USA Today, the United States Department of the Interior, Visit Virginia and Visit Alexandria. As a travel photographer, Militzer has shot album covers in New York and performances in Paris. As a consultant and photographer, he has aided brands in their social media outreach. Militzer has lived in Alexandria, Virginia for 20 years where he resides with his wife and two daughters.

Kalista is a T.C. Williams High School senior who has joined Alexandria Living Magazine for her school’s “Senior Experience,” a three-week internship opportunity. Kalista is the 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 will join the University of Virginia Class of 2023. Kalista plans on studying Marketing and Advertising at the McIntire School of Commerce.

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

July / August 2019 •


Your home. Our Mission. A lifetime of community insight, an obsession with customer service and over 27 years of real estate expertise; that’s the advantage of working with The Goodhart Group. To us, real estate is more than just a house. It’s about truly loving where you live. Whether you’re downsizing, moving up or buying for the very first time, we’re there to guide you every step of your way home. Sue and Allison Goodhart 703.362.3221 real estate brokerage that abides by laws. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is not guaranteed. All measurements and square footages are approximate.This is not • Equal July /Housing AugustOpportunity 2019 8Compass is a licensed intended to solicit property already listed. Compass is licensed as Compass Real Estate in DC and as Compass in Virginia and Maryland. 106 N. Lee Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 | 703.277.2152

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






Arts Film Food & Dining Family-Friendly Historic/Educational

Universoul Circus Through July 28 | various times Showcasing performers from at least two dozen countries around the world, the Universoul Circus lands at National Harbor for a multi-week summer run. National Harbor,

Live Music Nightlife

An American Celebration at Mount Vernon


July 4 | 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Recreation & Outdoor Shopping Theater

Salute the first commander in chief during this annual Independence Day event! Watch dazzling made-for-daytime fireworks shoot off over the Potomac River and listen to the roar of cannon fire during special military re-enactments. George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Hwy.,

Waterfront Beer Garden by Port City Brewing Company July 5-7 | various times Toast to summer at the Waterfront Beer Garden by Port City Brewing Company, part of Portside in Old Town programming at the new Waterfront Park at the foot of King Street. Enjoy awardwinning craft beer, entertainment including live music and DJs, plus bites from local restaurants. Friday, July 5 from 5 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, July 6 from noon to 8 p.m.; Sunday, July 7 from noon to 4 p.m. Waterfront Park, 1 King St.,

July / August 2019 •



Colbie Caillat Featuring Gone West July 7 | 7:30 p.m.

live music and themed activities for the whole family. The festival takes place along Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray. Del Ray,

Caillat has formed a new band with Justin Kawika Young and husband-wife duo Nelly Joy and Jason Reeves. The new band is called Gone West, and they bring new music to The Birchmere July 7. Tickets are on sale now. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

First Thursday July 11 | 6 p.m.

July 12 | 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. In recognition of the 80th anniversary of the Alexandria Library Sit-In, the first known sitin of the Civil Rights Era, the Ellen Coolidge Burke Branch Library will screen films that celebrate Black History and Civil Rights. The Kate Waller Barrett Branch Library will also show a film on Monday, Aug. 19 at 6:30 p.m. For more info on all 80th Anniversary Film Festival events, visit the Alexandria Library’s website. Burke Branch Library, 4701 Seminary Road,

Del Ray’s monthly street festival, with the theme “Red, White & Blue” in July, includes

Mississippi Burning: 80th Anniversary Film Festival


Plein Air at Mount Vernon July 12-14 | noon – 4 p.m.





Join George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate for three days of Washington-inspired painting in the upper and lower gardens with renowned artist Simon Bull. During this first-ever event, watch visiting artist Bull at work painting flowers, trees and scenes from the gardens on a mural-sized canvas. As you watch Bull use a brush and pour paint on the canvas, he will share his process and painting techniques and answer questions. George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Hwy.,


The Real World Science Behind Harry Potter July 28 and Aug. 3 | various times In honor of Harry Potter’s birthday, the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum is offering family-friendly tours that explore the Muggle science and medicine behind J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series. Event partner Hooray for Books! will be selling wizarding merchandise on site, and Dolci Gelati will have Butterbeer gelato available in their shop. Activities include potion-making and a photo booth — don’t forget your camera. Tickets are available starting July 1, and advance purchase is recommended, as this event sells out. Children must be accompanied by a ticketed adult.

Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, 105-107 S. Fairfax St.,

10 • July / August 2019

6th Annual Port City Old Town Pub Crawl July 13 | 1:30 – 6 p.m. The annual Port City Old Town Pub Crawl returns for the sixth time on the streets of Old Town! On Saturday July 13, Port City Brewing Co. team members will be at local restaurants stamping pub crawl passes and handing out swag. Complete your Pub Crawl Pass and get a limited-edition pint glass! More information is available on the brewery’s website. Old Town Alexandria,


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Alexandria Restaurant Week



For 10 days and two weekends, Alexandria Summer Restaurant Week features a $35 threecourse dinner for one or a $35 dinner for two at more than 50 restaurants. Dozens of restaurants will also offer lunch and brunch menus in addition to dinner specials. Alexandria Summer Restaurant Week showcases the inventiveness of local chefs in neighborhoods throughout the city, including Old Town, Del Ray, Carlyle and Eisenhower, and the West End. At a range of locales, from neighborhood favorites to restaurants specializing in international cuisine, guests will savor the flavors of Alexandria’s distinctive collection of eateries. PHOTO BY K. SUMMERER FOR VISIT ALEXANDRIA



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Alexandria’s Birthday Celebration July 13 | 7 – 10 p.m. Come out and celebrate the 243rd birthday of the United States and the 270th birthday of the City of Alexandria. This event includes entertainment, a cannon salute during the 1812 Overture, food and beverages for sale and grand finale fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Come celebrate at the biggest party in the City! Oronoco Bay Park, 100 Madison St. PHOTO BY CHRIS MILITZER

Aimee Mann with Jonathan Coulton July 18 | 7:30 p.m. Artist Aimee Mann, nominated for several awards since her solo debut in the 1990s, brings new music and old favorites to The Birchmere with special guest Jonathan Coulton (you may recognize him from NPR’s Ask Me Another).

The Bacon Brothers: Shaky Ground

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July 19, 20 and 21 | 7:30 p.m.

Experience Frank Lloyd Wright’s PopeLeighey House by twilight in this unique annual tour series. This open-house style tour offers plenty of time to take photos against a stunning night sky. Future dates are Sept. 10, Sept. 24 and Oct. 22.

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August First Thursday Aug. 1 | 6 p.m. Del Ray’s monthly, kid-friendly street festival in August has a Hawaiian theme — Aloha! Enjoy live music, activities and shopping along Mount Vernon Avenue. Del Ray,

Friendship Firehouse Festival Aug. 3 | 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association’s popular family event features antique fire apparatus, craft booths, displays by Alexandria merchants and live music. Food and beverages are available. Children

will receive free fire helmets and will be treated to a supervised visit inside the City of Alexandria’s fire trucks.

place on objects, and how the care of these objects impacts the story told will be explained.

Friendship Firehouse Museum, 107 S. Alfred St.,

Carlyle House, 121 N. Fairfax St., parks/carlyle-house-historic-park

Dive Into Archaeology

First Day of School

Aug. 10 | 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Aug. 26 (Fairfax), Sept. 3 (Alexandria City)

Kids ages 8 to 14 can spend the morning going behind-the-scenes with Alexandria’s 18th-Century ships. Ages 14+ can do the same in the afternoon. Both events include learning about how Alexandria grew as a port city in the 18th Century and related activities. The workshop will be held at 116 S. Quaker Lane (Old DASH Bus Barn). Children and teens should be accompanied by a participating adult. Space is limited. Tickets are available at

All good things must come to an end, including summer vacation. Fairfax County Public Schools students return to the classroom Aug. 26. Alexandria City Public Schools students return Sept. 3 (the day after Labor Day).

116 S. Quaker Lane, Alexandria,

Taste of Carlyle

September Sept. 2

Beyond Paper and Stone Aug. 18 | 10 a.m. – noon Various objects will be pulled from the Carlyle House collections to be displayed and discussed. Collections care and maintenance, preservation that has taken

Enjoy bites and drinks from some of the region’s best restaurants. Details and tickets will be available on the Carlyle Council’s website. Carlyle neighborhood, events

Summer Outdoor Movies It’s outdoor movie season in Alexandria! Grab a blanket, a picnic and your family and friends for these outdoor movies throughout the summer. In the peak of the season, you can see up to three outdoor movies per week. Here’s where to go: Cinema Del Ray is a free movie event on the field of the Mount Vernon Recreation Center at the intersection of Mount Vernon and Commonwealth Avenues in Del Ray. Movies start at dusk. Pets are not allowed. See the schedule and more information at

Movies on the Potomac at National Harbor are Sunday evenings. National Harbor recommends that you pack lawn chairs and order take-out from one of the neighborhood’s restaurants. Learn more at

Four Mile Summer Movies Series at Four Mile Run Park (near the intersection of South Glebe Road and Mount Vernon Avenue) starts at dusk on various dates throughout the summer. More information is available at

14 • July / August 2019


Rosemont Reel is located in Beach Park behind Maury Elementary School. Fun starts at 7:30 p.m., and movies start at dusk. No pets allowed. Learn more at

Saturday Cinema Series, hosted by the Carlyle Council, presents films outdoors in the Carlyle neighborhood on select Saturdays during the summer. Go to for a schedule and details. Be sure to check the websites for movie selections and more information. Dates are subject to change due to inclement weather and other factors.


5 Team Members for a Senior Move

George Washington Patriot Run Sept. 8 | 8 a.m. Race through history during the area’s most unique 10K/5K races. This USATF-certified course takes runners up and down the scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway and traces Washington’s footsteps through the historic grounds at Mount Vernon. Registration is open now. Children can join the fun during the free Kids Fun Run (registration required). George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Hwy.,

King Street Art Festival Sept. 21 – 22 One of the region’s largest art festivals takes over King Street in Old Town Alexandria for two days. See pieces from emerging as well as world-renowned artists. Paintings, lifesize sculptures, jewelry, photography, ceramics and much more – with $15 million in art on display and the opportunity to meet the people behind the art.


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The Team approach to a 50+Better/Senior move is the best way to pull together all the appropriate tasks with minimal stress. Coordinating with an SRES is a must: I have all the vendor recommendations you may need. Contact me today for more sources that can help.

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The run meets and starts at the Port City Brewing tasting room before heading out for a 1, 3 or 5-mile run through a park and paved path along Holmes Run. Port City Brewing Co., 3950 Wheeler Ave.,

Yoga on the Magnolia Terrace Every Tuesday | 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Every Saturday | 10 – 11 a.m. through October Join a yoga instructor for an hour-long Vinyasa Flow Yoga on Carlyle House’s Magnolia Terrace. Build heat with sun salutations, then progress to balance, deep stretching and relaxing meditation. Please bring water, a towel and a yoga mat. Wear comfortable yoga wear. Class may be cancelled due to extreme weather, please call the site to check class status. $5 per class or $20 for five classes. Carlyle House, 121 N. Fairfax St.,

Trivia Nights at Historic Sites Every other Friday | 7 p.m. in July and Aug. Staff at Carlyle House Historic Park and Lee-Fendall House Museum have combined their random nerd knowledge to create bi-weekly trivia nights in the beautiful gardens at Lee-Fendall House. Test your knowledge on all things from pop culture to history. Trivia nights are $7 per person which includes 1 drink ticket. Additional drinks can be bought at the cash bar. Ages 21 and over only. For more information call 703-548-1789 or visit Dates may be subject to change due to inclement weather, but projected dates are July 12 and 26, and Aug. 9 and 23. Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden, 614 Oronoco St., July / August 2019 •



Tall Ship Providence Arrives in Alexandria BY BETH LAWTON

The tall ship Providence will dock in Old Town Alexandria in July with a slate of programming and events planned for its first year in its new home. The Providence is a 12-gun, 110-foot “Sloop of War” — a full-scale, 1976 replica of the Continental Navy’s first warship built in the 1700s. It was one of the first commands of Capt. John Paul Jones, who is considered the father of the U.S. Navy, and took more than 40 prizes during the American Revolutionary War.



No. of Guns:



1976 (replica)

Claims to Fame:

The original Providence took more than 40 British ships during the Revolutionary War. She is also the first American ship to fire on a British warship during that war.

Providence was acquired by the Tall Ship Providence Foundation in September 2017, and the tall ship spent more than a year undergoing an intense, $800,000 restoration in New England. In that time, the Tall Ship Providence Foundation team has established partnerships with restaurants, schools and local businesses. Providence represents a significant part of American history, and provides a missing link for Alexandria’s waterfront development, said Scott Shaw, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Tall Ship Providence Foundation.









Total Length:

Visitors will be able to tour the ship with character interpreters, including Capt. Jones and his lieutenant, John Rathbun. Other events will include Friday night craft beer cruises in partnership with Port City Brewing, family pirate cruises and various private events. The Tall Ship Providence Foundation is also working with the Alexandria Seaport Foundation to offer training and crew opportunities to ASF apprentices. Visitors will enjoy a multi-part, immersive experience. The Tall Ship Providence Foundation plans a number of events this summer along the East Coast as the tall ship makes her way home from Maine. For details on these events, ship tours, ticket information and more, go to • July / August 2019


Waterfront Park and the current interactive installation / PHOTO BY KALISTA DIAMANTOPOULOS

Art on the Water Olalekan Jeyifous Chosen for Public Art Installation at Waterfront Park The City of Alexandria’s Office of the Arts has named Olalekan Jeyifous as the next artist to create a public art installation at Waterfront Park. Waterfront Park has become a key location for public art in Alexandria with the current interactive installation Mirror Mirror, created by SOFTlab and artist Michael Szivos. Jeyifous will create the second work for the park as part of Site See: New Views in Old Town. Selected by a task force and approved by the Alexandria Commission for the Arts, he’s been commissioned to create a new and original site-specific work inspired by Alexandria. “Through the Site See series, we’re bringing engaging contemporary art to Alexandria’s burgeoning waterfront,” said Diane Ruggiero, director of the Alexandria Office of the Arts and deputy director for the Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities. “The public reception to Mirror Mirror has been so positive and we’re thankful to Michael and SOFTlab for helping build

Artist Olalekan Jeyifous / PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST

a strong foundation. We can’t wait to bring Olalekan to Alexandria for this next chapter.” Szivos directed the installation of Mirror Mirror, an interactive art creation that responds to sound, at Waterfront Park this spring. It will remain there through early 2020 and then be taken down to make room for the new creation by Jeyifous. Based in Brooklyn, Jeyifous has spent more than a decade creating large-scale artwork for public spaces. He was recently commissioned, along with Amanda Williams, to create the forthcoming monument for Shirley Chisholm in Brooklyn. He previously created public art at the 2017 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California, Cleveland’s Public Square, and Starbucks’ flagship store in Chicago. As the first part of the process, Jeyifous will visit Alexandria and meet residents, gathering inspiration for a design to come in Fall 2019.

You can see some of the art created by Jeyifous on his website at July / August 2019 •



Where to go swimming outside in the Alexandria area.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Pool

This pool in the Gum Springs neighborhood is operated by the Fairfax County Park Authority and includes two slides and a wading pool for children. Admission is free. 8115 Fordson Road, Alexandria,

The Alexandria area’s public outdoor pools are open, including those near Del Ray, Old Town, Gum Springs and beyond. In addition to the private pool clubs like Dowden Terrace and Little Hunting Park, several public pools opened Memorial Day weekend and will be open through at least Labor Day. Fees vary at different public pools and are subject to change. For


This Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority waterpark at Cameron Run includes several slides, a wave pool and other recreation opportunities (mini golf, batting cages, etc.). 4001 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria, 703-960-0767, great-waves-waterpark

more information about special events, hours, prices, season

Our Special Harbor Spray Park

passes, private events and more, visit


The Lee District Rec Center features a fully accessible Chesapeake Bay-themed splash pad for children (and their parents). Aquatic shoes or sandals with a back strap (no flip flops!) are required and can be purchased on site.

Warwick Pool

6601 Telegraph Road, Alexandria, 703-922-9841, recenter/lee-district/family-recreation-area


After a long, extensive renovation, Warwick Pool reopened last year. The pool complex at 3301 Landover St. includes a six-lane, 25-yard lap pool with an accessible ramp entry. Water depths now range from zero to five feet. There is also a bathhouse, lockers and other amenities. 3301 Landover St., Alexandria, 703-746-5414,

Memorial Pool at Charles Houston Rec Center

The Memorial Pool at Charles Houston Recreation Center has a beach-style entry and spray features great for young children and adults who wish to get therapeutic benefits. 901 Wythe St., Alexandria, 703-746-5414,

Old Town Pool

The eight-lane, 25-yard lap pool and diving well and accessible training pool (up to 3 feet) is at 1609 Cameron St. The site also includes a picnic area and tot playground. 1609 Cameron St., Alexandria, 703-746-5414,

18 • July / August 2019


It’s a good idea to give the ones you’re considering a try before signing up for a membership. Visit each club’s website for more information on features, membership costs and more. 22306

Hollin Meadows Swim & Tennis Club, 2500 Woodlawn Trail,


Belle Haven Country Club, 6023 Fort Hunt Road, Hollin Hills Pool, 1602 Paul Spring Road, Little Hunting Park, 7000 Canterbury Lane, 22308

Mount Vernon Park, 8042 Fairfax Road, Riverside Gardens Swim & Tennis Club, 8633 Buckboard Drive, Montgomery Park (Potomac Yard Park) Sprayground

Stratford Recreation Association, 2300 Brinitzer Way,

The interactive water fountain, located between the two playgrounds, features 36 water jets.

Waynewood Recreation Association, 1027 Dalebrook

2501 Potomac Ave., Alexandria, aspx?id=12290#Potomac_Yard

Pirate’s Cove



Mansion House Swim, Tennis & Dive, 9321 Old Mount Vernon Road,

Down in the Mason Neck area, be sure to check out Pirate’s Cove, operated by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. The large pool and water park has interactive features, slides and more.

Mount Vernon Country Club, 5111 Old Mill Road,

6501 Pohick Bay Drive, Lorton, 703-339-6102,

Ocean Dunes

In Arlington, the beach-themed Ocean Dunes water park in Upton Hill Regional Park features slides, a dumping bucket and a large pool. 6060 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, 703-534-3437, ocean-dunes-waterpark


The Alexandria area boasts a lot of pool clubs that residents can join for the summer. While most have a waiting list from months to years long, in most cases you can visit as the guest of a member. Many of the clubs also have tennis, golf, playgrounds, event spaces and much more.


Highland Park Swim & Tennis Club, 6400 Highland Drive, Virginia Hills Swim Club, 6500 Virginia Hills Pool Drive, 22311

Dowden Terrace Recreation Center, 6300 Holmes Run Pkwy.,


Parklawn Pool, 6011 Crater Pl., In addition, there are two pools in Kingstowne for residents (operated by the Kingstowne Residential Owners Corp.) and a pool for residents of the Lansdowne neighborhood. Both allow guests. Many apartment complexes and condo buildings in Alexandria also have pools.

July / August 2019 •



Alexandria’s Own Backyard Band Scythian marks its fifth year hosting Appaloosa Music Festival BY SUSANNAH HERRADA

Longtime enthusiasts of the band Scythian may recall when they were an unnamed trio of street musicians busking on the steps of the Torpedo Factory. Even as street performers in 2002, they had a loyal Alexandria fan base. Though Scythian has since made a name for themselves in the music world with their technically brilliant high-energy Celtic roots music, they still feel a close connection to Alexandria and the fans who followed them around the region — including a five-year stint on Thursday nights at Fado Irish Pub in Chinatown. It’s these supporters who inspired the band to launch their own music festival. Now in its fifth year, Appaloosa Roots Music Festival (Aug. 30-Sept. 1 in Front Royal) is three full days of music on five stages with more than 25 acts covering Americana, bluegrass, Celtic and Indie folk, along with a little Saturday night funk and soul.

20 • July / August 2019

FROM BUSKING TO PARTY BAND Before Scythian became a festival host and a big name on the tour circuit, they were jelling as a band in the basement of a house off Russell Road. Danylo (Dan) Fedoryka said that back in 2004, he and his brother Alexander (Alex) and their roommate Josef (Joey) Crosby just played wherever and whenever they could. With the addition of the Fedoryka boys’ sister Larissa, the quartet began defining their Celtic-American sound and charismatic stage presence, which would electrify audiences with their signature crowd-stomping energy. “Their musicality was just amazing,” remembered Kenyon Larsen. As one of the band’s first paid gigs, Kenyon and his wife Cynthia hired the band to play at a party for her dad, a Vietnam War Veteran in town for Rolling Thunder. Scythian kept the mixed crowd in the Larsen’s West Howell Avenue backyard dancing for hours — vets in their seventies, neighbors, friends, family and kids.


FESTIVAL DETAILS Everyone’s invited to the party. Come for the day or make it a long weekend. Bring the kids — or not. Either way, Front Royal is an easy day trip for Alexandria fans, yet still far enough to feel away from it all. One-day passes purchased after July 1 start at $55. Kids under 12 are free. Check ticket and accommodation options in advance by clicking on the dropdown “tickets” menu at Guests wishing to explore the region are just a few miles from the entrance to Skyline Drive, the George Washington National Forest and canoeing trips on the Shenandoah River.


A (REALLY BIG) BACKYARD PARTY Fans talk about other nights, too. There were band-hosted house parties on South Royal Street, mostly off-season get-togethers when they weren’t playing the summer festival route. Lasting for more than a decade, Dan remembered, “It was a sort of hotspot in Alexandria. If there was a snowstorm, all of a sudden we’d hear a knock. They would keep coming for hours. The house would fill up with people looking for great music.” Andrea Scott, who moved to Old Town North six years ago, described these epic invite-the-neighbors jam sessions as the kind of party where everyone felt like they were with the band. She said the party often spilled outside, gathering around a fire pit on cold winter nights. Today, Scythian is a foursome with Ethan Dean and Fritz McGirr joining Alex and Dan. Fedoryka sister Larissa announced this past February that she would be leaving after playing cello/bass for more than a decade with Scythian. Nowadays, Alex’s wife Catie Parker Fedoryka is known to jump up on stage now and then. Cofounder Joey is no longer with the band.

Scythian’s still got the juice and draws big crowds. Of course, to host a party these days, the band needs a much bigger backyard. Dan and Alex found that big backyard, producing a music festival nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, an easy 90-minute drive from Alexandria. For Dan, the Appaloosa festival isn’t that different from the house parties on South Royal Street. “We’re still just a bunch of friends trying to put on a great party,” he said. To create Scythian’s I’m-with-the-band vibe at a three-day festival, Dan and Alex line up top-notch musicians with a knack for cultivating intimacy with the audience. Acts range from Grammy Award winners to up-and-coming musicians. Headliners for 2019’s festival are Scythian, of course, along with Dustbowl Revival and Grammy Award winner Steep Canyon Rangers. Over 20 other musical acts will perform including the United States Army Field Band Six-String Soldiers, DC’s funk and soul band Aztec Sun, Humming House, YARN and the award-winning all-sister Celtic band from Donegal, Ireland, Screaming Orphans. July / August 2019 •



TOUR WITH SCYTHIAN If those South Royal Street house parties sound like your thing, why not go on the road with the band— to Ireland of course! Experience Scythian’s Celtic tunes in the Old Country as a band groupie. Rumor has it this eight-night itinerary includes a few concerts, including a private Scythian concert during a two-night stay at the five-star 16th-century Dromoland Castle. A Castle Tours itinerary leaves Nov. 2. For more information or to watch for other opportunities to travel with Scythian, check book-trip.


Local food, crafts vendors and a beer and wine garden stretch between Appaloosa’s five stages. In addition to the Mainstage and Salon Stage events, a new fan favorite is the Welcome Stage, showcasing up-and-coming musical talent, many of whom are youth musicians or aspiring performers. Predictably, sticky cotton candy-handed guests tend to gather at the Kids Zone for the face-painting, bounce house, and a dedicated music stage showcasing live music from the likes of Scythian’s Cake for Dinner album and others. Guests of all ages get up-close-and-personal with performers at the free workshops, made possible by the Appaloosa Blue Ridge Arts Foundation. VIP ticket holders can access the over-21 lounge. Longtime Scythian fan Andrea says the Appaloosa festival delivers. “You feel really special — like you’re a part of something. There’s this excitement to dance.” She plans to return to Appaloosa for her fourth year, looking forward to that feeling of being totally present, dancing under the stars in the middle of the fields in the mountains of Virginia.

MUSICAL LEGACY Appaloosa is a family affair with many of the eight other Fedoryka siblings and their spouses contributing to the effort — along with the next generation of 30 or more cousins, at least those who are big enough to fit Festival Volunteer tees. Sadly, one family member has never attended the festival. “Appaloosa is basically a tribute to my mother,” explained Dan. Irene Fedoryka passed away in 2010. She earned a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from the Julliard School of music in New York and homeschooled all 10 children, training them in classical music. Thinking of her, Dan said, “We want her spirit to be manifest in the hospitality, in the family-friendliness, and in the musical excellence.” Dan is thankful for his mother’s strong influence which taught the family to see music as God’s • July / August 2019

gift to the world. “Music can reach people at their deepest level,” Dan remembers his mother telling him. “It’s a gift meant to be passed on. It’s beauty that can touch you and heal you.” The band’s name Scythian reflects this legacy. Dan and Alex relate how their then 92-year-old grandmother told stories of Scythians — nomadic people of Ukraine’s Black Sea region. She says her small village anticipated the arrival of a traveling minstrel every six months or so, caseless fiddle strapped to his back. For those magical hours while the fiddler played, the village’s worries vanished. This tale gave Dan and Alex not only a name for their band but the rationale for pursuing folk music, one which embraces their mother’s conviction that music is an act of service. The band stays true to these folk roots, applying their classical training and impeccable musicality to seamlessly weave together influences of Celtic, bluegrass, Americana and world music. The result, Dan hopes, gives the audience an escape from life’s burdens. “If you come to Appaloosa, we want you to walk away feeling lighter and happier.”

BEYOND OLD TOWN Success has not caused the band to forget Alexandria. “We can truly say that our band’s heart lies there. There isn’t a time that I go back to Old Town where I don’t think back with fondness on those early days,” Dan said. “In Alexandria, we encountered people who were interested in live music and in ethnic music,” he continued.“ They encouraged us to keep moving forward. This grassroots support taught us that it is our audience, not record labels or radio stations, that should inform our sound — and so the audience has become a cornerstone of every show.”


Will Work for Wine Connecting with the region’s vineyards BY SUSANNAH HERRADA

Ready to notch up your wine experience? Whether you’re an oenophile or just a casual imbiber, volunteering at a winery can inspire a new appreciation for the art of winemaking. Called les vendanges in French, the wine harvest season calls for an intense time of concentrated manual labor. Once the winemaker determines grapes are nearing their peak, harvesters must pick those grapes in a matter of days. To accomplish this massive task in such a brief period, vineyards have long depended on seasonal volunteers as part of the business model, often in exchange for food and, in the case of traditional European harvests, lodging. Some vineyards within driving distance of Alexandria continue this tradition of temporary volunteer labor during harvest and bottling. Though volunteering at a winery may not come off as altruistic as tutoring kids or clearing rubbish from waterways, it can be a great way to meet others, connect with nature, and gain a closer perspective on one of the region’s more specialized agrarian industries. The experience (literally) walks through much of the winemaking process. “There’s a romance to it all — from vine to bottle,” said Chelsea Sparaco of Grayhaven Winery, a vineyard in Stafford County that invites volunteers to participate in caring for vines, harvesting grapes, and bottling wine. Of course, she said that volunteers also gain an appreciation for how much work goes into each bottle. After the work, wine tends to flow. Vineyards have different ways of thanking volunteers, including tastings, full bottles and credits/ discounts on wine. Many wineries feed volunteers breakfast and/ or lunch in the vineyard or surrounding gardens — which is just as idyllic as it sounds. And as a side perk, you may discover your new favorite wine.


ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES Here’s what you need to know to become a vino-teer. Perhaps it’s never been said that wine tastes better with a little mud on your boots, but there is decidedly something about watching the sunrise over a vineyard — with dry feet. It’s best to consider boots or waterproof shoes. Since fall mornings can be chilly, layers will keep you comfortable as the sun warms the air. Many vineyards provide gloves, but it can’t hurt to bring along your own. A sun hat is always a good idea, too. Keep in mind that perfumes and scented hair products may attract insects. Though volunteers don’t need to have muscles to haul bins overflowing with grapes, you will need to manipulate a small pair of sharp clippers. You’ll also need to be agile enough to lean down into vines and reach grapes, placing them gingerly in a bin at ground level. Many grape trellises are arranged on hills so volunteers should be ready to maneuver on uneven, slanted ground surfaces. You won’t need to know a Merlot grape from a Reisling, but most wineries do want adult (21+) volunteers who can be available with just a week or so of notice — and are able to arrive at the vineyard at the crack of dawn. While traffic isn’t usually a concern that early, some extend the experience into a mini get-away, opting to reserve a B&B or hotel a few minutes from the winery for the night before. As a general rule, even otherwise dog-friendly vineyards tend to prefer you keep pets home on harvest days. As with all details, it’s better to call directly and ask. July / August 2019 •



WORK YOUR WINE CONNECTIONS Many wineries tap volunteers for fall festivals and offer pay-to-play experiences such as grape stomping à la “I Love Lucy.” Therefore, it might take a little research and flexibility to find a more authentic winemaking encounter. For starters, weather dictates when grapes peak. The harvest can’t always wait until the weekend — if you have a little mid-week spontaneity, you may have more luck. With more than 230 Virginia wineries at last count, consider asking your favorite winery if they have any hands-on volunteer jobs, especially if you are already a wine club member or have another connection with them. Some smaller operations tend to keep it in the family without officially advertising a volunteer harvest or bottling program. These vineyards may be more than happy to bring enthusiastic fans into the fold. To get you started, we’ve included a few Virginia wineries below.

 Gadino Cellars (Washington) roots itself in the tradition of creating wine for a small market place through sustainable farming and minimal processing. Even if you’re not a friend or relative when you arrive on harvest morning, Gadino Cellar’s big Italian family will likely adopt you by mid-day. Harvest days at Gadino are intimate. A smaller group of regulars means lots of camaraderie amongst harvesters. The reward for hard work is a hearty Italian meal under a shade tent in the vineyard — often accompanied with cheese, olives, crusty bread and wine pairings. Of course, after such a morning, it only seems fitting to pass the afternoon relaxing on the tasting room deck or playing a few matches of bocce. Find out more at

 Gray Ghost Vineyards (Amissville) organizes possibly the longest-running volunteer winery experience in Virginia, marking their 23rd season this fall. Amy Payette of Gray Ghost Vineyards says volunteers come back year after year. A few have even been with them for 20 years. To become part of this tradition, volunteers must arrive 30-minutes before the sun comes up (travel time from Alexandria is a little over 1 hour). The do’s and don’ts of grape harvesting are cheerfully presented over a continental breakfast. Vineyard work ends comfortably by 10 or 11, with a cookout in the garden for lunch. Annually, Gray Ghost organizes four to five volunteer harvest days, each bringing a fun, diverse group of 40-80 volunteers ranging in ages and stages — both couples, singles, friends, and families with adult kids. Volunteers go home with a t-shirt and taste lots of wine. Do keep in mind: pre-registration must be in-person at the winery.

 Grayhaven Winery (Gum Spring) says winery volunteers are Virginia wine’s best ambassadors. They use both regular and occasional volunteers to prune, tie up, and help with the harvest. They also use volunteers to help bottle. Bottling is a decidedly fun time but, similar to harvesting, it can also be a last-minute affair. Tasks may include labeling, lending a hand on the corker, or keeping tabs on the Magic Cow — a winemaker’s secret to successful bottling. To add your name on the harvest volunteer list or get on the go-to Bottling Crew, email or call (804) 556-3917. At around two hours from northern Virginia, participation might be best for those up for an overnight or with flexible schedules.

24 • July / August 2019


 Potomac Point Winery (Stafford) is a short drive from Alexandria — less than an hour away. They use volunteers for tucking vines, harvesting grapes and bottling (throughout the year). The winery says that volunteering gives a sneak peek into a winery’s most active time of year and is great for anyone who has ever wondered what it’s like to be a winemaker. Potomac Point enlists volunteers up to ten times annually, with about 10-20 volunteers on harvest days and half that on bottling days. Vineyard volunteers receive a $10 wine credit per hour of work and bottlers go home with a bottle from the vintage they prepped. Like most wineries, they keep in touch with volunteers by email. For more information or to get your name on the volunteer database, email

 Wenger Grape Farms (Waynesboro) offers a family-friendly fall vineyard outing in the Shenandoah Valley. Though it’s not a winery and there’s no heady reward for a job well done, the whole family can go home with a full basket of pick-your-own table grapes. This 80-year old farm grows Concords and Niagaras with harvests generally starting around Labor Day.

Enjoy Shenandoah Valley Wine Country at Muse Vineyards BY SCOTT HENDLEY

With upwards of 300 wineries and over 3,500 acres of planted wine grape varieties, Virginia is a significant and internationally-recognized winemaking region. Thomas Jefferson’s dream of making fine wine in Virginia, a personal failure for him, has in large part been fulfilled. We in Northern Virginia now have an abundance of wineries and “wine trails” at our fingertips for weekend wine getaways, many within an easy drive from the Beltway. For something a little less familiar, venture west — just beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains — to the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia’s great emerging wine country. The Valley is rich in history, lush with mountain scenery, dotted with quaint old towns and home to two dozen wineries. Soils are decomposed mountainside, rocky and fertile; and the growing season is dryer than other Virginia winegrowing areas (a good thing for viticulture). Muse Vineyards is a flagship winery in the Shenandoah Valley and a best bet for discovering Shenandoah Valley wine. Muse is tucked behind the town of Woodstock, just off I-81, about 90 minutes off the Beltway. The property is stunning; visitors drive along a gravel road at the edge of a steep rise overlooking a bend in the serpentine Shenandoah River; descend the grade and cross a single-lane bridge perched just above the water; then drive through vineyards to the Tasting Room. Proprietors Robert Muse and Sally Cowal established Muse Vineyards in 2006, inspired by the traditional Domaine wineries of France and Italy. Today Muse comprises

Muse Vineyards’ tasting bar / PHOTO BY NATHANIEL HENDLEY

32 acres planted with more than 20 wine grape varieties and Tim Rausse at the helm of winemaking. Muse was quick to be recognized for the quality of their wines; the 2009 “Clio” Bordeaux blend — the winery’s first vintage release — was awarded the Virginia Governor’s Cup in 2015 and Muse wines have received national awards and high ratings from wine critics — including the National Wine Review.

two years sur lie. Muse Vineyards’ first sparkling wine. 12% ABV | $32

We offer our tasting notes, below, on several current Muse Vineyards releases. These and all Muse wines are grown, produced, and bottled on the estate.

2015 Cabernet Sauvignon | 91 Points


2015 Clio | 93 Points – Outstanding Traditional Bordeaux blend of 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc, 30% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot and 5% Malbec. Aromas and flavors suggest berry tart, cedar and violet, with notions of roasted red pepper and dried thyme over a tangy finish. Elegant and balanced on the palate, with a decidedly Right Bank disposition. Aged three years in 30% new, 50% one-vintage used and 20% neutral French oak barrels. 13.5% ABV | $35. MUSE VINEYARDS

2015 Petit Verdot | 93 Points – Outstanding Robust and savory, with suggestions of black-and-blueberry preserve, toasted walnut and violet. Finishes long and layered over notions of black tea leaf and clove. Aged two years in 25% new, 25% once-filled and 50% neutral French oak barrels. Among the finest Petit Verdot wines produced in Virginia. 13.7% ABV | $32 MUSE VINEYARDS


2017 Thalia | 92 Points – Outstanding

Saturated golden color with impressions of peach tart, hazelnut and crème brûlée, finishing with florals and citrus zest over a crisp finish. Blend of 68% Roussanne, 28% Marsanne and 4% Viognier aged 12 months in 10% new and 90% one year-old French oak barrels. 13.9% ABV | $24 MUSE VINEYARDS

– Outstanding

Chock-full of macerated black currant, roasted pepper and cured tobacco notes with chewy tannins and terrific purity. Blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Petit Verdot aged three years in 25% new, 50% once-filled and 25% neutral French oak barrels. Exhibits all the classic hallmarks of Cabernet Sauvignon. 13.5% ABV | $34 MUSE VINEYARDS

2015 Cabernet Franc | 90 Points – Outstanding

Savory, with notions of mulled black cherry, grilled poblano pepper, mission fig and bay leaf over a spicy finish. Has notable concentration and complexity for this variety in Virginia. Blend of 75% Cabernet Franc and 25% Petit Verdot aged 40 months in used French oak barrels. 14.1% ABV | $32

AVAILABILITY: Muse Vineyards wines are available at the Tasting Room, located at 16 Serendipity Lane, Woodstock, VA 22664. Muse also ships to 33 states and the District of Columbia. For hours and other details, visit them virtually at

2015 Blanc de Blanc | 92 Points – Outstanding

Expresses aromas and flavors of fresh-picked apple and pear, kumquat, lime peel and toasted biscuit over a creamy palate and zesty finish. 100% Chardonnay crafted by the traditional method — Méthode Champenoise — and aged (NWR) is an online wine publication based in Alexandria. It is dedicated to exploring, evaluating, and reviewing unique wines from around the world. Hendley founded NWR in 2012 with fellow Alexandrian Richard Stone. July / August 2019 •



What’s in Your Pet’s Food? BY MARY ANN BARTON

Nature’s Nibbles in Del Ray / PHOTO BY CHRIS MILITZER

Alexandria residents love their pets and one way they show it is how they care for them. One of the many businesses in town that cater to Alexandria pets is Nature’s Nibbles, at 2601 Mt. Vernon Ave., in the Del Ray neighborhood. The pet food store, owned by Chris and Anne Gabriel, specializes in organic and natural pet foods. Alexandria Living Magazine talked to Chris Gabriel about why he started his business and more.

Tell us how you got the idea to start your business. What was the inspiration? A: My Shepherd/Lab mix, Gypsy, was suffering from horrible itching and licked her paws incessantly. Vet after vet suggested I change her diet to a brand “prescription” food. Her condition didn’t change — in fact, it got worse. I decided to start researching pet food and the more I researched, the more disgusted I became with the ingredients that are allowed in our pets’ food.

How has your business changed since you first opened? A: We first started with dry and canned meals. After a year or two we started selling the raw frozen and freeze-dried meals. Also, some of the all-natural pet food companies were sold to the bigger pet food companies. We assumed the quality would change as a result of the buy-outs, so we refused to sell those products and, as expected, each product that was sold to the bigger companies experienced recall after recall. I still keep track of the companies we sell to make sure that they aren’t sold, where they source their materials, that if there is a recall, what the reason(s) is/are, etc.

What has been the most challenging aspect about starting your business? A: Humans are habitual creatures and like to stick with things they are comfortable with. Convincing a pet owner that commercial

I switched her to an “all natural” dry food containing no by-products, wheat, soy, corn or gluten. Her itching subsided and she didn’t lick her paws anymore. The fresher the food I fed her — canned or even better-quality raw meals — the better her health became. I was sold on all natural food!

brand foods that they are feeding their pets are not quality foods

The store I was purchasing the food from was closing, so in September of 2005, my wife, Anne, and I decided to start our own store. We started as an online delivery business, at first, then, in 2007 we opened our brick and mortar store in Del Ray… and we still deliver!

What did you do before getting into this business?

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was a task! Once they saw improvements in the overall health of their pet, they not only came back, but told their family, friends and neighbors. Word of mouth is gold!

A: I had various jobs in the hospitality business, restaurants and hotels. My last job, before opening full time, was at PBS in the archives department.

What do you feed your own pets and why? A: I currently feed my dog, Sadie, the Primal Raw frozen meals. I also switch formulas within the Primal company and occasionally mix in canned for variety. I often switch the raw to other company’s food. Switching, not only formulas, but companies, helps keep things from building up in the system and causing problems, such as allergies. A well-balanced diet is important!

What are most pet owners doing wrong when it comes to feeding their pets? A: Too many pet owners rely on just feeding dry food. Even all natural dry food, with the whole, all natural, human grade ingredients, is still THE most processed of all the choices available. Dry food is the furthest from the source materials that it contains. Canned foods are fresher, cleaner foods and better quality than dry. The raw frozen or freeze-dried foods are even fresher, cleaner and better quality than canned and definitely better quality than dry. Making the food yourself (it’s actually easier than you think) is the freshest and best quality money can buy. Nature’s Nibbles can help with some of the materials needed to make your own pet food, i.e. raw meat, bones and organs and supplements. Hundreds of great recipes can be found online!


Begin with


Independent School in Alexandria Preschool - Grade 5 | Foundational Learning

Grace Episcopal School 703-549-5067 3601 Russell Road, Alexandria, VA 22305

What’s the most common reason that pet owners come in looking for natural and organic pet foods? A: Most customers typically just want a better-quality diet for their pets, but I do get many customers looking for an alternate answer to their pet’s health issues. Many times, Nature’s Nibbles is a pet owner’s last resort to help resolve certain maladies.

Are most of your customers from Alexandria? A: Yes, most of our customers are from all over the Alexandria area, including Fairfax County, Falls Church, Springfield and Mount Vernon. We also have many customers from Arlington, and Washington DC! We deliver up to 15 miles from the store.


How do you engage with the pet community? A: Nature’s Nibbles donates to rescue groups and hosts many adoption days throughout the year. We also have a do-it-yourself dog wash in our side yard! It’s a great way to engage with neighbors and other pet owners in the neighborhood.

What are your future goals for the business? A: We are constantly looking for new companies and products, especially foods locally sourced and from sustainable farms. Anne and I are also looking to open a second store not only selling all natural pet products, but all natural products for humans, as well.

YMCA ALEXANDRIA 703.838.8085 register today for

THE BEST SUMMER EVER July / August 2019 •



Lobbyists 4 Good Aims to Give Everyday Citizens a Voice in Washington BY ANGELA SWARTZ

The thousands of dollars it costs to hire a lobbyist in the D.C. area often puts the idea out of reach for everyone but corporations, large associations and wealthy political donors. Lobbyists 4 Good is working to change that. The crowdfunding platform, started by Alexandria resident Billy DeLancey and his wife, Callie, lets anyone organize a campaign to raise money to hire a lobbyist. Established in September 2016, the organization has lobbied Congress twice on behalf of everyday citizens. Their first lobbying campaign resulted in a budget increase of $2.5 million for the United States Institute of Peace. The group is currently lobbying Congress on behalf of a vegan and climate change activist. “So many people look at what’s going on in government and get upset about whatever is happening and they immediately take to the streets or post angry messages on Twitter,” said Billy DeLancey, 35, CEO of Lobbyists 4 Good. “We want to provide a more effective way to get their voices heard.” Lobbying is ingrained in politics and is an effective way to advocate for a particular cause, said DeLancey. For every dollar nonprofits and public interest groups spend on lobbying, businesses and their associations spend $34, according to Lee Drutman, author of the book “The Business of America is Lobbying,” DeLancey wants everyone to have access to lobbying. Lobbyists 4 Good started as a side project for DeLancey, born out of concern that people’s voices aren’t being heard in-between elections. He turned it into a full-time job in 2018. A board of seven people oversees the organization. DeLancey has big goals for the nonprofit. Eventually, he’d like Lobbyists 4 Good to be one of the top spenders in lobbying. “I want to be able to match corporate interests by having lobbyists on the Hill every day working for the people,” he said. After citizens raise enough funds, DeLancey’s group is tasked with hiring lobbyists for the job.

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DeLancey believes there are misconceptions about lobbyists. Some people think they pay for politicians for votes, he said. “In reality, lobbyists spend most of their time building relationships,” he said. “It’s those relationships that are currency in Washington, D.C. Money helps to build those relationships, but lobbyists still have to have a good argument,” he said. DeLancey runs Lobbyists 4 Good out of ALX Community, a coworking space in Old Town Alexandria. DeLancey has more than 12 years of experience in government and advocacy. His wife, Callie, still serves as director of partnerships for Lobbyists 4 Good. He served as communications manager for WASH Advocates, as a policy analyst at USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service and was a Peace Corps volunteer. He learned about lobbying when he worked alongside a lobbying firm while advocating for safe drinking water projects at WASH Advocates. (WASH’s mission was to increase awareness for global safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene issues in Africa, Asia and Latin America.) Originally from Annapolis, DeLancey fell in love with Old Town Alexandria in 2011 when he decided to move to the D.C. area. He loved Alexandria’s tight knit community. It also reminded him of Annapolis, but had the advantage of close proximity to D.C., he said. Outside of work, DeLancey keeps busy raising his one-year-old daughter Ella, golfing and spending time with the family’s Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Rosie. He also visits his parents in Annapolis.

For more on the group and to learn how to start your own lobbying campaign, go to


The Wellness Cooperative I own a spa, I teach about self-care, it must come naturally to me… I still struggle! So stop beating yourself up, and let’s come up with a game plan to make sure you aren’t only taking care of yourself when things fall apart, but taking care of yourself all the time. So many people wait until they “can’t function” before they look for ways to take care of themselves. Remember me? I was the one on the bathroom floor, I get it. I all too often wait until my back hurts so badly that I can barely move to get a massage. I wait for that pre-event stress-induced breakout to get a facial. I have a nervous breakdown before getting reiki and seeing a therapist or coach, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In this live-to-hustle society we live in, where being “busy” is glorified and taking time to take care of yourself is seen as a luxury or a waste, we want to flip the script. Self-care is not only good for you, it’s necessary! If you don’t think you have time to take some time for you, do you really think you have time to be exhausted when you really have nothing left to give?

that space for yourself guilt-free, because you need to be the best you can in all the other parts of your life. As far as financial budgeting goes, figure out what works with your lifestyle, needs and bank account. I love to travel, but sadly I don’t have the time or finances to do an elaborate trip every month but I can plan one big trip and a couple weekends that I drive somewhere new and explore. Getting a membership at a spa or health club like The Wellness Cooperative can be a great way to save money and make sure you plan to have at least one hour for you every month.

Step four: Rinse and repeat. Keep doing these things until you feel whole, healthy and happy… And then keep doing them. Self-care is not just for when you’re falling apart. Bring it into your routine and see how a sustainable self-care habit changes your life.

Where do I start?

Step one: Make the decision that your mental and physical health are a priority. You are worth it. You deserve it. You need this.

Step two: Take some time to remember what recharges you. Listen to your body. Listen to your mind. What do you need? Self-care is going to look different for everyone. Maybe you need to travel someplace you’ve never been. Maybe you need to focus on healthy eating and exercise. You’ve been punishing yourself for not being the nicest to your skin or your muscles or your inner child. Got a picture in mind? Have a few? That’s ok. What your soul needs is going to change. What your mind needs is going to change. Keep listening and adjusting, just don’t give up on taking care of you.

Step three: Budget. This to me means two things — budgeting your time and budgeting your money. Let’s start with time because that’s seems to be what everyone doesn’t have enough of and this was the game-changer for me. Setting boundaries around your time is crucial to this part of self-care. Look at your calendar and decide that X time is YOUR TIME and use that time to recharge and be you, set a day to play and set time to center. For some, centering will be every morning or evening, some want a night out once a week, get a spa service once a month or plan a weekend away. Whatever you decide, ink it into your calendar and hold

July / August 2019 •

This sponsored content is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice.




Growing a Sustainable Community at Earth Sangha BY ISABELLE BALDWIN

Founded in 1997 by Lisa and Chris Bright with a mission for ecological restoration as a form of socially-engaged Buddhism, the Northern Virginia-based nonprofit Earth Sangha has an influence that extends far beyond greater Washington. In the metropolitan area, this mission is realized much closer to home. From Earth Sangha’s inception, founders Lisa and Chris Bright have worked together to emphasize the importance of sustainable environmental practices, using their religious principles to provide a foundation for bettering the community. Covering a humble acre and a half of land, Earth Sangha’s Wild Plant Nursery thrives in Franconia Park. What the grounds lack in size, they make up in diversity: with 290 species in production — and counting.

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Sangha’s nursery is the region’s most comprehensive source of local ecotypes, and, for many species, it is the region’s only source of production for wild native-plant material. The use of local ecotypes is a standard practice in ecological restoration, as it helps to safeguard genetic diversity and local adaptation in the species planted. On a tranquil Sunday afternoon in April, what’s left of the winter breeze remains in the air, carrying with it occasional hints of freshly mowed grass and warming pavements. By the time the sky breaks, the nursery is buzzing — with pollinators and people. “All plants are strong,” Executive Director and Co-Founder Lisa Bright explained to a group of volunteers as she peeled apart dried soil from a Virginia spiderwort and pointed to its entwined roots. “Their entire job is to grow.” The nursery has a certain rhythm to it: truck beds of perennials flow in and out while groups of volunteers propagate wildflowers and customers graze the extensive plant isles. It is not uncommon to overhear particularly enthusiastic, flashcard-bearing visitors requesting help with identifying new plants growing in their gardens. It’s a family operation: Lisa’s husband, president and co-founder Chris Bright, and their son, Conservation Manager Matt Bright, also work there. Lisa and Chris founded Earth Sangha in 1997. The wild plant nursery was established in 2001. Alongside her role as the primary contact for volunteers, Lisa is a Fairfax County Certified Stream Monitor and Master Watershed Steward, and a recognized Dharma teacher by the Chogye Order of Zen Buddhism, the main Buddhist monastic order in Korea.

Garden Plots for All Located in front of Earth Sangha is the Fairfax County Garden Plot program, whose residents are just as colorful and lively as the fruits and vegetables they tend to. Sam, or “Sam the Man,” as he refers to himself, is a middle-aged Persian man with a passion for growing tomatoes and a smile that could convince anyone to join him for a cup of tea — something that he offers for my next visit.

In 2006, Chris left his position as a Senior Researcher at the Worldwatch Institute to work for Sangha full-time, eventually establishing The Tree Bank — a partnership with the Asociación de Productores de Bosque, Los Cerezos on the island of Hispaniola, along the Dominican Republic – Haiti border. With the belief that their activism in Fairfax County can have a positive environmental influence elsewhere, The Tree Bank has worked to cultivate local native trees, conserve the tropical forest, and promote safe agro-ecological practices for more than a decade.

ORGANIZED AROUND COMMUNITY In Sanskrit, ‘Sangha’ roughly translates into “community.” At Earth Sangha, the Bright family turns this word into an affirmation. “The idea of the Sangha informs how we are organized, and how we operate as a part of a larger context of conservation nonprofits and agencies,” Matt said. “To us, being part of a Sangha means always seeing the world as a big, interconnected place, and to respect and cherish that complexity, whether that means working with a diverse group of volunteers and colleagues, or looking at a complex web of plant communities and interactions with wildlife.” Matt has been working with his parents since he was 8 years old, and he has been lucky enough to have a front-row seat to watch the organization expand. “We have a core group of about two dozen people who have been with us for years, who I’ve grown up with,” he said. The nursery operates under an agreement with the Fairfax County Park Authority and strong relationships with the city of Alexandria and Arlington County. The organization is volunteer-dependent and serves its own planting program as well as programs for governments, schools, businesses, and other conservation nonprofits. During the Spring season, the Wild Plant Nursery typically has 10-12 volunteers and can get up to 800 volunteers annually, with ages ranging from toddlers to retirees. “It’s such an open and welcoming community,” Matt said. “It wouldn’t be like this if we hadn’t had help for all these years.” The nursery is open for customers and volunteers on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon (or by appointment) at 6100 Cloud Drive Learn more about volunteering, the nursery and Earth Sangha at or call 703-859-2951.

Sam’s garden is an organized mess, where jars of seeds take center stage atop lawn chairs and aging plastic buckets hold excess soil. “My daughters used that to collect sand,” he says, recounting the days when they were young enough to require only a bucket of sand and their imagination to pass the time. In Sam’s place, everything serves a purpose, even if only in the past. He guides me through his garden, hand-picking overgrown mint leaves: spearmint, applemint, and peppermint. Each has a unique smell — one bitter, the next sweet, and eventually, recognizable. “This is my therapy,” he says, which explains why he’s there pulling weeds on a 70-degree, Sunday afternoon. And with years of experience tending to his community plot, it seems to be working. The only price to pay is the seasonal honey bees — who have taken a particular liking to his pear tree — and infrequent bird’s nests. He doesn’t seem to mind either visitor, however. “It’s their home, I just pay the rent,” he reassures me, flashing a forgiving grin as I step on his lettuce beds. Sam is one of 671 tenants in 9 host parks around the county. (A list of locations throughout Fairfax County is available at, search for “garden plots.”) Luckily, Sam is in good company. One of the dozens of residents sharing the 9 acres of soil in Franconia Park is Sam’s neighbor, Maria, who is preparing her ground for pumpkin seeds. Maria is a mother, wife and retired teacher who rents a 20’ x 30’ plot and pays $130 in annual fees, which includes a shared water supply. On her land, she grows ancient potatoes, mojito mint, hazel and figs — which she’s particularly proud of. According to Fairfax County Park Authority Garden Plot Coordinator Patricia Dietly, “At 600 square feet, the plots are large enough to grow food for more than one household.” There is room in each plot for multiple crops, and, given the length of the growing season, food can be produced yearround — shared work and shared benefits. Dietly attributes the size of the individual plots as part of the program’s continued success.

July / August 2019 •



New Service Curates PinterestWorthy Table Settings BY BETH LAWTON

I love to host big parties and small get-togethers, but I don’t have the time or creativity to set up a Pinterest-worthy table for events at home. Fortunately for people like me, there are people like Sara Raak. Raak, who lives in the Mount Vernon area, has an interior design business (SKG Designs and Style), and the fastest growing part of that is Totable Tablescapes. The service delivers all-inclusive place settings and table decor – in a reusable tote bag – to harried hosts. Raak, who until December did interior design on the side while working for a marketing company, started the service with her sister, Collyn Capp, of Reston. Raak and Capp provide everything but the flowers – and they’re working on that part. High-end, reusable silverware, plates, glasses, paper napkins, a table runner, placemats and more can be included in the fully customizable, very Pinterest-worthy settings. They have started shipping nationwide. Every table is one-of-a-kind with different curations and a mixture of easy and fun. “You only get what you want and what you need,” Raak said.

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Each tote comes with a guide showing you how to set up the table so you can set up your party with confidence. “Everything is disposable but mostly reusable. It doesn’t have to look cheap,” Raak said. “My mother is from the South, and she believed in a well-dressed table for any occasion,” Raak said. “While I whole heartedly agree with her, I hated that one of us would be stuck in the kitchen washing all the dishes, or if you do socialize then someone would be up late washing all the dishes.” With this service, she said, “You can have a beautiful table and not have to stay up late or miss your friends.” Planning a perfect table isn’t as easy as running to the local Target or Party City and finding thing that match. A table setting Raak laid out this spring, including creative napkin rings, a runner, cutlery, plates, glasses and more, was curated from seven different stores. For those who do want to try curating themselves, Raak has started offering workshops and classes on creating great tables. Those began with a workshop with Katie Wells, founder of Alexandria’s AR Workshop, but Raak also hosts home parties with wine and cheese that turn the workshop into a girls’ night. In the workshops, Raak walks participants through the rules that she uses to pull together a table, uses a pre-set table as an example, and then builds a second table in front of them showing them her thought process. She also lets those at the party try their own hand at creating a setting. “You can use so many things from your home for your table, and I think a lot of


people don’t think about that,” Raak said. “I use scarves as table runners. You should have conversation around your table, so you should build things into your table that have meaning.”


Raak said that the workshops are always uplifting for her and for the attendees. “They’re always amazing. And that makes me happy. Because they walk away with a little more confidence.” While quitting her full-time job at the end of 2018 to focus on design was a bit scary, Raak said the past few months growing Totable Tablescapes and SKG Designs and Style have been more fulfilling than she could have imagined. “It’s been an amazing few months.” Raak said she doesn’t get much sleep these days, but “I don’t think I’ve ever been this motivated in my life. But I’m doing things that I love and I’m working toward some awesome goals, so it’s ok.” Raak said the idea for Totable Tablescapes came from talking to Capp about business ideas while one of Raak’s two sons was in the hospital as an infant. (He’s eight years old now and healthy. Raak’s other son is 11 years old.) Raak now lives in the Mount Vernon area with her two sons, husband and two big, friendly dogs her son named Reagan and Martha Washington.

Learn more about SKG Designs and Style and Totable Tablescapes at Online ordering is available.


703-299-0633 July / August 2019 •



How to Throw a Summer Soiree BY BETH LAWTON

Whether you have a postage stamp-sized backyard or a sprawling expanse of land, summer parties can be a fun way to get everyone together – and it doesn’t have to be stressful. Here, we gather tips on how to throw the ultimate summer party from brunch to BBQ for all ages.

RAIN OR SHINE As I wrote this in the late afternoon on a Thursday, the skies went from sunny and bright to dark and threatening in a matter of minutes. The National Weather Service simultaneously put out a severe thunderstorm warning. And then the skies opened. Ah, summer in Northern Virginia. You should always have a contingency plan in mind for summer storms and be ready to move food and activities from the backyard to the living room on short notice. Even if it’s not raining, our region’s heat and humidity can affect your plans. Marilyn Patterson, founder of Alexandriabased Joyous Events, cautioned against hosting more people than can really fit indoors in case the worst should happen, weather-wise. “You should plan for and consider what you can do,” she said.

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A summer thunderstorm may only last a few moments, but it will leave behind a wet lawn. If your home has a deck, patio, driveway or carport, you can still move the party back outside quickly after the rain passes. “Hardscapes will overcome that,” Patterson said. A 10 x 10-foot pop-up tent can also give people a shelter to run under if light sprinkles or a sun-shower passes through. Communicating to your guests that the party will go on rain or shine with your back-up plan in place will help eliminate some stress and confusion on the day of your party if the weather forecast looks iffy. “Sometimes it’s really hot, so what I like to do are morning brunches when it’s still cool. It’s easier to prep food for, people usually don’t stay forever and you can use outside,” said Sara Raak, who lives in the Mount Vernon area and has an interior design business (see more about her on page 32). “I’ve also turned my garage into a dining area when it’s been super-hot outside. We bring in some fans and put throwaway table cloths up around the perimeter. People can come in and out, but you’re covered and away from the heat a little bit,” Raak said.

FOOD, DRINKS AND THE KITCHEN Somehow, even when the party is outside, people always wind up in the kitchen. You can keep your kitchen from getting too crowded by setting up “centers” for people to gather around. Food is a great lure, so set up small areas of snacks and drinks where you want

Keep Guests Entertained! Children and children-at-heart will appreciate efforts to entertain. Here are some ideas that can work no matter how small your yard is: • a cornhole set (or a few of them) • a badminton net and a few racquets

• a ladderball set • sidewalk chalk • ring toss

In the event that your party moves indoors, you can still entertain with an egg-and-spoon race (consider using hard-boiled eggs for easier clean-up), a homemade photo booth with dress-up items, or balloon games.

people to linger. Whether it’s charcuterie in the living room or a s’mores center around the backyard firepit, setting up food-focused areas will give your guests a place to go and a reason to be there. Keeping drinks in a cooler outside on the patio or somewhere inside (on a towel to protect your floors) will keep guests out of your fridge. Setting up a buffet-style set up can be easier than having a seated dinner, too, because it allows for more flexibility around the whole event. “We set up a buffet inside, and people can go in or out,” Raak said. “People can be on the patio and have a beer, hang out with whoever’s grilling and also come in and cool off.” If you were planning a BBQ and rain is in the forecast, consider switching the menu to finger sandwiches or casseroles, both of which will still go great with fruit salad, chips and summer side dishes. Or, BBQ and move your music under that 10 x 10 pop-up tent, being sure to keep water and a fire extinguisher on hand for safety, Patterson said. “A good sturdy 10-by-10 pop-up tent can overcome a multitude of things.”

THOSE DARN MOSQUITOES… AND FLIES If you luck out with the weather and get to party outside, mosquitoes, flies, ants, no-see-ums and other bugs can still make summer parties downright unpleasant. A good host is always prepared, so plan for bugs to arrive as uninvited guests. “Citronella the scent is what keeps bugs away, and you can put citronella-scented items in cute and decorative containers that are aligned with the theme of your party,” Patterson said. “You don’t have to sacrifice the look and feel just to prevent the annoyance of the bugs.” Pick up a variety of bug repellents and sprays, including options that are pet- and kid-friendly, natural or just don’t smell awful. If some of your food will be outside, consider picking up a few mesh food cover tents. But there’s no beating a yard treatment, Patterson said. “The best thing I’ve done and suggest doing is to get a mosquito treatment company to come and treat before the event,” Patterson said. “It will work on a spot basis for people who don’t want to necessarily make a long-term investment.” July / August 2019 •


! Go to Enter to

livingma alexandria learn by July 15 to staycation ce to r for a chan te n e d n a more lued at package va ze ri p a in w $1,500! more than

36 • July / August 2019


S taycations This summer’s shutdown of all Metro rail stations south of Reagan National Airport means there will be fewer tourists headed toward Alexandria this summer. What does that mean for you? Now through the middle of September is the perfect time to be a tourist here at home. Take a staycation and support the local businesses that make Alexandria unique. While escaping to a tropical island may be nice, staycations have serious benefits. In addition to boosting the local economy, benefits include saving money (no plane tickets to buy!), “returning” more rested by avoiding the stressful parts of travel, and the ability to be flexible with your vacation dates — and more spontaneous, too. On the following pages, we’re presenting a series of suggested things to do whether you’re “traveling” with the whole family or with a few friends. A number of these ideas are great for solo-staycationers, too.

ALEXANDRIA HAS BEEN NAMED... The #1 Best Value U.S. Travel Destination 2018 by Money magazine

A Top 5 Best Small City in the U.S. 2018 by the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards

One of the South’s Prettiest Cities 2018 by Southern Living. July / August 2019 •



Families Little Kids with

Alexandria is a great place to raise a family with parks aplenty, several pools and spray parks, a wide range of activities and great family-friendly restaurants. Here are our suggestions for a staycation with your little people. George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate – George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate lets you take a step back in time (even if it’s back to your own fifthgrade field trip). With a live blacksmith and other historic demonstrations, interactive exhibits, gardens, farm animals and plenty of hiking and walking trails, Mount Vernon Estate is a great place to take kids. The grounds are pet-friendly, too. It’s at 3200 Mt. Vernon Hwy., You could drive down the picturesque George Washington Memorial Parkway to get to Mount Vernon Estate, but there are more fun ways to get there. The Potomac Riverboat Co. has a regular water taxi that goes down the Potomac River to Mount Vernon Estate. Pick up the boat from behind the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria. More information is available at

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Potomac Water Taxi; Glory Days restaurant; Scramble Indoor Hooray For Books; Alexandria Aces baseball; Cameron Run mini golf / PHOTOS BY CHRIS MILITZER EXCEPT HOORAY FOR BOOKS BY KALISTA DIAMANTOPOULOS

It’s about a 10–mile bike ride from Old Town to Mount Vernon Estate, but Pedego Electric Bikes, 210 N. Lee St.,, can make it seem much shorter! The electric bike company offers a variety of options including tandem bicycles, tricycles and bicycles with safety seats for children to ride on the back. If that hasn’t tired them out enough, hit up Cameron Run Regional Park, 4001 Eisenhower Avenue. In addition to pools and waterslides at Great Waves, the park has batting cages and miniature golf. (Topgolf, 6625 S Van Dorn St.,, has a good miniature golf course, too!) For your young sports fan, the Alexandria Aces baseball team has the fun of a ballpark without the cost. The Aces, a part of the Cal Ripkin Collegiate Baseball League, plays at Frank Mann Field off of Commonwealth Avenue


throughout July and into August. More information is at Alexandria is often hot and humid in the summer, so cooling off will be a must. On sunny days, stop by one of Alexandria’s pools or spraygrounds. (See page 18 for a guide.) But not every day can be sunny. If the threat of a summer thunderstorm sends you indoors, Alexandria has a wide variety of kid-friendly entertainment venues. Here are a few places to get the sillies out. Scramble, the European-style playspace for kids in the Eisenhower West neighborhood, is a popular choice. In addition to a large play structure, slides, a padded sports court and little-kid play areas, the venue offers coffee and snacks for kids and adults, free wi-fi and more. It’s at 5412 Eisenhower Ave. More info and online ticket sales at


Kid-Friendly Accommodations A lot of kids love the adventure of staying somewhere new, even if it’s right here in Alexandria. For a lot of parents, staying in a local home (through, or a similar service) is the easiest option while traveling with kids. Having access to a full kitchen and multiple rooms so kids can go to bed while parents can stay up can make life “on the road” less expensive (keep your own snacks at the house) and more relaxing. There are several kid-friendly hotels in the area, too — the ones with pools are an especially big hit with kids. Check out the West End’s Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, which has both an outdoor pool and an indoor pool. The Holiday Inn Alexandria at Carlyle has a large, heated pool that’s indoors but opens to the outside. Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Alexandria also has a large outdoor pool, and Embassy Suites Hotel Alexandria Old Town has an indoor pool.

Other options include Pump It Up, a bouncy-castle playspace in the Eisenhower East neighborhood at 2000 Eisenhower Ave., alexandria-va. Also consider JW Tumbles at 3223B Duke St., alexandria.jwtumbles. com, in Alexandria Commons. A new trampoline space, Get Air, is opening later this year in the West End. Learn more at When the kids are a little bit calmer, some of the Alexandria City museums are great spaces for little kids. The Alexandria Archaeology Museum inside the Torpedo Factory at the Old Town Alexandria waterfront features hands-on activities of interest for both kids and adults. Hours and more info at Summer reading? Hooray for Books at 1555 King St. and Old Town Books at 104 S. Union St. are both local gems. With special events for children, great books

for children and adults and plenty of summer reading options, both local bookstores are worth a stop. Hours, events, location and more information are at and From a quick bite to a full meal, Alexandria has plenty of kid-friendly restaurants and eateries — and it’s a good thing, because some littles can get “hangry” fast. Here are a few of the kid-friendliest spots in Alexandria. For breakfast, stop by Bon Vivant in Del Ray. In addition to a wide variety of healthy and super-fresh options, including filling breakfast sandwiches and smaller plates, there’s a kid’s room in the back with toys. It’s at 2016 Mt. Vernon Ave., For lunch, try Los Tios Grill, a Tex Mex and Salvadorean restaurant with two locations – one in Del Ray at

2615 Mt. Vernon Ave., and one in the West End near Landmark at 241 S. Van Dorn St., Another Mexican option that’s great for kids is Los Toltecos at 4111 Duke St., For dinner, check out Pizzeria Paradiso at 124 King St.,, where kids get balls of dough to play with and can watch pizzas baking in the brick oven. Glory Days in central Alexandria at 3141 Duke St. has at least one TV playing children’s old-time cartoons (Tom & Jerry!) at all times. Want to eat outside? Grab a picnic for the park from The Italian Place, 621 Wythe St.,, or grab to-go pizzas, salads and more from Mia’s Italian Restaurant, 100 King St.,, near the Old Town Alexandria waterfront. July / August 2019 •


WATERFRONT BEER GARDENS JUNE 28-30, JULY 5-7, OCTOBER 25-27 Enjoy craft brews along the Potomac River on three weekends from Alexandria’s award-winning Port City Brewing Company.

PORTSIDE IN OLD TOWN FALL FESTIVAL SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12 This maritime-themed festival will be filled with great music, boat displays, and interactive activities for the whole family, benefiting the Alexandria Seaport Foundation.


The waterfront comes alive for the holidays with annual events like the 20th Annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights (December 7), Waterskiing Santa (December 24), and First Night Alexandria (December 31).


THROUGH NOVEMBER 2019 IN WATERFRONT PARK Enjoy Mirror Mirror, a rainbow-hued temporary public art installation located in the newly expanded Waterfront Park. After dark, the piece responds to sound with light. Created by New York studio SOFTlab, Mirror Mirror is the inaugural work of Alexandria’s Office of the Arts’ Site/See series.


ARRIVING IN JULY 2019, WHERE QUEEN STREET MEETS THE WATERFRONT Take a tour of this full-scale replica of an 18th-century Continental Navy ship. Learn more about public tours, craft beer cruises, pirate cruises and more at


Portside in Old Town programming is made possible by the King Street Corridor Initiative, a partnership formed to support beautification, programming, and marketing in the King Street Corridor and along the Old Town waterfront.

40 • July / August 2019

CHANGE YOUR COMMUTE, CHANGE YOUR LIFE! Instead of sitting in traffic this summer, get around on a Pedego Electric Bike. No sweat, traffic, parking fees or docking. MAKE YOUR COMMUTE EFFICIENT, ACCESSIBLE, COMFORTABLE, FUN! Pedego owners don’t like their bikes – they love them. We’ve been touched and inspired by the stories we’ve heard about how owning a Pedego has transformed people’s lives – helping them be their best. Pedego is the number one brand of electric bikes in America because we put people first. The most important part of every Pedego isn’t some high-tech gadget or fancy bicycle component – it’s the person riding it. Hello, fun! (571)-312-5168

BIKE RENTALS, TOURS AND MORE A Pedego electric bike rental is the very best way to experience Alexandria and beyond! Visitors always say it’s the most fun and memorable activity of their trip. And locals are surprised to find such an amazing experience right in their own backyard. “We rented bikes from Pedego on a whim and it ended up being the highlight of our entire vacation! The owner is extremely nice, respectable, and knowledgable! The bikes were super high quality and the batteries lasted for a long time. We highly recommend!” - Jimmy H. “Super fun! Best way to tour Washington and see all the monuments without the headache of tour buses and traffic.” - Bryce H. “Out of a seven day vacation this one was the best. We did so much sight seeing in the funnest way possible. Also the owner is so passionate and his whole staff and himself are the sweetest people. The bikes are also the best quality. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!” - Brooklyn C. July / August 2019 •



George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate / PHOTO COURTESY OF VISIT FAIRFAX

Families Big Kids with

Looking for something to do to keep the older ones off of the Xbox and iPhone all summer? Alexandria has plenty to keep the notso-little ones busy this summer, video screens (mostly) not included. There are plenty of indoor activities for those days when it’s just too hot already by the time your tween or teen reluctantly rolls out of bed. The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum regularly offers 45 minute tours exploring the world of the mad scientist, complete with fun experiments and demonstrations. If your kids are into Harry Potter, take note that July 31, the museum will offer special tours exploring the real world science and medicine from

42 • July / August 2019

the Harry Potter books. Find out if dragon’s blood and mandrake root are real things, and be sure to bring a camera! The museum started as a family-owned business in the late 1700s. 105-107 S Fairfax St., For something a little more active, take the kids to Sportrock, where they can literally climb up the walls. Climbers of all skill levels are welcome to take part in a variety of one time courses to introduce you to this impressive facility. The experienced staff are also here with many classes to help develop proper techniques and encourage the love of climbing! 5309 Eisenhower Ave., If there’s an athlete in the family, take them to the batting cages. Prime Time Baseball in Alexandria’s West End (5420 Eisenhower Ave., has indoor batting cages you can reserve

by the hour. Outdoor batting cages are available at Cameron Run Regional Park, also on Eisenhower Ave. Check hours and availability at parks/cameron-run-regional-park. If there’s a budding artist in your family, there are plenty of opportunities to get creative. Spend an afternoon choosing and painting your own ceramic masterpiece, creating a mosaic, or your own colorful planter. Paint This! at 1013 King St. has all of the equipment you need to create your work of art, including glazing and firing. Learn more at Located in Del Ray, Clay Queen Pottery offers classes for all skill levels. Learn how to create your own pieces and pots on the wheel, with individual attention available to help the learning process. 2303 Mt. Vernon Ave., call 703-549-7775 for more information.



The Apothecary Museum; Sportrock; The Dairy Godmother; Kayaking; Paint This! / PHOTOS BY CHRIS MILITZER EXCEPT “SPORTROCK” AND “PAINT THIS!” BY KALISTA DIAMANTOPOULOS

Time for some fresh air? The Potomac Riverboat Company offers a fun boat ride down the Potomac River to George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate where you can explore the Be Washington Interactive Theater. This interactive experience allows you step into various scenarios to see if you would be able to make the same decisions that our first president and commander in chief did. The cost is free with admission. The kids may also enjoy walking around the house and gardens, seeing the blacksmith at work, the grain facilities and more on the estate grounds. Learn more about both at and Sometimes you want to tell your kid to take a hike! But this time you’ll want to go with them if you head to Huntley Meadows Park in Fairfax County. The park

is home to a 19th century Federal period villa, in addition to vast wetlands, wildflower-filled meadows, forests and some of the best wildlife spotting in the region. 3701 Lockheed Blvd., huntley-meadows. Another great hiking option: Winkler Botanical Preserve nestled in Alexandria’s West End (5400 Roanoke Ave.). If you go, try to find the well-hidden “Hobbit House.” Or, opt for a kayak or boat rental! Whether you have an experienced sailor ready to take out one of the 19’ Flying Scots, a 14’ Sunfish, or would rather have a leisurely paddle around Dyke Marsh in a canoe or kayak, Belle Haven Marina and the Mariner Sailing School has all the gear you need to head out, plus fun classes. The friendly staff will get you and the kids on the water and ready to see ospreys, bald eagles, and numerous fish as you explore the coastline. Learn more at

Need to fill up the tank after a long day of play? There are so many great restaurants that are kid-friendly in Alexandria that it’s hard to choose. For dinner, try Tokyo Japanese Steak House. It’s hard not to have a good time when you’re watching the dinner show here, complete with egg flipping, catching shrimp in your mouth, and onion volcanoes. This is a traditional Japanese hibachi grill with steak, salmon, and chicken along with the staples of shrimp and shrimp teriyaki, along with a full sushi bar. 66 Canal Center Plaza, For dessert, hit up Del Ray’s Dairy Godmother, the go-to place for frozen treats in Del Ray. Kids of all ages love this retro throwback frozen custard and sorbet shop with all of its exotic flavors such as beignet, crunch bar, or honeydew melon. 2310 Mt. Vernon Ave.,

July / August 2019 •



A Girl’s Weekend There’s nothing more relaxing and just plain fun than hanging out with your best girlfriends. Why not take a few days off before summer’s end and explore some shopping, dining and other doings in Alexandria together? We’ve put together a great staycation itinerary for you and your besties to whoop it up for a few days around town. Looking for one-of-a-kind finds in Old Town Alexandria’s quaint Mom ‘n Pop boutiques is half the fun of an afternoon shopping trip. Alexandria boasts more than 40 boutiques in its Old Town Boutique District with everything from clothing and accessories to spas and antiques. Most are in Old Town Alexandria. Learn more at If DIY is more your thing, you have plenty of options! Head over to Fibre Space, 1319 Prince St.,, where you can sign up ahead of time for group knitting, crocheting or weaving classes. Other creative outlets around town include the paintyour-own-ceramics Paint This!, 1013 King St.,, as well as AR Workshop, which is moving this summer to a bigger space at 1212 King St., Also take a look at Sip and Sew at 300 N. Patrick St.,, or Stitch Sew Shop at 1219 King St.,, for more crafts and classes.

44 • July / August 2019


Fibre Space



You can also get some steps in with a “salon crawl” with a stop at Meraki at 1101 Queen St. and 320 King St.,, or at Queen’s Nails & Spa, 1010 King St. for mani/pedis or a hair makeover by style genius Sammy Amarti. Learn more at and Another option is Sugar House Day Spa, housed in a restored early 19th-century home and once part of a sugar refinery, at 111 N. Alfred St., They offer a signature hair/scalp treatment that takes about 20 minutes and includes a scalp elixir as well as hair oil that is massaged and tented with a hot towel, shampooed out, followed by a blow-dry. No time for a hair treatment? Head to the state-ofthe-art Drybar at 1006 King St. Learn more at locations/old-town-alexandria-va. A girl’s gotta eat, and there are plenty of choices around Old Town Alexandria. A great place to begin or end your evening out — Uber on over to Captain Gregory’s, a secret restaurant hidden inside the Sugar Shack donut shop, at 804 N. Henry St. Tip: You pull on a flag to enter; they’re closed Mondays and Tuesdays and reservations are always highly encouraged. Craft cocktails are on the pricey side but live a little! Small plates are just that, small, but Yelpers have great things to say about the ever-changing menu. Another great spot for hanging out with friends: Sonoma Cellar, 207 King St.,, offers a relaxing back patio where you can chill with your buddies. Dining options include $4 tacos on Taco Tuesdays; on Thirsty Thursdays enjoy a burger and select wine for $23. Wine Down Wednesdays features 30 percent off selected bottles all day. Just a stroll down the street, you’ll find Virtue Feed & Grain, 106 S. Union St., an eatery housed in a former 1800s feed house where you can sit outside along Wales Alley and watch the world go by while grabbing a late-night dessert. Try the root beer float or the peanut butter and chocolate icebox pie. Where to stay? You’ll enjoy some top-notch pampering at the Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa, 1600 King St.,, which earned the 2018 Stella Award for Best Renovation in the Northeast by Northstar Meetings Group, after a top-to-bottom $2.5 million renovation. Looking to save? Groups of three or more enjoy a 20 percent discount off regularly priced spa treatments on weekdays, excluding major holidays. Kimpton Lorien offers three suites with private outdoor terraces.

Sugar House Day Spa; Virtue Feed & Grain (PHOTO BY CHRIS MILITZER); Hummingbird restaurant (PHOTO BY CHRIS MILITZER) FROM TOP:

Another great hotel choice for a girlfriends’ getaway is Hotel Indigo, 220 S. Union St.,, where you can soak in views of the waterfront and grab brunch before saying goodbye at the bright and airy Hummingbird restaurant. Put us down for the fresh-squeezed orange juice, bacon and French toast with strawberries and Vermont maple syrup. July / August 2019 •



A Guy’s Weekend Have a weekend free from taking the kids to sports tournaments and piano lessons? Think the lawn can wait another few days before being cut again? What you need is a guys’ weekend. Call up the fellas and try some of these local things that won’t require much travel and, in some cases, may even have you home before curfew. Want to catch a game and grab a beer but you don’t feel like trekking into the District? No problem, Port City Brewing Company has your back. With 10+ of their tasty beverages on tap at any time, stop in for one of the best brewery tours in America and stick around to sample their locally-made craft beer. Several TVs show the game so you won’t miss a pitch. 3950 Wheeler Ave., Other great local sports bar options: Glory Days Grill at Alexandria Commons Shopping Center, Theisman’s near the King Street Metro, Bugsy’s in Old Town, or Ramparts near Shrilington. Down at Alexandria’s waterfront, the Tall Ship Providence is partnering with Port City, so you’ll be able to take a beer cruise along the Potomac. Enjoy the

46 • July / August 2019

wind in your sails and a few cold ones at the same time. Check out the Tall Ship Providence website for more information on the coming beer cruises at More ways to enjoy the water this summer: Pick up a kayak or canoe and hit the Potomac. Belle Haven Marina is just off the George Washington Memorial Parkway in the Belle Haven area. Mariner Sailing School does sailboat, kayak and canoe rentals, sailing classes and much more. Sign up at More of a landlubber? Grab your fishing license and a pole and head over to Alexandria’s own Lake Cook on Eisenhower Avenue. The fully restored and stocked lake is part of Cameron Run Regional Park. If beer or water isn’t your thing, Alexandria also offers up some excellent cocktails for you and your friends.

With a few great speakeasies in the city, you can transport yourself to the days of prohibition and sample drinks in some very cool locations. Captain Gregory’s restaurant and bar is hidden behind a secret door inside Sugar Shack donuts at 804 N. Henry St. and offers small plates and craft cocktails in an intimate and fun location. I’ll leave it to you to find the hidden door — I’ve already said too much. More info is at PX at 728 King St. offers the full Prohibition Era vibe to compliment the drinks. (You’ll need to dress appropriately for this one. Collared shirts are required, and leave the Nats hat at home.) Dress the part and enjoy some amazing concoctions from native Virginian Todd Thrasher. Take a peek at Speaking of Todd Thrasher, why not learn to make these same cocktails at home by taking his The Art of Craft Cocktails with Todd Thrasher course at PX? Offering a menu curated specially for you, Todd teaches the classics along with modern



Cocktails at Captain Gregory’s

Dining at Vola’s Dockside Grill; Topgolf; Ramparts sports bar; Smoking Kow BBQ; Port City Brewery THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP:


culinary inspired drinks in an interactive (lots of sipping) mixology demonstration. Learn the techniques and stories behind all of these masterful creations. That’s a lot of drinking, so now it’s time to get something to eat, and what’s better for guys weekend than BBQ? Alexandria offers up a few good choices for your favorites whether is pork belly, pulled pork, chicken, ribs or brisket. Rocklands BBQ has been around since 2004, serving up the standards in mouthwatering fashion, and is also a good choice for catering if you have even more folks over for the backyard BBQ and you don’t want to cook. Stop by the original restaurant at 25 S. Quaker Lane and check out the menu at Newcomer Myron Mixon’s was opened by Grand Champion BBQ master and TV BBQ judge Myron Mixon. Inducted into the Kansas City BBQ Hall of Fame in 2013, Mixon brings quite the pedigree to town. Try the dry rubbed wings with Alabama white sauce, a favorite, at his restaurant

at 220 North Lee St. Preview the menu at

— if you need a slower pace at this point in the weekend — the two 18-hole minia-

Finally, Smoking Kow jumped from his successful food truck to a brick and mortar store at 3250 Duke St. You can still pick up juicy brisket, ribs and pulled pork from one of the trucks, but the sit-down location is a fun spot to take down that moist chopped meat, mac ‘n cheese, or jalapeño sausage made by locals, Logan’s.

ture golf courses might be your move. Go to In Alexandria’s West End, Sportrock is a fun place to learn to climb or take those skills to the next level. With a 60-foot wall and a variety of challenging-but-fun options in an air-conditioned space, you won’t even notice how hard you’re working out… until you wake up with sore

Want to work off all of that food and drink?

arms the next day. 5308 Eisenhower Ave.,

Head over to Greendale Golf Course at 6700 Telegraph Road and play 18 holes at this challenging course with tight fairways and several water hazards. Go to for tee times and more info.

After all this activity, head over to Vola’s

Or, head over to America’s first Top Golf at 6625 S. Van Dorn St. and take advantage of the 70 climate controlled hitting bays, full service restaurant and bar, or

kick the ball.) Take it slow and unwind a

Dockside Grill on the waterfront and order up some oysters, Chesapeake Bay fish tacos or blackened grouper, and sit and tell lies about your golf game earlier in the day. (Everyone saw you little while watching the boats pass by while planning what to do the next day! July / August 2019 •




Staycation Stops Be sure to include these Alexandria spots in your staycation itinerary this summer!


Fontaine Caffe & Creperie


The Can’t-Miss Old Town Local Favorite for Amazing Brunch Whisk yourself away to the French country side! Fontaine opened its doors in 2008 at the corner of King and Royal streets in Old Town Alexandria. We are committed to providing our patrons with a most enjoyable and friendly dining experience with the best crêpes and galettes the Metropolitan area has to offer – in the classic tradition of France. All of our dishes are made to order utilizing the freshest ingredients.



119 S. Royal St.,, (703) 535-8151 FontaineCaffe | @FontaineCaffe | @fontainecaffe



Twist Boutique The Style-Seekers Must-Stop for Luxury and Local Fashion Twist Boutique offers consignment and new clothing and accessories, local artisan jewelry, and unique gifts ~ hence the name. The boutique recognizes that style seekers want one-of-a-kind pieces and the experience that goes along with finding them. 109 N. Fairfax St.,, (703) 566-2341 TwistStyl | @TwistStyl | @twiststyle17

48 • July / August 2019

2 6

1 8


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Meraki Old Town was created with the desire to become not only a salon but a way of living - embracing your mind, living and style, we are inspired by our name to give our customers a taste of the love, passion, heart and soul that we put into our services daily. We aim to offer the best quality services — be it nail, hair care, skin care or waxing performed elegantly, with excellence and expertise in a beautifully curated space.

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Braemar Kitchen and Bath is your premier choice for Alexandria kitchen design, bath design, and cabinetry selection. We welcome you to visit our brand new showroom and view sample cabinet pieces from all of our featured lines along with samples of floor tile, backsplash tile, granite, quartz, marble and paint. Our unique visual rendering technology allows you to actually see what your new, redesigned space will look like and how it will appear in your home.

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Grateful Kitchen is an organic café located in the North end of Old Town Alexandria. We specialize in offering healthy, organic breakfast, lunch, smoothies, and fresh juice. Additionally, 80% of our utensils, cups, straws and other food containers are 100% compostable. Come see us! Weekdays 7 a.m. – 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Built in the 1880 as the old Concordia Hotel, Union Square is Old Town’s most authentic and elegant boutique hotel and event space. Transformed in 2017, Union Square is a light-filled space part of the oldest quadrant of historic Old Town Alexandria. Located on a quiet, picturesque, tree-lined street, one block from King Street and three blocks from the Potomac River, it is the perfect location for your meetings, special events or overnight needs.

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July / August 2019 •



A Couple’s Getaway Looking for a romantic getaway this summer? Look no further than your own hometown. Alexandria has been named one of the 10 most romantic cities in the nation (by, based on residents’ purchase of romance-related books and items). With flickering gas lights lighting the way down historic cobblestoned streets, Alexandria is the perfect getaway for strolls with your loved one on summer nights. Here are some ideas for you to really get away without all the hassle of flying or fighting traffic to some far-flung locale. Make a reservation at The Alexandrian (located close to everything at 480 King St.) and ask for the romance package, which includes a bottle of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries delivered to your room when you arrive. The package also includes a late check-out if you want to sleep in after your night out. In the mood for live music? Swing by Alexandria’s legendary music hall, The Birchmere, at 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., which hosts everyone from the Bacon Brothers to Gary Puckett and the Union Gap. Tickets and more info are available at Or, check the listings at the Carlyle Club. There are plenty of outdoor music events, too, throughout the summer, so keep an eye on the local events calendar at If you’re more of a movie person, there are outdoor movies aplenty throughout Alexandria, too. From family-friendly Cinema Del Ray to Rosemont Reel and more, a movie under the stars may be just what you need. (More info on summer movies is available on page 14.)

50 • July / August 2019


Blackwall Hitch; King Street Trolley


Live shows are always fun for a date night, so be sure to check out a performance at the Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe St. Most performances are held Wednesdays through Sundays. Shows and ticket information is available at If you’re still awake after the concert, movie or show, stop off for a nightcap and dessert at Blackwall Hitch, at 5 Cameron St., within strolling distance of the hotel. Grab a seat on the back deck where you can kick back with your sweetie at one of the cozy fire pits. If you’re in the mood for a late dinner, Lena’s Woodfired Pizza & Tap, 401 E. Braddock Road near Del Ray also has a cozy fire pit and comfortable outdoor seating. Menus are available at or The next morning, if you are in town on a Saturday, it’s mandatory that you head for the Old Town Farmers’ Market at 301 King St., where you can watch your orange juice get made, enjoy a fresh pastry and chat with local artists. The market is open from 7 a.m. to noon. Get out and enjoy a bike ride on a tandem electric bicycle, which you can rent at Pedego, 210 N. Lee St. Learn more about this fun way to get around town at After your bike ride, stop back at the hotel to freshen up before grabbing the King Street free trolley ride to Taverna Cretekou, 818 King St.,,where you can enjoy a romantic meal on the gorgeous patio and be pampered by the attentive staff. A few fun breakfast spots for your staycation: Java Grill, 611 King St.,, has endless coffee options, even create-your-own mixes with fresh beans, and rolled gelato. A brunch favorite is The Majestic, at 911 King St., the, where you can try the brioche French toast, pecan wood-smoked bacon and a mimosa made with blood orange moonshine. Or, head to Fontaine Caffe & Creperie, at 119 S. Royal St.,, another must-stop spot. For lunch, consider bringing a picnic to eat along Alexandria’s waterfront or in a more secluded park. Stop by The Italian Place, 621 Wythe St.,, for picnic makings. Walk off breakfast or lunch with a stroll along Old Town Alexandria’s less-well-traveled historic side streets (watch for cobblestones – sprained ankles aren’t fun), or take a stroll along the Jones Point Park trails. FROM TOP: Old Town Farmer’s (PHOTOS BY CHRIS MILITZER)

Market; Waterfront Park; Strolling on King Street

Whatever you do, be sure to enjoy each other. You are in one of the country’s most romantic cities, after all. July / August 2019 •



Blazing Through the





TIME IS A FUNNY THING. When you’re a child waiting for Christmas to come, it drags on forever. When you’re watching your first born go through her senior year of high school, it seems to pass with an ever-increasing gusto, as if it knows how much you dread her leaving the nest for college. Having taken many a solo dad/daughter road trip over the years with this soon-tobe graduate, I thought I’d ask her if she


was up for one more before she heads out to take on the world. Surprisingly, she indulged the old man and we planned an itinerary across middle America to what might not be your typical spring break locations but were filled with so much good food, good music and good times. First up on the agenda for the road trip… we needed a proper road trip vehicle. • July / August 2019

Luckily we were able to get our hands on the most recent addition to the Chevrolet family, the redesigned Blazer. This silver, 308hp AWD sled, was packed with fun things like 4G LTE wi-fi, Apple CarPlay, and a surprisingly cool luggage divider that kept all of our gear from floating around the cabin on those rough Midwestern roads. The kid even called the Blazer the most comfortable place she ever took a nap, and there were plenty of naps on the drives.



We headed out from Alexandria early on a Saturday morning and after 6 hours of my bad singing and her loud snoring, we rolled into downtown Cleveland. Home base for this leg was the Residence Inn downtown, which offered us the perfect start to the adventure. It’s easy to get to, close to everything downtown, and had space for us both to spread out after being in the car for so long. The hotel is right next to East 4th Street, which is one of the hot areas of Cleveland today, with restaurants from Michael Symon and Jonathan Sawyer, along a closed-off pedestrian avenue, with brewers, a House of Blues, tequila bar and more. First stop was Butcher and the Brewer. An in-house butcher and brewery under the same roof was calling me and we were not disappointed to answer. Aged beef sliders with a mix of ribeye, brisket, and chuck for her, and a flight of corndogs for me proved to be a great start!

After some exploring, we headed to Barrio for some of their spectacular tacos. Thick cut bacon, pickled jalapeños, and jalapeño lime shrimp were a few of the ingredients that brought a legit tear to the kid’s eye and even inspired an IG post of her kissing said taco. Definitely a good stop.

of Fame. Music has always been one of the closest bonds between my daughter and I so this was a must do for us. I could talk to her about Robert Johnson and the start of the blues, she taught me about The Weeknd, and somewhere in between we shared some AC/DC. A highlight of the trip for sure.

The next day after breakfast at the hotel, we headed over to the Rock and Roll Hall

From the Rock Hall we went to the Ohio City neighborhood and TownHall for July / August 2019 •


can even book it for overnight stays! The house contains all the props (including the fra-gee-lay lamp), so that you and your kid can re-enact your favorite scenes. I’ll save those pics until blackmail is required. A fun detour, and a neighborhood worthy of a stop.

Mabel’s BBQ in Cleveland

brunch. It featured healthy food including a non-GMO menu, presented in a way that doesn’t let you know it’s healthy. Organic, locally-sourced and pretty yummy benedicts, pancakes, and a full-service bar filled us up and got us ready to go for the rest of the day.

Czuchraj Meats (as seen on many a food show such as The Best Thing I Ever Ate). Grab some jerky and head up to the observation area above for a birds eye view of the action below, and a pretty cool photo op. and

Next up was the West Side Market. It’s one of the largest indoor/outdoor markets in the country, built in 1912, and now boasts more than 100 booths filled with fresh fruits, meats, baked goods, and some of the best jerky on the planet from J and J

Getting away for a much needed break from food, we headed to the Tremont neighborhood to see the “Christmas Story” house. You know the one — the Christmas cult classic with the Red Rider BB gun is now a fully-restored attraction and you


LAKE GENEVA The Grand Geneva Resort (Wisconsin)

Hopping back into our sweet Blazer for a few more hours of checking out America’s highway system, we headed west to Wisconsin. Again, a surprising spring break choice perhaps, but having previously been to Wisconsin in the spring, I knew that this quiet little luxury retreat was just what we needed to relax. After short sleeves and warm temps in Cleveland, the snow from Chicago north to Wisconsin threw us a little, but our AWD Chevy kept us on track.


Arriving at the Grand Geneva resort, you immediately notice the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired style. The beautiful, sprawling, stone building was built in the late 60’s and was originally Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Club Hotel, hosting acts such as Bob Hope and Sonny and Cher. The Playboy Bunnies have long since gone, and the resort is much more family-friendly now, featuring 355 guestrooms and suites at the Main Lodge, 29 Villas and 225 suites at Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark. We settled into our two-bedroom villa, where my once-little princess declared herself a queen and promptly claimed the upstairs level for herself. Yes, the huge suite came with barn doors opening on her balcony so that she may look down • July / August 2019

Finally, heading back downtown, it was time for dinner. Luckily, the running around had gotten us ready for our trip to Michael Symon’s BBQ mecca, Mabel’s. Mabel’s had juicy brisket, pork cracklins, and pork belly so good that my mini me attempted to steal it all from my tray. She also had the Polish Girl, a kielbasa with chopped pork and coleslaw on a roll and very good! A side of spaetzle and spicy cabbage rounded things off and gave me the illusion that I was finally getting some vegetables in.



The Grand Geneva Resort; Chevrolet’s redesigned Blazer; and ribeye at Geneva Chophouse

upon me when arising from her royal slumber. I wasn’t exactly suffering in my own first level room. I also had my own private bath and I was that much closer to the full kitchen and huge living area with fireplace. I gave into the queen and proceeded to relax with some of the charcuterie and a Spotted Cow beer that was graciously awaiting our arrival. After the break, we headed over to the main resort to the Geneva Club. This

add-on experience includes breakfast, afternoon drinks and hors d’oeuvres in the evening as well as special Club pricing on select beer, wine and cocktails. There was also a large fireplace to continue relaxing by while enjoying snacks and a drink. Next up was dinner at the resort’s very own Geneva Chophouse. After enjoying one of Wisconsin’s famous Old Fashioneds, I was ready for a great steak. First, we started with the incredible

seafood sampler that was filled to the brim with fresh oysters, King Crab legs, Lobster, and shrimp. Impressed, but ready for more… the young queen and I pressed on. The 18oz dry aged ribeye caught my eye and after watching the chef grill it to perfection in the open kitchen, I knew this would be incredible. She had the pasta with goat cheese stuffed squash blossoms, which she loved, and we shared a lobster mac and cheese, because we hadn’t had enough seafood! One of the best meals I’ve had. The next day, feeling refreshed, the queen who had grown up riding horses all her life, decided that a trail ride through the Wisconsin countryside was in order. Having not ridden a horse since I was in middle school, I was slightly less excited

July / August 2019 •



but I accepted her challenge. Upon seeing my 6-foot-2 frame, the horse also decided he wasn’t as excited, but he pushed through like a champion and we all enjoyed a great ride. This again was a highlight for me, and I was glad to do something my daughter loved with her. Her laughs at my expense were also something I won’t soon forget. The Dan Patch Stables were excellent and should be added to your itinerary! Finally, for dinner we headed back into town to the newly opened Flat Iron Tap for burgers and a beer for dad. With over 100 brews, it was easy to find one I wanted. Being in Wisconsin, we started with an order of Brat Pops, Jalapeño and cheddar sausage battered and fried with mustard seed sauce, as well as some deep fried Wisconsin Cheese curds. Both were as unhealthy as they sound and equally as delicious. The main course of burgers and fries were very well done. Hers was a bean burger, keeping it healthy, and mine was a thick cut burger with a melted cheese skirt made from curds, all on a pretzel bun, not the healthy choice. Wisconsin, you are always a good time.


Above: Outdoor firepit at the Geneva Club; Below: Brat Pops and burgers from Flat Iron Tap


After another quick drive through a lot of flat land with large windmills, we made it to Indianapolis. After checking into our hotel, The Alexander, we decided to wander the halls checking out all of the art that fills the place. Very cool vibe in this place, lots of colors, music, and curated art in every turn. Super convenient to get the Blazer in and out to everything we wanted to see. We took out a few bikeshare bikes from near our hotel and hit the road for the Indianapolis Cultural Trail Bike Tour where we were able to ride along this 8 mile urban trail that connects all of the city’s cultural districts along a wide paved trail, out of traffic’s way. This is a must do if you’re new to the city, you get to see so much in a completely relaxed manner. All of the neighborhoods along the trail have a cool “rebirth” vibe as many new restaurants and shops have opened up along this winding path. Fountain Square Duckpin Bowling

56 • July / August 2019

Van Gogh at the Indianapolis Museum of Art; RIGHT: The Alexander hotel; Record shopping downtown; and Sunking Brewing ABOVE:

Our bike ride took us into the Fountain Square neighborhood, where high end dining and almost 100 year old bowling lanes are neighbors, and live music and impressively filled vinyl shops are right around the corner. Being a competitive family, we checked out the Fountain Square Duckpin Bowling alley which was a really good plan. It’s like time is frozen there, the lanes all appear original, scoring is manual, and the kid beat me I have to admit. Fun vibe there with lots of 20-somethings coming for a beer after work. action-atomic-duckpin-bowling/ overview After all the riding and bowling, we were off to dinner at Bluebeard from James Beard semifinalist Chef Abbi Merriss. Beautiful courtyard with firepit, and delicious shrimp and grits, spicy wings, green eggs and ham! Put this on the list when you visit!

The next day began with a tour of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Home to the iconic Robert Indiana Love sculpture, a Van Gogh, and one of the largest Asian art collections. We wandered the huge collection for quite a while, taking advantage of the seats that encourage visitors to stay a while. Next up was a good bit of shopping in the Mass Ave Cultural Districts we had passed through on the bikes. Great shops and spots to eat line the streets and gave a change for both of us to pick up some things before heading to Sun King Brewery for dad to sample some of the local brew. I loved the simple open brewery, excellent choices of beers, all well done in a friendly atmosphere. Also, inside the brewery is a restaurant/deli counter called Oca with over the top sausages, charcuterie, and cheeses that was such a good compliment to the beers, I didn’t want to leave. and Before winding down our Indy visit, we stopped at the trendy brunch spot, Milktooth. Named one of the best Restaurants in America by Eater, Founder Jonathan Brooks has a hit here. The place was packed even on a Friday morning, which luckily made us sit at the counter with a view of the hard working chefs

preparing the unique spins on brunch. No boring standards here, more like fried swiss cheese polenta cake with sunny egg, horseradish sauce, pickled apple, celery, cashew, and pesto. Indianapolis has some fun things going on, good fun, places to hangout, and that whole rebirth vibe along the cultural trail. Altogether, this trip was more than just the sum of its parts. Each city made a positive and lasting impression on us that will be remembered fondly. Hopefully the kid — sorry, young woman now — will travel back with her dad to check in on these places again someday! July / August 2019 •



Krista McClellan Clouse Opera Singer

Award-winning international opera singer Krista McClellan Clouse, 32, has performed professionally all over the world.

Q&A What’s your favorite opera? “The Barber of Seville.” It makes me smile until my smiling muscles are sore. I’m not exceptionally fond of the modern stuff. I love Puccini, Mozart, Wagner.

You grew up in a military family. What was that like? We moved about 22 times, to about 15 to 20 states. My dad was in the Army. We also lived in Okinawa, Japan. My mother is from Brazil. She’s a dual citizen and so am I. But Virginia is where we lived the longest. I went to school at West Potomac High School. I love this area.

Do you have a favorite street performer in Alexandria?

“We’d go to Old Town every few days growing up,” Clouse said. A 2005 graduate of West Potomac High School, she graduated in 2009 from Boston University College of Fine Arts, where she received her bachelor of music in vocal performance. Clouse sang on the streets in Alexandria to appreciative crowds, along with other street performers in the City’s lively waterfront area.

I grew up seeing Jamey Turner playing the wine glasses. And I got to know him before I started performing in Old Town. We became very close friends.

Her first foray singing publicly on the street was in Milan, Italy, where she had traveled with a relative for an audition at the La Scala opera house.

Do you still perform on the street?

“We were having dinner, and she says, ‘Why don’t you sing something’? I started singing a capella right outside the big duomo, the cathedral in Milan.” After a crowd gathered, her relative suggested she toss a tip hat on the ground. With no hat in site, Clouse opened her umbrella. She walked away with 93 euros.

Yes, I perform near the White House, in Annapolis and here in Old Town.

What would be your dream gig, as far as your opera career? Performing with an opera company, breaking into a full-fledged opera career, main stage. I’m thinking about going back and pursuing a master’s education. There are still a few directions I could take and I’d love to do it.


Growing up, she listened to Pavarotti, played the trumpet in school and sang in a church choir. Her grandmother, “who never had a lesson in her life,” was her first music teacher, showing her how to play the keyboards and how to belt out a tune when she was 3 years old. • July / August 2019

The experience in Italy led her to the decision to sing on the streets of Alexandria, about nine years ago. It beat one of her gigs playing a costumed character at National Harbor,

she said. Soon, she was singing at the waterfront, King and Lee streets and Market Square and other spots around Old Town. Using a sound meter, she and her husband always made sure that music they played on an iPod and Bluetooth speaker to accompany her singing was at the correct noise levels. It was an incident that took place in 2016 in Old Town that grabbed international headlines, after she was arrested, put in handcuffs and hauled off to jail for violating the City’s noise ordinance while singing opera on the street. She was singing “Ave Maria” and then “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina,” during the arrest, prompting the British newspaper, The Daily Mail, to headline their article “Don’t Cry for Me, Alexandria!” Clouse sued the City. Fast forward to spring 2019: A lawyer at the law firm Kirkland & Ellis heard about her plight and the firm negotiated a settlement on her behalf, with the City issuing an apology. “Ms. Clouse is an award-winning international opera singer who has performed professionally all over the world. A native of Alexandria, she has been performing publicly in Old Town for many years and is a valued member of Alexandria’s vibrant public arts community,” the City said in an announcement. “I am proud to call Alexandria home,” Clouse said. “I appreciate all that the City of Alexandria and its law enforcement do to promote a safe environment in Old Town where the public arts can thrive. I hope that my experience can help promote the constitutional rights of street performers and inspire others to participate in Alexandria’s historic arts community.”

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