Alexandria Living Magazine - November/December 2019

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Happy Holidays in Alexandria

The Ultimate Gift Guide

An 1875 Townhouse Gets a Modern Makeover ALEXANDRIALIVINGMAGAZINE.COM November / December 2019




Mid-century modern begins with Jodie Burns If you mention Frank Lloyd Wright or Charles Goodman in earshot of Jodie, she may have a lot to say... As the Hollin Hills neighborhood expert, an enclave of mid-century modern homes nestled in South Alexandria, Jodie loves her close-knit community and can tell you all about the design of these beautiful homes. Whether you are interested in buying or selling your home in Hollin Hills or beyond, Jodie uses her expertise to create strategies to help you reach your goals.

Jodie Burns, REALTORÂŽ I tel. 571.228.5790 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

Give the Gift of Mount Vernon Membership The holiday season is just around the corner. Surprise your family and friends with a gift of membership to George Washington’s Mount Vernon. And for a limited time receive a special offer of 15% off your gift membership. Just as America’s ‘first family’ celebrated the holidays with family and friends, your loved ones can start a new tradition of visiting Mount Vernon this holiday season. When you give the gift of membership, members will receive FREE, unlimited daytime admission for one year, exclusive access to pre-sale ticketing for our sell-out events, and discounts to the Mount Vernon Inn, restaurants, and gift shops. But perhaps the most important membership benefit is knowing you are doing something meaningful to preserve Mount Vernon for future generations and protect the legacy of our nation’s greatest Founding Father. During this festive season, you can visit Aladdin the Camel, watch 18-century demonstrations, hear stories of Christmases past from costumed characters, and see Martha Washington’s “Great Cake” on display. The estate is bustling with special activities and programs offered day and night for the entire family. And we are reminded of George Washington’s extraordinary gifts of character and leadership that were pivotal to establishing a new nation and presidency. Now is the best time to give the gift of membership to George Washington’s Mount Vernon to your friends and loved ones— sign up today and receive a special 15% discount.

Give the gift of membership at to claim your 15% new member discount. For questions, email Kara Hershorin, membership manager, at


FREE Admission with membership November 29 – December 31, 9am - 4pm The holidays are full of delight at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. During the day, tour the Mansion, listen to 18-century holiday music, watch chocolate-making demonstrations, and more.

MOUNT VERNON BY CANDLELIGHT November 29 & 30; December 6, 7, 13, 14, & 22, 5:00pm Join us for a candlelit character-guided tour and learn more about holiday traditions in 18th-century Virginia.


December 20 & 21 – 5:30pm - 8:30pm Join Mount Vernon for an evening of family-friendly fun and fireworks choreographed to holiday music. Mount Vernon is open 365 days a year, including Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.


Learn how with LizLuke





























See events and activities that are coming to Alexandria this fall and winter.





A look at Alexandria's twist on favorite seasonal comfort foods, a chat with Chef Peter McCall of Jackson 20 and a recipe you can try for one of George Washington's favorites.

Del Ray entrepreneur Heather Stouffer talks about her company, Mom Made Foods, and how her family inspires her business decisions.

Alexandria Commonwealth's Attorney Bryan Porter discusses his new book about serial killer Charles Severance and the lessons learned from the saga.

Alexandria writer Stuart Perkins' musings on life from everyday encounters in Alexandria. In this issue, find out how like a loaf of bread!

Winter's shorter days can sometimes bring on the blues and worse. Find out about Seasonal Affective Disorder and how to combat it.

Do you pay a service to pick up after your pet? One of the biggest companies in the business, DoodyCalls, got its start right here in the Alexandria area.

Find out how ACT for Alexandria, the city's community foundation, helps promote racial equity.

Deck out your holiday tree with the 2019 official White House Christmas ornament and others with an Alexandria twist from local artists.

Share your generous spirit during the holiday season! Here's a guide if you're trying to figure out how much to tip the folks who make life better — from dog walkers to baristas.

Itching to get away for a few days? We've got two choices in this issue: A quick getaway to cozy digs in Baltimore or a dream escape to tropical Barbados.

Bros-in-law Jeremy Barber and Justus Frank talk about the ups and downs of running three restaurants in Del Ray and the "can't miss" menu items at each of them.

November / December 2019 •



33 Home & Garden Find out how Interior designer Kaki Ernst and contractor John Boynton modernized an 1875 townhouse in Old Town Alexandria.


37 Holiday Gift Guide A look at local gifts for everyone on your list — from foodies and fitness junkies to travelers and worker bees.

ON THE COVER Piper poses in front of an Old Town Alexandria doorway decorated for the holidays.



4 • November / December 2019

 @AlexLivingMag

 @AlexandriaLivingMag

Make Your Move with Jessica Richardson As Vice President at Compass, Jessica offers twenty years of expertise providing insightful advice and personalized service for buyers, sellers and investors throughout Northern Virginia and DC. Jessica takes a straightforward approach to guiding her clients to make the best possible real estate decisions. Honesty, integrity and market knowledge are at the core of her business philosophy, and when you choose to work with Jessica and her team, you are backed by their ironclad promise to put your needs first in everything they do. Contact Jessica today for a complimentary market analysis and consultation.

Jessica Richardson

RealtorÂŽ DC/MD/VA


Compass is a licensed real estate brokerage that abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is not guaranteed. All measurements and square footages are approximate. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Compass is licensed as Compass Real Estate in DC and as Compass in Virginia and Maryland. 106 N. Lee Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 | 703.277.2152

A Letter from Our Founders


Beth Lawton EDITOR


Christian Cunnane Allen Anderson

Sonya Besteiro Lora Jerakis

Happy Holidays from all of us at Alexandria Living Magazine!


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. 201 N. Union St. Alexandria, VA 22314. For newsstand or distribution locations or to subscribe for home delivery, go to CONTACT US or call (571) 232-1310.


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

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


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Soon our lives will be getting a little more hectic as the days get shorter and we prepare to gather with friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa or Hanukkah. We hope that you'll take a few moments to stop and relax with the latest issue of our magazine. It's packed with ideas — from finding the perfect gifts (see Page 37) to can't-miss local holiday events (starting on Page 9) that make Alexandria such a special place to celebrate the holiday season. As the days get cooler, indulging in a little comfort food comes with the territory. Here's a look at some local restaurants' twists on childhood favorites (Page 18). The Mom 'n Pop spirit is alive and well in Alexandria and in this issue, we highlight the efforts of two businesses that got started in the area after their founders filled two very different needs: Read about Mom Made Foods on Page 20 and DoodyCalls on Page 30. Alexandria Commonwealth's Attorney Bryan Porter talked to us about his new book, Parable of the Knocker, delving into the case of serial killer Charles Severance and the challenges of treating mental illness. Turn to Page 23 to read Porter's insights. Also in this issue, you'll find the quiet wisdom of local wordsmith Stuart Perkins, whose first column in our last issue caught the attention of quite a few readers near and far. His work appears again in this issue, on Page 26. This time, he discovers why life is like a loaf of bread.

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

you: A cozy getaway to Baltimore or a trip to the tropical paradise of Barbados. Check out these dream escapes beginning on Page 51. In this issue's The Last Word, we talk to local restaurateurs Jeremy Barber and Justus Frank, the brothers-in-law who are the brains behind three Del Ray restaurants, including their latest, The Garden. They give us the scoop on their "can't miss" menu items at all three. We'd also like to give a grateful nod to photographer Chris Militzer who shot our cover photo, as well as local floral designer Madeline Poe, owner of The Enchanted Florist in Old Town Alexandria. She provided the look for the door on our cover, as well as the bow for our very obliging model pooch, Piper, chief canine officer at ALX Community. Hope you make some happy memories this holiday season. We'll see you back here in the new year!

Local author Lisa Dunn gives us all the details on the modern makeover of an 1875 townhouse in Old Town Alexandria on Page 33. See how a local designer and contractor worked together on the renovation. Yearning to get away for a few days as the days get colder? We have two options for • November / December 2019

Mary Ann Barton and Beth Lawton Founders

Meet Our Team





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

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

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

Mae is an Alexandria native who is currently studying English and Art History at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. She is the arts editor of the Kenyon Collegian and a recipient of the P.F. Kluge Collegian Fund. In her free time, she enjoys reading, creative writing and learning the guitar.





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

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 for 20 years and recently moved to Leesburg, where he resides with his wife and two daughters.

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

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

November / December 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

4004 Carson Place Alexandria, VA 22304

6118 Vernon Terrace Alexandria, VA 22307

110 Gibbon Street Alexandria, VA 22314

8 BD | 7F 2H BA | $2,750,000

5 BD | 4F 1H BA | $1,998,500

3 BD | 3F 1H BA | $1,250,000

Compass is a licensed real estate brokerage that abides by Equal Housing Opportunity laws. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is not guaranteed. All measurements and square footages are approximate. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Compass is licensed as Compass Real Estate in DC and as Compass in Virginia and Maryland. 106 N. Lee Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 | 703.277.2152

8 • November / December 2019

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.

George Washington's Mount Vernon by Candlelight / PHOTO COURTESY OF MOUNT VERNON

FALL 2019

Calendar of Events EVENT KEY Arts Film Food & Dining Family-Friendly Historic/Educational Live Music Nightlife Pet-Friendly Recreation & Outdoor Shopping

November The Art League’s Art on Tap Nov. 1 | 7 - 10 p.m.

Local craft beers, original artwork and amazing food are all up for grabs at The Art League’s annual Art on Tap. Craft beers from local breweries have been paired with a work of art from an Art League instructor. Local restaurants have chosen a brew/ artwork coupling to serve as their muse to create the perfect artful hors d’oeuvre. Sample creative combinations while drinking from a take-home Art on Tap beer-tasting glass, and then vote for your favorite at the end of the event. You must be 21 or older to attend, and a valid form of ID is required for entry. The Art League, 105 N. Union St.,

Horses & Hounds Nov. 2 | 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Watch a simulated fox hunt, a cavalry demonstration and meet Nelson, a horse similar to Washington’s beloved warhorse. Events take place rain or shine and are included in the regular admission price. George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy.,

Apothecary Geek Tour Nov. 3 | 11 a.m.

If the regular 30-minute tour of the Apothecary Museum isn’t enough, this is for you! Spend more time touring the museum with an expert guide, including the rarely open basement and third floor of the historic pharmacy. Recommended for adults. Advance purchase is suggested. Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, 105-107 S. Fairfax St.,


November / December 2019 •





Election Day Nov. 5

The general election is Nov. 5, when Alexandria voters will choose a variety of state and local representatives. Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. For your polling location information, go to vote.elections.

Rock the Blocks Nov. 7 | 6 - 9 p.m.

Eat at the top restaurants in Old Town and help rescue children through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Each guest will receive a wristband at their reserved “starting restaurant” and enjoy unlimited food and drink at all participating restaurants. $125 per person; $300 VIP experience includes a pre-event reception at 5 p.m. and an after party 9 – 11 p.m. Various locations,

Alexandria Film Festival Nov. 7 - 10 The 2019 Alexandria Film Festival — the 13th annual event — will screen more than 50 films before you can see them anywhere else. This year, learn the story of a mysterious United States Navy helicopter crash off the coast of Virginia in Who Killed Lt. Van Dorn? as part of the festival’s special Veteran’s Showcase. Alexandria native and former Saturday Night Live actress (and T.C. Williams High School graduate) Casey Wilson will arrive for the Alexandria premiere of her film Daddio. Filmmaker Marc Carlini will return to his hometown for the Alexandria screening of his film She's in Portland. The four-day event is open to all area motion picture enthusiasts.

Various locations.

George Washington Whiskey Festival

Fall Harvest Ball

Nov. 9 | 6 - 9 p.m.

Join this 1770s-style ball with live music, English country dancing, cash bar, and seasonal dessert collation. 1770s attire or cocktail attire welcome. Dance classes are available in the days leading up to the event. Advance tickets are required.

Join Mount Vernon for its new George Washington Whiskey Festival! Enjoy some of the finest spirits from Virginia craft distillers and other famous whiskey producers. Meet celebrated distillers and learn more about George Washington’s whiskey operations at Mount Vernon. Purchase tickets through the Estate’s website. George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy.,

Nov. 9 | 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

In honor of Veteran’s Day, Fort Ward Museum will offer two 90-minute, soldier-led tours. An interpreter portraying a Union army veteran reminiscing about his service at Fort Ward is part of the event that will include lessons on Civil War fort construction and more. Tours are free and begin inside the museum.


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

Diagnosing the Past Nov. 10 | 1 p.m.

Was Jane Austen poisoned? What made King George go mad? Hear about the diagnoses of historical figures using modern medical and scientific knowledge, the interesting possibilities they have raised, and the potential pitfalls of attempting to diagnose “historical patients.” The legends you've heard about these famous patients have changed as recent medical discoveries shed new light on old symptoms. Tickets are $15 for the program, $36 for the program plus tea. Advance registration is recommended through the Fairfax County website.

Civil War Tours

Fort Ward Museum & Historic Park, 4301 W. Braddock Rd.,

Nov. 9 | 8 - 11 p.m.


Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road,


Paula Poundstone Nov. 15, 16 and 17 | 7:30 p.m.

Join renowned comedian, author, lecturer, host, and actress, Paula Poundstone for an evening of laughter and wit. She has won the American Comedy Award for Best Female Standup Comic and has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows. Tickets range from $39.50 – $49.50. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

Ice! Featuring Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas Nov. 15 - Dec. 30 | Various times

ICE! featuring the 1957 Dr. Seuss classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a must-see holiday event. Experience favorite scenes from this Christmas special. Everything is hand-carved from 2 million pounds of ice. Purchase tickets in advance online. Tickets start at $25 child, $33 adult.

Ruby Red Jewelry Beautiful Styles - Endless Possibilities

The Christmas Village, 201 Waterfront St., National Harbor,

The Outlandish Tour Nov. 17 | 11 a.m.

Learn about the role of 18th-century female healers and apothecaries on this tour that focuses on the herbal medicines featured in Diana Gabaldon’s celebrated Outlander series of novels in this special tour at the Apothecary Museum.

Mon-Sat 10am-6pm Open Thurs 10am-8pm Closed Sundays

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

Chris Botti Nov. 22 and 23 | 7:30 p.m.

Grammy Award-winning trumpeter and composer, Chris Botti brings his unique combination of jazz and pop to the Birchmere stage. Tickets are $110. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

KingsJewelry.NET 609 King Street Old Town Alexandria 703-549-0011

The food people crave. The atmosphere people love. The attention you deserve.

Alexandria Cider Festival Nov. 23 | 1 - 5 p.m.

Enjoy a selection of ciders from more than 10 Virginia cideries at this annual event. Save money by reserving tickets in advance ($45 ahead of time or $55 at the door). Ticket includes tastings, a souvenir glass, live music and fun fall activities. A food truck will be on-site for this outdoor event. Office of Historic Alexandria, 220 N. Washington St.,

The Women of Lee–Fendall House Nov. 23 | 2 p.m.

Learn about the experiences of the women who have lived in and shaped the Lee–Fendall House over the centuries. Beginning in 1791 with Mary Lee Fendall, the tour will culminate in the story of the women who fought to save the house from development in the 1970s. This tour will coincide with the last opportunity to view the exhibit The New Woman: Life in Progressive Era Alexandria, 1890-1920. Tickets are $10, members of the Lee–Fendall House are free. Lee–Fendall House Museum & Garden, 614 Oronoco St.,

Join us for our specials

DOLLAR WINE TUESDAYS (2nd bottle of wine just $1)

WHISKEY WEDNESDAYS 121 S. Union Street, Alexandria, VA


(703) 548-1785

See website for details and hours. November / December 2019 •



Mount Vernon by Candlelight

Nov. 28 | 9 a.m.

Alexandria’s 44th 5–mile Turkey Trot is the area’s premier Thanksgiving road race, presented by the DC Road Runners Club and the Del Ray Business Association. This is a “pancake flat” course. Register up until 8:30 a.m., 30 minutes before the race begins. Bring canned or non-perishable food items to donate. For more information and to register, visit

Nov. 29, 30, Dec. 6, 7, 13, 14, 22

Museum Shop Sunday

Take a look at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate in a new light during this character-guided tour, and learn more about holiday traditions in 18th-century Virginia. Enjoy holiday decorations, treats, music and more in this festive season that was one of George Washington's favorite times of the year. This popular event sells out quickly, so purchase tickets online in advance or in person at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate.

Dec. 1 | Various times

A Motown Christmas

Stop by your favorite Alexandria museums and enjoy special activities and discounts at their museum shops. Give the gift of history to your friends and family. Participating museum stores include the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, the Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum, Friendship Firehouse Museum, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Alexandria Black History Museum, Fort Ward Museum, Freedom House Museum, Lee–Fendall House Museum, Alexandria Archaeology Museum, and the Carlyle House. Hours vary by site. See for more information.

Nov. 30 | 4:15 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.

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

Alexandria Turkey Trot


Dec. 1 | 4:15 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.

Get in the holiday spirit as The Brencore Allstars Band performs some of Motown's greatest Christmas hits by the Temptations, Four Tops, Diana Ross, the Jackson 5 and more. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door. The Carlyle Club, 2050 Ballenger Ave.,


Mention code

AXLV10 to receive a

10% FOOD DISCOUNT Must be redeemed by 12.31.19

703.549.2708 103 N. Alfred St, Alexandria, Virginia 22314 12 • November / December 2019


The Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend Dec. 6 and 7 | Various times

A Christmas Carol Dec. 6 - 20 | Various times

An Alexandria tradition, the classic by Charles

The Campagna Center presents the 49th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend & Parade. The lineup of festivities includes the Taste of Scotland, The Scottish Christmas Walk Parade, the Heather and Greens Sale, and the Holiday Home Tours, that will celebrate the rich Scottish heritage of Old Town Alexandria. Proceeds benefit The Campagna Center programs that serve more than 2,000 children and families daily in Alexandria. Multiple sponsorship opportunities available. Various locations, scottishwalkweekend

Dickens comes alive on The Little Theatre

Taste of Scotland

of Alexandria stage. Ebenezer Scrooge,

Dec. 6 | 6:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.

a Victorian miser, is led by ghostly spirits through Christmas past, present, and future to discover the true meaning of the holidays. Complete with special effects, Victorian carols, and of course, Tiny Tim. Tickets are $20. The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe St.,

Heather and Greens Sale Dec. 7

This festive event features a Scotch tasting menu including a variety of Scotches direct from Scotland distilleries, Scottish ale sampling, as well as beer, wine, and food. The Atrium Building, 277 S. Washington St., tasteofscotland

Purchase a variety of wreaths, garlands, and fresh heather bundles to decorate your home or office for the holiday season. Check the Campagna Center website for pre-order information. The Campagna Center, 418 S. Washington St.,

Babs Beckwith

Old Town’s Real Estate Expert, selling Old Town homes for 25+ years. 703.627.5421 | 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 November / December 2019 •

















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

14 • November / December 2019


The Magic Apothecary

A Victorian Christmas at Lee–Fendall House

Dec. 8 | 11 a.m.

Learn about the muggle botanical science that inspired the potions and herbology of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, and make your own magical sleeping potion in this special tour at the Apothecary Museum. Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, 105-107 S. Fairfax St.,


The Scottish Christmas Walk Parade Dec. 7 | 11 a.m.

Enjoy marching units filled with the magnificent tartans of Scottish Clans, the stirring sound of Scottish bagpipes and drums, Scottish dancers, reenactment groups, Scottie dogs, dignitaries, classic cars, Santa Claus, and much more. The parade begins at St. Asaph and Wolfe Streets and concludes at Market Square with a massed band concert. The parade will take place rain or shine.

Dec. 12 | 4 p.m.

Hear a variety of Christmas poems, both traditional and contemporary, as you relax over a unique holiday tea by candlelight at Green Spring Gardens. Tickets are $48. Green Spring Gardens, 4603 Green Spring Road,

A Civil War Christmas in Camp

Holiday Home Tours

Fort Ward Museum & Historic Park, 4301 W. Braddock Road,

Various locations, scottishwalkweekend/hometours

Experience the holiday season with festive activities and fare at historic sites throughout Alexandria! Dance in the ballroom at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, warm yourself by the fire at Carlyle House, and make a Victorian keepsake at Lee–Fendall House. Enjoy seasonal decorations, refreshments, and take advantage of a 10% discount at the participating Museum Shops! Ticket includes admission to Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Carlyle House Historic Park, Lee–Fendall House Museum & Garden, and the Alexandria Black History Museum. Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for seniors, and $8 for children.

Dec. 14 | 7 p.m. Dec. 15 | 2 p.m.

Dec. 7 | 5:30 p.m.

After the Scottish Christmas Walk, stick around for the 20th annual Holiday Boat Parade of Lights. Watch for dozens of twinkling boats along Alexandria’s harbor as they cruise the Potomac River at the historic waterfront. The Old Town Waterfront, holidays/boat-parade

The Colonial English Handbell Ringers perform clad in colonial attire, bringing a historic feel to this concert. Enjoy listening to this 5-octave set of nearly 80 handbells from the world-famous Whitechapel foundry in London. Free, seating is first come, first served.

Dec. 14 | 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Nutcracker Potpourri

Holiday Boat Parade of Lights

Dec. 15 | 4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Yuletide by Candlelight

Various locations,


Colonial Handbell Ringers Concert

Lyceum, 201 S. Washington St.,

Dec. 14 | noon - 4 p.m.

Old Town, parade

Explore Alexandria’s history and take advantage of a rare opportunity to stroll through some of Old Town’s most splendid homes decked out for the holidays by acclaimed interior designers and local florists. Home Tour tickets may be purchased/picked up at any Home Tour stop. Tickets are $40.

Experience a Victorian Christmas at the Lee– Fendall House. The house will be decorated for the season and there will be holiday crafts, photographs with Santa, seasonal treats, story time, an antique toy exhibit and more. The museum will not be open for regular tours. Lee–Fendall House Museum & Garden, 614 Oronoco St.,

Christmas Candlelight Tea

Learn about Christmas traditions during the Civil War. See the decorated officers’ hut, a Victorian tree, fort tours and participate in activities.

Dec. 7 | 12:30 - 4 p.m.

Dec. 14 and 15 | 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.

The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra presents the Nutcracker in a new way – enjoy favorite excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s ballet and Duke Ellington’s version. Attendees at Saturday’s performance will also experience a video presentation with the Nutcracker and Hansel and Gretel. Saturday’s performance: Schlesinger Concert Hall, 4915 E. Campus Dr. Sunday’s performance: George Washington Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Dr.

Holiday Tree Lightings Keep an eye out for information about these events:

City of Alexandria Tree Lighting Saturday, Nov. 23 | 6-9 p.m.

Join fellow residents at Market Square for the lighting of the Christmas tree. The event begins with a welcome by Alexandria’s Town Crier and remarks from the mayor, and includes performances and the tree lighting. After the lighting, children may visit with Santa Claus on stage. Get more information at Del Ray Holiday Events In addition to its own tree lighting, Del Ray hosts the Candy Cane Bar Crawl, Holiday Pop-Up Market and much more. Keep an eye on for details about these events and more in Del Ray.

November / December 2019 •



Life Event: Family Holidays Life is full of change. And often, our housing should change with it. We are experts at helping people evaluate their housing needs – now and into the future. We are there when you need us: • • • •

Downsizing Options Decluttering Managing Donations Sprucing up for Sale

• • • •

Space Planning - What to keep Helping with Gift Items Cleaning/Clearing Marketing & Selling the House!

Time to brainstorm? Call, email, or text today! Peter Crouch, Associate Broker 703.244.4024 |


Christmas Illuminations at Mount Vernon 2018 SRES National Winner Outstanding Service Award NVAR Lifetime Top Producer Specialist in “Mature” Moves

Dec. 20 and 21 | 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. 109 S Pitt St, Alexandria, VA 22314 Equal Housing Opportunity


Join Mount Vernon for an evening of family-friendly fun and fireworks choreographed to holiday music, with fireworks beginning around 8 p.m. Take a stroll through the estate while being serenaded by local choirs, visit with reenactors from the First Virginia Regiment and learn 18th-century dance moves from costumed guides in the Greenhouse. George and Martha Washington will also be on site to greet Mount Vernon’s holiday guests. Tickets for adults are $36 with Mansion Tour, $30 without tour. Tickets for youth are $26 with Mansion tour, $20 without tour. George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy.,

Cirque Dreams Holidaze Dec. 20 – 23 | Various Times

Begin with


Coed Independent School in Alexandria Preschool - Grade 5

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

16 • November / December 2019

Renowned director Neil Goldberg re-imagines the holiday season with Cirque Dreams Holidaze. An international cast of over 30 artists come to life. Experience gingerbread men flipping midair, toy soldiers marching on thin wires, snowmen daringly balancing, icemen powerfully sculpting, penguins spinning, puppets dancing and reindeer soaring high above a landscape of holiday wonderment including gigantic gifts, colossal candy canes and 30-foot towering soldiers set to an original music score and some seasonal favorites. MGM National Harbor Resort & Casino, 101 MGM National Ave., Oxon Hill,

First Night Alexandria Dec. 31

First Night Alexandria is a celebration of the New Year with a special focus on performing arts. This alternative to the traditional New Year’s Eve celebrations is family-friendly, enjoyable and affordable. A variety of venues from retail shops to office buildings, churches, hotels, restaurants and more become performance spaces for the evening. The night ends with a spectacular fireworks display at the end of King Street. Various locations,

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Talking comfort food with Chef Peter McCall of Jackson 20 It's that time of year when temperatures drop and thoughts turn to a cozy fire, a warm beverage and a satisfying meal. We asked Chef Peter McCall of Jackson 20, located at 480 King St. in Old Town Alexandria, for his thoughts on comforting cuisine during the fall and winter season.

When you think of the perfect "comfort food" on your menu, what comes to mind?

Our Country Fried Steak — we elevate it by using a beef short rib cooked for 72 hours and serve it with sausage gravy, collard greens and pickled onions. It’s a decadent dish, but so comforting. What about dessert?

For dessert, our apple crostata with crème fraîche ice cream and bourbon caramel reminds our guests of the apple pies of their childhood! What was your favorite comfort food growing up?

Either my mother’s creamed chicken on homemade biscuits or one of her delicious soups with our family cornbread recipe that I serve in the restaurant now. Are there any trends when it comes to comfort food that our readers should try?

I recently tried soufflé pancakes for the first time in San Diego at a place called Morning Glory and they were a delicious twist on classic pancakes.


Alexandria’s Favorite Winter Comfort Foods BY MARY ANN BARTON

No city has anything on Alexandria when it comes to winter comfort food. Chili? Check. Mac n' cheese? Check. Decadent desserts? Check! A childhood favorite for many of us is Frito Chili Pie, which you can find at Alexandria's favorite chili parlor, Hard Times Cafe. They've been doling out their award-winning chili since 1980 at 1404 King St. For the Frito Chili Pie, the eatery adds the Fritos and you top it with your favorite chili: Texas, Cincinnati, Terlingua or vegetarian. As if that's not enough, you can top off the chili with cheddar or parmesan cheese, chopped onions, hot dog, sour cream, chopped fresh jalapeños or diced tomatoes. In Del Ray, stop by Cheesetique, 2411 Mt. Vernon Ave., where they're known for the ultimate winter comfort food, mac 'n cheese. Last year, Food & Wine magazine included the Alexandria eatery's mac 'n cheese among the • November / December 2019

country's best. Chef/owner Jill Erber utilizes a mix of decadent gouda, tangy asiago and sharp cacio di Roma in this winter comfort classic. The elbow macaroni in the dish gives the gooey decadence a down-home taste. Topped off with bread crumbs tossed with truffle oil gives it a sophisticated crusty finish. Looking for something sweet? Just down the street from Cheesetique, you can stop in at the Dairy Godmother, 2310 Mt. Vernon Ave. to see if any "pop up" cobblers are on the menu. If you're dining at Del Ray Cafe, at 205 E. Howell Ave., save room for the freshly baked apple tart with organic salted caramel ice cream. At RT's, at 3804 Mt. Vernon Ave., try the Creole bread pudding served with a warm Bailey's Irish cream toffee sauce. Down the GW Parkway, if you're heading to George Washington's Mount Vernon Inn, you can't go wrong with the dinner menu's pork shank served with creamy polenta, port wine pan sauce and fresh watercress. Ask for a table near one of the inn's two fireplaces!


Feeling Creative? Put a twist on your weekend brunch by trying George Washington's favorite breakfast food, hoecakes. Follow this recipe from Dining with the Washingtons, by Nancy Carter Crump:

1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast 2 1/2 cups white cornmeal, divided 3 to 4 cups lukewarm water 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 large egg, lightly beaten Melted butter for drizzling and serving Honey or maple syrup for serving 1. Mix the yeast and 1 1/4 cups of the cornmeal in a large bowl. Add 1 cup of the lukewarm water, stirring to combine thoroughly. Mix in 1/2 cup more of the water, if needed, to give the mixture the consistency of pancake batter. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. 2. Preheat the oven to 200°F 3. When ready to finish the hoecakes, begin by adding 1/2 to 1 cup of the remaining water to the batter. Stir in the salt and the egg, blending thoroughly. 4. Gradually add the remaining 1 1/4 cups of cornmeal, alternating with enough additional lukewarm water to make a mixture that is the consistency of waffle batter. Cover with a towel, and set aside at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. 5. Heat a griddle on medium-high heat, and lightly grease it with lard or vegetable shortening. Preparing 1 hoecake at a time, drop a scant 1/4 cup of the batter onto the griddle and cook on one side for about 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. With a spatula, turn the hoecake over and continue cooking another 4 to 5 minutes, until browned. 6. Place the hoecake on a platter, and set it in the oven to keep warm while making the rest of the batch. Drizzle each batch with melted butter. 7. Serve the hoecakes warm, drizzled with melted butter and honey or maple syrup.

Find more historic comfort food recipes at


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Del Ray Mom Makes Healthy Kids’ Meals Her Business BY MARY ANN BARTON

Heather Stouffer, who lives and works in Alexandria, launched Mom Made Foods from a card table at the Del Ray Farmers Market in 2006. The company is now helping parents nationwide and is on the cusp of launching a new option for lunch boxes. We talked to Stouffer about what she ate growing up, how being a working mom influences her business and the role her entire family plays in Mom Made Foods.

Where did the inspiration for your company come from?

As a new working mom who cares a lot about the foods I feed my family, I found myself regularly in a pinch for quick, healthy foods my kids would love. I felt guilty if I was compromising on nutrition just because I was running late or didn’t have enough time to cook from scratch. I surveyed thousands of parents, and I found I was far from alone in my struggles.

When did you start your business and how has it grown? I launched Mom Made at the Del Ray Farmers Market on Memorial Day weekend in 2006 from behind a card table. We’re now in thousands of stores throughout the country, as well as available online and on Amazon.


Prior to launching Mom Made, I was in the tech industry. Before we had kids, my husband and I lived and worked in Europe. I headed up the European sales team for a commercial internet service provider. It was a fantastic experience and taught me to manage dozens of major projects simultaneously. We moved back to D.C. to start a family, and I worked for a tech consulting company before leaving to launch Mom Made.

Where are the meals made?

Our office is in Alexandria. We have three manufacturers we work with who are experts at making each of our product lines. For example, we make our entrees at a certified-organic facility in New Jersey that makes pasta from scratch. We’re committed to keeping all suppliers in the USA and as close to our office as possible.

How does being a mom yourself come into the decisions you make about your product and your business? Is your family involved?

My husband, Craig, is technically our co-founder although he’s never been involved in the business. I call him our Chief of Moral Support, which is a critical role! My kids (10 and 14) are our Chief Product Tasters. They are my inspiration. They have very different preferences when it comes to foods, so I get well-rounded feedback and ideas between the two of them. As a family, we are Mom Made's typical consumer — dual working parents, health-minded, not willing to cut corners, • November / December 2019

and budget-minded. I am constantly observing my own needs as well as the market to come up with new product ideas.

What were your favorite foods growing up as a child?

I grew up in Kansas City, on the Kansas side. My favorite foods as a child were BBQ ribs, spaghetti and meatballs, and artichokes dipped in homemade Hollandaise Sauce. In fact, I preferred Hollandaise on most vegetables, and at 9 years old, it became the first recipe I learned to make. My parents had gotten divorced and my mom had gone back to work full time, meaning less time for meal prep. If I wanted Hollandaise, she said, I needed to make it myself.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions about popular foods kids eat today?

Many parents begin to struggle with mealtimes for their kids starting around age 2, when a child learns the word “no.” Fruits and veggies don’t taste as good as they did now that the toddler is exposed to more foods, and rather than keep offering lots of fresh produce, many parents give up. They try sneaking veggies into food, forcing, bribing, etc. — all of which doesn’t work in the long run. Parents should continue to offer fruits and veggies at every meal. It takes time and patience, and it is worth the payoff to raise a healthy eater. Research shows a child may need 20+ exposures to a food before they’ll begin to like it. With my son, it took 400+ times (years!) of him seeing

salad on the table before he wanted to try it. Now, he loves salad and makes the best homemade salad dressings!

Do you work from home? What's a typical day like for you? I work from our office. A typical day starts at 6:15 a.m. I do a 30-minute workout at home or run, make the kids’ lunches and breakfast, then walk my daughter (and often her friends, too) to school. I return to shower and fuel myself with a new cup of tea then head to the office by 8:30 a.m. As we have many consultants, suppliers, retail customers and key business partners, I spend a lot of a typical day on phone calls. I also am constantly working in spreadsheets on inventory analysis, financial projections, pricing, etc. Consumer goods business is impacted by pennies, so every number counts. I try to leave the office by 5:50 p.m. to pick up my son from cross country practice, and then head home. My amazing husband typically has dinner nearly finished when we get home. We sit down as a family most nights for dinner, and then kids head off to their evening activities and homework. All of us check in our screens by 9 p.m.

What tips would you give to other mom entrepreneurs out there? If you’re not failing, you’re not doing anything. Not everything will be a slam dunk win. Pick up the phone more than emailing, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. I’m always reassured and amazed at how willing people are to help me regardless of the ask.

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What is the role of your Mom Made Moms ambassadors? Can anyone apply? Yes, all parents can apply! Mom Made Moms are active, community-involved moms who care about healthy foods. They are our grassroots help in expansion to a new set of stores, product tasting and overall spreading the word about Mom Made. In return, they get free product and advance notice about special promotions. (More information is at

What goals do you have for your business in coming years? My goal has always been to grow Mom Made into a well-respected household brand. We’re in the final stages of launching a new line of healthy frozen sandwiches that we’ve been developing for two years, Mom Made Lunchwich. They’re delicious and so easy! It’s not difficult to make a sandwich for your child but it does take time. These are the solution for the rushed morning where you’d rather save 5 minutes and be able to peacefully and lovingly send your child to school instead of yelling at them to tie their shoes. In the near future, we hope school cafeterias all over the country are full of kids opening their lunch bags to enjoy a Lunchwich.

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In Alexandria, Mom Made Foods are available at Whole Foods Market, select Safeway locations and Mom’s Organic Market. You can also order online. More information is at November / December 2019 •



Volunteer Today for Alexandria's Tomorrow! Young people are Alexandria’s next generation philanthropists. Volunteer Alexandria’s youth and family volunteer programs promote civic responsibility and recognize the incredible value of community service. Families of any size or formation who are engaged in service frequently develop a lifelong commitment to their communities through volunteering. Volunteer Alexandria creates projects and hosts events that are fun, creative and focused on issues concerning health and nutrition, emergency preparedness and the environment here in our community. Help us engage Alexandria’s youth in volunteering and help us in our goal for children and adults of all ages is to become involved in their community.

Top Six Reasons Why Children Should Volunteer: 1. Children develop compassion as they learn the value of giving to others. They learn to appreciate what they have and learn to work with others. 2. Volunteering encourages children to do things at which they excel, as well as things they’d like to learn. Moving beyond their comfort zone helps build self-confidence.


How Alexandria’s Youth can be ‘Doing Good in the Neighborhood!’

Breaks with Impact Your children can serve the community during school breaks! Students are invited to spend one day or three days learning more about the issues that Alexandrians face. They will discover how they can make a change in Alexandria today and in the future. This program is focused on community engagement. Participants will learn more about social, safety, health and environmental issues facing Alexandrians and how we, as a community, can be change-makers. Youth can earn direct service hours that may be needed for other projects and service learning hours. Lunch and snacks are provided. “It really opened my eyes about the problems in Alexandria,” said one program attendee after her three-day experience. The next sessions for this program are April 7 and April 9. For more information on Breaks With Impact, including how to register, go to Volunteer Alexandria is a self-funded not-for-profit organization that depends on the caring generosity of our community. Please consider a donation or sponsoring one of our up-coming events. Please visit or call (703) 836-2176

3. Children discover inner strengths and life skills by volunteering. Teamwork, tolerance and problem-solving help them cope with daily challenges in their own lives. 4. Children learn how to be a valued member of their community. Growing up with a greater sense of social responsibility makes them more likely to volunteer throughout their lives. 5. Volunteering gives kids the chance to meet people from different backgrounds and to make new friends. It enhances their emotional development, fostering socializing and communication. 6. Volunteering shows the next generation how to “Be the change they wish to see in the world,” as Mahatma Gandhi said.

22 • November / December 2019

Volunteers in Alexandria contribute approximately $1,304,800 to our local communities each year!


The Parable of the Knocker Alexandria Commonwealth's Attorney Bryan Porter’s new book has lessons about the case of serial killer Charles Severance. BY MARY ANN BARTON

“The story is interesting, and sad, but I think there are also a lot of important lessons to be learned in the case,” Alexandria Commonwealth's Attorney Bryan Porter said. He was talking about one of Alexandria's most famous cases — one that he helped solve. With lessons about the country’s mental health system and new details about Alexandria’s most frightening criminal, Porter has authored a book about serial killer Charles Severance. Severance terrorized Alexandria before he was caught, tried and convicted for the murders of three prominent Alexandrians. He was sentenced in early 2016 to three life terms and 48 years and is serving time in a southwest Virginia maximum security prison.

Alexandria Commonwealth's Attorney Bryan Porter sits on the steps of the Alexandria Courthouse at 520 King St. / PHOTO BY MARY ANN BARTON

"I'm telling the story of what happened but I'm also trying to use it to make points about my perspective, of being involved in this line of work as long as I have." Porter worked for five years as a police officer in the Alexandria Police Department, working the midnight shift while earning his law degree at George Mason University. After graduating in 2001, he was hired as a prosecutor and was elected Commonwealth's Attorney in 2013. His book covers the investigation, prosecution and trial of Severance and is titled The Parable of the Knocker: The True Crime Story of a Prosecutor's Fight to Bring a Serial Killer to Justice. Severance was convicted in the shooting deaths of Nancy Dunning, wife of then-Sheriff James Dunning, in 2003; transportation planner Ron Kirby in 2013; and music teacher Ruthanne Lodato in 2014. He was also convicted in the shooting of a caregiver in the Lodato home who survived. When Dunning was murdered in 2003, Porter had only been in the Commonwealth Attorney's Office as a prosecutor for two years. "I was involved in low-level stuff and was not involved with the Dunning case at all," said Porter, who grew up in Rosemont and attended T.C. Williams High School, where his father, John Porter, was principal for 25 years. November / December 2019 •



The 2003 murder, committed in broad daylight, flummoxed Alexandria for years. A decade went by before Severance struck again.


FIREARMS EVIDENCE HITS THE NEWS On March 6, Alexandria Police Chief Earl Cook gave a press conference that linked the firearms evidence to all three murders. "You've got to imagine Severance saw that," Porter said.

Fast forward 10 years to 2013: After winning election in November as Commonwealth's Attorney, succeeding Randy Sengel, who retired, Porter was sailing in the Caribbean between Grenada and Saint Martin on vacation. He found out about the ambush-style murder of Ronald Kirby when he returned to port.

"Then by coincidence, that afternoon, a police detective — because Severance is now in the database as someone who needs to be talked to — had determined Severance lived with his girlfriend in Ashburn," Porter said. "He knocked on the front door but no one was home."

Porter remembers the extreme stress he felt and how everyone in Alexandria was on edge. He began his new job in January.

Porter thinks the press conference and the visit "freaked Severance out."

"I was not prepared for the attention and chaos and stress that accompanied the case," Porter said. "Everyone was on edge. The media attention was very, very intense."

The next morning on March 7, Severance emailed the detective who had left a business card at the Ashburn home and said, "I received your business card” and nothing more.

"Random ambush murders at the doors of people's houses in affluent neighborhoods don't usually happen," he said. "It was kind of the same vibe as the Beltway snipers, when they were shooting people. People were terrified. My parents live a few blocks from where Ron Kirby lived. I told them to lock their doors, not answer the door."

Two hours later, Severance drove his car to a D.C. parking garage wearing a poncho and a tricorn hat like a Revolutionary War veteran. He rode a bicycle from there to the Russian Embassy, requesting asylum, telling them that the City of Alexandria was persecuting him, Porter said.

Then soon after, on Feb. 6, 2014, Severance struck again when he fatally shot Ruthanne Lodato. A surviving victim, a caretaker, observed the shooter in the house and was able to give police a description. A composite sketch was released. The FBI assisted and created a database with the tips that poured in, Porter said.

"I think he believed he was committing political acts of revolution."

"Most of the tips were not useful at all," Porter recalled. "They were 'I saw a guy that looked like that this afternoon, on the Metro.' People were terrified."

"I think he believed he was committing political acts of revolution," Porter said, noting that it was about the time that Edward Snowden had gotten asylum from the Russians.

When Severance showed up at the embassy, the Russians called the Secret Service. The Secret Service interviewed and followed Severance to the garage where he had parked his car. They asked to search the car, and he declined the request. (Porter believes the guns, which were never found, were likely in the car at the time.)

But one tip led to a man who police interviewed and determined that "he was not our killer, but he knew Severance and said, 'I didn't do it, but I know this guy you might want to look at.'"

But the Secret Service did take pictures of Severance and his car and sent their report to the Alexandria Police after he told them the city was persecuting him.

"They both had the beard, were about the same age and went to school together," Porter said. Police added Severance to a list of leads to check out.

A police detective looking at the Secret Service report realized Severance matched the composite sketch and the car looked exactly like the one on the recording captured on the Braddock Road home surveillance system after the Lodato murder, Porter said.

Another big break: When Severance drove away from the scene of the Lodato murder, his car was captured on a private home surveillance camera along Braddock Road, across the street from Blessed Sacrament. "You can't see the license plate but you could tell the make and model of the car," Porter said. A circular bumper sticker was visible on the back of the car, which was recorded about two minutes after the murder. The recording was put on the back burner but would come in handy later.

24 • November / December 2019

A detective then returned to the Ashburn house but was told by Severance's girlfriend that he had packed up some belongings and left. Porter said he thinks Severance hid the guns somewhere, possibly in Maryland, when he left Ashburn. The police questioned the girlfriend and she told them that Severance was angry, hated the City of Alexandria and that she had bought Severance two guns and ammunition that were missing.


"I remember sitting there that night thinking, 'This is more than a person of interest. This is starting to look like our guy,'" Porter said.


A manhunt was on to find Severance.

system, "but it's short-sighted to put it entirely upon the mental

On March 13, an FBI agent reported that Severance had used a credit card in Wheeling, W.Va. Police arrested Severance at a library there and he was returned to Loudoun County. "We decided to send an FBI agent in to talk to him because he said he wouldn't speak to Alexandria police," Porter said. As the FBI agent read him his Miranda rights, Severance said he wanted just two things — an attorney and the right to remain silent.

MANIFESTO Later, reading a manifesto written by Severance online and in notebooks he left in his car, Porter saw that Severance, a former Alexandria resident, had been stewing for years over a child custody case that kept him from his son. Severance blamed the "elite" of Alexandria for his troubles. Severance had lived on Gunston Road in Alexandria in his earlier years, and had made a run for mayor and Congress.

Porter said one of the big takeaways from the case is that there are a lot of politicians who say this is a failure of the mental health health system. ... Lay people conceive of mental health as a ‘binary switch.’ You're either crazy or you're not.” “Take Severance — he had mental health issues for 30 years,” Porter said. “His parents knew when he was in high school he had issues. He joined a religious cult. He was not mumbling to himself, he was not schizophrenic, he was not having hallucinations." Severance was diagnosed with personality disorders and saw a psychiatrist once in the early '90s, Porter said. "Anyone who met him would say, 'There is something wrong with him.' He was very quick to perceive personal slights. His writings bear all of that out. He is very intelligent, with an advanced

"I've got a feeling ... that his motivations and thoughts will go to the grave with him."

Looking at Severance’s writings, Porter could also see the suspect held a fascination for Gen. Edward Braddock, the British general who left the Carlyle House in Alexandria in the 1750s to head to the Ohio River Valley to fight Native Americans. One way the Native Americans fought back? They used guerrilla tactics such as ambushing a home. Severance, who admired the Native Americans, "wrote over and over again about the Native Americans, 'tomahawking a homestead,'" Porter noted.

In his writings dated before the Kirby and Lodato murders, he wrote about "introducing murder into a safe and secure neighborhood...," Porter said, noting that if you draw a line between the three Alexandria homes where Dunning, Kirby and Lodato were murdered, you'll find the Braddock cannon at the intersection of Braddock and Russell roads near the center.

degree in engineering from the University of Virginia. He was self-aware enough that if a doctor met with him and asked, 'Charles, are you thinking of murdering anyone?' He was smart enough to say, 'No way.'" "My point is you can't entrust the mental health system with the sole responsibility of addressing these situations when so many people can easily fly under the radar because they don't present

mental health problems the way most people think," Porter said. "The first thing we have to do as a society is decrease the stigma," he noted. "Family members are the first warning level on this stuff. Friends and family members knew there was not something quite right with this guy for years but for whatever reason there was never any real intervention. 'I don't want to brand my son or friend or family member or loved one as a 'troubled crazy guy.'" But the reality, Porter said, is mental health issues are another physical problem.

The firearms evidence tied up the case, Porter said. Severance never made a public statement and never testified at trial. "The best we can do is kind of piece it together from the jigsaw puzzle of all of his writings that he left," Porter said. "I've got a feeling ... that his motivations and thoughts will go to the grave with him."

"We don't attach a negative stigma to people who have cancer, but we do for people who have mental illness and that's a vestige from another time," he said. "If we can decrease that negative connotation, people will be more likely to receive treatment."

Porter's book is available at bookstores and online at November / December 2019 •




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Life Is Like a Loaf of Bread BY STUART PERKINS

Arriving at Vola’s a bit early for dinner with friends, I walked across the dock to wait by a set of benches facing the Potomac.

disobedient little boy now running in circles around a lamppost,

Old Town bustled that evening, and I took the last empty seat on a bench beside an unassuming elderly woman. Her full attention was on a family busy tossing bread to ducks paddling in the water below. As I sat down, she nodded a pleasant hello but quickly resumed her study of the family, seeming to focus mostly on a little boy. Suddenly, the little boy broke from his mother’s grip and bolted past us, missing the old woman’s cane by inches.

I didn’t understand. “What does that mean?”

“Come back here!” the mother shouted as her unruly child chased seagulls from the dock. “One. Two. I better not have to say three!” The old woman nudged me with her elbow. “Bless her heart. She’s already counted to three at least seven times,” she chuckled and shook her head sympathetically. I grinned. I have two children, both grown now, but the times that I myself counted to three were not that long ago. I started to say so just as the little boy zipped by us again.

oblivious of his mother’s repetitive counting. She leaned close and looked at me over her glasses, “That one needed more water in the dough,” she whispered.

She tapped her cane hard on the ground, “He’s too dense!” she clarified with a hearty laugh. I don’t bake, and for fear of seeming equally dense, I hesitantly asked. “Did you just compare him to bread?” I grinned, unsure of where this was going. She jerked her head towards me. “Oh, honey, all of us are a little like bread,” she turned to gaze out across the river and began her explanation. I wasn’t sure I could listen. “We’re all born with the right ingredients. We’re all pretty much made from the same recipe. What happens next, well, that’s the tricky part,” she said while mindlessly caressing the curved handle

“One!” The mother yelled as she ran behind him.

of her cane.

The old woman touched my arm and nodded toward the

I was listening.

26 • November / December 2019

“Early on, we need some things to help us along or we don’t come out right,” she continued. “Some of us just fall apart, like bread with too much flour. Some of us never rise to our potential, too little yeast. That little boy, well he needed more water in his dough so as not to be so dense!” she laughed again at her own harmless jab at the boisterous little boy. This was getting interesting, but I glanced at my watch and realized I was now late for dinner. Still, I had to ask. “And then what?” “Most important thing,” she held a crooked finger in the air and continued, “is once all of the ingredients are mixed together, we have to be kneaded. We all want to be needed!” She laughed once more, this time at her play on words. I laughed with her as I stood to leave, now even later for dinner. She held her cane up to stop me. “So, hopefully in the beginning, all of us are set up with the right ingredients, right proportions and are always kneaded (she winked) because…”. Her voice faded. “Because?” I pushed. “Because life has a way of baking the hell out of us!” She rapped

For the first time during our conversation she stopped smiling. “Well, you know a lot can happen to us in a lifetime,” she said, staring wistfully at a water taxi heading downriver. “Life sometimes holds us down, squeezes us tight, tries to shape us a certain way.” It dawned on me, “You mean like a loaf pan?” I almost shouted, so excited to prove I’d caught on. “Now you’ve got it!” she giggled. “Whatever your loaf pan in life, rise above it!” She raised her cane high into the air. “It seems you’ve done just that,” I said. “And all of that business about life baking us,” she explained. “We need it to happen, even if it’s rough. It’s got to happen. By taking the heat we become beautiful stuff on the inside. Life baked me good sometimes, you see, but I didn’t let what burned me on the outside ruin what I have on the inside.” “No, you seem to have handled the heat quite well,” I agreed. She stood slowly and leaned against her cane. “Too much crust and no one cares to find out how beautiful you are on the inside.”

her cane against the bench and threw her head back in laughter.

I nodded in agreement.

I grinned in appreciation of her humor. “You seem to have come

Before slowly walking away she smiled and patted my arm. “Don’t ever let life make you too crusty.”

out of the oven just fine!”


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November / December 2019 •


Winter Blues? Let the Sun Shine In BY MARY ANN BARTON

The winter solstice begins Saturday, Dec. 21, but the skies above Alexandria will be darker in the evenings starting Sunday, Nov. 3 when Daylight Saving Time ends and we move our clocks back an hour. Although the winter season has been seen for centuries around the globe as a time to celebrate, happiness may not be the first thing that comes to mind when the world seems so dark and cold. There are people who find the winter months delightful — think snuggling under a cozy blanket with the latest bestseller and throwing an extra log on the fire — but it may affect others more deeply. Some people may experience fatigue, depression, hopelessness and social withdrawal. If this sounds like you, then you might suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or "SAD" (how's that for an apt acronym?). It's estimated that about six out of every 100 people experience the disorder. Those most at risk for the disorder, according to the National Mental Health Institute, are women (four times more likely than men); younger people, including children and teens; those who suffer from a deficiency in Vitamin D and people who are already diagnosed with bipolar disorder or depression (and could see their symptoms worsen).


Fortunately, there are several ways to alleviate the effects of this disorder. These include changes in your diet to boost Vitamin D, seeing a doctor for therapy or medications, spending time outside on sunny days, making special efforts to see friends or even give yourself something to look forward to — like your next vacation somewhere warm. According to the National Institutes of Health, for those suffering from SAD, there are four major treatment options:

Stewart and others conducted a review of more than 100 leading articles and found a relationship between vitamin D and seasonal depression. “Studies have also found depressed patients commonly had lower levels of vitamin D," he said.



Light therapy is a way to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder and certain other conditions by exposure to artificial light. During light therapy, you sit or work near a device called a light therapy box. The box gives off bright light that mimics natural outdoor light. Light therapy is thought to affect brain chemicals linked to mood and sleep, easing SAD symptoms. Using a light therapy box may also help with other types of depression, sleep disorders and other conditions.

VITAMIN D A 2014 University of Georgia study showed that a deficiency in Vitamin D could be a key contributor to SAD. “Rather than being one of many factors, vitamin D could have a regulative role in the development of SAD,” according to Alan Stewart of the University of Georgia College of Education. • November / December 2019

A few minutes of sunlight exposure each day should do the trick. But if you can't find the sun in the dark days of winter, you can also try mushrooms, egg yolks and fatty fish (think salmon and sardines).

Experts say that two specific chemicals in the brain, melatonin and serotonin, may be involved in SAD. These two chemicals help regulate a person's sleep-wake cycles, energy and mood. Shorter days and longer hours of darkness in fall and winter may cause increased levels of melatonin and decreased levels of serotonin, creating the biological conditions for depression. The American Academy of Family Physicians notes that extended-release bupropion is effective in preventing symptoms in highrisk adults with a history of the illness.

PSYCHOTHERAPY For those who think they may be helped by therapy, Psychology Today offers a "Find a Therapist" site, which you can search by city and specify your needs for what ails you, such as social withdrawal or mood disorder.


The Wellness Cooperative Dating doesn’t have to be hard with the right mindset. “Dating is hard.” How many times have you heard your friends say this? How many times have you said it? I’m sure I even said it a time or two when I jumped back into the dating scene this year after years out of the game. I can see how people think it’s exhausting and no fun. The new name of the game is human window shopping (app dating) followed by an interview over drinks, because dinner would be too much of a commitment without knowing if someone checks all the boxes and wants to get married and have 2.5 kids, 2 dogs and a cat on the first meeting.

This adventure has led me to some pretty exciting places in my own life and now I am working hard to share this with the world. I am currently offering “Stop Bumbling Around” group sessions, heartbreak and dating coaching sessions and am so excited to announce two new online and in person courses coming in the new year! One will be a 6-week course on healing after heartbreak, followed by an amazing empowerment course on the dating mindset. Dating is fun! Don’t believe me? Check these courses out and let’s change your mindset! — by Jeanette Wages

I think I just had a mini anxiety attack thinking about it. Where did I put my essential oils? After jumping on and off apps every other week, I thought, “What am I doing to make this process not fun?” “What am I noticing others are doing on dates?” Oh, the things I noticed on dates… Half the time I realized I was either practicing my standup comedy routine to fill the awkward silence or I was spending my time coaching people on how not to make it weird. Apparently, I was accepting coaching payment in old fashioneds. This couldn’t be the only way, right? You’re in luck that it is not! Whether you decide the apps are the best for you — I get it, we are busy people — or you are hoping to bump into the love of your life in a bar or grocery store, your mindset going into the process is everything!

kon an ex? c u t S Not sure where you’re


GOING WRONG in the dating world?

I meditated on dating, what I wanted from life, a partner… myself, and personally decided I am much more comfortable with meeting people organically. Again, no judgment if swiping is your thing, it is the way of the modern world. I also came to the realization that people are searching for help navigating the dating world. Now I can’t give you a guide to find your human, but I can help with the mindset issues holding you back from enjoying the journey and ultimately achieving your relationship goals.

November / December 2019 •

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



It’s a Dirty Job… Now in 20 states, some of DoodyCall’s first customers were here in Alexandria. BY BETH LAWTON

Jacob D’Aniello’s job can be really… Well, let’s just say he deals with a lot of poop. Dog feces, to be specific. Jacob was working as a technology consultant in the late 1990s when he was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug that runs in his family. His grandfather started a furniture business; his father had a chain of independent shoe stores. Together, Jacob and his girlfriend (now wife), Susan D’Aniello, started looking for something they could do together that didn’t take a lot of start-up capital, he said in an interview from the Charlottesville headquarters of DoodyCalls. They knew they wanted to work outside. And, they wanted to create a new service or product that would win people into a new market instead of just stealing people away from competitors. “I didn’t want a complicated business,” Jacob said. “I wasn’t looking to impress people in bars at night.” He heard about someone starting a successful poop-scooping business in another part of the country, and quickly he realized that no one was doing it on a larger, professional scale. “We thought there would always be a market for people willing to pay for something they don’t want to do,” he said.


Jacob and Susan D'Aniello

The business started from a Kinko’s copy shop here in Northern Virginia, where they’d spend Friday nights creating flyers and arguing about the best color of paper. They spent Saturdays passing out flyers, and planned to do scooping on Sundays. No one called for months. Eventually, Jacob built a little website. And then one day, someone called and bought a six-month gift certificate as a house-warming gift for someone who had several large dogs. “It was the first house we scooped. It was the winter. We had a cardboard box with a garbage bag in it, and one of us carried the box and one of us had the trowel,” he said. They reinvested all the money back into the company, bought ads and started generating more business — most of which came from here in the dog-loving Alexandria area. Susan was in school for nursing and working part-time, and Jacob was still working in technology, so they scooped poop before work or after work — often dressed in his suit. “I was the most well-dressed pooper scooper in America.” By 2004, D’Aniello left his job to focus on DoodyCalls full time. At the beginning, he took a big pay cut. Eventually, the business grew to a point where Susan was able to leave her nursing job. • November / December 2019

After a few years, they started asking how they could help other entrepreneurs. They did so by bringing the business to other cities, helping entrepreneurs leave their day jobs and start DoodyCalls franchises. The business has grown to 20 states. The company also provides dog poop stations at dog parks and in residential communities. Susan does much of the marketing and franchise recruitment while Jacob takes care of other aspects of running the company. They have two children, and no dogs of their own right now — their dog passed away last year at age 16. Working together all these years, Susan and Jacob have learned a few things: “You can’t treat your wife like an employee, and she can’t treat you like an employee,” Jacob said. Jacob said no matter what role they’re playing in the company, they focus on doing the best job they can do. For entrepreneurs considering starting a business, Jacob said, “It’s really imperative to have family support. If you start a small business, it’s hard – it permeates your entire life more than you think.”

Learn more about the company at


ACT Initiative Works to Build Racial Equity Capacity BY BETH LAWTON

Diversity is one of Alexandria’s greatest assets but talking about racial equity and growing a local culture that supports all people — even in a community like Alexandria — can be challenging. Talking about race, diversity, equity and inclusion can be difficult because there isn’t always a shared understanding of what these words mean and why they are important to consider. There is often a fear of saying the wrong thing or not knowing what to say, especially in today’s highly politicized climate, so many end up saying nothing at all. ACT for Alexandria, Alexandria’s community foundation and trusted convener, embarked on a racial equity learning journey in 2018 that has begun to address these challenges, with the ultimate goal “to achieve a future when race no longer predicts one’s outcomes in life; when everyone has what they need to thrive, no matter what neighborhood they live in, the color of their skin, their gender, or where they were born.” Through a series of events, including a sold-out IMPACT Forum in February that brought together nearly 300 people, ACT is facilitating conversations and providing trainings across Alexandria designed to raise the awareness of racial inequities and help build a network of allies to begin to address it in their workplaces, communities and neighborhoods. This year, with funding from Kaiser Permanente, The BruhnMorris Family Foundation and the Meyer Foundation, ACT

launched their Racial Equity Capacity Building Initiative. This initiative includes a series of allyship workshops facilitated by Whitney Parnell of Service Never Sleeps, which has already trained more than 200 nonprofit, business, faith, government, and school leaders and community members to be allies in their organizations and communities. “There's something at play regarding race that can't be explained by simple poverty or socio-economic status. I appreciate ACT using its position as a trusted community resource to help all of us think through this issue,” said Shannon Steene, Executive Director of Carpenter’s Shelter. “At Carpenter's Shelter we see it in the disproportionate percentage of persons of color that become homeless, someone else sees it in school test scores or involvement with the juvenile justice system. ACT is an umbrella over all of this — leading, guiding and encouraging the exploration in order to make us a better, stronger, more equitable community.” To provide a next step for individuals, ACT is piloting a Racial Equity Learning Lab from October 2019 to April 2020 for those interested in examining their own roles and what they can do to address racial inequities. “How can we address the systemic issues of racial equity, and not just the symptoms of the issue? You still need to always treat the issues as they come up, but if we can get at the root of the issue, that would change the conversation and our community as a whole,” said ACT for Alexandria Chief Program Officer Brandi Yee. Additional allyship workshops will be available next year, along with another IMPACT Forum community conversation in fall 2020. To learn more, email Brandi Yee, ACT’s Chief Program Officer, at For this work to be successful, Yee said, it requires that participants have “humility, an open mind, curiosity, the willingness to be uncomfortable and to sit and reflect on that discomfort, rather than be fearful of it. It’s a learning process and a journey that we are grateful to be doing with our community.”

For more information about ACT’s Racial Equity Capacity Building Initiative and programs, visit November / December 2019 •



The Art of Year-End Giving BY HEATHER PEELER

President and CEO, ACT for Alexandria

The end of the calendar year is often a time when we give thanks, reflect on our values, and give generously to the people we care about. It is also a time when most people think about supporting the causes they care about – whether through volunteering or supporting organizations financially. ACT for Alexandria awards more than $2M in grants to local nonprofits each year. People often ask us for advice and guidance for their own personal philanthropy.

Where do I start? Regardless of whether you have $50 or $5,000 to give, start by reflecting on your past giving and your goals. What have been the most rewarding charitable or volunteer experiences in your life? Why? What are your passions? What is your vision for our community? Do you want to address immediate needs (such as hunger or shelter) or root causes that get to long-term solutions (such as civil rights and advocacy)? By sitting down with your family and answering these questions, you can identify giving opportunities that align with your goals and values.

What should you pay attention to when considering a donation to a nonprofit? Alexandria is fortunate to have so many nonprofits that are working every day to improve our community. If you are not sure where to begin, visit for a list of more than 160 organizations that serve Alexandria. You can search by organization name or type of cause. Ask your friends and neighbors about the organizations they are involved with. Once you’ve identified an organization, do some research. Visit the organization’s website and poke around. Is their mission clear? Does it highlight stories of success and the impact the organization has in our community? If you want to verify financial statements or claims, is a useful resource that has financial information about nonprofits including their 990 tax returns and audited financial statements.

32 • November / December 2019

Look for ways to get to get involved. Is the organization hosting an upcoming event or volunteer opportunity? Reach out and get to know the staff and other volunteers involved with the organization. Their personal stories will help you assess if and how the organization aligns with your goals.

Consider how to give. Of course, any organization would be happy to receive a donation in the form of a check or credit card payment. And most have websites that make online donations quick and easy. Did you know you can also give appreciated stock? Most appreciated stock has a fair market value deduction and can offset capital gains. In addition, you may want to consider making a qualified charitable distribution to a nonprofit from your IRA. Talk to your financial or tax advisor about the variety of ways you can leverage your assets to support causes you care about while benefiting your family. Charitable giving has many rewards. It provides necessary resources for nonprofits to provide critical services in our community. It can generate a tax benefit for your family. And it gives you the satisfaction in knowing that you are doing something to make a difference in the community you love.

ACT for Alexandria is Alexandria’s home for philanthropy. We are here to help you realize your philanthropic goals. Visit for more information.


Modern Makeover Breathing new life into a historic Old Town home BY LISA DUNN

When Alexandria residents Laura Grant and Tom Truchio approached interior design consultant Kaki Ernst of Truley Home last winter to spearhead the renovation of their historic home in Old Town Alexandria, the local designer jumped at the opportunity to help bring the minimally updated home, built in 1875, into the new millennium.

Exquisite exposed brick, a striking interior, arched doorway, original heart pine floors and a charming claw-foot bathtub all presented an irresistible opportunity for a makeover. The homeowners, along with their 13-year-old daughter and pet goldendoodle (named Paisley), have lived in the home since 2010. Ernst hit the ground running last spring and went to work to rid the 19th-century home of some of the outdated space constraints while striving to retain the splendor of its 144 years. She enlisted Northern Virginia contractor John Boynton of J & F Specialties, Inc. to help with the project’s construction details.

November / December 2019 •


“Our goal throughout the process has been to maximize every bit of space in this home.”

Kitchen, Before

34 • November / December 2019


According to Grant, she and her husband wanted to respect the history of the smoky navy-hued brick home, while also giving it a more modern twist. “We love the story of the house, and our goal was to highlight its history through certain design elements,” she said. Ernst added: “From day one, we wanted to make sure that we didn’t take away from the original ‘stories’ of the home. … [Instead], we wanted to add to its narrative with the help of creative enhancements.”


“Our goal throughout the process has been to maximize every bit of space in this home,” Grant said. “In Old Town, certain laws can prevent homeowners from expanding a home’s footprint, so it’s more about how you can work creatively with the space you have.”



Heart pine floors and elegant exposed beam ceilings original to the home, along with the arched interior exposed brick wall, preside over the now-updated kitchen space. As part of the remodel — and on the list to “go” — was a dark red- and browntoned kitchen bearing no relation to the rest of the house. Ernst and Boynton replaced the outdated cabinets with brighter, more modern, white-cherry cabinetry that creates a cleaner, airier, more spacious kitchen. The team also incorporated additional storage space; updated the old appliances to professional-grade (“We both love to cook,” Laura noted); added lighting; incorporated quartz countertops and created a coffee bar area. Other original design details include brushed gold hardware and a tailor-made range hood lined with gold trim. Laura’s “pièce de résistance” in her new kitchen is a customized purple professional-grade stove. “I’ve loved purple my whole life, and I wanted something in the new kitchen to make the space entirely unique,” she said. “The purple stove will be the first thing people see when they walk in the kitchen, making it perfectly unique.” Several dramatic changes were made on the second level, which was a burrow of two small bedrooms and a single hall bath, common in Old Town’s historic homes.


703-299-0633 November / December 2019 •



Working with the homeowners and Boynton, Ernst transformed the upper floor into a more spacious, contemporary space, featuring a new en-suite bathroom in the master bedroom, a newly remodeled hallway bath, a custom-designed, hidden hallway closet and a redesigned bedroom for their teenage daughter. Unique accents abound upstairs. The team opted once again to retain the original heart pine flooring for the updated hall bath, but this time, pulled the floors up to the ceiling, creating a unique look and feel. An antique claw-foot bathtub pays tribute to the home’s original owners, so Laura decided to showcase the piece by repainting the tub’s exterior black and reglazing the interior in a shade of gold. The team also chose patterned tile for the new floors and reconstructed a former space-constrained shower to a more functional shower. “It’s a beautiful showpiece bathroom now,” Laura said.

Hall Bath, Before

Next, Ernst helped the family design a functional linen closet in an unutilized space located over the stairwell. “I found a stunning wrought iron piece from an old gate at a local antique store and incorporated it into a ‘concealed’ closet,” Ernst said. “It now looks like custom artwork displayed on the wall, but behind it is a hidden, yet very functional, linen closet. We took advantage of every nook and cranny, maximizing every bit of usable space.”

Concealed Linen Closet

The team added another bath upstairs featuring a walk-in shower as well as a navy-colored vanity with a white quartz countertop laced with navy veins. Ernst also suggested a pocket door for space-saving purposes, as well as a brushed glass divider to retain the room’s light and flow. Phase by phase, and with extraordinary attention to detail, the Old Town renovation resulted in unique solutions that added modern functionality while also preserving the historical feel of the home. “I wanted to find a team I could turn to, collaborate with and trust to give me what I wanted in our renovation project,” Laura said. “Kaki and John helped us capture our vision… we knew we could trust them to make the right decisions with regards to retaining the integrity and quality of the original home. We are so pleased with how everything turned out.”

36 • November / December 2019

Newly Added Upstairs Bathroom

Hall Bath, After


2 01 9 AL EXAN D R I A

Gift Guide While many people think about Black Friday (and Small Business Saturday) as the kick-off to the holiday shopping season, the reality is that nearly 40 percent of people have already started their holiday shopping by Nov. 1. Are you in the other 60 percent? Alexandria Living Magazine is big on supporting small businesses, so here are some ideas from local shops and boutiques for your holiday shopping this year. Don’t forget to buy something for yourself, too!

November / December 2019 •



Foodies This region has been named one of the hottest restaurant scenes in the country. But sometimes it’s nice to stay in, too. These gifts for foodies will help them make their own cooking and entertaining at home as amazing as some of Alexandria’s most expensive restaurants.


The Hour Shop: Old Town Drinks Cocktail Book and Barware

The Hour Shop’s founder and owner, Victoria Vergason, is the author of Old Town Drinks. The book showcases drinks from almost two dozen bars, restaurants and lounges in Old Town’s Historic District. Or, pick up Old Town Drinks cocktail recipe cards. While you’re at The Hour Shop, pick up some DC-made syrups and bitters and vintage holiday glassware to hold the amazing cocktails. Or, pick up more modern holiday glasses from The Hour Shop’s sister company, The Modern Home Bar. Old Town Drinks book $29.95, cards $24.95. FIND IT: The Hour Shop, 1015 King St.,

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Old Town Shop: 2 The Heatin’ It Up

If you know someone who can take the heat, head to The Old Town Shop. The store carries a variety of Alexandria-based and Virginia-original foods, including a few will make your tongue tingle. Create a gift basket with hot sauces from Crum’s Hot Sauce or Hurricane Bob’s — both of them are veteran-owned Alexandria businesses. You can also include Hubs Sweet Heat peanuts from the Hubbard Peanut Co., and Fiery Cranberry Habanero Salsa from Gunther’s Gourmet. Check out the selection of other food and nonfood local gifts while you’re there. Prices vary. FIND IT: The Old Town Shop, 105 S. Union St., • September / October 2019 • November / December 2019

Town Books: 3 Old Pies and Puzzles

Not all pies are round! Included in the collection of local books at Old Town Books are signed copies of “Pie Squared,” a book about slab pies written by The Washington Post’s Cathy Barrow. The book was a James Beard Award Nominee in 2019 for Best Cookbook. You can also pick up her newest release, “When Pies Fly.” For a lazy Sunday morning, consider getting a 1,000-piece food-themed puzzle, too. Books $28 - $30, puzzle $19.95. FIND IT: Old Town Books, 104 S. Union St.,

Ricki’s Cheesemaking Kit 4 Cheesetique: and Classes

For the person who can’t resist a good, smelly cheese, Cheesetique in Del Ray has you covered. Create a gift basket with Ricki’s Cheesemaking Kit for Soft Cheeses (to let them make their own cheese at home) and a variety of cheeses and wines from Cheesetique. Package your gift basket with a gift card they can use for classes throughout the year. Kit $24.99, gift baskets vary. FIND IT: Cheesetique, 2411 Mt. Vernon Ave.,

5 Unwined: Never Arrive Empty Handed

It’s poor etiquette to arrive at a holiday party empty-handed. Whether it’s a bottle of wine or a gourmet gift basket, Unwined has what you need. The shop (with locations at Bradlee and Belle View Shopping Centers) has, in addition to wine, all you’ll need to create a custom charcuterie gift basket — guidance from their staff included. Prices vary. FIND IT: Unwined, Bradlee Shopping Center or Belle View Shopping Center,


6 Janel Tracey: Coasters

These stylish colorful drink coasters are perfect for the person who love pops of color throughout their home. The coasters feature original art, printed on durable masonite hardboard with cork backing. Each set contains 6. You can pick one design or a mix of several designs. Be sure to take a look at her website for more stylish and colorful home décor items. Coasters 6 for $37. FIND IT: Janel Tracey, order online at

Vernon Estate: A Historic Breakfast 7 Mount at Home

Stone ground grits, pancake flour, yellow cornmeal — it seems like even George Washington thought breakfast was the most important meal of the day. These products are produced at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate by the water-powered, authentic gristmill. Create a gift basket with 18th-century style teas and coffees, preserves, honey and syrup for a breakfast that will go down in history. Prices range from $7 to $26 per item. FIND IT: George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate Gift Shop, 3200 Mt. Vernon Hwy.,

September / October 2019 • November / December 2019 •

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Self-Care Enthusiasts Most of us know people who are really into self-care. We also know a lot of people who take care of others much more than they take care of themselves. Show them how much you appreciate them with these gifts.


The Gentlemen’s Quarters: Attitude Adjuster

Offering fine services and products for men, The Gentlemen’s Quarters offers a variety of services and spa packages for men. Options include haircuts, shaves, nail and foot treatments, a back facial, massage therapy and more. Men are invited to create their own packages or choose pre-set packages such as the Attitude Adjuster (a two-hour package that combines the GQ Face Treatment and 1-hour massage). Gift certificates are available. Attitude Adjuster $200. FIND IT: The Gentlemen’s Quarters, 105 S. Union St.,

40 40 • September / October 2019 • November / December 2019

2 Truly-Life: Eco Skin Care and Garden Gifts

Del Ray-based Truly-Life features a variety of garden-grown skin care products and gifts. It’s good to be green — escape the plastics and chemicals with items crafted locally and packaged in bio-degradable packing. The Eco Gift Subscription is a 3-month subscription of items created with hand-harvested herbs and loofahs. Or, choose the Eco Skin Gift — an elegant whole-body care kit with a lip balm, bath fizz, bar soap and a solid lotion with a gift note in a sheer drawstring gift bag. Both are perfect for a person always on the go. Subscription $93, Gift $24. FIND IT: Truly-Life, multiple Alexandria locations,



to Health Center: Luxury 3 Back Lord Jones CBD Formulas

Wellness Cooperative: 4 The Don’t be SAD

for Life: 5 Simplify Home Organization

Christmas Attic: 6 The Finchberry Soaps

House Day Spa: 7 Sugar Short & Sweet

8 Penny Post: Journals

Relax, renew, restore with Back to Health Center's luxury Lord Jones high-grade CBD formulas. 'Tis the season to purchase the gift of a stress-free holiday! The Back to Health Center offers a variety of CBD products including gumdrops, espresso chews, tinctures and gels. Lord Jones products are made from broad-spectrum CBD derived from hemp cultivated in the United States. $35-100. FIND IT: Back to Health Center, 1414 Prince St., Suite 100,

For those who always come up smelling like daisies (or roses), wander down to The Christmas Attic to smell and savor Finchberry Soaps. This vegan, artisan-made, cruelty-free soap comes in a variety of scents with an artistic presentation and food-grade ingredients for true luxury in a bar. Finchberry soaps $9.95. FIND IT: The Christmas Attic, 125 S. Union St.,


The Wellness Cooperatives strives to bring the best of whole mind, body and spirit wellness. This cold, dark season, give the gift of warmth. Pair a 60-minute hot stone massage with a citrus essential oil aromatherapy upgrade and our Far Infrared Sauna on our Seasonal Affect Disorder program — and kick those winter blues. Winter Warmth Package $200. FIND IT: The Wellness Cooperative, 309 S. Washington St.,

Sometimes people don’t treat themselves to facials, manicures or pedicures because they don’t think they have enough time. The solution is Short & Sweet. Sugar House Day Spa offers an organic deep cleansing facial, classic manicure and pedicure in their Short & Sweet Package. With evening and weekend appointments in a historic sugar house-turned-spa, this is a honey of a treat. Short & Sweet $211. FIND IT: Sugar House Day Spa, 111 N. Alfred St.,

Simplify for Life, LLC specializes in creating tailored organizing systems to organize and simplify life so it can be lived fully. A gift certificate for organizing services — the gift of time and peace of mind — doesn't take up space and is something everyone can use! Simplify for Life, LLC can organize any room and specializes in home offices, paper management, life mapping (organizing important documents and creating a map for family), and all life transitions. Call or email to get details on the 3-hour session and to create your perfect gift! Home organization $225. FIND IT: Simplify for Life, LLC, or 703-772-0127,

Penny Post carries a variety of bullet journals and other books for reflective types to use and enjoy. In addition to a variety of notebooks for bullet journaling or creating portable vision boards, Penny Post has books like “Once Upon A Time, I Wanted To Be…” and “I’m Kind Of Awesome.” Package these with “Letters To My Future Self” and some fancy or colorful pens. Book prices vary. FIND IT: Penny Post, 1201 King St.,

September / October 2019 • November / December 2019 •

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a small percentage of the space was being utilized. For the first year, a portion of the building was rented to a project management company, which helped with a steady financial contribution.


Erika and Nandor Szuprics and Mary and Robert Steidl.

Cheers to 20 years in business A glimpse into the history and success of Sugar House Day Spa & Salon

The Sugar House Day Spa and Salon just celebrated its 20th year in business this March, and I had the opportunity to sit down with Erika and Nandor Szuprics, owners of Sugar House Day Spa and Salon, to talk a little about the history and future of the Day Spa we love so much. It all began with the dreams of two couples — the Szuprics and Mary and Robert Steidl. One evening, while enjoying dinner and discussing their hopes and dreams, they decided they would open a day spa of their own. Robert, a talented stylist, would handle the salon. Erika, the knowledge esthetician, would take care of the spa. Mary, the social flight attendant, would handle marketing. Nandor, a handy and hard-working mechanic, would tinker the space to perfection. After two years of searching for the perfect space, they finally toured a vacant historic home on North Alfred Street. It was love at first sight. The search was over, the space was found and now the hard work really began. When submitting paperwork to the city officials, an employee at city hall exclaimed “Oh, you are taking over the old Sugar House!” (The home was once part of Alexandria’s first sugar refinery, built in 1804, hence the nickname Sugar House.) It was at that moment that the future name of their day spa was chosen: Sugar House Day Spa and Salon. The historic home was charming and spacious, almost 8000 sq. ft. Although charming, there was much work to do in order to transform the home into a functioning day spa and salon, including floor plan changes and major plumbing upgrades, It was no small task. There were many long nights and sacrifices to get the spa open. After eight months of hard work, sweat and tears, the doors officially opened in March 1999 with 13 employees. Their mission was to offer each guest high quality beauty services that rejuvenated the body, mind and spirit. With only 13 employees working the office, salon and spa, only

However, Sugar House grew quickly, by the fourth year in business Sugar House Day Spa and Salon employed about 50 people and was using every inch of the home; even after adding an addition to the first and second floor, increasing the space to almost 10,000 square feet. By their fifth year, Sugar House was receiving accolades from local publications as being the best in their field and has received awards every year since. Today, Sugar House Day Spa and Salon employs close to 70 people and services about 200 clients a day. They not only offer salon services, facials, waxing, massage therapy and nail services, but they also offer laser therapy, medi-spa and acupuncture. The team has created an oasis for the clients as well as a second family for their staff. The Sugar House family suffered a terrible loss in 2013, when owner Robert Steidl passed away with the death of Mary following only three years later. Since their deaths, which were extremely difficult, Erika and Nandor have been determined to keep the business strong. “We have this business to show for a lot of our lives, many trials and many triumphs. We want to continue to provide an oasis for relaxation and amazing service.” This is what makes supporting local businesses so important. Sugar House Day Spa and Salon started with people with big dreams choosing to devote themselves to a single community, our community, Alexandria. That is something extremely special – wouldn’t you agree?


Fitness Junkies Alexandria is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the United States — and there’s no shortage of running trails, yoga studios or gyms, either. No matter what activity your loved one is into, one of these gifts is bound to make them happy.

2 Alexandria Myotherapy: Sports Massage

Tight calves? Painful thighs? For runners, dancers, bikers, swimmers and anyone who has experienced sore muscles, a sports massage can help relieve pain and even boost performance. In addition to sports massage, Alexandria Myotherapy offers a plethora of massages from deep tissue to Swedish to Thai, plus energy work, release techniques and more. Gift certificates are available. Prices vary. FIND IT: Alexandria Myotherapy, 333 N Fairfax St #303,


Conte’s Bikes: KICKRSnap or Climb Indoor Trainer

Sometimes it’s icy, raining or just February — and the bike enthusiast you know might not be up for battling those elements. Pick up an indoor bike trainer from Conte’s Bikes. The KICKRSnap is an easy-to-use trainer that lets them turn their indoor gym into a bicycle track. The KICKRClimb climbing simulator helps train for hills. Add the Zwift app for a group ride simulation. Pick up the companion trainer mat while you’re at Conte’s to help reduce vibration and protect the floors. KICKR trainers $599 each, Kickr Trainer Floormat $69.99, Zwift app $14.99/month. FIND IT: Conte’s Bikes, 1100 King St.,

Yoga Boutique: Yoga Bag, 3 Marcela’s Cleaner and BrainTap Headset

Yoga can be a great way to keep a fitness enthusiast limber and it’s often recommended as part of cross-training in a variety of sports. Pick up a unique, Chakra Embroidered Yoga Mat bag that will fit most standard size yoga mats and an all-natural, unscented yoga mat cleaner to remove dirt and eliminate germs. Check this Alexandria-based online store for a variety of other gifts, too, including gift baskets, yoga retreats, and the new BrainTap Bluetooth Headset. The futuristic-looking headset is designed to help overcome adverse effects of stress and promote physical, mental and emotional balance for maximum performance in all areas of life. Bag $38, Cleaner $18, Headset $547. FIND IT: Marcela’s Yoga Boutique,

Block Juice Co.: 4 South Juice Cleanse

South Block Juice Co. has a juice cleanse they describe as “like a little mini-vacation for your body… in a bottle.” The six bottles of juice you drink for this cleanse are loaded with vitamins and nutrients from cold-pressed fresh ingredients. Give a gift card so your loved one can pick up a fresh bottle of juice every day. $50 to $150. FIND IT: South Block Juice Co., Old Town and Del Ray,

44 44 • September / October 2019 • November / December 2019

Yoga Center: 5 Refresh Classes and Private Sessions

Better balance, more strength, increased flexibility, stress relief — those are just some of the benefits of yoga. Refresh Yoga Center is offering a 5-class pack for $80 and private yoga sessions with RYC owners Kat or Lindsey for $60 per session. Limit two for both. FIND IT: Refresh Yoga Center, 110 King St., Second Floor,



Travelers Whether it’s someone working for the State Department or someone who has built up oodles of vacation time, chances are someone you know travels a lot. These gifts will help them bring a little bit of Alexandria on the road with them.


The Irish Walk: Travel Pillows and Accessories

Sleep more comfortably on planes and make identifying your luggage at baggage claim easy! The Irish Walk has a variety of Irish and Scottishthemed neck pillows, travel tags, handle wraps, luggage locks, travel blankets and more. Bring a bit o’ Alexandria on the road! Neck pillows $15 to $20, accessory prices vary. FIND IT: The Irish Walk, 415 King St.,


Travel Bags and 4 Serafino: Accessories

Voorthius: Maui Jim PolarizedPlus2 Sunglasses

Not all polarized sunglasses are created equal. Maui Jim’s patented technology makes it easy to read your emails on sunny days by blocking horizontal glare and other type of glare normal polarized sunglasses don’t block. These lenses are also category 3 rated, meaning they’re safe for your eyes even when hiking glaciers in Alaska. Plus, Voorthius can order these for your prescription. Maui Jim PolarizedPlus2 Sunglasses $189 to $349. FIND IT: Voorthius Opticians, 530 King St.,

3 Bellacara: Patchology

Spending a lot of time on an airplane can leave even the most experienced jetsetter dehydrated, jetlagged and travel weary. Help your world traveler come back to life with Patchology. Bellacara carries Down to Mask, On the Fly and a variety of other masks and facial treatments in small sizes for easy packing. Combine a mask with Patchology’s Rejuvenating Eye Gels, a silk eye mask and a silk pillowcase — and jet lag will be a thing of the past. Add in a TSA-approved Clarity Clutch from Truffle to make getting through security a breeze. Patchology treatment prices vary, silk pillowcase $85, silk eye mask $50, Clarity Clutch $40. FIND IT: Bellacara, 1000 King St.,

With an extensive collection of the finest leather, Serafino is a one-stop shop for travel accessories. Called a little corner of Florence in Old Town, Serafino’s owner travels to Italy twice each year to go shopping for you. Briefcases and attache cases in a variety of styles and designs and travel bags top the list for Alexandria’s jetsetters. Throw in a colorful business card or passport holder, money clip and a belt bag for the perfect travel set. Travel bags, briefcases and attache cases range from $285 to $650, belt bags $145 to $185, business card holder $45. FIND IT: Serafino Fine Italian Leather & Accessories, 1127 King St.,

September / October 2019 • November / December 2019 •

45 45


Worker Bees Washington, DC is one of America’s hardest-working areas. If you know someone who spends more time in their office than anywhere else, help them make it a more pleasant place.


Old Town Massage Center: Combat Chair Stiffness

Even with a high-end, ergonomically supportive chair and proper alignment, spending hours at a desk can result in strain to your neck, shoulders and back. A massage can help reduce stress, improve circulation, and result in better sleep at night. It can also help reduce headaches, backaches, stiffness in hips and much more. Gift certificates are available. Prices vary. FIND IT: Old Town Massage Center, 3303 Duke St.,

2 The Lamplighter: Style and Functionality

Many offices use fluorescent lights because they’re inexpensive to operate and last a long time. But they’re harsh, can contribute to eye strain and can increase feelings of stress. Softer, more natural light is better for productivity — and it’s even better when the lamp providing that light is stylish. From pharmacy lamps to floor and table lamps, vintage finds and one-of-a-kinds, you can find it all at The Lamplighter on King Street. Prices vary. FIND IT: The Lamplighter, 1207 King St.,

Digital Eye 3 Stop Strain: Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Computer Vision Syndrome, more commonly called Digital Eye Strain, is a common complaint among people who look at screens all day. Prolonged screen use can result in eye discomfort and lead to vision problems. Fortunately, there are solutions: As a gift, offer to pay for specialized glasses or contacts that block blue light and can reduce strain and headaches. Swing by your local eye doctor’s office to talk about it, and see if you can pick up a gift certificate or arrange pre-payment. FIND IT: Blue light blocking lenses, price varies, check with your insurance company for coverage. Consult with your local eye doctor.

46 46 • September / October 2019 • November / December 2019

Gardens: 4 Greenstreet UV Plant Lamp

A number of studies have shown that having indoor plants in the office can reduce stress. Unfortunately, the reality for many office workers is that they may not have a window, and without enough natural light, many plants won’t thrive. For those who love plants but are tied to their desk, an Agrobrite Desktop Plant Light can make their office a more pleasant place to spend 40 to 60 hours per week. $74.99. FIND IT: Greenstreet Gardens, 1721 W. Braddock Rd.,

Dog Store: 5 The Puzzles for Pets

Even with a mid-day dog walk, Fido might get lonely and bored while his best friend is at work all day. Swing by The Dog Store in Del Ray and pick up a few treat puzzles, which are sure to provide safe entertainment for your four-legged friend. The Rogz Tumbler uses a weight inside the ball to make getting treats out a challenge. The Tug-a-Jug is easy to fill (and clean) and provides a variety of textures and parts your dog has to navigate to dispense treats. If your dog is a chewer, pick up a Westpaw puzzle that lets you give your pet a rawhide or bullystick while you’re out in a safe holder. Pet puzzles, $14.99 to $18.99. FIND IT: The Dog Store, 2301 Mt. Vernon Ave.,

6 7

HOLIDAY HOME For trimming your own tree or decorating someone else’s, there are plenty of locallyflavored holiday ornaments to choose from. Here are some of Alexandria’s best local ones. Pick these up at The Old Town Shop or The Christmas Attic, both on South Union Street in Old Town Alexandria.


2 1

4 3



This detailed ornament of Historic Christ Church is perfect for history lovers or historic homes. FIND IT: The Old Town Shop, $18.

This cast, light-catching sailboat ornament for 2019 by Beacon Design highlights Old Town’s waterfront. FIND IT: The Old Town Shop, $24.



The 2019 White House Historic Association ornament honors Dwight D. Eisenhower, the first president of the United States to fly in a helicopter while in office in 1957. FIND IT: The Old Town Shop, $29 or two for $52.

Looking from the Potomac River toward Alexandria, this ornament shows some of Alexandria’s lovely historic rowhomes. FIND IT: The Christmas Attic, $12.50.


Hand painted by local artist Rachel A. Penden, who creates other house-themed ornaments as well. FIND IT: The Old Town Shop, $20. 6. OLD TOWN CHRISTMAS TREE ORNAMENT

This ceramic ornament shows the Old Town Alexandria holiday tree outside City Hall in Market Square. FIND IT: The Christmas Attic, $12.50.


Among a line of Old Townthemed ball ornaments in this Gadsby’s Tavern ornament from artist Patricia Palermino. Others include the Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, the Old Town Trolley and the Masonic Temple. FIND IT: The Christmas Attic, $36.

November / December 2019 •



Alexandria has some amazing shopping and services. Support locally-owned businesses while picking up amazing gifts.





1 | She’s Unique: Love Token Necklace At She’s Unique, every piece of jewelry is inspired by well-rounded, effortless women who embrace all that is curious in the world. Dainty and modern, sexy but elegant, our everyday pieces are significant enough to be worn alone but delicate enough to wear layered together. This holiday season our top gift pick is the Love Token necklace! The love token is available in gold fill ($178) or as a special order in solid 14K gold ($648). It is a vintage inspired coin based on Rosemonde Gerard’s 19th century French poem. $178 or $648. FIND IT: She’s Unique, 205 King St., 2 | Izalia Laser Hair Removal & Rejuvenation Spa Izalia Laser Spa is an award-winning boutique medspa specializing in the use of aesthetic energy devices to remove the unsightly things from your skin! We get rid of dark hair, sunspots, fine lines, wrinkles, acne pocking, stubborn fat, loose skin, and cellulite! We are obsessed with helping you get results you want and providing incredible service. Laser Hair Removal $1,120, prices vary based on area. FIND IT: Izalia, 114 S. Patrick St.,

48 • November / December 2019

3 | Mint Condition: Chanel Bag Mint Condition stocks an ever-changing inventory of current women’s clothing, handbags, shoes and jewelry by top designers all in a fresh boutique atmosphere. Come see why we've been named the DC Metro’s Best Consignment Store by Washingtonian, and featured in Southern Living Magazine as one of Old Town's best boutiques. For the holidays we always suggest a luxury, designer handbag, like this beautiful Chanel Camera Bag. Retails for approximately $4,000 and we sell them for approximately $1,900! Our inventory varies but we try to always have a fabulous selection of designer bags. Chanel Camera Bag $1,900. FIND IT: Mint Condition, 103 S. St. Asaph St., 4 | The Shoe Hive: The Lee Bag by Parker Thatch From Attilio Giusti Leombruni wedges, Sam Edelman flats and Aquatalia boots to bags by Annabel Ingall, Asha by ADM jewelry and Krewe sunglasses, The Shoe Hive brings you the latest trends and long-lasting styles in designer shoes and accessories. Our unique selection and impeccable service set us apart. The Lee Bag by Parker Thatch is the new it bag of the season. It comes in an array of colors and materials making it a great bag for any occasion or person. It also doubles as a cross body or clutch. This is a gift that won't disappoint! $350. FIND IT: The Shoe Hive, 127 S. Fairfax St.,






5 | Bishop Boutique: Loeffler Randall Boots Bishop Boutique is a chic and intimate sanctuary for the fashion savvy, offering a carefully curated selection of clothing, shoes, accessories, and seasonal flair. This holiday season, give the gift of Loeffler Randall boots. Loeffler Randall began in 2004 when designer, Jessie Randall, couldn't find shoes that she truly loved. With a passion for creativity and an incredible eye for detail a fashion girls dream brand was born. These beautiful natural leather boots are the perfect complement to any outfit and can easily carry her wardrobe into the spring. The perfect gift this holiday season. Boots $695. FIND IT: Bishop Boutique, 815B King St., 6 | 529 Kids Consign: D’maran Headbands 529 Kids Consign is an upscale children's and maternity consignment boutique specializing in the latest trends. Quality is important to us, which is why we are particular about our brands. Offering not only consignment items but also the freshest and most trendy must-haves for hip moms and cool kids makes us the place to shop! This holiday season, every momma needs a knot headband! This trend started this summer, has followed us through fall and is extra fabulous for holiday! The D'maran headbands are made by a local mom and designer right here in ALX. They retail for $40. D’maran Headband $40. FIND IT: 529 Kids Consign, 122A S. Royal St.,

7 | TSALT: Let&Her Belgian Handbag A boutique that has been thoughtfully curated for the women of today’s world. TSALT will keep you ahead of the curve and looking your best with high-end pieces, perfectly fitted denim and up-and-coming designers. This holiday season, we are recommending a bag by Let&Her! This Belgian handbag line makes for an amazing gift option! Not only are these incredibly constructed bags one-of-a-kind, they will add the perfect level of gorgeousness to any outfit! $598. FIND IT: TSALT, 106 N. St. Asaph St., 8 | Salon deZEN: Olaplex NO.7 Bonding Oil Salon deZEN, a safe and sacred space that encourages and helps you explore how you can visually represent yourself in the most authentic way. We all have a story to tell about ourselves visually, whether it is the power bob or colorful rainbow strands. Let yourself shine through! Olaplex NO. 7 Bonding Oil is a highly-concentrated, weightless reparative styling oil. It dramatically increases shine, softness, and color vibrancy, minimizes fly-aways and frizz, and provides heat protection of up to 450°. This bonding oil repairs damaged and compromised hair, strengthens and protects hair structure, and improves luster, shine and manageability. It is free of parabens, sulfates and phthalates. Express externally who you are internally. Welcome to deZEN. $28. FIND IT: Salon deZEN, 118 N. Fayette St., November / December 2019 •



Tipping Etiquette BY SUSANNAH MOORE

Most people know you are supposed to tip your server at least 15 to 20 percent of your restaurant bill, but who else should you be tipping and how much? According to The Emily Post Institute, any holiday gift or tip that you give to people who provide you with service throughout the year (such as your dog walker, hair dresser or house cleaner) should be accompanied by a short, handwritten thank-you note. If you tip your service providers regularly throughout the year, you may be able to give a smaller holiday bonus or gift.

Airport shuttle or baggage handlers. Tipping $1–$3 is suggest-

ed, especially if they help with your heavy bags. Consider giving more if they are working on a particularly busy travel day.

Barista. $1–$5 is suggested depend-

ing on the complexity of your drink order. In the holiday season, consider giving more if the person is your favorite barista or if they’re working on a holiday. Bartender. Tip $1–$3 per drink

Dog walker. You certainly don’t need

to leave a tip for every walk, but if you ask your dog walker to go above and beyond, like give your dog medicine, a show of appreciation would be appropriate. It is recommended that you give your regular dog walker a holiday gift, up to a week’s worth of salary in cash or a gift card. Fast food or buffet worker. You do

not need to tip as much as you would for a full-service restaurant, but a few dollars are appreciated.

depending on the complexity of the drink or 20 percent of total tab. Again, if you have a special relationship with your bartender, consider giving more during the holiday season.

Food delivery person. Tipping 10

Dog groomer. 15–20 percent of the

Grocery delivery person. For a gro-

cost of grooming services is expected throughout the year. Keep in mind that often times groomers throw in extra treatments for no charge and they have to handle your dog, who may really hate water or blow dryers.


percent or a few dollars is acceptable. More should be given if the driver had to navigate hazardous weather conditions or is working on a holiday. cery delivery service, 12–18 percent is acceptable. Consider upping the amount if the driver had to drive in bad weather. Some delivery services may include a delivery charge or not allow their drivers to accept tips. • November / December 2019

Hairdresser, barber, or makeup artist. You should tip 15–20 percent

of the cost of their services. If you tip throughout the year, a larger holiday tip of up to 30 percent is appropriate. If you don’t tip throughout the year, a holiday gift of up to the cost of one session is recommended. Hotel concierge. $5–$20 is

suggested depending on the level of assistance provided, with a tip at the higher end for those working holidays. Hotel doorperson or bellhop.

$1–$2 per bag is recommended. Hotel maid. Leaving $5–$20 on

the nightstand for the maid per night is recommended. House cleaner. You can tip 15–20

percent per service. If you do not want to tip for every visit, consider tipping when the house is particularly dirty. It is recommended that you give your house cleaners a holiday gift equivalent to at least one week’s pay. Massage therapist, esthetician, or other spa worker. Tipping 15–20

percent of the massage or other spa treatment is expected throughout the year.

Movers. It is suggested that you give

$20–$40 per mover for a day of work. If you have particularly heavy furniture or live on the fourth floor of a building with no elevator, consider tipping more. Additionally, it is common to provide water and a simple meal for your movers.

Plumber, electrician, or contractor. It is not expected for you

to tip your home service person, but you may consider tipping them $20 or more it if they have gone above and beyond on their job. Postal worker. Legally, postal work-

ers are not allowed to accept tips. If you really want to thank them, especially during the busy holiday season, you can give them a gift worth less than $20 but cash or cash equivalents are prohibited according to USPS policy. Your UPS or FedEx delivery person can receive $20 to $25 at the holidays, or a small gift. FedEx drivers may receive up to $75. Tattoo artist. A 20 percent tip

is expected.

Taxi or ride share driver. The

consensus is to tip your driver 15–20 percent for longer rides and a flat fee of $2–$5 for a short trip. Tour guide or tour bus driver. It is

recommended giving your tour guide and bus driver $2-$10 for a day tour. Road service provider. It is not

expected, but you can tip $5-$20 for that car jump, tire change, or tow, especially if you feel that they did a great job. Valet. Depending on how well

you want your car to be taken care of, tipping anywhere from $2-$10 is suggested.

Dream Escapes THIS WINTER



When cold weather hits and you have a hankering to get out of town, two options come to mind: Making the most of the cold weather or flying off to sunnier climes. In this issue, we're giving you a choice of embracing the season with a cozy visit to Baltimore or grabbing your swimsuit and heading for the tropical paradise of Barbados.

November / December 2019 •



Winter in Charm City Where to dine, stay and play in Baltimore BY MARY ANN BARTON

We'll start with the cold-weather option, with a visit to Baltimore, where we recently stayed at The Ivy Hotel, a former mansion that has been turned into a hotel and restaurant with, count 'em, 23 fireplaces, and the only Relais & Chateaux luxury property in Maryland. You'll feel like you're staying at your eccentric (and very wealthy) uncle's country house. 52 • November / December 2019

STAYING AT THE IVY To really unplug, you might consider taking the train to Baltimore, where The Ivy, located in Baltimore's Mount Vernon neighborhood, will send a driver to pick you up. When you arrive, you'll be welcomed with a glass of champagne (you can also enjoy the tea service in the sumptuous living room if you arrive in the afternoon). Ask for a room or suite with a canopied bed and fireplace; many also have soaking tubs. (Alexandrians will be happy to note that the hotel is dog-friendly and welcomes pooches 25 pounds and under, offering dog-walking, crates and dog beds.)



Your room rate will include breakfast (try the lemon blueberry soufflĂŠ pancakes), cocktails at the Mansion Bar, afternoon tea, valet parking, private car service and more. The Ivy's restaurant, Magdalena, is helmed by Chef Mark Levy, formerly of The Point, Saranac Lake, N.Y. You can enjoy a decadent meal in the cozy wine room. Take the private car service to the Baltimore Museum of Art or the Walters Art Museum or just stay in and play Monopoly by the fire (The Ivy has loads of board games).

ROOFTOP ICE-SKATING Another luxurious lodging option in Baltimore is The Four Seasons Baltimore, located in the Harbor East neighborhood. Beginning in late November, the hotel offers ice skating on its fifth-floor Harbor Terrace with sweeping views of the harbor. Skaters can also enjoy popcorn, candied apples, hot toddies, apple cider and hot chocolate. Call ahead for days and hours when the rink is open; last year, it was open Thursday through Sunday. It's open to the public, but you must purchase tickets.

MORE FOOD AND DRINK The Bygone. If you're staying at The Four Seasons, be sure to try the brunch at The Bygone, a penthouse restaurant and bar on the 29th floor with sweeping views of the Inner Harbor. To get to The


Bygone, take the lobby elevator with the old-time clock overhead. Once you enter, you'll be greeted by a decor straight out of well, bygone years: Burgundy velvet drapes and palm fronds, as well as friendly service. Brunch features everything from Chesapeake Eggs Benedict and French Beignets to lox and bagels, waffles, prime rib, shrimp, and an array of desserts. Other restaurants to try nearby include Chez Hugo, McCormick & Schmicks and The Rusty Scupper. In addition to Charm City's art museums, other activities to try include the National Aquarium, which offers half-price tickets every Friday night, from 5-8 p.m. (Adult tickets are usually $39.95 per person.) Be sure to check for winter happenings including craft beer festivals and chili cook-offs. November / December 2019 •


Island Adventure Escaping the cold for paradise BY CHRIS MILITZER

It’s cold, and it’s only going to get colder. What better place to get away from the quickly shortening and chilly days than the Caribbean? With an average winter temperature in the mid-80s, a quick escape to one of these tropical resorts is just what you need. BARBADOS Located on the west coast in St. James, just a short ride from the airport, is The House. It’s a very exclusive, adults-only, 34-suite retreat that will chase away any of the chill or stress that you

54 • November / December 2019


brought along with you. Arriving at The House even gives you the feeling of coming into your own private castle as you cross a small bridge over several beautiful Koi ponds. This is a very laid back and informal place — in fact, there isn’t even a stuffy front desk to check in at. At The House you sit in the open air living room, maybe enjoy a welcome rum punch, and your check-in will be done as you relax and have your bags delivered to your room. This is also a good time to schedule your complimentary jet lag massage to help you get in a Caribbean state of mind. The massage is one of many inclusions that guests receive. Others include a champagne breakfast, afternoon tea service, evening happy hour canapes, motorized water sports and a water taxi service. The pool and hot tub are an excellent spot to enjoy the palm tree views, but my favorite has to be the beach front. Fairly small and private, the beach and covered cabanas offer a peaceful spot to lay back and let the sun bring you back to your summer glory. Located next door to the property is Daphne’s, a highly acclaimed restaurant serving a mix of Italian-style meals mixed with


island flavors. When you tell people you’re going to Barbados, the question most people have is “Are you going to see Rihanna?” After hearing that a few dozen times, I had to laugh that Daphne’s is apparently the place where I would have had the best opportunity to run into the superstar, as she is a frequent guest. With seriously delicious items throughout the menu such as linguini with Caribbean lobster, fresh tomatoes, basil, chili, and garlic, you’ll see why RiRi stops by!

OTHER SPOTS TO SEE Animal Flower Cave. In the northernmost area of Barbados, there is an ocean cave with pools of water containing sea anemones, cave walls of green and brown from oxidation, with several openings to view the ocean. This in itself is worth the visit, but for me, the cliff area above is one of the most amazing places I have visited. Seeing these high cliff walls with the ocean churning beneath in colorful blue/green pools is a view that should be on your bucket list!

The Rum Vault at Colony Club. Barbados is the birthplace of rum, so no visit could be complete without trying a collection of rums from across the country. Even better, try one of their pairings with in-house made chocolates and combinations such as Mount Gay Black Barrel with a Scotch Bonnet chocolate to compliment the spicy rum! The Rum Vault is located at Colony Club, a sister property to The House, and an excellent choice for a stay as well. November / December 2019 •



ST LUCIA Just a short 45-minute flight away, lies another lush green tropical oasis with sugary sand beaches and beautiful blue skies. Located on the northern shore of the country in Rodney Bay is a family-friendly oceanfront resort, The Landings Resort and Spa. Filled with 1, 2 or 3 bedroom suites, this luxury property spoils you while you lounge around soaking up the sun. With private, furnished balconies and views of either the luxury yacht marina or the beach, four-poster beds, high quality linens, and a 7,000 sq. ft. spa, the whole family will feel like royalty. Spend your time lying on the beach, hit that spa for a massage, or go for a guided hike through the rainforest. There is no shortage of things to do around The Landings. Personally, my vote is for the beachfront bar and grill, Callaloo. Directly on the beach, it’s a great spot to grab a burger and a beer, or even a coconut fish salad. Whatever you choose, be sure to request some Karaoke from the best bartender and chef team around — Sweet Caroline has never sounded so good.

56 • November / December 2019

For more fine dining, try something from The Palms restaurant on site. With an open air patio and view of the marina, herbed lamb chops, fisherman’s pot en croute with a pastry lid, or even something from the seasonal lobster menu is an excellent choice. This is definitely not a place that will leave you looking for a late-night snack when you get back to the room.

Just a few minutes from the resort by car or boat is Pigeon Island, featuring a historic naval garrison, museum and hilltop lookout. Also on the island, you can snorkel, scuba or even snuba out to find a sunken car out off the coast. (And I thought the D.C. area had bad drivers.) While at Pigeon Island, grab a bite to eat at the ocean view restaurant, Barnacles. When they say they serve fresh seafood, believe it. While there I witnessed two fishermen bring in freshly caught octopus in exchange for a little money and two shots of the house made spiced rum. The catch promptly became the catch of the day, and I promptly needed to try that spiced rum! The shrimp creole is spicy, flavorful, and delicious, and the curried crab on the menu was a must try being from the D.C. area. It did not disappoint. This was one of the most fun places I’ve eaten in the Caribbean. So while you’re cursing the change in the weather, or looking at gifts to give the family, consider adding one of these destinations to your list. They are sure to put a smile on everyone’s face, including summer you.

November / December 2019 •



Q&A Jeremy Barber and Justus Frank Restaurateurs

(L-R): Jeremy Barber and Justus Frank

Meet Jeremy Barber and Justus Frank, the dynamic duo behind three Del Ray neighborhood restaurants: Charlie's On the Avenue, nearby Live Oak, which serves up a menu inspired by the South and their latest creation The Garden, an outdoor beer garden and restaurant. The two graciously answered a few questions from us.

What's a regular "day in the life" like for you? Jeremy: Hectic, challenging, and rewarding. Having three restaurants within a few blocks of each other has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is, if one of them needs me, I can be there rather quickly. The disadvantage is, if one of them needs me I can be there rather quickly... Sometimes, it is hard to prioritize when all three are busy. Justus: Lots of running around. I spend the majority of my time cleaning fish, butchering meat and managing staff. Jeremy and I meet multiple times a day to discuss staff, menu development and future plans.

What is a "can't miss" menu item or beverage from each of your restaurants that you'd recommend this season? Live Oak: Our duck and dumplings is comfort food at its finest. Charlie's: Our house wings are smoked and perfect for football season and chilly weather. The Garden: Blackened fish tacos make you feel like you are sitting on an island beach.

Do you pay attention to Yelp reviews or ever make any changes because of them? It's hard not to look at all reviews, positive or negative. We try not to make knee-jerk


reactions and change anything based on them. If we start to see the same comments pop up in multiple reviews we then discuss how to correct or change something.

Do your customers influence your menus? If so, can you give us an example? We listen to all feedback from our guests. That being said, if we took all their suggestions, we would have a mixing bowl of a menu. We love to hear suggestions and some we move forward with and some just do not fit what we do at a specific location. One of our neighborhood regulars suggested we put Beignets on The Garden menu. He remembered them from when we served them at Live Oak, when we first opened. Now, we sell them "until they are gone" every Saturday starting at 9 a.m.

The holidays will be here soon, do you cook at home and if so, what's on the menu? If you don't, what's the plan? Family is a big part of our lives. We are always getting together outside of work and going out to eat or cooking at home. The holiday season is no different, lots of food and lots of family time. Menu favorites include deep fried turkey, roasted brussel sprouts with pancetta, cranberries and balsamic vinegar, pan-seared rack of lamb and for dessert old-fashioned banana pudding with vanilla wafers. • November / December 2019

What's been the biggest challenge since opening your restaurants in Del Ray?

I would say managing time and staff. Opening three restaurants in three years was never the plan. Opportunity presented itself and we just sort of jumped on. You have to prioritize and manage each spot differently being that they are three completely different concepts. With the saturation of restaurants in this area, including Del Ray, Old Town, The Wharf, National Harbor, etc it is very tough to keep staff. We are very fortunate with the staff we have and we could not do this without them.

Your wives are sisters, is that correct? Which came first, your friendship or your marriages? Yes, that is correct. Jeremy and Kati met almost 20 years ago and had two children when Amanda and Justus met. Amanda and Justus met while working together at another restaurant in Clarendon, also the same time Jeremy and Justus met.

What do you like most about Alexandria?

The hometown feel. Growing up in Northern Virginia, you develop a fast-paced and on-the-go lifestyle. We feel Alexandria pumps the brakes a bit and lets you take a breath from time to time and enjoy the important things in life.

What inspired the name for Charlie's on the Avenue?

Jeremy's grandfather, Charlie, was a huge influence in his life. He was a father figure to him and he always wanted to pay homage to such a great man. Charlie loved sports, good food and people, and that is what Charlie's is all about.

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Federally Insured by NCUA

390936 9/19

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


Data obtained from Bright™ MLS for all residential sales settled in Alexandria City for January 1-August 31, 2019. Sales data is deemed to be accurate but not guaranteed.

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

209 S Lee Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 Exclusively Represented by Colleen Coopersmith & Lauren Bishop Offered at $4,300,000


Coldwell Banker (Old Town)


RE/MAX (Alexandria)


Weichert (Old Town)


Keller Williams (Old Town)


TTR Sotheby’s (Old Town)


Compass (Old Town)


Long & Foster (Old Town)


McEnearney Associates (Old Town)

Helping Alexandria residents buy and sell homes for 40 years.

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