Alexandria Living Magazine - September/October 2019

Page 1




Fall in Alexandria Hauntings, History and Hayrides ALEXANDRIALIVINGMAGAZINE.COM September / October 2019


Alexandria Is Growing

(and here’s where)

Thoughtfully guiding your journey home Sales-y is not Melissa Shelby’s style; authentic and approachable is. Melissa believes in aligning her clients’ goals with her expert knowledge of our dynamic market, but earning your trust or your business will never involve compromising her integrity. Melissa’s vibrant approach to each transaction yields successful outcomes, which she believes are best achieved by employing a spirit of cooperation. Melissa measures her success very simply: her longtime friends have become her clients, and her clients have become treasured friends. Melissa Shelby Alexandria Neighborhood Expert

Melissa Shelby, REALTOR® I tel. 703.627.0074 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

Mount Vernon Masquerade Saturday, September 21

Grab a mask and experience Mount Vernon like never before. Join us for a moonlit masquerade fundraising event in support of our founding father, George Washington, and his beloved home, Mount Vernon. Party-goers will enjoy private tours of the Mansion, try their luck at colonial gambling games, and be amazed by an 18th-century magician. Don’t miss this stylish evening of dancing, exquisite food, cocktails, and fabulous fireworks on the east lawn overlooking the Potomac River. This signature event is hosted by the MVunderground, Mount Vernon’s young professionals group, with proceeds benefiting Mount Vernon’s mission of preservation and education.

Tickets are limited. Black tie and masquerade attire.



Home Equity Loans & Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC) HELOC Rates As Low As



% APR*

6 Month Introductory Rate

Home Equity Loan As Low As


49 %


90% Loan To Value | 5 Years

Equity ONEHundred As Low As



% APR*

100% Loan To Value | 5 Years

We offer low-rate mortgages with 100% financing, too! Apply at or call us at (800) 424-3334! *Rates effective as of July 1, 2019 and are subject to change without notice. 3.99% APR (Annual Percentage Rate) introductory rate will be in effect for the first 6 billing cycles after the line is opened. Thereafter, the rate, including the rate on any existing account balance, will convert to a variable rate APR based on the Wall Street Journal Prime Rate, currently as low as 4.74% APR. This is a limited time offer. Maximum APR is 18%. Rate shown assumes a maximum combined LTV (loan-to-value) ratio of 90%. Loan and terms subject to credit approval. Other rates and terms are available. Property insurance required. Flood insurance may be required. Home Equity Loans and Lines of Credit are available on primary residences located in Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia. Other terms and conditions may apply. Membership eligibility required. Membership is open to residents of Virginia, Washington, DC and Maryland. Federally insured by NCUA. Equal Housing Lender.









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


Food & Dining






Wine Review


Home & Garden




The Small Things






The Last Word

A tantalizing taste of Alexandria’s ever-changing dining scene.

Alexandria firefighter Tiffany Matthews is an athlete, entrepreneur and owner of a local women's tackle football team.

Whether you’re moving to another city or just down the street, here’s how you can make the experience less stressful for your pet.

Our wine columnist has the details on the state of wine in the Old Dominion as we celebrate Virginia Wine Month in October.

Staring at empty surfaces? We checked out some of the area's flower farms. Plus, here’s how to choose art for your home.

Old Town Massage Center has been getting the kinks out (and much more) for nearly 20 years and continues to grow; we visit with owner Jette Hansen.

What can bring two feuding men together? Our new columnist Stuart Perkins sees life’s bigger lessons by observing the details of daily living.

How do you explain our country’s biggest issues to our kids? Michelle Millben is creating a solution.

We took a look at the storied history of Barnsley in North Georgia. Plus, we drove from Alexandria to Disney and back... and lived to tell the tale.

A coffee table selling for $117,000? It’s all in a day’s work for Elizabeth Haynie Wainstein, owner of The Potomack Company auction house.

September / October 2019 •



17 Hauntings, History and Hayrides One of the best times to enjoy Alexandria is during the fall season. Turn to pages 17-26 for our stories on applepicking, pumpkin patches and haunted happenings.

32 Crane Report The latest look at Alexandria’s changing retail, housing and mixed development scene, with a nifty map of development locations.


Costumed trick-or-treaters cross Prince Street in Old Town Alexandria, near the waterfront. PHOTO BY CHRIS MILITZER




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

Mary Ann Barton MARKETING

Heidi Fielding Lora Jerakis

Allen Anderson Annalisa Dow DESIGN

Jessie Leiber PHOTO EDITOR

Chris Militzer INTERNS

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


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

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


Send news releases and story tips to


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


Autumn in Alexandria is a wonderful time of the year. The kids are back in school, the temperatures are delightful and residents and businesses go all out when it comes to fall fun. Fall fun is the theme of this issue's cover, which features a photo by Chris Militzer, shot in the middle of summer. We had three very cooperative "models" who dutifully strolled down Captain's Row in the 100 block of Prince Street between S. Union and S. Lee streets. Afterward, they peeled off their Halloween costumes and headed to Ben & Jerry's. You'll want to peruse our pages this month to plot out your fall activities, starting with our Calendar on Page 9. A special shout-out goes to local author John Wasowicz, who just published his second murder mystery based in Alexandria. Be sure to stop by his book party Oct. 13, we'll be there with special subscription offers and more. All the details are on Page 12. Another event we're especially excited about is a TEDx evening featuring local speakers planned in October. Find out more on Page 10. We delve deeper into the season with a look at a nearby apple orchard with local roots and pumpkin patches to visit. The season's spooky side also gets a nod — we sent our summer interns to check out the psychic scene in Alexandria. Be sure to read their "Psychics: Seers or Scammers?" tale on Page 21. And if you believe in Bigfoot, you'll want to get a load of the guys behind the Alexandria Cryptozoology and Paranormal Society, on Page 24. They're sort of a grown-up version of the kids in the Goosebumps series. And stories of haunted happenings wouldn't be complete without a look at Alexandria's own Tale of the Female Stranger, on Page 26. This issue is chockfull of profiles of interesting Alexandrians, including a female firefighter who owns a women's tackle football team (Page 30), a telecom employee from Denmark who started her own massage business and now employs 21 therapists (Page 48), an Alexandrian who will launch a business this • September / October 2019

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

fall that helps explain life's bigger questions to kids (Page 51) and an auction house owner who sees clients fly in from as far away as China to bid on historic items (Page 58). This issue also marks the debut of columnist Stuart Perkins, an Alexandria writer who finds meaning in life's little moments. Check out his column on Page 49. We are marking our one-year anniversary with this issue. Since last year, we've seen a lot of growth, adding the magazine to store shelves at Barnes & Noble, Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Giant and soon, Wegmans. In addition to finding us at Alexandria's hotels, you can also find promotional copies at doctor's offices, coffee shops and other local businesses. Our website has grown as well, seeing about 100,000 page views per month. Thank you to all of our readers, writers, photographers, designers, marketing partners and local businesses for helping us grow. Onward and upward! See you in November.

Mary Ann Barton and Beth Lawton Founders


Our Team





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

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.

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.

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.




Buz enjoys photography whether he’s capturing the Red Rocks in the American Southwest or snapping an image of an iconic monument at dusk in the nation’s capital. He often visits Alexandria and most recently snapped photos of Sacred Circle for our story on psychics. When he’s not taking photos, you might find him cycling on one of the Washington area’s bike trails. A native of Wisconsin, Buz makes his home in Ashburn, Virginia.

Mae Hunt 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.

KALISTA DIAMANTOPOULOS 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.

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.

September / October 2019 •


l Arts & MUsic festiVAL A regioNAl MUlticULtUrA

1OAM – 6pM


350+ JUrIeD ArTIsTs, 4 LiVe stAgEs, 20+ FOOD VeNDors & NON-sTOP FAMILY FUN! eNJoY FrEE ACTIVITIEs sUCh As puMpkIN pAINTINg & sCArEcrOW MAkING!

Mt. VerNoN AVe iN del rAY, AleXANdriA VA


| Design:

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.

Huntley Meadows Park / PHOTO BY CHRIS MILITZER

FALL 2019

Calendar of Events EVENT KEY Arts Film Food & Dining Family-Friendly


A Few Good Men

Taste of Carlyle

The Broadway play A Few Good Men, which led to the Academy Award-nominated film of the same name, is a riveting courtroom drama focusing on military lawyers, high-level conspiracy and murder. Shows are at The Little Theatre of Alexandria and tickets are on sale now.

Sept. 2

Enjoy bites and drinks from some of the region’s best restaurants. A list of vendors and tickets are available on the Carlyle Council's website. Carlyle neighborhood,

Sept. 7 – 28 | various times

The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe St.,


Mirror Mirror: Orange Grove Dance


Live Music

Sept. 6 | 8 p.m. Nightlife Pet-Friendly Recreation & Outdoor Shopping Theater

Sept. 7 | 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Inspired by the Fresnel lens at historic Jones Point Lighthouse, Mirror Mirror beckons visitors with brilliant hues. Alexandria’s Office of the Arts commissioned a free public performance by Orange Grove Dance to accompany the Mirror Mirror interactive public art installation at Waterfront Park. Waterfront Park, Old Town,

September / October 2019 •



Carlyle Summer Cinema Series: “Ralph Breaks the Internet”

Big Dog Day Swim

Sept. 7 | 8 p.m.

Big dogs can celebrate the end of summer at this swimming event for dogs (over 25 lbs.). This event is sponsored by Your Dog’s Best Friends. Tickets are required. Note: Please bring your own doggie dish for water. Dog handlers should be 16 or older. All dogs should wear current vaccination and registration tags or show proof to participate.

Join the Carlyle neighborhood for movies in the park. Movies start at dusk. On Sept. 7, watch “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” a Disney movie about friendship and change. Sponsored by the Carlyle Vitality Initiative. John Carlyle Park, 300 John Carlyle St.,

Sept. 21 | 10 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

Old Town Pool, 1609 Cameron St.,

Alexandria After-Work Concert Series Sept. 13 | 6 p.m.

Join fellow music lovers in Old Town Alexandria each second Friday of the month for a concert sponsored by the Folklore Society of Greater Washington and the Office of Historic Alexandria. The September concert features Irish music by Emerald Rae. Lloyd House, 220 N. Washington St.,

Colonial Market & Fair Sept. 14 – 15 | 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

American Horticultural Society / PHOTO COURTESY OF AHS

AHS Annual Gala: “A Harvest of Health & Happiness” Sept. 21 | 6 – 10 p.m.

The American Horticultural Society (AHS) is hosting their 26th Annual Gala at the Gardens at River Farm. The AHS Gala promotes the positive impacts of taking care of nature while inspiring community members to take action in protecting the Earth. Proceeds will go to educational programs focused on historic and environmental preservation. American Horticultural Society, 7931 E. Boulevard Dr.,

The annual fair at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate features dozens of historic craftspeople. Visit the marketplace on Mount Vernon’s 12-acre field and chat with colonial artisans who sell traditional food and wares made from wood, metal and textiles.

King Street Art Festival Sept. 21 – 22

Old Town Alexandria will celebrate the 17th annual art festival with more than $15 million in art displays lining King Street from Washington to Union. Artists will display paintings and sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, photography, hand-crafted apparel, decor and glasswork. The festival promotes the beauty of the historic Alexandria waterfront as well as the blossoming arts culture emerging from this area. King St. between Washington and Union Sts.



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

Sips & Secrets: A Speakeasy Night Sept. 14 | 7 p.m.

Go back in time and immerse yourself in the Prohibition era by grabbing a 1920s-inspired cocktail to commemorate the history of the Lee-Fendall House. Come dressed in your best flapper or mobster style and enjoy a fun-filled Saturday night at the historic LeeFendall House. Purchase tickets in advance. Lee-Fendall House, 614 Oronoco St.,


Itty Bitty Doggie Dive Sept. 20 | 4 – 7 p.m.

Celebrate the end of the summer at Alexandria’s only swim for small dogs (25 lbs. or less). This event is sponsored by Your Dog’s Best Friends. Tickets are required. Note: Please bring your own doggie dish for water. Dog handlers should be 16 or older. All dogs should wear current vaccination and registration tags or show proof to participate. Charles Houston Recreation Center, 901 Wythe St.,


Oct. 5 Like TED Talks? Tickets go on sale on Sept. 6 at 9 a.m. for Alexandria's TEDxOronocoBayPark, a local, self-organized event under license from TED. Set for Saturday, Oct. 5 at Mary Gates Learning Center, United Way Worldwide, video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group without any commercial, religious or political agenda. A very limited number of tickets are available for this event. Visit for information on how to reserve tickets. • September / October 2019


Mount Vernon Masquerade

Sapphires and Diamonds Beautiful Styles - Endless Possibilities

Sept. 21 | 7-10:30 p.m.

The MVunderground and young professionals in the DC area have come together for a moonlit masquerade fundraising event in support of founding father George Washington and his beloved Mount Vernon. This signature event at the estate welcomes more than 300 guests to the beautiful East Lawn overlooking the Potomac River and raises money to support Mount Vernon’s mission of preservation and education. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, open premium bar, music and dancing, plus fireworks over the Potomac. Tickets start at $100. 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy. fundraising-event/mvu-masquerade

KingsJewelry.NET 609 King Street Old Town Alexandria 703-549-0011 Family owned and operated for over 60 years.

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

Union SqUare

204 South Royal Street

Historic Old Town Alexandria, VA

Northern Virginia’s newest destination for vintage, antiques, furniture, and home décor.

Wed-Fri 10-3, Sat 10-4


8742 Cooper Road, Alexandria, VA 22309 (703) 780-4301 ◆

This unique venue was once the site of the Concordia Hotel in the 1880s and provides stunning light filled space for your special event or meeting and boutique overnight accomadations. Look for us online at Visit Alexandria & Wedding Wire! 571.263.9805 | September / October 2019 •



New Neighbors Oktoberfest & Live Auction

18th-Century Game Night

Mirror Mirror: David Schulman

Sept. 28 | 6 - 8 p.m.

Oct. 5 and 6 | 8 p.m.

Sept. 26 | 6:30 p.m.

The Carlyle House will host an 18th-century game night. Attendees will try out games from that time period and enjoy 18th-century cocktails and non-alcoholic recipes. Register in advance, as this event is expected to sell out.

Alexandria’s Office of the Arts commissioned a free public performance by David Schulman, violinist, featuring Sara Marie Hughes (Oct. 5) and Bonnie Lander (Oct. 6), to accompany the installation. This event is free and open to the public. Bring a chair or blanket, but leave pets at home. Rain date: Oct. 19.

The Campagna Center reaches out to the community to support the New Neighbors program through the Oktoberfest fundraiser and live auction event. Port City Brewing, 3600 Wheeler Ave.,

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

Waterfront Park, Old Town,

October 2019 Beautification Commission Awards Ceremony Oct. 1 | 7:30 p.m.


Historic Alexandria Homes Tour Sept. 28 | 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Featured on the 2019 Historic Alexandria Homes Tour are some of Alexandria’s finest homes. Hosted by The Twig, the Junior Auxiliary of Inova Alexandria Hospital, all proceeds benefit Inova Alexandria Hospital. Tickets are $40 in advance; $45 day of tour. Various locations,

The 2019 Alexandria Beautification Awards ceremony will recognize residents, organizations, businesses and community groups for their efforts in contributing to the beautification of the City of Alexandria. Awards will be presented in six categories. The Lyceum, 201 S. Washington St.,

Oct. 10 | 7:30 p.m.

Country music artist and Virginia native Phil Vassar brings his country hits to the Birchmere. His long career includes 19 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave.,

Fall Wine Festival and Sunset Tour Oct. 11 – 13 | 6 – 9 p.m.

Art on the Avenue is a multicultural arts festival celebrating the community’s diversity through the arts in the Del Ray area on the first Saturday in October every year. Over 300 vendors and 40,000 visitors attend.

Celebrate the history of wine in Virginia with exclusive evening tours of the Mansion and cellar, appearances by George and Martha Washington and live music. Bring a blanket, relax on the East Lawn overlooking the Potomac River and sample wines made in Virginia. Special tickets are required and may be purchased through Mount Vernon’s website.

Held between Bellefonte and Hume avenues,

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

Art on the Avenue Oct. 5 | 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Meet the Author: John Adam Wasowicz Oct. 13 | 4 p.m.


Phil Vassar

Longtime media host Derek McGinty will narrate a chapter of the Alexandria-based murder mystery Jones Point by local author John Adam Wasowicz at Principle Art Gallery, 208 King St. on Sunday, Oct. 13 at 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided. The event is sponsored in collaboration with Alexandria Living Magazine.

Jones Point is the second novel by Wasowicz, a local attorney with more than 30 years experience in both the public and private sector. His first novel, Daingerfield Island, released in 2017, introduced readers to Mo Katz, a defense attorney who is Alexandria’s answer to Sherlock Holmes. Katz returns in Jones Point as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Alexandrians will enjoy discovering local landmarks and businesses weaved into the story, including the Principle Art Gallery, Meggrolls, Port City Brewery, Misha’s Coffee Shop, Hard Times Cafe and Faccia Luna. Food and refreshments from those local vendors will be provided at the event.

Both Wasowicz and McGinty will sign copies of the book at Principle Gallery at a 10 percent discount. The audiobook narrated by McGinty will also be available for online purchase. • September / October 2019



Oct. 19 – Nov. 9 | various times

When three strangers are invited to join the mysterious Dr. Montague at the eerie house on the hill, not even their darkest dreams could have prepared them for what awaits. This performance at The Little Theatre will have you on the edge of your seat. Tickets are available now.


The Haunting of Hill House



The Little Theatre of Alexandria, 600 Wolfe St.,

November Alexandria Film Festival

George Washington Whiskey Festival

Nov. 7 – 10

The 2018 Alexandria Film Festival set records, screening more than 70 awardwinning films. Film lovers from around the region will enjoy four days of movie magic this year, with a huge variety of shorts, documentaries and feature-length films across a variety of genres.

Nov. 9 | 6 - 9 p.m. The George Washington Whiskey Festival will feature spirits from about a dozen Virginia distilleries. In addition to food available for purchase, learn about the history of distilled products, watch coopering demonstrations, live music and entertainment and more. The festival will also celebrate the debut of a new batch of George Washington straight Rye Whiskey, which is already available at Mount Vernon for purchase. The whiskey was distilled at George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate distillery using the first president's original recipe and aged in charred oak barrels for four years. Tickets for the festival are $85 per person and are on sale now at


Alexandria Living as well as:

Signs & Banners Fabric Printing Window Graphics Displays & Exhibits Digital & Custom Offset Printing Direct Mail Large & Small Format Services Available

Visit us at CSI2.COM Locally Based Serving VA/MD/DC & beyond13

September / October 2019 •

Halloween Events From pet-friendly events to ghost tours, these are some of the can’t-miss Halloween events in Alexandria. In addition to the events listed here, be sure to visit the Alexandria Living Magazine website for more events in October. Go to upcoming-events.

Ongoing Ghost & Graveyard Tours Follow an 18th-century costumed guide by lantern light through Old Town Alexandria while listening to ghost stories, legends and folklore. You will also hear about unsolved mysteries, tales of romance and angry ghosts looking for revenge. Appropriate for ages 9 and up. No pets. Ticket sales, reservations and more information is available at

Ghosts of Alexandria Tours Explore haunted Old Town at twilight with a walking tour, and learn about the City’s history and its lingering spirits. Dogs are welcome on this tour. Discover Alexandria also hosts a Halloween Ghost Tour. Information, ticket sales and more info are at

October/November Ghost Stories at Ivy Hill Cemetery Oct. 5, 12, 18, 25 and Nov. 1 and 2 | various times

Everyone loves a good ghost story, and this is your chance to be part of one! Go after dark into the underground vault at Ivy Hill Cemetery in Alexandria as mentalist and psychic entertainer Michael Jons shares his story of a peculiar haunted artifact and his attempts to return it to where it belongs. Tickets and information are available at Ivy Hill Cemetery, 2823 King St.,

Horror Movies at Carlyle House Oct. 25 | 7 p.m.

Grief & Ghosts Halloween Tours at Lee-Fendall House Oct. 25 and 26, Nov. 1 and 2 | various times

These special evening tours examine funeral and mourning practices in the Victorian era. Traditional mourning clothes and hair jewelry will be displayed and guides will share stories of tragic deaths and mysterious occurrences that have happened in the house. Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden, 614 Oronoco St.,

Pumpkin Party on the Hill Halloween Pumpkin Hunt

Oct. 27 | 2 – 4 p.m.

Oct. 26 | various times

Ideal for children ages 2 to 12, enjoy this Sunday afternoon pumpkin party at Historic Huntley! Bring a pumpkin to paint or decorate, make and taste pumpkin ice cream and have fun with other pumpkin-related crafts and activities.

Lee-Fendall House volunteers will fill the historic property's garden with toy-filled pumpkins for children to find. Costumes are encouraged! Other activities include crafts, a sticker station, temporary tattoos and more. Lee-Fendall House Museum and Garden, 614 Oronoco St.,

Tim Burton’s Wonderland Oct. 26 | noon – 4 p.m.

Carlyle House will be hosting a Tim Burtonthemed party on the front lawn. Visitors will be able to interact with characters from Tim Burton’s films and play Burton-themed games. At 2 p.m., there will be a costume contest. Burton films will be playing on the back terrace during the event. Carlyle House, 121 N. Fairfax St., carlyle-house-historic-park

Trick or Treat at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate Oct. 26 | 3:30 – 6:30 p.m.

THERE'S MORE COMING... Information on the specific dates and times for the following events will be available soon. Check the listed websites for details on these fun Halloweenthemed things to do!

Bark or Treat Canine Cruise

Join the Potomac Riverboat Company for their Halloween canine cruise on the Potomac. Pets are welcome and costumes are encouraged! Treats will be available. More information, dates and tickets are available at

Del Ray Halloween Parade

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

The 24th annual Del Ray Halloween Parade is one of the area’s signature Halloween events. The parade will take place along Mount Vernon Avenue. Children will receive goodie bags at the rec center fields, and children, pets and strollers are invited to participate. The Del Ray Business Association will present awards for costumes and decorations.

Tim Burton’s Nightmare

Doggie Trick or Treat

A special scavenger hunt, a wagon ride and crafts are all part of this special event. Tickets may be purchased online in advance.

Oct. 26 | 7 – 10 p.m.

Join Carlyle House for a double feature of classic horror movies. Voting for the movies will take place two weeks before on Carlyle House’s Facebook page at The top two picks will be played back-to-back on the terrace.

As night falls, Carlyle House will be taking on the more sinister movies by Tim Burton. Participate in a Burton-themed scavenger hunt around the grounds. The team with the quickest completion time will win a prize. Burton films will play on the back terrace.

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

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


Historic Huntley, 6918 Harrison Lane, 703-768-2525, • September / October 2019

Four-legged family members are invited to come to Old Town to trick or treat together! Treats, sales and a costume contest are included in this annual event. Stop by The Dog Park at 705 King St. in Old Town Alexandria to get your map, have pictures taken and tour the rest of the participating stores for more treats.

Trick or Treat at the Boo-Tiques

Start trick-or-treating early and stop by the dozens of shops of the Old Town Boutique District dishing out treats to goblins and ghouls of all ages.



Begin with


Independent School in Alexandria Preschool - Grade 5

Grace Episcopal School

Babs Beckwith

Old Town’s Real Estate Expert, selling historic homes for 25+ years. 218 South Royal Street | $2,300,000 703-549-5067 3601 Russell Road, Alexandria, VA 22305

703.627.5421 | 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314



$10 OFF



5:00PM to 7:00PM

5:00PM to 7:00PM

MONDAY - FRIDAY Follow us: @trademarkdrinkandeat | 703.253.8640 2080 Jamieson Avenue, Alexandria, VA


Sessions must be 60 minutes or longer to receive discount. Offer limited to new clients only and is not valid with any other promo. Expires March 31, 2020.


Follow us: @trademarkdrinkandeat OLD TOWN MASSAGE CENTER 3303 Duke Street Alexandria, Virginia 703-518-8484 | 703.253.8640

2080 Jamieson Avenue, Alexandria, VA Follow us on Instagram @oldtownmassagecenterinc


Lessons Learned from My Own Downsize Pete Crouch has been a Specialist in Mature and Senior moves for more than 15 years, helping everyone from empty-nesters on up to folks moving to Assisted Living or Life-Plan Communities. Last year, he and his family decided to do it themselves. Nothing like doing it yourself to fully understand what people go through! “Our work had taught us that there are growing numbers of people downsizing shortly after the last child leaves the nest. We were closing in on that ‘life event,’ so decided we would experience it first-hand. We would no longer need the quarter-acre lot or the 5 bedrooms. Downsizing would not only mean less maintenance inside and out, but more importantly, the ability to focus on the next stage of our lives. Of course, we would need to have room for the visits home, short or extended – after all, family is everything! We were fortunate to already have a townhouse in Kingstowne from which a tenant was moving out – giving us the perfect low-maintenance ‘new’ home – with 3 bedrooms/3 baths and plenty of room for visiting family.” Knowing the next home’s floor plan made it easier to employ the 5-Step System Crouch uses with clients of all ages. Whether the move is to a townhouse, a condo, or a Senior Community, the steps and decisions are: What to Keep, What to Gift, What to Sell, What to Donate, and finally, What to Discard. Going through the 5 Steps in each room eases the preparation, and simplifies what can be a daunting task. Color-coding the 5 Steps is a must! For folks who want assistance


making those decisions, Crouch has a Team of Partners he recommends and coordinates with who can handle each of the 5 Steps. “We decided to do the preparation ourselves, especially since we had a floorplan of the townhouse. In each room, the decisions were mostly simple – keep, gift, donate, discard. There were only a few pieces that we considered selling – mostly inherited ones – and after wrestling with the guilt of parting with family antiques – decided it was not disrespectful to our ancestors if we let go of a few things we had inherited. We kept a representative – but small – sampling of each generations’ gifts, and wistfully parted with the larger things that did not fit our lifestyle. That was, we learned, the hardest part of the process.” Once all the rooms had been prepared, Crouch put on his Realtor hat and managed the rest of the process as he would for a client. With just a phone call, his Team Members/Partners played their parts: gifts and donations went to their respective locations, discards went to the trash, and what was left was primarily the “keep” items. A favorite Downsizing/Senior moving company then delivered each box and piece of furniture to its designated spot in the townhouse. Last was a cleaning company removing any leftovers, including all the old paint cans Crouch had forgotten. “One of the bigger things I learned is that coordinating these 5 Steps and the Team Members/Partners removes a huge amount of stress for people. Especially if they have lived in the same house for possibly decades. As a Northern Virginia real estate broker for 25 years, I have always helped Sellers find a good plumber, painter, or roofer, and then coordinated those vendors. In a Downsize • September / October 2019

or Senior Move, what comes first, however, are the ‘lifestyle’ advisors – the Move Manager, the Estate Sale company, the other Team members. Then come the ‘real estate vendors’ to get the house itself prepared for sale. Such a move is much more than just Real Estate – and is so much simpler approached this way. Having a Team Captain (in our case, myself) can be instrumental to the success of the transition.” Crouch says that using a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES), as trained and designated by the National Association of Realtors, can be crucial to receiving the additional expertise needed for making a smooth Downsize or Senior Move. Crouch even refers folks to fellow SRES experts in other states if needed. Pete Crouch has been a licensed real estate broker for 25 years and is an Associate Broker for McEnearney Associates Realtors in Old Town. He holds seminars for Senior Groups, writes articles, and volunteers frequently for At Home in Alexandria, Mount Vernon at Home, and Senior Services of Alexandria. On many Fridays, you can see him with his “DOWNSZ” license plate delivering Meals on Wheels. His work with Senior movers and volunteering earned him national recognition last year when the Seniors Council of the National Association of Realtors awarded him the “Outstanding Service Award” at a ceremony in Boston.

You can reach Pete at: 703-244-4024 Facebook/CrouchRealtyGroup

Hauntings, History and Hayrides PHOTO BY CHRIS MILITZER

Fall in Alexandria and Beyond

Autumn is one of the best times to enjoy Alexandria with its many fall festivals, pumpkin patches and ghost tours. In the following pages, you’ll hear about Alexandria’s ties to an orchard where you can go apple-picking, our visits to psychics in the area and some haunted history right in the middle of Old Town. So cozy up to a cup of pumpkin spice latte and enjoy!

Hauntings, History and Hayrides


One of the region’s most picturesque farms has a local connection. Hollin Farms in Fauquier County, about a one-hour drive west of Alexandria, is located in Delaplane in the Crooked Run Valley, near Sky Meadows State Park. The “Hollin” name is a familiar one in the Alexandria area. The Hollin Hills neighborhood — the award-winning community famous for Mid-Century Modern architecture — and the 18th-century Hollin Hall Plantation are both located in Fairfax County south of the City of Alexandria. The Hollin Hall Plantation land was originally owned by George Mason, a founding father, who gave it to his third son, Thomas. Robert Carroll Davenport, a Nebraska native, developed Hollin Hills in the 1950s. He also owned the Fauquier County farm. His son and grandson and their families live there today. “My mother and father moved East from the Midwest just before

18 • September / October 2019

World War II,” said Tom Davenport. (His father passed away in 2002 at age 96, and his mother, Elizabeth Barbara, died in 1999.) “There was no housing being built during World War II, so he and other idealistic young parents formed a cooperative and built a community below Alexandria called Tauxemont,” Davenport said. “He was the president of the cooperative and he got experience in housing development. The community was devoted to Roosevelt and his New Deal. They were left wing and mostly not from Virginia or the South.” “Fairfax County and Northern Virginia were very rural,” he said. “My father must have realized the potential of suburban growth. He was an idealist and had a vision for a community that would incorporate ‘Modern’ architecture and landscape planning. He teamed up with architect Charles Goodman and landscape architect Barney Voigt and came up with the concept of Hollin Hills.” “It was on a hill and wooded,” Davenport said. “It was not farmed. Most of the other post-war housing developments like Levittown were built on flat, open farm fields.”

The Davenport family lived in some of the Hollin Hills homes, “but not permanently. My parents commuted from the farm near Delaplane and stayed in different Hollin Hills houses during the week.” “The feeling of a community was very strong. It was almost utopian,” said Davenport, who is a documentary filmmaker with his wife Mimi. Hollin Farms has been in the family since 1955. In 1971, the family left Hollin Hills for good to farm in Fauquier County on the 1,000 acre-farm, where they continue to breed Black Angus and now Angus-Hereford cattle in addition to growing apples and other produce throughout the year. “It was a rough mountain farm, very run down,” Davenport said. “The steep slopes were not good for row crops. They were so steep that we used horses to pull our mowers because tractors might turn over.”” “My father always loved growing things,” he said. “He was a gardener and he also enjoyed breeding purebred Angus cattle. He supplied good bulls to many commercial herds in Virginia and West Virginia.” In the 1980s, Robert Davenport was selected as Fauquier’s Man of the Year and was honored with the Virginia Cattleman of the Year award in 1992. Tom Davenport said he liked the rural community and as a boy enjoyed the outdoors. “I loved to hunt and fish and had friends who did that too,” he said. The farm has passed from generation to generation. Today, his son Matthew and his wife Shannon do most of the farming, Davenport said. “Matt studied Mechanical Engineering and has a master’s degree in Agricultural Engineering from Cornell. He is the one who maintains the orchards.” “The hillsides are very good for orchards because there is less chance of losing a crop because of a late frost (the cold air sinks down off the slopes and collects around bottom land near streams). I think our customers appreciate the views as much as they do the fruit.” “Weather is always a challenge,” he noted. “It can wipe out a crop in one day with frost, wind or hail.” Hollin Farms grows lots of varieties of apples that ripen at different times, from Honey Crisp to Gold Rush. “We have our roots here,” said Davenport. “We feel connected to the local community and to our customers.”

Where to Go Apple-Picking in Northern Virginia Here’s where to pick your own apples (and other fruits and veggies). Apple pie, apple crisp, apple butter, apple sauce… there’s no shortage of tasty things you can do when you come home with a basket of hand-picked Virginia apples. There are several pick-your-own farms within driving distance of Alexandria, and you have plenty of time — apple season typically lasts until the end of October. Be sure to call these places before heading out, as weather or special events can affect operating hours.

Hollin Farms 1408 Snowden Road, Delaplane, Va.

Hollin Farms is a family farm next to Sky Meadows State Park in Fauquier County. In addition to apples and other fruits and vegetables, the farm has a 10-acre pumpkin patch and areas where you can dig-your-own potatoes and peanuts. There’s an Alexandria connection: Hollin Farms was started by Robert C. Davenport in the 1950s, and the farm was named after the Hollin Hills neighborhood of Fairfax County. / (540) 592-3574

Crooked Run Orchard 37883 E. Main St., Purcellville, Va.

Crooked Run is a small farm in western Loudoun County. The farm has pick-your own fruits and vegetables throughout the fall, including apples and pumpkins. In addition, you can cut your own holiday trees in the weeks before Christmas. / (540) 338-6642

Hartland Orchard 3205 Hartland Lane, Markham, Va.

Hollin Farms is located at 1584 Snowden Road in Delaplane, Va. For more information, visit

Harland Orchard has a variety of pick-your-own fruits with

apples and pumpkins peaking in September and October. The farm also features a corn maze and cut-your-own holiday trees. / (540) 533-6901

Stribling Orchard 11587 Poverty Hollow Ln, Markham, Va.

Stribbling Orchard is just down the road from Hartland Orchard in Markham. The orchard is nearly 200 years old, and the sixth generation of Striblings is now in charge. The farm has an on-site bakery in addition to farm animals, local honey, cider, apples, pumpkins and more. / (540) 364-3040

Mackintosh Fruit Farm 608 Russell Road, Berryville, Va.

Mackintosh Fruit Farm is in the northern part of the Shenandoah Valley in Clarke County, Va. The farm includes plenty of walking trails in addition to a wide variety of pick-your-own fruits and vegetables. Fresh-pressed cider is usually available in October. / (540) 955-2161

September / October 2019 •


Hauntings, History and Hayrides


Fall 2019 Guide to Pumpkin Patches BY MAE HUNT

From church sales to pick-your-own and giant fall festivals, here are a few places to find your gourd for decorating, carving or even cooking. Some fall festivals have admission fees, and for those we recommend getting tickets online before heading out. Some of these festivals are very popular and you may encounter long lines, so arrive early!

Immanuel Church-on-the-Hill. This Alexandria church at the intersection of Seminary Road and Quaker Lane celebrates its 26th anniversary pumpkin patch starting Oct. 6 this year. From tiny “spookies” to gourds and large carving pumpkins, the pumpkin patch proceeds support church activities and outreach, including support for non-profit organizations. Free.

Looking to pick your own or make a day-trip of it? Here are a few more options:

Burke Nursery Pumpkin Playground in Burke. Great for younger kids, the Burke Nursery Pumpkin Playground includes slides, tunnels, swings, play areas and more. Food and live entertainment are included on the weekends.

Cox Farms (Centreville). One of the region’s most beloved fall festivals, Cox Farms fall festival includes slides, haunted hayrides, a pumpkin patch, cider and much more. It’s open Sept. 22 to Nov. 6, and includes the Fields of Fear attractions. Learn more at or (We recommend arriving early in the day to avoid traffic and crowds!) or

Greenstreet Gardens (Lothian, Maryland location). Greenstreet Gardens hosts an annual fall festival with hayrides, a tire tower, corn maze, slide, corn box and, of course, pumpkins. The festival runs from Sept. 28 through Oct. 28, daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Nalls Produce. Pumpkin Hill opens on Sept. 29! Apple

Sky Meadows State Park. From Oct. 6 to Oct. 28 on the weekends, Sky

cider, mums, gourds, pumpkins and much more. Nalls Produce in Kingstowne is at 7310 Beulah Street. For more information, call (703) 971-4068.

Meadows State Park — about an hour away near Paris, Va. — features food, music, pumpkins and more.

20 • September / October 2019


Hauntings, History and Hayrides


Psychics: Seers or Scammers? BY MAE HUNT, with additional reporting BY KALISTA DIAMANTOPOULOS

I’ve always been fascinated by psychics. Maybe it was all that Harry Potter I consumed at a young age, but the idea that an ordinarylooking person could somehow see beyond reality and predict my future is captivating.

“magical powers” in order to make a quick buck.

However, I’m also a pretty big skeptic. As much as I want to believe psychics are real, I’ve never been able to fully buy into it. I’ve seen enough psychics and mediums on TV come across as phony and fraudulent, passing off their ability to read people with their

the way, maybe I would figure out if psychics are real, once and

Still, I wanted to keep as open a mind as possible. When the opportunity came to write about psychics, I jumped on it. My fellow intern, Kalista Diamantopoulos, and I decided to research what Alexandria has to offer in terms of psychic services. We wanted to see if we could tell a genuine clairvoyant from a scammer. Along for all. Neither of us had visited a psychic before.

September / October 2019 •


A lot of what Anna said was accurate. However, I noticed that many of her statements were vague and could probably apply to most people in my age and gender bracket. For example, she told me the last two years contained many changes: I’m in my early 20s, a time in life when most people encounter a great deal of change. What I found the most notable were her very specific and ominous predictions — like telling me she sees a loss of a child in my future. While my reading gave me a lot to think about, I definitely could have gotten more out of it had I let myself be a little more vulnerable. The fact that I knew I was doing research for an article, combined with my general skepticism, left me feeling on-edge throughout the reading. I was focused on what Anna was doing instead of my personal experience, and as a result, it was difficult to fully immerse myself in what was happening. When I later asked Kalista about her session, she described quite different feelings. For Kalista’s palm reading, Anna made her predictions while touching crystals that rested in Kalista’s palms. This surprised us, because we thought a palm reading would be more about analyzing different lines on the palm of her hand. Kalista found Anna open and welcoming, someone who people would be attracted to simply because she gave good advice, outside of any psychic abilities. Unlike me, Kalista said it was easy for her to be vulnerable during the session. As we left, I thought that maybe visiting a psychic is a little like going to therapy — you get what you put in. PHOTO BY KALISTA DIAMANTOPOULOS


The first psychic we visited was Anna, who welcomes visitors to “Psychic Readings by Anna” in an ordinary-looking house on Richmond Highway. We picked Anna because she had the most Google reviews of all the psychics in Alexandria, and the majority of them were positive. Anna offers a variety of services, from astrology readings to “curse removal.” I planned to request a Tarot card reading ($50) and Kalista planned to ask for a palm reading ($40). When we pulled up to the address listed on Anna’s website, I was surprised to see an ordinary-looking house, distinct only because of some blue symbols painted on the door. Inside, however, Anna’s setup was pretty professional looking. Her living room doubled as a waiting room, and she had a separate room in the back solely dedicated to her psychic service. Anna has a rule of meeting clients one at a time, so while I waited in the special back room, Anna instructed Kalista to pick a movie to watch on her flat screen, which made Kalista wonder how long each session was going to take. Anna said she is a third-generation psychic, and she takes her work seriously. She shuffled a large deck of Tarot cards, handed down to her from her grandmother, and laid them out on the table between us in an elaborate spread. From there, she began her reading, occasionally gesturing to the card that inspired her statement.

22 • September / October 2019


Our next stop, “Psychic of Alexandria” on Telegraph Road, looked more the part of a “psychic shop,” with a sign in the shape of a palm out front and a neon one glowing in the window. We chose it because of its high visibility and because online reviewers seemed split on whether it was a scam or the most genuine psychic service in the area. Unlike Psychic Readings by Anna, Psychic of Alexandria lacked any online presence of its own whatsoever, so it was impossible to get any sense of what the rates would be, or what services were offered. The building had definitely seen better days. However, we were there to assess the psychic’s services, not the shop’s aesthetics. The psychic herself looked to be in her mid 60s. She never told us her name, but she did show us a list of her services. My Tarot card reading cost $45 and Kalista’s palm reading cost $10. For my Tarot card session, the psychic flipped one card over at a time, weaving details into her reading as she did. She began by telling me that I was pining over a man who did not love me back — a bold assertion, and also a false one. As she continued, I got the sense that she was trying to figure out my specific insecurities. She stated that I drive men away, that people always disappoint me, that I secretly feel useless — each time pausing to judge my reaction. It made me wonder if she was used to seeing people in times of crisis, and saw her services as a last resort. When I failed to open up about any real insecurities, she grew frustrated, insisting she was only trying to help. Our total session lasted about 15 minutes and left a sour taste in my mouth.

Kalista’s session was even shorter than mine, with the psychic only taking a brief glance at Kalista’s palm. The psychic’s reading, however, was packed with details, many of which bore similarities to Anna’s reading. Both psychics said that Kalista would have just enough money to do what she wanted in life, and would be in two relationships before settling down with the right person. They also said that she would travel soon, which was striking because Kalista plans to study abroad in college. The Psychic of Alexandria shop had a sticker in their window indicating they take credit cards, but when it came time to pay, we were informed that they only accepted cash. More than Kalista, I left feeling like I had been misled in a number of ways.



At the end of our journey, we came to the conclusion that we still had a lot to learn about psychics. We decided to stop by Sacred Circle, a metaphysical store that has operated at 919 King St. since 2006. Sacred Circle itself offers psychic services with a wide variety of psychics (13 are listed on their website, with short biographies of each, along with their rates), all of whom are accredited by the Better Business Bureau. As a result, co-owner Thomas Singer said he knows how to tell a “genuine psychic” from a scammer. We mentioned that there seem to be a surprisingly high number of psychics in Alexandria — far more than we expected. Singer said that Alexandria’s reputation as a tourist destination is

responsible for the high number of psychics in the area, many of whom may be frauds hoping to prey on those passing through. “If you see an apartment with a neon palm in the window, that’s a dangerous sign,” Singer said. “They aren’t running a regular business, they’re just trying to snatch people with interest.” For those interested in finding a trustworthy psychic, Singer recommends checking out Pathways Magazine, a free directory of alternative services in the region. Visiting a metaphysical store like Sacred Circle is also a good way to find advice and recommendations from experts as well as community members. Finally, Singer pointed us to an article on Sacred Circle’s website written by his wife and Sacred Circle co-owner, Anysia Oswald. Titled “How to Spot a Psychic Scammer,” it gives even more details on how to spot the fakes and phonies. Beware of hidden fees and scare tactics to convince you to return repeatedly for additional services. If you’re going to see a psychic, it’s essential to do some research beforehand. Sessions can get pricey quickly, and you want to make sure you’re paying for a service that you’ll actually find helpful. We also learned that psychics can offer their customers more than a glimpse into the future. A quality psychic can provide spiritual guidance, help answer troubling questions, provide a new perspective for approaching an issue, or simply act as a source of emotional support. Someone might see a psychic for the same reason someone else might check their horoscope, or visit a life coach or read self-help books.


So, are psychics real? Who knows? After visiting two, I’ve concluded that they just might not be for me. But many of them (the non-scammers, anyway) provide real help for the people who trust them. As far as I’m concerned, that’s good enough.

September / October 2019 •



Hauntings, History and Hayrides


Alexandria’s Very Own Ghost Hunters? BY MAE HUNT

Scott Fallon has a 12-foot-tall concrete statue of Bigfoot on his front porch — maybe not the lawn decor you’d expect to see driving through Alexandria. However, as the co-founder of the Alexandria Cryptozoology and Paranormal Society (ACAPS), Fallon is used to challenging the expected. In fact, he’s built a community around doing just that. The story started in 2014. Fallon, Chad Umbach and Marc Black were all regulars at Bilbo Baggins, a pub in Old Town. They soon discovered they had things in common — the same interest in all things haunted, hidden and heavily disputed. “It’s funny, once you start talking about a subject like Bigfoot or UFOs, someone overhears something. And then the next thing you know, you’re talking about everything,” Fallon said. “We built

24 • September / October 2019

the friendship from there.” The trio would go on to create ACAPS, a group for those fascinated by cryptozoology and the paranormal. And yes, there is a clear distinction between the two. “When you’re talking paranormal you’re talking more about ghosts, poltergeists, entities, the spirit world. Cryptozoology is more about the study of hidden creatures,” Fallon said. “Bigfoot gets all the press, along with El Chupacabra and the Loch Ness Monster, but there’s other stuff beyond that as well.” Throughout its five-year existence, ACAPS members have sponsored music events, spoken at cryptozoology conventions and gained more than 14,000 followers on their Facebook page. Many of those followers came via word-of-mouth, from within the online cryptozoology subculture. For example, after the ACAPS Facebook page followed Cliff Barackman, a notable Sasquatch researcher who appeared on the Animal Planet series Finding Bigfoot, the

page gained 7,000 followers overnight. However, Fallon believes a good portion of ACAPS’ followers are Alexandria residents. “There’s a lot of history here,” Fallon said. “It spurs interest from the local community.” ACAPS’ founders, who all reside in Alexandria (Fallon in Fairfax County, and Umbach and Black in Old Town), have embraced the haunted potential of Alexandria’s rich history. For example, they organized a private ghost tour for 25 ACAPS members; during the outing, Fallon claims the group caught a glimpse of some paranormal activity inside the Old Presbyterian Meeting House. The original meeting house was built on the site, at 321 S. Fairfax St., in 1775. “We had three different people from three different locations taking a picture of something … we all got the exact same anomaly from three different angles,” Fallon said. Some may be eager to dismiss such stories as unsubstantiated, the delusional results of pseudoscientific conspiracy theories. However, Fallon believes there is enough evidence to support the existence of certain cryptids. Take Bigfoot, for example. “One of the things people say is, ‘How come he’s everywhere?’ Well, there’s more than one Bigfoot. When we’re talking about ‘Bigfoot,’ we’re talking about thousands in a pretty secluded area,” Fallon said. “It’s easy to laugh it off, but when people consider how many undiscovered species we’ve found on a regular basis, it’s really not that hard to believe.” The ACAPS founders don’t believe every urban legend, however. This includes many of the links they post on their Facebook page, which is sort of a free-for-all, as long as the content relates to cryptozoology or the paranormal in some way (headlines range from “possible Bigfoot sightings reported in northeast Georgia” to “Marilyn Monroe ‘killed by CIA to stop her exposing TRUTH about Roswell aliens’”). Fallon also voiced some doubt about the paranormal reality TV genre. “We are believers in a lot of stuff, but we’re also the world’s biggest skeptics of everything. Like on the ghost shows. If you go into a building expecting to see a ghost, you will see a ghost,” Fallon said.

From Top to Bottom: ACAPS in the Old Town St. Patrick's Day Parade; Scott Fallon at The Peculiarium, Portland during ACAPS Pacific Northwest Bigfoot Expedition; ACAPS Founders Chad Umbrach, Marc Black and Scott Fallon / PHOTOS COURTESY OF SCOTT FALLON

Part of ACAPS’ philosophy, however, is to always keep an open mind. This especially extends to the frequent requests for the group’s help from individuals who believe they may be dealing with a paranormal occurrence.

“People know us around town now,” Fallon said. “If you walk around Old Town, you’ll probably see the ACAPS stickers posted somewhere. We’ve been in a parade here in Old Town.”

“I think everything’s worth a serious conversation. I don’t think people would reach out if they weren’t genuinely concerned,” Fallon said.

“Now people see us in bars and say, ‘Oh, you’re the Bigfoot guy,’ or ‘Oh, you’re the ghost guy,’ and come up and tell us stories. And you hear some pretty cool stories.”

It is perhaps this willingness to treat every potential problem with respect that has helped the group grow. Last Christmas, Fallon, Umbach and Black (who occasionally goes by moniker, “The Enigmatic Dr. Black”) threw a party to celebrate reaching a milestone of 10,000 Facebook followers. To their surprise, word about the party got out, and people came specifically to meet and ask questions of the group’s founders. Fallon, Umbach and Black even autographed ACAPS posters.

The trio had a chance at gaining fame at a national level when they were interviewed by a California agency seeking to cast a new ghost-hunting show. However, they didn’t make the cut. Fallon joked that maybe they didn’t have the look. There are no hard feelings, though. In Alexandria, they’ve gained notability and respect among those who share the belief that the truth – or at least a Bigfoot – is out there.

September / October 2019 •


Hauntings, History and Hayrides




The Tale of the Female Stranger is a long-standing oddity in Alexandria.

The headstone’s epitaph reads:

As the name suggests, the Female Stranger has remained an unnamed Jane Doe since her passing on Oct. 14, 1816. According to the legend, a young couple arrived in Alexandria and disembarked from a ship traveling from somewhere in the Caribbean. They rented Room 8 in Gadsby’s Tavern at 134 N. Royal St. The woman was sick and in need of immediate medical attention. Her husband hired a local doctor to help care for her, but the husband refused to answer any of the doctor’s questions about their identities. Sadly, the woman’s condition worsened, and she passed away. While keeping his identity under wraps, the husband took a loan from a local businessman to pay for his wife’s burial. He repaid the loan with a note from the Bank of England. That note turned out to be fraudulent. Today, the woman’s grave is a landmark in the Alexandria National Cemetery.


“To the memory of a female stranger whose mortal sufferings terminated on the 14th day of October 1816 aged 23 years and 8 months This stone is placed here by her disconsolate Husband in whose arms she sighed out her latest breath and who under God did his utmost even to soothe the cold dead ear of death. How loved how valued once avails thee not To whom related, or by whom begot A heap of dust alone remains of thee Tis all thou art and thou proud shall be To him gave all the Prophets witness that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins” - Acts 10th Chap. 43rd verse There is no shortage of hypotheses on the woman’s identity (and that of her husband). Some believe she was Theodosia Burr Alston, the daughter of Aaron Burr, who served as vice president during Thomas Jefferson’s first term as president. Alston was reportedly lost at sea in 1813. • September / October 2019

Others say she was English royalty. One of the more outlandish ideas is that the Female Stranger was actually the French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte and she did not die at Gadsby’s Tavern. Accounts of the couple’s stay in Alexandria and the reasons she passed away are inconsistent at best. All stories can agree that the couple wanted to keep their identities unknown. Some say the woman’s husband continued to visit her grave every year on the anniversary of her death for almost a decade, but others say he was never seen again. The well-established belief, however, is that Gadsby’s Tavern is the true eternal resting place of the Stranger’s soul. The nameless ghost is said to be seen lurking the halls and rooms of Gadsby’s, joining in on parties in the ballroom and resting by the window of Room 8.

Events in Honor of The Female Stranger Every year, Gadsby’s Tavern honors the Female Stranger around the anniversary of her mysterious death. More information about these events and tickets to attend are available at


738 Fords Landing Way $1,425,000 | 416 S Royal St $950,000 | 17 Alexander St $1,390,000 | 723 Fords Landing Way $1,249,999 | 715 Rose Sq $948,005 727 S Lee St $1,140,000 | 815 Rivergate Pl $1,599,999 | 711 Fords Landing Way $1,025,000 | 705 Kahn Pl $1,399,999 | 29 Alexander St $1,280,000

Call Kristen Jones for a complimentary confidential conversation to see what door she can open for you!

Kristen Jones | Licensed in VA 703.851.2556 | 109 S Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 September / October 2019




A sampling of the menu at Oak Steakhouse Alexandria / PHOTOS BY REY LOPEZ

A Look Ahead Alexandria’s Dynamic Dining Scene BY MARY ANN BARTON

Alexandria is a great place to try new restaurants or visit those that have stood the test of time that you’ve been meaning to check out. Here’s a look at some of the latest happenings on the city’s dining scene.

The restaurant operates with “14 elements of service.” The elements “were developed collaboratively when I was a server 25 years ago,” Palmer said. “The most important three are: Providing a reason to return, communication and teamwork, because I don’t think a restaurant can be great without a great team, and ensuring guest satisfaction.”

The Old Town North neighborhood welcomed Oak Steakhouse Alexandria over the summer. Owned and managed by Indigo Road, which is headquartered in Charleston, it’s the first time they have opened a restaurant in the Northern Virginia market. Indigo Road business partner Michael Meyer hails from Alexandria. “Since Oak was the first restaurant of the group, we thought it would be a great homecoming to bring an Oak Steakhouse to Alexandria,” managing partner Steve Palmer noted.

28 • September / October 2019

When asked what he would order a guest visiting the restaurant, he replied:” I would suggest they start with the Oysters Rockefeller because our recipe is simply amazing, definitely one of our dry-aged steaks and finish with a piece of chocolate cake and ‘The Lumberjack,’ which is a bourbon cocktail made with maple syrup and lemon.”

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

Rendering of the Augie’s Mussel House’s planned renovations

In other Alexandria restaurant news: Coffee shop and bistro coming to S. Union Street

Restaurant owner Nahom Debessay, who currently operates Meze, a Mediterranean restaurant in Adams Morgan, has applied to open a coffee shop and bistro at 215 S. Union St., in Old Town Alexandria near the waterfront, according to paperwork filed with the City of Alexandria. The name of his eatery? Cafe du Soleil. Meze has been a fixture in Adams Morgan for the past 18 years.

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.

New Indian restaurant coming to Del Ray

A new restaurant, Spice Kraft Indian Bistro, will open in the space formerly occupied by beloved Bombay Curry, in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood. Sanjjar Oyuntsetseg of Roanoke is taking over the space. She is currently owner of The Elephant Walk restaurant in Roanoke, which has been a staple there for 30 years. Augie’s Mussel House update

Augie’s Mussel House, 1106 King St., according to construction permits filed with the City, is spending $150,000 on renovation of the building, which is owned by Asana Partners. The restaurant is from the same restaurant group that opened Urbano 116 on King Street. Authentic taqueria coming to Alexandria

Speaking of Mexican food, the former restaurant director at Arlington’s Green Pig Bistro, Tom Voskuil, is bringing Taqueria Picoso to Alexandria, at 1472 N. Beauregard St., at the Shops at Mark Center. The spot was formerly a Thai restaurant. He and Lynn Umemoto are joint owners of the business. Proposed hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The restaurant will be self-serve and patio dining is also proposed. A $100,000-plus remodeling project was underway in the summer, according to construction permits. Voskuil noted on his LinkedIn profile: “Exciting news as we are in the process of opening the most authentic taqueria in the area! Update, as we have approvals for our vertical al pastor roaster. Importing corn from Oaxaca for our tortilla machine, which will produce 720 tortillas/hour. $3 tacos that taste like true tacos from CDMX [Mexico City] is only months away! Stay tuned NOVA for a true taste treat!!” September / October 2019 •


PROFILE left so they were able to see me play, and that in itself kind of took their anger. I mean, I got a talking to, but I think what saved me from a whooping was that I was good at it.” From that point on, Matthews said, her parents supported her in all of her athletic endeavors. It wasn’t until 1999, when she served in the military in Europe, that Matthews started playing flag football. When she returned to the United States, she started working at Joint Base Andrews (then Andrews Air Force Base). A friend told her about a team playing at a local field and she decided to join. In 2004, she was recruited to play for the D.C. Divas, a football team in the Women's Football Alliance. After several successful seasons with the D.C. Divas, Matthews decided in 2012 to start her own team.

Tiffany Matthews is Changing the Game Alexandria firefighter and native Tiffany Matthews owns and plays for the D.C. Prodigy women's tackle football team. BY KALISTA DIAMANTOPOULOS

If you’re not already aware of D.C.’s all-female tackle football team, you should be. Washington Prodigy owner and player Tiffany Matthews, an Alexandria native, is not just on the field, but changing the whole game. Matthews is a firefighter at Station 204 in northeast Alexandria. When she’s not at the station, she’s playing tackle football with the team she founded and owns. Matthews started the Washington Prodigy in 2012. The team is a part of the United States Women’s Football League (USWFL). The team has held on to an 8-0 record in every one of its past three seasons. Matthews has always been a football fan but did not play the sport growing up. Instead, her childhood was spent playing basketball and softball at local parks and recreation centers. Matthews said her first experience playing softball was at the Cora Kelly Recreation Center in elementary school. When she didn’t go straight home after school, her parents were livid. “When they found me, I guess there may have been a couple of innings

30 • September / October 2019

“I felt super passionate about my reasons for wanting to start it. As with anything, women's football started getting political, a lot of things that were happening outside of football that were affecting on-field things and it just didn't seem fair to the women that were putting in their time and effort,” she said. “I just felt like I wanted to bring another aspect to women's football.” Starting the Washington Prodigy meant shifting from player to owner, which was unfamiliar territory for Matthews. Much of the money came out of her own pocket. She had to learn to handle a plethora of situations from coaches and staff quitting on game day to communicating with other people in the industry who were not on the same page as her. The next big step Matthews took was from owner to coach. For mentoring, Matthews went to her head coach, Tony Bell, who has now been with the team for four years and was named 2019 USWFL Coach of the Year. “I know so much about the x's and o's of the sport and laying out the dynamics, but teaching it is a completely different animal. I have so much respect.” No matter what role she is playing — player, coach, or owner — Matthews is deliberate in fostering a sense of camaraderie between the players on her team. “The team is my baby,” Matthews said contentedly, “it's my passion.” The Prodigy is a volunteer-run, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with Jordyn White as general manager. The team is a member of the United States Women’s Football League. Although the sport does not receive much coverage, it is widespread with three leagues and teams in every major U.S. city. Matthews encourages young women now to consider trying football. “There's so much that is offered to women playing the sport now. Find a team, ask to work out with them. … You have support in the community. Once women get involved, once young girls get involved, they realize how much of a backing that they have across the nation.”


Subscribe to Alexandria Living Magazine and save more than 50% off the newsstand price! Plus, get special discounts and benefits you won't find anywhere else!

The Old Town Shop Ad





Alexandri a’s

Greener Future Venues, Veils and Vow s

ALEXANDR March / April





Subscribe and pay online at with complete security through our partners at Subscription Genius.

Or, subscribe by mail. Send a check to Alexandria Living Magazine. Mail it to 106 N. Lee Street, Second Floor, Alexandria, VA 22314. A 2-year subscription is just $24.95. Or, call us at 571-232-1310 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. We can take your order over the phone.

Landscape and Portrait Photography



Bold Town Branding is a strategic marketing firm that offers innovative brand awareness solutions for small to medium businesses in Alexandria, VA. We create custom, cross-platform marketing campaigns that increase awareness, convert prospects, and drive sales.

















1 National Landing 2 New Heights 3 Metro Bus Garage 4 Eisenhower East 5 Alex South


6 Penn Daw 7 The Victory Center 8 Landmark Mall 9 N. Beauregard at Seminary 10 West Alex

Development on the Fast Track BY BETH LAWTON

From large holes in the ground to towering cranes in the sky, Alexandria is growing and changing quickly. Millions of square feet are under development for new office space, retail and residential across the City of Alexandria and nearby Fairfax County. Increasingly, developers are looking to create mixed-use areas that combine the best of living, working and relaxing in walkable neighborhoods. In recent years, Alexandria has been named the Fourth Best City in America for Millennials by Niche, the Best Downtown by Livability and the Second Most Walkable City in Virginia by Walkscore. The following pages show where several of Alexandria’s biggest developments are going up, what’s being built and what residents and visitors can expect in the coming years.

32 • September / October 2019









September / October 2019 •




New Heights


200 Stovall St. in Eisenhower East

2018 to make room for a larger affordable housing project that is under construction now.

NATIONAL LANDING Developer: Multiple Type: Mixed use plus Amazon’s HQ2

floor. A new Wegman’s is under construction in this neighborhood (estimated delivery 2021), as well as other retail, offices and residential projects to include a new food hall called Ike’s Five Star (estimated delivery 2020) and a third location for ALX Community’s co-working. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is planning to build a 10-story office building in this neighborhood, as well.

Delivery Date: Varies

Internet giant Amazon has chosen a new neighborhood called National Landing for its second national headquarters. National Landing includes part of northeast Alexandria near Potomac Yard and extends up in Crystal City. Simultaneously, Virginia Tech announced it will develop a huge Innovation Campus for technology education. Current plans call for the closing of the Regal Potomac Yard movie theater to build part of the Innovation Campus, and Amazon will be building new office space throughout the region. The timeline for development is 10 to 15 years.



FORMER METRO BUS GARAGE IN OLD TOWN Developer: Trammel Crow Residential Type: Residential Delivery Date: Unknown

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced in June 2018 that it sold its bus garage at 600 N. Royal St. to Trammel Crow Residential, a developer of multifamily residential homes. TCR has been approved to build 288 unit apartments. It is not yet under construction.



Type: Residential Delivery Date: 2019 through 2021

Craftmark Homes has constructed 41 luxury, four-story townhomes with two-car garages, four bedrooms, 3.5 baths and high-end finishes. Combined Properties is currently in the process of developing 400 apartments and 44,000 square feet of ground-level retail space anchored by an ALDI grocery store.

Developer: Multiple Type: Mixed use

Type: Residential

Delivery Dates: Vary

Delivery Date: 2020

Just west of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office near the Eisenhower Metro Station, the longterm vision for this area is “mixeduse, high-density development that takes full advantage of the transit infrastructure and the ability to construct very tall structures,” according to the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership. All of the new projects will include retail or other active uses on the ground • September / October 2019

ALEX SOUTH Developer: Craftmark Homes and Combined Properties


Developer: AHDC

Carpenter’s Shelter temporarily moved to the former Macy’s space at Landmark Mall while the shelter, in partnership with Alexandria Housing Development Corp., builds a new facility at 930 N. Henry Street with underground parking, a new shelter and nearly 100 affordable housing units. Just a few blocks away, the Ramsey Homes affordable housing development was torn down in June




PENN DAW Developer: Fairfield Residential Type: Residential Delivery Date: Unknown

Four buildings between 6321 and 6329 Richmond Highway are closed and awaiting redevelopment. The

The Victory Center


former Wendy’s fast food restaurant, martial arts school and adjacent buildings have been boarded up and will be demolished to make way for a multifamily residential development. The property changed hands from Novus to Fairfield Residential in early 2019, which delayed construction.


THE VICTORY CENTER Developer: Stonebridge Type: Residential Delivery Date: unknown

Stonebridge acquired the Victory Center office property on Eisenhower Avenue in 2019 and quickly moved to rezone the east parking lot adjacent to the vacant office building. Stonebridge plans to put a residential townhouse development there. The developer intends to come forward with plans in late 2019. The office building will remain in place, as will the parking lot west of the building. Stonebridge is actively seeking tenants for the office building.


LANDMARK MALL Developer: Howard Hughes Corp. Type: Mixed use Delivery Date: Unknown

Howard Hughes Corp. is working hard on plans for the former Landmark Mall property. The 51-acre

site will be completely redeveloped into a live-work-relax community with offices and retail, a transit hub, civic uses, open space and more. In addition, expect improvements for pedestrians, bicyclists and cars along Van Dorn and Duke streets.



Additional Projects in the Works

Developer: Monday’s Properties Type: Residential Delivery Date: Unknown

The developer will replace a current office building with a multi-family residential building with close to 300 units and an above-ground parking structure.

10 WEST ALEX Developer: Bozzuto, Weingarten Realty Type: Mixed use Delivery Date: 2019

Harris Teeter will anchor this new project, which will be a mixed-use development with residential (The Array apartments) and retail at the corner of Beauregard and King streets in Alexandria’s West End. A new Montessori school has applied to be a part of this huge development. A Silver Diner is also part of the mix.

In addition to the major developments listed here, a number of smaller projects are in the pipeline in the Alexandria area. Two of those projects involved converting former hotels to residential.

At 1101 N. Washington St., the Old Colony Inn will be replaced with 19 townhouse-style multifamily units. At 901 N. Fairfax St., a developer wants to convert the existing Crowne Plaza 13-story hotel into multifamily residential units and construct a few dozen townhouse-style homes. A black box theater will be a part of the project with the intent to host MetroStage theater. A new hotel is coming to Old Town, as well: The 7-story Hyatt Centric Hotel with retail on the bottom is currently under construction at 1611 King Street.

September / October 2019 •






F R E E A D M I S S I O N |

36 • September / October 2019

Ready Readytoto open openthethe door doortotoyour your new newhome? home? Don’t Don’ttrust trustone oneofofyour yourbiggest biggestlifetime lifetimeinvestments investmentstotoJoe JoeSchmo. Schmo. Call CallThe TheLizLuke LizLukeTeam Team- we’ve - we’vebeen beenaround aroundthetheblock blocka atime timeorortwo. two.

G Ge et t itni ng gy yo ou uh ho omme e- - Our Ourteam teamhas hassupported supportedover over1,000 1,000Alexandria Alexandriaand andNorthern Northern i ti ’ts’ swwh ha at twwe ed do o. . Virginia Virginiabuyers buyersand andsellers sellerstotobuy, buy,sell, sell,upgrade, upgrade,relocate, relocate,

renovate renovateand andeverything everythingininbetween. between.

LIZLUKE.COM LIZLUKE.COM| |703.868.5676 703.868.5676



Strategic timing and a premium kitchen remodel earned this listing a higher than average sales price and a 100% sales to list price ratio.

floors of fabulous living and entertainment space. Polished details include hardwood S O L D F O R Four floors, crown molding, chair rails, wooden doors and more. On the main level are an


attractive and contemporary living room and powder room. The star of the show is the professionally remodeled kitchen. Top of the line appliances include a Thermador 48� gas range with steam oven, Wolf Sub-Zero refrigerator and Kohler sink, among many other high-end utilities. Cambria Swanbridge quartz and brass hardware add sleek touches to this premium kitchen. The dining room opens to a private brick patio - allowing a seamless flow to grill, dine and enjoy fresh air.

1D A Y6S 38





AV G S A L E S P R I C E *

* All information provided is deemed reliable, but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified. • September / October 2019




Q2 2019


Q2 2019


Q2 2019


5 3 2 -5% 4 4 +2.8%

SALES $ 5 5 5 , 9 5 4 PRICE 2019|






Q2 2019


Q2 2019


Q2 2019


2 0 4 -46.3% 0.9 -50% 99%










Getting you home

* A l l i n f o r m a t i o n p r o v i d e d i s d e e m e d r e l i a b l e , b u t i s n o t g u a r a n t e e d a n d September s h o u l d b e/ October i n d e p e n2019 d e n t•l verified.



The Wellness Cooperative You’ve gotten yourself up off the bathroom floor after a tragic, life-altering and unexpected event. You’re working hard to remember to put yourself as a priority and practice some self-care — and now maybe you are starting to realize that your life is not exactly everything you dreamed it would be. In my past two pieces for this magazine, I may have failed to mention that once you come in to a true focus on loving yourself, you will no longer have the tolerance for things that bring you down or don’t help you grow. Don’t worry though, we don’t need to grab the bourbon and throw the shower back on just yet! I came to these stark realizations through my journey from “What just happened to me?!” through “Oh, yeah, I’m running on empty. Let’s turn that focus around.” Suddenly, I just didn’t want to be stuck on this same hamster wheel my life had been on. I wanted more. I needed more. I deserved more. But how?

may way through life hoping to land on the dream. From that, I have started two manifestation journals. I write in every morning what my ideal life is going to be, who will be in that picture (though this person doesn’t have a name yet) and how my life is going to make me feel. At night. I sit down and I write all the things I am thankful for, what were my successes and what I’m going to do different tomorrow to make it even better. I am now very aware of my thoughts and exactly what I’m asking for from the universe/God/life/myself. Journaling isn’t for you? Don’t worry. I won’t even throw the crystals and sage at you yet. Try creating a vision board! They are a wonderful way to have a visual reminder of the life you want to create and your priorities. Maybe sit down with a Life Coach or Empowerment Coach, or check out a manifestation class and see what feels right to you. It’s your growth, make it happen your way! — by Jeanette Wages

This is when I began to dive head first into the world of manifestation, law of attraction and being extremely intentional with my thoughts. If you’re thinking, “oh my woo” and rolling your eyes, I was there too — so hear me out! We all hear the phrase “We are what we think.” But have you ever thought about how true that is? You see a friend who every time you talk to them it is about how everything is going wrong, they hate the world and they feel like they will never get ahead — and they never do. Your other friend is always seeing the good in people, seeking the silver lining and being grateful for everything they have. They may never become a millionaire but they are for more likely to live a life they love because of the light they choose to shine on their circumstances. What I am talking about is bringing the power of your extremely precise, intentional thoughts, followed by maybe a little action to create your best life. You can’t just wish to win the lottery and not buy a ticket! I dipped my toes into manifestation by attending a wonderful Soulmate Manifestation workshop with Nathaly, who walked us through step by step every weird little detail we wanted in our soulmate. I was recently single, so it sounded fun. I realized through doing that, I had NEVER been with a person even close to who I wanted to be with, so no wonder things just didn’t click or work out. I was settling because I never made it clear to myself what I needed from a partner and what I wanted my relationship to look like. I was just swiping

40 • September / October 2019

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



Preparing Your Pet for Moving Day BY BETH LAWTON

Moving has been rated one of the top five most stressful life events for people — and it’s stressful on their pets, too. While some of the stress on humans is unavoidable, there are a lot of things you can do to make this life change less unsettling for your dog or cat.

BEFORE THE MOVE First, consider carefully where you’re moving, said McEnearney Realtor Lisa Groover, and be honest with your real estate professional about everyone’s needs. “The mover should really evaluate what their needs are and what their pet’s needs are,” she said. “Is their pet afraid of elevators?

Does the pet need to go out 14 times a day and therefore you need to be on a ground floor? Do you need to be close to a dog park?” If your move will involve a lot of packing, you may want to start acclimating your pet to boxes before the move. Put some empty boxes out, maybe with food in them, so your pet gets used to boxes in their space, said Gina Hardter of the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. If you’re moving locally and you can bring your pet to their new neighborhood and let them smell it, that may help. “Try to get them used to that neighborhood before they’re all of a sudden plopped into a new home,” Groover said. Plus, make sure they’ll be comfortable in the car on the way to and from the new place. Cats may not like their carrier or the car, so introducing them to their new space may not be possible. September / October 2019 •




Alexandria Real Estate: Unleashed!

Also, put these to-do items on your list: • Contact your vet to get copies of your pet’s records and make sure that they have your new address. They may also be able to recommend a local vet, if you’re moving far away.

"We could not be more pleased with Lisa, who made us feel like her only client. She was extra attentive to our needs, as we have 3 dogs. She knew that not only was this going to be stressful for us, but also our four-legged children." - Tracy and Sherrie

• Make sure you know what paperwork your pet will need. Some apartment buildings and condos require vaccination information or more for animal residents. • Update your pet’s ID tags and microchips. If your pet escapes or panics during the move, you’ll want to make sure someone can get in touch with you when your pet is found.

DURING THE MOVE It may be best for your pet to be out of the way for the actual move — whether you send your cat to a relative’s home or your dog to doggie daycare or a pet sitter. Bring them to the new home when you’re settled in.

Lisa Groover, Pet Friendly Real Estate

If you can’t do that, put them in a secluded room with familiar things during your move out and your move in. You don’t want your pets to develop a lifelong fear of boxes.


703-919-4426 | 109 S. Pitt Street | Alexandria, VA 22314

“Once the main hustle and bustle is over, you can introduce them slowly to the larger residence, with treats and toys for comfort as you do so,” Hardter said.

AFTER THE MOVE Try to keep your pet in their normal routine as much as possible in terms of feedings, walks, etc. With cats, choose a location for their litterbox and don’t move it — they may get confused or stressed and stop using it. If you’ve moved with a dog and have a fenced-in yard, make sure to supervise them there the first few days. There may be escape routes you didn’t know existed. “Each animal is different and will react differently to change,” Hardter said. “Have patience with them, and if they seem stressed, see if you can recognize any particular causes. Maybe your cat doesn’t like the new location of a food dish or your dog’s bed is in a spot that’s too warm.” “Pets can’t tell us what they are feeling,” she noted, “but we can pay attention to their behavior and try to correct issues when we see something that feels wrong.”

Dental Implants · Sleep Apnea · Invisalign® · Sedation Dentistry · Root Canals and Oral Surgery · Tongue Tie/Lip Tie · Veneers · CT Scan/CBCT · Same-Day Crowns · Cosmetic Dentistry We Participate in Most Major Dental Insurance (including Military Dental Ins.)


Invisalign® Package

($235 value)

(reg. $6,000)

42 • September / October 2019

1,000 Off

Complimentary Consultation



6420 Grovedale Dr., Suite 100A, Alexandria, VA 22310

Implant Package (reg. $4,828)


Virginia is for Wine Lovers BY SCOTT HENDLEY


October is Virginia Wine Month and the time is ripe for visiting Virginia wineries, learning about grape-growing and winemaking in the state and tasting Virginia wines.

his European travels. They never succeeded in producing wine, however, because diseases and pests devastated the vines and fruit.

It is also a good time to reflect on Thomas Jefferson’s dream of making world-class wine in Virginia and the extent to which Virginia winemakers have labored toward, and largely achieved, his vision. Jefferson is the Patron Saint of Virginia wine. Ever the connoisseur, he visited the great wine estates of France, Italy and Germany, imported vast amounts of wine from Europe, assembled the nation’s largest (at the time) private wine collection at Monticello and established the White House wine cellar. Jefferson revered European wine but nevertheless believed that America could become successful and self-sufficient in grape cultivation and winemaking. “We could in the United States,” Jefferson wrote, “make as great a variety of wines as are made in Europe, not exactly of the same kinds, but doubtless as good.” Laying the groundwork for winemaking in America, Jefferson partnered with Philip Mazzei, Italian physician and horticulturist, to plant vineyards at Monticello. The two experimented with cultivating classic grape varieties (Vitis vinifera) using vine clippings Jefferson had collected during

While Jefferson himself failed at producing wine, his advocacy for American viticulture left a lasting legacy that inspired the emergence of modern winemaking in Virginia. Virginia now has 3,500 acres planted to grapevines and just over 300 wineries. The state is home to eight American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) – federally designated grape growing regions with unique characteristics. They include the Appalachian High Country AVA (shared with North Carolina and Tennessee); Middleburg Virginia AVA; Monticello AVA; North Fork of Roanoke AVA; Northern Neck George Washington Birthplace AVA; Rocky Knob AVA; Shenandoah Valley AVA (shared with West Virginia); and Virginia’s Eastern Shore AVA. Most Virginia wineries are small-medium-scale operations but their collective economic impact is significant. Due to growth in wine production, expanding availability of Virginia wine in stores and restaurants, booming wine tourism and increasing direct-to-consumer sales across state lines, the Virginia wine industry has a $1 billion (and growing) impact on the state’s economy. Success in Virginia winemaking has not come without challenges, though. As in Jefferson’s days the hot, wet and humid mid-Atlantic climate presents hazards to

grapevines and crops. Abundant moisture late in the growing season is a major culprit as it attracts pests, causes excessive vine vigor and fosters powdery mildew, black rot and other destructive diseases that can result in poor quality fruit at harvest. Thanks to advances in vineyard management techniques and selection of grape varieties best suited to Virginia’s climate and soils, Virginia grape growers and winemakers are making progress in mitigating these menaces. As far as Virginia wine itself, there is an abundance to explore. Virginia wineries produce a broad spectrum of wine varieties and styles – from dry table wines to elegant sparkling wines to sweet fruit and honey wines. There is no “signature” grape variety but there are a handful of varieties that are adaptive to (or at least manageable in) Virginia’s climate and which are flourishing in quality and character. These include Viognier, Petit Manseng, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Whatever your preferences in variety or style, October is Virginia Wine Month so pick-up a bottle of Virginia wine, pour a glass and enjoy – cheers! (NWR) is an online wine publication based in Alexandria. It is dedicated to exploring, evaluating, and reviewing unique wines from around the world. Hendley founded NWR in 2012 with fellow Alexandrian Richard Stone.

September / October 2019 •



A Blank Canvas How to Buy Art for Your Home BY MAE HUNT

So, you’re sick and tired of staring at blank walls. Collecting artwork is a great way to add color, texture and personality to your home. However, the process can be intimidating. Jan Bertin, owner of residential design service Bertin’s Decorating Den, and Lauren Bishop, a Realtor with McEnearney Associates, both are familiar with the art-buying process and have been in and out of enough homes to know what works and what doesn’t. We talked with them to gather some tips for how those new to the art-buying process can make a masterpiece of their homes. Know Where to Look

In addition to staging countless homes for the market, Bishop has decorated her own home with eye-catching local art. Bishop came across many of the pieces in her impressive local art collection by spending time at Alexandria’s local galleries and art events. Annual festivals like Art on the Avenue and the King Street Art Festival offer wonderful opportunities to not only view artists’ work, but also chat with the artists themselves. “The art festivals are a good place to start because, if you find things that speak to you, you can typically get them. They’re not quite as expensive as work at finer galleries,” Bishop said. Commissions can be a great option if you have had difficulty finding a piece that matches the ideal size you need, or the vision you have in mind. The conditions of the commission will vary based on the artist and the services they offer.

44 • September / October 2019


“Sometimes you need a perfect size and you can look and look and just can’t find it. Or sometimes you need a perfect feel because you want to complement art that you already have,” Bertin said. “And that’s the best time to think about commissioning a piece because then you get exactly what you want.” In addition, Bishop enjoys visiting antique stores to look for artwork and exploring social media options like Instagram and Etsy. “There’s a lot of artists you can find through Instagram or Etsy that will do really cool commissions,” Bishop said. If the thought of commissioning work is daunting, local galleries like Broadway Gallery and Principle Gallery are experienced in connecting artists to buyers. “They will work with you to find pieces that are really going to enhance the space,” Bertin said. Enhance the Space

There’s a general rule of thumb that a well-decorated room in a home should feel balanced. However, it really depends on what you want for your space. “Sometimes balance is not the ultimate goal. But I think an even distribution of visual weight should be what you shoot for,” Bertin said. So, how does one create an even distribution of visual weight? “If there’s a large horizontal over the fireplace, and it’s sixty inches wide, then you’re going to want on the opposite wall - say over a sofa - two verticals that may approximate 50 to 60 inches in width,” Bertin said. Mixing up the sizes and shapes of your pieces will create a more dynamic field of vision, and you’ll probably love the art in your home for longer. It’s also important to pay attention to the height at which you hang your artwork. According to Bishop, many people hang their artwork too high. In general, art should be hung at eye-level, or about 60 inches from the floor.

Go for Big Pieces

Both Bishop and Bertin agree that when it comes to buying art for your home, it’s a good idea to think big. A large piece of artwork can pull a room together better than a smaller one, and a large piece can make a space feel less cluttered and more balanced. “Bigger is better,” Bishop said. “I think it’s nicer to have fewer larger pieces than a lot of little things.” Bertin agreed. “Larger pieces have more impact, make much more of a statement and don’t look cluttered,” she said. Unfortunately, larger works of art will almost always cost more than smaller pieces. Not every blank wall needs to be adorned with a massive canvas. Bertin recommends choosing a large mirror instead of a painting when decorating an entryway, and spending money on decorative tiles rather than artwork for a bathroom. After all, art is not limited to images that can hang on a wall. If you’re more attracted to the idea of grouping smaller pieces together, Bertin advises proceeding with caution. “If you’re going to use groups of things, group likes together,” Bertain said. “Don’t try to pull off a combination of different types of images without some help. That’s a tricky thing to pull off.” For example, if you want to decorate

a space with work by a particular photographer, it is recommended that you choose images from the same collection, rather than a random assortment. Trust Your Taste

If you’re not well-versed in the art world, it can be tempting to doubt your reactions when browsing for artwork. But your home isn’t a museum, and it’s okay to pick out pieces just because you enjoy them. “People probably think my artwork collection is strange because I have so many things that I like, but I kind of think that’s what makes a house a home,” Bishop said. “It doesn’t all have to match or be in the same genre.”


If you’re planning on making a significant purchase, though, it’s a good idea to wait a little to make sure the infatuation lasts. One of Bishop’s larger pieces is an abstract painting by Washington, D.C.-based artist David Bell that adds as a pop of color to a mostly white living room. “I think I went back to look at it six times before I actually purchased it. And every time I went, I still loved it,” Bishop said. At the end of the day, how you decorate your home is up to you. Don’t be afraid to go with your gut, move things around, and take risks. What matters most is that you enjoy your space.


After all, you’re the one who is going to be living in it.

Setting Your Art Budget Nothing can happen without a budget, and that applies to buying art for your home. According to Bertin, budget is the number one most important thing to take into consideration if embarking on a decorating journey. When planning a room, Bertin recommends spending 90% of your budget on furnishings and 10% on accessories such as art. While this is only a general rule — some people may choose to prioritize art over

furnishings — it helps ensure that a room’s design is well thought-out before decorations are added. This method does not leave a ton of money to spend on artwork. Luckily, Bertin has tips for getting the most bang out of your buck. For example, choose artwork that is already framed. “Custom framing will eat into your budget in a big way. If you can buy a piece that already has a frame, you are ahead of the game,” Bertin said.

Bertin also encourages her customers to look beyond paintings when decorating a room. Posters, for example, are much more affordable and can make a serious statement. “You can get a poster for $35 online or at a frame shop,” Bertin said. “Then, have it framed. You’re putting the dollars into the framing instead of the image. Which is fine. It’s going to deliver the same impact.”


703-299-0633 September / October 2019 •



Sid Egly pauses for a photo at his farm / PHOTOS BY ISABELLE BALDWIN

From Field to Vase Discovering Local Flower Farms BY ISABELLE BALDWIN

Wearing overalls and a tank top, Sid Egly greets me on his 1-acre flower farm in Poolesville, Maryland, his hair pulled back and wildflower tattoo on display. Egly is the embodiment of a flower farmer — warm, observant, ready to get his hands dirty. He is one of a few Certified Naturally Grown, or CNG, farmers in Montgomery County. That means Egly's Gypsy Flower Farm specializes in growing unique and beautiful cut flowers without the use of pesticides or chemicals.

garden on the theory that “nature knows best” has its advantages, too. Avoiding the use of pesticides benefits the environment in more ways than one. It helps to prevent water pollution, topsoil loss, soil contamination and toxic runoff — something that can lead unassuming customers to develop rashes and illnesses. Beyond the environment, starting from the soil up and rejecting chemicals can benefit your mental and physical health. “There’s no reason to rush farming,” explains Egly, who believes that his flowers look better when they’re grown organically.

Farmers use pesticides to control weeds, insect infestation and diseases, which increase crop production, and, in turn, profits.

The proof is in the soil: Egly’s celosia, amaranth, snapdragon, lupine, Gomphrena and zinnia were either in the process of blooming or primed and ready to go.

For organic growers, however, basing your

In the fall months, asters, carnations and

46 • September / October 2019

dahlia selections — including Clair Obscur Cactus and Bora Bora Cactus — and more than 2,000 sunflowers will take center stage through November.

Beginning roots Egly’s love for flowers runs in his family. The artist-turned-farmer first became fascinated with all things green in 2013, when his mom, award-winning floral designer Stephanie Egly, opened up her shop. In Stephanie’s Secret Garden, located at the farm, she works on centerpieces, bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages for various celebrations. After graduating from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts degree in studio art with a concentration in oil painting, Sid Egly had his sights set on becoming a florist, but it only took him two years to realize that something was missing: farming his own flowers. In a frenzy of passion, Egly began researching soil composition, growing and harvesting flowers, and how to create organic compost. Less than two months later, packages of seeds were being delivered to his doorstep and he was creating in-depth seedling growth schedules and evaluating spacing requirements.

Gypsy subscriptions Gypsy Farms offers three-month, four-month and nine-month community-supported agriculture (CSA) flower subscriptions, or “Gypsy Subscriptions.” Each subscription includes the option of receiving one or two bouquets per month. The three-month, Early Bird Flower Subscription, running from April through June, provides flower-lovers with an assortment of popular and unique spring flowers, including colorful tulips, anemones, nigella and sweetly scented hyacinths. The four-month, Warmer Days Flower Subscription, running from July through October, offers summer and early autumn bloomers. The assortment includes robust sunflowers, berries, “cottage garden” lupines and more. The nine-month, Four Season Flower Subscription, running from April through December, is for true flower gypsies and includes a wide variety of bouquets. Tulips, sunflowers, zinnias, miniature pumpkins, heavenly scented greens, winter berries and evergreen wreaths will get subscribers through the growing season and holidays. Two pick-up locations are available: Gypsy Flower Farms at 15115 Mount Nebo Road and Poolesville Hardware at 19961 Fisher Ave. With the sugarbush flower on his wish list of rare flowers to grow, Egly won’t stop until he feels that his unique farm is complete. Or, at least until he has another acre and an outdoor greenhouse. Gypsy Flower Farm supports the organic and all-natural farming movement. Egly is looking forward to the future of Gypsy Flower Farm and the educational opportunities that it can create for beginner farmers and those who wish to create a full-time career in flower farming. Egly was recently visited by Eco City Farms, a nonprofit urban teaching and learning farm in Prince George’s County. You can view photos from the visit at

Keep up with Sid’s adventures on Instagram @gypsyrooted and on Facebook at Gypsy Flower Farm. For direct inquiries, email Sid at

Other Farms to Visit (Worth the drive and smile on your kids faces!)

Burnside Farms, Haymarket, Va. Prince William County’s claim to fame! The 5-acre farm offers cut-your-own-flowers seasonally. Located at 4905 James Madison Hwy. Butler’s Orchard, Germantown, Md. One-hundred acres of pure joy! At this family-owned orchard, there are opportunities to pick your own produce throughout the year. Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and apples are offered seasonally. They also offer dig-your-own potatoes, cut-your-own flowers,and pickyour-own herbs and tomatoes. Don’t miss: The October pumpkin patch and corn fields! Located at 22222 Davis Mill Road. Fields of Flowers, Purcellville, Va. Open from mid-May to the first winter storm, guests are invited to wander acres of flower gardens and pick at their leisure. The Loudon County gem provides buckets, scissors and a workstation to clean your bouquet when you’re done. Located at 37879 Allder School Road. Seven Oaks Lavender Farm, Catlett, Va. Take a break from the bustle of Northern Virginia and pick-your-own lavender and herbs. For additional “cool points” with your family, the farm has bunnies to pet and hold, and a large playhouse. Don’t miss: The shaded trees, rocking chairs and porch. Located at 8769 Old Dumfries Road. Rockhill Orchard, Mount Airy, Md. Where else can you pick eggplants and peaches? Rockhill offers seasonal pick-your-own produce opportunities, and from June to mid-October, the community is invited to pick seasonal flowers from almost two dozen varieties.Don’t miss: The largest corn maze in Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve. Located at 28600 Ridge Road.

Ch ec It’ s he be ki ng re tte . r

“The months approaching my first growing season were spent more in the greenhouse than anywhere else,” he says. “Flower farming became my main priority, requiring my full attention day and night.”

Convenient Checking Account

It’s truly free. So is every ATM nationwide. Burke & Herbert Bank At Your Service Since 1852 ®

Visit your neighborhood branch today! 703.684.1655 $25 minimum to open. ©2019 Burke & Herbert Bank.

September / October 2019 •



From the Heart Just the Right Touch BY MARY ANN BARTON

(Left to right): Old Town Massage Center's Margie Marmo, office manager and owner Jette Hansen pause for a photo at the center / PHOTO BY MARY ANN BARTON

Jette Hansen has a bit of a wanderer's heart — the Alexandria business owner grew up in Denmark, Australia and San Francisco and spent a decade in France before making herself at home in Northern Virginia in 1994.

of well-being, improves your circulatory system, can address lymph circulation and relaxes tight muscles, she said. “Everyone in this area tends to sit at their computer 10 hours a day and then get in the car and grip their steering wheel.”

It’s evident when you step into her business, Old Town Massage Center at 3303 Duke St., that her wanderlust also takes her to the seaside. The ocean greens and blues of the beach and soothing scents immediately put you at ease (it might be the scent of organic jojoba, coconut or lavender oils), along with the friendly faces who greet you as you step inside. “I’m a total beach person so this is like my little escape to the beach,” said Hansen on a recent Saturday morning, seated in a spacious room used for infant massage and other activities. In 1998, after she found herself “completely burned out” from her telecom job, she left it to train to become a massage therapist at Potomac Massage Training Institute, graduating in 2000 and taking a leap of faith to start her own business. The benefits of massage are many, she noted. “In a city where everybody is in their head and stressed out all the time, it brings you back to body, awareness of what it is you’re feeling, how you’re feeling,” said Hansen. Massage also lowers your cortisol and your heart rate, improves your sense


Hansen began her business in Alexandria with one room that she leased from a hypnotherapist while she continued to work at a part-time job to pay her bills. After a suite became available in the building, she grabbed it, subletting some of the space and bringing on a staff member. The business has steadily grown with an eventual move to the larger Duke Street location where she is now. Last year, she expanded the space at Old Town Massage Center, overseeing a top-to-bottom renovation after it was completely gutted — “we were down to the studs,” she noted. Today, the center has an expansive reception area, a break room, seven treatment rooms and more. “It’s been fun, but it’s been a journey,” she said of the business’s growth over nearly two decades. “It’s grown organically — I’ve never taken out a business loan.” Today, she employs 21 massage therapists (who receive benefits including a 401k plan).; they are licensed in Virginia with a minimum of 600 hours of massage school training under their belts and Hansen also helps pay for continuing education classes for them. “It’s really rare that I hire straight out of massage school,” she said; most of her employees have about five years experience or more — even up to 30 years. Clients of every kind come through her • September / October 2019

doors — from tiny infants for infant massage to teen athletes to folks in their 90s. “We’re primates, we are made to be touched,” Hansen said. “As we age, the only people who touch our elder citizens are medical professionals who poke them and stick them. So, safe, nonsexual touch is just not part of their lives any more. And they miss that.” The center also works with people who have been through some sort of trauma, such as PTSD or abuse. “I have a couple of therapists with clients who are undergoing cancer treatment or who are at end of life. or who are in hospice care,” she said. “And for someone going through chemo, radiation or surgery, not necessarily in that order, they can come and receive safe non-sexual touch.” Hansen noted that the center gets a lot of referrals from physical therapists and chiropractors. “Our clientele here really is the discerning massage enthusiast ... and know the difference between someone who is doing a sort of a set protocol ... an ‘everyone gets one size fits all approach,’ whereas my therapists have the skill set, they can apply multiple modalities in one session, they can really work something in a very therapeutic way,” she said. “It’s the beauty of this work, when it’s really done from a heart-centered approach and working with a client, this work is transformational and it never gets boring,” Hansen said. “There’s always something new I can learn. My clients are my biggest teachers.”


Something Small

Is Big Enough



Leaning over the railing of the footbridge, I stared mindlessly at the water below. Backlick Run is normally a shallow slow-flowing creek where it empties into Holmes Run, but today was more powerful than usual following heavy rain. I often take a walk around the pond at Ben Brenman Park, but blocked by fencing from a retrofit project underway, I detoured. There on the bridge I found myself daydreaming. Silence broken only by loud chirps of a robin flying rapidly back and forth across the creek. I heard footsteps.

Behind him, from a field next to the dog park, another man shouted back. His voice was muffled by distance, but he was clearly unhappy. His young son, I assumed it was, there by his side.

“Why such anger?” A man yelled over his shoulder as he stepped onto the bridge. A dog on a leash trotted next to him.

“I apologized and offered to pay.” Bob continued. “The guy just kept shouting.”

I looked back down at the creek. I didn’t really want to know what just happened. “Do you know what just happened?” The dog’s collar jingled as the man stopped beside me. Without my response, Bob, as he introduced himself, told how he routinely takes Jake to the dog park. Weeks ago, Jake escaped and ran to this same father and son practicing lacrosse in the field. Jake grabbed the boy’s lacrosse stick and chewed the mesh before being stopped. As Bob spoke, a chirping robin again darted across the creek.

September / October 2019 •



Trips to the dog park coincide fairly often with the lacrosse practice in spite of Bob’s attempts to avoid it. When the father sees the dog he becomes irate and makes his feelings clear. “So much anger.” Bob stated simply. He leaned over the railing with me. Once again, loud chirps as a robin swooped low over the creek. “Anger everywhere.” Bob repeated. “I don’t know what it will take to get people to work with each other instead of against each other, but I bet it will have to be something big.” As we stared into the water something caught my eye. On a large rock in the center of the creek, a movement. I leaned to get a better look. “What’s that little thing?” Bob asked. He noticed the movement too. Just as we realized what it was, the father and son stepped onto the bridge. The father walked by and didn’t speak. The son, lacrosse stick in hand, started to throw some pebbles into the water. He stopped short. “Dad, come here, that’s a baby bird!” He called to his father. A baby robin, apparently swept into the creek during the rain, had managed to climb onto a large rock surrounded by the fast-flowing water. There he sat, soggy and shivering. “We’ve got to get him!” the boy cried as he ran down the overgrown bank and stood at the water’s edge. The father followed. Bob adjusted Jake’s collar and walked away. After hearing his story, I was certain he was happy to go home without another shouting match. He turned to me. “You coming?” Bob asked. He nodded towards the creek where the little boy was already wading into the water. We scrambled through brush and briars to stand on the muddy bank. The father waded into the swollen creek after his son’s failed attempt to grab the tiny bird. “Can you reach him if I hold your hand?” The father asked. “Almost!” the boy responded. Jake barked.


with a jerk. An underwater log made progress too difficult. Unsure of what to do, Bob started to turn back. Jake jumped when we heard a splash. The father was back in the creek again, lacrosse stick over his shoulder. “Take my hand.” The father said when he reached Bob. He planted his feet, held Bob’s hand, and passed him the lacrosse stick. A robin swooped low over their heads, chirping loudly. Bob, lacrosse stick in his free hand, leaned over the underwater log and gently scooped the baby bird into the mesh. The boy cheered, Jake barked, and the two men walked hand in hand out of the creek, a baby bird held securely between them. Reaching the bank, they took the tiny wet thing to a dry spot on a tree stump. The little bird hopped several times and squawked loudly. A robin chirped from the tree overhead.

“Here, hold this.” Bob handed me the leash and started into the water just as the boy slipped and fell.

“Great job!” the boy shouted.

Even with this much water it’s not a deep creek, but mud and slick round river rocks made walking nearly impossible. The two men helped the boy back up. Bob looked over at the pathetic little bird.

The two men actually shook hands before the father and son headed up the bank towards Duke Street. I handed Jake’s leash to Bob and commented on the cooperation it took to get that baby bird out of the creek.

“Maybe I can get him.” He waded out a bit further. Jake and I watched Bob move carefully over slimy rocks and through rolling current. He was almost there when he stopped

50 • September / October 2019

“Maybe it doesn’t take something big to get people to work with each other instead of against each other after all.” Bob grinned. “Maybe something small is big enough.”


Hard Questions Alexandria’s Michelle Millben is working to develop age-appropriate, non-partisan, fact-based answers for kids’ questions. BY BETH LAWTON

Sometimes the toughest questions come from the youngest people. Alexandria resident Michelle Millben is on a mission to help kids get answers to the big questions they have about tough and important issues and events in our country. Parents and educators struggle to give developmentally-appropriate and non-partisan answers to kids’ questions about politics or big events the news - such as homelessness, gun violence, immigration, the environment. Millben is the creator of Explanation Kids, a company that is developing non-partisan, fact-based, age-appropriate content that kids, parents, and teachers can use as a tool to explain tough subjects. “Kids have greater exposure to information than we ever did,” Millben said. “Kids have important questions about what is going on in their world and naturally they ask those questions to the people they trust.” After leaving her post in the Obama White House in 2017, Millben had the idea for Explanation Kids. But it was an article in The Atlantic after the 2017 tragedy following a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville that pushed her forward. After extensive research, Millben discovered holes in the way crowdsourced information was providing answers to kids questions about the Charlottesville tragedy. So she decided to help kids get the answers they deserve about complicated topics. As a result, Explanation Kids launched

in November 2018. They are currently engaging parents and teachers through their website so their future users can learn more about what they are building. In addition, Michelle has traveled to the SXSW EDU conference in Austin, TX and the Collision Conference in Toronto, ON pitching Explanation Kids’ mission and exhibiting their prototype. Michelle has an impressive background working in politics and working with youth. She served on Capitol Hill as a staffer in the House Judiciary Committee, attorney advisor in the U.S. Department of Justice, and twice in President Obama’s White House as an advisor. Prior to law school, she was a youth pastor for six years and then switched gears to attend law school after answering a call to serve others. Like the beginning stages of every startup, Millben is bringing in investors to support Explanation Kids’ mission, and Explanation Kids is working with a school system on a pilot program. Parents will initially have access to the platform through their school districts and teachers will have access for classroom use. Eventually, the platform will be available for parents and educators everywhere. “Our platform will be in school districts across the country and maybe one day around the globe,” Millben said. “More importantly, we hope it’s a staple in homes. We all have biases and leanings on information - and that’s ok! That kind of diversity of thought is what makes our country unique and amazing. No matter where you come from and regardless of your leaning on issues, we can learn together. We believe that sense of togetherness in society makes a better community - which we all need these day,” Millben said.

Explanation Kids has a big list of policy topics it plans to develop over time with explanations for different age groups from Pre-K through 8th grade. “We’re building our platform to address a child’s emotional and social development early.” Millben said. Behind Explanation Kids is a bi-partisan team of supporters with experience in media, technology and education, including writers who are going to actual historic resources for information. The company is also being very mindful of every person who may be taking in the content they produce. “While we’re writing, we’re really thinking about a family who’s second language is English, students with sensory disabilities – we’re committed to ensuring our content is comfortable and understandable for everyone,” Millben said. “We’re considering all perspectives and creating content that’s applicable; it’s not easy, but it’s the right thing to do.” Millben holds a Bachelor’s degree in music performance and business administration in violin and piano. She attended law school at the University of Oklahoma, spending her last year at Georgetown Law School. In her limited free time, Millben plays in the worship band a National Community Church and is an associate minister at Alfred Street Baptist Church. She also serves on the board for Alexandria’s Carpenter’s Shelter, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington DC, and the Northern Virginia Urban Alliance. She also has sung back-up vocals at events like the Kennedy Center Honors for music legends such as Diana Ross, Sting, Heart, Steven Tyler, James Taylor, Mavis Staples, Carrie Underwood, and Garth Brooks.

September / October 2019 •



Beyond Spring2ACTion A Q&A with Heather Peeler, President & CEO ACT for Alexandria is a community foundation that serves as the home for philanthropy for donors, nonprofits and members of our community. While ACT is most known for Spring2ACTion, the organization supports the community in so many other ways. In this issue, we talked to Heather Peeler, President and CEO of ACT for Alexandria to learn more about how ACT directly impacts our community. Q: ACT for Alexandria is best known for Spring2ACTion, but what other initiatives and projects is ACT working on?

Q: Racial equity is a challenging topic to discuss. How can people get started?

About ACT for Alexandria

A: It’s important to recognize that it is a

ACT for Alexandria is Alexandria’s home for philanthropy and for people who want to make a difference. As a community foundation, ACT is dedicated to improving the lives of people and nurturing our vibrant community by supporting the growth and sustainability of its nonprofits, engaging the community on key issues and partnering with donors to amplify the impact of their giving.

challenging conversation and that it will be uncomfortable. I encourage everyone to go beyond their comfort zones and be curious and open. There are many ways to learn more. For example, check out our suggested reading list at or go on an African American History walking tour with Manumission Tours. Q: It sounds like it has been a busy year so far! What are you most proud of that ACT has accomplished in 2019? A: We are honored to support the orga-

A: You are right! Spring2ACTion is one of many high-impact events. This year, we are proud to announce that Alexandria’s Giving Day raised a record-breaking $2 million from 9,423 donors for 162 participating nonprofit organizations! It’s an amazing example of our community coming together.

nizations and individuals who serve the

In addition, starting with the IMPACT Forum in February, ACT has engaged civic leaders, donors and nonprofits in a conversation about racial equity in Alexandria. In May, we launched a Racial Equity Capacity Building Initiative which includes trainings, convenings and funding opportunities to explore racial inequities in our community and how we can all play a role in eliminating them.

donor advised funds (DAF) and the City of

We have also partnered with the City of Alexandria to raise awareness about the upcoming 2020 Census and the importance of counting every Alexandrian. ACT has always sought to bring people together to discuss and take action on important issues in our community.

Alexandria community. When the government shut down this winter, many members of our community faced financial challenges, struggling to keep their homes and to feed their families while they were out of work. With the support of individual donors, Alexandria, we quickly dispersed more than $50,000 to eight local organizations who were addressing increasing requests for financial assistance. More than 200 individuals and families were able to put food on the table and avoid eviction because of ACT Now grants to local organizations. I am so proud of how our community quickly banded together to support each other during this difficult time. To learn more about ACT for Alexandria, visit their website at or email Heather Peeler at

From its launch in 2004, ACT has focused on building a more equitable community and helping to keep Alexandria a vibrant and welcoming place for all by: • Providing a forum for community discussions on racial equality • Collaborating with the City of Alexandria to ensure that all Alexandrians are counted in the 2020 Census • Giving grants to nonprofit organizations to strengthen and improve their work in this area

Take Action! There are many different ways you can get involved with ACT for Alexandria and support your community: • Open a donor advised fund: Just like having your own charitable bank account, a DAF is a tax-advantaged vehicle for philanthropic giving that lets you set resources aside to use when you want to make a charitable donation. • Make a charitable donation: Donate directly to ACT to support programs and initiatives that support our vibrant community. • Register for a program: Sign up for a racial equity workshop or take part in one of our upcoming Census 2020 events.



History, Adventure and Horticulture Come Together at North Georgia Resort BY ISABELLE BALDWIN

Historian Clent Coker describes the spellbinding history of the Barnsley estate as “a story of strong women”– a tale that spans 180 years and 3,000 acres. Designed as a dream home for Julia Scarborough Barnsley, wife of British sea-merchant and wealthy cotton broker Godfrey Barnsley, the “Woodlands” is an illustrious treasure of antebellum America in Adairsville, Ga., 65 miles north of Atlanta. Carved out of the North Georgia foothills on land once inhabited by the Cherokee Indians, Barnsley fashioned his Italianate style villa and its elaborate gardens from the published

manuals of 19th-century premier landscape architect, Andrew Jackson Downing. The property has withstood the test of time for nearly two centuries. A saga that includes natural disasters, enduring love, adventure, misfortune and family murder has created a Southern drama that enchanted even the likes of Atlanta writer Margaret Mitchell, who is said to have modeled Gone With the Wind’s Scarlett O’Hara after Barnsley’s daughter, who struggled to preserve the estate during the Civil War. It is through her love and determination that the Adairsville sanctuary still exists. Barnsley Resort

The Barnsley Resort officially opened in 1999, giving guests a charming, English-inspired storybook village setting. Twenty years later, the destination is enchanting and the past echoes loud and clear. The beauty of the resort is its accessibility. It is what you need it to be: the perfect backdrop for a family gathering, girls weekend getaway, wedding party or corporate event. Most appealing, however, is the resort’s ability to spark camp-like nostalgia for its adult visitors, offering luxurious guest cottages, three on-site restaurants, fly fishing, clay shooting, quail hunting, a world-class spa, horseback riding and more. September / October 2019 •



Gardens and manor house ruins

As the story has it, in 1846, a year after the passing of his wife Julia, Barnsley returned to his estate. While there, he had a dream that Julia visited him in the gardens. In the dream, so visceral that Barnsley couldn’t ignore it, Julia insists that he finish the estate for their children and future generations to come. By the mid-19th century, hundreds of rare trees and shrubs, including one of the largest rare rose collections in the South, were imported from around the world. Redwoods, lindens, cunninghams, and ancient cedars of Lebanon were planted at Woodlands, where many remain. Today, just beyond a classic boxwood parterre garden, remnants of Barnsley’s original villa are still intact. Exposed and moss-covered, the structure feels as though it’s lived a thousand lives – and it has the bullet holes to prove it. Located in the original kitchen wing, attached to the ruins, The Barnsley Museum highlights an extensive display of Barnsley Family belongings and Civil War-era artifacts. Admission to the museum is complimentary to guests. Accomodations

Guest rooms and suites are located within a variety of 37 spacious cottages and a 55-room Inn at Barnsley Resort.

Inn at Barnsley Resort. Adorned with paintings of deer and hound

Read the full story online at

dogs, the three-story inn evokes a feeling of an elevated home away from home — like visiting an old friend. The inn features exposed beams, scattered area rugs and spacious bedrooms. Enjoy the tranquil reception area, where essentials to make S’mores are available on-demand, or relax in your executive or queen suite.

course, open to resort guests and day golfers, has some of the fastest greens in the Southeast and is enhanced by the resort’s lake, forests and gardens.

Cottage. Embellished with floral wallpaper, wood-burning fire-

Spa. The inn’s spa is the best place to pamper yourself after a long

places, king-sized beds and clawfoot bathtubs, each cabin offers a unique approach to Southern comfort. Step out on a private porch and enjoy the sounds of birds chirping with your morning coffee or enjoy privacy in a one-bedroom Arbor Cottage Suite. For larger groups, four-bedroom Manor Cottages, often equipped with pantry-style kitchens and dining rooms, are available to sleep between 6 and 18 people.

day. The resort’s expert therapists pair organic healing remedies with new-age massage techniques, body treatments, facials and beauty services. Described as a nature-inspired, “garden-to-table” experience, treatments include exfoliating scrubs, therapeutic wraps and dry brush treatments. The spa is complete with 10 treatments rooms, separate relaxation areas for men and women, and a peaceful steam room and sauna.



With the Appalachian Mountains at your doorstep, it’s hard to find an excuse not to take advantage of the resort’s many recreational activities. In addition to hiking/biking, guided horseback riding, disc golf, fishing stocked ponds, and kayaking/canoeing, visitors can also enjoy one of the following activites.

The Rice House. Located in a 19th-century farmhouse, The Rice

Beretta Shooting Grounds. In an attempt to capitalize on the expansive 3,000-acre landscape of the Southern estate, Barnsley Resort has partnered with the Beretta brand and John Burrell’s High Adventure Company, to develop the Beretta Shooting Grounds. The Grounds offers guests an expertly managed quail-hunting experience with 15 zones of rolling hills and a challenging bird hunt in the Georgian Pine forests. Additionally, premier clay shooting and private shooting instruction is available.

Golf. Rated the #1 golf course in Georgia and #21 in the United States for 2018, according to, the pristine 18-hole course is, what visitors call a “beautiful challenge.” The 378-acre

54 • September / October 2019

House stays true to its “yard-to-fork” roots with its produce grown less than a mile away from the fine dining establishment, in Barnsley’s kitchen garden. On the menu for my visit was a vegetarian-inspired meal: fresh watermelon amuse-bouche, tomato and cucumber salad, carrot and beet appetizer, pallet-cleansing blackberry lemonade popsicle, mouth-watering succotash entree, a cheese course, and finally, a strawberry Johnny Cake dessert.

Woodlands Grille is the best of both worlds, with whiskey tastings, an extensive wine list, and craft beer. Here, you’ll find delicious meals, and, the option to sit outside, overlooking the picturesque Fazio-golf course.

Beer Garden. For a quick bite, the Beer Garden provides an outdoor restaurant with a fire pit in a casual atmosphere. Pickles, pimento cheese, BBQ sandwiches and other grab-and-go Southern snacks are available.


Disney or Bust The tale of a 1,700-mile road trip to Orlando. BY BETH LAWTON

Raised eyebrows. Dropped jaws. “Oh. Wow. Really?” Those were some of the reactions my husband and I got when we told people we were taking the kids to Disney in Orlando – and driving there. Was this a mistake? We told the kids we were going to Savannah for a travel story right after school ended. We packed Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears to surprise them and hit the road. We arranged to borrow a 2019 Chevrolet Traverse for an extended test drive for the trip (858 miles each way) — and we quickly realized that we were more-than-fortunate to have access to the three-row SUV. With no worries about baggage fees from the airlines, we packed liberally. The Traverse easily took all of our luggage, a full-size cooler, and several bins of snacks and books. We folded a second-row captain’s chair down into a table for the kids, who put a laptop on it to stream movies on the way down. (In-car wifi, which comes standard on most newer Chevys, was critical to keeping them entertained.)

Above: Ariel atop a float at a parade at Magic Kingdom Right: A gorgeous, spacious room with a bay window reading nook at The Alida in Savannah / PHOTOS BY BETH LAWTON

Was driving cheaper? We think so. Even with a hotel stop in both directions and the cost of gas, we think we came out ahead by a few hundred dollars when you consider the cost of airline tickets and taxes, baggage fees, parking at the airport (or an Uber to get there), snacks on the way, and all the other little costs and hassle. I didn’t trust us to drive overnight safely (even in the Traverse, which has lane departure warnings, dynamic cruise control and a huge number of safety features). We drove 10 hours the first day, stayed overnight and drove on to Orlando the second day.

love the architecture and environment, and foodies would love the options. We stayed at The Alida on Williamson Street in the historic district. The hotel was gorgeous with a rooftop bar, and it’s easy to see why it’s rated so highly. Our beautiful, large room had bay windows with bench seating (perfect for reading).

We didn’t entirely lie to the kids — we really did go to Savannah.

We had a late dinner at Moon River Brewing Co. We sat in the pet-and-kid friendly outdoor beer garden, which had an expansive patio with multiple TVs. Craft beer flowed and Southern fried favorites highlighted the menu.

That was our first stop on the way to Orlando, and we wish we had more time there. With a thriving nightlife and streets in the historic district as crowded as Lower King Street on a Saturday night, Savannah has something for everyone. Alexandria history buffs would

The next morning, we presented the kids with their ears, surprising them after a great Southern breakfast back at The Alida. After a quick drive through town just to see it in daylight, we hit the road, arriving in Orlando shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday.


September / October 2019 •


From L to R: The Bed of Nails at Wonderworks, Epcot, Mary Poppins, the Gaylor Palms waterpark, alligator feeding at the resort / PHOTOS BY BETH LAWTON

WONDERWORKS We spent Sunday afternoon at WonderWorks, a non-Disney children’s museum with an educational component. Located just down the road from Mia’s Italian Kitchen (yes, the same Mia’s that’s in Alexandria), WonderWorks had a bubble lab, an earthquake simulator, a ropes course, laser tag, a bed of nails and tons of experiments and technology to keep kids interested. 9067 International Dr., Orlando, (407) 351-8800,

THE GAYLORD PALMS We stayed “off park” – at a non-Disney owned resort that was close to the parks. The huge and beautiful Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee was home base for us. Our spacious room had a balcony looking over the indoor atrium, a smart TV and a bathroom so clean that I walked into the shower door not realizing it was closed. (Ouch.) Not that we spent much time in the room: The kids were having too much fun every evening at the resort’s pool and waterpark that included multiple slides and a huge play structure. The poolside restaurant with chaise lounge service kept the snacks and drinks coming, and a DJ got the kids dancing. One evening, the kids watched a caretaker from GatorLand feed the hotel’s alligators, which live in a river in the hotel’s atrium, safely separated from people. They also stumbled across the hotel’s arcade and game room. Solid advice from the hotel’s concierge desk about transportation and parking was much appreciated. A quick run to Publix for snacks and water for our park days was a good idea that saved a lot of money. 6000 W Osceola Pkwy., Kissimmee, (407) 586-0000,

EPCOT The iconic giant golf ball greeted us early Monday morning at Epcot, but we walked right past it in search of “Norway” to ride the Frozen ride and meet Elsa and Anna. With most early park-goers heading to Soarin’, we encountered almost no wait at all. We found Mary Poppins in England and Belle (from Beauty and the Beast) in France with no wait for either greeting. We rode Mission:Space and the Finding Nemo ride, and met friends from

56 • September / October 2019

Alexandria for lunch at the cafeteria-style Land pavilion (because it really is a small world, after all). Some say Epcot is a “half-day park” but we left after lunch with plenty still left to see. Give it a full day if you can.

ANIMAL KINGDOM We took Disney transportation (free) to Animal Kingdom, where we were thankful that we used a Fast Pass for a safari and avoided the 90-minute line. We saw giraffes, springbok, hippos, water buffalos and more on the educational tour. We got distracted while getting cold drinks watching an African dance group perform, which cut into our ride time at the park – but we did get on a few. But we had characters to meet at dinner that night, so we moved on. Again, this can easily be a full-day park.

GARDEN GROVE CHARACTER DINNER We arrived at The Swan & Dolphin Disney resorts Monday evening for a character dinner. Even without Pluto and Goofy showing up, we’d recommend the Garden Grove. With an impressive menu, salad bar, dessert bar, a line of custom drinks and craft brews and impeccable service, it was a dinner to remember. The food was fantastic. 1200 Epcot Resorts Blvd., Lake Buena Vista, (407) 934-1609

MAGIC KINGDOM The next day, we skipped the Lincoln Town Car from the hotel and decided to drive to Magic Kingdom and park – which wasn’t nearly as expensive as we thought it would be (at $25) and allowed us inand-out access all day and a bit more flexibility. Our to-do list was ambitious, especially knowing how tired both kids were from our 13-hour park marathon the day before. Nevertheless, we conquered three rides (all with FastPass) and met Rapunzel and Tiana by noon. After a quick-service lunch, we were happy to stand in air-conditioned lines for the Pirates of the Caribbean and Ariel’s Grotto rides. Later, the kids beat the heat playing on a much-needed spray-ground before watching the 3 p.m. (daily) parade. A number of families with kids left after the parade, so if you can stay past it you may find shorter wait times for rides.

Tips and Truths After talking to three friends who had done Disney several times, we realized we did a few things “wrong” before we even left. Here’s what we learned both before and during our trip:

Read the full story online at


Plan ahead. There’s a reason people plan their Disney vacations months in

advance – and it’s because if you want to get into certain character experiences or get onto specific rides without a two-hour wait, you need to manage your FastPass and meal reservations very, very early. We did the best we could with the time we had.

Honestly, the kids were excited about going to “Savannah,” and then really excited about going to Disney World. With snacks, books and movies to keep them occupied, the trip down to Orlando wasn’t nearly as hard as we feared.

Do you need to hire a Disney planner? No. With research and informa-

The trip back? That was harder, even in our sweet ride. We let the kids play at the waterpark at Gaylord Palms in the morning on our last day, hitting the road for Fayetteville around noon. We still had the snacks, books, games and movies, but we strongly recommend that you do what we failed to do — work in a few stops at kid-friendly parks, playgrounds, museums or tourist spots along the way to give them something to look forward to on the way home. Even though they were “Disney tired” and slept for part of the trip, they were bored. And so were we.

There is no shortage of ways to spend money in Orlando. From the

FAYETTEVILLE We rolled into Fayetteville late on a weeknight, stopping at the Fairfield Inn & Suites. Our suite was surprisingly spacious with two rooms, two TVs, a large fridge and kitchenette. Conveniently located just 10 minutes from the historic downtown area right off of I-95, there were plenty of food options around. We weren’t able to fully take advantage of it all, but the hotel also offered a patio, bar, heated salt water pool and exercise room. We did have a good hot breakfast on our way out the next morning after some much needed sleep. 4249 Ramsey St, Fayetteville, (910) 223-7867

We got home about seven hours after leaving Fayetteville, ready to spend some quality time apart and in need of a vacation to recover from our vacation. It’s not uncommon for people to spend $1,000 a day on a Disney vacation when you include transportation, accommodations, character meal experiences, park tickets, souvenirs and more. But it doesn’t have to be that expensive – with smart planning and a willingness to DIY, you can save money. One woman in the “Smart Moms Plan Disney” Facebook group managed to leverage military discounts, stayed in an Airbnb, drove instead of flying and brought her own food and snacks into the park – and saved a ton of money. Do your research, and have fun!

tion from the right people who were willing to walk me through the basics and information from the “Smart Moms Plan Disney” Facebook group, we did OK on our own.

guy on the street with tropical birds (photos: $5) to souvenirs at every corner, set a budget and prepare to say no.

Choose your dates carefully. When you book tickets through Disney, pay

attention to how ticket prices fluctuate depending on demand and the length of your stay. A single-day park pass can be as low as $50 per person, or as high as $179 per person. Look for non-peak weeks.

The Disney Experience app lets you scan barcodes in souvenir shops and save the items to a shopping list. At the end of your trip, you can let your kids choose just one or two things from their shopping cart, saving a lot of money. Disney will ship these items to your home.

Park Hopper passes allow you to visit two (or more) parks in one day. It costs

quite a bit more, and we found that we lost time getting from Epcot to Animal Kingdom. One park per day is less expensive and packs in more fun, if you’re OK with sacrificing some flexibility.

Watch the wait times. We used all three of our Fast Passes (where you can skip the line for rides) in the morning at Magic Kingdom. In the afternoon, a few rides had wait times of 80 minutes, but we kept our eye on the wait times through the app instead of just giving up. It paid off when those wait times dropped to 20 minutes after 4 p.m. when a lot of families started to leave for dinner. You may be able to get additional Fast Passes, depending on availability, if you use all of your allotted passes early in the day.

Even in “cooler” times in Florida, you may get hot. Buy a handheld,

battery-operated misting fan from a local retailer or online before you go. They’re more expensive ($22) at the park – and then you have to buy batteries. Also bring a washcloth you can keep wet with cool water for your neck and face, and bring a few reusable water bottles to fill up throughout the day. It’s not uncommon for people to spend $1,000 a day on a Disney vacation when you include transportation, accommodations, character meal experiences, park tickets, souvenirs and more. But it doesn’t have to be that expensive – with smart planning and a willingness to DIY, you can save money. One woman in “Smart Moms Plan Disney” managed to leverage military discounts, stayed in an Airbnb, drove instead of flying and brought her own food and snacks into the park – and saved a ton of money. Do your research, and have fun! September / October 2019 •



Elizabeth Haynie Wainstein Owner, The Potomack Company Auctioneers

One of Alexandria’s most respected businesses — with loads of interesting stories to tell — is The Potomack Company, an auction house located at 1120 N. Fairfax St. in a 15,000 square-foot warehouse. The location is perfect for local and international travelers alike who fly into nearby Reagan National to bid on unique items.

Q&A What do you enjoy most about living in Alexandria? It’s a small-town feel. Walking at night in Old Town, what gets better than that? You get all the benefits of a small town, everyone knows their neighbors, but we’re just outside of Washington D.C. and you get all the benefits of being near the nation’s capital.

Tell us about one of your more interesting items that has gone on the auction block at the Potomack Company. A consignor of a George Nakashima fine burl oak coffee table had purchased the table in 1968. In her home, she put her feet on it and her Coke can and her Beagles ran around it. She had no idea how much the value had increased. It sold for $117,000 in 2007.

What would be your dream auction item? I think it would be something with strong local provenance. Anything related to George Washington.

What inspired the name of your company? We chose the name The Potomack Company because it’s a business George Washington helped found, to encourage commerce to come to Alexandria. They held their first meeting at Gadsby’s Tavern and we held our first meeting at Gadsby’s Tavern.


The company is owned and run by Elizabeth Haynie Wainstein. A native of Fairhope, Ala., Wainstein grew up in nearby Pass Christian, Miss., and came to Virginia for college, majoring in art history at Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briar, about a three-hour drive, south of Alexandria. After college, she interned at Sotheby’s Auctions in New York City. “It was a blast,” said Wainstein, who was on the phone from Vail, Colo., where one of her daughters was playing lacrosse. “I went for the summer and ended up staying for eight years.” (One of those eight years was spent at Sotheby’s in London.) She moved from New York to Alexandria with her husband, Ken Wainstein, whom she met in New York; an attorney and former Justice Department official, he is an Alexandria native. Wainstein opened a gallery, Brockett’s Row Antiques, which was in business for 13 years at 277 S. Washington (home most recently to the former Society Fair gourmet emporium). Starting The Potomack Company, her own auction house, was made easy with the advent of the Internet, she said. “With the power of the Internet, it allowed regional auction houses to reach this worldwide audience that Sotheby’s and Christie’s had always had a corner on, because they had international offices. With these new platforms, we were • September / October 2019

able to compete and get prices that were strong for our sellers and reach a worldwide audience to compete and get good prices.” She got in touch with colleagues both regionally and nationally to create a team of specialists who are experts at sizing up antiques, paintings and more in a variety of categories. Although there are plenty of consignors and buyers in Alexandria, “supporting us and getting us off the ground,” Wainstein said her business takes her far and wide from consigning items from France to catering to buyers in China. “I think our location in Old Town is perfect,” she said. “We have 15,000 square feet, parking is not a problem, anyone can fly into Reagan. Buyers come from everywhere. The Chinese market is very strong — they’re flying into Reagan or are on the phone from China.” Auction staff members can assist clients in several languages including Spanish, French and Mandarin. Some of the items that go up for auction do attract international buyers. For example, a white jade table screen from the Qing dynasty (1736-1796) sold in 2010 for $411,000. Many objects that go on the auction block have local significance. A painting by Alexandria native William MacLeod, “Bridge Over Hunting Creek,” sold for $87,000 two years ago. Painted in 1860, the artwork depicts rural Alexandria, with wagons and people near West Grove Plantation, a white frame house atop Mount Eagle, an estate built by Lord Fairfax and the final home outside Mount Vernon where George Washington dined before his death. MacLeod’s paintings hang at the White House and at the National Gallery of Art.

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 8 BD | 7F 2H BA | $2,950,000

6118 Vernon Terrace Alexandria, VA 22307 5 BD | 4F 1H BA | $2,195,000

1503 River Farm Drive Alexandria, VA 22308 5 BD | 5F 1H BA | $1,350,000 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

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-June 30, 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 |

View from 819 Rivergate Place, Alexandria, VA 22314 Exclusively Represented by Pat Day and Mason Bavin Price Upon Request


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.

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.