Ashburn Magazine | January/February 2022

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H I K I N G T H E T R A I L • STA R P E R F O R M E R • P U R P L E H O U S E S

JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2022

Flying into the Eye of the Storm

Meet our newest representative on the besieged Loudoun School Board


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Ashburn

VOLUME 3, ISSUE 6 PUBLISHER

Bruce Potter publisher@ashburnmagazine.com 571-333-1538 EDITOR

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Facebook and Twitter: @ashburnmagazine Ashburn Magazine is published every other month and distributed to over 13,000 selected addresses. While reasonable care is taken with all material submitted to Ashburn Magazine, the publisher cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage to any such material. Opinions expressed in articles are strictly those of the authors. While ensuring that all published information is accurate, the publisher cannot be held responsible for any mistakes or omissions. Reproduction in whole or part of any of the text, illustrations or photographs is strictly forbidden. ©2022 Rappahannock Media LLC. 4 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022

FROM THE PUBLISHER DABBLING IN THE NEWS

W

e started Ashburn Magazine nearly three years ago to help create a sense of community in what is a fast-paced, highly diverse area of Loudoun County. Although our parent company publishes weekly newspapers and news websites across Northern Virginia, in this magazine we’ve generally avoided the kind of news that leads to controversies. Part of the reason is that there are other news sources covering Loudoun and Ashburn, and part of the reason is because we believe highlighting disputes doesn’t fit with the tenor and tone of the magazine. That said, we have occasionally written feature stories based on the news – for example, our January 2020 cover story about what Metro would mean for Ashburn (OK, so we were a little premature…). In that vein, our cover story this month profiles Andrew Hoyler, a Briar Woods High School graduate who, at age 25, was appointed in October to fill the vacant Broad Run district seat on the Loudoun County School Board. We’re all too familiar with the controversies that rocked the board last year. Fights over how race is taught in the schools and sexual assaults at two of our local high schools led to recall efforts against several board members and landed the school system – based right here in Ashburn – squarely in the national spotlight. We wondered why someone would want to step into that kind of environment, at a time when board members are receiving death threats and being castigated on national television. But, as you’ll read, part of Hoyler’s reason for serving is to help others avoid the kind of problems he experienced in school, and, as a commercial pilot, he’s accustomed to weathering storms. Elsewhere in the magazine this month, you’ll meet two other young Ashburn residents who’ve also accomplished some amazing feats: Sierra Wharton (also 25), who used the pandemic as an excuse to hike the entire (yes, entire!) Appalachian Trail last summer, and Josiah Smothers (only 12), who’s making a name for himself as a so-called “triple threat” in the acting profession. And if you’ve ever wondered what the deal is with those two purple houses in Ashburn, well, we have the answers in our Home Sweet Home section, beginning on Page 34. Finally, it’s just about time for our third annual Best of Ashburn voting to begin. For details on how to vote, starting in early February, follow our Facebook page or, if you’re on our email list, watch your inbox. This is a great opportunity to support your favorite local businesses, and with nearly 10,000 voters last year, the competition is intense. We’ll publish the winners in our May issue. In the meantime, stay warm and stay safe!

BRUCE POTTER, PUBLISHER PUBLISHER@ASHBURNMAGAZINE.COM


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contents 08 time of our lives SWEET HARMONIES Local a cappella group makes magical music BY JILL DEVINE

12 business boom PASSWORDPROTECTED The leader of one of Ashburn’s biggest companies talks cybersecurity BY CHRIS WADSWORTH

16 more business boom Updates from the Ashburn business community

18 cover story FLYING INTO THE EYE OF THE STORM Meet our newest representative on the besieged Loudoun School Board BY CHRIS WADSWORTH

6 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022

22 our neighbors feature 200 DAYS 2,193 MILES Broad Run grad completes Appalachian Trail BY JILL DEVINE

28 amazing kids feature A TRUE TRIPLE THREAT Ashburn middle-schooler finds his passion is performing BY CHRIS WADSWORTH

34

42

home sweet home

local adventures

PURPLE PALACES Two Ashburn homes are known for their unique color

BEEP, BEEP, BOOP Travel back in time with a trip to a retro video game arcade

BY ANYA SCZERZENIE

BY RICK HORNER

40 REAL ESTATE ROUND-UP The latest facts and figures about home sales in Ashburn

46 the burn The latest restaurant, retail, and other cool news

ON THE COVER

Loudoun School Board member Andrew Hoyler. Photo by Astri Wee of Astri Wee Photography.


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time of our lives

Sweet Harmonies Local a cappella chorus makes magical music BY JI L L DE V IN E

I

t seems just about everyone likes a good cry — especially if it’s motivated by a moving message of love. “We walked into a cookie shop in Purcellville and started singing to the designated person — the target,” Bob Arbetter said. “She was so moved by the presentation. We sang two songs to her, and she immediately burst into tears. That caused two others on the staff to burst

into tears, and we had a hard time getting through [the songs] ourselves.” Such are the pitfalls of being a performer in a barbershop quartet, or a bigger group sometimes known as a barbershop chorus. You never know what response you are going to get. “You get a variety of reactions depending on the nature of the relationship,” Arbetter said. “Singing valentines has such an

8 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022

emotional impact on the recipient.” Encountering a barbershop quartet is a bit like spotting a shooting star — it’s an unexpected treat that beckons passersby to pause and watch. Pressing matters slide away as a group of cheerful, jauntily dressed gentlemen (and sometimes gentlewomen) croon zippy tunes in four-part harmony. Arbetter, 67, is a systems engineer who lives along the banks of the Goose Creek in Ashburn. He moonlights as a member of the Old Dominion Chorus, a Leesburg-based group with members from around the area, including Ashburn. He’s joined by fellow member Terry Moore. The Loudoun Valley Estates resident is a senior analyst with the Department of Defense who joined the chorus in early 2021 to break the monotony of the pandemic. “I liked that [the chorus] was meeting in person by social distancing in a member’s backyard, because I refuse to sing using Zoom or other apps,” said Moore, 57. The Old Dominion Chorus has been serenading sweethearts on the streets of Loudoun County since 2002 — as well as in shops, offices, homes and anywhere else there is an audience. The chorus is a chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, which has more than 20,000 members in about 700 chapters across the United States and Canada. The local chorus has nearly 30 members. The group practices weekly for annual concerts, regional and national competitions, community and youth outreach events and private parties. But things really start hopping in February during their biggest annual fundraiser when they deliver singing valentines to blushing recipients. “For $50, we sing a song, give a rose and deliver a note anywhere in the area,” said chapter president Ron Baker, a retired electrical engineer who lives in Sterling. “The lady at the office gets a personal love song from her husband, she cries, everyone around her smiles and claps and then we go on our way.” An American musical tradition dating back to the early 1900s, barbershop quartets historically consist of four males singing in close harmony, unaccompanied by instruments (known as “a cappella”). There are four parts — lead, tenor, bass and


TIME OF OUR LIVES

baritone. The chorus welcomes women singers, but none has joined so far. However, the group does have a female director. Baker says the chorus is named for the former Washington & Old Dominion Railroad, now a trail park running through Loudoun that roughly defines the area where most members live. The group includes bankers, real estate agents and even a pastor, but Baker noted that many members are engineers. “Maybe it’s the mathematical nature of music that attracts them,” he said. “A lot of us are retired. It’s a matter of having time for rehearsals and learning the music, so we have fewer members with young kids.” While the membership of the Old Dominion Chorus may skew older, plenty of members are in their 40s and younger — and all the way down to a teenager, believe it or not. “I found out about [the chorus] through my church, and I just fell in love with 

John Collier, Patrick Varre, Terry Moore and Bob Arbetter of the Old Dominion Chorus perform at a recent First Friday event in Leesburg.

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TIME OF OUR LIVES it,” said 15-year-old Joey Cotsimopoulous from Lansdowne. He’s been singing with the chorus for a year. “I guess I’m not typical for kids my age, but I don’t mind being the youngest one,” he said. The blend of ages has benefits that go beyond the purely musical. In addition to being a chorus member and an engineer, Arbetter is also a certified health coach with a doctorate in nutrition. “There is absolutely a health benefit from the camaraderie amongst the chorus members,” Arbetter said. “For some of our [older] members, there are health benefits from both the physical and mental perspective. One of our members… said it’s the thing that keeps him going.” “Barbershop is just a unique style of music — the sound, the harmonizing. It’s great being with a group of people that have the same goals and just really enjoy the music,” Moore said. “It’s my favorite hobby right now.” A Jill Devine is a freelance writer and former magazine editor from Loudoun County who writes for a variety of Virginia publications.

Send a Singing Valentine to Your Sweetheart WHAT: Singing Valentine INCLUDES: A song sung by the quartet, along with a rose and a card with a special message. COST: $50 per visit. Add a balloon for $10. WHEN: All day Feb. 12, 13 and 14, around much of Northern Virginia MORE INFORMATION: www.odchorus.org/valentines

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business boom

PasswordProtected The leader of one of Ashburn’s biggest companies talks cybersecurity and what it means for all of us BY C H R I S WADSWO RT H

T

he unassuming office building sits on an out-ofthe-way corner in Ashburn, just off busy Route 7 but barely visible from the road due to bushes and trees. Its façade is a grid of white panels striped with dark glass windows. Behind those windows a war is being fought — one that every Ashburn resident and every American has a stake in. The facility is the world headquarters of Telos, a leading cybersecurity firm whose clients include the departments of State, Defense and Homeland Security, as well as commercial customers such as Salesforce, Amazon Web Services, FedEx and Verizon. John Wood is Telos’ CEO, chairman and president, and he has been running the company for nearly 30 years. Before his tenure, Telos had its hands in several different pies — software maintenance, hardware maintenance, even a computer equipment business. It wasn’t going well, and the company was facing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Wood, who had been an advisor and investor, came on board in 1992 and became CEO in 1994. He offered up a dose of bitter medicine. “My suggestion was we sell everything and start over again,” Wood recalled. “So, we went from roughly 2,000 employees down to approximately 30 and then rebuilt the company totally focused on cybersecurity.” And that’s what they did — creating a multimilliondollar company with some 300 employees here in Northern Virginia and hundreds more at other Telos facilities around the country. The continued growth of the company led its leaders to take the company public in November 2020. “It was a very weird time to go public,” Wood said. “We didn’t meet one banker or lawyer or accountant 12 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022


BUSINESS BOOM

in person. It was all done over Zoom, which is a very unusual way to go public.” Ashburn Magazine spoke with Wood about Telos — where it came from, the biggest challenges facing its industry and where it goes next. Here are excerpts from our conversation. IF YOU WERE ATTENDING A COCKTAIL PARTY IN ASHBURN AND SOMEONE WHO WAS UNFAMILIAR WITH TELOS ASKED WHAT YOUR COMPANY DOES, HOW WOULD YOU EXPLAIN IT? “In its most simple form, we use automation to make people and organizations more secure.” WHEN YOU SAY YOU USE AUTOMATION, WHAT IS THAT? “Just like on your iPhone, you have apps. We have our own apps, and apps all use automation. You may have to type in a few things, like your username and password … but after that the application takes over and guides you through. That’s what we are all about — making sure that we are protecting organizations, protecting people. And then we want to make sure we can find the people who are doing the bad things.” WHO ARE YOU PROTECTING YOUR CLIENTS FROM? WHO MIGHT BE DOING BAD THINGS?

“Most of my customers currently are large entities. Most are government or commercial entities, so we are protecting them from nation-states. We are protecting them from competitors. We are protecting them from ransomware. We are protecting them from pirating.” IT SEEMS EVERYONE YOU TALK TO IN ASHBURN IS SOMEHOW INVOLVED IN CYBERSECURITY. WHAT FACTORS ARE DRIVING THE GROWTH OF THIS INDUSTRY? “It has grown dramatically. When I was in school, I went to Georgetown where I worked in the academic computer center. I had access to this thing called an AS/400 computer. At the time, it was a half-million-dollar device. It weighed about three-quarters of a ton, and it had 100 megabytes of storage. The amount of people who had access to that computer was only a handful. Today, the iPhone has like 25 times the computing power. It has an exponential amount of storage capacity. And it’s got connectivity that people never had before. The number of people with access to [this kind of computer] power around the world has gone up exponentially.” I ASSUME THIS IS RAISING THE RISKS WE FACE. “It’s almost a panic for me. In 1999, the Chinese  government made a decision that they couldn’t ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 • 13


BUSINESS BOOM

you shot out towards Leesburg, you had GW (George Washington University) on the right side. You had our facility on the left side. Then you had the Lansdowne Resort and the National Conference Center and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). Everything else was farms.”

beat us militarily or financially. So, they decided to dictate – that’s an important word – that their students become cyber warriors. This past year, the cyber warrior program in China graduated 2 million cyber warriors. When you compare that to the United States, we have a hard time mustering 100,000 kids just taking the AP computer science exam.” WE’RE GETTING OUTGUNNED FROM A MANPOWER STANDPOINT. “It’s a huge frustration. The reason [Telos] went to automation so early on is that I felt that we would never have the firepower from the standpoint of human intervention to be able to deal with threats around the world, and unfortunately that’s bearing fruit.” HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THE THREAT OF CYBERCRIME OR CYBER-ATTACKS TO THE AVERAGE ASHBURN RESIDENT? FOR PEOPLE NOT INVOLVED IN THE CYBER WORLD, IT SOMETIMES SEEMS FAR REMOVED FROM OUR DAILY LIFE. “We finally have an easy way of describing it. We thought, ‘Oh the Target hack — everyone will understand.’ Nope. [Editor’s note: That 2013 data breach affected roughly 41 million consumers.] The OPM attack? Nope — no one cared. [2014 data breach affecting 22 million records at the Office of Personnel Management.] But then came Colonial Pipeline. People cared. Why? They didn’t think they could get gas. It had a direct physical impact. There was a line of cars in Ashburn 40 cars long. It reminded me of the late ’70s, when they had the gas shortages. That was the first time when people realized, ‘Oh wow, this stuff can affect me directly.’” TELOS WAS FOUNDED IN 1969 IN SANTA MONICA, CALIF. WHEN DID IT MOVE TO ASHBURN? “We moved to Ashburn in the mid-1990s. I remember — if you came down Route 28 to Route 7, and then 14 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022

WHY WAS ASHBURN CHOSEN? “When I took over, our business prospects had really fallen. I said we have to bid on stuff that will get us through, so we can build the capabilities that we want to build. And we won the largest server contract — at the time — in the history of the government. At the time, we were based in Herndon. It was actually what’s called a ‘single award,’ which in the government world is an unusual thing. When the government customer came out to our facility in Herndon, they said, ‘We’re not going to give you the contract. Your facility is way too small. We’ll give you 60 days to find a new facility.’ So, my team ran around looking for new facilities. This facility happened to be owned previously by Magnavox, and we negotiated a long-term lease and that’s how we got here.” MAGNAVOX, LIKE THE MAKER OF TELEVISION SETS? “They make TVs, but they were also making very secure communication vehicles and that’s what this facility was used for previously.” WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR TELOS? WHAT DOES THE COMPANY LOOK LIKE IN 10 YEARS? “We have an aspirational growth target of a billion dollars [in annual revenue]. We think we can get there. Our offerings are in high demand, and they are driving a growth rate in excess of 35%-45% per year organically.” FOR COMPARISON, WHAT’S YOUR COMPANY’S REVENUE CURRENTLY? “Last year, we did about $180 million, and this year, I think we gave guidance out to the market that we would do somewhere between $240 million and $260 million.” LAST QUESTION — HOW DO YOU KEEP TRACK OF YOUR OWN PASSWORDS? DO YOU HAVE A SLIP OF PAPER IN YOUR WALLET WITH THEM ALL WRITTEN DOWN? “I have a 17-character alphanumeric with special characters password — that I change with relative frequency — that no one knows. That’s the password for everything I do.” A


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business boom PRIMROSE SCHOOL CELEBRATES 10 YEARS IN ASHBURN The Primrose School of Ashburn, an early childhood education center, is celebrating its 10th anniversary in the community. The school, on Lakeview Overlook Plaza north of Route 7, first opened in January 2012. It’s part of a nationwide chain that today has about 300 locations. The Ashburn school was the first Primrose in the Washington market. Today, there are 18 Primrose schools in the area, including a second Ashburn location in The Broadlands. “Our schools have been awarded numerous distinctions from different local publications,” said Victor Taboada, the owner of the two Ashburn locations. The original school on Lakeview Overlook Plaza will celebrate the milestone with events for the school’s students and their families.

SUNSTONE COUNSELING OPENS NEW LOCATION

Sunstone Counseling held a ribboncutting late last year for its new Loudoun County office in Ashburn. The office is on Ashbrook Place, just south of Route 7 near Ashburn Village Boulevard. The new state-of-the-art facility includes nine counseling offices. Two are dedicated to children’s play therapy, while three more are for couples and family counseling. There’s also a large open space for workshops and groups. “We know that now more than ever, people are looking for professional help to meet their mental health needs, which is why we’re so excited to open our Ashburn location,” said Katie Clark, LPC, one of Sunstone’s co-owners. 16 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022

INOVA LOUDOUN HOSPITAL EARNS TOP HONORS Ashburn’s Inova Loudoun Hospital is doing some bragging — and rightfully so. The medical facility just north of Route 7 at Claiborne Parkway is one of only 23 hospitals in the country to receive an “A” grade consistently since 2012. The grades are awarded by The Leapfrog Group, an independent watchdog organization. The grades are based on safety data, including rates of preventable errors, injuries and infections, along with systems to protect patients from harm. Inova Loudoun has the longest “A” streak among the five Inova hospitals in Northern Virginia, but all five have scored multiple top grades in a row. “It takes the dedication of every single team member to earn an ‘A’ grade year after year, and our community can be assured they will always receive the safest, highest quality of care at every Inova hospital,” said Dr. J. Stephen Jones, president and CEO of Inova Health System.



Flying into the Eye of the Storm

Meet our newest representative on the besieged Loudoun School Board BY C H R I S WADSWO RT H

T

echnically, Andrew Hoyler is a politician. He was a candidate for the Loudoun County School Board in 2020, lost that election, and then due to a bittersweet twist of fate, found himself on the board on which he has long wanted to serve. But Hoyler is also more than just a politician. He’s a local man — raised in The Broadlands. He attended Loudoun public schools, graduating from Briar Woods High School in 2014. From there he went to Purdue University and earned a bachelor’s degree in professional flight.

Today, Hoyler is 25 and a commercial airline pilot. Between flying all over the country, he’s finding his way around being a School Board member. He was appointed to the board in October to represent the Broad Run District after the previous board member, Leslee King, passed away. His appointment came at perhaps the most challenging moment in Loudoun school history since desegregation — as mask mandates, fights about critical race theory and reports of sexual assualts in schools have rocked the district and the School Board and drawn national media attention.

18 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022

EDUCATION

Ashburn Magazine spoke with Hoyler about his life, his background and how he developed a passion for education at such a young age. “My interest in running for the school board started in 2018, when I began to reflect on my time as a student in Loudoun County public schools. Being that I still had three siblings in our schools, I recognized a need for me to speak up and bring my own perspectives and experiences to ensure that my siblings, and others, did not have to go through the


BY ASTRI WEE PHOTOGRAPHY

(Left) Andrew Hoyler, on the job, at the controls of a jet flying over Indiana; Hoyler, standing in front of the Loudoun County Public Schools building in Ashburn.

same negative events that I did. “I thought that the perspective of someone who had recently been through our system would be a good one to have on the board. I am the only board member at the moment who was ever a student in LCPS — a view that I think is extremely valuable. “I also have great knowledge in what our students need for the next step in their lives, whether that is college, trade school or the military. Setting up our students for success in whatever path they desire is where I see my main passion. We need to recognize the fact that college is not an option, or desire,

for all students. However, we still have a duty to offer them the same great options to ensure they have all of the tools they need the moment they step out of LCPS.”

BULLYING

The negative events Hoyler mentions include a terrible experience with bullies that affected his life dramatically — and could have ended much worse. “Middle school was a very rough time for me — to the point where I wrote my goodbye letter to my family and planned on burning my house down when I was home alone.

From week one in middle school, I had a target on my back. I hit my growth spurt early and was not emotionally strong enough to defend myself. “I have vivid recollections of being slapped in class when the teacher wasn’t looking, being made fun of for the clothes I wore, and being left voicemails from classmates telling me to kill myself. Despite wonderful parents at home and counselors at school, I didn’t feel that I knew how to handle myself. “Thankfully, through Sources of Strength [a youth suicide prevention program], LCPS has started to shift how we handle  ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 • 19


the desire to travel to … places I’d only seen on television. “I have traveled to some amazing places over the last five years — 35 countries and counting. My favorite places are Easter Island, Vienna, Austria and Malaysia. Gabon, Egypt, New Zealand and Antarctica are at the top of my list for places to head to next. “Growing up right under the path of Runway 30 at Dulles — the busiest runway for departures — also gave me a desire to learn more about the industry. I am able to choose my flight schedule to work around my requirements on the School Board, and am able to work on research and respond to emails during my overnights in cities around the country.”

LGBTQ

anti-bullying campaigns. I believe we need to continue to teach our kids how to build mental resiliency and cope with negative stressors, and not simply teach them that bullying is bad. Bullying isn’t going away anytime soon. For anyone reading this who may be struggling themselves — let me be a great example that it WILL get better.”

SCHOOL BOARD

Hoyler’s appointment to the board came just as emotions were reaching a fever pitch over topics such as critical race theory and several reported sexual assaults in Ashburn high schools. Upset parents started trying to recall several board members — including King, Hoyler’s predecessor. Another board member resigned after reportedly receiving threats against her and her family. “It's no secret that I was appointed during one of the craziest times in the school district’s history — and there have certainly been some ‘What did I just get myself into?’ moments. But I believe setting expectations with my constituents right off the bat has helped tremendously. “I’ve pledged openness and have created many opportunities for my constituents to interact with me through town halls. I’ve pledged to listen and take perspectives into each vote and make my votes based on data and facts and not emotion. “Finally, and most importantly to me, I’ve been honest by saying that I am not going to vote the way every constituent wants me to

(Above clockwise) Hoyler on a safari in Tanzania; visiting Easter Island; a photo of Hoyler from sixth grade; on a charter fishing expedition with friends on Lake Michigan.

vote 100% of the time, but my hope is that I am seen as a logical board member who wants to focus on the items that have the largest effect on our greatest stakeholder — our students. “I have been very thankful that people have given me a chance to show what I am made of and truly believe we — as a School Board — are on an upward trajectory. I cannot wait to see what 2022 has in store.”

FLYING

Growing up in the shadow of Dulles International Airport left a deep impression on a young Andrew Hoyler. He got his pilot’s license when he was just 18 and has turned this love of flying into both his career and the catalyst for another passion — overseas travel. “As the oldest of five kids, we never got to travel to faraway places with the exception of Disney World, and being a big fan of ‘Survivor’ and ‘The Amazing Race’ gave me

20 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022

Another important part of Andrew Hoyler is one he doesn’t talk about a lot publicly — his sexual orientation. The reason — he doesn’t believe it’s relevant to either of his jobs. “The fact that I came out in high school is a topic that surprises many people. Despite growing up in a relatively accepting community, I ran into issues in Indiana while attending Purdue. “For those who have never been to Indiana, it is a far different place than Loudoun County, especially in the more rural parts of the state. People who lived on my floor refused to associate with me when they found out about my sexuality — something that never happened at Briar Woods. “I carry my life no differently, however. I recognize the fact that people are free to believe in or be against whatever they would like. I am not out to convince others that my lifestyle needs to be accepted by them at any and all costs. Some of my closest friends do not support marriage equality, and yet we are able to coexist just like any other group of friends can. “My hope is that my community can see me for the meaning ful change I am able to bring, and are able to put aside any deeply held beliefs or convictions when my name appears on a future ballot.” Looking to the future — Hoyler says he hopes he can continue to serve on the School Board for years to come. But first he must win over more voters later this year when his appointed seat is up for re-election. “My goal in life is to continue to do what I love,” Hoyler said. “Fly people safely to their destinations, travel the world and make a difference in the community that has given so much to me.” A



our neighbors feature

200 DAYS 2,193 MILES 22 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022


Broad Run grad completes Appalachian Trail

WHEN ONE DOOR CLOSES

BY JI L L DE V IN E

H

iking the entire Appalachian Trail is something many people muse about as a “bucket list” item, something to daydream about. But Sierra Wharton turned that daydream into a reality. On Sept. 28, the Ashburn native climbed Mount Katahdin in Maine, stretched out her hand and touched the iconic sign that marks the trail’s northern terminus. “I made the final climb and then just stood there staring and sobbing for a few minutes before I could bring myself to touch it,” Wharton said. Wharton, 25, completed the 2,193-mile journey in exactly 200 days. To reach Mount Katahdin, she hiked through 14 states, from Georgia to Maine. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail — AT for short — is the longest hikingonly footpath in the world. More than 3,000 people try to “through-hike,” or complete, the trail each year, but only a quarter of them actually finish.

(Left) Sierra Wharton celebrates atop Mount Katahdin in Maine, after completing the Appalachian Trail; (below) Wharton seen at the stone arch in Georgia that marked the start of her journey; (right) Wharton regularly posed for photos along the trail to mark the many memorable moments she experienced.

Hiking the AT was not always in Wharton’s plans. Less than two years before reaching Mount Katahdin, she was fulfilling her life-long dream as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ecuador. “I had been preparing to serve in the Peace Corps since high school,” said Wharton, who attended Mill Run Elementary, Eagle Ridge Middle School, and Broad Run High School in Ashburn. She was hired by the Peace Corps before graduating from John Cabot University in Rome, Italy, in 2019. Wharton’s ambitions crumbled in March 2020 in the midst of the worldwide response to COVID-19. She had just completed 10 weeks of Peace Corps training in Quito, Ecuador, and was about to be stationed in the city of Guayaquil when bad news came — the program was canceled, and the volunteers had to go home immediately. Within 24 hours, all transportation routes were shut down. Wharton’s group caught the last flight out for American civilians. “I was heartbroken,” she said. “Once I realized the gravity of the situation, I knew we weren’t going back anytime soon.” During the shutdown, Wharton worked at Blend Coffee Bar in the Broadlands. “I thought about the AT while at the coffee shop,” she said. “It finally sunk in just how much life had changed, so I decided to just take a walk while the world was ending.” 

ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 • 23


INTERESTING CHOICES

Aside from a two-day backpacking trip with her brothers a few years earlier, Wharton had little hiking experience, and even less equipment. Her training consisted of AT blogs and YouTube videos. “I bought my gear at REI just two days before I left,” said Wharton. Her gear list was not typical. Wharton carried no stove and wore no boots. “I decided to eat cold or raw,” she said. “And I chose Altra brand Lone Peak 5 trail runners, because they are light and dry quickly.” (The first pair of trail shoes lasted 1,400 miles until New York. She is still wearing the second pair she bought on the trail.) Most surprisingly, she took no tent, opting instead for a hammock with a bug net, a tarp and a sleeping bag. An underquilt

— a second layer for under a hammock to keep warmth in — was added later, when the weather got cold. Before starting her hike on March 13, 2021, Wharton bought a baseball cap at a thrift shop that had the words “Couch Potato” printed on the front. Other AT hikers liked it and started calling her Tater Tot. “I wore it every day,” she said. “Everyone has a trail name on the AT, and Tater Tot became mine. Some of the close friends I made on the trail still don’t call me by my real name.”

HAVE NO FEAR

“I was a little nervous, but those nerves were definitely planted by other people,” she said about her decision to hike alone. “I’m careful talking about fear, because a lot of young women don’t attempt the AT because of the very few horror stories out there that don’t paint an accurate description of the trail. The AT is a very social trail, and anyone who harasses someone immediately becomes known to every hiker within 200 miles, and the response by the hiking community to those with a bad reputation is instant.” Instead of starting at the southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Georgia, Wharton chose to begin where most through-hikers begin – at an approach trail

about eight miles away at Amicalola Falls State Park, famous for the stone arch where many hikers pose for photos. “Everyone starts out together, and I met many hikers within the first two miles,” she said. “Of course, I was hoping to make friends and meet other hikers, and I did.” Lisa Ingram, Wharton’s mother, was excited about her daughter’s plans. “Sierra has always been adventurous and independent, and the timing was perfect,” Ingram said. “It’s usually hard to take six months off from life, and Sierra had no big responsibilities and no pets to worry about. I knew it was a very social trail and that she would make friends.” Wharton said she worried more about twisting an ankle and having to leave the trail than she did about other people. “I can count on one hand how many days I ended up hiking alone,” she added. “You develop trail families, we call them ‘tramilies,’ and you tend to stay with them along the way.” Although she never saw a bear and just missed stepping on a rattlesnake near Glasgow, Virginia, Wharton says her scariest experience was when a bull moose was snorting and stomping just inches from a tent she was sharing with a friend in Maine. “My heart was pounding, and we stayed 

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about eight miles away at Amicalola Falls State Park, famous for the stone arch where many hikers pose for photos. “Everyone starts out together, and I met many hikers within the first two miles,” she said. “Of course, I was hoping to make friends and meet other hikers, and I did.” Lisa Ingram, Wharton’s mother, was excited about her daughter’s plans. “Sierra has always been adventurous and independent, and the timing was perfect,” Ingram said. “It’s usually hard to take six months off from life, and Sierra had no big responsibilities and no pets to worry about. I knew it was a very social trail and that she would make friends.” Wharton said she worried more about twisting an ankle and having to leave the trail than she did about other people. “I can count on one hand how many days I ended up hiking alone,” she added. “You develop trail families, we call them ‘tramilies,’ and you tend to stay with them along the way.” Although she never saw a bear and just missed stepping on a rattlesnake near Glasgow, Virginia, Wharton says her scariest experience was when a bull moose was snorting and stomping just inches from a tent she was sharing with a friend in Maine. “My heart was pounding, and we stayed 

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frozen for at least 25 minutes before daring to peek under the tarp,” she recalled.

BAD DAYS AND GOOD

“Some days were harder than others,” Wharton said. On her fourth night, camping near Low Gap in Georgia, Wharton discovered that her small tarp was not adequate when her hammock flooded during a heavy rainfall. “I was so wet and miserable and was struggling to fix it, but a trail friend, ‘Turtle,’ saw and let me share his tent.” She soon found a free, bigger tarp left by another hiker at a “hiker box” in Hiawassee, Georgia. Other challenges included a vicious mosquito attack in southern Massachusetts that left her legs looking “like they had been burned with boiling water, bright red and bubbling with bites.” And she describes her hike through southern Maine as three days and 40 miles of misery. “It’s a long section of flat granite slabs where it’s very common to fall and get hurt. I had to sit and crabwalk for eight miles, and I went through 72 hours of being so sad and crying.” Her favorite memories are those she shared with trail friends, such as camping in the White Mountains in New Hampshire. “The weather at the Whites was perfect, and to camp on Mount Washington and have the utter beauty of that space all to ourselves was amazing.” Wharton also fondly recalls spending the Fourth of July in Warwick, N.Y., at a drive-in theater that allows hikers to camp on the property. “The whole day was so much fun, playing guitars, filling up on snacks, and watching free movies together.” Grayson Highlands, near Damascus, Virginia, was another highlight. “It looks like Ireland, and the wild ponies come right up to you and lick the salt off your hands.”

THE NEXT STEP

After reaching Mount Katahdin, Wharton said she and her friends had a good cry before taking some side hikes together, notably the difficult Knife Edge Trail. “We couldn’t just end it so suddenly,” she said. She traveled with some of those friends to Bangor and Portland, Maine, and Boston before returning to Ashburn. Her mom was thrilled to host Wharton’s friends at their Ashburn home. “We had 21 AT hikers visit us over a two-week period,” Ingram said. “Sierra told friends along the way to come see us, and they did. We shuttled some from Bear’s Den, gave them rides to the Metro, helped with laundry, got them haircuts and even helped some find COVID vaccinations. Every bed, sofa and blow-up mattress in the house was used.” Bear’s Den is a spot on the AT at the western edge of Loudoun County near Bluemont — and a popular spot for Ashburn residents to access the trail. The next step for Wharton involves leaving the Ashburn community that provided so many opportunities that prepared her for life. Peace Corps plans are unfortunately off the table for now. In October, she moved to Philadelphia with a college friend. “As long as my family is in Ashburn, I’ll always call it home, but I’m excited to try new things,” said Wharton, who is job-hunting and considering heading west to hike the Pacific Rim Trail and the Continental Divide. Along with the AT, Wharton says that’s known as the Triple Crown. “I’ve definitely caught the hiking bug,” she said. “So, who knows what’s next.” A

Jill Devine is a freelance writer and former magazine editor from Loudoun County who writes for a variety of Virginia publications.


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amazing kids feature

28 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022


BY SCARLETT HEART PHOTOGRAPHY

A True Triple Threat

Ashburn middle-schooler finds his passion is performing BY C HRIS WADSWORTH

T

hey say the show must go on. When one of your scene partners starts bleeding on stage in front of a live audience, you just have to roll with it. “The dude that played Michael got a huge bloody nose and he was wiping his nose on a teddy bear,” Josiah Smothers said with a laugh. “So I had to start playing both roles at the same time. I was the only other boy who played Michael. This happened in D.C., so all my friends saw it.” Josiah, 12, is a professional actor who, at the time of this unfortunate incident, was performing with the national touring company of “Finding Neverland,” a hit Broadway musical. He is also a seventh-grader at Belmont Ridge Middle School in Ashburn. At an age when many kids don’t know what they want for supper, much less what career they hope to have, Josiah has it all planned out. The Ashburn Farm tween would like to be a choreographer on Broadway and have his own studio where he can share his love of dance with others. “Entertaining people is one of my passions,” he said. “Dancing — I just love it. And singing, too. And giving a good performance. And bringing people joy.” That’s exactly what Josiah has been doing since around the ripe young age of 4. His mom, Tina Smothers, remembers it clearly. As a vocal and theater coach, she had taken Josiah with her to a performance by some other children — including a girl who was tap dancing.  Josiah Smothers on stage in December, performing as part of the ensemble cast in a touring production of “A Christmas Story.”

ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 • 29


“He was like, ‘Why are her feet making noise? I don’t know what she’s doing, but I want to do that,’” Smothers recalled. When the family moved to Ashburn, Tina Smothers started working at Studio Bleu Dance Center on Ashburn Road. Josiah began training there as well — at age 5. His first role was as Tiny Tim in the Studio Bleu performance of “A Christmas Carol.” From there, the trajectory has been upward. During a visit to New York City, a

Josiah on stage, and off, during his time with the national tour of “Finding Neverland” in 2018 and 2019.

a fresh start

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friend connected them with an agent. The agent was impressed and signed Josiah. His first paid job was in 2018 to 2019, as part of the ensemble in the national tour of “Finding Neverland.” In 2019 and 2020, he appeared in “Newsies” at Arena Stage, an iconic theater in D.C. And just this past December, he had a role in a holiday tour of “A Christmas Story” and appeared on stages in Boston, Baltimore and Durham, N.C. “A Christmas Story” is the stage version of the classic Christmas movie about a boy and his wish for a Red Ryder BB gun. “I’m always dead after ‘You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out’ — a huge tap number in the show — because I have a solo,” Josiah said. “Then right after, I have to go put on my hat and scarves and gloves for the snowball fight scene and I’m always sweating out the wazoo.” Despite his impressive resume, Josiah admits he still sometimes gets nervous before a big show. “On opening nights… I get stage fright sometimes,” he said. “It’s your first time doing a show and you don’t want to mess it up. I take deep breaths and once I get on stage… I realize it’s not as bad as I thought. You just have to get out there 

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This tragic story was shared with us by Dan S. an Ashburn resident who has peripheral neuropathy. And while no one That’s where Rachal Lohr and her was hurt in this accident, Dan S. had staff at FIREFLY come in. “About 75% suffered almost everyday of his life with of our current patients come to us tingling and burning in his feet until suffering from the same condition as numbness set it and he could no longer Mr. Dan,” tells Rachal. feel even the brake pedal beneath his “They’re in constant pain from foot. neuropathy and it prevents them from not only living their lives but more “The first stage is pain.” shares Rachal importantly, it prevents them from Lohr, Acupuncturist of FIREFLY enjoying it. Depending on the severity Acupuncture & Wellness. “You feel burning, tingling, sharp pains, or you feel of their nerve damage, we typically see tremendous progress in 3-4 months of like you’re walking on tacks or marbles. treatment. I like to say we’re in the This pain eventually subsides and the business of making your golden years numbness sets in. Unfortunately the golden.” numbness brings with it a whole other host of problems.”

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While FIREFLY specializes in acupuncture and it’s definitely part of their protocols in treating neuropathy, the real secret is in a more modern medical solution called ATP Resonance BioTherapy™. “This technology was originally developed by NASA to expedite healing and recovery” shares Terri, a Senior Patient Care Coordinator at the clinic. “It’s like watering a plant. ATP Resonance BioTherapy™ stimulates the blood vessels to grow back around the peripheral nerve and provide them the proper nutrients to heal and repair.” You can learn more about Rachal Lohr and FIREFLY By visiting FIREFLYAcuAndWellness.com. If you’re ready to schedule a consultation call (703)263-2142 and do so quickly. FIREFLY is a very intimate clinic and the staff takes pride in their ability to take their time with each patient so they are very limited in their ability to take on new patients.


and do the show.” The actors and directors and producers and other theater folks around Josiah might not believe his story about getting nervous. That’s because they say he is the consummate professional despite his young age. “Josiah is an absolute joy to work with. A big talent in a pint-sized package,” said Molly Smith, the artistic director at Arena Stage. “He was a terrific company member and kept up with all of the adults, sometimes surpassing them. He’s a true triple threat, takes direction beautifully, and I can’t wait to see what he becomes.” A triple threat — the holy grail in theater — is a performer who can act, sing and dance. When not performing, Josiah is just like any other Ashburn middle-schooler. His mom says he’s super organized and keeps in touch with his teachers at Belmont Ridge. They communicate regularly so Josiah can stay on top of his work while on the road. Naturally, he spends a lot of time practicing at Studio Bleu, but he also likes to hang out with his friends or throw a ball around at a local field. And of course, like most kids, food plays a role in the social scene as well. “I usually go to this cookie shop called Crumbl with my best friend,” Josiah said.

(Top) Josiah on stage in “Newsies” at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.; the young actor — who trains at Studio Bleu in Ashburn — practicing his dance moves. “It’s close to the studio and that’s always fun.” At the start of 2022, Josiah is back in Ashburn. He’s keeping his eyes open for his next professional theater opportunity. In the meanwhile, there are performances of “Singin’ in the Rain” at Studio Bleu, where he will play lead character Don Lockwood, one of his favorite roles. He is also playing Lumiere in the studio’s “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” and doing the choreography for upcoming performances of “Aladdin.” He may also perform in a theater show at his middle school, and he’s sneaking in a trip to Atlanta for a theater festival. For just about anyone, that would be an incredibly challenging schedule. But apparently not for Josiah Smothers. “He is a really hard worker,” his mom said. “He’s always been that way — a little old man in a child’s body.” A little old man who can sing and dance up a storm. A

32 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022


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home sweet home

Purple Palaces Two Ashburn homes are known for their unique color BY A N YA SCZ E R ZE NI E

W

hen you think of purple, you might think of fresh, fat grapes. Or the robes of some European royal. Or maybe even the Grimace character from McDonald’s. But chances are you don’t think of it as a color to paint a house.

34 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022

Don’t tell that to Rhett and Jennifer McDonough. They own a proudly purple house at Ashburn Road and Jenkins Lane in Old Ashburn – and their lavender-tinted home has a remarkable history. In 1882, Amos Jenkins built the structure as the Ashburn House Hotel. At the time, the hotel could accommodate 23 guests, according to a 1909 issue of the Loudoun Mirror newspaper. Rooms went for $1.25 per day, or $5.50 per week. The hotel was a popular lodging place for sportsmen who came to the area to fish in Goose Creek as well as tourists who wanted to explore the Loudoun countryside by horse and buggy. “It’s definitely different from all the other houses,” Jennifer McDonough said. “It needed a lot of work. It needs a lot of work still. But it’s a great house, a great neighborhood.” The McDonoughs live in the home with their four school-aged children. The family bought the house in 2015 but didn’t move in until almost two years later after renovations had been finished. The work included gutting the second floor and knocking out the walls dividing the house’s 10 bedrooms. The former hotel has enough space that each McDonough child has their own bedroom. “They like telling people they live in a purple house,” Rhett McDonough said of his children. “A lot of the kids in their classes know, and sometimes the teachers will pass by and honk.”


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(Left) The McDonough family home in Old Ashburn, which was once a hotel serving the community; (above) Vintage postcards discovered behind a fireplace mantle. They date back to the structure’s original owners.

Over the years, the purple paint had faded. So, the McDonoughs went about restoring it to the shade of purple it had been painted in the 1970s — something they learned details about from a former resident. “One of the women who used to live in the house when she was a kid stopped by one day, and we talked for a couple hours, and she sent a few pictures,” Rhett McDonough said. “We tried to find something that matched the original shade, but it ended up drying much darker.” Though the house has been one shade of purple or another since the 1970s, it was not purple when it was first built. According to historical information, when it was originally a hotel, it was painted white with green trim. Another house across the street is where Jenkins reportedly lived while he was building his hotel. That house is still standing. When the McDonoughs were in Germany, where they lived previously, their Ashburn real estate agent sent them a lot of information about the house’s history. In addition to running the Ashburn House Hotel, Amos Jenkins also was allegedly involved in the illegal liquor trade during Prohibition in the 1920s. He lived to the ripe old age of  78, when he was shot to death by Lerty Holsinger, also a

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HOME SWEET HOME

Believe it or not, the old Jenkins house isn’t the only purple abode in Ashburn. As most local residents know, there is another old, purple house on Farmwell Road, just west of its intersection with Ashburn Village Boulevard. The owner is 82-year-old Diane Schemm, who says she has lived in the house 50 years. “I had it painted purple because purple is a healing color, and I’ve had lots of illnesses in my family,” Schemm said. “Before that it was dark blue.” According to property records, the house was built in 1890. Schemm said the house was in dire need of repair when she bought it with her husband and two children. “You could stand in the middle of the kitchen and see through to the basement through a nickel-sized hole.” While renovating the house, Schemm kept some of the original details, such as the rosette molding around the windows and the original wavy window glass. In the years Schemm has lived in the house, she has witnessed dramatic changes in the Ashburn community around her. “[At first], it was like civilization hopped over Ashburn and went to Leesburg,” Schemm said. “And then suddenly it was like gangbusters all around me.”

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rent tenants to see if they want to lease space in the new development or another shopping center the company owns, Boosalis said. Grace Street Properties plans to build 2 million square feet for a mixed-used development, which will include retail space for lease. The developer wants to work with the county to consider a pedestrian bridge from the development to the VRE and Amtrak station across U.S. 1.

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reputed bootlegger. The shooting took place in 1932 at another historic local building — the Ashburn Toll House off Route 7. (Ashburn Magazine ran a feature article on this incident in our August/September 2020 issue.) Some mementos of Amos Jenkins remain in the house. When Rhett McDonough was working on the renovations, he took a piece of the fireplace mantle down and made a surprising discovery behind it. “I found a bunch of postcards that were addressed to [members of the Jenkins family],” McDonough said. “I think the oldest stamp was from 1903.” The McDonoughs are not finished modifying their house. They still plan to do more renovations, including adding another bathroom. The one thing they don’t plan to change is the color. Between the history of the house and its noteworthy color, it’s become something of a landmark. “When you tell people you live in the purple house, they’ll say ‘Oh, I always see that house, I love that house,’” said Rhett McDonough. A Anya Sczerzenie is a freelance writer based in Leesburg who has contributed articles to Ashburn Magazine and InsideNoVa.com.

36 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022


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real estate roundup

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he real estate market continued to cool across Loudoun County in late 2021, but not in Ashburn. Home sales countywide in November declined 5.4% compared with November 2020, according to the Dulles Area Association of Realtors – the fourth drop in the past five months. But in Ashburn, sales soared 38.2% in the 20148 Zip code and 11.2% in the 20147 Zip code. The median sales price in November in Loudoun rose 6.9% to $599,950. The largest median price growth this month was in Chantilly zip code 20152 (+21.1%), followed by the 20148 Ashburn Zip code (+15.7% to $665,000). In the 20147 Zip code, the median price fell 0.4% to $544,000. In both Ashburn Zip codes, the average sales price was above the list price, and the average days on market was two weeks. Highlighted below are the five highest-priced homes that sold in each of Ashburn’s two Zip codes between mid-October and mid-December, along with the sales price and other key information. Data and photos from Realtor.com.

20147

20148

20416 NORTHPARK DRIVE

23031 WELBOURNE WALK COURT

$1,675,000 Sold: Dec. 2 5 bedrooms 5 bathrooms 5,195 square feet

$2,250,000 Sold: Nov. 5 5 bedrooms 4½ bathrooms 7,668 square feet

19854 ANNENBERG DRIVE

41655 REVIVAL DRIVE

$1,600,000 Sold: Oct. 29 5 bedrooms 4½ bathrooms 6,815 square feet

$1,806,100 Sold: Nov. 5 6 bedrooms 6½+ bathrooms 7,196 square feet

43400 BLANTYRE COURT

23076 OGLETHORPE COURT

$1,595,000 Sold: Nov. 24 5 bedrooms 4½ bathrooms 6,611 square feet

$1,800,000 Sold: Nov. 19 7 bedrooms 6½ bathrooms 8,576 square feet

19767 WILLOWDALE PLACE

41917 CLOVER VALLEY COURT

$1,585,000 Sold: Nov. 15 7 bedrooms 5½ bathrooms 7,950 square feet

$1,540,000 Sold: Dec. 7 4 bedrooms 4½ bathrooms 6,662 square feet

44665 BRUSHTON TERRACE

42242 FAWN RIDGE COURT

$1,450,000 Sold: Nov. 17 3 bedrooms 4½ bathrooms 5,100 square feet

$1,360,000 Sold: Oct. 29 5 bedrooms 4½ bathrooms 5,264 square feet

40 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022


ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 • 41


local adventures

Beep, Beep, Boop Travel back in time with a trip to a retro video game arcade BY RI CK H O R N E R

42 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022


LOCAL ADVENTURES

W

hat if you could hop in your car, drive about an hour from Ashburn and — in the process — travel back 30 or 40 years in time? That’s kind of what it feels like when you step into Reclaim Arcade for the first time. Nestled in a small, nondescript storefront in the Gateway Village Shopping Center in Fredericksburg is a slice of nostalgia that is as sweet as it is fun. Reclaim Arcade is immediately familiar for people who grew up at the tail end of the 20th century. It’s the kind of place where many of us flocked to spend our allowances and babysitting money, plunking quarter after quarter (or token after token) into the latest, craziest arcade games. Entering Reclaim Arcade took me back to my own military brat childhood in the 1980s and ’90s — one spent seeking out the latest games in the shopping malls, bowling alleys and Air Force bases that I prowled. The arcade has the requisite dimly lighted main room with the blinking lights of dozens of beeping and buzzing machines.

Neon signs hang on the wall and the sounds of ’80s soft rock, New Wave and even heavy metal music float down from overhead. The rows of upright arcade cabinets are filled with classic games like Frogger, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Street Fighter and Double Dragon. Nearby, a long row of pinball machines beckons you with the bells and whistles of Ghostbusters, Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle and more. Standing at the controls, flipping flippers and punching buttons brought back great memories of similar moments as a kid. They

also reminded me how bad I was at video games — and I haven’t improved over the years. But it was still a lot of fun. The whole experience is reasonably inexpensive. For $15, a person can have free play on every game all day. That’s a far cry better than racing to feed crumpled dollar bills into a change machine to keep your claim on a game. (By the way, $15 today is equal to about $5.20 in 1982. The price looks even better in that light.) “Arcades are coming back into popularity. Retro is in,” said Reclaim owner Tim Owens, who opened the arcade in January 2021. “We wanted to transport people back in time — with some very authentic elements.” Elements like a room at the entrance to the arcade set up to look just like a family room from the 1980s — almost like a miniature museum. Vintage furniture — plaid couches included — and home gaming systems like Atari, along with VHS movies and old board games, will make you feel like you just entered your best friend’s basement back in the day.

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LOCAL ADVENTURES

Customers can still sit down and actually pop in a movie and watch a bit of “The Empire Strikes Back” or “Halloween” to complete the experience. Reclaim itself is still growing. The arcade recently got its Virginia ABC license and has added a bar with craft beers, wine, ciders and seltzers. There’s also a new outdoor lounge area with a food truck that sells hot dogs and hamburgers. Reclaim Arcade is not just for the child within you. It’s also for today's children. The owners say many of their customers are families — with mom and dad bringing in the kids to show off some of their sweet Q*Bert and Galaga skills from half a lifetime ago. A Rick Horner has lived in Northern Virginia for more than two decades and also spent time living in California and Germany. He is a freelance writer based in Fredericksburg and likes to read and listen to music in his free time.

IF YOU GO: What: Reclaim Arcade Where: 2324 Plank Road, Fredericksburg Hours: Wednesdays and Thursdays, 4 to 9 p.m.; Fridays, 4 p.m. to midnight; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to midnight; Sundays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. More Information: reclaimarcade.com or (540) 681-1009

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the burn A ROUND-UP OF THE LATEST RESTAURANT, RETAIL AND OTHER COOL NEWS FROM ASHBURN AND BEYOND. CHECK OUT THE BURN AT THEBURN.COM AND FOLLOW IT ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM.

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46 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022

The signs went up in December at the new Flagship Carwash in Ashburn and at press time its opening was imminent. The facility — being called the largest indoor car wash in the country — is near the intersection of Loudoun County Parkway and Russell Branch Parkway,

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BUILT OVER ROUTE 7 Drivers in Ashburn will

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EATaliano, an Italianthemed pizza restaurant, is coming to the Broadlands Village

A waitress named Rosa at the IHOP on Pipeline Plaza was the lucky recipient of a very generous tip — $1,900 to be exact. The large gratuity was the brainchild of local real estate agent Tanya Johnson. Johnson invited a bunch of colleagues to join her for breakfast and asked each guest to bring a crisp $100 bill. At the end of the meal, the 19 guests pooled their money and gifted it to Rosa in the spirit of the holiday season.

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IN THE BROADLANDS

$1,900 TIP AT ASHBURN IHOP

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one day have another way to cross busy Route 7. A new overpass is being built between George Washington Boulevard to the north and Russell Branch Parkway to the south. The connection will be just a few blocks east of Topgolf and the new XCAL Shooting Sports & Fitness facility. The overpass will include four traffic lanes, a sidewalk and a bike path. It’s expected to be completed in mid-2024.

DU L

The Krispy Krunchy Chicken brand is bringing its famous fried chicken to Ashburn, starting in January. The chain — which has thousands of locations around the country — will be in the same space as the Burgerim restaurant at Brambleton Town Center. Krispy Krunchy is usually found in convenience stores — a way for owners to offer additional food products and increase revenue. That’s the same reason the owners of Burgerim in Brambleton are adding KKC fried chicken to their menu.

RUS SE LL

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CHICKEN COMING IN JANUARY

Center. That’s the center with Aldi and L.A. Fitness at the corner of Claiborne Parkway and Broadlands Boulevard. It’s taking over the space next to the Mali Thai restaurant that was previously an Eye Level tutoring center. The name EATaliano is a play on the pronunciation of the word “Italiano.”

BELMO NT RID GE R

1 KRISPY KRUNCHY

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RYAN ROAD

across from One Loudoun. It will feature huge conveyor belts that move a customer’s vehicle through the washing process. Meanwhile, several other car washes in and around Ashburn are switching to the Flagship brand as well. 6 NEW BUBBLE TEA SHOP HEADED TO MOOREFIELD VILLAGE A new bubble tea shop called Y-Tea is coming to the Moorefield Village shopping plaza, near Loudoun County Parkway and Ryan Road. The shop will take over a vacant 1,400-square-foot space and feature a menu with

beverages such as Vietnamese Sea Salt Coffee, Oreo Brulee Green Milk Tea and Tiger Boba Milk. It’s one of several bubble tea shops coming to Ashburn and surrounding communities in 2022. A

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KEEP OUT THE COLD THIS WINTER! 0% FINANCING FOR REPAIRS AND REPLACEMENTS

0% FINANCING SubjectFINANCING to credit approval FOR REPAIRS AND 0% REPLACEMENTS FOR REPAIRS AND Subject to credit approval

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$69 $69

HEATING HEATINGSAFETY SAFETY CHECK CHECK WE ACCEPT PAYMENT BY:

FOR FORREPAIRS REPAIRSAND AND FOR REPAIRS AND www.falconhvac.com HEATING SAFETY $150OFF OFFANY ANY HVAC HVAC REPLACEMENTS REPLACEMENTS REPLACEMENTS ACCEPT$150 PAYMENT BY: CHECK WE WE ACCEPT PAYMENT BY: Subject Subjecttotocredit creditapproval approval Subject to credit approval OR ORPLUMBING PLUMBINGREPAIR REPAIR WE ACCEPT PAYMENT BY:

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HEATING $150 OFF ANY SAFETY HVAC CHECK OR PLUMBING REPAIR

FREEOFF 2ND OPINION ON $150 ANY HVAC REPAIRS & REPLACEMENTS OR PLUMBING REPAIR

ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2022 • 47 ND

FREE FREE22NDNDOPINION OPINIONONON REPAIRS REPAIRS&&REPLACEMENTS REPLACEMENTS

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F REP


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