B LU E H E RO N S • T H E L A ST D R I V E - I N T H E AT E R • ‘CO R N F I E L D H I G H ’
Locals dish about their time in the spotlight
henandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury (SVWC) celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2017. So for decades, we have been Visit SVWC.org a leading destination, providing seniors with fulfilling to learn abo u lifestyles, the security of Lifecare, and financial peace of our upcomin t g mind in our 5-star rated, CARF-accredited, vibrant campus Lunch and Learn Events! setting. We offer residents a myriad of amenities, to include a putting green, a croquet court, a community garden, 2.5 miles of wooded walking trails, and a greenhouse that is utilized for horticultural therapy. Why not come and see for yourself? At SVWC, we are connected to our residents, connected to our community, connected for life.
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300 Westminster-Canterbury Drive, Winchester, VA 22603 540-665-5914 | www.svwc.org | 800-492-9463
Proudly Serving Loudoun Loudoun County County Since Since1964 1964 Proudly Proudly Since 1964 ProudlyServing Serving County 1964 CountySince
Occupational Therapy Occupational Therapy OccupationalTherapy Therapy Occupational Occupational Therapy •• Ages Birth through 21 Ages Birth through 21 •Ages AgesBirth Birth through 21 •• Ages through 21 Birth through 21 •• Sensory Integration Sensory Integration •Sensory SensoryIntegration Integration •• Sensory Integration Therapy Therapy Therapy Therapy •••Therapy Fine motor delay Fine motor delay Finemotor motordelay delay •• Fine motor delay •••Fine Upper body and Upper body and Upperbody bodyand and •• Upper Upper body and core weakness core weakness coreweakness weakness core weakness •••core Handwriting Without Handwriting Without HandwritingWithout Without •• Handwriting Handwriting Without Tears program Tearsprogram program Tears program Tears Tears program • •Animal Therapy AnimalAssisted AssistedTherapy Therapy Animal Assisted •••Animal Animal Assisted AssistedTherapy Therapy
Speech Therapy Therapy Speech Speech Therapy Speech Therapy Pediatric through Adults ••• Pediatric Pediatric through through Adults Pediatric throughAdults Adults ••• Auditory/Language Auditory/Language •• Auditory/Language Auditory/Language processing processing processing processing • Articulation/Fluency/ Articulation/Fluency/ ••• Articulation/Fluency/ Articulation/Fluency/ Stuttering/Dyslexia Stuttering/Dyslexia Stuttering/Dyslexia Stuttering/Dyslexia • Vital Vital Stim Stim for for •••Vital Stim for Vital Stim forDisorders Swallowing Swallowing Disorders Swallowing Disorders Swallowing •• Fast Fast ForWord ForWordDisorders (Reading (Reading •• Fast ForWord (Reading Fast ForWordProgram) (Reading Intervention Intervention Program) Intervention Program) Intervention Program)
Audiology Audiology Audiology Audiology Audiology •Pediatrics Pediatricsthrough throughAdults Adults ••••Pediatrics through Adults Pediatrics through Adults Pediatrics through Adults •Comprehensive Comprehensive Hearing Hearing ••••Comprehensive Hearing Comprehensive Hearing Comprehensive Hearing Evaluations Evaluations Evaluations Evaluations Evaluations HearingAid Aidsales sales Hearing Aid sales ••••Hearing Hearing Aid sales • and Hearing Aid sales service and service and service and service and service Current Technology Current Technology ••••Current Technology Current Technology •• Current Technology MajorBrands Brands Accessories Major Brands Accessories •••Major &&&&Accessories Major Brands Accessories •• Major Brands & APDTesting Testing Accessories •••APD APD Testing • APD APD Testing Testing
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4 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
FROM THE PUBLISHER ASHBURN IN THE SPOTLIGHT
hen “Survivor” debuted in 2000, I was hooked. The concept of real people competing on TV in something other than sports was unique — and intense. And watching the organizational behavior and human psychology was fascinating. After a few seasons, though, and with the launches of so many other reality shows, the novelty wore off. But when I heard that one of Ashburn’s own, Reem Daly, had been cast on the 38th season, dubbed “Survivor: Edge of Extinction,” suddenly Wednesday nights were “Survivor” nights in our house. Unfortunately, Reem was the first of the 18 contestants to be voted off the show by her tribe-mates, apparently rubbing some the wrong way because she was too “motherly.” But this season’s twist allowed her to stay on the show — albeit banished to another island — with a chance to win her way back into the game. And so we tuned in every week for the glimpse of the eliminated contestants that was usually shown at the beginning or end of each broadcast. Reem never made it back onto the main stage, but there’s no doubt she’s a “survivor” — she lived on the “Edge of Extinction” island for 36 days under what had to be grueling conditions. In fact, during the live season finale in mid-May, host Jeff Probst gave her a shoutout for her endurance. And Reem’s appearance (actually filmed last summer) was perfectly timed for this month’s cover story, featuring the surprisingly large number of Ashburn-ites who’ve appeared on reality TV shows in recent years. Some are well-known, such as Krista Woods, whose GloveStix will make your kids’ sweaty sports equipment less stinky, or Briar Woods High School grad Brandon Diaz, who reached the
top 24 of “American Idol” last year. But others include local Realtor PJ Riner, bartender Jeremy Ross, and businessperson Caroline Murphy. In fact, if you can identify all nine of the local reality stars on this month’s cover (without peeking), maybe you’re watching too much TV! So if you’re looking for other things to do this summer, this month’s issue is full of ideas. Start with some spectacular photographs of the many great blue herons that live in Kincora and other parts of Ashburn. Several live near the pond in our neighborhood, and watching them perch on their stick-like legs in the shallow water or swoop effortlessly just a few feet above the water is always captivating. You also could check out one of the local “farmers” markets — which these days feature way more than corn and carrots — or head about an hour west (and about 25 years back in time) to Stephens City to catch a double-feature at the region’s last drive-in theater. And as a sometime golfer, I think you’ll find the accomplishments of this month’s “amazing kid” to truly live up to the name of that section. Sihan Sandhu, 13, is the top-ranked golfer in the world (yes, the world) for his age group. Tiger and Phil, look out! Finally, as summer turns to fall, we’ll mark the 50th anniversary of Ashburn’s first high school, Broad Run. On Page 56, you’ll find a look at the school’s beginnings and details about the celebration. Here’s to “surviving” the rest of the summer!
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IN THE HOLE Ashburn teen golfer ranked tops in the world
GREAT, BLUE & BEAUTIFUL Hundreds of herons make Ashburn their home
BY ERICA GARMAN
12 our neighbors DIVINE INSPIRATION Reflections - and laughter - with the Rev. Mary Kay Brown BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
16 business boom UNA BUENA IDEA Immersion preschool gets kids talking Español BY CHRISTIN PERRY
22 cover story MEET ASHBURN’S REALITY TV STARS Locals dish about their time in the spotlight BY CHRIS WADSWORTH & CHRISTIN PERRY
46 great escapes WILD WEST ADVENTURE Hiking and ‘glamping’ in Moab, Utah
BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
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FIERY PIZZA OVENS Gourmet pizza ovens for the home BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
38 wine & dine NOT YOUR FATHER’S FARMERS MARKET Pastries, cookies, juices and, yes, some vegetables BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
42 local adventures STARS UNDER THE STARS Northern Virginia’s last drive-in theater BY ANGELA MARSH
An album of Ashburn area events
56 time travel
‘CORNFIELD HIGH’ Broad Run High School celebrates 50 years BY CORT JONES
60 news from InsideNoVa
62 the burn The latest restaurant, retail and other cool news
ON THE COVER: Many of Ashburn’s reality TV stars gathered in Brambleton Town Center recently. Front row (holding TV): Jeremy Ross and Joe Mariano. Middle row (left to right): PJ Riner, Krista Woods, Paravi Das, Kaitlyn Maher, and Reem Daly. Back row: Erin Schwartz and Brandon Diaz. Photo by Alex Erkiletian/Alex Erkiletian Photography
KITCHEN REMODEL CREATES SLEEK, MODERN, OPEN SPACE
recent kitchen remodeling project by Abbey Design Center gave a local homeowner a sleek, modern design and an open floor plan that they desired. What sets this project apart is the vision of Abbey’s experienced design team. Our designers were able to take the original floorplan and create an entirely new space. They not only added more floor space and more storage, but they also created a welcoming new kitchen with better traffic flow and modern touches throughout. The homeowners had a builder-grade kitchen that had been designed for a previous era. The kitchen did not have an efficient design for cooking. It was too small for gathering and wasn’t a welcoming space. Today’s kitchens in modern homes are places where people entertain and connect. The goal of this project was to give the homeowners a modern kitchen to entertain guests and a design that would make prepping meals a breeze.
Envisioning The Kitchen Remodeling Project The homeowners were open to the idea of changing the floorplan of the kitchen and the living room adjacent to it. With that in mind, Abbey’s designers came up with a bold kitchen remodeling plan. Abbey’s Design Team removed the wall between the kitchen and dining room, creating an open floor plan. They also replaced their flooring with hardwood on the entire first level. The new layout made a small house look large Abbey’s Team Gets to Work The changes to the homeowners’ kitchen were extensive. The old, cramped kitchen was gutted and in its place is now a modern kitchen with numerous amenities. Abbey’s contractors removed the old wall behind the stove. They extended the kitchen to fill that space, adding much more room for cabinets and countertops. The remodeled kitchen opens into a new dining area. The centerpiece of the new kitchen is a large new island with seating. There is much more counter space for preparing
meals and even some space to sit, share some appetizers and a glass of wine. They can entertain in style! Elegant and durable hardwood floors now cover the entire first level of the home. The new floors tie the rooms together and improve traffic flow. The new flooring also gives the impression that the kitchen and other spaces are much larger. The new cabinetry now goes all the way to the ceiling, giving the kitchen the impression of even more height. White cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, and modern recessed LED lighting made the kitchen space feel more bright and spacious. Adding a lighter color to the walls to contrast with the darker hardwood floors gives the entire combined space a sense of height and depth that was lacking before. Now the natural light, as well as light from the recessed LEDs, reflects off the hardwood floor, and the lighter colored walls add to an atmosphere of understated elegance.
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In the kitchen, the old stove was replaced with a cooktop and a designer range hood, while a double-wall oven was mounted beside it. Importantly, the wall opposite the work area was removed. This provides much easier traffic flow from the living area, into the kitchen, and then into the dining space. There are other details as well. The kitchen now has a lazy susan corner cabinet to make the most of available storage area. The shaker style cabinets have brushed nickel pulls. There is even storage space above the new, deeper stainless steel side-by-side refrigerator. Pendant lights provide an added touch of elegance above the kitchen island. The dining area features a chic chandelier that echoes the lines of the shaker cabinetry and the modern range hood. Another Abbey Success Story The new kitchen is modern and sophisticated. The homeowners now have an attractive new space for entertaining and for more enjoyable everyday use. Abbey’s experienced design team delighted these clients and can create results like this for you. One Company, One Contract, One Exceptional Result.
In the Hole Ashburn teen golfer ranked tops in the world BY E R ICA GAR M AN
cience is his favorite subject at school, he loves Indian food, and he likes to play video games, especially NBA2K. Oh, and his favorite club is the Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero. “It gives me lower spin numbers and is much more forgiving on mis-hits,” Sihan Sandhu said, speaking his best “golf-ese.” Although Sihan may be a typical Ashburn teen in most aspects, his golf acumen is off the charts. Entering the summer, the 13-year-old was the world’s number one male golfer in his age group, according to the Rolex American Junior Golf Association rankings. Sihan is a three-time winner of his age group at the U.S. Kids Golf European Championship, a two-time winner of the Future Masters, and the 2016 winner of the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship — where he shot 23-under par, easily breaking the previous record of 18-under. Because he has won 16 U.S. Kids Regional Championships, he’s now focused on competing in more prestigious events, including tournaments where he’s often playing against high school juniors and seniors. All in all, he has won over 100 tournaments, and he has a wall of medals and trophies in his room to prove it. He’s a rising ninth-grader, but previously Sihan attended Creighton’s Corner Elementary School in Ashburn. Because of his extensive practices and rigorous Aprilto-October tournament schedule, Sihan is now homeschooled. The teen, who lives in the Evergreen Reserve neighborhood, practices six days a week at 1757 Golf Club, where he’s coached by PGA Teaching Professional Adam Harrell. “He has a unique ability to hit solid 8 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
Sihan Sandhu, getting himself out of a sand trap during a recent round of golf.
He is mentally a strong player who always fights till the end and never gets rattled.”
shots that finish in close proximity to the hole,” said Harrell, who uses words like “dedicated” and “amazing” when talking about Sihan. “He is mentally a strong player who always fights till the end and never gets rattled.” When the Northern Virginia weather isn’t conducive to hitting the links, Sihan heads to his garage, where the Sandhu family had a Trackman golf simulator installed that lets the teen practice his swing indoors.
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Sihan has been holding a golf club in his hand since he was a toddler, said his father, Ruby Sandhu. “He was copying my swing in the mirror one day and he was just a natural. He picked it up very quickly.” Sandhu first enrolled a 5-year-old Sihan in lessons at 1757 with PGA pro Paquiry Loganathan. Sihan built a strong swing under the tutelage of Coach “Paq” and won his first tournament at age 6. Sihan believes his swing is one of his key strengths. He has a keen ability to drive the ball and place it on the greens. His average drive is about 260 yards, which will certainly improve as he gains height and strength. “I’ve grown 2 inches in the last few months,” said Sihan, smiling proudly. He’s now a bit taller than his mother, Navneed, who is 5-foot-7. A future milestone will be catching up to his longtime caddie, better known as dad, who stands 6-foot-4. Although Sandhu admires his son’s ball-striking skills, he said Sihan's greatest strength is his mental aptitude and resiliency. The proud father shared an anecdote from a past European tournament that Sihan was favored to win. On the second hole, Sihan scored a 9 on a par-5, which he could have easily birdied. “At the end of the front nine, everything that could go wrong, went wrong [for Sihan],” said Sandhu. He tried to put on a good face for his son, but Sihan sensed his father’s uneasiness. “Don’t worry, Dad,” Sihan assured him. “There
PHOTO BY ERICA GARMAN
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AMAZING KIDS Sihan Sandhu with his father, Ruby; on the links; with his wall of trophies; practicing on the simulator in his garage; driving off the tee.
PHOTO BY ERICA GARMAN
PHOTO BY ERICA GARMAN
are still nine holes left!” Sihan ended up finishing the back nine 2-under par and placed third in the tournament. It’s this positive attitude that carries Sihan through the ups and downs of the game. “He deals with adversity much better than most adults,” said Rudy. “To me, that’s something that cannot be taught.” So, what are Sihan’s future goals? College coaches have naturally expressed an interest in his talents, but Sihan isn’t eager to commit to a program quite yet. “College is important to us, obviously,” his father said. “It could include learning on a college campus or possibly online.” “We’ll see how it goes,” Sihan chimed in. “College is in my future, but my obvious goal right now is to play golf. If I’m very good — I have to practice — I’ll go on [the PGA] tour.” A Erica Garman is an Ashburn-based freelance writer who has written for Northern Virginia Magazine and The Washington Post.
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Divine Inspiration Reflections - and laughter with the Rev. Mary Kay Brown BY C H R IS WADSWO RT H P H OTOS CO U RTE SY O F ST. DAVI D ’S EPI SCO PAL C HURC H
t first blush, Mary Kay Brown seems quiet and softspoken, friendly but with a serious streak. And then you hear her laugh. She has an easy laugh that exudes warmth and joy — and immediately puts those around her at ease. All good qualities considering that Brown, 60, is an Episcopal priest and has been the rector at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Ashburn for 10 years. Originally from the Pittsburgh area, Brown and her husband, Mark Boyer, moved to Ashburn in 2002, where they raised their two children. Today, they live in the Regency neighborhood off Waxpool Road. Ashburn Magazine sat down with Brown to ask her questions both divine and earthbound. Here is some of our conversation. 12 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
ASHBURN MAGAZINE: I HEARD YOU LIKE TO LEARN NEW THINGS. WHAT’S SOMETHING NEW YOU LEARNED THIS WEEK?
REV. BROWN: Now that’s a hard question to begin with … I’m getting ready to go on sabbatical and I’m going to be in Jerusalem and travel to Jordan and Egypt and Turkey. So, I’m learning a lot about geography and the history of Jerusalem right now. WHERE DO YOU FIND GOD IN ASHBURN? WHERE DO YOU SEE HIS OR HER PRESENCE?
Certainly, I find God here at St. David’s, but it’s something that we really need to work at because you can find God everywhere. Not only in worship, but when I see people helping each other out. I see God in people. And sometimes I see God sitting on my back porch and watching the birds come to the feeder — those little moments. YOU’VE DONE A LOT OF WORK WITH HOSPICE PATIENTS? WHAT DO YOU TELL PEOPLE WHO FEAR DEATH?
I tell people it’s a completely normal and human thing
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because we all fear the unknown. Usually I do a whole lot more listening than talking because people want to tell their story. The questions we talk about in hospice are — at their heart — spiritual questions. Who am I? Where have I been and where am I going and what does it mean? WHEN YOU’RE NOT WEARING YOUR MINISTERIAL HAT, WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN AROUND ASHBURN? ARE PRIESTS ALLOWED TO HAVE FUN?
Of course! God wants us to be joyful. I like to take long walks. I read a lot. I have a dog that I love to spend time with. Friends, movies, eating. Crossword puzzles. WHAT’S THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION ABOUT BEING A PRIEST?
That we can’t laugh. We are human beings like everybody else. We are really walking on the journey together. Maybe that’s the biggest thing — that somehow I know more about how to be holy than anybody else, and really we are all just learning and growing together. YOU LIVED IN ALASKA FOR A TIME — WHAT WAS THAT LIKE? LOTS OF MOOSE ATTACKS, I IMAGINE.
No attacks! I was there for 11 years and I loved every minute. It was beautiful. Talk about
where I find God. It resonated with me at such a deep level. It’s such a grand scale with the mountains and the oceans. The people are warm and engaging and there’s something about living on the frontier — you see a very independent streak in people.
The Rev. Mary Kay Brown at work — leading a Mass, blessing the animals, participating in a baptism.
WHERE DID YOU GO ON YOUR LAST VACATION?
Italy. We were in Rome and the Cinque Terre. Lovely. WHAT IS ONE SECRET ABOUT YOU THAT NONE OF YOUR PARISHIONERS KNOW?
Why would I tell you that? (laughs) I play the piano. Nobody knows that. I learned when I was 7. Over the years, I’ve studied as an adult and it feeds my soul. WHAT TYPE OF MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO? HEAVY METAL?
I think about relationships. There’s a whole thing about ministry — it’s not about me. It’s about the work that I’ve done overall that has been very meaningful. I wouldn’t say I’m proud of it — it’s been deeply meaningful to me and I feel like it’s made a difference. PRIESTS ARE NOT USED TO TALKING ABOUT THEMSELVES. THERE WERE A LOT OF LONG PAUSES ANSWERING THESE QUESTIONS. HAS THIS INTERVIEW BEEN HARD FOR YOU?
I am used to asking the questions rather than being asked. It’s good to have this kind of reflection. LIGHTNING ROUND
Favorite Color: Purple
I like all kinds of music and I don’t want to get into trouble with anybody who likes country music, but that is my least favorite. I’m very eclectic, but country is not my thing.
Favorite Food: Italian
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Favorite Animal: Dog
Whichever team is winning. That keeps me out of trouble. DESPITE PRIDE GOING BEFORE A FALL, WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
That’s tough. I think about my children;
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¡Una Buena Idea! Immersion preschool gets kids talking Español
At Bilingüitos, children do regular crafts and projects, but all in Spanish.
BY C H R I ST I N P E R RY • PH OTOS CO URT E SY OF B ILING ÜITOS
hen Jennifer Baylor’s son, Owen, is annoyed by something — as 3-year-old boys sometimes are — she frequently hears him mutter, “No me gusta.” It means “I don’t like it” in Spanish, and despite his irritation, the Lansdowne mom can’t help but smile. Because Owen and his sister, Lily, 5, are learning Spanish easily and naturally, just by attending preschool. They’re students at Bilingüitos, a one-of-a-kind school for Spanish immersion on Red Rum Drive in Ashburn. Classrooms at Bilingüitos are just like other preschool classrooms across the country. You’ll find kids seated around little tables naming their favorite foods and walls clad in adorable art. But everything the kids are working on is in Spanish. 16 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
This small establishment, started by linguistics major Kaila Diaz in 2016, is the only Spanish-immersion preschool program in Loudoun County. Here, you’ll find kids from English-speaking backgrounds, Spanish-speaking backgrounds, and what Diaz calls OPOL, or “one parent, one language,” where each parent in the home speaks a different language. But regardless of their background or home language, kids here are learning Spanish. And they’re learning it well. “The kids really catch on fast here. We never push the language on them or force them to learn it. We meet them where they are and kind of acclimate them at their comfort level,” said Diaz, who has lived in Ashburn for 25 years.
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ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019 • 17
Owner Kaila Diaz is a linguist who has been speaking Spanish since she was a child.
When you’re learning a foreign language in high school or college, you can take a test and maybe memorize how to conjugate verbs, but here, it’s just life — it’s just language.”
18 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
“When you’re learning a foreign language in high school or college, you can take a test and maybe memorize how to conjugate verbs, but here, it’s just life — it’s just language.” Maria Ubillus drives all the way from Aldie so her daughter can attend Bilingüitos. A native of Ecuador, Maria and her husband speak Spanish to 4-year-old Gabriella at home. But their three older children speak mostly English. She was eager to give her young daughter a more wellrounded exposure to her native language. And Bilingüitos has done the trick. “Now [Gabriella] has a lot more words,” Ubillus said. “She speaks Spanish in full sentences and can even tell you a story.” The goal of Bilingüitos, which translates to “little bilinguals,” is two-pronged: The program gives
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Studies have shown young children can learn new languages much more easily than adults. bilingual kids the chance to hold on to their home language, rather than let it slip away as they learn English at school, and it also aims to be a foreign language immersion program for English-speaking kids in Loudoun. The school enrolls 50 children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years. Programs are offered several days each week in the mornings, and an after-school program is also available for elementary school-aged children. The vast majority of all programs are taught in Spanish, even for the youngest children. And there’s no better time to start than in those early preschool years. “Due to the nature of brain development, the golden window of opportunity for language learning is in early childhood,” Diaz said. “A child's brain is in languagelearning mode, and he is able to soak up linguistic information like a sponge, most often subconsciously.” Indeed, she was raised with this mindset. Almost from birth, her parents made sure she was continually exposed to a foreign language, starting with the Spanish-speaking daycare she attended. That experience triggered a lifelong passion for foreign language, which has culminated in this small school in the heart of Ashburn. For Baylor and her children, the teachers, the kids and the other families at Bilingüitos have become friends and part of their “village” — it just happens to be a village that speaks Spanish. “Lily’s eyes light up every time we come here—she absolutely loves it.” A Christin Perry is a freelance writer in Ashburn who has written for The Bump, The Knot, Scary Mommy and other publications.
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PHOTO BY ALEX ERKILETIAN
Locals dish about their time in the spotlight
RIGHT: Brandon Diaz, preparing to perform “Unaware” by Allen Stone for his “American Idol” audition; Diaz with Idol celebrity judge Luke Bryan.
BRANDON DIAZ SINGER/SONGWRITER AND BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC GRADUATE APPEARED ON NBC’S “AMERICA’S GOT TALENT,” NBC’S “THE VOICE,” FOX’S “THE X-FACTOR,” AND ABC’S “AMERICAN IDOL” Some might call Brandon Diaz the “king” of Ashburn reality stars. The Briar Woods High School grad first did “America’s Got Talent” when he was 12, “The Voice” and “The X-Factor” when he was 16 and then “American Idol” when he was 21, where he made it to the Hollywood rounds.
“I was so nervous – it was my first performance on Hollywood week, and just before I walked on, they called a bathroom break and all the judges and producers walked away,” recalled Diaz, 22. “And I’m standing there, and my nerves are getting worse. [Judges] Katy [Perry] and Luke [Bryan] walked right by me and then I feel Lionel [Ritchie]’s hand on my back and he says, ‘You got this,’ and it calmed everything down and I went out there and killed it.” Sure enough, Diaz sailed into the top 24, but was eliminated when the
contestant pool was cut to 14. Diaz recently graduated from the Berklee College of Music and is living in Los Angeles, working on his craft. He’s been writing music with friends and expects to release some new songs in the next few months. Looking back on “Idol” and his other TV experiences, Diaz doesn’t regret a minute of it. “It allowed me to push myself — and I love pushing myself.” —CHRIS WADSWORTH
ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019 • 23
Krista Woods, pitching her product GloveStix on “Shark Tank”; Woods with “Today” anchor Hoda Kotb after winning the Next Big Thing contest.
KRISTA WOODS CREATOR AND FOUNDER OF GLOVESTIX APPEARED ON NBC’S “TODAY,” ABC’S “SHARK TANK” Krista Woods was a typical Ashburn mom, complaining about her kids’ smelly athletic shoes and equipment. But then Woods did something atypical: She developed a product that eliminates
unpleasant odors, created a company, and then used reality TV to help her market her invention. By now, many Ashburn residents are familiar with GloveStix, the anti-microbial sticks with moistureabsorbing inserts that are placed in shoes and other sweaty clothing to inhibit bacteria growth and neutralize smells. Woods created GloveStix in 2015 and the following year, on a whim, she applied to be on the “Today” show’s “Next Big Thing” competition.
She was selected as a finalist and pitched GloveStix live on morning network television. “I remember that moment like it was yesterday,” Woods said. “You’re standing behind these ‘Today’ show doors and they’re about to open up and you’re going to walk out there on live TV. My entire body was shaking, armpits sweating. I’ve never been that nervous in my entire life. They started counting down — 20 seconds until the doors were going to open — and full blown panic set in. I told them, ‘Stop counting!’” Despite the nerves, Woods did wonderfully and went on to win the competition. Her prize: pitching her product live on the QVC shopping channel. Woods went on to appear on the popular reality entrepreneur show “Shark Tank” in 2017. On air, she struck a deal for investment in her company by “sharks” Lori Greiner and Alex Rodriguez, but afterward, hiccups arose, and the deal was never executed. Still, Woods says she would absolutely do her reality TV experiences again. “One hundred times over. I take every opportunity I can to make people aware of my product and my story.” —CHRIS WADSWORTH
going to re-do it over and over again. Due to sound issues and camera shots … you have to go up and down steps REALTOR WITH LOCAL HOME CO. and go into rooms three or four times.” APPEARED ON HGTV’S One longtime “House Hunters” Realtor PJ Riner rumor that Riner confirmed: The “HOUSE HUNTERS” with her clients people hunting the houses have usually already In 2015, real estate agent and longtime Ashburn and the crew from bought their home before shooting begins. Then resident PJ Riner had clients — a couple looking “House Hunters.” they are shown their actual house, plus a couple of for a local home — who were selected to be on decoys. This streamlines the production process and the popular HGTV program “House Hunters.” makes sure the show doesn’t waste time on people As part of the process, Riner had to send in her who don’t end up buying. own audition tape, to prove she was sufficiently upbeat and “They have to do it,” Riner said. “Home deals fall through personable. She passed and soon found herself showing so easily.” houses in and around Ashburn with a producer, a cameraman, Interestingly, Riner’s partner in her agency is her daughter, a sound man and a production assistant in tow. Lauren Riner. Reality TV must run in the family because “After Day 1, I felt like I had been hit by a bus,” said Riner, Lauren has appeared on two episodes of the HGTV show “Get who today is with the Local Home Co. in Ashburn. “When you’re It Sold.” going through 5,000-square-foot properties and it’s all ad-libbed and you have to remember everything you said because you’re 24 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
JEREMY ROSS Joe Mariano and Erin Schwartz, with their assistant Hailey Harris (center).
ERIN SCHWARTZ & JOE MARIANO
OWNERS OF STACKED CAKES IN ASHBURN APPEARED ON THE COOKING CHANNEL’S “CAKE HUNTERS” AND “CRAZY CAKES” AND THE FOOD NETWORK’S “RIDICULOUS CAKES” Despite “devouring” cake shows while she was growing up, Erin Schwartz never dreamed she would make a name for herself on national television with her own cake creations. But that’s just what happened. Schwartz, 29, and her boyfriend/business partner Joe Mariano, 30, started Stacked Cakes in 2012 to channel their passion for art and cake design. They have a cake studio off Red Rum Drive in Ashburn. Within a few short years, they had been featured in numerous magazines, and not one, not two, but three different reality TV shows. One of Schwartz’s favorite network TV cakes was a 6-foot behemoth she and Mariano made for some expectant parents on the Cooking Channel
program “Cake Hunters.” Featuring a levitating pointe ballet shoe, six separate layers and LED lights designed to flash in synch with music, the cake was titled “A Star is Born.” Although Schwartz and Mariano make their culinary work look easy, that’s not always the reality. Often, cake designers who take part in television shows work all night in addition to long days filming the show. “For a life-sized desk cake we created, we had to work through the night to make sure we’d stick with production schedules,” Schwartz said. “Naturally, the crew isn’t going to stay with us all night, so they ended up setting up an overhead time-lapse camera for us.”
BARTENDER AT SENSE OF THAI AT ONE LOUDOUN APPEARED ON FOOD NETWORK’S “CHOPPED” Jeremy Ross is well known in Ashburn for the amazing cocktails he whips up nightly at One Loudoun’s hot spot restaurant Sense of Thai. But this talented mixologist has a secret talent than many of his regulars didn’t know about — he’s also one heck of a chef. Producers for the television show “Chopped” saw his food photos on Instagram and invited him to compete against other bartenders in an episode of the cooking contest show, where chefs have to create dishes on the fly from a hodge-podge of ingredients. He went to New York City for the show, which started taping at 5 a.m. and wrapped up at 9 p.m. His episode aired in January. “It was a cool experience,” said Ross, 29. “It was cool working under such pressure. A lot of cameras can intimidate you, but I just envisioned the cameras as guests at a restaurant.” Ross finished as the runner-up. He made it to the dessert round, but his strawberry rhubarb turnover with a whiskey-based eggnog tripped him up. But it was still a victory in his book. “I was just happy to finally show the world that I have developed this skill for Jeremy Ross, on cooking.” the job at Sense of Thai in One Loudoun. —CHRIS WADSWORTH Ross is both a talented bartender and a creative chef.
—CHRISTIN PERRY ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019 • 25
Reem Daly, on the beach in Fiji, during her time on “Survivor.”
WORKS IN FEDERAL SALES AT SAILPOINT TECHNOLOGIES INC. APPEARED ON CBS’S “SURVIVOR: EDGE OF EXTINCTION” Many people in Ashburn watched the most recent season of “Survivor” as Ashburn mom Reem Daly had one of the most grueling experiences ever in the show’s 38 seasons. Voted out at the first tribal council, Daly chose the “Edge of Extinction” option, which took her to a deserted island where she spent the next 35 days in harsh conditions for a shot at getting back in the game. At one point, rats were running across her chest while she tried to sleep. “Are you serious? It was terrible,”
Daly told Ashburn Magazine. “I had never been so miserable in all my life. It was pouring down rain. It was freezing. But I signed up for that. I didn’t feel bad for myself.” As brutal as the conditions were, Daly was most interested in the interpersonal relations among the contestants. She rubbed some people the wrong way, and some of the others annoyed her, but she doesn’t regret how she played the game. Her takeaway from the experience: “Kindness goes a long way … I think some people have a hard time accepting that someone is being kind to them and there are no ulterior motives behind it.” —CHRIS WADSWORTH
26 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
Kaitlyn Maher, then just 4 years old, wowed audiences on “America’s Got Talent.”
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT APPEARED ON “AMERICA’S GOT TALENT” Ashburn resident Kaitlyn Maher, 15, has a lot of feathers in her young cap. She was the youngest Top 10 finalist on the show “America’s Got Talent” — when she was just 4
years old. She also sang in front of President George W. Bush at the annual National Christmas Tree Lighting in 2008, where one of her main memories is being given a holiday cookie
in the shape of the president’s dog. “I learned a lot about the industry and performing at a very early age,” said Kaitlyn, who attends The Potomac School in McLean. “The directors and producers were all wonderful to work with. Everyone was very supportive and encouraging — it felt like having an extended family.” A YouTube video of little Kaitlyn singing “Happy Birthday” caught the attention of NBC producers who asked her to audition for “AGT.” Audiences caught Kaitlyn fever too, especially when she appeared on the show performing the song “Somewhere Out There” wearing a bright pink dress and matching Crocs. Since then, she has performed at events around the country and continues to work in the entertainment industry. She’s had several TV and movie acting roles — including a starring role in the Disney Channel movie “The Search for Santa Paws” — and has done voice work for animated programs as well. —CHRISTIN PERRY
VICE PRESIDENT OF FRANCHISE DEVELOPMENT AT WOOFIE’S APPEARED ON CNBC’S “THE JOB INTERVIEW” Woofie’s is one of Ashburn’s most notable homegrown businesses. Started as a dog-walking business by a couple of Ashburn neighbors, it has since grown into
a large mobile grooming and pet-sitting business. And yes, they still walk dogs too. Recently, the company started franchising into other communities. So, when the phone rang one evening in early 2017, Caroline Murphy, a VP with Woofie’s, assumed it was another potential new client. She was wrong. It was a producer from the business network CNBC calling to invite Woofie’s to appear on an episode of “The Job Interview” — a reality TV show that follows the interview and hiring process of small businesses. Before she knew it, Caroline and colleague Renee Ventrice were ushered to New York, where they participated in a PHOTO: CNBC
dawn-to-dusk marathon of interviewing job candidates, looking for a perfect fit for Woofie’s. “We were brought into a room where they had about 25 cameras set up. They were filming us from every angle —it was crazy. They sent candidates in one after the other, and we had no idea what they would be like other than a quick glance at a stack of resumes they had given us,” Murphy said. “It was a great format, though, because all of our reactions were Caroline Murgenuine — everything phy and Renee is in real time.” Ventrice interThe Woofie’s team view a candiwas delighted to fill date on “The not one, but two open Job Interview”; positions — a dog Murphy poses walker and a groomer. with her own pooches, Cal and Griffey.
RECENT STONE BRIDGE HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE, HEADED TO UCLA APPEARED ON ABC’S “AMERICAN IDOL” Paravi Das had a circuitous route to appearing on “American Idol” in the spring 2018 season. She applied online, was invited to an audition in Annapolis, went to Los Angeles for another audition and then went in front of the celebrity judges in Savannah, Georgia.
And that’s where — lo and behold — they gave her a coveted golden ticket to Hollywood. “I was completely in shock,” Das said. “I’d been watching ‘American Idol’ since elementary school so this scene that I had seen happen on my TV screen for so many years was finally happening to me. That was one of the happiest moments I can remember. I still can’t believe it happened.” In Hollywood, Das made it into the Top 169 contestants, but was eliminated in the section where the singers are divided into rows of 10. During this time, Das’ father had a stroke at home and she found out mere minutes
before she performed. “At that point, I didn’t care about being eliminated,” she said. “I just cared about him and how he was doing.” This fall, Das will be a freshman studying musical theater at UCLA. Her dream is to stay in California and
pursue a career in music and acting. —CHRIS WADSWORTH A
Paravi Das sang songs by Adele and Jesse J during her “American Idol” audition.
SIZE: With wingspans that can reach 6 feet or more, the great blue heron is a remarkable sight in the skies over Ashburn. On the ground, they stand up to 4Â˝ feet tall. The great blue heron is the largest heron species in North America.
Hundreds of the majestic birds make Ashburn their home
BY C HRIS WADSWO RTH
PHOTO BY CHARLOTTE GEARY
ots of people have Instagram accounts and fill them with photos of their trips, their families, even the food they eat. Ashburn Village resident Ryan Sholin has an “Insta” account, too. However, the married father of two specializes in a different type of image on his photo feed: snapshots of great blue herons. “We’ve had our dog for four years now and I like to walk her around the lakes over in the village,” said Sholin, 42. “Inevitably — especially in the spring and fall — I start running into a bunch of great blue herons.” Believe it or not — Ashburn is a hotbed for the majestic birds. In fact, one of Virginia’s largest great blue heron breeding areas — known as a rookery — is right here in Ashburn. It’s near the point where state Route 28 meets Route 7 along the Broad Run creek on the Kincora property. “The rookery is strategically located near the Potomac River and its estuaries, so that’s where the herons are finding their food,” said Greg Butcher, the vice president of the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia. “They are going to be feeding at lots of places — all the parks in the area, all those golf courses along the river.” We gathered some fascinating great blue heron facts from the Audubon Society and other sources and photos from a number of talented photographers in our area — including Sholin — in this special Ashburn Magazine pictorial report.
PHOTO BY CHARLOTTE GEARY
PHOTO BY RYAN SHOLIN
NECK: Its long, slim S-shaped neck is one of the great blue heron’s most distinguishing features, but it can sometimes cause problems. The birds swallow their prey whole, and if they try to swallow a fish that’s too large, they have been known to choke to death.
NESTING: A colony
PHOTO BY CHARLOTTE GEARY
of great blue herons can include more than 500 individual nests. Herons prefer dead trees but will make do with whatever is available. Many trees will have multiple nests built in them, and they can be positioned more than 100 feet off the ground. Female great blue herons usually lay two to seven eggs. The eggs are pale blue in color, and both parents will take turns sitting on the nest and keeping the eggs warm.
30 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
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PHOTO BY RYAN SHOLIN
MATING: Visitors to great blue heron colonies will
HABITAT: Great blue herons can be found in almost every part of the United States, as well as much of Canada, Mexico and Central America and even the Caribbean. They like to live and breed near bodies of water, including swamps, marshes and the shorelines of lakes.
PHOTO BY CHARLOTTE GEARY
often see elaborate courtship rituals as male herons try to attract mates. During mating season in spring and summer, great blue herons often display many of these rituals, including greetings, the trading of sticks, displays of plumage and making a chattering sound with the tips of their bills. Great blue herons tend to stick to one partner for the entire season.
PHOTO BY ALEX ERKILETIAN
DIET: Great blue herons primarily eat fish. They wade along until they see one, then strike with lightning speed and spear it with their sharp beak. For this reason, people should be wary around herons — even when trying to help an injured one. The bird can seriously wound a person with a well-placed stab of the beak.
PHOTO BY CHARLOTTE GEARY
PHOTO BY RYAN SHOLIN
32 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
PHOTO BY MAX ERKILETIAN
LIFESPAN: Great blue heron eggs hatch after about 60 days. In the wild they usually live around 15 years, but some have been known to live 20 years or more. A
home sweet home
Delivery? Ha! Frozen? Ugh! Home pizza ovens on the rise STORY A N D PHOTOS BY CH RI S WADSWO RT H
sking Jayson Jean to name his favorite pizza is a bit like trying to hit a moving target. He stops and thinks. Then, with a faraway look in his eye, he mentions red sauce and banana peppers, sausage and mushrooms before he settles on his choice. “Recently, I’ve been loving the white pizza,” he says. “Mozzarella, this really nice pizza oil with herbs, ricotta 34 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
Jayson Jean puts a pizza into his backyard pizza oven; Jean, with wife Christy and sons Holden and Sammy.
cheese and some thinly sliced red onions. As the pizza comes out of the oven, we put some fresh arugula on it.” To say that Jean and his wife, Christy, like pizza would be a bit of an understatement. Back in 2017, the Brambleton couple had a pizza oven installed on their back deck as part of an outdoor kitchen project. They say it’s been a wonderful addition — using it several times a month, even during winter. “Having people over to eat is a big part of our lives,” Christy Jean said. “We liked the hands-on aspect of it — that we could all gather in the kitchen with the kids and make something.” Statistics on home pizza ovens are hard to find, but there’s no question people are making more pizzas at home. A 2015 study from Consumer Reports showed a significant
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ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019 • 35
increase in the amount Americans were spending on make-your-ownpizza products. And the same report said more manufacturers were selling pizza ovens. “If you are a true foodie, an entire evening can be spent around an oven, creating an authentic cooking experience for family and friends,” said Ted Tidmore, owner of Holloway Co., a Sterlingbased designer and builder of outdoor living spaces. “This takes entertaining to the next level.” Tidmore and his team built the outdoor kitchen, including the pizza oven, for the Jean family. They used an oven produced by the Chicago Brick Oven company and encased it in a stone masonry frame and chimney. It’s the centerpiece of the home’s wrap-around deck. So, is a home pizza oven a good investment for your family? Tidmore says there are a number of considerations. Do you have the space and what is your budget? Do you want an authentic woodburning oven that takes a little more time and work, or a gas oven that heats up faster and easier? Perhaps most importantly — are you sure you are really going to use it regularly? It’s a lesson Melanie Dixon learned the hard way. She and her family installed an outdoor pizza oven as part of a full patio buildout in 2013. “We used the oven a lot the first several weeks. 36 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
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The Jean’s wood-burning pizza oven on their back deck is part of an outdoor kitchen.
It was fun for the fall, and the kids enjoyed a few small pizza parties with friends,” said Dixon, who lives in Ashburn’s Belmont Greene neighborhood. “Once we finally perfected the crust and the cooking time, however, everyone lost interest. I can’t remember if we’ve used it since … those were the most expensive pizzas we’ve ever enjoyed.” If you’re not sure how your family will take to the novelty of home pizza making, there are always less expensive options like countertop pizza ovens. Those can be anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. Higher grade ovens with masonry surrounds and a chimney are naturally more expensive — roughly in the $9,000 to $12,000 range. For the Jean family, there’s no doubt — the investment was worth it. “I always make my own pizza,” 8-year-old Holden Jean said proudly. “I really like cheese and salami because I don’t like the spicy taste of pepperoni.” For Holden’s dad, his one piece of advice for other Ashburn homeowners considering a home pizza oven — even if it costs a little more, get it the way you want it the first time. “Don’t cut corners,” he said. “You’re never going to regret spending the extra money because once it’s done, you’re probably not going to redo it.” A
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Not Your Father’s Farmers Market Changing tastes are changing the foods offered by vendors BY CH R I S WADSWO RT H
38 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
The farmers market at One Loudoun is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
one are the days of an old farmer loading up his vegetables and pigs and driving into town to sell them at market. Sure, today’s farmers markets still have vegetables and pork products and even the occasional old farmer, but they’re just as likely to have handmade European pastries, pressed organic juices and fresh Maine lobster as they are to have a bundle of carrots.
• Visit us today for the latest news, sports and features from Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William, Stafford, Fauquier, Loudoun and throughout the region. • Sign up for daily headlines – delivered to your inbox! Download the free app and like us on Facebook 16 6/24/19 4:36 www.insidenova.com
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“The demographic target market has changed. Millennials are looking for things that are a little more creative,” said Dan Hine, founder and CEO of EatLoCo, a Loudoun-based organization that promotes local farmers and food producers via markets and other events. “Because the demo has changed, we have to change with it.” Ashburn has at least three regularly scheduled farmer’s markets during the spring, summer and fall: One Loudoun (which is year-round weather permitting), Loudoun Station and Brambleton Town Center. Each market offers an everchanging array of meats, produce, sweets, savories, beverages and more. Here are a few of our favorite finds.
THE FERMENTED PIG
ORANGE FENNEL BACON REGULARLY AT ONE LOUDOUN
“We did a survey of our customers and someone mentioned orange and someone else mentioned fennel,” said Josh Plante, founder and co-owner of The Fermented Pig in Lorton. “We thought the richness and the sweetness of the orange would really make the pork come out. And that sweet, lingering mouth feel that fennel gives you — we thought that would make a nice finish. The orange fennel bacon accounts for 26 percent of our sales. It’s becoming famous in Loudoun.”
ROOT BEER FLOAT SANDWICH COOKIES REGULARLY AT LOUDOUN STATION
“Noshy in general tries to focus on flavors that are a little out of the ordinary,” said Julie Strange, owner of the Noshy cookie studio in Sterling. “I personally love root beer floats, so I just wanted to turn everything I love into cookies. Those were our first sandwich cookies. We use a boiled down root beer extract and the float part is a vanilla buttercream — just butter, vanilla extract and confectioner’s sugar.” 40 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
AUSTRIAN APPLE STRUDEL REGULARLY AT ONE LOUDOUN
“Apple is our signature strudel,” said Berni Gallent, who opened Little Austria with his wife, Helene, in 2017. “But we have strudels with mixed berries, with honey, with pecans and walnuts. We have a cheese strudel made with a European-style farmer’s cheese. You have to have a perfect dough – you are not using a premade puff pastry. We are making a phyllo dough from scratch that is then stretched paper thin — so thin you can read a newspaper through it. That’s the traditional Austrian way.”
SMITH’S OF MECKLENBURG
HAND-TIED SAUSAGE LINKS REGULARLY AT BRAMBLETON AND ONE LOUDOUN
“We started with our family recipe for mild country sausage, and my son took it to the next level and came up with all these recipes for the hand-tied links,” said Ed Smith, co-owner of Smith’s of Mecklenburg. “Our Garlic Parmesan links go real well with marinara sauce or with sautéed veggies and an alfredo sauce. We were also raising a lot of hot peppers. I have habaneros and ghost peppers and people kept asking for something hot at the markets, so I came home and told my son we’re going to make a hot sausage and we did. It’s called the El Diablo.”
ROOTS TO RISE
COLDPRESSED JUICES REGULARLY AT ONE LOUDOUN
“We use what is known as slow masticating. It’s a juicer turning less than 100 revolutions per minute compared to 15,000 rpm,” said Eddie Freitas, co-founder of Roots to Rise, a purveyor of fresh juices and nut milks. “The green is greener. The orange is oranger and you get more of the nutritional value. One of our offerings is the Humble Warrior. It has cabbage, celery, kale, red apple and ginger. The cabbage and red apple combo gives it this awesomely sweet, but not overpowering, flavor. Everything just balances out well.” A
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W Watching the Stars Under the Stars Relaxing at the region’s last drive-in theater BY AN G E L A MARSH 42 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
hen it comes to watching movies, I like comfort. My squad — husband Dan and teenagers Katherine and Tommy — rarely strays from our beloved Alamo Drafthouse at One Loudoun. How can you beat warm cookies and milk while watching “John Wick 3”? Sometimes we switch it up for the cozy seats at the Starplex. (Yes, it’s technically called the Loudoun Station 11 now, but it will always be the Starplex to me). However, we were feeling adventurous and decided to strike out and do something different — a good, old-fashioned drive-in movie. Considering a double-feature was only $9 for each of us, it seemed worth the risk. It takes about an hour to drive from Ashburn to the Family Drive-In Theatre in Stephens City, just south of Winchester. It’s the last drive-in theater left in Northern Virginia. We knew we had arrived when we saw the line of cars nearly a half-mile long pulled onto the shoulder of the two-lane Highway 11. But once the gates opened at 7 p.m. sharp, the line moved quickly. Pro Tip: Get there early. As you approach the theater, you can see the giant screen. It is straight out of the 1950s
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The Marsh family ready to watch a drive-in movie from the back of their SUV.
and immediately transports you back in time. It’s an old screen with a few panels worn and torn, but it has a certain vintage charm. We pulled into the parking lot, and I half expected to see the T-Birds sitting on top of Kenickie’s car or Rizzo walking out of the bathroom. (Those are references to the classic movie “Grease” in case some readers aren’t familiar.) The Family Drive-In opened way back in 1956. It still features the original car speakers on poles, but they have been updated with digital stereo technology. We hung ours inside the car window and were surprised at how good they sounded. You can also tune into the drive-in’s FM channel via your car radio. Pro Tip: Bring a portable radio to create crazy cool surround sound. Our car was packed with lawn chairs, blankets, bug spray, and our dog, Rascal. There’s an area for the children to run around and two playsets with swings and a slide. Popcorn is a must, so we headed for the concession stand. Both the lines for the bathrooms and the snack bar were fairly long, but the menu choices were great. They even cook the burgers on an outside grill. Pro Tip: Pack a picnic. You can bring in your own “outside” food for a $10 fee. Just before the movie started, the clouds rolled in and it started to rain. We all piled into the back of our SUV and it got just a bit too crowded. It was stuffy and I started to miss the Alamo. Where was the server with my 44 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
We packed into the car and snuggled up tight like we did when the kids were little — the type of moment I thought had long passed. I was delighted. ” cookies and milk? But the rain quickly passed, and we set up our tailgate camp again. Pro Tip: Be prepared with rain gear, just in case. I wrapped myself in a blanket and got cozy as a cool breeze blew in. Fireflies flew over my head as lightning flashed in the distance. It was beautiful and I soon felt fully relaxed — a rarity. I looked over to see my 16-year-old daughter singing along with Aladdin and I smiled. A light drizzle returned and forced us to retreat once again. We packed into the car and snuggled up tight like we did when the kids were little — the type of moment I thought had long passed. I was delighted. Reclining seats and attentive waitstaff – who needs them? I’ll take the magical time machine of the Family Drive-In Theatre any time. A Angela Marsh is a freelance writer living in the Broadlands with her husband, Dan, and their two children. She’s also the owner of CoolMama, a local purveyor of gourmet granola products.
IF YOU GO WHAT: Family Drive-In Theatre WHERE: 5890 Valley Pike, Stephens City, Va. WHEN: Gate times — 6 p.m. Saturdays, 7 p.m. Fridays and Sundays, 8 p.m. Monday thru Thursday — show starts at dusk. SEASON: Mid-March thru mid-December — open 7 nights a week during summer break, open weekends during spring and fall COST: $9 per adult in car, $4 children ages 3-11 INFO: thefamilydriveintheatre.com
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Wild West Adventure Hiking and ‘glamping’ in Moab, Utah BY C H R I S WADSWO RT H
t’s a big year for the Arabia family. Their daughter, Abby, just graduated from Briar Woods High School and is headed to college in Ohio this fall. Debi Arabia and her husband, Chris, wanted to take one last memory-making trip with Abby, 18, and her sister, Janssens, 13. “We wanted family time,” said the Broadlands mom. “No TVs.” So the Arabias headed west — way west — to the wild frontier and spent several days exploring around Moab, Utah. Debi Arabia shared some of the highlights with Ashburn Magazine. “This is Delicate Arch — the famous arch at Arches National Park — which is pictured on the Utah license plate. It’s a 2½-mile hike pretty much uphill through the most amazing scenery. But you have to earn it — you can’t see the arch until you do the hike. You come around a corner and it just opens up into this amazing natural arch. The high altitude was tough — my girls called the hike the ‘mommy killer.’ But it was worth it.”
46 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
“Dead Horse State Park is about 20 minutes from Arches National Park. That is probably the most breathtaking view we had. A lot of people don’t even know that it’s a state park, but it’s been in a lot of movies. The final scene in ‘Thelma & Louise’ where they drive off the cliff — that’s right there.”
“We didn’t just want to stay in hotels. We wanted to camp, but I’ve never camped before. We’re city slickers. So I googled ‘glamping.’ The company we found is called Under Canvas. They have them at a lot of different national parks. We had a deluxe tent. It’s on a platform. It’s got its own private bathroom with a toilet, sink and shower. We had luxury linens, king-size bed, fresh towels every day. There’s no electricity, but we had a wood-burning fireplace. It’s run just like a hotel. There’s a main tent that’s like the lobby. There’s an outdoor area with Adirondack chairs and a gourmet s’mores bar and a guy playing acoustic guitar. It was amazing.”
ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019 • 47
“It’s a local food truck, that’s very popular out there. It’s called Quesadilla Mobilla and it’s right in downtown Moab. It always has a line. I got an Enchanted Chicken quesadilla with slowroasted chicken, sautéed corn, peppers, refried beans and cheeses. It was awesome. Probably the best quesadillas we’ve ever had.”
“This was Mesa Arch at Canyonlands National Park. Wind erosion causes many of the arches. When you’re driving out there, you’ll see arches that are starting to form. It may be hundreds of years from now, but you see concave areas in the rocks and those are arches starting to form. And the current arches will go away eventually. They will erode or collapse while new arches are formed. It’s constantly changing — you just can’t see it in a human lifetime.”
“It was breathtaking — just waking up and sitting out there and having a cup of coffee. It was the kind of thing that made you forget daily life. You could breathe. You had that crisp air and you realized as far as you looked, there was nothing but open space. You don’t realize how much open space there is.”
“Most of the trip was hiking, but we wanted to give the girls a new activity, a new experience. They had never zip-lined before. The place was called Raven’s Rim Adventure Tours. They have 400 private acres. They take you on a Jeep ride up the range; it’s crazy steep. And we did six different zip lines across six different canyons. The longest one was about three-quarters of a mile long. It felt much more secure than I thought it would be. I absolutely loved it.”
48 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
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8 “We went on this trail where you can find true actual dinosaur footprints. It was just off the side of the road, and it was only discovered in 2009 by hikers who came across it. Over time, because it’s all desert and the sand blows away, footprints that were under layers and layers all of a sudden show up. They are constantly finding new dinosaur footprints. Abby said, ‘I can’t believe this is real. It feels like it’s a movie.’”
9 “Janssens looked at me and said, ‘Mom, I never knew places like this existed.’ And that was kind of the whole point of our trip — to open their eyes to the rest of the country and what is out there.” A
If you’ve taken an amazing trip somewhere recently and have beautiful photographs, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We may just share your adventure in a future issue of Ashburn Magazine.
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OntheTown AN ALBUM OF ASHBURN AREA EVENTS MAY 17
Mural unveiling at One Loudoun Local movers and shakers gathered at Matchbox to celebrate the unveiling of a new whimsical mural across the street by artist Kelsey Montague.
1. Andrea Khoury and David Allison, general manager of One Loudoun 2. Left to right: Kristyn Marrott, Maria Roberts, Jenny Styles 3. Left to right: Katie Wilson, Lucero Wiley, Andrea Khoury, Lucia Alami
3 MAY 21
High-Heeled Happy Hour at The National Conference Center in Lansdowne Loudoun business leaders gather to recognize local women in business while socializing, shopping and raising funds for area charities.
1. From left to right: Cory Laws with Details Home Services, movie and television producer MJ Marino, and Jeremy Vile with The National Conference Center 2. Courtenay Jeffers of Chefscape with Jennifer Krebs from Fleetwood Farm Winery 3. From left to right: Reid Frazier with Evolution Commercial Real Estate, Alexa Severo from Catoctin Creek Distillery; Carol Kost of Loudoun Youth, Inc., Leiah Rocheleau, Mrs. DC America 2018 and Steve Wolfson of Loudoun Youth Inc.
3 52 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
ONTHETOWN MAY 24
Village of Waxpool Night at Fleetwood Farm Winery Residents from the Village of Waxpool neighborhood in Ashburn gathered for an evening of fun and socializing while trying Fleetwood’s menu of whites, reds and rosés. Neighbors from the Village of Waxpool gathered on the Grand Terrace at Fleetwood Winery. MAY 27
Friends & Family Event at Bungalow Alehouse Before its big grand opening, the new Bungalow Alehouse in Ashburn held a sneak preview night for friends, family and other VIPs. 1. From left to right: Anna Megill, Olivia Megill, Bungalow Alehouse owner Keith Early, Doug Megill 2. From left to right: Melissa Gonzalez, Stacey Marchetti, Lori Locke, Bungalow Alehouse general manager Sean Early, Art Locke, Chris Marchetti, Vince Gonzalez
Ashburn’s Got Talent at Blend Coffee Bar Some of Ashburn’s most talented residents turned out for the finals of the annual “Ashburn’s Got Talent” competition. Ethan Clark (center facing camera) was the winner this year. To his left is Caryn Switaj, who won the Songwriter’s Award. Joanna Kim (not pictured) was the first runner-up in the competition. 2 ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019 • 53
ONTHETOWN JUNE 8
Still Surfin’ at Tarara Winery The Tarara Summer Concert Series is in full swing at the popular Tarara Winery near Leesburg. 1. Ashburn resident Jimmy Olevson, Chief Lending Officer at MainStreet Bank, and his daughter, CJ, introduce the band at Tarara Winery. 2. Still Surfin’, a DC-area Beach Boys tribute band, performs at Tarara Winery.
2 JUNE 8
The Original Moonlighters at One Loudoun One Loudoun kicked off its summer concert line-up with a performance by The Original Moonlighters on the center’s main plaza. 1. Nez Colbert, a member of the Original Moonlighters band, entertains the crowds at One Loudoun. 1
2. Yasmin Rheubottom (left) and Terry Smith
Ribbon-Cutting at the ION International Training Center VIPs turned out in droves for an invite-only reception and ribbon-cutting for the new ION International Training Center skating facility at Compass Creek in Leesburg. (From left to right) Neil Steinberg, Councilman, Town of Leesburg; Taylor Chess, President of Development, Peterson Companies; Phyllis Randall, Chairwoman, Loudoun County Board of Supervisors; Mitra Setayesh, Co-Founder, COO, ION International Training Center; Luiz Taifas, Co-Founder, CEO, ION International Training Center; Kelly Burk, Mayor, Town of Leesburg; Stacey Metcalfe, Director, Western Region Government and Community Relations, INOVA Loudoun Hospital; Lisa Kimball, Chairwoman, Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce A If you have taken fun photos at a recent Ashburn organization or community event, send them to us at email@example.com. Make sure you include the name of the event, date, location and names of people pictured (l to r). We may just share your “On the Town” photo in a future issue of Ashburn Magazine. 54 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
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An image from the 1973 Broad Run High School yearbook shows why the school was nicknamed “Cornfield High.” The many neighborhoods that surround Broad Run today are still years in the future.
‘Cornfield High’ Celebrates 50 Years Broad Run was Ashburn’s first high school BY CO RT J O N E S
corn field. Your favorite Starbucks may have been one. Perhaps your favorite pizza place or grocery store in a bustling Ashburn shopping center. Even the very spot where your home sits was quite possibly once in the middle of a corn field. And so it was with Broad Run High School — Ashburn’s first high school, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. In fact, when Broad Run opened in 1969, it was nicknamed “Cornfield High” because of the acres of corn crops that surrounded the school. When it opened, Broad Run was the third high school in Loudoun County. It was built to make room for all the new students moving into the area as the eastern half of the county started to boom. Before that, local students went to Loudoun County High School in Leesburg or
56 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
Loudoun Valley High School in Purcellville. “In the ’70s at Broad Run, we were such a tight-knit group of people. All the families knew each other and everyone was so involved in each other’s lives,” said Howard Gray, a 1975 grad, who grew up in Ashburn and lives in Centreville today. Gray was one of the managers for the Spartans football team, and after school he often rode his bike up Ashburn Road to Partlow’s Store (today, the Carolina Brothers barbecue restaurant). Another cherished memory is the “Broad Run Follies.” The “Follies” were a
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Below is a photo showing Broad Run High School still under construction. Other images show the popular “Broad Run Follies” student revue and a meeting of the chess club.
part-comedy, part-musical performance that students produced every year. It was started by Gray’s biology teacher, Jim Hartung. “We had lots of people involved in the ‘Follies,’” said Hartung, who oversaw the spectacle from 1970 to 1976. “We had students, teachers, administrators, the athletes, the band, drama, the art department — everyone was involved, and that’s what made it work. There were so many talented people. There also the ones that didn’t have too much talent, but we made sure to fit them in somehow and at least make it look like they did.” Even more than 40 years later, Howard Gray remembers Mr. Hartung. And Mr. Hartung remembers Gray. “I’ll never forget — it was the last day of school, and I guess [Gray] was going to have a party or something,” said Hartung, 76, who retired from teaching in 1985 and lives near 58 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
BROAD RUN 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION Saturday, Sept. 28 10 a.m. to noon: Tours of the school 11 a.m. to noon: Homecoming parade featuring all classes that would like to be on a float. Noon to 1 p.m.: Food and tents at the football field. Barbecue and merchandise for sale. 1 p.m.: Homecoming football game All times and events are subject to change.
Winchester. “But Vice Principal Hatrick came over the loudspeaker and said, ‘Howard Gray’s mother just called and said the party tonight will not be happening’ or something like that. She wasn’t too happy, and we all got a kick out of it.” Since then, a lot has changed. Park View High School in Sterling opened in 1976, and many students moved there. Trailers that were once used to accommodate the growing number of students were replaced by building additions and major renovations. But for the kids who attended “Cornfield High” in those early years, the bonds remain strong. “The class of 1975 were like brothers and sisters,” said Gray, 62. “We were family — still are to this day.” A Cort Jones is a freelance writer and lives in Ashburn. He is a 2003 graduate of Broad Run High School.
news you may have missed Keep up with all the news from around Northern Virginia: VISIT! InsideNoVa.com. Sign up for daily headlines and e-newsletters FOLLOW! InsideNoVa on Facebook and Twitter @InsideNoVa
BALLOTS SET FOR FALL ELECTIONS Ballots are set for the Nov. 5 local elections after partisan primaries in June decided the final candidates. In Loudoun’s most hotly contested race, Catoctin District Supervisor Geary Higgins won the Republican primary in the state Senate’s 13th District, defeating Broad Run District Supervisor Ron Meyer Jr. 6,609 votes to 3,486 votes. The district includes a large part of Ashburn. Higgins will face Democrat John Bell, a member of the House of Delegates, for the seat currently held by Republican Dick Black, who is retiring. In other primary results for legislative seats: • Incumbent Barbara Favola won the Democratic primary for the Senate’s 31st District, defeating Nicole Merlene. • Democratic incumbent Jennifer Boysko also won her primary in the Senate’s 33rd District, defeating challenger Sharafat Hussain. • Democrat Suhas Subramanyam will run in the for the open seat in the 87th District after winning a four-way primary. Two local races were on the ballot in June as well: • Justin Hannah will be the Democratic candidate for Loudoun County sheriff, after defeating Chris Harmison. Hannah will challenge Republican Sheriff Mike Chapman in November. • Incumbent Koran Saines defeated Ibrahim Moiz in the Democratic primary for the Sterling District seat on the Board of Supervisors. The voter registration deadline is Oct. 15. Absentee voting runs from Sept. 20 to Nov. 2, and the last day to request mailed ballots is Oct. 20. 60 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
GMU appoints Anne Holton interim president The George Mason University Board of Visitors has appointed former Virginia Secretary of Education Anne Holton as the university’s interim president. Holton is the wife of U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine. The appointment will take effect Aug. 1, with Holton replacing current President Ángel Cabrera. He'll serve in an advisory role until leaving for Georgia Teach on Sept. 1. Holton has served as a visiting professor in both the Schar School of Policy and Government and the College of Education and Human Development since May 2017. Holton indicated to the board that she does not intend to be a candidate for the permanent position, according to a news release. “George Mason University is a special place for me and my family, and I look forward to serving the institution during this interim period,” Holton said. “The university has made tremendous strides for such a young institution, and it’s my privilege to continue that momentum and ensure a smooth transition to the next president.” GMU has a satellite campus in Sterling.
Biotech firm Aperiomics chooses Sterling for headquarters Aperiomics, a biotech company looking to change the way healthcare providers identify causes of infection, recently chose a location in Sterling for its corporate headquarters. The move comes alongside support from Loudoun County Economic Development Department, which worked closely with the Aperiomics leadership team in the search, said Buddy Rizer, Loudoun Economic Development’s executive director. “It is vital to us to support cutting edge companies like Aperiomics as the county diversifies its economy
and grows the ecosystem for biotech companies,” Rizer said. “Loudoun is well-positioned at the nexus of health and data, and Aperiomics is leading this charge.” Aperiomics has become known as the only company able to identify every bacterium, virus, fungus and parasite and created a new gold standard in identifying infectious diseases, according to a news release. The Loudoun Board of Supervisors committed $75,000 in grant funding to support a state-of-the-art laboratory at the 4,700-square-foot headquarters.
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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.
BUNGALOW ALEHOUSE OPENS
The Bungalow Alehouse, an eagerly anticipated new restaurant and sports bar, has opened at Ashburn Village Boulevard and Farmwell Road. The new hangout features an indoor bar, multiple pool tables and dart boards, as well as an outdoor bar and patio. The Alehouse took over the space previously occupied by Bertucci’s, an Italian restaurant.
ION INTERNATIONAL SKATING CENTER DEBUTS
A major new entertainment venue for Ashburn and all of eastern Loudoun debuted in June with the grand opening of the Ion International
Training Center. The huge skating facility at Compass Creek in Leesburg — with two NHL regulation rinks — will host aspiring figure skaters and local hockey teams, as well as major skating events and non-ice events such as concerts and even local high school graduation ceremonies.
CITY TAP, LOST FOX ON TAP FOR ONE LOUDOUN
At press time, we were awaiting the grand opening of the new City Tap gastropub at One Loudoun. The popular brand, with locations in DC and elsewhere, is taking over the prime spot vacated by the Hail & Hog restaurant. Meanwhile, upstairs above the City Tap, work is advancing quickly on a new American-style pub called The Lost Fox. It will feature two separate outdoor patios, a large stone fireplace and a long, curved bar.
62 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • JULY/AUGUST 2019
WORK UNDERWAY ON ASHBURN CHICK-FIL-A
Center. It’s called Board & Brush Creative Studio, and it will be going into a vacant storefront next to the Benjamin Moore paint store. Guests can sip wine while they paint and stain a variety of wooden crafts, such as signs, serving trays, clocks and more.
TILLY THE TURTLE FINDS FAME Fans of Chick-fil-A sandwiches and waffle fries rejoiced when word broke that the construction crews had started on a new Chick-fil-A restaurant at Ashburn’s Shoppes of Ryan Park. The new drive-through restaurant is going up on the vacant parcel of land next to the Red Robin restaurant. Hiring has already started, and it should open this fall.
BOARD & BRUSH CREATIVE HEADING TO BROADLANDS
A new craft studio is planning to open a studio in the Broadlands Village
Ashburn has lots of wild animals, but not all of them make the local news and even go national. But Tilly was just the turtle for the job. When she built a nest in Wendy Wade’s Brambleton backyard, photos of her went mini-viral on the internet. Soon, Washington area media outlets were sharing the images, too. At last report, Tilly had laid her eggs and was headed back to the creek behind Wade’s home. A
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