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FROM THE PUBLISHER COOL RIDES AND HISTORY AT CLYDE’S
’ll be the first to admit – I’m not a “car guy.” My current ride is a Nissan Altima. Before that… a Nissan Altima. My first car was (don’t laugh!) a Ford Pinto. Tractor-trailers blew past me going up hills. In between, I’ve owned a Jeep (not the fun kind), a Subaru, a couple of Ford Tauruses and a box on wheels called a Mercury Tracer. In my mid-20s, I did buy a sporty maroon Mazda RX-7 (slightly used), which I thought was really cool because the headlights popped up out of the hood (when they worked). But I quickly tired of feeling as though I was sitting on the road, not being able to carry more than one passenger comfortably, and having to stop at the gas station what seemed like every day. Nor do I know much about what’s under the hood. I can maybe change a headlight or replace a battery (on a good day); anything more complicated than that means a trip to a mechanic. But I know a classic car when I see one – even though I may not be able to identify the make and model without looking at the hood ornament. And it turns out we have quite a few classic cars right here in Ashburn. In this issue, we take a look at some of the cool rides you might see tooling down Waxpool or cruising on Claiborne. The beautiful photos and shiny details make me wish I’d kept that RX-7 a little longer. And speaking of details, we’ve all had drinks or dinner at Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm, but have you ever stopped to study the paintings or look up at the carriages hanging from the ceiling? Editor Chris Wadsworth toured Clyde’s with the company’s president, Tom Meyer, who explains some of the fascinating history behind the restaurant’s buildings and artifacts. (Although he somehow omitted the fact that my wife and I had our first date there – that seems pretty historic to me!) Elsewhere in this issue, we learn about the growing trend of house concerts, meet a group of Ashburn girls who are working to improve their community, and chat with Jason Bursey, owner of Parallel Wine & Whiskey Bar – so now you can say you know Jason, too! Looking ahead, we’ve been overwhelmed by support for our first “Best of Ashburn” contest. As we go to press, voting is still going on in 100 categories, ranging from Best Auto Dealer to Best Yoga Studio, and we’ve received tens of thousands of votes already. The polls closed Feb. 29, and we’ll announce the winners in our May/June issue. Until then, let’s hope the weather is nice enough to put the top down and cruise on over to Clyde’s!
BRUCE POTTER, PUBLISHER PUBLISHER@ASHBURNMAGAZINE.COM
4 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
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contents 08 amazing kids OPERATION HAYLEE Ashburn girls band together to save hummingbirds and more
more amazing kids Highlighting local kids doing great things
16 our neighbors I KNOW JASON, TOO Meet a local bistro owner who has thousands of friends BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
cover story TURNING HEADS Vintage vehicles ply the highways and byways of Ashburn BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
business boom COWORKING COMMUNITIES Businesses growing in shared office spaces BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
feature story ROCK THE HOUSE A Broadlands home becomes a concert venue BY JIM LENAHAN
wine & dine IT’S GREEK TO ME Local sandwich shop is American success story
56 GETAWAY TO NATURE Tiny cabins near the Blue Ridge Mountains provide a restful retreat
time travel feature story SECRETS OF CLYDE’S The fascinating history of Ashburn’s historic restaurant
BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
60 on the town
An album of Ashburn area events
44 home sweet home SHRINKING HOMES Ashburn firm designs small but luxurious houses BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
6 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
ON THE COVER: Heather Price stands next to her vintage 1966 Ford Mustang at the Belmont Country Club in Ashburn. This photo illustration was created by Andrew Sample of Andrew Sample Photography.
BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
real estate round-up The latest facts and figures about home sales in Ashburn
BY GARY CARROLL
62 the burn The latest restaurant, retail and other cool news
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: Ok, we’re not perfect. Despite our best efforts, an occasional error slips by us. With that in mind, Ashburn Magazine makes the following corrections: • • •
In our November/December issue, we misspelled Susan Niedzwicki’s last name in the article “Wow Factor” about a home makeover. Apologies to Susan. In our January/February issue, we referred to Angela Goodman’s husband as Steve in the article “Next Stop Ashburn” about Metro’s arrival. Our apologies to Scott Goodman. In our January/February issue, we referred to Stacey Armstead as “her” in the article “Grabbing Z’s” about the Sleepbox at Dulles Airport. Our apologies to him as well.
Operation Haylee Hummingbird campaign leads girls to better their neighborhood BY GARY CARRO L L
he goal may be to save hummingbirds, but it all started with walking dogs. Last summer, Christine Wilson, who lives in Ashburn’s Preserve at Goose Creek neighborhood, noticed several little girls out walking their dogs — but they were all separate, walking alone. Wilson started chatting with them and learned they had much in common, especially their vision of wanting to do good in their neighborhood. She asked if they were interested in starting a club and they all agreed. That’s how the Girls of the Preserve was born. “I saw that they were all exceptional and they all seemed to have so much in common,” Wilson said. “I thought they should all be together. This neighborhood is very new … and I thought if they met, they wouldn’t have to be lonely and it would help start forming a community.” Hummingbirds were the first to benefit from their desire to help. The girls discovered a hummingbird — they named it Haylee — that was suffering from what they later learned to be a highly contagious fungal disease. The girls — ages 7 to 14 at the time — developed a plan. After patiently watching for the bird for six hours, they spotted it and managed to capture it. One of the girls hand-fed the sick 8 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
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AMAZING KIDS (clockwise) Club members talk to neighbors about ways the community can improve the natural habitat around the Goose Creek neighborhood; Sydney Yamada cultivates soil to grow a pollinator garden; an ailing hummingbird.
bird during an hour-long drive to a compassionate veterinarian, Dr. Belinda Burwell at the Wildlife Veterinary Care Center in Boyce. Sadly, despite the best efforts of Dr. Burwell, Haylee died at the hospital, but the girls were determined to protect other hummingbirds. They did a ton of research, spoke to experts, and canvassed their neighborhood. They learned that the deadly fungus that killed Haylee was
10 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
probably caused by dirty bird feeders. So the Girls of the Preserve initiated a campaign — named Operation Haylee — to spread the word throughout their community. They made poster boards filled with information, created flyers and walked door-to-door to talk to their neighbors about the importance of hummingbirds and ways to help them. They even handed out seed packets so homeowners could grow flowers that produce nectar for hummingbirds. Another sick hummingbird, nicknamed Veronica, that the girls took to Dr. Burwell was saved, nursed back to health and re-released into the neighborhood. “The hummingbird project means a lot to me because I love animals and want to share what I’ve learned with the community, to help save
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$BMM5PEBZGPSB)BTTMF'SFF2VPUF Sydney Yamada holds a hummingbird with its tongue sticking out. This is a sign it is sick from a fungus found in dirty bird feeders.
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12 â€˘ ASHBURN MAGAZINE â€˘ MARCH/APRIL 2020
and protect hummingbirds,â€? said one of the girls, Jada Robinson, 13. Even after the success of Operation Haylee, the Girls of the Preserve decided they werenâ€™t done. They kept meeting at their clubhouse â€” space in a garage that they called â€œThe Nest.â€? Inspired by the positive support they received from their community, the girls have taken on additional projects, including picking up litter, identifying endangered trees, saving a homeless cat, and even forming an anti-bullying club for younger girls in the neighborhood. â€œEvery week, they ask me what else they can do to make a difference,â€? Wilson said. The group recently created an umbrella organization theyâ€™re calling the â€œImpactorsâ€? â€” because they like having an impact on their neighborhood. They are setting up a website for their group and hope to encourage girls in other Ashburn neighborhoods to start their own local Impactor club. â€œI feel excited and happy when we are making a difference,â€? said Zoe DuPree, 10. â€œI do this because it is important to the environment and to me. I love being with my friends and making positive changes.â€? A Gary Carroll is a freelance writer who lives in Warrenton and writes regularly for Warrenton Lifestyle magazine.
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BRIAR WOODS GRAD PERFORMING WITH YALE A CAPPELLA GROUP Ashburn native Nico Burbano is just wrapping up a successful tour of the Washington area with the Yale Alley Cats. The group is a collegiate a cappella ensemble formed in 1943 that has performed for presidents and royalty. Burbano, 20, is a student at Yale and has been a baritone with the Alley Cats since 2018. He attended Mill Run Elementary and Eagle Ridge Middle and graduated from Briar Woods High. He’s majoring in computer science in college. In a nice twist of fate, the final performances on the Alley Cats’ current tour were scheduled to take place at Briar Woods on March 11 and 12. “Of all the places I’ve gotten to perform with the Cats, performing in Ashburn, especially at Briar Woods, makes me more happy than anywhere else,” Burbano wrote on social media. “Getting the chance to share our music with all my friends in Ashburn is absolutely incredible.”
14 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
TRAILSIDE STUDENT HONORED FOR VOLUNTEERISM Ryan Janaske, 12, of Ashburn has been named one of Virginia’s top two youth volunteers for 2020. The honor comes from the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program recognizing young people for volunteering. Ryan, a seventh-grader at Trailside Middle School, will receive $1,000, a silver medallion and a trip to Washington, where she will join winners from the other 49 states and the District of Columbia. Ryan received the honor for a charity she created called “Kids Helping Kids.” Each year, she holds a fundraising drive, then buys up to 100 backpacks and fills them with school supplies for needy children in Loudoun County schools. “I know the work I do each summer puts smiles on kids' faces,” Ryan said in a news release. “I feel like I am making the world a better place, one backpack at a time.” Rayan Yu of Vienna was named the other top youth volunteer from the state. He won at the high school level.
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our neighbors and gone around me, and they have an attitude that if you build it, they will come. And I think the exact opposite is true. Failure is not an option. If that means 18, 19, 20 hours a day, then that’s what it means. If that means not having managers because you can’t afford them, that’s what it means. If it means not being able to take a day off or a week off or any time off, then that’s what it means. That’s what makes a small business successful.” THERE’S A RUNNING JOKE THAT EVERYONE KNOWS YOU. YOUR STAFF T-SHIRTS EVEN SAY, “I KNOW JASON TOO.” HOW DID YOU GET SO WELL KNOWN?
‘I Know Jason, Too’ Local restaurant owner finds success through hard work BY CH R I S WADSWO RT H
hances are you know Jason Bursey because according to urban legend, everyone in Ashburn knows Jason. He owns the popular Parallel Wine & Whiskey Bar, which is celebrating 10 years in the Broadlands this May, and people regularly drop his name and mention he’s a “friend” in casual conversation. At 44, the married father of four has found success in a famously tough industry — and made lots of friends along the way. Ashburn Magazine sat down with Bursey for a free-wheeling interview. Here are excerpts of our conversation.
16 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
ASHBURN MAGAZINE: PARALLEL HAS BEEN ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR RESTAURANT AND BAR ESTABLISHMENTS IN ASHBURN FOR ALMOST 10 YEARS NOW. WHY DO YOU THINK IT’S BEEN SO SUCCESSFUL?
JASON BURSEY: “For me, everything is built on the back of hard work. I do not sleep for even an hour without thinking about what I can do better tomorrow. I can look at most of the restaurants that have come
“For five years, I was the only manager here. I was the first one in and the last one out. I was the only manager anyone ever saw. So, my staff would hear it a lot. Customers saying, ‘I know Jason. I know Jason.’ I’ve had people literally right next to me at the bar and they say, ‘I know Jason’ and I’m standing right there, and they don’t know Jason. (laughs) My staff heard it so often they wanted shirts to wear that say ‘I know Jason too” — it’s a little bit of a funny, friendly dig. ‘Yeah, we know Jason too.’” EVEN BEFORE PARALLEL, YOU WERE MEETING LOTS OF PEOPLE IN ASHBURN AS ONE OF THE ORIGINAL OWNERS OF THE ASHBURN WINE SHOP IN ASHBURN VILLAGE. WHAT ELSE HAVE YOU DONE IN YOUR CAREER?
“I started working in restaurants when I was 16 as a busser. Went on to being a server. I was working at TGI Fridays. When I turned 21, they put me behind the bar. I became a master bartender and a competition bartender. I used to compete up and down the East Coast. When I was 30, I
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OUR NEIGHBORS WHEN YOU’RE NOT AT THE RESTAURANT, WHERE WILL PEOPLE FIND YOU? HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR FREE TIME?
“I spend it with my kids as best I can. It’s hard enough to find time with them. Being a restaurant owner might be one of the most difficult jobs to have while having a family. But I spend the majority of my free time with my family.” WHAT’S THE TOUGHEST THING ABOUT BEING A PARENT?
partnered up with Sergio Mendez and we opened the Ashburn Wine Shop back in 2007. In 2010, I opened Parallel by myself. Originally, it was supposed to be “parallel” to the Ashburn Wine Shop and I was going to do them side-by-side. But I ended up bringing it here [to the Broadlands].”
“When I was growing up, we didn’t have a lot, so we earned every single thing we had. And now that I’m older and have my own family and am somewhat successful, it’s hard to not give my kids everything and still teach them to appreciate everything and work hard for everything. Because the only way I got to
this point was working for every single thing I’ve ever had in my life. Nothing was ever handed to me. Trying to teach my kids that, especially in an Ashburn environment, it’s tough.” WHAT ABOUT A HOBBY? STAMP COLLECTING? BIRD WATCHING?
“I love to hunt. I love the outdoors. I don’t get as much time to do it as I’d like to. I’m a big-game hunter. I like to deer hunt. I like to bow hunt. I look forward to the fall. Every September and October, I actually will plan my calendar of events here and I will back off certain things — try to clear the schedule as much as I can just so I have time to [go hunting].” WHAT’S ONE SECRET ABOUT YOU THAT NO ONE KNOWS? SOMETHING THAT
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WOULD SURPRISE ALL THESE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WHO “KNOW JASON.”
“Oh, it has to be that my first name is Michael. (laughs) With all the 'I know Jason toos' — I’m Michael Jason. My dad, my brother — all of us go by our middle names. I’ve been called Jason ever since I was a baby.” YOU’VE GOT PARALLEL. YOU’VE GOT THE PARALLEL FOOD TRUCK FOR CATERING. WHAT’S NEXT FOR JASON BURSEY? ANY OTHER PLANS FOR LOCAL BUSINESS VENTURES?
“People ask me a lot why I don’t expand, why I don’t go open No. 2. I don’t have that drive to go open up multiple locations because I’m not driven by the desire to grow monetarily. For my family, I want to be financially sound. But it’s not about the
money. I like to see my guests happy. I like to see my staff happy. I can’t split myself. Do I really want to do that and split my time?” ON A PERSONAL NOTE, WHY IN GOD’S NAME WON’T YOU BRING BACK THE FLASH FRIED KALE TO YOUR MENU? ASHBURN NEEDS FLASH FRIED KALE.
“Chef [Colin Callahan] and I have this argument all the time. Kale might have been the lowest cost, biggest profit item ever sold on a menu. It costs nothing. All you do is flash fry it, season it and send it out. But this chef — who I love — best chef I ever had — he thinks it’s a culinary disaster. He doesn’t like the grease and the oil. It was the one thing I had to give up with him. He still hears about it — it’s been three years since we got rid of it — and he still hears
about it. It’s become a running joke now.” LIGHTNING ROUND
Favorite Food: Steak Favorite Wine: Cabernet, but I like old vine Zinfandels too. Favorite Beer: Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA Favorite Cocktail: Old Fashioned Favorite Ashburn restaurant that’s not Parallel: I admire AhSo (in Brambleton) Favorite Movie: “The Boondock Saints” Favorite TV Show: “Cheers” Favorite Band or Performer: Brantley Gilbert Favorite Animal: Dog Favorite Sports Team: Dallas Cowboys. I don’t tell a lot of people that. A
ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020 • 19
Coworking Communities Businesses growing in shared office spaces BY CH R I S WA DSWO RT H
20 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
ari Walker is a busy Lansdowne resident. Busy because she’s wearing two very different hats. On one KARI WALKER hand, she’s just like any local mom — running her kids around to school, appointments, sports and so forth. But she also owns a public relations firm working with cybersecurity companies around the world. Walker found that working from home wasn’t conducive to running and growing her business. So, four years ago, when the flexible workspace brand Brickyard launched in Ashburn, Walker was one of its first clients. “Working as a consultant from my house was kind
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commuting out of their communities every day and spending their daytime dollars outside of the community and spending hours in their cars and away from their families,” she said. “We wanted to provide a space to keep people here, a space where they can be really productive and a space that complements their success.” Memberships at Brickyard can range from simple “flex” memberships where you just grab a free desk up to having a dedicated desk with locked drawers or even a small private office. All members can use the private phone booths, meeting and conference rooms and the two kitchen areas. The concept has grown beyond small home-based businesses needing more room. Ford’s Fish Shack has a private office at Brickyard, out of which it runs its three Loudoun County restaurant locations, as well as its food truck and catering business and all the administrative duties that go with it. Certainly better than being squeezed into an office at the back of a noisy kitchen. Other typical clients include major companies that
need a satellite office in Loudoun, former telecommuters who now head to Brickyard each day and travelers who come on a day pass while in town on business. This wide variety of members in different fields helps cultivate a sense of community and cooperation. “Even though they aren’t your co-workers [as in the same company], they are your co-workers,” Orem said.
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“Every business professional goes through the same valleys and the same successes and you can lean on one another and learn how to navigate them. You can grow your networks. Connections happen here.” Nationwide, the coworking industry is growing quickly. According to industry studies, coworking space has grown by 200% in the past five years. Coworking now takes up 27 million square feet of office space in the United States. The number of people working in coworking environments is expected to reach 3.8 million this year and 5.1 million by 2022. Sometimes the growth can be too fast. The national brand WeWork has made major headlines of late. The company, which has more than 800 locations, grew so fast that the brand ran into problems just as it was about to go public. It took a tumble in both valuation and reputation and the CEO was forced to step down. But WeWork’s problems are not indicative of the entire industry. Orem is taking a slower, more measured approach focusing on the needs of each individual community. After seeing the success of the first Brickyard location, in Ashburn’s University Commerce Center off George Washington Boulevard, Orem recently opened a 24 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
second location in Woodbridge, and a Chantilly location is in the works. Meanwhile, several new coworking spaces have opened in Leesburg, and another one — called The Ashburn Collective — is planned for the Goose Creek Village area of Ashburn. “It will feature flex space, dedicated desks and private office spaces,” said Allison Shannon, one of the principals behind the Goose Creek project. “It will be very, very relationship focused ALLISON SHANNON with collaboration between small businesses in mind.” For Orem, the name Brickyard resonates with her both personally, and because it sort of sums up the whole industry. Both of her grandfathers worked as masons who built buildings with bricks — and that symbolizes what’s happening at Brickyard and elsewhere. “It’s working with your hands and really grinding,” Orem said. “The people here are building the products of the future, using different tools perhaps, but it goes back to bricks-and-sticks. We still need spaces to work together as a community.” A
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TURNING HEADS Local owners show off their vintage vehicles BY CH R I S WADSWO RT H PHOTOS BY AND REW SAMPL E AND ALEX ERKILETIAN
veryone loves a classic car. When a vintage Corvette or Thunderbird or even an old Packard comes rolling down the street, eyes turn and follow. What was once a common sight in the mid-20th century is now sexy and sleek and sets people daydreaming. Ashburn is no exception. We surely have no shortage of classic cars cruising our streets and tucked safely away in garages from the Potomac to Brambleton. Ashburn Magazine sought out a handful of these beauties, to learn more about the local owners and the stories behind their four-wheeled wonders.
1970 E-TYPE JAGUAR OWNER: DAVID DIVINS, BROADLANDS
David Divins is your quintessential car buff. He loves just about anything with four wheels and a motor. For the past 20 years, the Broadlands resident has owned a series of exotic sports cars. “I have a Ferrari currently, but it only has two seats,” Divins said. “I wanted a car that I could take my wife and two kids in and have a little car adventure.” Back in the ‘80s as a kid, Divins “drooled” (his word, not ours) over the sleek stylings of the British Jaguars. A few years back, he saw prices on vintage Jaguars starting to go up and decided if he was ever going to do it, better now than later. He found a baby blue 1970 E-Type 26 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
that had the same owner since 1978 and included factory power steering, factory manual transmission and the original air conditioning system — all relatively rare to find. “I was going for dark red or maroon, or British racing green, but when you find a vintage car … and it has all the things you’re looking for at a reasonable price, you kind of go colorblind,” Divins said of the light blue. “It’s grown on me. When I go to a Jaguar event, I’m the only one.” Nowadays, Divins takes his families for drives in the E-Type — to Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park or to visit grandma and grandpa on the Eastern Shore. And everywhere he goes, heads turn. “I have a Ferrari Testarossa — one of the most iconic and eye-catching cars. You’re not a wallflower when you’re driving a Testarossa,” he said. “And it has never gotten the attention this car gets.”
PHOTOS BY ALEX ERKILETIAN
MARCH/APRIL 2020 â€¢ 27
1966 FORD MUSTANG OWNERS: HEATHER AND JORDAN PRICE, VILLAGE OF WAXPOOL
PHOTOS BY ANDREW SAMPLE
Heather Price has always had a thing for cars. Her father had Corvettes and Porsches and even two vintage Jaguar convertibles while she was growing up, so she definitely caught the car bug. When the movie “Less than Zero” came out in 1987, Price fell in love with the circa 1960 red and white Corvette featured in the film. But when she and her husband, Jordan, finally decided to pull the trigger and get a classic Corvette — real life intervened. “We went to go get it and quickly realized that our children wouldn’t even be able to go in it,” Heather Price said. “It’s a two-seater, and they weren’t old enough to go in the front seat.” So instead, Price “settled” for the 1966 Mustang. “It’s a four-seater and it’s gorgeous and amazing.” On nice days, you can probably spot Heather or Jordan tooling around Ashburn in the Mustang. They often take it to pick up their kids at elementary school where the cool car causes a stir in the pick-up line. And they occasionally attend some of the car shows that pepper Northern Virginia on Saturdays and Sundays. They don’t know too much about the history of their Mustang, but they know it was a mint condition show car because there are actual medals it has won in the past embedded in the front grill. Despite owning this beauty, Heather says she’s “always shopping” for a new car and still has her eyes on her dream car as soon as her oldest is a teenager. “We are probably three years away from getting that red and white Corvette.”
28 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
PHOTOS BY ALEX ERKILETIAN
1950 CHEVROLET FLEETLINE OWNER: DAVID MYERS, BELMONT GREENE
In 2018, Dave Myers and his teenage son, Taylor, headed up to a car auction in Pennsylvania. Myers’ family had street rods when he was little, and now he was passing his love of cars on to his son. Still, when a 1950 Chevy Fleetline came up on the block, Myers admits he was “shocked” when they won. “Taylor loved it … and he wanted me to bid, so I made a few bids and we wound up winning,” he said. “My budget was $20,000. I thought it was going to go for well over that, but we ended up getting it for $16,000.” The car is what’s known as a “resto-mod” — which stands for “restored and modified.” Myers explains that means while it’s a Fleetline body, it’s been placed on a Chevy F-10 truck frame. It has airbags, front-end suspension and new dashboard gauges alongside the originals. “It was considered one of the budget models,” Myers said. “Because it was a budget model, you don’t really see many of them around. Most of them have been rusted out or destroyed. That makes this body style unique.” Myers said spending time shopping for and fixing up the car with Taylor is the best thing he’s ever done. And the reaction they get when they’re driving around Ashburn is priceless. “There are people blowing horns, waving, giving the thumbs up,” he said. “Everybody seems to love it.” MARCH/APRIL 2020 • 29
1962 OLDSMOBILE JETFIRE OWNER: SCOTT PHILLIPS, BROADLANDS
Scott Phillips remembers his teen years fondly, growing up in a blue-collar neighborhood of Pittsburgh. There was a big car culture and cruising culture there — picture the movie “American Graffiti” — and Phillips and his friends spent their free time talking about cars, working on cars and taking their cars out on Friday nights looking for girls. That’s when he got his first Jetfire. “I had a four-door version of this car when I was 19,” he said. “I bought it on a whim, and I didn’t know what I was doing. It died two years later and I had to get rid of it. I always said if I ever had the money, I would want to get one again.” Fast-forward to 2001. Phillips and his wife, Amanda, bought a 1962 Jetfire as a graduation gift when Phillips earned
his master’s degree in education administration. (Today, he is the principal at Ashburn’s Eagle Ridge Middle School.) The car needed a lot of work, and Phillips took classes at Northern Virginia Community College where he earned an automotive machinist certificate. “I earned that rebuilding the engine that is currently in the car,” he said. His two sons have also learned their way around a car working on the Jetfire, as well as a 1969 Olds that the boys restored and now drive to Briar Woods High School every day. Phillips says the Jetfire is special because it was one of the first performance factory muscle cars from Oldsmobile back in the 1960s. He says it was designed to be a family car but with turbo-charging to make it fun to drive. “The jet fire engine is probably the most unique thing about the car,” Phillips said. “When people see it, they are shocked. There are probably only about 15 running in the United States right now.”
PHOTOS BY ALEX ERKILETIAN
30 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
PHOTOS BY ANDREW SAMPLE
1949 WILLYS CJ-3A JEEP OWNER: DAIN WILSON, ASHBURN FARM
In the 1980s, Dain Wilson’s first car was a Jeep Cherokee. Like many a young driver, you never forget your first car, and Wilson has been a fan of Jeeps and the Jeep lifestyle ever since. As his kids got older, he decided to get back into Jeeps. He got himself a 1995 Wrangler and then a 1984 Scrambler. Then fate intervened and Wilson found his dream Jeep. Wilson’s wife’s best friend’s uncle (did you follow that?) had a vintage 1949 Willys CJ-3A Jeep on his farm in Pennsylvania. The Wilsons expressed interest in it and in 2018, the uncle called them. He was selling the farm and moving to California. If they wanted the Jeep, it was theirs. They picked it up that weekend. “It started life as a civilian jeep, not a military jeep,” Wilson said. “It came from the Flying W Ranch in Pennsylvania and it started life there as a ranch Jeep. Our friend’s uncle bought it in 1981 and had it fully restored. It has all original parts. I’ve had to do nothing to it other than paint.” There’s a huge Jeep subculture with national and international clubs for Jeep enthusiasts. Wilson belongs to a local Jeep club. This past summer, a group of them took their Jeeps on a tour of Loudoun vineyards. Wilson has also driven the Willys in local parades. Otherwise, he and his wife, Carol Ann, drive it on pizza outings and weekend jaunts. “My wife is actually the one who originally said, ‘I’m buying this jeep,’” Wilson said with a laugh. “Even though she’s never driven it — technically it’s hers and she reminds me of this all the time.” ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020 • 31
1956 GMC MODEL 100 OWNER: TONY STAFFORD, BRAMBLETON
32 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
PHOTOS BY ANDREW SAMPLE
Tony Stafford picked up his 1956 GMC pickup at an auction a few years back. The truck had been owned by an executive with the Rite-Aid drugstore chain and spent its whole “life” in the dry, car-friendly climate of New Mexico. “I always wanted an old farm truck,” Stafford said. “Being in Loudoun County, I thought it fit well.” The truck is one of 10 cars in this collector’s stable. He also has a 1962 “Nassau Blue” Chevy Impala SS and a “Limelight Green” 1969 Pontiac GTO. But the bright blue pickup is always a crowd pleaser. “Teal blue was popular back in the ‘50s,” said Stafford, who added that the truck has all the original parts including the engine. “It’s got a V8 engine, which is really rare. There are only 150 of them with a V8. I can actually get out and drive it on the roads and not worry about slowing people down.” Stafford even has the original car insurance documents and sales receipt. The 1956 price: $1,600. Today, Stafford, founder and owner of the Ford’s Fish Shack restaurants, uses his vintage vehicles for more than just joy rides around the Loudoun countryside. He’s created a sister business to Ford’s called Wicked Classic Autos, and he rents the cars and trucks for wedding photos and backdrops at special events. “I was always very busy. When I was 40 years old, someone asked me what my hobby was and I didn’t have anything. I was always too busy,” Stafford recalled. “So I went to an auction about eight years ago and bought my first car.” A
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ROCK THE HOUSE 34 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
Broadlands couple creates a live music venue — in their home BY J IM LENAHA N
ne Saturday evening each month, near the end of a winding cul-desac in the Broadlands, a two-story, single-family house that otherwise blends into its suburban surroundings transforms into a bustling concert venue. Music fans, many of whom have never met this homeowner, stream up the stone walkway, past the collection of garden gnomes and through the wooden front door, marked with a welcoming note, “Come on in!” Inside, they find instruments and a small sound system set up, a sofa and chairs arranged in quarter-circle rows to accommodate spectators. Some knowing visitors will head up the stairs to the half-dozen seats in the “balcony” — the railing-lined second-floor hallway that looks out over this great room. In Ashburn, a community not known for dedicated live music venues, Carrie McCauley, 58, decided to make one of her own. “To go out to listen to music [in other parts of the Washington area] — it used to be one of my big things that I’d like to do. But now I get aggravated because the sound system is lousy, or somebody is having an obnoxious conversation and it's like, why do I bother going out?” she said. “I might as well just stay home and listen to music.” So, McCauley and her husband, Ken, invite the artists to come to them. And they attract crowds of about 30 people, who find their home concert series — called Music on the Heights —through a Facebook page and the event website Meetup. In addition to enjoying a night of live music, guests can help themselves to sandwiches, snacks, beer and wine — a hearty spread set up in the dining room. In the kitchen, a small group of friends sometimes makes s’mores. At one recent Music on the Heights event, Nashville duo The Rough & Tumble delighted the crowd with folksy Americana music
and humorous tales from the road. Mallory Graham and Scott Tyler have been on this trek back and forth across the United States since 2014, after a bad experience with a landlord forced the realization that a touring band really needs no permanent place of residence. The road could be home. And so, they travel from show to show in a camper that also houses their two large mastiff dogs — “Sixteen feet and feeling smaller by the day,” Graham said. About a third of their 150 shows per year are in people’s homes, a circuit of intimate concerts that has blossomed recently. “People are there to listen,” Graham said. Contrast that with McCauley’s complaint about going to bar shows, with all the “obnoxious conversation.” Go see a band at a club, and you could easily find yourself standing in front of a group of bloviating bros. McCauley’s house is a social event where people mingle, sure – “It is a way of connecting people; music is a common denominator for a lot of folks,” she said — but when the music starts, the chatter stops and people pay attention to the performers. That atmosphere is a key attraction, said Marge Niedzwicz, a former Ashburn resident who now drives to Music on the Heights from Alexandria every month. “They have so many people who actually want to come to this, and this is all through Meetup originally, and word of mouth just spreads. Everybody enjoys themselves because it's just so homey and comfortable.” McCauley, for her part, says she’s never been concerned about welcoming fellow music fans, even those she hasn’t met, into her home. “Ken and I are pretty open people,” she said. “I don't want to say we collect all the stray dogs in the neighborhood, but we've always had a welcoming attitude towards folks. My fundamental belief is that people are good.” That feeling of kinship, coupled with the intimate setting of seeing ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020 • 35
E BUT IS IT LEGAL?
a live performer while seated on an easy chair 20 feet away, is partly what’s fueling a house concert trend across America. That and the ability for artists to link up with hosts, and hosts to connect with audiences, via the internet. Paul Price is the founder of UndiscoveredMusic.net, a website that fosters such connections with a database that lists more than 700 homes across the country where concerts are held (plus hundreds of other non-traditional venues). McCauley says she uses Price’s website and another, ConcertsInYourHome.org, to find artists willing to perform at Music on the Heights. Price, who hosts his own house concerts in Georgia, says homeowners open their doors purely for the love of music. “We are definitely not in it for the money,” he said. “I'd say we're out a couple hundred dollars every time we throw one of these.” To keep things legal, homeowners typically can’t charge admission to shows (see sidebar), but the bands do get paid via the kindness of strangers. At Music on the Heights, McCauley verbally nudges people toward the donation jar, and the band leaves with all the collections. At the Rough & Tumble show, the band also set
up a merchandise table and sold copies of their CDs as well as t-shirts, stickers and other memorabilia. Price says this is a good deal for artists. “Typically, you get about 30 or 40 people at a house concert, and the standard going rate is everybody chipping in about $20. So, an artist can get, you know, $600, $800 in donations, and then maybe another hundred or two selling merchandise and CDs. That’s a pretty good take for an artist,” Price said. “They may get more people [at a club], but the house is going to take a cut. And with the house concert, they just have this intimate relationship with the fans.” But things don’t always go so well. McCauley remembers her second show, about three years ago, which attracted only three people — the crowd equaled the size of the band. “As the host, I was mortified,” she said. “But the percussionist, he was just like, ‘Don't give up. People love these things. Before you know it, you're going to have to be turning people away at the door.’ And I just kind of held onto that belief that, you know, musicians believe in this sort of thing, and therefore I will, too.” A Jim Lenahan is a veteran journalist who lives in Ashburn Farm. He also co-hosts a daily music podcast called “Rockin’ the Suburbs.”
STAY UP ON THE LATEST WITH MUSIC ON THE HEIGHTS BY FOLLOWING THEM ON SOCIAL MEDIA: https://facebook.com/musicontheheights/ 36 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
Among the first questions people have about house concerts — after who’s playing and when — is “Are you allowed to do that?” Getting a firm answer from Loudoun County government involved email correspondence with four departments. Here’s what we learned: Noise: County ordinances prohibit sound that is loud enough to be heard in another person’s home with the doors and windows closed. After 11 p.m., the law gets even stricter, barring music that can be heard from 100 feet away. There’s also a provision in the county’s zoning ordinances, prohibiting music above 55 decibels at the nearest adjoining property. Bottom line: Be a good neighbor, which the law shouldn’t have to tell you anyway. Special Event: Loudoun County’s Department of Planning and Zoning and the county’s Building & Development department both advise house concert hosts to obtain temporary special event permits, which may impose conditions on the hours of operation and noise levels. Operating a Business: It’s fine to pass the hat, but make sure all donations are indeed voluntary and go to the artist. That practice passes muster with the Loudoun County Commissioner of Revenue; no business license is necessary. Paul Price of UndiscoveredMusic.net also advises hosts not to publicize their address, so as not to confuse a home with a place of business open to the public. Instead, when publicizing a show on social media, the host should include an email address or other means of communication. Then send the physical address to those who express interest; that way the homeowner is specifically inviting them to a private event. HOAs: County officials also advised that homeowners associations may have additional regulations. A check with the Broadlands HOA found no concerns there. Results elsewhere may vary.
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S E C R E T S O F
very month, thousands of Ashburn residents pour through the doors of Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm, the area’s original elegant, upscale dining destination. Some head to one of the many dining rooms for lunch or dinner with their families. Others head to any of four bars on the property, where they relax and unwind over wine and whiskey with friends. In all the repasting and reveling, they often give the unique décor and history of the space little more than a passing glance. Sure, it looks like a quaint old inn. But lots of restaurants have a similar theme in historyrich Northern Virginia. But it turns out Clyde’s doesn’t just look like a quaint old inn. It is a quaint old inn — from 1807 and transported here from Vermont. And it’s a home, the Roxbury House from 1810. And a barn from 1885.
38 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
Stepping back in time at Ashburn’s historic restaurant STORY BY C HRIS WADSWORTH PHOTOS BY ANDREW SAMPLE
And so it goes. Four separate historic buildings, saved from the wrecking ball in the 1980s, taken apart and stored for years with great care, then transported hundreds of miles, and reconstructed in the (then) farmlands of Loudoun County. Add in hundreds and hundreds of real antiques collected around the region, plus skilled artists recreating lost traditions, and you have a property that deserves more than that passing glance. Ashburn Magazine took a tour of Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm with Tom Meyer, president of Clyde’s Restaurant Group, and the longtime history buff shared some amazing secrets with us.
(clockwise) Clyde’s president Tom Meyer stands in front of Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm in Ashburn; a cabinet in the Roxbury House painted with milk paint; the interior of the large Chandler Barn; the top to a child’s four-poster bed; a vintage whale oil lamp from Nantucket.
ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020 • 39
Samuel French Tavern
rooms as you walk down the long central hallway of Clyde’s. Note the massive timbers that form the skeletons of the rooms. They were cut before the days of powered saws, instead hand hewn with axes and chisels. A fireplace and chimney once stood in the center of the first dining room, and the wooden beams above it are darker, possibly stained by the smoke. These dining rooms have cabinets on the back wall, painted in a pale, ethereal color. In most cases, this is the original milk paint finish on them. Milk paint is a gentle paint often made of milk and lime with pigments added for color. It has been used for thousands of years. “It was considered fancy in its day,” Meyer said.
As you enter the restaurant through the main front door, you are stepping back in time, into what was once the Samuel French Tavern in Vermont. It was built in 1804 and expanded in 1821. The original structure goes roughly from the hostess stand to the entrance into the main bar and includes the stairway up to several small private party rooms on the second floor. Much of the woodworking is original to the inn, including the wainscoting on the walls and chair rail trim. In places where materials had been damaged, Clyde’s hired craftsmen to recreate the exact pieces so the eye can’t tell any difference. “It was really John Laytham,” said Meyer. Chandler Barn “He had a passion for preserving these old structures.” Laytham, who passed away in At the rear of Clyde’s, you reach the 2019, was one of the co-owners of Clyde’s, huge Chandler Barn. Standing outside the having started there as a dishwasher in the entrance is a horse (fake) and carriage (real). 1960s. He helped build the Clyde’s brand into The horse once stood at the famed 21 Club in a multimillion-dollar restaurant business and New York City where it was the speakeasy’s saw the nascent community mascot. The carriage of Ashburn as the perfect dates to the prespot for the company’s “HERE WE ARE automobile era and was history-laden new location. bought at an auction in IN THIS BRAND “Here we are in this brand Hershey, Penn. NEW COMMUNITY, new community, everything This innocent EVERYTHING IS is vinyl siding and all these diorama is the scene VINYL SIDING AND brand new homes, and we of perhaps the most ALL THESE BRAND just thought people would shocking secret from really enjoy something NEW HOMES, AND Clyde’s. On opening that felt old and authentic,” night — Dec. 1, 2006 WE JUST THOUGHT Meyer explained. — the restaurant was PEOPLE WOULD On the walls of the crowded with diners. REALLY ENJOY lobby and other rooms Staff members noticed SOMETHING THAT are old-timey murals that the carriage, with FELT OLD AND depicting rural life several its curtained windows, hundred years ago. No, AUTHENTIC,” was rocking back these murals aren’t original, and forth. When they but the restaurant hired opened the door, they artists who could paint found two party-goers inside in the middle in a particular style known as “itinerant of — how shall we say this delicately — art.” In the old days, artists would wander making “sweet amour.” the countryside, stopping at homes and Moving on… taverns and offer to paint in return for The Chandler Barn is a large, two-story some food and a bed for the night. Clyde’s tall dining room and private event space. purposely recreated this “itinerant” style It, too, comes from Vermont and was built on many of the walls in the restaurant. around 1885. And indeed, it was used as a barn on a farm — as a place to store hay and Roxbury House feed. If you look up, you’ll see straight to the roof because the boards that once made up Right behind the “inn” sits the Roxbury the haylofts are gone. But you can see the House from 1810, also from Vermont. The framework where they stood. You can also long building makes up the two dining 40 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
(top) The main bar at Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm with antique carriages and sleighs hanging overhead; (bottom) The hand-shaped wooden beams in a dining room that was once the Roxbury House.
see a large L-shaped iron crane mounted near this second floor. It was used to lift hay bales up and down between the ground and the loft. Note also that the wooden beams in this room are much more cleanly cut — clearly done by steam or water-powered blades at a mill, versus the older rough-hewn ones found in other parts of Willow Creek Farm. (Ironically, the name Willow Creek Farm is the one thing that doesn’t seem to be historic. Meyer doesn’t recall where it came from. Clyde’s sits on land that was once part of the Wortman family’s farm.) High on the rear wall of the Chandler Barn, over the massive stone fireplace, is a large decorated wooden square — a unique piece of décor to be sure. Turns out this is the top to a child’s antique four-poster bed created by a Pennsylvania Quaker craftsman. Its purpose — to protect sleeping children from water leaking through thatched and other poor quality roofs. “It makes me happy to think there was some guy 200 years ago spending his life making this stuff,” Meyer said. “I’m sure he didn’t think it would one day be in a restaurant and people would still be admiring his craftsmanship.” In the bar attached to the Chandler Barn, note the huge 23K gold grasshopper weathervane mounted over the back wall. This commanding creature was created by New England artist Mark Perry and is modeled on a similar one found at Boston’s famous Faneuil Hall. Look closely and you will see the grasshopper’s eyes are old doorknobs. Time and time again, the details like these — the romantic touches — are right beneath your nose. Or above, as the case may be. In the dining room behind the hostess stand — not a historic structure itself but made to feel like one — note the authentic antique whale oil lamps purchased from a
ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020 • 41
Nantucket family’s home and hung here with great care. They are surrounded by a high shelf loaded with scores of pewter plates and platters more than a hundred years old. The main bar has a stunning variety of vintage carriages and sleighs hanging from the ceiling. They were purchased at auctions and are meant to evoke the horse country of nearby Middleburg and western Loudoun County. An antique sleigh in front of Clyde’s looks like a sleek 19th century version of a sports car — and has become a popular spot for snapping selfies.
Richmond House Last by not least, out back, across the patio and past the koi pond sits what many guests simply call the garden bar or the outside bar. But this 42 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
(clockwise) The horse and carriage at the entrance to the Chandler Barn that was the scene of the restaurant’s most scandalous moment; the interior of the Richmond House, now known as the garden bar; a dining room that was part of the original Roxbury House; a mural done in the style of itinerant artists from hundreds of years ago. quaint, little building is actually the oldest structure on the property. It’s called the Richmond House and dates to around 1780 and, yes, it came from here in Virginia, from the Richmond area. It was once a farmhouse and still contains the original wooden beams and paneled wainscot. “Willow Creek Farm can help make you appreciate when times were slower and things were handmade, help you appreciate the care and craftsmanship that went into building these structures,” Meyer said. “You feel a sense of warmth. There’s a sense of respite. The word “restaurant” comes from “restore.” You come in and relax.” A
CLYDE’S RESTAURANT GROUP The Ashburn restaurant is one of eight Clyde’s locations in the Washington region: Clyde’s Chevy Chase (Chevy Chase, Md.) Clyde’s Columbia (Columbia, Md.) Clyde’s Tower Oaks Lodge (Rockville, Md.) Clyde’s Gallery Place (DC) Clyde’s Georgetown (DC) Clyde’s Mark Center (Alexandria) Clyde’s Reston (Reston Town Center) Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm (Ashburn)
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home sweet home Beag Haus owners Dwayne Johnson (left) and Marc O’Grady (right).
Shrinking Houses Ashburn firm on the forefront of new trend
BY C HRIS WADSWO RTH
iny houses have been all the rage for the past few years. Television shows and magazines are filled with ittybitty houses mounted on trailers with ladders and lofts, composting toilets and what seems like barely enough room to turn around. That is decidedly not what the folks at Beag Haus are talking about. The Ashburn-based architectural firm specializes in small homes — not tiny — done up with luxury finishes for people who just don’t need — or want — tons of room. Their designs can be built anywhere — recent ones have gone up on the shores of Lake Michigan, in the Catskill Mountains and in Virginia’s Northern Neck region. Their homes can also be used as guest houses on your property — like one they recently built in Sterling. Beag Haus owner Marc O’Grady and his business partner, Dwayne Johnson, believe smaller homes are the wave of the future. The word “beag” means small in Irish, and “haus” means house in German. Ashburn Magazine spoke to O’Grady, who lives in Belmont Greene, about his company, their designs and the trend toward going small.
44 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
HOME SWEET HOME
“TINY HOMES” HAVE BEEN BIG FOR YEARS NOW — DESPITE USUALLY BEING LESS THAN 500 SQUARE FEET. HOW DOES THAT RELATE TO WHAT YOU ARE DOING AT BEAG HAUS? “It’s similar in the fact that we design homes that are smaller and more compact, to minimize the footprint. But ours are built in a traditional way. Like a traditional home, ours are built on a foundation.”
SO WHAT IS BEAG HAUS’ MISSION? “Our philosophy is we take the amount of square footage that you actually use in your house and then we make that the total square footage. A lot of people don’t use the formal living room or the formal dining room or the basement. So those areas — we kind of exclude with our clients. We talk with them about how they live, what areas they actually use in their house and then we formulate a square footage based on that.”
So for a 1,000 square foot house — like the one we did in Sterling — was right around $200,000 all in.”
JUST HOW BIG — OR SMALL — IS A BEAG HAUS HOUSE? “Our rule of thumb is that we don’t go over 1,500 square feet. After 1,500 square feet, it just becomes a regular house.”
WHAT ABOUT ENERGY SAVINGS? SMALLER SPACE MUST EQUAL LESS TO HEAT AND COOL? “Yes. And we can use alternative heating and cooling whereas in a larger house, you might not be able to. We do a lot of mini-split systems. A lot of people think of the mini-split system as a big ugly unit on the wall, but they are making much more streamlined systems now. They make [one] that just fits in the ceiling, in between the rafters, and
WHAT ARE SOME BENEFITS OF A SMALLER HOME? “Less square footage, less maintenance. Less to take care of. And when you go with a smaller house, you can afford higher grade finishes. All of our projects are mid-range to high-end as a starting point. We don’t do anything builder grade or low end.”
WHAT IS THE TYPICAL PRICE OF ONE OF YOUR HOMES — SAY A 1,000-SQUARE-FOOT HOUSE? “The square foot cost for our homes ranges based on where it's built and who the builder is, but it’s usually in the $150 to $200 per square foot range.
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WHO IS A TYPICAL BUYER FOR ONE OF YOUR DESIGNS? A SMALLER HOME COULD BE A CHALLENGE FOR A FAMILY WITH KIDS. “We have a lot of young people. Maybe this is their first home. They can’t afford to buy something that’s $500,000, $600,000, or $700,000. So, this is a great option. They are just two people starting out. We have empty-nesters. We have retired people. And we have people who have older kids. We can fit a lot in a small amount of space.”
STILL — 1,000 TO 1,500 SQUARE FEET WOULD FEEL CRAMPED TO SOME PEOPLE. “Most of our clients are outdoorsy. They are not people who live just indoors. They use the outdoor space as well, which increases the square footage. Most of our homes are built on a crawl space. Most of our crawl spaces are 4 to 5 feet tall. You can use that space for storage. You can put mechanical equipment down there. You can have stairs down to it. So, it’s like a basement, but it’s not all of the height you would have with a basement and all the unused space of a basement.”
WHAT ARE YOUR HOMES PRIMARILY USED FOR? “It varies. We do them for people who use them as their primary residence, their main home. They just want a smaller house. And we do a lot of them for people who want them as a vacation
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“Every time we have an open house, people are very interested in it. The thing about Ashburn is that the developers have pretty much taken all the land. There’s not a lot of empty lots. If you have a property that is zoned for an accessory dwelling, you could have a 1,000-square-foot house on your property. These can work for rental income, an in-law suite, or for when your kids get older.” WHAT DO YOU THINK THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR TINY HOMES AND SMALL HOMES? IS THIS JUST A FAD? I think the [tiny] houses on trailers are a fad, personally, I just don’t think it’s sustainable. That’s a very small amount of space. In general, I think the size we do is a niche, but I think it’s becoming mainstream — especially with the millennial generation. Their outlook on the American dream and the size of the home they want has changed from the previous generation, and I think that is going to become the standard.” A
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real estate roundup Ashburn Magazine is kicking off a new feature this edition in which we will spotlight key real estate statistics and some of the biggest home sales in Ashburn. We begin this month with a look at 2019 home sale statistics in the 20147 and 20148 Zip codes compared with 2018, on a month-by-month basis. While the total number of sales was basically flat (slightly less than 2,000 both years), prices generally increased throughout 2019, especially in the 20148 Zip code. Statistics are courtesy the Dulles Area Association of Realtors. MEDIAN SALES PRICE
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ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020 • 51
It’s Greek to Me
the two became fast friends. Years later, Pete would marry George’s sister, Marcia. And the terrific trio would open up a Greek restaurant on Long Island. That’s where the magic started. “People would come in and ask us for various items that you wouldn’t usually see in a Greek diner. Philly cheesesteaks. Reubens,” Kontoulakos said. “We decided to give it a go and we created six or eight heros — subs — using Greek ingredients and flavors and mixing it up with traditional American food.” The restaurant — with the unique, new menu — took off. “It was different. It was fun. It wowed people. It was something out of the ordinary,” Kontoulakos said. But like many kids who grow up and initially stay close to home — at some point, the trio knew they wanted to leave New York. It wasn’t about money, they say; it was about quality of life. They researched cities around the country and quickly settled on Loudoun County. “Everything pointed to Loudoun,” Marinos said. “It was safe. Good schools. It was up and coming.” So they packed up and moved here and quickly started searching for a spot to reestablish their unique Greek restaurant. They found a corner unit on Guilford Drive, a few buildings away from the popular Old Ox Brewery. “It reminded us of what we had back in New York. We decided right away,” Marinos said. (L to R) George Marinos, They opened in October Pete and Marcia 2018 with a menu featuring Kontoulakos, Mary similar dishes to what made BY CH R I S WA DSWO RT H Karagiorgis their restaurant special on Long Island. The focus is on sandwiches — something you don’t always think of t first glance, Greek Unique doesn’t seem first when someone mentions Greek food. like it should be the roaring success that One of the most popular is the Helios — what it is. This Greek-themed sandwich shop Kontoulakos calls “a Philly cheese steak on is tucked away in an industrial/office park steroids.” It’s made with gyro meat topped with in Ashburn’s Beaumeade Circle area. The owners mozzarella, mushrooms, peppers, onions, Greekhave done no advertising — zero. So how did this seasoned French fries, and topped with a house inauspicious eatery come to be named one of Yelp’s made spicy creamy feta. Top 100 restaurants in the entire nation? Crazy combinations like this are where Greek To answer that question, you have to travel back Unique gets its name — it’s Greek that’s unique. several decades to the streets of New York City — Word of the vibrant food — which also includes Queens specifically. That’s where George Marinos some traditional dishes like souvlaki and spanakopita and Pete Kontoulakos grew up a few doors apart — quickly spread. First it was word of mouth, from each other. Both the sons of Greek immigrants,
Little sandwich shop is an American success story
52 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
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then the enormously popular Facebook page Northern Virginia Foodies took a shine to the restaurant and sang its praises to the group’s 47,000 members. “Chef Pete is so creative with his dishes and puts a twist on nearly every dish they serve. It’s Greek with a twist,” said Ranna Golden, a moderator for the Foodies Facebook group and a Greek Unique acolyte. “They have these awesome sauces — I’m a big sauce person — and the cheese. They use a lot of cheese and sometimes [Chef Pete] will blowtorch the cheese on top of a sandwich to give it a nice smoky flavor.” Then in January came the remarkable news that the tiny Greek Unique had been named No. 31 on Yelp’s list of the Top 100 Places to Eat in America. The restaurant and business review website says the rankings were determined by a data team that looked at factors like the number of 5-star reviews and curated the list with the help of the site’s local community managers.
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54 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
Even before the high praise from Yelp, the Kontoulakoses and Marinos knew they had something special going — comparing their clientele to the gang at “Cheers” where everyone seems to know everyone and it’s like a family. But they never knew how deep this went until Marinos suffered not one, but two heart attacks this past November. Greek Unique closed for a week while Marinos was in the hospital. The outpouring of support from the restaurant’s customers was overwhelming. “They all told me, ‘Don’t rush to open.’ They were all offering to come work in the restaurant if we needed help,” Marinos said. “It meant a lot to me. We came here not knowing anyone and now I knew people had my back. We weren’t just strangers from New York anymore.” It seems the “unique” in their name doesn’t just apply to the food they serve, but also to the generosity and friendships this little restaurant has engendered. As they say when celebrating in Greece, “Opa!” A
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Getaway to Nature Tiny cabins near the Blue Ridge Mountains provide a restful retreat BY CH R I S WA DSWO RT H
iving in the greater Washington area can mean putting up with a lot. There are traffic jams and morning commutes. There’s construction and development everywhere. And here in Ashburn, you may have jets from Dulles International roaring overhead. Sometimes you just need to get away Each year, the Corn Maze in The Plains from it all. features a different This photo That’s where some theme. tiny cabins shows theirnear Wolfthe maze 2014. tucked away Bluefrom Ridge Mountains 90 miles from Ashburn 56 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
If you’ve watched any come into play. of the “house and home” They’re literally called A ND R EW SA M P LE channels in recent years, you “Getaway” cabins and know “tiny houses” have been their goal is to help visitors all the rage. Getaway cabins are like rest, relax, unplug and focus on that — tiny homes, roughly 140 to 200 themselves or their relationships and square feet — in the middle of dense “the wonder of nature.” woods. There’s a comfy bed pressed “It was the best sleep I ever had in up to a giant floor-to-ceiling window my life,” said Andrew Sample, 38, of where you can sit and look out into the Brambleton. “I’m the kind of guy who trees and let your mind still. needs silence. There were no planes Besides the featured bed and flying over. No cars driving by. No people window, Getaway cabins have a around. It was complete seclusion.”
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58 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
small kitchenette, a dining table, and a bathroom and shower. Outside is a firepit for roasting marshmallows, grilling out or just for a warm glow on a cool evening. And there’s one more key feature — a lockbox for your cell phone. You’re certainly not required to put your tether to the outside world in the box, but it’s highly recommended. “The cell phone lockbox is meant to be a nudge towards truly disconnecting,” said Amy Jacobowitz, a spokesperson for Getaway. “We believe that taking time away from devices helps us be present and in the moment. When we take a break from grabbing for our phones or scrolling our feeds, we unlock something magical.” Getaway cabins are found all over the United States. They’re located outside major metropolitan areas from New England to Georgia to Texas, California and the Pacific Northwest. Because who needs to unwind more than busy city dwellers and suburbanites? “We purposefully build our Outposts within two hours of major cities, to offer those who need some time in nature the opportunity to disconnect from the city, from their routines, and from their devices, and just be off,” Jacobowitz said. Getaway DC, as it’s called, is nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, near Shenandoah National Park. The cabins cater to all kinds of folks looking to disconnect and/or reconnect. Individuals just needing a break and some alone time. Couples looking for a
simple, quiet getaway to focus on one another. Artists, writers, hikers, you name it. And there are Getaway cabins that accommodate up to four people, with the help of a bunk bed, for families with kids who want to escape. Sample, a professional photographer who sometimes works with Ashburn Magazine, spent two nights at a Getaway DC cabin with a friend.
The duo hiked in the woods, made a campfire and relaxed. “It was the most comfortable bed, the most comfortable blankets,” he said. “Sitting by this big window, staring out at nature and watching the snowfall. It was really peaceful.” But did he use the cell phone box? “No,” Sample said with a sigh. “We ended up watching Netflix on my iPad.”
Whether you come to clear your mind, make progress on that novel you’ve been writing, renew romance, walk in the woods — or yes, even to just watch Netflix in peace — there’s apparently no wrong reason to get away. A For more information on Getaway cabins, check out their website at www.getaway.house.
the old lucketts store open 10-5 every day spring market early buyers tickets on sale march 3rd at 10:00 am www.luckettstore.com
ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020 • 59
AN ALBUM OF ASHBURN AREA EVENTS JANUARY 14
Eighth annual High Heeled Happy Hour Kick-off at Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm, Ashburn
1: High Heeled Hostess Lorna Campbell Clarke 2: (L to R) Christina Hall, Becca Rally, Hailey Zurschmeide, Samantha Dreilling, Ashley White Krimmel and Emma Royce 3: (L to R) Amy Denton, Erin Adams, Timothy Jackson, Ashburn resident Katie Schneider
Ashburn Pub's Surf's Up Pop-Up Party, Ashburn
Andrew Lewis and Karen Hepworth wedding, Marco Island, Florida
Regulars at the Ashburn Pub spent the evening “hanging 10” at the bar’s surfing-themed special event. Despite the chilly temperatures, patrons wore shorts and flip-flops and enjoyed island specials like shrimp, crab legs and rum punch drinks.
One Loudoun residents Andy Lewis and Karen Hepworth celebrated their nuptials with a destination beach wedding in Florida. The beautiful sunset event was attended by many of their friends from Ashburn. 1: Andy and Karen pose for photos on the beach following their sunset wedding on Marco Island. 2: Ashburn residents Stephanie and Billy Howard were part of the wedding party.
(L to R) Ashburn Pub GM Matt Davis, D.J. Romin Zandi, Brittney Alexander, Ashburn Pub owner Kevin Bednarz, J.P. Ugarte, Shelbie Attanasio, Kevin Kehoe 60 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
PHOTOS BY VADYM GULIUK
Folks from Ashburn and beyond turned out to honor Ashburn resident and community leader Lorna Campbell Clarke (Steadman Alexander Marketing & PR). The event, which also raised money for the Loudoun Commission on Women and Girls, featured cocktails, shopping and lots of high-heeled shoes.
ONTHETOWN FEBRUARY 1 6 JANUARY 24
Taste of Greece, Ashburn
Loudoun Chamber of Commerce 2020 Community Leadership Awards at the National Conference Center, Lansdowne
The Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church held its annual Taste of Greece event at the Ashburn firehouse on Ashburn Road. The three-day event raised funds to go toward building the first Greek Orthodox church in Loudoun County.
The chamber’s annual event recognized community leaders, including Jimmy Olevson, Chief Lending Officer for MainStreet Bank and a member of the Ashburn Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department, who was named the Executive Leader of the Year. Josh Townsend, president of the Ashburn Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department, was one of four finalists for Nonprofit Executive Leader of the Year.
(L to R) Shauna Olevson, Jimmy Olevson, Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Phyllis Randall, Josh Townsend, Stephanie Townsend, and Ashburn District Board of Supervisors representative Mike Turner. 2 FEBRUARY 20
1: (L to R) Presiding Priest Father George Alexson, Niki Kanavas, Event Chair Bill Aubin
Chick-fil-A Lansdowne grand opening, Lansdowne
2: Children dance in a circle at the event
Loudoun County’s latest Chick-fil-A restaurant opened with its usual early morning hoopla. The first 100 people in line received free Chick-fil-A food for a year.
Galentine’s event at Belfort Furniture, Sterling Loudoun’s glitterati turned out for an evening of food, fashion and mini-makeovers. Wines from Stone Tower Winery were featured, and the event included local celebrity models walking the runway.
1: Local operator Braden Dollar makes the first official sale to his father.
1: Gina Tufano models on the Galentine runway. 2: (L to R) Katie Barton and Barnadette Dsouza enjoy the fashion show.
2: Local operator Braden Dollar, officials from the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce and other VIPs cut the ceremonial ribbon. A
ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020 • 61
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.
G L OU C
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F: ASHBURN VILLAGE INN The Ashburn Village Inn opened on Super Bowl weekend in the Ashbrook Commons shopping center, near Russell Branch Parkway and Ashburn Village Boulevard. The new neighborhood bar is a
sister restaurant to the longtime South Riding Inn in southern Loudoun. A
62 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MARCH/APRIL 2020
U N T Y P A R K WA
After nearly eight years, the V Eatery restaurant and bar in the Ashburn Eats restaurant plaza on Waxpool Road has closed. That’s the same center with Moe’s Southwest Grill and Five Guys. A
D: V EATERY CLOSES
Square shopping center and is targeting an April opening. Other businesses coming to Riverside Square include a fitness center, a Black Hog BBQ restaurant, a mattress store and a Sheetz gas station/ convenience store.
W A X
The new Chick-fil-A drive-thru restaurant in the Lansdowne Town Center opened in late February. That was just a few weeks after the new Starbucks opened as well. Starbucks moved from an “inline” space in the center to a free-standing building with a drive-through. The new restaurants are expected to increase visitors to the center, but some local residents are also concerned about increased traffic.
A familiar shape has popped up on the north side of Route 7 near Ashburn Village Boulevard. It’s the twinturreted roof line of the new Texas Roadhouse steakhouse. The restaurant is an anchor tenant in the underconstruction Riverside
E: TEXAS ROADHOUSE
LO U D O U N
sign on the door said the owners had been unable to reach an agreement on a new lease. No word on what will come next to the 8,000-square-foot space.
A R P
After less than a year in business, the Burgerim fast-casual sliders and wings restaurant has closed in the Ashburn Crossroads center. That site is often called Pipeline Plaza. No word on why the restaurant closed, but it comes at a time that fast-expanding national brand has run into trouble. There’s talk
B: BURGERIM CLOSES
C: LANSDOWNE CHICK-FIL-A, STARBUCKS OPEN
The popular national chain McAlister’s Deli is planning its first Loudoun County location, in the Ashbrook Marketplace shopping center near Route 7 and Ashburn Village Boulevard. The brand is famous for its sandwiches and its “spuds” — jumbo baked potatoes stuffed with a variety of toppings.
of a possible bankruptcy filing. The Burgerim locations in Brambleton and South Riding were still open, as of press time.
A: MCALISTER’S DELI
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