FAC E S O F LY M E • W H I M S I C A L CO C K TA I L S • F I R E H O U S E M E M O R I E S
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VOLUME I, ISSUE 2 PUBLISHER
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“Just a quick note to tell you and your staff how much I enjoyed the premiere edition of the Ashburn Magazine. I read it cover to cover! Great information about the area, the people and the plans for the future.” —JEFF VOIVODA
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“We would like to thank you for the wonderful Ashburn publication. We enjoyed reading all the helpful, informative information regarding our neighborhood and the surrounding area. Excellent job, and we look forward to further editions!” —DENISE AND JOHN POWERS
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“Hi! I received your magazine in the mail a few days ago but only just now read the whole thing. I really enjoyed it. I cut out five ads or pictures to remind me of places to go: two restaurants I didn’t know about, possible fencing lessons I didn’t know were nearby and two places to go. … I also liked the articles about the two new parks, Chalkaholic, The Ashburn Pub, The Art of Empanadas, Croatia, and my favorite....Racing Past History. Great job all around! I look forward to future issues.” —SANDRA PERSINGER
4 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019
ny worries we had about the reception to our new venture were quickly put to rest as residents started receiving the first issue of Ashburn Magazine. On behalf of our small but mighty staff, we really appreciate the kind words and feedback we received. And thanks for not pointing out typos! Putting out one good issue of a magazine is easy, though. What’s challenging is to keep it going issue after issue, month after month. Our goal, of course, is to continue to provide you with informative, engaging content that helps you get to know your neighbors and this community we call home. In this issue’s cover story, editor Chris Wadsworth tries to answer a question that so many of us have asked – why the heck do we have so many grocery stores around here? It seems that every time one closes (Safeway), two open in its place (Aldi and Lidl). And which one is the cheapest anyway? You’ll find his cover story starting on Page 20. We also take an in-depth look at a serious topic we need to be mindful about as we spend more time outdoors in spring and summer: the threat of Lyme disease, and how it has affected several of our neighbors. On a lighter note, our Wine & Dine feature takes a look at some of the creative cocktails stirred up by the bartenders at AhSo Restaurant in Brambleton, and on our Neighbors page you’ll meet the entrepreneurial and dynamic Renee Ventrice, coowner of Cork & Keg Tours. Finally, I have to admit I’m a bit of a spelling bee “geek” (our company sponsors the bee in Prince William County), so when we heard that one of Ashburn’s own would be representing Loudoun County at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, we knew we had to make her our Amazing Kid. You can read about Ashrita Gandhari on Page 8, and watch for her on ESPN’s coverage of the national bee in late May. Keep the comments and ideas coming, and we’ll see you again in early July!
BRUCE POTTER, PUBLISHER PUBLISHER@ASHBURNMAGAZINE.COM
ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019 • 5
contents 08 amazing kids ONE LETTER AT A TIME Ashburn’s spelling champ BY ERICA GARMAN
12 our neighbors DANCING WITH PRINCE From celebrity encounter to wine connoisseur BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
16 business boom FLOAT YOUR CARES AWAY Sensory deprivation tanks here in Ashburn BY ANGELA MARSH
20 cover story SUPERMARKET SHOWDOWN The business trends behind Ashburn’s many supermarkets
feature story FACES OF LYME Why does the disease seem so prevalent here?
BY CHRISTINE CRADDOCK
on the town
AN ALBUM OF ASHBURN EVENTS
home sweet home
COOKIE-CUTTER KITCHEN NO MORE Boring to beautiful in Belmont BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
time travel FIREHOUSE MEMORIES Some history behind Ashburn’s volunteer fire department BY ALEXANDRA BROUGHTON
wine & dine
COCKTAILS WITH A TWIST AhSo’s creative concoctions BY CHRISTINE CRADDOCK
news from insidenova STORIES YOU MAY HAVE MISSED
great escapes ANGUILLA GETAWAY A Caribbean vacation BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
54 the burn THE LATEST RESTAURANT, RETAIL AND OTHER COOL NEWS
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it an open inviting feeling, all within the same footprint while maintaining the existing hardwood flooring. They replaced the builder grade cherry cabinetry with bright, white, modern Shaker-style cabinets. They added shiny pulls to both drawers and cabinets that accented the modern look. The original countertops were replaced with white quartz to complement the clean modern feel and provide durable, maintenancefree surfaces. They also added a designer’s touch, with a shiny glass backsplash and under counter lighting to show it off and illuminate prepping areas. The importance of a professional design team Abbey Design Center’s team took a long hard look at the existing layout of the kitchen. They wanted to maximize storage and counter space for the homeowners while keeping the project within budget. They also knew that on the customer’s wish list was a mini-bar area, and they needed to add this, and still remain on budget and on time. To improve the kitchen workflow, the oven/microwave unit was relocated next to the refrigerator. This opened up more valuable counter space than the original layout. The old black refrigerator was replaced with a double-door, counter-depth stainless refrigerator. This along with the added counter space made the new kitchen even more user-friendly for cooking and entertaining.
It is important not to underestimate having a professional kitchen designer in charge of your remodeling project. Abbey’s designers are experts at maximizing space and storage. They are also familiar with the best lighting options for your new kitchen. The proper design elements are crucial to getting the outcome that you desire for your project. Success Story! Abbey’s team was successful at keeping the project within budget while adding every item on the homeowner’s wish list including a mini-bar area for entertaining guests. This new area provided additional counter space and cabinets with roll-out shelves for storage. They even added a wine fridge to complete the look. Their new kitchen was now the showcase of their home. The final result was a kitchen the homeowners loved. It was bright and open, with clean finishes throughout, and has an improved workflow that makes this new kitchen a daily pleasure to use. Abbey’s experienced design team exceeded their customer’s expectations and would love to do the same for any remodeling project in your home! Renovations can make your house feel more like home, and Abbey Design Center knows how to create your dream remodel from kitchens to bathrooms, basements, and flooring. Abbey has been going beyond expectations for their customers for 30 years and counting. One Company, One Contract, One Exceptional Result.
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amazing kids Ashburn student Ashrita Gandhari seen participating in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She’s back in the competition for the third time this year after winning the Loudoun County bee.
he third time’s a charm, they say. C-H-A-R-M, charm. Let’s hope that’s the case for 12-year-old Ashrita Gandhari who, after winning the Loudoun County Spelling Bee in February, will compete in her third Scripps National Spelling Bee this May in National Harbor, Md., at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center. “I just have a knack for words,” Ashrita told Ashburn Magazine. “I was 5 and was in an art competition at school. There was a spelling bee going on in the next room, and after the art competition, my mom suggested I try out the bee for fun.” She placed third in that spelling competition without any preparation. Gandhari got that start in spelling while living in Massachusetts. During her first appearance at the Scripps Bee in 2017, Ashrita finished — as a 10-year-old — among the top 40 spellers. That’s out of nearly 300 of the country’s top spellers age 15 and under. The following year, she made it through Round 3 at the national bee, but didn’t qualify for the finals. The Gandhari family moved to Brambleton last summer, and Ashrita started sixth grade in the fall at Stone Hill Middle School — where she quickly won the schoolwide spelling bee. In the Loudoun Regional Spelling Bee, Ashrita secured her trip to the
I just have a knack for words”
One Letter at a Time Brambleton girl headed to national spelling bee for third time BY E R ICA GAR M A N P H OTOS CO U RTE SY O F T H E GAND H ARI FAMILY 8 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019
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national bee by correctly spelling the championship word “séance.” It’s the second year in a row that a Stone Hill student has represented Loudoun on the national stage. Along with accolades as one of the country’s top spellers, Ashrita can add “movie star” to her growing list of achievements. During the 2017 bee season, filmmakers Sam Rega and Chris Weller followed four bee participants as they battled for the coveted spelling championship. Ashrita is the only girl featured in the “Breaking the Bee” documentary, which was screened in March at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas. Despite all the glory, Ashrita seems to be a perfectly normal sixth-grader. When not studying words and their origins, Ashrita enjoys hanging out with her friends, playing tennis, and shooting hoops with her younger sister, Anvita, who attends Rosa Lee Carter Elementary School. Ashrita’s affinity for words started at a very young age, according to her parents, Sirisha and Bharat Gandhari. “We read to her as a baby and she was reading on her own by the time she was 3,” Sirisha Gandhari said. “Words are really cool,” Ashrita said. “I like thinking about the different languages they come from and the different parts that make them up … When I hear a word — even if I don’t know it — some type of spelling pops up in my mind like an index card.” Knowing how to spell tough words really comes in handy at school too, according to Ashrita, where her skills have helped her in English, science, math and other classes. “Knowing the word parts and origins is helpful,” she said. “In science we were studying weather patterns, and I knew what cumulonimbus clouds were as soon as I saw the word, because ‘cumulo’ means ‘heaping up’ and ‘nimb’ comes from a Greek god’s name which means ‘thunder.’” Speaking of “heaping up,” Ashrita has accumulated a large amount of prize money from her regional and 10 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019
(clockwise from top, left): Ashrita Gandhari seen working with her father on learning new words; outside the National Spelling Bee with her family; at the Stone Hill Middle School library (photo by Erica Garman); and with a trophy she won for spelling.
The 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee finals will be broadcast the evening of May 30 on ESPN. Earlier rounds will be shown on ESPN’s other networks. Here are a few of the winning words from the Bee’s nine decades of history.
koinonia intimate spiritual communion and participative sharing in a common religious commitment and spiritual community (2018)
sycophant a base or servilely attentive flatterer and self-seeker (1964)
albumen the white of an egg (1928)
soubrette a lady's maid in comedies who acts the part of a coquettish maidservant or frivolous young woman (1953)
odontalgia toothache (1986)
national spelling bee awards. Over the past three years, she has donated more than $1,000 of her winnings to schools in India to help top students pay for college. She plans to give more if she places in the national bee or — even better — wins the Scripps trophy. “I want to save some of the money for college if I win,” she said, “but I’d like to give most of it to charity.” The winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee receives $40,000, in addition to other gifts. Finalists are awarded up to $30,000, depending on where they place. Besides that huge spelling bee trophy, Ashrita would also really love to have a dog. “I have been begging my dad for so long!” she said. Mom and Dad jokingly replied that if she makes it to the championship round, a pet will most likely be in her future. Maybe Ashrita should consider naming her future pup Champ. C-H-AM-P, Champ. A Erica Garman is an Ashburn-based writer who has previously contributed to Northern Virginia Magazine and The Washington Post.
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Dancing with Prince Meet entrepreneur Renee Ventrice BY C H R I S WADSWO RT H
enee Ventrice is one of those neighbors who seems to know everyone and be involved in everything. She’s vice president of marketing for the fast-growing Woofie’s Mobile Pet Spa in Ashburn. She and her husband, Don, also launched Cork & Keg tours in 2017, taking local oenophiles (wine lovers) and zythophiles (beer lovers) to Loudoun County’s many wineries, breweries and more. A self-described “Air Force brat,” Ventrice was born in Hawaii and raised in Nebraska. She spent six years in the Navy as a cryptologic technician, analyzing satellite data before moving to Ashburn. From her home in the Broadlands, Ventrice answered our very random questions. Here are excerpts of our convo. 12 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019
I’m an equal opportunity drinker. ”
OUR NEIGHBORS Renee Ventrice loves a good Cabernet Sauvignon. She and her husband, Don, run Cork & Keg tours and enjoy visiting Virginia wineries. Ventrice also spent six years in the Navy.
WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO ASHBURN?
After he got out of the Navy, my husband got a job as a government contractor. This area has a lot of people in our field from the Navy so … we decided to stay here and raise our son. (Gino, now 20.) YOUR TOURS GO TO WINERIES AND BREWERIES. SO, WHAT DO YOU PREFER — WINE OR BEER?
ASHBURN MAGAZINE: YOU’VE GOT A BIG PERSONALITY, MEANT IN THE BEST WAY. HOW DID YOU SURVIVE IN THE BUTTONED-DOWN MILITARY? RENEE VENTRICE:
That’s a good question. It’s definitely the opposite of what most people think of me, but I’m definitely very process-driven. I definitely like the idea of having something done a certain way, the right way, the most efficient way. So that part of me really thrived in the military.
Gosh… Friday — beer, Saturday — wine. I’m an equal opportunity drinker. But if I had to choose one, it’s probably going to be wine. YOU’RE A CERTIFIED WINE EXPERT (WSET 2), BUT BE HONEST — HAVE YOU EVER TRIED BOONE’S FARM?
I have — and I do not like it (laughs). YOU LOVE TO TRAVEL — WHAT DESTINATION IS AT THE TOP OF YOUR BUCKET LIST?
It would definitely be Italy. I would like to travel to Florence and then do the Italian wine country in Italy.
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OUR NEIGHBORS WHAT’S SOMETHING ELSE THAT’S ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
Oh gosh, I’ve done so much (laughs). I would love to open up a tasting room someday in wine country that pairs the restaurants nearby with the wines that are in my tasting room. WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST EXCITING MOMENT IN YOUR LIFE, THUS FAR?
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My husband and son are not offended that it was dancing with Prince in Munich in 1991. It was the biggest moment of my life. I stood outside through a hailstorm for 10 hours waiting for the concert and got in the very front row. I jumped up and down and yelled “pick me” me through the entire end of the concert. They finally picked me up by my arms and put me on stage and I got to dance with him for about 20 minutes before they finally pulled me off stage. WHEN YOU HAVE A DAY OFF, WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO HANG OUT IN ASHBURN?
Any place with an outdoor patio, where I can listen to music, read a book and enjoy excellent food. There are so many places with great food around here. That’s what I do. Just sit outside and eat, drink and read. NAME A PASSION YOU HAVE THAT’S NOT FOOD OR WINE?
Dancing. I spent a lot of years as a fitness instructor and a certified personal trainer. Injuries to my left foot took that career from me, but when
I’m home by myself, I blast the music and dance like no one’s watching. IF YOU COULD GIVE YOUR SON ONE PIECE OF ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Join the military. It was our formative years when my husband and I were both in the service. It helped us to mature, to learn about life outside of the U.S. and really kind of figure out a bit more about who we were — all while serving our country and having the opportunity to go to school and meet people all over the world. “Join the Navy and see the world.” That was the motto and it’s true. LIGHTNING ROUND
Favorite Dog Breed: Jack Russell Terrier Favorite Non-Canine Animal: Cheetah Favorite Ashburn Restaurant: Parallel Wine & Whiskey Bar Favorite DC Restaurant: Zaytinya Favorite Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon Favorite Movie: “Singin’ in the Rain” Favorite TV Show: “Frasier” Favorite Book: “Love by the Glass” by John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter Favorite Season: Autumn Favorite Holiday: I hate the holidays. I am not a holiday person. Favorite Sports Team: By marriage, the New York Yankees A
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ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019 • 15
Float Your Cares Away OmFLOAT offers floatation therapy to Ashburn
BY A N G E L A M AR SH
ew England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is a fan. So is Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman. And basketball star Steph Curry. And members of the U.S. Special Forces. They all have used something called floating to help them perform better and heal quicker. These are the same reasons Amy and Brooks Brinson went out on a limb three years ago and opened Loudoun County’s first floatation center in the heart of Ashburn. It’s called OmFLOAT, and many who try it quickly become proponents. “Once you just let yourself go, it is amazing,” said Broadlands resident Jessica Reed. She and her husband, Jim, have become regulars at OmFLOAT. Jessica has fibromyalgia and was looking for alternatives to prescription medicines. “It makes a world of difference to me and I feel relaxed for days.”
16 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019
Once you just let yourself go, it is amazing.”
BUSINESS BOOM For the Brinsons, the world of floating started with a hunch in Texas 15 years ago. They were newlyweds when Brooks Brinson first read about the therapeutic benefits of R.E.S.T., which stands for Restricted Environmental Stimulation Treatment. Some people also know it by the terms “sensory deprivation” or “floatation therapy.” The idea, first developed in the 1950s, involves floating in a silent, darkened tank filled with salt water. The feeling of floating combined with the lack of visual or aural stimulation purportedly provides a host of mental and physical benefits — including increased awareness, reduced stress and better mental and physical performance. Convinced of the concept without ever having done a float himself, Brinson and his wife, Amy, bought their first float tank. His faith was justified. The tank helped Brinson work through anxiety issues and back pain he had suffered from for years. He was also a competitive pistol shooter at the time who trained students for Olympic development. He used the tank to help his students with visualization and focus to improve their shooting performance. In 2011, a job change bought them to Northern Virginia, and the tank came with them. In 2016, they opened
OmFLOAT in the Ryan Park shopping and office center at Ashburn Village Boulevard and Shellhorn Road. The facility has five tank rooms that have hosted nearly 15,000 floats. Each room is equipped with a shower, towels, and spa amenities. All customers need to bring is an open mind. “Any kind of expectations get in the way of truly experiencing themselves and their true selves,” Brooks Brinson said. “The thing I say around here is that so many people are looking for happiness outside themselves and sometimes the tank helps them realize that true happiness comes from within.” Each tank contains 10 inches of water and 850 pounds of Epsom salt — making the water denser than the Dead Sea and very buoyant. The saltwater is heated to something called “skin receptor neutral” or about 94.2 degrees, so it matches the floater’s skin temperature and there’s no real feeling of hot or cold. This environment creates a sense of weightlessness and — combined with the quiet darkness — makes you feel like you are floating in outer space. “That’s exactly how I would describe it — like space,” Reed said. “You just kind of melt in and there’s nothingness around you.”
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INSIDE THE TANK Even though I’m a bit scared of the dark, I’ve always wanted to try a sensory deprivation tank. So, I was all in when I heard about OmFLOAT. I was both nervous and excited as my appointment drew near. The owners were there to greet me and reassure me. They gave me a quick tour of the facility and an orientation with the tank. They told me exactly what to expect and gave me some tips to help me relax.
Left: Turner, the center’s therapy dog. Right: Brooks and Amy Brinson Each session at OmFLOAT is 90 minutes. The Brinsons say there is scientific evidence that shows our body’s daily rhythms are synced for 90-minute periods of activity. And from their own experience, the Brinsons have found that an hour just isn’t enough. Many guests feel a bit disconnected after a float. So, the OmFLOAT offers a lounge area with bean bag chairs and pillows where guests can slowly come back to reality. The friendly presence of Turner, the center’s therapy dog, helps many guests reconnect with the world. Some people spend their time in the tank thinking with a clarity they can’t get outside. Others find they enter into a Zen-like state and lose sense of time passing. Afterward, some people find they think better and perform better at work or in athletics, while others find aches and pains are diminished. The Brinsons say many of the players from the Washington Redskins were regulars at OmFLOAT, popping down from their Ashburn training facility for sessions. That stopped when team managers apparently found it so beneficial they bought their own float tank for players. “Each person is different and each float is different,” Amy Brinson said. “The tank gives you what you need.” Indeed, she says a floating session even gave OmFLOAT its name — it came to her during a session. 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. 18 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019
After a quick shower to rinse off, I steadied the last few nerves and stepped into the tank. I left the door open for a moment so I could ease into the darkness. The gentle music faded out and I was left alone with my thoughts. No outside stimuli. No barking dogs, no phone beeping. Nothing but me. My body felt heavy and weightless at the same time. I could hear my breathing and the water around me. I could see the darkness. Since the tank is an ideal meditation environment, I used this opportunity to take my 10- to 20-minute daily practice to another level. It was easy to go deep. As I floated in and out of consciousness, I got a bit restless until I realized that I didn’t have to lie still. I can move in the water — swirling my hair from side to side, changing positions, and doing yoga poses. The saltwater must make you more flexible because I was doing poses I can’t normally do on dry land. I settled back down eventually and had a moment of gratitude. Because this extrovert had enough quiet time, I started to say out loud the things I am grateful for. By the time I finished my list, the bells chimed to let me know it was time to come out. I rinsed off with a warm shower and made my way out to another room. I sat with Turner, the center’s therapy dog, on a bean bag chair for a bit. It took a few minutes to come back to reality. My mind was calm and relaxed for the rest of the day. And my body felt lighter. And then I went back for another float a few days later. —Angela Marsh
SUPER MARKET SHOW DOWN Why do we seem to have a grocery store on every corner?
“ The shopper equation has gotten quite complicated. ” BY C H RI S WADSWO RT H
athryn Dashiell takes her supermarket shopping seriously. Her family packs lunches every day and prepares most meals at home. So having a grocery plan pays off. “I have four stores I go to religiously every week,” said Dashiell, who lives in Ashburn Farms with her husband and two daughters. “I go to Wegmans because they have the best produce. Everyone knows that. Another stop is Trader Joe’s because they have the fun stuff. Target sells certain things I can’t
find anywhere else. And then there’s the Costco run.” And that doesn’t count quick stops at the Giant near their home when something is needed on the fly. Dashiell and thousands of other area residents are taking advantage of what feels like an unusual trend here in Ashburn: We have a ton of grocery stores. EVERYWHERE YOU TURN An unscientific count finds 14 supermarkets in the immediate Ashburn area — bordered roughly by Route 7 to the north, the Broad Run creek to the east, Brambleton to the south and Belmont Ridge Road to the west. That doesn’t include the Harris Teeter in Lansdowne or the Wegmans at Waxpool and Route 28, both of which are Ashburn-adjacent.
And these are just the larger-sized supermarkets that are part of a chain. There are also many small “mom-andpop” grocery retailers around Ashburn. “Twenty-five years ago, it was Giant and Safeway. You didn’t have Harris Teeter or Whole Foods or Aldi or Lidl or Wegmans or Trader Joe’s in the suburbs. Now you’ve got them all here,” said Chris Netter, senior vice president of Saul Centers Inc., which owns dozens of shopping centers in the Washington area. This includes the Broadlands Village Center, the Ashburn Village shopping center and the Ashbrook Marketplace (under construction) — all in Ashburn. “Now that you have all these different types of grocery stores, you have people who do multiple store
Where do you shop, Ashburn?
“I go to two places. One is Harris Teeter — it’s close to my house. And I go to Lotte, the international market.” —KESHAWN CHEN BRAMBLETON
“My primary place is Harris Teeter — it’s big enough to have all the things I need, but small enough to get quality service.” —APRIL FENCHEL UNIVERSITY CENTER
22 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019
shopping,” Netter added. National studies have borne this out. “Most shoppers have probably between five and seven stores in their repertoire, and that includes online,” said David Fikes, vice president of communications and consumer/community affairs at the Food Marketing Institute. FMI is the largest food retailer association in the country. “The shopper equation has gotten quite complicated,” Fikes said. FMI reports there are three main reasons why Ashburn and other communities have seen an explosion in the number and types of grocery stores. REASON NO. 1 One of the most critical aspects is the shrinking middle class. “For a while — 20 years ago and more — the philosophy was play to the middle,” Fikes said. “But as the middle class has shrunk … we started seeing stores specializing — targeting the artisanal-oriented consumer that wants finer, higher-end products. Or they are playing to the other end and saying, ‘We are going to offer the best economic value that we can for our shoppers.’”
Think Whole Foods and, perhaps Wegmans, targeting the higher-end customer with their organic products, gourmet brands and large cheese and wine offerings. At the other end are Aldi and Lidl, which specialize in lower-cost, store brands with fewer choices. And in the middle — your heritage brands such as Harris Teeter, Giant and Safeway. REASON NO. 2 Another factor affecting the number of grocery stores — the actual number of shoppers. Fikes notes that once upon a time, grocery shopping was almost exclusively the domain of wives and mothers, but no more. “There’s a deep increase in the number of male shoppers and families where shopping is a co-shopping arrangement. A 50-50 split between the two heads of the household,” he said. “The number of trips per family has almost doubled because you have two — sometimes three — people in the household who are doing the shopping.” Different shoppers like different things — even in the same family — and this means more stores to serve them.
REASON NO. 3 Finally, there are more store options because the philosophy of many customers has changed in recent years. “25 to 30 years ago, health and wellness issues started to creep in,” said Fikes, whose FMI has been studying shopping trends since the 1970s. “Then 15 to 20 years ago, we started hearing ‘How was the animal treated?’ ‘How was the worker treated?’ ‘Where is this from?’ — more esoteric questions entered into the equation.” In other words, the meaning of the word “value” has changed. Although it was once purely economic — the lowest price — now it also has to do with the “values” that a shopper holds dear. Think “organic,” “fair trade,” “pasture-raised” — terms we all see weekly while shopping. “Convenience used to be which store is closest,” Fikes said. “Now it’s which one is closest that also accommodates my value system.” LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION “So weird.” That’s how Wendy Wade describes some of the supermarket locations around Ashburn. She’s a
graphic designer who lives in Brambleton with her husband, Jason, and their two children. “It doesn’t make any sense to me how they pick their locations,” Wade said. “There are some large holes where I’m surprised that there isn’t a grocery store, and then they will put three of them in less than a mile radius.” Common sense says that most grocery stores look for locations with lots of homes, lots of traffic passing by each day and plenty of space for parking — a spot where they can carve out and dominate a customer base from surrounding neighborhoods. Add in a healthy, fastgrowing, affluent community, and Ashburn hits most of the key markers. But recently, some new stores in our community have surprised local residents by opening right next to other supermarkets. Take the dueling Aldi and Lidl stores in the Broadlands, which are only a block apart on either side of Claiborne Parkway. Or how about the new Lidl store under construction near the intersection of Ashburn Village Boulevard and Russell Branch Parkway? It’s literally across the parking lot from an existing Harris Teeter. “They are saying, ‘Try
“It’s a tie between Trader Joe’s and Giant. I go to both of them.” —LAURA GETHERS ASHBURN FARM
“I mix it up. Lidl and Trader Joe’s are my favorites. I like Lidl because I can drive over on my trike. It’s my grocery-getter.” —HEATHER O’CALLAGHAN BROADLANDS
“We are Asian so we go to Lotte. Otherwise, Target or Harris Teeter.” —BHUPINDER SINGH GOOSE CREEK VILLAGE
ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019 • 23
Note: Several comparison items from our list were not available at these stores, so similar items were chosen.
A recent unscientific survey of prices at Ashburn-area grocery stores showed wide variances in prices for a typical shopping cart with 10 items. 1 gallon whole milk
1 loaf white bread
1 box Cheerios (or similar)
1 pound chicken breasts
1 pound bananas
1 dozen eggs
1 can chicken noodle soup
1 package American cheese
(soy cheese slices)
1 package ground coffee
1 bottle dish soap
us,’” said Netter from Saul Centers, which is developing the new Lidl location. “They’re saying, ‘Come in and see how much less expensive our produce when it is just as good or better.’ They’re saying ‘Try our wine — it’s half the price of other places.’ If you’re going to all these other stores anyway, they’re saying, ‘Try us.’” So, what does the future hold for supermarkets in Ashburn? You already know
the answer. As Ashburn expands, industry experts say expect to see even more supermarkets open, especially on the fastgrowing southern side. There is already talk of a possible Aldi location between Brambleton and South Riding, as well as planned grocery stores in the new Birchwood development in Brambleton and at the Moorefield Town Square near the future Metro. Those locations would
NOTE: We need to stress this is an unscientific survey. Ashburn Magazine staff walked through each store during the same two-day period in late March. We recorded the prices of each item as we saw them labeled on the day we visited. When multiple similar items were available, we looked for the lowest priced item (including items on sale and generic/ house brands). In some cases, weights and quantities were slightly different, so we went with the smallest standard size available.
come in handy for the Wade family, who currently mix up their shopping by hitting Walmart, Costco, Wegmans and even Lidl. “Of course, I like Wegmans, but I save that for when I’m cooking a really nice dinner or I’m entertaining and I want to buy the cream-of-the-crop stuff,” Wade said. “And the running joke in my family is that we can go to Lidl and buy yogurt and we can also buy a power drill.” A
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Faces of Lyme Ashburn is a Hot Spot for Lyme Disease
BY CH RI ST I NE CR AD D O CK
yme. Its simple name belies an ominous threat — a disease that strikes residents in Ashburn and much of Virginia indiscriminately and at higher rates than in many other parts of the country. Almost everyone in Ashburn knows the drill — lots of wildlife and lots of woods equals lots of blacklegged deer ticks. A bite from an infected tick can quickly transfer the Lyme bacteria to a person. We study how to carefully remove a tick, how to avoid a bite by tucking our pants in our socks, how to do careful “tick checks” of ourselves and our loved ones. Still, the number of patients with Lyme grows each year. In just five years — 2014 to 2018 — nearly a thousand cases of Lyme were reported in Loudoun County, according to the Virginia Department of Health. And health experts say there are many more cases that are never formally reported. A common belief around the area is that Loudoun has the highest Lyme disease rate anywhere in Virginia, maybe even in the country. That’s not really true statistically, but we are often near the top of the list. “Each year, Loudoun and Fairfax typically rank among the highest in total numbers of Lyme cases,” said Dr. David Goodfriend, director of the Loudoun County Department of Health. “Because of our larger populations, though, we no longer have the highest rate of infection, with some of the more rural counties along the Piedmont experiencing significant increases in Lyme.” But statistics go out the window if you’re one of the thousands of local residents dealing with Lyme. A day walking your dog or playing in the park can have repercussions that last a lifetime. SUZIE & AIDAN CREECH
Suzie Creech remembers the day vividly. The day her son, Aidan, was
bitten by a tick outside his elementary school in the Broadlands. The day their lives changed. “It had been raining,” Creech said. “Aidan came out after school with the other kids and they ran into the little woods next to Hillside. The kids liked to play in there. It was muddy and gross — I had to go in after him.” The next morning, she found a tick on her son. Soon, the bite location was surrounded by a red ring — known as a “bull’s-eye.” That same week, while in the shower, Creech found a tick on herself as well. Within months, Aidan went from an active first-grader to an entirely different child. Creech says he was lethargic — wouldn’t go out to play. He couldn’t ride his bike because his knees hurt. He had headaches, and his stomach was frequently upset. Soon, Creech herself started to show symptoms. Body pain, headaches and what she calls “foggy brain” — trouble concentrating. After multiple visits to different doctors — many of whom Creech says dismissed the possibility of Lyme disease — followed by a battery of tests, the results at long last came back: both Suzie and her son had Lyme disease. After several years of traditional and non-traditional treatments, both Creeches are in good health and consider themselves Lyme-free. But the trauma they went through stays with the family. “Trust your instincts - you know your own body and your child better than anyone else,” said Creech, who admitted getting into shouting matches with doctors who dismissed Lyme as a possibility. “Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.”
Suzie Creech, Luca Sciullo and Jaclyn O’Brien are all Ashburn residents who have battled Lyme disease. Their experiences have similarities and differences, but they all agree that knowing more about the disease and how to prevent it is critical.
Jaclyn O’Brien believes she was bitten by an infected tick years ago while walking with her dog. She felt flu-like symptoms but initially didn’t think much of it. But six months later, when extreme joint and muscle pain, vertigo, numbness ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019 • 27
and cognitive issues started, she sought medical treatment. Yet doctor after doctor told her nothing was wrong. “You start to feel crazy,” said O’Brien, 36, who lives in Ashburn’s Chelsea Courts neighborhood north of Route 7. “People think you are making it up, but you know you’re not.” Years went by, but it wasn’t until O’Brien found a doctor she calls “Lyme literate” that testing confirmed it was Lyme disease. “When I was finally diagnosed, I felt relieved and validated,” she said. “Someone believes me, and I have an answer.’” Unfortunately, O’Brien assumed she would simply take medicine and be cured. But the repeated misdiagnoses and delay in getting treatment had taken a toll. The mental and physical problems continued unabated. “I finally got down on my knees and prayed to God and said, ‘I don’t want to keep taking medicines. I don’t want to be in a wheelchair in my 30s,’” she said. O’Brien made a complete lifestyle change — stopped antibiotics, changed her diet, started doing yoga. She says results came quickly. Within nine months, she felt nearly back to normal. Determined to help others going through similar struggles, O’Brien founded KeyLyme, an organization focused on awareness, education, and prevention. KeyLyme sponsors local Lyme awareness events, answers questions on social media and even markets an all-natural tick repellent at various local stores. Her message is the same over and over again — and echoes that of others who have gone down this path: Be your own best advocate. “All of this pain and torture could have been prevented had I been educated and aware of Lyme disease,” she said. LUCA SCIULLO
In the summer of 2012, Luca 28 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019
Suzie & Aidan Creech (in 2010)
“All of this pain and torture could have been prevented had I been educated and aware of Lyme disease” Sciullo was 31 years old, a busy government contractor living in Ashburn with his wife and two children. (Today, he has four kids.) In August of that year, he noticed a bull’s-eye-shaped rash on his left thigh. “I thought it was sort of weird,” he recalled. When it didn’t go away, he went to the doctor. Unlike many, Sciullo’s diagnosis came quickly: The bull’s-eye was the first sign of Lyme infection. Despite not having any symptoms, he quickly began taking antibiotics. And that’s when things
went downhill. He had what’s known as a Herxeimer reaction — the body responding to dying bacteria in his system. “I pretty quickly started experiencing every symptom on the Lyme disease list,” Sciullo said, including mental fog and weakness. “One second you’re going to your office to grab something and then you’re like, ‘What am I doing here?’ I felt like I was a hundred years old. I’d get to the top step and struggle to get my leg up.” What followed was several years of antibiotics, medicines, vitamins, supplements, holistic treatments, dietary changes and more. Overall, the continual treatments eventually helped. Sciullo says by 2016, he felt “75 to 80 percent” back to normal. And then he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer — a condition he continues to live with today. “A part of me wonders if the cancer was an outgrowth or a secondary effect of the Lyme disease,” said Sciullo. “And I do have some apprehension that [Lyme] is still a part of me. I’ve had some co-viruses that are common with Lyme disease and I wonder if there’s more crap coming in the future. But honestly, I don’t worry about it.” A
The Lowdown on Lyme Disease
borhood! h ig e n r u o y in We're meflow.com
So, what precisely is Lyme disease? How do you get it? And why is it so common in Loudoun? We took these questions to an expert, Monte Skall, executive director of the National Capital Lyme Disease Association and a Lyme disease patient herself. WHAT IS LYME DISEASE? “Lyme Disease is the number one vector-borne infectious disease in the United States,” Skall said. “Vector borne” means transmitted by bug bites - bugs like ticks. In the case of Lyme, it’s a type of bacteria transmitted by the bite of the black-legged tick, also known as the deer tick. WHY IS LYME SO PREVALENT IN LOUDOUN? Skall believes it’s a combination of the rapid development of the county — including the Ashburn area — and the dramatic increase in our population. This is putting more people in contact with ticks than ever before. Add in that health experts say the tick population has boomed in Northern Virginia in the past 20 years, and it’s a recipe for more tick bites and more Lyme transmissions. WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS? According to WebMD, the first sign is usually a bull's-eye rash. This can be followed by flu-like feelings -- fatigue, headache, fever, sore throat, chills, or body aches. You may have some joint pain. Some people also get other symptoms, including a stiff neck, sensitivity to light, memory loss, mood changes, rashes that keep returning, and even paralysis of one or both sides of the face, heart rhythm problems, and areas of tingling or numbness. HOW DO YOU TREAT LYME DISEASE? Antibiotics are the first line of defense when Lyme disease is suspected, but Skall warns there is a “precious early window” of time when antibiotics are most effective. The real problem is that many patients don’t test positive in the first weeks or months after exposure, giving them a false sense of security. Untreated Lyme can then turn into a later stage of the disease where more serious neurological conditions develop even though the Lyme bacteria may no longer be present in the body.
PREVENTION • Avoid tick-infested areas, such as tall grasses. • Wear light-colored clothing with long sleeves and long pants and tuck your pants into your socks. • Clothes may be pretreated with a tick repellent called permethrin. Other tick repellents are available for topical application. • Do a tick check whenever you return from a potential tick habitat and at least once a day. Remove any attached ticks promptly and carefully. • Grip a tick with tweezers as close to the skin as possible and gently pull it out. Don’t jerk it out or you might leave the tick’s head behind. • Keep ticks off your property by controlling deer and mouse populations and consider an annual pesticide application. SOURCE: LOUDOUN COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
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home sweet home
Cookie-Cutter Kitchen No More Makeover adds functionality and ‘pop’ to Belmont home
The Santisi Family
STORY A N D PHOTOS BY CH RI S WADSWO RT H
hen Marisa Santisi moved into her new home in the Belmont Country Club community 2½ years ago, she loved nearly everything about her new home: the openness of the living areas, the wonderful backyard, even the proximity to great shopping and restaurants. There was just one problem: the kitchen. “It just wasn’t very functional,” Santisi said. “The island was small and the cooking area was in the island, so that was even less functional. We had wasted space. The cabinets were poor quality. The kitchen was very dark. We wanted to lighten it up.” 30 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019
Sounds like a kitchen crying out for a makeover, and that’s just what Santisi, her husband, Juan, and their two boys got. The family teamed with designer Sarah Kahn Turner from Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath. The Maryland-based firm recently opened a new location in the Ashburn Village Shopping Center. “It was definitely too heavy and builder-
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grade and dark. It felt like a doctor’s office,” said Turner, referring to the Santisi family’s original kitchen. “I wanted to capture all the wasted floor space, redesign the angles and really open it up and redirect the space.” There were several main issues to tackle. Turner designed a new kitchen that repositioned nearly everything — the island got longer and switched positions. The refrigerator moved to a better location. A wall was extended, and the pass-through to the sun room widened by 3 feet to allow more natural light. Turner also focused on how the Santisis would use their kitchen, adding storage for items near where they would be needed and creating a work flow from food storage areas to prep areas to cooking areas. “There are a lot of cookie-cutter floor plans out there, but they don’t have to be,” Turner said. “[Builders] make spaces so large, but … I don’t think they consider how people are going to actually use the kitchen. They just want to fill it.” Besides the structure and layout of the kitchen, much attention was given to the aesthetics — the materials used and the colors chosen.
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Take the large center island for example — one half is a natural silvery quartzite, while the other half is an oiled, foodsafe African wenge wood. “The contrast of the surfaces gives it a lot of character,” Santisi said. “Having the natural wood gives it a very nice touch versus having it all white.” Light kitchens with white cabinets are popular, but Turner threw in a twist to make the Santisis’ kitchen pop. “We changed all the cabinet finishes to white, but we darkened the floor,” she said. The existing hardwood was sanded and refinished with a Jacob Bean stain. “It helped anchor the floor and emphasize the ceiling height.” Marisa Santisi is thrilled with her new kitchen and she shared her two big takeaways — advice she would give others undertaking a kitchen makeover: • Seriously consider using a professional designer. “Even if you know what color cabinets you like or what surfaces you want, they know how to utilize the space much better than you.” • Think about how many years you want this kitchen to last because some styles may not age well (wood paneling and shag carpeting come to mind). “I wanted to go completely modern, but [Turner] was able to explain how going to extremes on the modern side would actually make the kitchen outdated faster.” A
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Cocktails with a Twist AhSo Restaurant’s bar known for its originality, whimsy BY C H R I ST I N E CR AD D O CK
hyllis Ethington-Green is a local foodie. She loves experimenting with new dishes and trying new flavors. About a year ago, she and her husband, Ed, decided to go to AhSo Restaurant, which had recently opened in the Brambleton Town Center just a mile from their home. They quickly fell in the love with the food, the people and the ambiance — but perhaps most of all, they loved the creativity of AhSo’s resident bartenders. “They have a wonderful jalapeño margarita. It has just the right amount of spiciness … a tiny hint of heat as it hits the back of your throat,” Ethington-Green said. “This was a pleasingly pleasant surprise.” In a crowded restaurant market, the bar menu at AhSo, with its wildly original cocktails and requisite crazy names — has also helped differentiate this modern American bistro from many competitors. “I want us to have the type of bar that just reeks of craft cocktails,” said Jason Maddens, the owner, chef and creative force behind AhSo. Reek away. There’s the Sweep the Leg Johnny! with Flor de Cana sevenyear rum mixed with amaretto, port, house dram and bitters. And the Pink Panther, featuring El Jimador Silver tequila, fresh watermelon, Cointreau, agave and lime. Or how about AhSo’s 34 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019
Phyllis and her husband Ed.
An Elevated Aviator cocktail made with Barr Hill gin, maraschino liqueur, crème de violette, Cointreau, lemon and a dab of honey. It’s garnished with a sprig of lavender.
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WINE&DINE (clockwise from left) AhSo’s collection of eclectic glassware; Jason Maddens, owner and chef at AhSo; a mixologist making a cocktail; a drink called the Gypsy Garden.
The farmers’ markets are about to kick off and we draw a lot of inspiration from that.” 36 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019
version of the Manhattan? It’s called The O.G. and is made with Elijah Craig bourbon, maple and angostura marinated orange, with a house brandied cherry. The bar menu changes seasonally — a new version just debuted in April. “The farmers’ markets are about to kick off and we draw a lot of inspiration from that,” Maddens said. “Both our food menu and our cocktail menu are based on what’s available.” Christian Puccio is the general manager at AhSo, and he is also the main mixologist behind the cocktail menu. He’s big into what he calls “functional garnishes.” “Most of them, you can eat, of course. But for The O.G., the orange is marinated in angostura bitters, so you get the aroma while you are drinking it,” he said. “If you smack a basil leaf, it brings out the oils and when you put that on top of a drink, you’re going
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703-327-9600 to smell it and that enhances (from top) An the flavor of the drink.” assortment of Beyond the ingredients used AhSo cocktails; a in a drink, AhSo’s bartenders also Black Manhattan pay attention to presentation. with an orange Some garnishes are hooked on peel rose. The the rim of the cocktail with a bartenders at bulldog binder clip. Maddens has AhSo enjoy curated a unique collection of using “functional glassware for his bar’s creations garnishes” that — including some goblets that impart additional were gifted to his parents at their scents or flavors wedding back in 1975. to a drink. It’s this type of whimsy that sets an AhSo cocktail apart. “It’s a little elevated,” Puccio said with a laugh. “It’s not your old school where you get a maraschino cherry on a toothpick.” Ethington-Green loves the adventure of a visit to AhSo. She and Ed are usually there at least once a week, sometimes more. When they’re in an especially playful mood, the couple will challenge the bartenders on duty to create some magic on the fly — which they’re happy to do. “The bartenders there have great ideas,” Ethington-Green said. “Just tell them what your favorite libation is, and they usually can come up with something very tasty.” A 38 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019
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ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019 • 39
great escapes 2
Anguilla Getaway Off the Beaten Path in the Caribbean BY C H R I S WADSWO RT H
ob and Jin Chen are big fans of the Caribbean and its beautiful beaches. They’ve traveled frequently to some of the region’s top island destinations, so when they were searching for a winter getaway in February, they looked at the map and quickly settled on their next trip. “We’d been to most of them — except Anguilla, so we said let’s finish up the list,” Rob Chen said. “It’s a little less known. It’s not commercialized at all, so that appealed to us. We knew it would be relaxing and off the beaten path.” So the couple, who have lived in Ashburn for 13 years, packed their bags and jetted off to the British dependency in the eastern Caribbean for a six-day tropical adventure. Chen shared some of his favorite moments and travel tips with us. “Shoal Bay is the most famous beach in Anguilla. That’s where we stayed. We rented a condo right on the bay and our first full day there, we were out on the beach the whole day. I never get sunburned, but this trip I did. The worst was I got burned on my ears. It was so weird. The sun is strong down there.”
“Here’s Jin and I at Elvis’ Beach Bar. The owner is named Elvis. The first night we got there, we hung out and had some drinks, relaxed in hammocks. There was live music — a guy playing his guitar.”
40 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019
ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019 • 41
The directions were like ‘go around the corner and at the second bush, go down the dirt road’
Boats anchored at Sandy Ground Beach on Anguilla.
“This place was called the Sunshine Shack. It was really hard to find. There were no signs, and we had to ask people how to get to this place. The directions were like ‘go around the corner and at the second bush, go down the dirt road.’ But everyone told us you had to go to the Sunshine Shack.”
“The Sunshine Shack is right on the beach, on Rendezvous Bay. That morning, the cook was making chicken, ribs and snapper. We got to the beach early, around 10 a.m., and he was just getting ready to start cooking. They cook everything at once and keep filling the orders until the food runs out. We had all three — the chicken, ribs and snapper and they were all phenomenal.”
“We chartered a sailboat with some other people, headed to Prickly Pear Cay. The captain put two lines with lures out on the way over so we could try to catch some fish to grill. Both lures hooked at the same time, so the captain and one of his crew members started reeling in the lines. One was a barracuda, the other was a kingfish. They’re reeling both in and then the barracuda sees the kingfish, and even though he’s hooked on a line, he goes for the kingfish because he wants to eat it. So, the lines get all tangled and the kingfish escapes and only the barracuda gets caught. The captain was super (angry) because kingfish is delicious, but you can’t eat barracuda. The flesh is toxic, so we had to throw it back.”
“Prickly Pear Cay is the best snorkeling in Anguilla. It’s got the biggest reef in Anguilla and it’s also the least visited so it’s been protected somewhat. It’s only accessible by boat, so you have to charter a yacht or sailboat to get out there. We saw parrot fish, pufferfish, blue tang — it was great.”
42 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019
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Boats anchored at Sandy Ground Beach on Anguilla.
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“This dog was asleep on the beach at Shoal Bay. We were eating at the Tropical Sunset Grill, and the dog kept coming up to us looking for food. The owner said that after Hurricane Irma hit Anguilla two years ago, there were a bunch of stray dogs left behind. And this is one of them. He comes up to the beachgoers and is super friendly and he just sleeps on the beach all day. We gave him a French fry.”
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“It’s a Caribbean lobster. Interestingly, they don’t call it a lobster. They call it crayfish down there. If you look at it, it doesn’t have the big claw. They are really small. We grilled the lobsters on the beach — a little garlic, butter and lemon and they were delicious.”
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AN ALBUM OF ASHBURN EVENTS
APRIL 2, 2019
Ashburn Magazine Launch Party The staff of Ashburn Magazine celebrated the premiere issue with contributors and advertisers at the Lost Rhino Retreat. 1
1. Bob Nelson, Josh Mosser, Teresa Yasutis, Katie Barchas Wilson, Rusty Foster 2. Renee Ventrice, JoAnn Meyers, Debra Keirce, Cliff Keirce 3. Daryl Schauss, Ashburn Magazine editor Chris Wadsworth 4. Ashburn Magazine team — Pam Kamphuis, Dennis Brack, Bruce Potter, Connie Fields, Judy Harbin, Chris Wadsworth
APRIL 00, 2019 MARCH 1, 2019
APRIL 26, 2019
Black Olive Block Party The Black Olive Bar & Grill in Lansdowne held a block party with local food and craft beers and music from Jumpin’ Jupiter. 1. Ashburn resident Sue Van Glanden with a brand ambassador from the Founders Brewing Company. Todd Goldian, director of food & beverage for the Black Olive, smiles in the background.
46 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019
APRIL 3, 2019
Brokers Networking Social Saul Centers hosted a happy hour social at the Blue Ridge Grill in Ashburn Village for local commercial real estate brokers and related business folks. 1. Zachary Friedlis, vice president and director of leasing for Saul Centers (facing camera), speaks with local commercial brokers.
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ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019 • 47
time travel From the 1940s, this is one of the earliest photos of the Ashburn Volunteer Fire Department showing the station and two of its early fire trucks.
Firehouse Memories Dan Corder’s 15th birthday changed his entire life BY A L E X AN DR A B RO UGH TO N P H OTOS CO U RTE SY ASH BURN VO LUNT EE R FIRE DEPARMENT My dad came into my room and said, ‘Happy birthday, Dan. I’m taking you out.’ I asked him where — there weren’t many places to go to in Ashburn back then — and he said, ‘We’re going to the fire department and signing you up,’ and that was that.” Corder, now 60, ended up serving as a longtime firefighter with the Ashburn Volunteer Fire Department and today lives in Virginia’s Northern Neck. Back in the 1970s, when Ashburn still had more farmland than shopping centers, he says it was expected that many teenage boys would volunteer as firefighters. In 1974, Corder was one of those teens and he grew to love the work so much, he went on to become a career officer with the department. 48 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019
‘We’re going to the fire department and signing you up,’ and that was that.”
Ashburn Magazine gathered some fascinating memories from Corder, now retired, and the department about the station’s early years. • The Ashburn Volunteer Fire Department was formally established in 1945 after a fire that broke out in a local home killed three children, followed by a fire at the old Ashburn School. It was originally led by Chief Nelson Partlow — as in Partlow Road and the Partlow Brothers Store, the local general store back in the day. (Today, it’s the home of Carolina Brothers Barbeque.)
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ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019 • 49
COURTESY CAROLINA BROTHERS
(from top) Ashburn firefighters stand outside the station in the 1950s; a poster for a carnival fundraiser; Ashburn volunteer firefighters battle a barn fire; an image of the old Partlow Brothers store. 50 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019
• Later in 1945, the department got its first fire truck — a 1929 open cab American-LaFrance pumper that cost $3,225. Since they didn’t have a firehouse yet, it was kept in Chief Partlow’s shed. During the coldest months, it was kept in a local cow barn because the cows generated enough heat to keep the truck from freezing up. • There was no 9-1-1 number to call. Residents needing assistance had to call a seven-digit number known as the “fire control,” which would set off a whistle heard by the Partlows at their general store. They would immediately shut down their shop and drive their fire truck to the scene. Because there were no radios or walkie-talkies, other volunteer firefighters would have to try to follow the truck and its siren and quickly figure out where they needed to be. • The department has always helped fund itself over the years with an annual carnival, Friday night turkey shoots and, more recently, its famous pancake breakfasts. One of the most memorable events for many longtime Ashburn residents was the “Ham and Oyster Dinner” held twice a year. Citizens from miles around took part in it. “This was serious business,” Corder recalled. “The Ladies’ Auxiliary would buy hundreds of cartons of saltine crackers and turn it into ground cracker meal. Then they would crack and scramble hundreds of eggs with salt and pepper. They would put the cracker meal in the palm of one hand, take three oysters, put it in the egg wash, and they put them in your hand and squeeze them together to make an oyster patty.” Even today, Corder says he often wishes he could go back and relive his time serving in the department. “Like most people at that age … I was starting to grow up and didn’t really know what I wanted to do,” he said. “Joining the Ashburn Fire Department gave me a purpose in life, and a second family I still have to this day.” A Alexandra Broughton is a freelance writer in Ashburn.
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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
ASHBURN SCHOOLS INCLUDED IN 2019 BEST HIGH SCHOOLS LIST Ashburn’s high schools are among some of the top in the nation, according to the 2019 Best High Schools list from U.S. News and World Report. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology — a regional magnet school that serves students in Loudoun, Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William counties, as well as the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church — was ranked fourth in the new list, up from 10th in 2018. Thomas Jefferson was also ranked among the best STEM schools in the country. In Loudoun County, Stone Bridge was ranked 592 and Briar Woods was ranked 611 nationally, making the schools 16th and 17th among high school programs in the state, according to the list. Broad Run High School was at 741 in the nation and 22nd in the state. Rock Ridge High School was ranked 1,319 in the nation and 38th in the state. See more of the list at https://www.usnews. com/education/best-high-schools.
LOUDOUN SEES STATE’S LARGEST POPULATION INCREASE The population in Loudoun County is growing faster than anywhere else in the state, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. The estimate for 2018 puts the county’s population at 406,850, compared to 312,311 recorded in the 2010 census. Loudoun County is ranked fourth in the state in total population. With an increase of 9,855 residents between 2017 and 2018, Loudoun had the largest increase in year-over-year population growth in Virginia. 52 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019
13TH DISTRICT SHOWS COMPETITIVE CASH RACE Two GOP candidates in the Virginia Senate’s 13th District pulled in similar amounts in fundraising for the first quarter of 2019, while the likely Democratic candidate showed his strength in raising money. Longtime Sen. Dick Black announced earlier this year that he will not seek another term in November. The 13th District includes a large portion of Ashburn. Two Loudoun County supervisors are competing to represent the GOP on the ticket, with the nominee to be chosen in a primary on June 11. Catoctin
District Supervisor Geary Higgins raised $137,953 in the quarter ended March 31, compared with Broad Run District Supervisor Ron Meyer’s $126,299, according to campaign finance records from the Virginia Department of Elections. Both men reported having more than $100,000 on hand at the end of the quarter. The likely Democratic nominee, John Bell, raised $131,211 in the first quarter, with $164,375 on hand. Bell has served two terms in the House of Delegates, representing the state’s 87th District.
STATE-OF-THE-ART INOVA SCHAR CANCER INSTITUTE OPENS IN MERRIFIELD The Inova Health System recently celebrated the grand opening of its $150 million, state-of-the-art Schar Cancer Institute in Fairfax County. The 438,000-square-foot facility opens to patients May 13 in the former ExxonMobil headquarters space in Merrifield. “A community the size of Northern Virginia should have its own stand-alone cancer center. We’re proud to be making that happen,” Inova President and CEO J. Stephen Jones said in a news release. The institute plans to use genomic treatment options based on patient DNA and will offer the option of receiving all care in a single location, from imaging to medical consultations and prescriptions. Located on the 117-acre Inova Center for Personalized Health campus, the facility was made possible through a $50 million gift by Dwight and Martha Schar. Inspired by Inova’s longtime plans to create a cancer research center focused on personalized treatment, Dwight — the founder of Reston-based homebuilding company NVR Inc. — helped Inova acquire the property on the former ExxonMobil corporate campus.
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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.
CHIPOTLE OPENING IN THE DULLES 28 CENTRE
Out with one burrito place, in with another. Chipotle signs have gone up in the windows of the former California Tortilla location at the Dulles 28 Centre at Waxpool and Route 28. No word yet on when it will open, but it will join Pei Wei, Cheeburger Cheeburger and Moby Dick’s in the center, which does a busy lunch business.
CONSTRUCTION STARTS ON NEW CHICK-FIL-A, STARBUCKS Construction crews broke ground and started preparing the site where two new buildings will go up at the Lansdowne Town Center. One will be a Chick-Fil-A restaurant, the other a new Starbucks location. The existing
Starbucks in the center will move in order to add a drivethrough lane. Look for both stores to open in late 2019.
NEW MEXICAN RESTAURANT OPENS IN LANSDOWNE
Mexican cuisine has made its triumphant return to the Lansdowne Town Center with the opening of T’Kila Mexican Kitchen & Bar. T’Kila already has a solid reputation in Loudoun thanks to its first location in Aldie. The brand is known for its wide variety of speciality margaritas. The T’Kila space in Lansdowne has been empty since Tepito Tex-Mex Grill closed in August 2017.
PERSIS BIRYANI OPENS IN ASHBURN VILLAGE CENTER A new biryani restaurant has opened in the Ashburn Village shopping center. It’s
54 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2019
called Persis Biryani Indian Grill and is one of roughly 20 locations around the eastern United States. It specializes in biryani, a popular Indian dish made with rice and combinations of spices, meats, nuts, dried fruits and other ingredients.
HARVEST DINER & GRILL OPENING AT DULLES TOWN CENTER
A new all-day brunch restaurant is under construction at the Dulles Town Center. It’s called Harvest Diner & Grill and will open in the former Greene Turtle building along Atlantic Boulevard. Look for brunch and breakfast items on the menu throughout the day, organic coffees and teas, and freshly squeezed juices. There will be a full beer, wine and cocktail menu as well.
CHILDREN’S URGENT CARE COMING TO BELMONT CHASE PM Pediatrics, an urgent care center focused on children, is coming to the Belmont Chase shopping center in north Ashburn. Typical services include stitching cuts and treating sprains, broken bones, fevers, ear infections, and more, targeting parents with patients up to age 26. It will be next to Whole Foods in the former Petco location. A
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