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4 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
FROM THE PUBLISHER AHSO TO ZAZU
o say the past several months have been overwhelming would be an understatement. The disruption to our lives, our jobs, our schools and our business community has been unprecedented, even surreal. Ashburn Magazine — which tries to shine a light on the amazing people, places and things in our community — is not immune. Our editor and I live in Ashburn and, just like the rest of you, we’ve had to adapt to new ways of doing things. But with the turmoil and the trouble comes opportunity — to highlight local heroes and feature local businesses when they need the spotlight most. In one of our feature-length stories this issue, “The Mask Makers,” you’ll meet a handful of the many people in our community who have come up with unique ways to help others during the challenging time by finding or making protective equipment for local health care workers. And nearly as overwhelming was the positive response to our first “Best of Ashburn” contest. Voting began online in late January, and within just a few days, it was apparent that we had a hit. Not until we started approving nominations to appear on the ballot did I realize Ashburn has that many restaurants (290 nominees - some in more than one category), daycare centers (45 nominees), and nail salons (24 nominees). And don’t even begin to talk about Realtors (90 nominees). In all, we received 1,464 nominations in the 100 categories, and by the time voting wrapped up at the end of February, we had nearly 40,000 total votes from over 5,400 different voters. This edition of Ashburn Magazine includes a 24-page special section (which you can easily pull out and save) that highlights the winners
by category. Granted, like many of its kin, “Best of Ashburn” is not a scientific survey. But it’s fun to see which local businesses our friends and neighbors consider to be their favorites. And it’s a great way to recognize the many local businesses that make our community unique — from AhSo Restaurant to Zazu Gifts. So, once stay-at-home orders are eased and we can all go out again, as you drive around Ashburn, look for the Best of Ashburn banners, plaques and window clings on display at many of the winning businesses. We’re delighted to be able to recognize them, and — now more than ever — they need your support. Elsewhere in the magazine this month, you’ll find longer feature stories on three Best of Ashburn winners – Blend Coffee Shop and its mouth-watering egg sandwich, JP Handyman and some of his “odd” jobs in Ashburn homes, and Board & Brush and its unique art projects. You’ll also learn about an amazing all-female Shakespeare troupe that began with a project at Briar Woods High School and meet a Lansdowne neighbor whose work helped ensure the success of the Apollo 11 moon landing more than 50 years ago. And in a somewhat timely “Time Travel” feature, read about a food poisoning incident that occurred nearly 120 years ago on property that is now part of Ashburn Farm. And on behalf of the entire Ashburn Magazine team, a heartfelt thanks to the local doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals on the frontlines of this current battle. Truth be told — you all are the real “best” of Ashburn.
BRUCE POTTER, PUBLISHER PUBLISHER@ASHBURNMAGAZINE.COM
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5 Reasons to Book Your A/C Tune-Up Now:
contents 08 amazing kids ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE An all-girl Shakespeare troupe wows audiences BY JILL DEVINE
11 more amazing kids Highlighting local kids doing great things
12 business boom CREATIVE SPIRITS Ashburn studio unleashes your inner craftsman BY JILL DEVINE
16 feature story THE MASK MAKERS Ashburn becomes a hub of helping the medical community find protective gear BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
21 special section BEST OF ASHBURN 2020 Our readers and the community voted and — drumroll — here are the best of the best
46 our neighbors feature story
56 wine & dine A GOOD EGG A mom-and-pop coffee shop turns a sandwich into a sensation BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
58 local adventures
TO THE MOON The amazing life of Lansdowne resident Farouk El-Baz
BACK IN TIME Hunt for sharks’ teeth on a beach 10 million years in the making
BY JOE MOTHERAL
BY JILL DEVINE
home sweet home
ODD JOBS Local handyman talks trends in Ashburn BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
54 real estate round-up The latest facts and figures about home sales in Ashburn
PTOMAINE ON THE FARM A prominent senator hosts a disastrous lunch in Ashburn BY CHRIS WADSWORTH
62 the burn The latest restaurant, retail and other cool news
ON THE COVER: Blend Coffee Bar, voted Ashburn’s Best Coffee Shop. Photo By Emma Toms 6 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
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amazing kids (from l to r) Juliana Goicoechea, Grace Kianka, Ally Ratigan, and Paxton Kianka appear in a performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with the Lady Chamberlains.
Posters for past performances of Shakespeare’s plays by the Lady Chamberlains.
All the World’s a Stage All-girl Shakespeare troupe wows local audiences BY J I L L DE V INE
ive years ago, a teacher at Briar Woods High School gave her students an assignment — spend 20 percent of their time in class exploring something they were passionate about and turn it into a project. Fast forward to today, and that simple assignment is still paying dividends in the form of the Lady Chamberlains, an all-female Shakespeare troupe that performs the famous bard’s plays each school year, all while opening minds and hearts. “Knowing we help turn on that lightbulb — that someone picks something up from a play we produced and that it will stick with them afterward, maybe forever — is the best feeling,” said senior Kira Vedamtam, the troupe’s president and a resident of the Broadlands. The assignment was given by English teacher Lisa Preston, and two of her students — then sophomores Katy Shinas and Emily Wolfe — jumped at 8 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
the opportunity to channel their love of Shakespeare into a project to aid women. They formed The Lady Chamberlains specifically as an all-female drama club — all the staging, set design, direction, and performing would be by young women — not just from Briar Woods, but from any area high school. And the proceeds would support the Loudoun Abused Women’s Shelter (LAWS). To date, The Lady Chamberlains troupe has performed seven different Shakespeare plays and has donated more than $9,000 to the women’s shelter by staging two Shakespeare productions yearly. The women’s shelter, based in Leesburg, provides free, confidential services to adults and children who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. “We are so thankful to The Lady Chamberlains for caring so much about their community and the survivors LAWS serves,” said executive director Judith A. Hanley. The name “The Lady Chamberlains” is a playful twist on the Elizabethan era
all-male troupe “The Lord Chamberlains,” who performed when women could not be actors. The Lady Chamberlain’s official mission statement is “Helping Women Onstage, Backstage and Off-Stage.” Kira, 17, said the group, which typically consists of 15 to 30 girls, provides a unique opportunity to experience what women can do in positions of leadership. “We are all about having female voices heard,” Kira said. “It’s definitely not that we’re against guys — it’s all about giving female voices a chance and a platform.” Students from Briar Woods, Stone Bridge, the Academies of Loudoun and home schoolers have participated in the past, but productions are open to any female high school student, even from neighboring counties. “The only requirements are that you be female and in high school,” said Kira, although non-binary members of the LGBT community, “who often find no place in theater,” are welcome as well. Lisa Preston, who gave the original assignment, now teaches at Independence High, but her daughter, Jacqueline, is a senior at Briar Woods. Jacqueline is also a member of the Lady Chamberlains and the secretary of the group.
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AMAZING KIDS AMAZING KIDS (left) Tanvika Vegiraju (left) Tanvika Vegiraju and Kira Shinas in a and Kira Shinas in a performance of “King Lear.” performance of “King Lear.”
(right) Karen (right) Karen Zipor and Katie Zipor and Katie Bushman perBushman perform in “As You form in “As You Like It.” Like It.”
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10 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE •
www.RussianSchool.com/Ashburn (571) 440-2020 MAY/JUNE 2020
“What I like about us being all-female is that we get to “What I like about us being all-female is that we get to explore areas that would not be available to us normally,” explore areas that would not be available to us normally,” said Jacqueline, 18, noting that in Shakespeare’s plays the said Jacqueline, 18, noting that in Shakespeare’s plays the male characters are bigger and exude more confidence. “It male characters are bigger and exude more confidence. “It gives women more range to try these parts.” gives women more range to try these parts.” The Lady Chamberlains have already staged “King Lear,” The Lady Chamberlains have already staged “King Lear,” “Hamlet,” “As You Like It,” “The Tempest,” “A Midsummer “Hamlet,” “As You Like It,” “The Tempest,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Twelfth Night” and “Julius Caesar.” In August — Night’s Dream,” “Twelfth Night” and “Julius Caesar.” In August — barring changes in schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic — barring changes in schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic — the troupe plans to present “Much Ado About Nothing.” Details the troupe plans to present “Much Ado About Nothing.” Details will be announced when a venue has been secured. will be announced when a venue has been secured. Finding an available venue is the only time adult Finding an available venue is the only time adult assistance is required for the Lady Chamberlains. Parent assistance is required for the Lady Chamberlains. Parent Linda Shinas, mother of founder Katy Shinas and current Linda Shinas, mother of founder Katy Shinas and current member Kira Shinas, said the girls handle every aspect of member Kira Shinas, said the girls handle every aspect of the show themselves, but adult sponsors are required to the show themselves, but adult sponsors are required to reserve and supervise use of county facilities. reserve and supervise use of county facilities. Shinas’ favorite Lady Chamberlains’ production so far? Shinas’ favorite Lady Chamberlains’ production so far? “‘Twelfth Night,’ because I got to see both of my daughters “‘Twelfth Night,’ because I got to see both of my daughters playing twins Viola and Sebastian on stage at the same time.” playing twins Viola and Sebastian on stage at the same time.” The Lady Chamberlains will keep delivering in the future. The Lady Chamberlains will keep delivering in the future. “We have many enthusiastic juniors who are capable of “We have many enthusiastic juniors who are capable of taking the troupe to a new level,” Jacqueline said, noting taking the troupe to a new level,” Jacqueline said, noting that the girls help with a Shakespeare minicamp at Eagle that the girls help with a Shakespeare minicamp at Eagle Ridge Middle School in the summers to cultivate the Ridge Middle School in the summers to cultivate the interest of future freshmen. interest of future freshmen. “We are always planning ahead,” she said, “and our “We are always planning ahead,” she said, “and our newcomers are showing passion and strength in their love newcomers are showing passion and strength in their love of Shakespeare.” A of Shakespeare.” A Jill Devine is a freelance writer who lives in Loudoun County. Jill Devine is a freelance writer who lives in Loudoun County. When not writing, she enjoys her job as a kindergarten teaching When not writing, she enjoys her job as a kindergarten teaching assistant for Loudoun County Public Schools. assistant for Loudoun County Public Schools.
m o r e amazing kids m o r e amazing kids OK, we know all kids are amazing, but if you know of a kid who’s so amazing that he or she should be featured on this page, please email information to email@example.com. OK, we know all kids are amazing, but if you know of a kid who’s so amazing that he or she should be featured on this page, please email information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ASHBURNSTUDENTS STUDENTSPITCH PITCH ASHBURN THEIRPRODUCTS PRODUCTS——JUST JUST THEIR LIKEON ON‘SHARK ‘SHARKTANK’ TANK’ LIKE Six area students were named winners in the Young Six area students were named winners in the Young Entrepreneur Academy (YEA!) annual investor pitch Entrepreneur Academy (YEA!) annual investor pitch event. The group of talented young people includes event. The group of talented young people includes four from Ashburn-area schools. four from Ashburn-area schools. YEA! is presented by the Loudoun County Chamber YEA! is presented by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce Foundation. It’s a 27-week program for of Commerce Foundation. It’s a 27-week program for middle and high school students who develop, pitch middle and high school students who develop, pitch and launch their own small business. They compete and launch their own small business. They compete for $5,000 in seed money and the chance to participate for $5,000 in seed money and the chance to participate in a national pitch event in Rochester, N.Y. in a national pitch event in Rochester, N.Y. Similar to the pitches heard on the popular ABC TV Similar to the pitches heard on the popular ABC TV show “Shark Tank,” 22 local students made their pitches show “Shark Tank,” 22 local students made their pitches to a panel of investors via a virtual presentation. to a panel of investors via a virtual presentation. The winners included: The winners included: • Vedha Navudu of Briar Woods High School • Vedha Navudu of Briar Woods High School (Ashburn), who received $1,500 for pitching (Ashburn), who received $1,500 for pitching Bare Bag, her nonprofit that distributes bags of Bare Bag, her nonprofit that distributes bags of hygiene necessities to women in prisons. She hygiene necessities to women in prisons. She has qualified to attend the national competition, has qualified to attend the national competition, scheduled for this August. (1) scheduled for this August. (1) • Anisha Nanda of Freedom High School • Anisha Nanda of Freedom High School (Chantilly), who got $1,000 for her concept (Chantilly), who got $1,000 for her concept Layered, a customizable dessert experience. (2) Layered, a customizable dessert experience. (2) • Lauren Pitonyak of Riverside High School • Lauren Pitonyak of Riverside High School (Lansdowne), who won $1,000 for Butterfly (Lansdowne), who won $1,000 for Butterfly Board Games, which creates board games for Board Games, which creates board games for individuals with autism. (3) individuals with autism. (3) • Aarav Sharma of Independence High School • Aarav Sharma of Independence High School (Ashburn), who got $500 for pitching ReliAir, a (Ashburn), who got $500 for pitching ReliAir, a portable air quality detection device. (4) portable air quality detection device. (4) • Ray Zhang of Lunsford Middle School • Ray Zhang of Lunsford Middle School (Chantilly), who won $500 for Pals-Plus, an (Chantilly), who won $500 for Pals-Plus, an interactive language website to match students and interactive language website to match students and tutors to practice fluency in foreign languages. (5) tutors to practice fluency in foreign languages. (5)
Deborah Olorunda of Trailside Middle Deborah Olorunda of Trailside Middle School (Ashburn), who received $500 for School (Ashburn), who received $500 for her pitch for EcoArt, an environmentally her pitch for EcoArt, an environmentally friendly art kit. (6) friendly art kit. (6) Applications are open for the 2021 Young Applications are open for the 2021 Young Entrepreneur Academy until June 12. Students can Entrepreneur Academy until June 12. Students can A apply online at www.LoudounChamber.org/YEA. apply online at www.LoudounChamber.org/YEA. A •
ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020 • 11
Creative Spirits Ashburn studio unleashes your inner woodworking skills BY J I L L DE V I NE
ometimes a happy accident can take your life in a whole new direction. Last year, Ashburn Farm mom Jenna Myers was searching for the Dollar Tree in the Broadlands Village Center when she noticed a storefront sign announcing that Board & Brush Creative Studio would be opening soon. Board & Brush is a national chain of doit-yourself studios where guests build and decorate wooden decor items for their homes. Myers, a part-time teacher and mother of three young children, was immediately interested. She visited the company’s website and registered her entire moms’ group for one of the new studio’s first workshops. JENNA MYERS “It’s my time to get out of the house and take a break just for me,” said Myers, who visited the studio almost monthly since it opened in September. She says she enjoys gathering with likeminded crafters, enjoying a “girl’s night out” atmosphere, listening to music, sipping some wine — all while learning some practical lessons about working with wood. Wisconsin-based Board & Brush has more than 270 locations, where guests attend workshops focusing on such items as signs, trays, and even novelties like clocks and coat racks — all adorned with stenciled messages and images. Studio instructors and assistants gather the raw materials and tools before the workshop and guide customers through every step — distressing, sanding and assembling the wood boards, as well as staining, stenciling and painting them and then installing hardware and hangers. A standard workshop is about three hours and costs $68 per person. There are also shorter workshops geared for families 12 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
Laura Cashman works on a project using paint and stencils.
with children. Regardless, the end results are highly personalized and practical products that happy customers tote home the same day. The Ashburn Board & Brush — which was named Best Specialty Store/Gifts in the Best of Ashburn 2020 survey — is owned by Andy and Raquel Gladieux. The couple began searching for a Loudoun location after customers at their Fairfax and Fredericksburg Board & Brush stores kept asking them to open a shop closer to their homes. The Aldie couple, both U.S. Navy retirees, studied their customer demographics, which led them directly to Ashburn. “I love the sense of community in Ashburn, and the diversity and growth of this area makes it very welcoming for new businesses,” said Andy Gladieux, who works for a defense contractor by day while his wife focuses on the daily operations of their three locations. Raquel Gladieux fell in love with the Board & Brush concept through her own “happy accident” on Thanksgiving 2016, when she noticed a beautiful wood sign at her motherin-law’s house in Ohio. “Once I learned it had been made by my sister-in-law at a local studio, I had to try it myself,” said Gladieux, who went to the local studio the very next day to make her first wood project — a monogrammed sign stenciled with her wedding anniversary date.
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“Our stenciled messages are encouraging and family-related,” Gladieux said. “Customers create projects that celebrate the milestones in their lives — birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations. These products have real sensory and emotional appeal.” Tamara Gray is one of the instructors at the Ashburn Board & Brush. She believes that the brand offers something that other, similar “sip and create” spaces don’t. “Our projects — signs, boxes, trays, coat racks, clocks — are functional,” she said. “I go to lots of sip and paint events, and I always have a great time, but those paintings stay in my basement. Every item I’ve ever made at Board & Brush is used in my home or the home of the person I’ve given it to as a gift.” Before the coronavirus paused Board & Brush’s premiere year in Ashburn, business was good. The studio was actively networking with local companies, churches, school parentteacher organizations, youth groups and sports teams for fundraising and team-building events that give back to the community. The Ashburn location also has become a popular venue for bridal showers, birthdays, date nights, and even Scout merit badge events. But the workshop’s most popular event? Definitely “Mimosa Sundays.” Jenna Myers, who celebrated her most recent birthday at Board & Brush in Ashburn, can’t wait to get back in the studio. “I want to make the double-sided porch sign,” she said. “These projects aren’t things you can buy at HomeGoods. They are personal to you and are specifically unique for your house.” A Jill Devine is a freelance writer who lives in Loudoun County. When not writing, she enjoys her job as a kindergarten teaching assistant for Loudoun County Public Schools.
Andy and Raquel Gladieux, owners of the Board & Brush studio in Ashburn.
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THE MASK MAKE MAK Ashburn residents help protect medical professionals on the front lines BY CH RI S WADSWO RT H 16 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
elpless. That was one of the main feelings many people in Ashburn and elsewhere experienced as the coronavirus crisis grew. Helpless to protect themselves, their families and their neighbors, not to mention the local businesses they cared about that were suddenly struggling mightily. And most of all — helpless to do something for the doctors, nurses and others in critical roles who were caring for the sick and at-risk without the proper gear — face masks and shields, disposable gloves and hair caps — known collectively as personal protective equipment, or PPE. But just as in every time of crisis, people rose to the challenge. Most of us started social distancing. Friends checked in on friends. Neighbors shopped for neighbors. And people started buying gift cards and ordering carry-out meals
from their favorite restaurants. And then came the masks and the other PPE. People across Ashburn pulled out their sewing machines, fired up 3D printers or came up with other clever ways to help our brave medical professionals. If you have been on social media the past two months, it was a sight to behold. Here are just a few of these caring individuals.
DINA QURESHI Late last year, Dina Qureshi had the sudden urge to learn how to sew. She’d never done it before, but she ordered a sewing machine online with the goal of making a new dress. And then the sewing machine sat untouched in her closet as life got busy and the months flew by. What she needed was the proper motivation, and it came in the form of a pandemic. “I heard on the news that health-care providers didn’t have enough PPEs, and I thought here was a great opportunity for me to finally learn to sew,” said Qureshi, who lives in Ashburn’s Westmoore community. “I got out my sewing machine and a friend showed me the basics. From the [Centers for Disease Control] website, I got the requirements for making masks. So I
KERS bought some fabric and started making them.” Qureshi, who immigrated to America from Morocco in 2014, made more than 100 face masks in her first two weeks of sewing and gave a bunch to a friend who’s a nurse at the Inova HealthPlex in Ashburn. When word came that Inova wasn’t accepting homemade masks any more, Qureshi sought out other medical facilities that would. She sent 50 masks to Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg. When she’s not sewing, Qureshi is an engineer with Dominion Energy. She works on the overhead and underground relocation of power wires and equipment. But despite those impressive technical skills, there was a learning curve to making simple fabric masks. “They have improved a lot from how they looked at the beginning,” she said with a laugh, adding she will keep sewing masks as long as there’s a need. “I’m happy that I’m
Dina Qureshi seen at her sewing machine working on masks (above) and delivering masks to a Virginia hospital (right).
MAY/JUNE 2020 • 17
the foam and rivets, and all my employees are just sitting there putting them together.” Some of the shields produced at Grant’s Sterling facility have gone to StoneSprings Hospital near South Riding, as well as Reston Hospital and the Virginia Pediatric Group — all free of charge. The company also got several barrels of hand sanitizer, so Grant’s team has been bottling that for customers as well. Grant admits the busy work has served several purposes. “It’s mainly for the community because they couldn’t find them and it’s easy for us to do that,” he said. “And it definitely gives my people something to do. They were going stir-crazy sitting at home.”
An employee at GAM Graphics & Marketing models one of the face shields the company has been fabricating for local medical workers (top); a stack of face shields created by the staff at GAM (bottom).
doing something for the community. Something that might be small for me might help someone on the front lines from being exposed to the virus.” At press time, her next batch of masks was headed to a hospital in Winchester.
NATHANIEL GRANT When the health crisis ramped up in March, business started to drop off at GAM Graphics & Marketing. The company’s president — Ashburn Farm resident Nathaniel Grant — was trying to figure out what he was going to do with all his employees who suddenly had a lot less work. Then he heard about the desperate need for plastic face shields to protect healthcare workers. A lightbulb went off. The company could easily take the equipment it uses to make graphics and promotional displays and repurpose it for face shields. “We had to source the plastic – that was the biggest problem – so much of the plastic had already been grabbed,” Grant said. “We sourced it and ended up getting a thousand sheets, and we can get six masks out of each sheet. We got 18 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
You know the quote about it being easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission? Yeah, that applies perfectly to Peggy Tyree. Tyree works at Belmont Station Elementary School in Ashburn as an instructional facilitator of technology, or IFT, meaning she coaches fellow teachers as well as students in the use of technology. When Loudoun County schools closed suddenly in early March, Tyree grabbed the school’s two 3D printers and took them home. “I thought I would print out some of the work that the students had been working on as a way to keep them engaged,” she said. But fate had different plans. A parent from the school heard about the printers and suggested she use them to print the parts needed for plastic face shields. It turns out there was a whole community of 3D printing enthusiasts — including IFTs at other local schools — who were sharing face shield plans and communicating with local facilities that needed them. Tyree said the orders started coming in. “I’m using the school’s plastic that I brought home with me, and I’m ordering lamination film from Staples, as well as having rubber bands and Ziplocks delivered,” Tyree said. “The printers have been running for 10 days straight.” Shields created by Tyree and fellow instructors Patricia Smith from Discovery Elementary and Colette Bradley at Rosa Lee Carter Elementary have gone to the coronavirus floor at George
Washington Hospital, the Inova Loudoun Rehabilitation Center in Leesburg and several assisted- living facilities. Among those is Falcons Landing in Sterling, which had multiple coronavirus cases among its health-care residents and staff. Tyree started a fundraiser to replace Belmont Station’s plastic filament that she used in the 3D printers, and she hopes the good deeds she and the other IFTs are doing with the printers will earn their schools’ blessings. “I never asked permission,” she said with a laugh.
ZOHAIB BEGG Zohaib Begg doesn’t know how to sew or have his own factory or a 3D printer, but the 7-year-old boy knew he just had to do something for the doctors and nurses at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church. After all, he knew them personally. “Three years ago, they saved my life,” said Zohaib who lives in One Loudoun. “Now, I wanted to help the doctors.” Zohaib had a stomach tumor and was a patient at the hospital. Happily, he is fully recovered, but he still remembers the medical staff that took such good care of him. That includes his aunt, who works in the emergency room at Inova Fairfax. She had mentioned that even the caps doctors and nurses wear to keep their hair safely tucked away were in short supply. So with the help of his mom, Isma Zubair, Zohaib did some brainstorming and started reaching out to area hotels, asking them to donate elastic-banded shower caps he had remembered seeing on vacations. Hotels in Ashburn and Sterling were only too happy to help, leaving boxes of not only shower caps, but also gloves and face masks in their lobbies. It turns out that many hotels use different suppliers than hospitals do and were able to get PPE like these used by housekeeping and maintenance staff. Zubair drove her son around and they would run in and pick them up — no contact. Zohaib originally collected about 3,000 pieces of PPE, but then insisted they keep going because he wanted to beat
Zohaib Begg, 7, stands with shelves filled with personal protective equipment he collected from area hotels. Begg donated the materials to a hospital in Fairfax County where he had once been a patient.
the number of items collected by the National Cathedral in Washington. When all was said and done, Zohaib had rounded up more than 6,000 pieces of protective gear for his friends at the hospital. Word of the generous little boy quickly spread — not just in local media, but across the country, including coverage on the national ABC and CBS television newscasts. “I did not expect that, but I’m happy with all the attention I’m getting because usually my baby sister gets all the attention,” said Zohaib with perfect 7-year-old logic. “Now, she claps for me when she sees me on TV.” A
Hospital staff at George Washington Hospital were appreciative of face shields that were 3D printed by a group of technology teachers from Ashburn.
MAY/JUNE 2020 • 19
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THE BEST OF ASHBURN Meet Your Favorites
o call something the best, you better have some evidence to back it up. Lots of people think their school, or their mechanic or their favorite restaurant is the best — but who’s to say? But when a dozen, or two dozen, or a hundred or five hundred agree that something is the best — now there’s some weight behind it. And that’s just what happened in Ashburn Magazine’s first-ever Best of Ashburn survey. Readers couldn’t wait to throw their weight behind their favorite people, places and businesses around Ashburn. More than 5,400 voters responded in some 100 categories, casting nearly 40,000 individual votes. The parameters were relatively simple — we were looking for the best businesses based in Ashburn — which for our purposes extends from the Potomac River in the north to Route 50 in the south and from Goose Creek in the west to State Road 28 in the east. For some professional-type services — car dealers, pest control, etc. — we allowed Ashburnadjacent businesses to be nominated. So with no further ado, Ashburn Magazine is proud to present the winners in the inaugural Best of Ashburn survey. Thanks to our voters, and congratulations to all!
Best OF THE BEST Votes in our first Best of Ashburn survey were cast for thousands of nominees in 100 categories, but some emerged as clear local favorites. Here are the top 10 vote recipients who won their category, in order of votes received:
1. Ford’s Fish Shack ......................................................Seafood Restaurant 2. Independence High School ........................................... Public School 3. Blend Coffee Bar ................................................................. Coffee Shop 4. Christine LeTourneau .............................................. Real Estate Agent 5. Carolina Brothers Pit Barbeque ............................ BBQ Restaurant 6. Loudoun School for Advanced Studies ..................Private School 7. Wegmans .............................................................................Grocery Store 8. One Loudoun ......................................................................Retail Center 9. Buffalo Wing Factory ...................................................................... Wings 10. AhSo Restaurant .................................................................Fine Dining ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020 • 21
B E S T LO C A L B LO G G E R
AU T H O R
MUSIC SHOP B E S T DAT E S P OT
AhSo Restaurant 22855 BRAMBLETON PLAZA, #108, BRAMBLETON, VA 20148 WWW.AHSORESTO.COM 703-327-6600
FAVO R I T E PA R K
Ashburn Park (Dinosaur Park)
A&A Music 20020 ASHBROOK COMMONS PLAZA #110, ASHBURN VA 20147 22895 BRAMBLETON PLAZA #107, ASHBURN VA 20148 WWW.AAMUSICONLINE.COM 703-723-6545 ASHBURN 703-722-2242 BROADLANDS
Automotive AU TO D E A L E R S H I P
P L AC E O F WO R S H I P
St. Theresa Catholic Church B E S T P L AC E TO WO R K
Ahso Restaurant 22855 BRAMBLETON PLAZA, #108, BRAMBLETON, VA 20148 WWW.AHSORESTO.COM 703-327-6600
Lindsay Volkswagen 22455 LINDSAY CARS COURT, STERLING VA 20166 WWW.LINDSAYVW.COM 703-880-8000
AU TO R E PA I R S H O P
D&V Autobody Masters C A R WA S H
T I R E S TO R E
Ashburn Car Wash
Virginia Tire & Auto ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020 • 23
BEST OF ASHBURN 2020
BEST OF ASHBURN 2020
Beauty/ Wellness BARBER SHOP
Ashburn Barber Shop H A I R S A LO N
Hair Story by Serap
24 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
TA N N I N G S A LO N /S PA
Mountcastle Medical Spa and Laser Center 44095 PIPELINE PLAZA, SUITE 270, ASHBURN VA 20147 WWW.MOUNTCASTLEPLASTICSURGERY.COM 571-266-1776
Dr. Timothy Mountcastle, a double boardcertified plastic surgeon, and his team have turned their tiny Ashburn office into a national juggernaut. Their medical spa is in the Top 50 in the country in Allergan sales (the makers of Botox). The office specializes in cosmetic surgery of the breast, including breast augmentation, breast reductions, breast lift, and breast cancer reconstruction. Dr. Mountcastle is also one of the most experienced SmartLipo Triplex liposuction plastic surgeons in the area, performing over 150 liposuction cases each year. Their nationally accredited Vein Clinic has performed more than 5,000 varicose vein and spider vein procedures with beautiful results.
Thank you Ashburn for Voting! We are here because of Your Support!
C A M P/ S U M M E R P R O G R A M
Kickers Martial Arts Center 21750 RED RUM DR, ASHBURN VA 20147 WWW.KICKERSMARTIALARTS.COM 703-726-8889 WWW.KICKERSKIDS.COM KICKERSMAC@GMAIL.COM
Kickers Sports & Martial Arts Complex is locally owned and operated by Master Eric Thompson, who has an extensive background in martial arts. Thompson has been operating afterschool programs and summer camps since 1999. As Kickers grew, they realized parents and students wanted more than just martial arts. So a large gym was added to accommodate other programs for Ashburn area children. Providing a safe and fun facility for afterschool programs and summer camps is their main focus, but they also welcome trainers who can come in and hold group or private lessons in activities like Zumba, kick-boxing and mother-and-child yoga. Registration is underway for 2020 summer and fall programs.
We are offering Carry Out, Delivery and Online Orders. Go to parallelwineandwhiskey.com for details. (703) 858-0077
Broadlands Village Center 43135 Brdlnds Center Plaza #121, Broadlands, VA 20148
C H I L D C A R E / P R E S C H O O L / DAYC A R E
Chesterbrook Academy (Ashburn Farm)
Vacations Are What Bring Us Together
Nancy Jin, Nancy Jin Violin Studio
We are trusted travel advisors providing personalized service for over 18 years. Whenever you are ready, we are here to help you make your next dream vacation a reality!
Contact Us Today The Tashjian Team Ashburn, VA | 703-858-9933 email@example.com www.dreamvacations.com/rtashjian
ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020 • 25
BEST OF ASHBURN 2020
P R I VAT E S C H O O L
Loudoun School for Advanced Studies
Dining AMERICAN CUISINE
AhSo Restaurant PUBLIC SCHOOL
Independence High School
22855 BRAMBLETON PLAZA, #108, BRAMBLETON VA 20148 WWW.AHSORESTO.COM 703-327-6600
T E AC H E R
Kevin Oliveau, Loudoun School for Advanced Studies
Chin-Chin Cafe B A K E RY/ PA S T R I E S
T U TO R I N G S E RV I C E
Loudoun Test Prep
26 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
Great Harvest Bread Company
42351Azalea Azalea Lane, Lane, Dulles 42351 DullesVA VA • DECKS
INDOOR AND OUTDOOR DESIGN CENTER
INDOOR AND OUTDOOR DESIGN CENTER
• FIREPLACES • FIRE PITS
• FIRE PITS
• PERGOLAS • PORCHES & SUNROOMS • PORCHES & SUNROOMS • POOL HOUSES • POOL HOUSES • OUTDOOR KITCHENS • OUTDOOR KITCHENS • GARAGES • OUTDOOR FURNITURE • GARAGES • AND MORE... • OUTDOOR FURNITURE
• AND MORE...
Holloway Company is a family owned and operated outdoor living design/build firm serving North Prince William, Fairfax, and Loudoun counties in Northern Virginia. Making your Holloway Company is a family owned and operated outdoor dreams a reality by integrating your thoughts with our more living design/build firm serving Prince William, than 22 years of experience and North expertise. From conceptFairfax, to and Loudoun counties in Northern Virginia. Making your completion, it is our mission to use the best products and dreams a reality to bycreate integrating your thoughts with more skilled craftsmen inviting, well-designed, builtour and than 22 years of experience From conceptofto furnished outdoor living areas,and whileexpertise. developing a reputation completion, is our use business the best products and excellence toitearn ourmission clients’ to repeat and referrals.
skilled craftsmen to create inviting, well-designed, built and Our History furnished outdoor living areas, while developing a reputation of Accountability and professionalism are the primaryand focus of excellence to earn our clients’ repeat business referrals. every project we complete, and we back our work with industry-proven Our History warranties. As a native to the Washington, DC area, general manager Ted Tidmore started Holloway CompaAccountability and professionalism are the primary focus of ny in 1993. Since that time, he has concentrated on growing every project we complete, and we back our work with the business and serving his clients by focusing on two primary industry-proven warranties. As a native to the Washington, DC objectives:
area, general manager Ted Tidmore started Holloway Company in 1993. Since thatoftime, hecraftsmen has concentrated on growing 1. Establish a network skilled and superior labor the and serving his clients withbusiness a broad array of specialized skills.by focusing on two primary objectives: 2. Develop a lengthy list of outstanding references by applying personal integrity and expertise to each project.
1. Establish a network of skilled craftsmen and superior labor with a broad array of specialized skills. www.aHollowayCompany .com 2. Develop lengthy list of outstanding references by applying personal integrity and703-996-8099 expertise to each project.
www. HollowayCompany .com
BEST OF ASHBURN 2020 BEST OF ASHBURN 2020
BA BR AR
Parallel Parallel Wine Wine&& Whiskey Whiskey Bar Bar 43135 43135 BROADLANDS BROADLANDS CTR CTR PLAZA, PLAZA, #121, #121, BROADLANDS BROADLANDS VAVA 20148 20148 PARALLELWINEBISTRO.COM PARALLELWINEBISTRO.COM 703-858-0077 703-858-0077
Carolina Carolina Brothers Brothers Pit Pit Barbeque Barbeque
BR BE RW EW E RY/ E RY/ DD I SITSITLILLELRY E RY
Lost LostRhino Rhino CO CO F FFEFEE ES H SH OO PP
F IFNI N E ED D I NI N I NI N GG
AhSo AhSoRestaurant Restaurant 22855 22855 BRAMBLETON BRAMBLETON PLAZA, PLAZA, #108, #108, BRAMBLETON BRAMBLETON VAVA 20148 20148 WWW.AHSORESTO.COM WWW.AHSORESTO.COM 703-327-6600 703-327-6600
Blend Blend Coffee Coffee Bar Bar
HH AM AM BU BU RG RG ER E /R / CC HH E EESEESB EU BU RG RG ER ER
Five FiveGuys Guys
DD E LEIL/S I /S AN AN DW DW I CI C HH SH SH OO PP
I CI C E EC C RE RA EM AM / F/RF OZ R OZ EN EN
Santini's Santini's New NewYork York Style StyleDeli Deli
YO YO GG UU R TR TS H SH OO PP
Meadows MeadowsOriginal Original Frozen FrozenCustard Custard
Thanks for your votes! I’m so proud and grateful for the support of everyone who helped make me…
Best Realtor in Ashburn! Christine LeTourneau 16 years of service going “above and beyond!” Professional staging (included) Professional photography (included) Virtual 3D tour of your home (included) Please contact me with any of you real estate questions. I love to help!
Text/Cell 703-402-8024 28 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
“Fabulous experience. Christine knew everything about the process. She was patient, explained everything, and responded at every time of day, any day of the week. If you're in NoVA or moving here, DEFINITELY work with her. She's amazing!” E. Ostergaard
Christine LeTourneau, Realtor®, Licensed in VA 20396 Exchange Street, Ashburn, VA 20147
Text/Phone 703-402-8024 (O) 703-794-9494 Christine.Letourneau@LNF.com I www.SoldInLC.com
FAFA MM I LY I LYR E RSETAU S TAU RA RN AN TT
Blue BlueRidge RidgeGrill Grill 44065 44065 ASHBURN ASHBURN SHOPPING SHOPPING PLAZA, PLAZA, ASHBURN ASHBURN VAVA 20147 20147 22865 22865 BRAMBLETON BRAMBLETON PLAZA, PLAZA, BRAMBLETON BRAMBLETON VAVA 20148 20148 955 955 EDWARDS EDWARDS FERRY FERRY RDRD NE, NE, LEESBURG LEESBURG VAVA 20176 20176 WWW.BRGRILL.COM WWW.BRGRILL.COM | 703-327-1047 | 703-327-1047
Blue Blue Ridge Ridge Grill Grill has has been been a Loudoun a Loudoun favorite favorite since since 2002, 2002, offering offering classic classic American American cuisine. cuisine. They They take take pride pride inin the the great great quality quality and and consistency consistency ofof their their homemade homemade dishes dishes and and are are honored honored toto have have been been voted voted Best Best Family Family Restaurant Restaurant forfor the the past past 1717 years. years. Currently, Currently, they they are are offering offering curbside curbside pick-up pick-up oror delivery. delivery. Their Their menu menu has has been been streamlined streamlined toto provide provide the the best best quality quality toto guests guests during during these these unprecedented unprecedented times. times. For For the the latest latest details, details, gogo toto brgrill.com brgrill.com where where you you can can access access the the Blue Blue Ridge Ridge Grill Grill online online ordering ordering platform. platform. They They appreciate appreciate the the continued continued support support from from the the Ashburn Ashburn community. community. Hours Hours ofof Operation: Operation: Monday-Saturday, Monday-Saturday, noon-8 noon-8 p.m. p.m. Sunday, Sunday, noon-6 noon-6 p.m. p.m.
CONGRATULATIONS CONGRATULATIONS To To all all the the Best Best of of Ashburn Ashburn Winners Winners
From From Northern Northern Virginia’s Virginia’s best news source best news source
I NI N DD I AI N AN / S/O SO UU TH T HA S AISAI N AN
WE OFFER MORE THAN OTHER SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITIES. Ashby Ponds offers MORE than other senior living communities. While your loved one enjoys a great lifestyle, you can relax knowing they’re happy and safe. MORE FOR THE MONEY. MORE AMENITIES AND SERVICES. MORE PEACE OF MIND.
Get your FREE brochure. Call 1-800-981-9329 or visit AshbyPonds.com.
Ashburn, VA AshbyPonds.com ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020 • 29
BEST OF ASHBURN 2020
Health/ Medical A LT E R N AT I V E M E D I C I N E
I TA L I A N
Firefly Acupuncture & Wellness 20600 GORDON PARK SQUARE, #130, ASHBURN VA 20147 FIREFLYACUANDWELLNESS.COM 703-263-2142
Dr. Zach Casagrande, NOVA Orthodontics P E D I AT R I C I A N
Core Concepts Chiropractic
42882 TRURO PARISH DRIVE, SUITE 207, BROADLANDS VA 20148 WWW.CORE2CHIRO.COM 703-723-4178
PL ASTIC SURGEON
Ike Lans, DDS & Associates
Dr. Timothy Mountcastle Mountcastle Plastic Surgery
Ford’s Fish Shack
C H I R O P R AC TO R
Broadlands Family Practice
P R OV I D E R
G E N E R A L P R AC T I T I O N E R
Theresa Roth, Be Healthy Nutrition Counseling
Buffalo Wing Factory 30 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
44095 PIPELINE PLAZA, SUITE 430, ASHBURN VA 20147 MOUNTCASTLEPLASTICSURGERY.COM 703-858-3208 EXT. 2
*See Best Medical Spa category for more details.
E Y E D O C TO R
P SYC H I AT R I S T/ P S YC H O LO G I S T/
Dr. Jennifer Sun, Ashburn Eyecare Associates
C O U N S E LO R
BEST OF ASHBURN 2020
Home/Garden TIE CARPET CARE
M OW I N G / L A N D S C A P E S E RV I C E
Loudoun Carpet Care
Cedar Run Landscaping
129 N BAILEY LANE SUITE C, PURCELLVILLE 20700 LOUDOUN COUNTY PKWY #156, ASHBURN PURCELLVILLE: 540-324-4111 ASHBURN: 703-724-4300 CARPET CARE: 540-338-4300 WWW.LOUDOUNCARPETCARE.COM
Cedar Run provides complete Landscape Maintenance, Design/Build, and Snow Removal Services to high-end residential and commercial clients in the Northern Virginia area. Cedar Run was founded in 1996 with one truck and a trailer by Daryl Schauss. Schauss grew up locally and graduated from McLean High School. He attended Virginia Tech, graduating with a degree in Civil Engineering and has grown Cedar Run into a multi-million dollar, national award winning Landscape Company. Great landscaping will increase your property value. Whether it’s a patio, stone wall, erosion problem, outdoor fire pit or lighting, or simply beautiful gardens and grass, Cedar Run is here for you.
*See Best Flooring Company for more details.
F U R N I T U R E S TO R E
Belfort Furniture I N T E R I O R D E S I G N S E RV I C E S
It’s Done by Chantal Gibson
41859 JOHN MOSBY HIGHWAY, ALDIE VA 20105 WWW.CEDAR-RUN.COM | 703-327-7500
Pro-Mow PEST CONTROL
PestNow 22395 POWERS CT STERLING VA 20166 PESTNOW.COM | 877-284-2466
M A I D/C L E A N I N G S E RV I C E
Maid Brigade M OV I N G S E RV I C E
My Guys Moving & Storage 45726 ELMWOOD COURT, STERLING VA 20166 WWW.MYGUYSMOVING.COM 703-406-9605
32 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
PestNow is a part of Ashburn. Twenty years ago, four young men grew up here with a dream. They started this company by performing all the work themselves and now have one of the largest pest control companies in the United States. The roots of their success are buried deep within Ashburn — it is their home. As part of the community, they share a vested interest in its safety and success. All the work they perform — from termites to ants, bats and wildlife — they do with great care because this is their neighborhood.
Eagle Ridge Middle School Inner Courtyard
We are Open and Here for You. I want to assure you we are following all the CDC Guidelines, making all our projects safe!
Offering Full Service Landscape Maintenance and Landscape Enhancement, details include: LANDSCAPE DESIGN & ENHANCEMENT • Walkways & Patios • Plantings • Drainage Systems & Grading • Nightlighting • Water Gardens
ANNUAL LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE
• Mowing & Leaf Removal • Spring Clean-Up & Mulching • Garden Bed Maintenance • Pruning & Turf & Tree Care Programs• Seasonal Flower Rotation
Hello! I’m Daryl Schauss, owner of Cedar Run Landscaping. We’re in your neighborhood! And, would love to work with you! Spring and Summer are perfect times to plan your outdoor landscape and hardscapes, so give me a call!
Hello! I'm Darylwww.cedar-run.com Schauss, owner of Cedar Run Landscaping Company, a natiooffice: nal award703-327-7500 winning company specializing in creating, installing, and maintaining attractive and beautiful email: Info@cedar-run.com landscapes for single family homeowners in the Ashburn area. Over the past 24 years, we've been quietly building a company that oﬀers high quality work with exceptional service. If you're looking for a low cost landscaper, then we're not the company for you.
Thank you, Ashburn, for voting us Best Flooring Company and Best Carpet Care! Save on select carpet and flooring. Special Financing Available
We're in your neighborhood oﬀering full service landscape maintenance packages and landscape enhancement services and would love the opportunity to work with you!
Complete Carpet, Hard Wood and Vinyl Services
Carpet, Rug, Upholstery,Tile Cleaning & Hardwood Floor Buffing Locations in Ashburn 703-724-4300 and Purcellville 540-338-4300 ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020 • 33
BEST OF ASHBURN 2020
Miscellaneous T R AV E L AG E N C Y
The Tashjian Team — Dream Vacations ASHBURN VA WWW.DREAMVACATIONS.COM/ RTASHJIAN 703-858-9933 866-282-4177
34 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
S E N I O R L I V I N G FAC I L I T Y
Ashby Ponds 21170 ASHBY PONDS BLVD, ASHBURN VA 20147 WWW.ERICKSONLIVING.COM/ASHBY-PONDS 800-839-3496
Residents of Ashby Ponds often refer to the community as a “small town under one roof” for the wealth of amenities, including a pool, multiple restaurants, and a medical center — all connected through climate-controlled walkways. Here’s why your neighbors are moving to Ashby Ponds: • Freedom from repairs • Stylish apartment homes are maintenance-free! • Healthy peace of mind • On-site care to meet your current and future needs. • Predictable expenses • A refundable entrance deposit guarantees there is no financial risk, and a single monthly bill covers most utilities and a flexible dining plan.
Occasions C AT E R I N G
C O M PA N Y
Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm
Ford’s Wicked Catering
F LO R I S T
Lavender Fields P H OTO G R A P H E R
Andrew Sample BRAMBLETON VA WWW.ASAMPLEPHOTOGRAPHY.COM FACEBOOK@ASAMPLEPHOTOGRAPHY INSTAGRAM @ASAMPLEPHOTOGRAPHY 703-405-3483
Pets P E T B OA R D I N G
Olde Towne Pet Resort
S TO R E / GROOMING
Caring Hands Animal Hospital 43300 SOUTHERN WALK PLAZA, #124, ASHBURN VA 20148 WWW.CARINGHANDSVET.COM 703-726-0448
36 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
Professional Services AC C O U N TA N T
Maventri AT TO R N E Y
Legacy Law Centers Sam Mansoor, Esq. 44084 RIVERSIDE PKWY, SUITE 120, LEESBURG VA 20176 WWW.LEGACYLAWCENTERS.COM 571-396-6900
Legacy Law Centers, an estate planning law firm, provides the knowledge and guidance to preserve what you have created. Whether your goals are simple, such as transferring your wealth to your heirs or designating a guardian for your children, or more complex, such as shielding your estate from taxes, helping your heirs avoid probate, or protecting your assets from creditors, the team at Legacy Law Centers can help. Our local estate planning attorney, Sam Mansoor, takes the time to get to know you and listen to your story, offering personalized service that meets your needs and achieves your goals.
ASHBURN MAGAZINE â€˘ MAY/JUNE 2020 â€˘ 37
BEST OF ASHBURN 2020
Navy Federal Credit Union F I N A N C I A L A DV I S O R
Steve Salley, Salley Wealth Management 44075 PIPELINE PLAZA, SUITE 300, ASHBURN VA 20147 SALLEYWEALTHMANAGEMENT.COM 703-435-1406
I N S U R A N C E AG E N T/
Real Estate/ Construction/ Home Improvement ARCHITECT
C O U N T E R TO P S
Marc O’Grady Design
Granite Marble Works DMV
Joe Mullee, State Farm Insurance
Mister Sparky 21750 RED RUM DRIVE, SUITE 182, ASHBURN VA 20147 MISTERSPARKY.COM 571-620-6068
F LO O R I N G C O M PA N Y
Loudoun Valley Floors 129 N BAILEY LANE SUITE C, PURCELLVILLE VA 20132 20700 LOUDOUN COUNTY PKWY #156, ASHBURN VA 20147 WWW.LOUDOUNVALLEYFLOORS.COM WWW.LOUDOUNCARPETCARE.COM PURCELLVILLE: 540-324-4111 | ASHBURN: 703-724-4300 CARPET CARE: 540-338-4300
Loudoun Valley Floors and Loudoun Carpet Care take pride in every customer outcome. Since 1991, they have pledged, to the best of their ability, to complete every project on time, with the highest quality workmanship, exactly as expected. As your hometown source for world-class flooring, you’ll find the area’s broadest selection of flooring products and quality installation. Plus, they’ll help you keep them looking their best. You can expect exceptional attention to your needs, along with honest advice about the products we offer. • Sales and installation: Carpet, hardwood, luxury vinyl tile, laminate • Hardwood floor restoration • Carpet, upholstery and ceramic tile cleaning • Hardwood floor buffing • Repairs and maintenance 38 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
TIE LANDSCAPE C O N S U LTA N T
Cedar Run Landscaping 41859 JOHN MOSBY HIGHWAY, ALDIE VA 20105 WWW.CEDAR-RUN.COM 703-327-7500
*See Best Mowing/ Landscape Service for more details.
Rock Water Farm
Thanks for Voting Us ‘Best Moving Service’
Award Winning Service Local & Long Distance Residential & Commercial Secure Storage Facilities Packing Service & Supplies
ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020 • 39
BEST OF ASHBURN 2020
H VAC C O M PA N Y
H A N DY M A N / H O M E S E RV I C E S
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21730 RED RUM DRIVE, #182, ASHBURN VA 20147 WWW.MODERNMEC.COM 571-367-7713
Modern Mechanical is a veteran-owned small business that offers a wide range of home mechanical system services. They include: • One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning • Mister Sparky (electrical service) • Benjamin Franklin Plumbing • Modern Mechanical Commercial Services When it comes to providing total home coverage, they can’t be beat. They offer value through money-saving service plans so that your home operates efficiently and keeps you comfortable at one low price. Experience the Modern Mechanical difference and let them be your complete home services provider.
PA I N T I N G C O M PA N Y
Brush Strokes Painting & More EMAIL: MICKEY@BRUSHSTROKESPAINT.COM INSTAGRAM AND FACEBOOK: @BRUSHSTROKESPAINTINGLLC 703-731-6037
Brush Strokes Painting & More LLC proudly serves Ashburn and the Northern Virginia region. Let them open your eyes to the world of color! Their team of employees are quality conscious and their attention to detail is second to none. They will treat your home, family and place of business with the highest respect. Services include residential and commercial painting — both interior and exterior. Also, drywall repairs, wallpaper removal, deck staining and rehab, rotted wood replacement, pressure washing and trim install. Brush Strokes Painting & More appreciates the support of the community.
P L U M B I N G C O M PA N Y
Plumb Professionals ASHBURN, VA PLUMBPROFESSIONALS.COM INFO@PLUMBPROFESSIONALS.COM 703-402-3773
R E A L E S TAT E AG E N T
Christine LeTourneau 20396 EXCHANGE STREET, ASHBURN VA 20147 WWW.SOLDINLC.COM CELL: 703-402-8024 | OFFICE: 703-724-9494
Christine LeTourneau has been named Best Realtor in Ashburn out of more than 100 deserving nominees. Christine is a Long & Foster top-producing Realtor with over 16 years of experience buying and selling real estate in Ashburn and surrounding communities. A long-time Ashburn resident, she raised her family here, is active in the community, and involved with many local charities. After many hundreds of transactions, she is intimately familiar with the unique qualities of Ashburn’s distinct communities. She’s ready to offer real estate advice of any kind and looks forward to speaking with you. 40 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
Holloway Company 42351 AZALEA LANE, DULLES VA 20166 WWW.HOLLOWAYCOMPANY.COM 703-996-8099
Holloway Company is a family owned and operated outdoor living design/build firm serving Loudoun, Fairfax and north Prince William counties in Northern Virginia. Their team makes your dreams a reality by integrating your thoughts with Holloway’s more than 22 years of experience and expertise. From concept to completion, it is their mission to use the best products and skilled craftsmen to create inviting, well-designed, built and furnished outdoor living areas, while developing a reputation of excellence to earn their clients’ repeat business and referrals. Holloway is your choice for a superior outdoor living experience.
ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020 • 41
BEST OF ASHBURN 2020
BEST OF ASHBURN 2020
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Building trust, hard work, and relentless dedication for their customers is how opportunities like Best of Ashburn happen. That’s what Aaron Rumble believes and it’s the mantra he lives by. He started his company with the belief that the customer should always be in control and never feel under pressure. Your home is one of your most valuable assets and you should take time with any decisions. Rumble Exteriors has maintained a perfect 5-star rating due to always handling every home as if it’s their own. Rumble Exteriors can tackle all types of projects and specializes in roofing, windows, siding and more.
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*See Best Remodeling/Builder Company for more details. 42 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
44921 GEORGE WASHINGTON BLVD., ASHBURN VA 20147 WWW.YOGASHAKVA.COM 571-291-3902
R E TA I L C E N T E R ELECTRONICS/ COMPUTER
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y family has lived in Loudoun County for 14 years. We’re raising our two girls here. We started our business here. Every job created makes this community stronger and everyone’s lives better, That’s why I’ve served in leadership roles with groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary. Groups like these create opportunities for our community and a better life for those who love and work in Loudoun County. While helping other businesses grow, we’ve built a business dedicated to serving out community. Our business runs on integrity, a dedication to service, and the goal of making our community a great place to live. It’s our commitment to Loudoun County. We are here when you need us. To help you during this tough time, we have reduced pricing on Air Purification, AC Tune-ups, and System Replacements. We also offer contactless appointments and no payments for 18 months on any service with qualified financing. WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER! Thank you for Voting One Hour HVAC and also, Mister Sparky Electrical Best Of Ashburn 2020 Shawn Mitchell Our Community Commitment Runs Deep.
(571)367-7713 w w w . m o d e r n m e c . c o m ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020 • 43
BEST OF ASHBURN 2020
Our ER is Open for Emergency Care While the global spread of COVID-19 has made a tremendous impact on how we conduct patient care, what will never change is our commitment to the safety of every patient. If you are experiencing emergency symptoms of any kind it is both safe and necessary to seek medical attention. We are taking the following measures to ensure our ERs are a safe place for you to receive care:
Advanced protocols for your safety: As part of HCA Healthcare, we are uniquely positioned to use our enterprise-wide resources to provide rapid support and solutions to our patients and caregivers. Our hospital maintains advanced systems to prevent the spread of any infection, including COVID-19. •
Isolating COVID-19 patients, as well as those suspected to have COVID-19, to a designated section of our ER and dedicated inpatient unit
Rigorous sterilization and cleaning process between patient visits
Access restrictions and strict visitation policy
Comprehensive screening and temperature checks for staff and patients
Universal masking requirements for staff, patients, and visitors
Some symptoms which may require emergency medical attention include: •
Sudden dizziness, weakness, or numbness in limbs
Severe stomach or side pain
To learn more, call Consult-A-Nurse® 24/7 at (855) 226-7344 or visit StoneSpringsHospital.com/ER.
To T he Moon
Lansdowne resident played critical role in the first lunar landings BY J OE MOTHER AL
hen American astronauts first set the Apollo Lunar Module down on the moon — on July 20, 1969, during the Apollo 11 mission — they fortunately landed on a very smooth, flat parcel of terrain, one unmarred by ditches or boulders that could have endangered the mission. That landing spot wasn’t by chance. It was the result of countless hours of research and study by a team of scientists led by Lansdowne resident Dr. Farouk El-Baz. That’s right — we have our own NASA hero right here in the neighborhood. How big a deal is El-Baz? So big that a spaceship (actually a shuttle craft) on the iconic sci-fi show “Star Trek: The Next Generation” was named the “El-Baz” after the eminent scientist. For six lunar missions — from 1969 to 1972 — El-Baz was responsible for researching landing sites, developing scientific objectives and helping finalize the choices. It’s just one highlight from a career dedicated to uncovering the secrets of the earth and beyond. “I was very lucky to be able to start with a basic science and 46 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
(clockwise from top) Dr. Farouk El-Baz working at NASA; Dr. El-Baz meeting with astronauts Ronald Evans and Robert Overmeyer during the Apollo missions; Dr. El-Baz with former astronaut Alfred Worden.
MAY/JUNE 2020 â€˘ 47
PHOTO COURTESY CBS PARAMOUNT TELEVISION
(above) Dr. Faouk El-Baz with his wife, Patricia; (at right) an image from the television show “Star Trek: The Next Generation” showing a shuttle craft named the “El-Baz.”
develop all kinds of things from it,” El-Baz said. “I feel very good that my knowledge led to many significant things, including finding water in deserts — something essential for people who need it most.” El-Baz was born in 1938 in Zagazig, Egypt, in the Nile Delta region. His parents moved several times before settling in the capital of Cairo, where El-Baz, one of nine children, attended high school. He then went to Ain Shams University College of Science and studied geology. “I had been fascinated by natural rock landforms on Boy Scout trips during my school years,” he said. After El-Baz received his bachelor’s degree in geology and chemistry, his studies brought him to America, where he earned a master’s degree and doctorate in geology from the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy (today known as the Missouri University of Science & Technology). El-Baz went on to work in Germany, then Egypt, and eventually returned to America in 1966 to look for a job in his field. “I took a house-painting job while I applied for a job by writing 120 letters that my wife typed,” El-Baz recalled. One of his letters was in response 48 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
to an ad in Physics Today magazine looking for a geologist to work on the lunar program. “I immediately went to interview in Washington D.C.,” he said. “The man I met first was Ed Nixon, brother of the future president, Richard Nixon. Ed himself was a geologist.” That interview led to El-Baz going to work for Bellcomm at NASA’s headquarters, and in 1968 becoming the secretary of NASA’s landing site selection committee, working with a team of 28 scientists. El-Baz is rightfully proud of the committee’s accomplishments. “Successful site selection for the six Apollo missions was a great achievement — particularly because none of the participants had been there or had experienced anything like it,” he said. Indeed, this was work unlike any ever done by a geologist. No one knew exactly what the moon’s surface was like — how big the boulders and rocks were, how deep the ditches, gullies and valleys, even how thick the dust was. What if a lunar lander set down and disappeared into a thick layer of dust? One of the key missions for El-Baz was the Lunar Orbiter, which mapped the surface of the moon in preparation
for the Apollo missions. “I concentrated my efforts on the 2,000-plus images sent by Lunar Orbiter,” El-Baz said. “I began to classify the lunar surface features and study their locations for landing site selection. I kept data on 3-by-5 [index] cards.” The team’s goal was to find a flat surface that would allow the lunar craft to land perfectly upright, which in turn would ensure a smooth launch at the end of the astronauts’ time on the moon. El-Baz’s work with NASA went far beyond just analyzing the surface landing spots. He was also heavily involved in astronaut training, helping the men of the Apollo program learn about making visual observations on the moon as well as taking photos on the moon. The astronauts referred to El-Baz as “the King.” Astronaut Alfred Worden, who passed away in March, once commented on him from space. “After the King’s training, I feel like I’ve been here before,” Worden said while orbiting the moon during Apollo 15 in 1971. While working at NASA, El-Baz became a U.S. citizen. After the Apollo missions wrapped up, he went on to create and lead the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies, a scientific unit that is part of the National Air & Space
(left) Dr. Farouk El-Baz is seen with former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in the 1970s; (below) Dr. El-Baz stands on a Cairo street named in his honor.
Museum in Washington. “Farouk El-Baz has been a pioneer in research, expanding our knowledge of the geology of Earth and other planets from his lunar geology,” said Dr. Ellen Stofan, a former chief scientist at NASA, now also with the Air & Space Museum. “But even more, he has been a supportive and encouraging mentor to so many planetary scientists — including me.” El-Baz’s career continued for many years after his time at NASA. He served as an advisor to former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat. He worked in private industry and in academia. He studied satellite imagery and discovered ancient rivers hidden beneath desert sands and — most importantly — located sources of fresh water for desert communities that desperately needed it. His list of awards is long, as are the many ways he’s been recognized. In the HBO docuseries “From the Earth to the Moon,” co-produced by Ron Howard and Tom Hanks, El-Baz’s role in the
training of the Apollo astronauts was highlighted in a segment called “The Brain of Farouk El-Baz.” He even has a street named in his honor in Cairo and an asteroid named after him in space. Eventually, the globe-trotting scientist retired, and he and his wife, Patricia, moved to the Lansdowne Woods community to be closer to one of their daughters and her children. Today, the 82-year-old enjoys time with the couple’s four grown daughters and seven grandchildren. He also is hard at work on two books — one is his improbable life story, the other about ancient Egyptians and how natural landforms in the desert influenced their culture’s monuments. And does he ever stop and look up at the moon in the night sky — a moon he still knows better than almost any living person? Of course. “If the moon is up, I look at it and I think of the old days and how much we learned about it,” Dr. El-Baz said. “The things learned about the moon are reflected in our knowledge of the earth and Mars and beyond. I think of it as our first step in learning about the universe.” A Joe Motheral has been a writer for more than 50 years. He’s a member of the National Press Club and lives in Lansdowne Woods with his wife, Marjorie. MAY/JUNE 2020 • 49
home sweet home
‘Odd Jobs’ From painting to poles, handyman reveals most popular projects BY CH R I S WA DSWO RT H
any little kids love playing with tools and building things — and for many, this joy sticks with them when they grow up. Toy hammers and saws give way to the real things. Forts built with sticks in the woods beget a first attempt at building a table or a set of shelves. That’s the story of Ashburn Village 50 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
resident John Petersburg. Raised in Falls Church, the lifelong tinkerer worked a series of odd jobs before a stint at Home Depot helped crystallize his goals. He spent his breaks reading the store’s many “How To” manuals and realized he needed to make good use of his passion for woodworking and fixing things. Thus JP Handyman Services was
born 13 years ago — and it’s been off to the races ever since. The company just won Best Handyman/Home Services in the Best of Ashburn 2020 survey. Ashburn Magazine talked to Petersburg about the most common handyman work in Ashburn, the oddest work he’s been asked to do and what trends he sees in area homes.
HOME SWEET HOME HOW MUCH OF YOUR WORK IS REPAIRING THINGS VERSUS BUILDING THINGS? “It’s pretty close to 50-50, installing something new or building something new versus fixing things. You definitely have the people who want custom built-ins or things like that. Otherwise, replacing a microwave or a light fixture, adding something new like that. On the repair side, lots of drywall repairs — that’s one of the biggest things — someone is moving, or the kids damaged something, or there has been a leak.” ASHBURN MAGAZINE: HOW DID YOU GET INTO HANDYMAN WORK? “I’ve always had the bug. I’ve always been handy with my hands. My grandfather was a master carpenter. My grandfather and dad would always be building something or putting in a new window or a door. And, as a kid, I always loved taking things apart and putting them back together and fixing things.”
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON PROJECTS FOR A HANDYMAN IN ASHBURN? “It definitely is drywall and painting — people moving, coming and going, turnover on their homes. Lots of people getting ready to sell and they want to make their house more presentable. Otherwise, lots of microwave replacements. It’s just that time now — the original microwaves are starting to
go out in older Ashburn homes, or they are looking for a stronger microwave, or a new range hood with a vent that vents outside. We definitely get a lot of that.”
WHAT ARE THE TRENDS RIGHT NOW IN ASHBURN? WHAT PROJECTS ARE PEOPLE DOING THE MOST OF? “I wouldn’t call this something new — but definitely on the uptick — is painting and flooring. People are switching to grays. They want to change up their wall colors. People get sick of their carpet, and they want to move into a real hardwood or an engineered laminate faux hardwood. Lots of people are tearing out
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HOME SWEET HOME carpets and redoing their floors to be more current.” WHAT ARE THE HARDEST PROJECTS FOR HOMEOWNERS TO TACKLE THEMSELVES — THINGS THEY NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP WITH? “People do not want to touch plumbing or electrical. A lot of homeowners will tackle anything in their house, but when it comes to power or water, it terrifies them. Those are the things that you can do a lot of damage to yourself or your home if you do it wrong. Most times, a handyman can do those things. I’m not a licensed plumber or electrician, but there are a lot of those things that I can do — a typical repair or changing some plumbing is no issue.” HOW MUCH OF YOUR WORK IS FIXING SOMETHING SOMEONE ELSE TRIED TO DO ON THEIR OWN? “Quite often. Maybe two or three out of every 10 calls. Definitely there are people who start a flooring project
and then realize it’s tougher than they thought. I’ve had people try to patch drywall themselves and it didn’t come out quite right. People have started a bathroom and then realized they were in over their head. I get a lot of garbage disposals that are broken or clogged, and they try to do it themselves and then something is leaking or it’s not on quite right and they call me to square it away for them.” DO YOU THINK ASHBURN IS A GOOD PLACE FOR HANDYMAN BUSINESSES? IT SEEMS THERE IS A LOT OF MONEY AND A LOT OF BUSY PEOPLE WHO MAY NOT HAVE TIME FOR BIG JOBS THEMSELVES. “I have said that verbatim to people before. This area is just fantastic. I don’t usually travel more than 10 miles from home. This area is definitely ‘Cashburn.’ People here are stable, they have decent jobs, and they don’t have the time to do it and they are willing to pay to have someone else do it. They
bserving the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services, Shenandoah Valley WestminsterCanterbury (SVWC) is taking strict measures to protect our residents and staff. We hope that you and your loved ones stay safe and well. Now more than ever, SVWC is connected to our residents, connected to our community, connected for life. Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury
300 Westminster-Canterbury Drive Winchester, VA 22603 540-665-5914 | 800-492-9463 www.svwc.org 52 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
just want to have it done and not mess with it — and that’s great for me.” WHAT IS THE ODDEST THING YOU’VE EVER BEEN ASKED TO FIX OR BUILD? “I’ve remodeled a kitchen for someone who was selling their house, only to have the new buyer hire me to tear it out because they didn’t like the color. That was odd. One client wanted to put a pole in his house, and a Jacuzzi tub in the bedroom, with a little waterfall shower. Basically a very adult area. I did a lot of that, but he ended up putting the pole in himself.” A
Dr. Kharmouche L E E SBU RG , V I RG I N I A
L E E S BURG, VI RGI NI A
Dr. Jean-Claude Kharmouche has been practicing advanced periodontics and the art of Implant Dentistry for over twenty years. He is a Board-Certiﬁed Periodontist and an Associated Professor at VCU-MCV. He believes in education and in staying up to date with new advanced techniques through participating in international and national meetings. Dr. Kharmouche ﬁnds value in sharing his experience with colleagues and the entire dental community and encourages growth by leading various Study Clubs in Loudoun County. Dr. Kharmouche is the founder of Nova Perio Specialists. He caters to NOVA patients in Leesburg, Sterling and Gainesville. He is a member of the American Academy of Periodontology, Virginia Society of Periodontics, American Dental Association and Northern Virginia Dental Society. He enjoys working out, traveling within the US & abroad and visiting local wineries. Gainesville Office
Sterling Office 21165 Whitfield Pl., #107 Sterling, VA 20165
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real estate roundup Home sales in Ashburn remained strong in the first quarter of 2020, even as the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic began to settle in, according to data from the Dulles Area Association of Realtors. The total number of closed sales in the 20147 and 20148 Zip codes were essentially equivalent to the prior year, and the median sales price increased, especially in the 20147 Zip code. And houses weren’t on the market for long, typically selling within 20 days. However, both pending sales and new listings declined countywide in March, the DAAR reported, indicating that potential sellers may be waiting until the crisis eases to put their houses on the market. MEDIAN SALES PRICE
10 5 JAN
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54 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
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ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020 • 55
A Good Egg The Blend’s best-selling sandwich has a hint of heat BY CH RI S WADSWORTH
hey say no great story ever started with a salad, and that holds true for this one. Instead, it was after a couple of bottles of wine one New Year’s Eve that friends Tracey Powell and Mimi Backhausen finally got serious about planning the coffee shop they wanted to open near their homes in the Broadlands. The fruit of their labor is Blend Coffee Bar, a java joint and eatery in Ashburn’s Southern Walk Plaza. It’s so popular, it just won Best Coffee Shop in the Best of Ashburn 2020 survey. “We just felt Ashburn needed a place with character and great coffee, like the shops Mimi had seen when she lived in other cities around the world,” Powell said. And every great coffee shop needs a great nosh to go with the drinks. But the Blend wasn’t going to pursue some bland egg-and-meat breakfast sandwich like the ones found at so many chain shops. They had a different idea in mind.
56 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
“We experimented with some other varieties like pesto and turkey — but the egg, shredded white cheddar, spinach, sriracha blended with mayo — was by far the most popular,” said Powell, adding that the pork sausage patty on the sandwich is completely optional. “The sriracha mayo blend was inspired by my frequent visits to Vietnamese soup locations that serve pho,” said Powell’s husband, J.D. Powell, who curated the sandwich’s ingredients. “I fell in love with sriracha and basically put it on everything.” And every great sandwich deserves a great name. So what did the Blend call their signature dish? Answer: the “Egg Sandwich.” OK, so that wasn’t so hot. That’s why they just recently renamed it the “Egg Sammy.” Blend is approaching its fifth anniversary — Powell and Backhausen opened the shop in October 2015. And very quickly, the egg sandwich became their best-seller. “We had problems getting our electrician to get everything working — specifically the oven — right up until the night we opened. So we had never even practiced the production of the egg sandwich or cooked one at Blend until opening day,” Powell said.
“A perfect combination of crunchy bagel, soft egg, oozing cheese with a hint of heat.” Backhausen said. The goal is to develop additional unique menu items that will bring customers in more frequently for lunch and dinner. They’ve partnered with a professional chef — Ammar
“Luckily … we got the eggs to come out nice and fluffy and had a line out the door all day. It was such a sloppy operation, and I burned myself several times, but all was good.” No kidding. Today, Blend sells 40 to 60 of the egg sandwiches on a typical weekend morning. Some people get them on English muffins, but Steve Ahlberg, an Ashburn Village father of three, prefers his on a bagel. “I openly suspend my Long Island bagel snobbery and seek this sandwich out without remorse,” Ahlberg said. “A perfect combination of crunchy bagel, soft egg, oozing cheese with a hint of heat.” During the coronavirus crisis, like many other restaurants, Blend has been offering online ordering with curbside pick-up only. It’s been challenging, but the dynamic duo is looking to the future. “During this unfortunate down time, we’ve started renovations to our small kitchen to expand our food menu,”
Ikram from Flavour — to help expand the food offerings. New, improved sandwiches as well as crepes are first up. And that may not be all. Powell and Backhausen — who’ve made such a success out of their vision of a place to “blend people together with coffee” — continue to brew up new ideas. “Mimi and I do like to dream up fun, new projects,” Powell said. “Perhaps a turquoise vintage VW coffee bus or a golf cart going around, delivering excellent coffee drinks, egg sandwiches and positive energy should be next.” A
ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020 • 57
Back in Time A day trip to beach 10 million years in the making BY J I L L DE V INE
eeing a 10-million-year-old shark’s tooth in a museum is cool, but who wouldn’t rather find one at the beach? Look no further than Calvert Cliffs State Park in Lusby, Md., where finding such fossils is an everyday occurrence. About five miles north of Solomons Island, the park entrance is less than a two-hour drive from Ashburn.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE Our family started visiting Calvert Cliffs years ago in an effort to find an activity that would make all four of our kids — two boys and two girls — happy at the same time. We weren’t disappointed. The 1,400-acre park delivered — with a quarter-mile natural beach rich in shells and fossils where we all enjoyed the sun and swimming, 13 miles of hiking trails, a pond for fishing, a network of freshwater and tidal marshlands, an expansive playground, and clean bathrooms and picnic facilities. The first time we visited Calvert Cliffs State Park, we weren’t sure what to expect. My husband wisely brought a backpack to tote our baby girl as we began our 1.8-mile hike along the designated path to the shore. The terrain was unlike any we had ever experienced together, twisting through pine and hardwood forests before giving way to swamps, wetlands, and then finally a small beach brightly lighted beneath blue skies. My oldest son, Charlie, who at the time was obsessed with “Jurassic Park” movies, convinced his siblings that we were trekking through a movie set, with prehistoric danger lurking behind every tangle of vines. 58 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
Instead of dinosaurs, we have been amazed over the years to spot modernday creatures up close in their natural setting, including frogs, turtles, crabs, bald eagles and all kinds of waterfowl and even beavers building a dam. The reward at the end of the hike is always, of course, the fossil-rich beach, where so many family memories have been made. Charlie, who grew up to be an environmental scientist and Ph.D. research assistant at the University of Arizona, says our Calvert Cliffs visits had a big impact in helping him choose his career path of environmental science and hydrometeorology. He
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO Arrive early during peak times/ seasons: The park is popular on weekends and holidays, and the entrance will close once the large parking lot is at capacity. There is a $7 per vehicle out-of-state entrance fee: Different rates for walk/ bike-ins, buses and annual passes. Credit cards not accepted. No ATM available. Amenities: There is a bathroom with running water at the park entrance; a few portable toilets are located at the beach. Dogs are allowed in the park on leash. Expect to walk: The foot trail to the beach is 1.8 miles, so the round-trip walk is a little more than 3.5 miles. The trail is mostly a dirt path through forest, although long sections are built up with deck planks through marshes and wetlands. Some sections dip into ankle-deep water after heavy rain, and many sections are bumpy with tree roots and exposed rocks. What to wear: If it’s warm and you plan to get in the water, put on your swimsuit before you go, because there are no changing facilities on the small beach. Because the hike is long and muddy, wear old, broken-in, comfortable closed-toe shoes. What to pack: Pack lightly. Bring a small shovel and a lightweight sand sifter to search for sharks’ teeth. Sunscreen and bottled water are musts; insect repellent is advised. Bring a towel for swimming/sitting. Pack a small firstaid kit, including adhesive bandages. Picnics/food/coolers: Except for small snacks, it is best to leave all food in a cooler in your car to enjoy before or after your hike to the beach.
IF YOU GO Calvert Cliffs State Park 10540 H. G. Trueman Road Lusby, MD 20657 Contact: 301-743-7613 Regular Hours: Open daily, sunrise to sunset, year round* *Due to the coronavirus crisis, the beach and playground have been closed, while the rest of the park has been open. Due to the changing circumstances, please check on the current status of the park before making a trip to Calvert Cliffs.
once told me that Calvert Cliffs was his first exposure to a beach shoreline that wasn’t along an open ocean, where he noticed the diversity of plants and animals. Of course, the lure of fossils added to the experience. FINDING FOSSILS “You’re guaranteed to find a fossil when you visit the Calvert Cliffs beach,” said Zakary Lellis-Petrie. He’s a seasonal ranger for Friends of Calvert Cliffs State Park, a group dedicated to maintaining and improving the park. “It might not be a shark’s tooth, but just about every scallop shell you find, and many of the oyster and clam shells, will be more than 10 million years old,” said Lellis-Petrie. Ten to 20 million years ago, in the middle of what is known as the Miocene epoch, a shallow sea covered all of southern Maryland. Ancient sharks, whales, stingrays, long-snouted dolphins, seals and sea cows swam in the warm waters, along with scallops, clams, oysters and snails. Crocodiles, turtles and ocean birds inhabited the shoreline, along with peccaries (piglike creatures), camels, horses and even rhinos and mastodons. A calving ground for whales and dolphins, the sea attracted enormous megalodon sharks, which left large teeth behind as evidence of their presence. During a recent visit, LellisPetrie proudly pulled such a tooth out of his pocket, which he found on the beach not long ago.
The Calvert Cliffs, which rise over 100 feet and occupy more than 30 miles along the western side of the Chesapeake Bay in Calvert County, were formed when the ancient sea retreated and exposed the sea floor. Today more than 600 species of fossils can be found in the crumbling, sandy cliffs. According to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the cliffs are the most extensive assemblage of Miocene fossils in the eastern United States. MEMORY MAKERS On our first trip, Charlie discovered the first fossil – a chunk of rock about the size of a volleyball heavily embedded with ancient shells, much to the delight of younger sister Michelle and brother Philip. Baby sister Beth returned many times over the years with us to find her own sharks’ teeth and shell fossils as well. As a mother, nothing compares to seeing siblings laugh and work together while they hunt for treasure and build the occasional sandcastle. Skateboards, cell phones, video games and Barbie dolls forgotten, it was a joy to see them focused on the beauty of nature and each other’s company. A word of warning: Walking under and digging into the actual cliffs is dangerous and illegal. There have been several fatalities as the result of collapsing sand and landslides. Fossil searching is allowed only on adjoining beaches, which are replenished daily with fossils and shells after storm waves and retreating tides. In fact, the best time to find fossils is after a storm during low tide. Our kids are grown now, but my husband and I still visit Calvert Cliffs. It’s a great spot for everyone — solo hikers, couples on a date, families and — most of all — fossil hunters. A Jill Devine is a freelance writer who lives in Loudoun County. When not writing, she enjoys her job as a kindergarten teaching assistant for Loudoun County Public Schools. ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020 • 59
S Ptomaine on the Farm Senator Stewart and the illfated auction in Ashburn BY C H R I S WADSWO RT H 60 • ASHBURN MAGAZINE • MAY/JUNE 2020
mall articles started appearing in newspapers in August 1903. William Morris Stewart, a powerful and wealthy U.S. senator from Nevada, had hosted an auction at his farm in Ashburn, Virginia. Let’s just say the event didn’t go well. One of the articles read, in part: “A large number of persons had gathered to attend the sale of a dairy farm owned by Senator Stewart, of Nevada. The Senator served to the prospective buyers a light luncheon, consisting of coffee and sandwiches. Shortly afterwards fifty person were taken violently ill, suffering from ptomaine poisoning. One after another they fell to the ground, writhing in agony. Horsemen were dispatched in all directions for doctors, and a number responded and took prompt measures to relieve the sufferings. The doctors say the patients are out of danger, although many are exceedingly sick.” The report appeared in papers around the nation, each one offering a slightly different spin. Some said up to 100 men were sickened. Some said there were 500 people at the auction, others said 600. Some reported that people were suffering cramps and nausea and coughing up blood. The culprit was eventually identified as beef in the sandwiches that had probably spoiled while in storage over several days at the farm. The term “ptomaine poisoning” is an obsolete medical term usually describing plain old food poisoning.
TIME TRAVEL While Senator Stewart’s refreshments may not have gone over well, he was nevertheless a major figure in the nation and here in Ashburn. Stewart was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1865 as one of the first two senators from Nevada after it became a state. He served until 1875, then was re-elected years later and served from 1887 until 1905. His home in Washington was known as “Stewart’s Castle” and was a hub of the city’s social scene. But he also must have enjoyed the countryside and farming as well, because he lived on his dairy farm in Ashburn from 1895 until 1905. “Stewart turned Ashburn plantation into a large dairy operation and reportedly was the first dairyman in Loudoun to pasteurize milk through steam power,” Loudoun historian Eugene Scheel wrote in a history of the area. “When colleagues and bigwigs came out from Washington, he would deck out his 40-man staff in white and treat guests to a farm tour. Stewart was especially proud of the steamdriven fans that kept flies away from the cow stalls.” Much of the 500-plus acres that was Stewart’s dairy farm eventually became the heart of the development we know today as Ashburn Farm. The community homeowner’s association gave Ashburn Magazine access to its historic
documents, and we traced the ownership from Stewart all the way to the apparent last private owners — the Gray family, who lived there for decades. The property that was the original farmstead known as “Ashburn” ran from Claiborne Parkway in the west to Ashburn Road in the east, and from Ashburn Park (Dinosaur Park) in the north to roughly the site of St. Theresa’s Church in the south. The large, rambling farmhouse in which Stewart lived and likely hosted his ill-fated dairy auction survived much of the 20th century. Rare photos of it were found in a 1956 insurance policy — and are published here for what may be the first time ever. When the farmhouse was finally torn down is unclear, but documents say it was somewhere between 1960 and 1988. Several sources say it was located roughly in the area of Windmill Park off Ashburn Farm Parkway, near the current location of the Ashburn Farm community center and swimming pool. Some of the details of Ashburn’s storied history are certainly lost to the mists of time, but thanks to old newspaper clippings, an odd and infamous moment of mass poisoning is recorded — and now remembered — once again. A
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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. 7
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Bruster’s Real Ice Cream has delayed its opening in Broadlands from early April until at least May, due to the coronavirus health crisis. Bruster’s is going into a corner spot in the Broadlands Village Center and will feature eight service windows for walk-up ice cream ordering. 5 RUBINO’S PIZZERIA
OPENS IN ASHBROOK MARKETPLACE
center. Despite the new location, as of press time the new dining room remained closed per health restrictions on restaurants. Rubino’s — which also has locations in the Broadlands and Herndon — was focusing on curbside and delivery service. 6 EAGLE RELEASED BACK INTO THE WILD
Rubino’s Pizzeria opened its new location in Ashbrook Marketplace in April, moving from its previous location just a block or so away in the neighboring Ashbrook Commons shopping
A bald eagle found ill on the side of Sycolin Road back in February has been successfully treated and released back into the wilds between Ashburn and Leesburg. The bird was rescued by passersby who thought it had been hit by a vehicle. But when it got to a
wildlife rehabilitation center in Boyce, it was found to be suffering extreme lead poisoning. Fortunately, the eagle recovered and was released in the same area where it was found a month earlier.
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A regional fast-casual chain called Grill
It’s probably several years away, but future road plans in Ashburn show a street called Thumb Drive. Thumb Drive is clearly a play on the name of the small USB storage devices that plug into computers. When built, it will run between Prentice Drive and Shellhorn Road — both of which are being extended to offer alternative routes into Ashburn other than paying the tolls on the Dulles Greenway.
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2 GRILL KABOB SIGNS
3 THUMB DRIVE,
The huge Brambleton neighborhood in southern Ashburn is officially getting its first gas station — something residents have waited years for. The new Shell station will be owned by the Rubino family, which also owns the local Rubino’s Pizzeria chain. It will be built next to the Onelife Fitness center in the Brambleton Town Center, along Northstar Boulevard. The station will include a new convenience store brand called the Filling Co. being created by the Rubinos.
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Kabob has signed a deal to open in Ashburn’s Commonwealth Center, at Loudoun County Parkway and Russell Branch Parkway. The restaurant specializes in Afghan flavors, including kabobs, sandwiches and salads. There are Grill Kabob’s in Maryland, Washington and Virginia, including one in the food court at the Dulles Town Center.
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