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Since 1988 • Priceless

From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

May 2021

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Setting the Standard In Old Town Since 1979


may’21 A Division of Crier Media Group OTC Media LLC PO Box 320386 Alexandria, VA 22320 571-257-5437 office@oldtowncrier.com oldtowncrier.com Published the first week of every month. Worth waiting for! PUBLISHER Bob Tagert MARKETING & ADVERTISING Lani Gering Bob Tagert Meg Mullery SOCIAL MEDIA & WEBSITE Ashley Schultz DESIGN & PRODUCTION Electronic Ink 9 Royal Street, SE Leesburg, VA 20175 703. 669. 5502 Sarah Becker Cheryl Burns F. Lennox Campello Steve Chaconas Scott Dicken Doug Fabbioli Matt Fitzsimmons Nicole Flanagan Lani Gering Miriam Kramer Genevieve LeFranc Cindy McGovern Meg Mullery

CONTRIBUTORS Melinda Myers Vanessa Orr Billy Phibbs Ron Powers Kim Putens Julie Reardon Ashley Schultz Jaime Stephens Bob Tagert Aaron Tallent Carl Trevisan Ryan Unverzagt Lori Welch Brown

4

18

30

A Bit of History................................................................ 9

From the Trainer............................................................40

Points on Pets.................................................................20

After Hours.......................................................................13

Gallery Beat.....................................................................14

Publisher’s Notes.............................................................. 2

Alexandria Events............................................................ 3

Go Fish...............................................................................42

Road Trip...........................................................................26

Arts & Antiques..............................................................15

Grapevine.........................................................................35

Caribbean Connection...............................................22

High Notes.......................................................................12

Dining Guide...................................................................34

Let’s Eat..............................................................................32

Dining Out.......................................................................30

Local Farmers Markets................................................... 3

Exploring Virginia Wines............................................37

National Harbor.............................................................44

Financial Focus.................................................................. 8

On the Road with OTC................................................... 1

First Blush.........................................................................41

Open Space.....................................................................43

The Last Word.................................................................11

Fitness................................................................................39

Personality Profile............................................................ 6

To the Blue Ridge......................................................... 28

From the Bay...................................................................24

Pets of the Month.........................................................21

Urban Garden.................................................................16

Social Media Message................................................... 2 Special Feature: Brood X............................................... 4 Special Feature: Cooking with Cicadas................33 Special Feature: Mother's Day.................................17 Take Photos, Leave Footprints.................................18

© 2020 Crier Media Group, Inc. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. The Old Town Crier is published monthly and distributed to select Alexandria residents, hotels, restaurants and retail shops. Also distributed in the Annapolis, Fredericksburg, Blue Ridge and Washington, DC areas and St. John, USVI.

On the road with OTC

about the cover BroodX Is On the Way... See story on page 4.

No rainy night in Georgia when Joanne and Jeffrey Fisher, formerly of National Harbor, paid an April visit to Wormsloe Plantation outside of Savannah during a road trip to Savannah, Charleston and Saint Augustine. They didn't get there on the midnight train, either, according to Jeffrey. Pictured here at Wormsloe Historic Site, in celebration of Earth Day 2021, Joanne decided it would be a good idea to take their copy of the April OTC with them on their trek and snapped a shot in the wilds of Mother Nature. If you would like to see your photograph in this space, take a copy of the OTC with you and snap a high resolution image and send it along with information for the caption to office@oldtowncrier.com. Your photo will appear both online and in the print version. Please include your mailing address so we can make sure you get a hard copy.

Old Town Crier

May 2021 | 1


PUBLISHER’S NOTES

BOB TAGERT

As I write this we have had our first super moon of the month and the first 80 degree day of the year. It feels like change is in the air. COVID-19 restrictions are being eased in some situations. We can now sit at the bars and enjoy a cocktail with friends. It remains to be seen if folks will return to their favorite watering holes or will absence make the heart “wander”. I have had my two COVID shots so I feel a little less vulnerable to the virus, but I will still have my mask handy for deployment. Why take chances? With this new freedom there are many choices for adventure. As mentioned, we can renew friendships at our favorite restaurants or we can hit the road and head to Virginia wineries and distillers. The brown from the hillsides has been taken over by the early colors of green. The air is perfect for an open window drive. You can also start to make plans to attend the Potomac Jazz & Seafood Festival in St. Mary’s County in July. Look for their ad in our June issue or check out the St. Mary’s County website. In this month’s issue learn how not to fear your physical therapy professional in Personality Profile. A Bit of History learn about the relationship of cannibas and the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Shop in Alexandria. Vanessa Orr takes us on a Road Trip to the Laurel Highlands. Lori Welch Brown reminds us of some of the pain of Mother’s Day in Open Space. Speaking of Moms check out Caroline Simpson’s tribute to MOM. The Urban Garden column tells you how poppies are relevant to Memorial Day and how to grow them. And last but certainly not least, if you haven’t heard them yet, they are coming. Checkout the article on the 17 year arrival of Brood X Cicadas-they are a pretty impressive bunch. It does feel like a change is in the air. Get out and enjoy this beautiful weather. Hit one of the many wonderful restaurants in Old Town for a nice lunch or dinner under the stars. The shops are brimming with new spring merchandise and everybody needs a new haircut. Please check out those businesses that advertise in this and all issues. They are the ones who make this publication possible, and without their support, we wouldn’t be here now. Celebrate Mom on the 9th and remember those we have lost in the line of duty on Memorial Day on the 31st!

Taking a break with my pal Jack at the Blue Ridge Country Store while on a Sunday Drive in the mountains.

SOCIAL MEDIA MESSAGE

ASHLEY ROSSON

Memorial Day and Social Media

F

or many in the U.S., Memorial Day Weekend marks the start of summer. Three-day weekends with pool parties, BBQ and family gatherings have been a tradition for decades for many American families. Yet, we often forget the real reason for Memorial Day, it is a day of remembrance for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the American military. We often forget when we are posting on social media, with #hashtags #Happy Memorial Day, that it is not a happy holiday. For many Americans, this is a painful day of remembrance. If you do not have anything to say, bow out of posting your BBQ on Memorial Day weekend. Thank your veterans, and remember those who have fallen. 2 | May 2021

Five Quick Memorial Day Posts for Social Media Courtesy of CELPR.com Amid all the celebration of the unofficial start of summer, don’t miss the opportunity to educate your community about the true meaning of this day of remembrance. And don’t confuse it with Veteran’s Day, there is a difference between the two. Here are five engaging posts to repurpose across your social media channels on the last Monday in May. We wanted to make it easy for you to get out of the office on time Friday (and avoid a #MemorialDayFail.) 1. This #MemorialDay we honor those who made the ultimate Photo: Media.Defense.gov

SOCIAL MEDIA > PAGE 7

Old Town Crier


Alexandria ` COVID-19 UPDATE

EVENTS & INFORMATION

With the current situation with the COVID-19 virus all schedules events have been cancelled. We will post as we get information, in the meantime we encourage you to connect with the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association at:

VisitAlexandriaVA.com Blog.VisitAlexandriaVA.com Facebook.com/VisitAlexandriaVA Twitter.com/AlexandriaVA Instagram.com/VisitAlexVA Hashtags: #visitALX

Ramsey House Visitors Center at the corner of King and Fairfax is now open.

THROUGH JUNE 21ST Taste of Old Town North

Various locations throughout Old Town North 703-836-8066 Admission: $10 for a passport oldtownnorth.org

OLD TOWN FARMERS MARKET

Enjoy a two-month stroll through the neighborhood with this year’s reimagined Taste of Old Town North.  Passport holders will be able to use their Passport to receive discounts at small businesses throughout Old Town North: The Arts and Cultural District, Parker-Gray and Braddock Road West. Passports may only be used once at each participating business; if 75% of a Passport has been used by June 21, the Passport holder will be entered into a drawing to receive prizes. Passports may be purchased online at oldtownnorth.org or at the Community Table at the Old Town North Thursday Farmer’s Market. Proceeds will support the work of the Old Town North Community Partnership and ALIVE-inc.org.

MAY 1ST & 2ND

The Old Town Market is thought to be the one of nation’s oldest continuing markets operating since 1753. It is said that George Washington sent his products from Mount Vernon to be sold here. Today the plaza is a mecca for farmers and artists to sell their wares. The Market is a primary source for meats, dairy, fish, fruits, vegetables and flowers for all those who visit.

Corner of Mt. Vernon and Oxford Avenues Saturdays, 8 am to Noon Year Round

9 am – 5 pm George Washington’s Mount Vernon 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Parkway 703-780-2000

This market is strictly a producer grown market. Lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, fish and salmon, fresh mushrooms, baked goods, hard cider.  Farmers are within a 150 mile radius of Alexandria.  A non-profit is featured each weekend.

Mount Vernon’s serene 12acre field transforms into a battleground as hundreds of Continentals, Redcoats, and Hessians conduct military drills, perform cavalry demonstrations, and engage in 18th-century battle reenactments.

OLD TOWN NORTH FARMERS & ARTISANS MARKET Montgomery Park 901 North Royal Street Thursdays, 3 pm – 7 pm Year Round Alexandria’s favorite dog friendly market! The Old Town North Thursday Market is a growers only market with a focus on produce from small family farms and local artisans. Products sold at the market include fresh fruits and veggies from Virginia’s Northern Neck, Micro Greens from an urban farm, Empanadas, Fresh baked pastries with a European flair and much more.

Meet the soldiers who are encamped at Mount Vernon, discuss military techniques, and greet General Washington. Revolutionary War Weekend takes place rain or shine. Limited number of tickets available at mountvernon.org.

CALENDAR > PAGE 7

Connect with us!

VisitAlexandriaVA.com • #visitALX • #ALXRestaurantWeek Blog: blog.VisitAlexandriaVA.com 

Old Town Crier

Market Square 301 King Street Saturdays, 7 am – 12 Noon Year Round

DEL RAY FARMERS MARKET

Revolutionary War Weekend

VisitAlexandriaVA

LOCAL FARMERS MARKETS

AlexandriaVA

VisitAlexVA

FOUR MILE RUN FARMERS & ARTISANS MARKET 4109 Mount Vernon Avenue Sundays, 9 am – 1 pm Year Round This market offers fresh, nutritious food to people of all income levels and strives to reflect the diversity of Alexandria’s community. Local artisans display their arts and crafts as well Due to the restrictions of the pandemic, all guidelines suggested by the CDC, the Virginia Department of Health and the City of Alexandria are followed by the market managers and the vendors at these markets. May 2021 | 3


SPECIAL FEATURE

COURTESY WLWT CHANNEL 5

SPRING OF 2021 IS THE BIG ONE

B

rood X (aka The Great Eastern Brood), a group of periodical cicadas that emerge every 17 years, will tunnel out of their long dormancy and take over the area. This is the same buzzing and massive brood that became the soundtrack of the summer of 2004, their cacophonous mating song loud enough to drown out a passing jet plane. We’re talking billions of cicadas across 15 states – In addition to Virginia, Maryland and DC, Brood X will also emerge in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia. That includes the major metropolitan areas of New York, Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Louisville, Lexington, Nashville, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton and others. There have been several questions about the cicadas. Here, we will answer some of your most frequently-asked questions.

WHAT IS BROOD X? Let’s start from the beginning. In 2004 — a year when Tobey Maguire was still the reining Spider Man — the red-eyed Brood X cicadas last emerged, leaving behind billions of baby bugs. These baby bugs, heirs to the infamous 2021 Brood X, burrowed underground for 17 years, sucking moisture from the tree roots. Now, after 17 years, it’s their turn to shine. Now adults, they’re ready to come out of their slumber. Periodical cicadas, as they’re known, spend most of their lives underground. In the spring of their 13th or 17th year (in this case 17th), they will emerge synchronously en masse. 4 | May 2021

Amorous males attract mates by rapidly vibrating drum-like tymbals on the sides of their abdomen to produce sound. They’ll shed their exoskeletons, attach themselves to branches, mate and lay eggs before dying off in about six weeks. The hatched nymphs then will drop off the trees and burrow underground to live for another 17 years, and the cycle repeats. It’s a natural cycle that cicadas have followed for thousands of years.

WHEN WILL THEY EMERGE? An exact date is hard to pinpoint, but expect them to begin to arrive in early to mid-May. A warm rain will trigger their emergence, experts said, and they’ll slowly begin to overtake the area in the days after. “The first cicada sign that we will see will be the development of little chimneys - mud extensions of their tubes after very heavy rain,” said Gene Kritsky, the Mount St. Joseph University Dean of Behavioral and Natural Sciences. Kristsky is one of the world’s leading experts in cicadas. Add in warming temperatures and then, “we have a nice soaking rain, then they will really pop,” Kritsky said. They don’t all appear at once. It takes about two weeks for all of them to dig out from under the ground as they crawl from their long dormancy to sing, mate, reproduce and lay eggs.

HOW LONG WILL THEY BE AROUND? Look for cicadas to peak in late May and June. Their lifespan is four to six weeks above ground, and they’ll begin to die off in late June and into July. There may be a few stragglers that linger far into the summer.

Remember, they don’t all emerge at once — so we’re not talking four weeks and done. If the weather is consistently warm and dry, that could mean cicadas will finish mating sooner than later, Kritsky says. They’ll be mostly gone by mid-July.

HOW MANY ARE WE TALKING? We’re talking billions. With a “B.” “This is the big one, a generational event,” Kritsky said. “For people who have been around awhile, they will remember what it was like 17 years ago or even farther back to when they were kids and they’ll know what to expect,” he added. “For those who weren’t alive 17 years ago or who were too young at the time and can’t remember, they are in for quite an experience.” At their peak, you can expect to see cicadas seemingly everywhere — on trees and on the façade of your home.

DO THEY STING? No. They’re relatively harmless to living things. Cicadas are mainly a nuisance, flying into windshields and littering homes with tiny carcasses. They could damage young trees, scientists warn, but they don’t bite or sting and are not poisonous.

LOVE THEM OR HATE THEM? If you’re not a fan of creepy crawly things, it might be a long and loud six weeks. They’re about an inch and a half long, and will - occasionally - land on humans if they’re outside. They may seem like a nuisance to many, but to others like Kristsky, the BROOD X > PAGE 5

Old Town Crier


BROOD X | FROM PG 4

emergence is heaven on earth. The 17-year cicadas are one of the reasons he moved to Cincinnati in the ‘80s.”It’s like having David Attenborough in your backyard. With this wonderful show, you get to watch the development of the adult transformation,” he said.

HOW CAN YOU HELP? Kritsky helped developed a way for anyone to help scientists track and map Brood X - and they need your help. He helped develop the Cicada Safari app. It allows users to search, photograph, video and help map the cicadas, which will contribute to vital scientific research by determining the distribution of the brood of the emerging cicadas. Such information will enable scientists to assess the status of Brood X cicadas. To join Cicada Safari and help map the 2021 emergence, download the free app from the Apple app store or Google Play. When a cicada is spotted, users can use the app to photograph or video the insects and then submit

the images for inclusion the cicada map. “We developed this app because so many people are fascinated by cicadas,” Kritsky said. “This is true citizen science. People can use their phones with our app to track, photograph and help us map the cicadas to verify where they are emerging. An issue with citizen science projects is the difficulty to verify new observations. The photographs submitted to our map are like voucher specimens permitting us to verify the observations making the maps more useful for future research.” Dr. Kritsky and the Mount have also launched the CicadaSafari.org website, which offers a virtual trove of cicada facts, history, facts, maps, activities and more. Publishers Note: In cooperation with the staff at WLWT Channel 5 in Cincinnati, OH, the OTC was fortunate enough to get permission to print this piece. If you are in the Cincinnati area, please be sure to tune in to WLWT or log on to WLWT.com.

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May 2021 | 5


PERSONALITY PROFILE

F

or over 33 years we have written personality profiles about people we have met, read about or heard about. This is the first time I have gone into a situation that I was fearing and I had already tagged the person who was going to help me recover from knee surgery as the “deliverer of pain”. On March 16th, I had my much anticipated knee replacement and was ready for all of the rehab that was necessary. That was before I talked with my friend in Colorado who had the procedure a month before mine. From him, and all those who had been on this path before, I was in for incredible pain as the flexibility was restored to my knee. “No pain, no gain,” said one. “They are gonna kick your ass,” another explained. “It is going from 6 | May 2021

BOB TAGERT

90 degrees to 120 degrees that it really hurts,” chimed in another. (I am currently at 90 degrees). As I was doing my rehab and staying at a friend’s house in Calvert County Maryland I chose Bayside Physical Therapy in Prince Frederick to get me back to walking again. On my surgeon’s recommendation, I chose this facility because I was told that she thought that the therapist was a former rugby player like myself. If you are going to be dealing with pain, choose a level playing field. On my first appointment I met Michael Kuegler, my physical therapist. Standing about six foot four and weighing about 245 fit pounds I asked him if he played second row (a rugby position). He replied, “No, I played lacrosse.” There went my sympathy card. I knew

nothing about lacrosse and he knew nothing about rugby. Though we don’t have rugby in common, I don’t think that I have ever met someone who is so easy to talk to as Michael Kuegler. His facility was covered with University of Maryland paraphernalia and I am a Maryland boy so our conversations usually center around the University. The conversations are light and easy flowing while commanding my attention as he bends my knee a little more with each sentence. Kuegler is a true Maryland guy. He grew up in Howard County in the town of Columbia. Growing up with two brothers and one sister, he was always in competition and leaned toward the athletic side of life. During our one hour sessions we talk about Maryland sports. As he

says, being in my early, early 60’s, he was around when the University of Maryland was flying high in the ACC. Basketball was strong as was Maryland football. Back in those days lacrosse was a minor sport but Maryland was always ranked somewhere in the top ten (today they are ranked number one in the country). Growing up, Mike spent several weeks every summer at his Aunt and Uncles home on the lower Eastern Shore. He would spend his days crabbing, fishing and exploring the marsh in a ten -foot rowboat. Looked like the beginnings of a life as a waterman. “Until you smell the salt water, see the sunrise and set, you can’t explain the beauty of the shore!” he says. As Mike got older he became fascinated with weight training. His heroes were Arnold Schwarzenegger (Mr. Universe at age 20) and Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk). Mike began a sevenday-a-week workout routine but never quite achieved their degree of success, however, his fitness is inspiring and this dedication is understood by his patients. Mike’s first degree at Maryland was in Special Education and was his first introduction into physical therapy including wheelchair positioning, assistive devices for movement and postural training. He also worked in a Children’s Group Home every weekend during his last two years of school. “We worked on positioning for feeding, wheelchair mobility and transfers,” he related. Mike went back to Maryland to get his Graduate Degree in Physical Therapy. “Working in special education and the group home I witnessed the physical barriers that children and adults experience every day,” he tells me. “You could see how they modified positions, used their dominate side and learned how to adapt with

their disability,” he continued. Over the years Mike has practiced in Baltimore, Colorado, Annapolis and for the past 31 years has been in Southern Maryland. I talked about Mike’s mannerisms and his rapport with his patients. “For 37 years I have learned many things about human nature,” he explains, “Humans, both young and old (wish he hadn’t said that) experience boundaries every day. My job is to teach people how to move through or around those boundaries to reach their goals. People don’t realize what they are physically capable of achieving and they need verbal motivation and direction to achieve their goals. People also benefit from simple human kindness. Many people are widowed, live alone or don’t possess the skills to communicate with others. I have found that a simple ‘Good Morning or Afternoon’ or ‘How are you feeling today?’ is very motivating. A simple touch or fist pump encourages people to work harder.” It appears that my friends were right...no pain, no gain! The support of Mike and his whole staff does, however, make that pain a little more bearable. He ended our interview with, “I appreciate the aches and pains and progressive loss of mobility. The loss of tissue elasticity and the desire to move creates pain. Educating people in joint protection, balance reactions and realistic daily activity still motivates me to treat people!” Good thing...I have an appointment tomorrow morning. Mike resides in Dunkirk, Maryland with Catherine, his wife of 31 years, who is also a Physical Therapist. They have three grown children two of which are active military in the Air Force and one who is an Occupational Therapist. Old Town Crier


SOCIAL MEDIA | FROM PAGE 3

sacrifice in service to our country and to their families. #WeRemember 2. Memorial Day is a great day to enjoy time with friends and family, but the holiday has a deeper meaning. #WeRemember those who gave their lives for our freedom. 3. For our freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom to worship, freedom to assemble, freedom to petition, CALENDAR | FROM PAGE 3

freedom of the press and more. On #MemorialDay, we remember those who gave their lives, so we could live free. 4. While it is always appropriate to thank those who serve our country, let’s not confuse Memorial Day with Veteran’s Day. Today we remember those who died in service to our country. #WeRemember #MemorialDay 5. Home of the free, because of the brave.

over age 2. Early RSVPs are encouraged, as space is limited. A waiting list will be available for late registrants. Reserve tickets via alexandriava.gov/Arts.

MAY 29TH 43rd Alexandria Jazz Festival 4 pm – 9 pm Oronoco Bay Park 100 Madison Street Old Town Alexandria

The City of Alexandria launches into Memorial Day Weekend with an evening of world-class jazz by the waterfront. Critically acclaimed artists Joel Ross ‘Good Vibes,’ Eric Byrd Trio, VERONNEAU, and Cubano Groove perform bossa nova, contemporary, straight and Latin jazz into the evening. The all-ages concert is free. Due to Emergency Public Health Guidelines, attendance will be limited and seating will be assigned. Pre-registration is required, and parties are limited to four people or fewer. Masks covering the nose and mouth will be required for all attendees

On #MemorialDay, we honor and remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Mother’s Day is also approaching. While we should honor our mothers every day, this is a day to do something extra special for her. I enjoy seeing photos of my Social Media friends and partners with their Mom’s and siblings and I know my Mom appreciates the shout out on this day! Show her some extra love on the 9th with a special message.

Joel Ross ‘Good Vibes’

Gates open at 3 p.m. and parties must use their assigned entry point. Visitors should plan on bringing a blanket and chairs to enjoy the music from the grass, but leave umbrellas, tents, and pets at home. Attendees are asked to remain in their assigned seating areas unless visiting the restroom or food vendors. Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats’ truck and prosecco van will be serving pre-ordered desserts, wine and beer for delivery in the park. Haute Dogs & Fries will have a pre-ordered picnic menu with timed contactless pickup. Directions to place orders will be sent after registration. Schedule: 4:00 p.m.: Cubano Groove – Latin Jazz

OLD TOWN Mini-Mart

NOW OPEN! 822 King Street Old Town Alexandria, Virginia 703.549.7167 Open 5:00 am-Midnight 5:20 p.m.: VERONNEAU – Acoustic Jazz with a global twist. 6:35 p.m.: Eric Byrd Trio – Swing, Be-bop, Gospel and Blues

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8:00 p.m.: Joel Ross ‘Good Vibes’ Registration begins in early this month and free tickets may be reserved at alexandriava.gov/Arts

ABOUT ALEXANDRIA, VA Named a Top 5 Best Small City in the U.S. 2020 for three consecutive years by the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards and one of the South’s Best Cities 2020 by Southern Living, Alexandria hums with a cosmopolitan feel and a walkable lifestyle—a welcoming weekend escape next to our nation’s capital. A nationally designated historic district founded in 1749, Old Town Alexandria is home to more than 200 independent restaurants and boutiques alongside intimate historic museums and new happenings at the waterfront. At the heart of it all is bustling King Street, a walkable mile recognized as one of the “Great Streets” of America. New restaurants tucked into 18th- and 19th-century architecture still intact from the city’s days as George Washington’s hometown ignite historic and off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods as the waterfront district evolves with new energy. Learn more at VisitAlexandriaVA.com.

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May 2021 | 7


FINANCIAL FOCUS

CARL TREVISAN, CFP© & STEPHEN BEARCE

CAREER CHANGE

CHECKLIST:

ARE YOU

PREPARED I

f you’re considering a job or career change, it’s important to do some homework before you make the leap. Many benefits from your current position could be tied to specific dates and time frames. Gathering the right information can help you strategically time your exit and set yourself up for greater success. Consider these steps before you resign: 1. Decide if you’d prefer to quit now or wait until you have an offer. This decision requires you to factor in how unhappy you are in your current position and whether you’re able to live off your savings for a while. If you’re in a traditional industry, such as sales, it might be better to find a new opportunity while 8 | May 2021

you’re employed. But if you’re in high-tech, biotech, private equity, or a similar industry, there may be less risk in taking some time off. 2. Check your employment contract and noncompete agreement. Have a labor attorney review any legal documents you signed when you were hired to evaluate their terms and enforceability. Some contracts may require you to pay back relocation money, education grants, or bonuses if you don’t stay for a certain period of time. Others include “golden handcuffs” that mean you will lose unvested options, restricted stock, deferred compensation, and other benefits upon resignation. Still others may require waiting for a specified length of time before taking a

job with a competitor. 3. Review your retirement benefits. Check the vesting schedule for your employer’s 401(k) contributions and profit-sharing contributions to see how long you have to work to claim your portion of the money. Many plans require you be employed on the last day of the plan year to get employer contributions for that year. You may want to wait until after the plan year ends before you terminate employment so you don’t lose those contributions. 4. Check the terms of stock options, restricted stock, or other forms of non-salary compensation. You may want to delay your departure if a valuable number of options will vest in the near future.

If you’re already vested, find out if you’re still subject to the same trading windows and how much time you have to exercise your vested options once you resign. In many cases, options expire if they aren’t exercised within a certain time frame—typically 90 days after your departure.

planning to take some time off or go right into to a new job, an advisor can provide valuable financial guidance through the transition.

5. Spend your FSA accounts. If you put pretax money into a flexible spending account (FSA), try to spend down the account before you resign. FSAs typically operate on a use-it-or-lose-it basis (though you may be able to extend with COBRA). In contrast, if you have money in a health savings account (HSA), that money is yours to keep.

First Vice President- Investments in

7. Consult a financial advisor. Whether you’re

© 2021 Wells Fargo Clearing Services,

This article was written by/for Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Carl M. Trevisan, Managing DirectorInvestments and Stephen M. Bearce, Alexandria, VA at 800-247-8602. nvestments in securities and insurance products are: NOT FDIC-INSURED/ NOT BANK-GUARANTEED/MAY LOSE VALUE Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a registered brokerdealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company.

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A BIT OF HISTORY

I

n 1792, Quaker Edward Stabler borrowed 100 pounds to buy stock for his Alexandria Apothecary Shop. Now a National Historic Landmark, the StablerLeadbeater Apothecary Shop’s history dates from 1792 to 1933. Medicinal cannabis was first introduced in the 1850s; on the Leadbeater families’ corporate watch. “Records do not tell us what feelings of uncertainty Edward Stabler may have harbored in relation to his venture,” Eleanor Leadbeater wrote in 1934, “but they do show that his business prospered to such an extent that he was able to return the loan and double his stock of goods during the first year.” Hemp: Cannabis sativa, an industrial crop; a highly profitable fiber crop used in the production of rope and such. The Commonwealth’s latest Industrial Hemp Law was enacted in 2015. Dorland’s Medical Dictionary defines Cannabis as “the dried flowering tops of hemp plants which contain the euphoric principles 1 -3,4-trans and ^6-3,4 trans^ tetrahydrocannabinol. It is classified as a hallucinogenic and prepared as bhang, ganja, hashish, and marijuana.” Cannabism: “a morbid state produced by the misuse of cannabis.” Marijuana: “a crude preparation of the leaves and flowering tops of [male and female] hemp plants.” “Two recent articles in Blackwood’s Magazine, on the ‘Narcotics we indulge in,’ have attracted more than ordinary attention: tobacco, hops, opium, hemp, &c.,” The New York Daily Times wrote in 1854. “Smokers, the intellectual class of them, especially, think, speak, and

Old Town Crier

©2021 SARAH BECKER

It’s Legal!

write better under its influence; and the mere fact, that they are inferior to themselves without it, is a good reason for supposing that it creates an abnormal condition….” On February 27, 2021, Virginia became the 4th state to legalize marijuana by way of the legislature–in this instance for adult recreation use. The Virginia House of Delegates passed the nearly 300-page tempestuous measure on a 48 to 43 vote. The Senate’s vote followed, 20-19. Despite a federal prohibition: the Controlled Substances Act! Rather than sign the bill, Governor Ralph Northam suggested changes. On March 31 the Governor “proposed moving up the legalization of simple possession of marijuana—from 2024 to July 1, 2021. The Governor also announced he is proposing changes that advance public health protections, set clear expectations for labor protections in the cannabis industry, and begin to seal criminal records immediately.” “Our Commonwealth is committed to legalizing marijuana in an equitable way,” Governor Northam said. “These changes will ensure that we do it with a focus on public safety, public health, and social justice.” The proposed amendments “will also allow households to grow up to four marijuana plants…plants labeled with identification information, out of sight from public view, and out of range of individuals Under 21.” One interesting quirk: “The booming U.S. marijuana industry is exhaling greenhouse gases at a rate expected to grow as more states

move toward legalization. Indoor cannabis operations—which require high-intensity grow lights and large amounts of electricity and natural gas— are emitting more greenhouse gases than previously thought, according to a recent study published in Nature Sustainability. Greenhouses emit between 2,283 and 5,184 kilograms of carbon dioxide CO2 per kilogram of dried flower during its lifetime, which is equivalent to the emissions of 3 million average cars.” In 1619—402 years ago— “the Virginia Assembly passed legislation requiring every colonial farmer to grow industrial hemp. After the 1720-22 sessions, the General Assembly offered a bounty of 4s. for every ‘gross hundred’ of hemp, water-rotted, bright and clean to encourage production.” References to Washington [Mount Vernon] and Jefferson [Monticello] growing hemp at home “to smoke on my back veranda” are 21st century lore. “I am very glad to hear that the Gardener has saved so much of the…India Hemp,” President George Washington wrote William Pearce on February 24, 1794. “Make the most you can…The Hemp may be sown anywhere.” “The fibers from hemp held excellent properties for making rope and sail canvas,” Mount Vernon confirmed. “In addition, hemp fibers could be spun into thread for clothing, or as indicated in Mount Vernon records, used in repairing the large [encircling] seine nets Washington used in his fishing operation along the Potomac. At one point in

the 1760s Washington considered whether hemp would be a more lucrative cash crop than tobacco.” In the end Washington grew only enough hemp to meet Mount Vernon’s, his five farms’ needs. Hemp, overall, has yielded many fine products. “A new idea in floor covering is the use of white manila hemp,” The Washington Post noted in 1938. “The newly named olive green shoe—Adidas Hemp—is now available,” The Washington Post reported in 1995. “It’s just the latest in a burgeoning trend of clothing made from that thin-leaved flora of modernday infamy. Farmers call it hemp, scientists call it Cannabis sativa, but to cops and dope dealers across the country, it’s simply marijuana.” The 1854 U.S. Dispensary describes cannabis as an extract of hemp. It “acts as a decided aphrodisiac, increases the appetite, and occasionally induces the cataleptic state. In morbid states it has been found to produce sleep, to allay spasm, to compose nervous inquietude, and to relieve pain. In these respects it resembles opium in its operation; but it differs from that narcotic in not diminishing the appetite, checking the secretions, or constipating the bowels.” The United States Pharmacopeia mentioned patented marijuana tinctures as early as 1850. “The U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) is the official public standards-setting

authority for all prescription and over-thecounter medicines; dietary supplements and other healthcare products manufactured and sold in the United States.” A tincture is defined as “a medicinal solution [of a drug] in alcohol.” “Fifty years ago a knowledge of the curative properties of ‘roots an’ yerbs’ cut no small figure in the list of a good farm-wife’s accomplishments,” The New York Times recounted in 1902. “Today, except in remote places, the quaint old remedies are without honor… Perhaps the most honored of all the tonics was that concocted from Indian hemp… When needed about a teaspoon of the chips was placed in a bottle, with a pint of whisky, and a half teaspoonful of the resulting fluid was given the patient each morning before breakfast. This medicine… ranked high as an appetizer.” Cannabis was labeled as a poison beginning in 1906. “A strong provision in [the Pure Food and Drug Act] compels the labels of patent medicines to bear a statement of the amount of alcohol or poisons contained in the preparations,” The New York Times recounted. “For every case of ptomaine poisoning from meat there are a hundred cases of poisoning from A BIT OF HISTORY > PAGE 10

May 2021 | 9


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A BIT OF HISTORY | FROM PAGE 9

hurtful drugs masquerading as helpful medicines.” The Act established the Food and Drug Administration, so named in 1930, and “prohibited adulterated or mislabeled food and drugs from interstate commerce.” “In its effort to protect the public against the insidious effects of preparations containing drugs injurious to health, the Department of Agriculture has issued a warning to mothers, invalids, and users of medicated soft drinks,” The New York Times proclaimed in 1910. “It is almost unbelievable that any one for the sake of a few dollars would concoct a pernicious mixture, but such mixtures have been found, and their names published, containing morphine, codeine, opium, cannabis Indica, or heroin.” “Since changes in the postal regulations went into effect, we have not been able to get any poisons by mail from a single manufacturer,” E.S. Leadbeater & Sons penned in 1914. The same year Congress approved the historic Harrison Narcotics Act. “Marijuana, a devastating drug found in flowered tops of Indian hemp, is said to have come into vogue recently among musicians in Chicago,” The Washington Post revealed in 1928. “Introduced by Mexicans who have lately moved to that city, the insidious habit-forming marijuana—or Mary Jane— is said to have acclaimed thousands of addicts within the last two or three years. Its popularity is probably due to the effects it first has upon its devotees.” The Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) was established in 1930 as part of the government’s broader push to outlaw recreational drugs. As of 1931—two years before Alexandria’s Leadbeater Drug Corporation closed—29 states had criminalized cannabis. “In the absence of Federal legislation on the subject, the States and cities should rightfully assume the responsibility for providing vigorous measures for the

extinction of…marijuana,” Commissioner of Narcotics Harry J. Anslinger concluded in 1935. “Ever since the world began man has been searching for chemicals or charms that would relieve pain,” Dr. Irving S. Cutting wrote in 1936. “But as a stimulant to crime cannabis is probably as important as cocaine and narcotic control agencies will be put in a severe test in rooting out the traffic.” Marijuana was “sold chiefly in the form of cigarettes” and “peddled frequently in dance halls.” As of 1937, 46 of the 48 states had enacted laws to prevent marijuana use, especially traffic in Indian hemp. Federal penalties included “a tax on the sale” of marijuana. Cannabis preparations

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John L. Leadbeater (1808-1860) were removed from the U.S. Pharmacopeia in 1941. Yet as of 2016 marijuana—medicinal and or recreational—was again legal in the majority of states, Virginia excluded. Now Virginia finds itself on the forefront of change. The Commonwealth’s “push for legalization comes after the new Democratic majority at the General Assembly passed decriminalization legislation last year, making simple possession [of marijuana] a civil penalty that can be punished by a fine of not more than $25,” Virginia Lawyers Weekly wrote in February 2021. Democrats framed the legalization as a necessary step to end the disparate

treatment of people of color under current marijuana laws. “The legislation…is a ‘justice bill,’” House Majority Leader Charniele Herring [D-Alexandria] said. “This moves us in a… direction to strike down and to address those institutional barriers, and over-policing, over-arrests, over-convictions of African-Americans who do not use marijuana at a higher rate than our white counterparts,” Herring explained. The General Assembly’s “watchdog agency found that from 2010-2019, the average arrest rate of Black individuals for marijuana possession was 3.5 times higher than the arrest rate for white individuals.” “The largest portion of the tax revenue from marijuana sales [will] go toward funding pre-K for at-risk kids,” The Washington Post related. On April 7 Virginia became “the first state in the South to legalize the simple possession of marijuana,” Governor Northam announced. “I am pleased that the General Assembly accepted my proposal to make this change on July 1, 2021 [and] am grateful to Lt. Governor Fairfax for his tie-breaking [Senate] vote.” One can only wonder what apothecary and dentist John L. Leadbeater (1808-1860)—merchant, fire warden, and member of the 1850s Alexandria city council—and his successors would say. Sarah Becker started writing for The Economist while a graduate student in England. Similar publications followed. She joined the Crier in 1996 while serving on the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association Board. Her interest in antiquities began as a World Bank hire, with Indonesia’s need to generate hard currency. Balinese history, i.e. tourism provided the means. The New York Times describes Becker’s book, Off Your Duffs & Up the Assets, as “a blueprint for thousands of nonprofit managers.” A former museum director, SLAM’s saving grace Sarah received Alexandria’s Salute to Women Award in 2007. Email: abitofhistory53@gmail.com Old Town Crier


THE LAST WORD

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alls for racial justice fired up the Black Lives Matter civil rights movement after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the neck of his Black suspect, George Floyd, murdering him by ignoring his pleas for air as Floyd gasped for nine minutes and 29 seconds on May 25, 2020. A Black teenager named Darnella Frazier filmed Chauvin as he calmly tortured Floyd to death in front of bystanders. To many this incident represented an innate racism in the way police as authoritarian figures can presume that Black people are guilty and treat them as subhuman individuals with no fear that they themselves will be brought to justice. African Americans have encountered this ingrained racism forever, but video cameras are now bringing to life extreme police practices for all to see. When a jury convicted Derek Chauvin of murder on April 20, 2021, it was a rare moment of accountability for the police in the face of the systemic prejudice that exists in many police departments. To understand some of the history that has perpetuated this violence, please peruse the column I published in September 2019 on Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer Prize– winning novel, The Nickel Boys. His brief, brilliant book is worth reading to understand better how authority figures like Derek

Old Town Crier

MIRIAM R. KRAMER

Chauvin have abused their power. We still have much history to overcome in America to achieve racial parity. Yet with this watershed moment of Derek Chauvin’s accountability, we are perhaps a step closer to implementing real reform, the reform of police departments and other institutions that perpetuate racial violence.

The Nickel Boys Two years ago Whitehead authored The Underground Railroad, a retelling of history in which the passage north for African-American slaves was a real railroad. In plumbing our racial history, he created a symbolic work with surrealist touches reminiscent of William Faulkner and Ralph Ellison. Winning the 2017 Pulitzer and National Book Awards for this novel, Whitehead untangled and rewrote one thread of the malignant history of racism in America. The Nickel Boys tells a similar but more realistic tale, relating the story of two Black boys sent to a reform school in Northern Florida in the early 1960s. One, Elwood Curtis, is an idealist, a straight-A student who worships the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and believes in the possibility of

eventual equality between the races. Another, Jack Turner, is a cynic who has had to bounce from member to member of his family, taking odd jobs to survive. When arrested by the police, Elwood is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Turner has dropped his usual detachment and rebelled by throwing a cinder block through a white customer’s car window. According to its mission statement, their destination, the Nickel Academy, a segregated juvenile reformatory, provides “physical, intellectual, and moral training” so that its “pupils” can become men with integrity and honor. In reality it might as well have the words Arbeit Macht Frei nailed above the front door. Reformatories, concentration camps, and for-profit penitentiaries have long delighted in lofty, absurd proclamations that bear no resemblance to such institutions’ effects on the

human beings contained within. After Elwood arrives, he naively applies his ideals to conditions within the system. Standing up for a black inmate who is being bullied, he falls victim to Superintendent Maynard Spencer, the very picture of a twentieth-century slave overseer. In the middle of the night Spencer takes him and others involved to The White House, an innocuouslooking building in which they are whipped until they cannot stand up. Elwood is whipped until he has to go to the school infirmary, where the resident doctor gives him some aspirin and then leaves him alone. There Elwood gets to know Turner, a cool-cat observer and survivor who

might be able to help him adapt, at least superficially, to the degradation that permeates his world. As Colson Whitehead has mentioned in an interview, the two characters of Elwood and Turner represent, in some respects, his own divergent views rubbing up against each other. The Nickel Boys is a much less symbolic and more lightly fictionalized story about institutionalized racism than The Underground Railroad, although it too describes a kind of slavery. Whitehead based his fictional Nickel Academy on a real institution, the Arthur G. THE LAST WORD > PAGE 13

May 2021 | 11


HIGH NOTES

RON POWERS

I Used to Be Sober All the Time by Humans on the Floor

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hey say that smiling relieves stress, helps you live longer, and makes you more attractive. It’s also extremely contagious. So, how could I not tell you about Humans on the Floor: a brand-new band with some of the most smile-inducing music I’ve ever heard. I discovered this unique and wonderfully odd group a couple weeks ago and found myself grinning ear to ear while listening to their debut EP, The First 1. If I had to sum this band up in a few words I’d say they sound like an exuberant species of space alien who discovered punk rock. Think the Ramones meets the B52s. My favorite tune from Humans on the Floor is called “I Used to Be Sober All the Time”. This song is a triumphant cocktail of pulsing joy and driving rock-n-roll power. The song begins with a distorted guitar playing a single chord along with a pounding snare drum and

12 | May 2021

handclaps. Two measures in, we hear jubilant group vocals singing a combination of “das” and “doos” with a melody that yoyos between two notes and feels like a rollercoaster zipping around in your head. Next, guitar rakes and bass notes are layered in giving a nice image of the full-bodied and powerful noise that Humans on the Floor make. The first verse takes off like a hot rod car peeling out onto the highway. Singer Rob Bell’s vocal melody has a light and soothing feel to it and consists of seven notes sung with a symmetrical quarter note rhythm. This creates a pleasing minimalistic pattern with the straight eighth note rhythm of the guitar and bass. We also hear callback vocals throughout the verses which add an exciting dimension and color. The combination of male lead vocals and female backing vocals is yet another aspect of Humans on the

Floor which gives them distinction. When the chorus is introduced, we hear a satisfying volume boost as the top line shifts in rhythm. While the lead vocals paint a picture of coming to an existential breaking point, the background vocals offer a swooping melody and the playful lines: “He is going on a bender / it’s the only option to be true / He is going on a bender / going through a blender”. Bell’s lyrics paint a picture of a way of life that becomes unsustainable and unbearable. However, the story is told from a place of joy looking back at the predicament he was in. At the end of each chorus the defiant line, “I USE TO BE SOBER ALL THE TIME” seems to laugh in the face of taking life too seriously. After a couple verses and choruses, Humans on the Floor switch things up with a strippeddown bridge. This section consists of full-bodied doubled vocals and harmonies which almost have a

group-vocal power to them. Under the top line we hear a simple arrangement of handclaps and spunky background vocals. As the bridge progresses, a building drum pattern is introduced creating a ramping energy leading into the final chorus. Humans on the floor is just getting going. They’ve released one five-song EP thus far and a second EP is on the way. If you’d like to learn more about this cool new band you can follow them on Instagram and Twitter. If you’d like to listen to the music, you can find it on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and most all other places digital music is streamed or sold. Ron Powers is an independent A&R specialist and music industry consultant, and is constantly searching for, discovering and writing about new talent.

Old Town Crier


THE LAST WORD | FROM PAGE 11

Dozier School for Boys outside of Tallahassee, Florida, which began operating in the late nineteenth century and only closed in 2011. It gained attention when commercial developers discovered an unmarked burial ground, one where boys who had supposedly “run away” ended up when they disobeyed their overlords. Whitehead’s words shine a harsh spotlight on it, one that leaves shadows as long as the ones darkening its inhabitants’ psyches. This fictional boys’ reformatory, like its real role model, proves a selfpropagating, money-making machine. Its inmates, some of whom are orphans and others who committed no crime except to fall into the machinery of the state foster care bureaucracy, plant vegetables, make bricks, and run a printing press that does all its publishing for the government. The machinery grinds on for years, using boys as grist for the profit-making mill. While called “students,” the

boys learn little to nothing in school, with many unable to read into their teens. Obedience and acceptance of school norms and projects help more towards ensuring eventual release than scholastic progress. White boys receive better food if not better living conditions than blacks. Some of the food bought by the state for the black boys is sold off to local restaurants and businesses, making the nearby community of Eleanor, Florida complicit in providing kickbacks to the Nickel Academy’s director. When boys perform “community service” for local residents, the school’s administrators benefit financially. As he navigates Nickel, Elwood Curtis must find a way to either discard or reconcile his innate compulsion to follow Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s teachings. How can he maintain dignity in the face of ultimate degradation? Must he love his enemies? Can he summon the moral courage to rebel peacefully? Is it sufficient to survive within the system without demanding more? If so, is that really survival? In

systematically writing down the injustices he sees, he can at least bear witness to the sexual predation, corruption, and grift around him. Turner tries to help him cope and lay low without understanding quite how Elwood’s idealism has quietly begun to infuse his own vision. In penning this work, Whitehead himself bears witness to those boys who lived through and limped out of the real-life Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, an institution that belied its socalled purpose and strove to beat the humanity out of them for over a hundred years. For the reader, seeing a precious friendship between Elwood and Turner root and bloom in a dark place, changing their respective fates, makes The Nickel Boys worth reading. Luckily, Whitehead’s terse, beautiful prose makes this book the most unlikely of page-turners, a speed-read that dishes up hard truths and terrible history. His subtle writing reveals Elwood and Turner’s humanity and capacity for love, carrying you like a current through their pain and redemption while sparing you none of it.

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May 2021 | 13


GALLERY BEAT

F. LENNOX CAMPELLO

The DMV’s Arts Tapestry

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’ve often used the metaphor of referring to an “art scene” of a particular area as an “arts tapestry” – sort of like a quilt made of patches from different sources and materials. Some patches are bigger than others, with more presence and impact on the quilt. They are all important, and all different, and they all pull equally to make the quilt come together… as a work of art. The DMV’s tapestry has many key components and some of them are – in no particular order – our commercially independent visual art galleries, such as Adah Rose in Kensington, and Morton Fine Arts in the District; our artists’ cooperatives like Washington Printmakers, Foundry Gallery, Touchstone, Waverly; art spaces like DC Arts Center, BlackRock, Brentwood, Tephra ICA (nee Greater Reston Arts Center) and our local museums – most of which ignore DMV artists with the notable exception of American University’s gorgeous museum at the Katzen Arts Center. And our DMV arts tapestry is slowly beginning to unfold from its Covidian Age storage, and we all need to start showing our support in whatever way we can.

What’s new? The buzz in the DMV

for the last six weeks or so has been all focused on the Phillips Collection’s 2021 Juried Invitational titled Inside Outside, Upside Down. This juried invitational, a first for this museum as far as I can recall, “celebrates The Phillips Collection’s 100th anniversary in 2021, building on the legacy of founder Duncan Phillips and his commitment to presenting, acquiring, and promoting the work of artists of the greater DC region.” Inside Outside, Upside Down – using as jurors the talented quartet of Phil Hutinet, Founding Publisher of East City Art, Abigail McEwen, Associate Professor of Latin American Art, University of Maryland, Elsa Smithgall, Senior Curator, The Phillips Collection, and art superstar Renée Stout, invited artists to submit recent work produced between March 2020 and February 2021 that “speaks to the struggle and resiliency of the human spirit in the face of the global covid-19 pandemic and recent social upheavals.” A source at the Phillips told me that over 1300 submissions were submitted, and as of the writing of this article artists are still being announced. Great artists such as Tim Tate, Michael Janis, Judith Peck, Kate Kretz, David Mordini, Kirsty Little, Barbara Muth, GALLERY BEAT > `PAGE 15

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Top: Bipolar Stain 2021 - Acrylic and embroidery on canvas by Leslie Holt Bottom: (Re)Surge Mahogany Steel wire and wax by Kirsti Little 14 | May 2021

Syreni Caledonii (Northern Atlantic Mermaid). Watercolor, charcoal and Conte. 2019, 12x36 inches.

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Old Town Crier


GALLERY BEAT | FROM PAGE 14

Cathy Abramson, Leslie Holt, Julia Bloom, Tim Makepeace, and many others whom I have missed have already been invited. I am proud to have been invited as well, and super honored to be exhibiting with so much talent! There’s also a lot of vivid talk about staging a Salon des Refusés close to the museum exhibition and staging a show of the artists whose work was not invited. Personally, I love that idea! And who knows? Just as the original 1863 Salon des Refusés outshined the Paris Salon, maybe the 2021 DMV version will too. In any event – having both the Phillips show and a Salon des Refusés running concurrently would clearly create an epic moment in time for the DMV art scene and a special part in that tapestry that I mentioned earlier. More good news for the DMV art scene: The McLean Project for the Arts is another key part of that tapestry. Each year MPA provides 15 outstanding contemporary arts exhibitions that showcase the work of emerging and wellestablished artists from both the region and the nation. And now MPA is about to bloom and become a world-class art powerhouse with not just a

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Old Town Crier

Compressed charcoal on vintage typewriter ink on paper by Julia Bloom local/regional art footprint, but also as a national and international art presence. Here’s what’s going on: In addition to its current exhibition space in McLean, VA, MPA has been gifted a sizeable amount of property by Fairfax County. And a source tells me that MPA “intends to build a large, truly dazzling campus

GALLERIES Torpedo Factory Art Center 105 N. Union Street Principle Gallery 208 King Street Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery 105 N. Union Street St. George Gallery 105 N. Alfred Street The Art League 105 Union Street Local Colour Old Town 218 N. Lee Street Icon Galleria 101 N. Union Street B&B Art Gallery 215 King Street Gallery West 1213 King Street Enamelist’s Gallery 105 N. Union Street Printmakers, Inc. 105 N. Union Street Kelly’s Art & Frame 510 N. Washington Street Oerth Gallery 420 S. Washington Street Jeffrey Winter Fine Arts 110A S. Columbus Street Johnston Matthew 105 N. Union Street Huddy Studio 105 N. Union Street Mezzanine Multiples 105 N. Union Street Silverman Galleries 110 N. St. Asaph Street

with one huge exhibition hall, one smaller hall, workshop rooms and classrooms, with outdoor space for exhibiting large-scale sculpture and Earth art.” My source has seen the architectural plans for the new campus, and he describes it as “jaw-dropping.” There’s more! MPA has also recently been bequeathed property in McLean, from the siblings of Zbigniew Brzezinski and his wife Emilie (who is a superbly talented sculptor). I am told that “MPA intends to convert the Brzezinski mansion, Emilie’s fantastic studio, and the grounds into an international residency for sculptors.” Here comes the summer. Go see some art.

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May 2021 | 15


URBAN GARDEN

RITA JACINTO

The Memorial Day Poppy

In Flanders Fields

T

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow Between the crosses row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields. By 1918 the poem was well known throughout the allied world and Moina Michael, an American woman, wrote these lines in reply:

We cherish too, the Poppy red That grows on fields where valor led. It seems to signal to the skies That blood of heroes never dies. By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918), Canadian Army

16 | May 2021

he inspiration for this column began at the local shopping mall. Yeah, I know it is a pretty bizarre place to get any kind of inspiration let alone gardening inspiration but sometimes you just have to go with the flow. You see sitting out front of one of the mega stores was a WWII veteran and what looked like his grandson. On the shaky card table were a bunch of red silk poppies and a can for donations. I always put some money in the can and get a poppy to wear. It’s a habit I picked up from my Dad when I was a little kid. He always bought a poppy and kept it in the visor of his truck. I didn’t know why he did this exactly except that it had something to do with the war. He was a veteran of WWII and since he is no longer around to buy his poppy I do it for him. That old vet sitting at his table a few weeks before Memorial Day got me wondering about the story of the red poppy. There are many kinds of poppies but the poppy mentioned in John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields”, was found growing in the fields of Flanders and often referred to as Flanders Poppy is actually Papaver rhoeas more commonly called Corn Poppy. This Mediterranean native is found growing in cultivated fields all over southern Europe. Its legend reaches back thousands of years. They have been found in Egyptian tombs dating back 3,000 years. There is a drawing of a poppy that was found in the Codex Vindobonensis which was put together for the Byzantine princess Anicia Juliana. The Codex is dated at over a thousand years. Homer mentions poppies in the Iliad, comparing the head of a dying warrior to that of a hanging poppy flower. Many of the

ancient Greek and Roman gods are associated with the poppy. The god Morpheus made crowns out of the poppy flowers and gave them to those he wanted to put to sleep. Poppy flowers were used to decorate his temple. Like all legends there is some fact mixed in with the fiction. Papaver rhoeas does not contain any opium. Its cousin Papaver somniferum is the opium poppy and is native to parts of Asia. I repeat, for all you poppy pod swipers, the Corn Poppy does not contain any opium, so leave the pretty flowers alone so other people can enjoy them. Now that that is cleared up I’ll tell you what the Corn Poppy does contain and why Morpheus used it to put people to sleep. Papaver rhoeas contains a substance, cleverly named rhoeadine. It’s nonpoisonous and has been used as a mild sedative for centuries. The ancient Romans used a concoction of the poppy to ease the pains of love, I guess if you are sleeping you can’t worry about love. The Greeks have a legend that explains how the poppy came to be called the Corn Poppy. The poppy was created by the God of Sleep, Somnus. You see Ceres, the Goddess of Grain, was having a hard time falling asleep. She was exhausted from searching for her lost daughter; still she couldn’t fall asleep and had no energy to help the corn grow. Somnus cooked up a concoction and got her to take it, soon she was sleeping like a baby. Rested and relaxed Ceres could then turn her attention to the corn that began to grow. Ever since that time the people believed that poppies growing around cornfields ensure a bountiful harvest. And so was born the Corn Rose, or as we call it today the Corn Poppy. Those are some of the

ancient legends associated with the poppy. Now you are asking if I am ever going to explain the war connection. This too is an ancient connection going back to Ghengis Khan. It is said that after his annihilation of the enemy the fields were churned up and drenched in blood. Soon they were covered in pure white blooms of the poppy. During the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th century the same phenomenon occurred. Churned up blood-drenched fields erupted in poppy flowers. So buy a poppy, then grow some poppies. They are easy to grow and will self-sow so that each year you will have gorgeous poppies in your garden, or where ever the wind has blown the seed. Corn Poppy grow about 2 feet tall, although I have seen them get even taller. The flowers are from 2 to 5 inches across and come in a variety of colors. Starting from seed is so easy, all you have to do is scatter the tiny seeds onto some prepared soil and forget them. You can do this in the fall or early spring. Fall scattered seeds tend to grow healthier and produce larger flowers than spring sown seed but either way you can’t go wrong. They like cooler weather, would prefer to be in full sun and they like welldrained soil. They look great in mass plantings or as part of a wildflower meadow and bloom profusely. Poppies make great cut flowers. If you sear the cut end of the stem with a match they will last longer in the vase. Publishers Note: This article is reprinted with permission. Portions have been edited in the interest of space. To read Ms. Jacinto’s complete feature and for more information about growing poppies and other botanicals log on to botanical.com. Old Town Crier


MOTHER’S DAY FEATURE

CAROLINE SIMPSON

D E T N A W M O M JOB TITLE: Mother.

H

appy Mother’s Day, Mom! If I was in charge, I would recommend you for a promotion and a raise, your service over the years has been remarkable. However, since I do not play the CEO role in this family, I will take this opportunity to honor you by giving you an inside look at my new plans for this holiday. In all seriousness, Mother’s Day is an important holiday. Allow me to provide a bit of the history for you. The tradition dates back as far as the Greek Empire and their Annual Spring Festival; various religions and spiritual groups dedicated a specific day in May to celebrate the Mother Mary, Mother Earth, the Mother of All Deities, etc. England expanded this honor to not just religious mother figures, but to all mothers, and the United States made it the celebration it is today about 150 years ago, when Anna Jarvis, mother and homemaker, decided that there were days for men and days for children, but there just was not a single day devoted to mothers alone. Anna would be proud. Today, Mother’s Day results in the highest volume of telephone traffic over any other day of the year, restaurants are more crowded on this second Sunday in May than any other holiday, and, of course, Hallmark card sales increase dramatically. Well, this Mother’s Day, I want to do more than just buy a card. I know that nothing says thank you like a folded piece of card stock with a poem and some pastel colored flowers on it, but you deserve more than

Old Town Crier

REQUIREMENTS: Must be willing to work overtime for no additional compensation. that. This year, I NECESSARY SKILLS: Patience, am going to make fortitude, and super-human a revolutionary ability to multitask. recommendation to extend Mother’s SALARY: None but must be able Day to not just the to provide monthly (at least) second Sunday in payments to clients. May but for it to TRAVEL: Yes – lots. replace several other holidays so as to BENEFITS: Bedtime and the one extend the focus day a year that it is all about you! on the value of mothers. Before you question funny to leave this one off my logic, take a look the list!) at the following list of holidays that I feel no one would • Poinsettia Day (because really miss: (they all really are moms can keep them alive considered holidays according for months!) to the Earth Calendar’s website It is clear that these are – www.earthcaledar.net.) holidays that may be better • Trivia Day (because moms served if they became the know everything.) ten new additional Mother’s Days. Why should you settle • Maintenance Day (because for just one day? There are 365 moms fix everything.) days and if you do the math, • Groundhog Day (because eleven total holidays increase Punxsutawney Phil won’t last the average to…I’m not sure; forever!) you always helped me with the • Random Acts of Kindness math. Anyway, they are kind Day (no explanation needed.) of like vacation days; think of it as a perk or as part of your • Pi Day (as in 3.14…think benefit package. It is worth about all that help we had some consideration, and you with our math homework.) are worth it! • Father’s Day (come on dad, Comments and suggestions take one for the team!) are welcome, just not to whoever plays the role of • Cross Atlantic HR. I would not want to hear Communication Day from any offended Pirates or (because there are times Groundhogs. when a mother’s voice can Happy Mother’s Day(s!) travel that far…like when dinner is ready or your bed is Caroline Simpson is a former not made.) regular contributing writer to the • National Hot Dog Day OTC and we love to feature her (hmmm – why do we have a missives whenever we have the National Hot Dog Day in the opportunity. She is the mother first place?) of two adorable girls and a crazy • Talk like a Pirate Day (too little boy.

DO YOUR PART TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 KEEP YOUR DISTANCE WASH YOUR HANDS GET VACCINATED (IF YOU ARE ABLE)

THROW PROTECTIVE ITEMS AWAY IN THE TRASH YOURSELF! AND PLEASE... CONTINUE WEARING THAT MASK! May 2021 | 17


TAKE PHOTOS, LEAVE FOOTPRINTS

SCOTT DICKEN

Photos: Scott Dickens

Watery Heaven or Crowded Hell? Exploring and Avoiding the Crowds at Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia

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e had been told to expect startling, other-worldly, turquoise, blue and green waters. We’d been told to expect stunning landscapes and autumnal foliage. We’d been told to expect cascading waterfalls in numbers that belie the size of the National Park we were visiting. What we hadn’t been told was to expect tourists in numbers more akin to New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Welcome to Plitvice Lakes National Park: Not Always Suitable for Enochlophobics. Our trip to Plitvice, which is Croatia’s second most popular tourist sight (the most popular being Dubrovnik), took place in October (not during the pandemic, just to be clear!). One would think that October would be a fairly safe month to choose. After all, we had avoided the summer rush and were well into Croatia’s ‘shoulder’ season – so much so that the weather had started to turn noticeably colder at Plitvice’s elevation. All signs pointed to a relaxed hike in what is billed as one of the most picturesque national parks in Europe: home of 16 18 | May 2021

lakes, hundreds of waterfalls, brown bears, wolves, and the elusive lynx. Unfortunately, our early optimism rapidly diminished when we were greeted at the park’s entrance by more coaches than would typically be seen at Disney in the height of summer. We brushed aside our immediate concerns (along with ten selfie-stick wielding tourists) as we breezed through the ticket counters (due to our guide’s influence, and apparently not possible in the summer months). Our hike started from Entrance 1, and it was immediately obvious that Plitvice is undeniably stunning. The color of the water is genuinely otherworldly (hopefully my photos do it some justice) and known to change throughout the year based on mineral deposit levels. Put simply, the lakes and waterfalls make for fantastic photo opportunities that any Instagram Junkie would be proud of. But that is where the problems begin to arise. In many places, the lakes of Plitvice are traversable by wooden walkways which allow you to stroll out into the heart of the action and capture photos

of the emerald green, crystal clear waters cascading over the myriad falls. So far, so good! However, the walkways are narrow and the tour groups can be large and seemingly hungry for “instagramable” photo ops. Thus, you could find yourself caught in the unenviable position of being unable to stop and capture anything resembling a decent photo (let alone set up a tripod to capture the dream-like waterfall shots Croatian tour companies use). Instead you’ll find yourself being ushered forward by streams of visitors like a salmon mid-migration. Now I know what you’re thinking; ‘if I just stop and create a tailback then people will just have to deal with it’. Unfortunately, even those of us with a complete and unassailing disregard for our fellow travelers won’t successfully achieve this feat because the walkways don’t have side railings and the people just don’t stop. My wife wiped out approximately ten selfie-stick wielding tourists – the gloves were definitely off! However, if you’re brave enough to give that approach a try, there’s a strong chance you’ll end up in the lake

rather than on the walkway……. and swimming is prohibited at Plitvice (and as my wife points out, also supremely cold). I imagine many an intrepid explorer has been lost to the murky depths of the lakes having been pushed by a selfie stick-wielding tourist in an ‘I Heart Croatia’ T-Shirt. So what are the options to escape the crowds and enjoy the beauty of Plitvice in relative solitude?! In no short order:

Pick the right month We visited in October and although my wife had minor heart palpitations crossing the walkways around Entrance 1 due to crowd surge, we had the path largely to ourselves the deeper into the park we ventured. Of course, crowds aside, you’re going to want to consider the relative virtues of the scenery across the 4 seasons. The colors are about to pop into life in the Spring; in Fall, you get the

TAKE PHOTOS, LEAVE FOOTPRINTS > PAGE 19

Old Town Crier


TAKE PHOTOS, LEAVE FOOTPRINTS FROM PAGE 18

amazing reds, yellows and browns of the foliage; winter lends itself to spectacular frozen landscapes; and in summer you’ll begin to strongly question your life choices as the primary scenery will be the backpack of the person in front of you. Basically, I’d steer clear of July and August!

Pick the right time of day Plitvice is located in the north of Croatia (close to the border with Bosnia) and is a fairly easy 2-3 hour drive from Zagreb, Zadar, and Split. This means that it is within an easy distance for daytrippers. Therein lies the problem. However, be forewarned – daytrippers tend to arrive at the park after 10am and depart between 3 and 5pm. Be mindful of the saying, ‘the early bird catches the worm’. Rather than being just one of the hordes of day-trippers, your best bet is to overnight in the area surrounding the park and enter the park as early as possible. Once the coaches roll up, head out for a long lunch and then re-enter after they all leave. This approach also means you’ll be in the park during the ‘golden hours’ of sunlight which is perfect for photography! Old Town Crier

Explore Beyond the Entrances You’ll encounter the majority of the crowds at the two main park entrances. In particular, Entrance 1 can become a bit of a zoo during peak hours, and you’ll find yourself having to fight your way across the walkways as well as jockey for decent views of Veliki Slap (the highest waterfall in the park). The further you head away from these entrances, and the further into the upper lakes area you reach, the more the crowds will disperse. You may, just may, find yourself in a position of relative solitude. The longest walking route around the entire park is Route ‘K’. If you have the energy to hike the whole trail then you will definitely find moments of solitude in the 6-8 hours the route takes to accomplish. With some stern management of your own expectations, and by taking some practical steps to plan your visit, Plitvice can be a pretty magical place. Read more about our time in Croatia on the takephotosleavefootprints.com website! May 2021 | 19


POINTS ON PETS

W

JAIME STEPHENS

MOMMIE

ith Mother’s Day approaching on May 9th, let’s take a look at some of the best, and worst, moms around; no, you probably won’t know them – these are the mothers of the animal kingdom. Some are worthy of high accolades while others, like their human counterparts, should perhaps remain without spawn. First, the best moms. Like Dr. Rainbow Johnson (Blackish), Carol Brady (The Brady Bunch), and June Cleaver (Leave it to Beaver)—these are the moms anyone would be lucky to have. Orangutan moms and their young experience an incredibly strong bond, second only to the bond that humans have with their young. Mothers support their babies completely for the first two years of their lives, for both transportation and food. Moms stay close to their young for six to seven years, showing them the way of the world while nursing the entire time – one reason they only reproduce every seven or eight years! Elephant mothers carry their babies for nearly two years before they give birth. They then ensure their babies get the best food, teach them 20 | May 2021

the most useful skills, and show them how to lead the herd during times of trouble. Young elephants learn how to pick the best plants for eating, how to defend against predators, and how to navigate steep embankments – all from mom. Female elephants spend their whole lives living in tight family groups with their female relatives; the eldest normally leads the group. It is truly a matriarchal society! Polar bear moms are known to be excellent mothers. They endure and sacrifice much just in order to give birth. While they mate in the spring, they don’t actually become pregnant until fall, after they’ve been

DEAREST

able to store up their energy sources – food in other words, so they can survive a long winter and provide proper nourishment for their cubs. This process is known as delayed implantation and ensures that only the strongest, fittest, and fattest females with the best chance of successfully giving birth to and raising cubs actually become mothers. Once moms create a den, usually in October or November, they remain inside, without eating, until March or early April. Despite this long seclusion, polar bear cubs only actually gestate for about three months – cubs are typically born in late December or early January – and emerge as tiny, blind, helpless creatures.

They spend the next two to three months consuming their mothers’ rich milk and growing rapidly. Cubs often grow from two pounds at birth (about the size of guinea pig) to 18-30 pounds when they emerge from the dens. Giraffe moms have a gestation period of 15 months. When they do give birth, their calf will weigh 100 to 150 pounds and be around 6 feet tall. Within thirty minutes, the baby giraffe begins to stand and eventually walk with its mother’s encouragement. Since the young giraffe can’t run fast, its mother will hide it or leave it with other mother giraffe “babysitters”—known as a creche—while she searches

for food. Like most moms, giraffes don’t get much sleep. They are always on guard, protecting themselves and their offspring, and only sleep approximately thirty minutes per day, usually standing, just for a few minutes and no longer than five at any time – the shortest of any animal in existence. The reason for this? An animal as large as a giraffe lying down in the grass is a huge (pun intended!) temptation for predators lurking nearby. Giraffes are big and able to run as fast as 35 miles an hour. When alert, they aren’t easy targets. Sadly, giraffes are now vulnerable to extinction, due to poachers and habitat loss, with less than POINTS ON PETS > PAGE 21

Old Town Crier


POINTS ON PETS | FROM PAGE 20

69,000 remaining as of August of 2019. Lower marks go to these moms, who may never win the title Mother of the Year: Hamster mothers have been known to eat their young. There are several reasons they may do this, including stress, fear, not having enough to eat, and the inability to care for a large litter. Additionally, if a mother hamster detects a human smell on one of her

offspring, she won’t be able to recognize them and will consume what she considers to be an intruder. Nearing extinction, Darwin frogs, found in the forest streams of Chile and Argentina, are very hands off mothers. Fortunately, male Darwin dads make up for this as a mom’s only job after mating is to lay approximately 40 eggs; males then guard the eggs for a few weeks and then swallow a handful of them. The eggs remain in dad’s vocal sac for around two months until he

expels fully formed frogs. The award for worst animal mother, however, goes to the cuckoo. The female cuckoo lays her egg in another bird’s nest (known as brood parasitism). She will eat one or more of the other bird’s eggs to make room for the cuckoo egg. The owner of the nest will hatch the egg and raise it as her own. The cuckoo chick is also able to replicate the sounds of the host’s chicks. When the chick hatches from its egg, it pushes out the other eggs in the nest

leaving itself as the only child. The new parent raises the cuckoo as its own. She never seems to notice the different attributes its child has, such as its huge size or coloring. The foster parent just assumes that whatever hatches in their nest is their own.

Here’s wishing a Happy Mother’s Day to all moms everywhere! Jaime Stephens lives in Alexandria with her husband, John, and cats Pookie and tripod OJ.

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Love. Brush. Groom. Repeat.

PETS

OF THE MONTH

BIANCA

1 Year Old, Female, White Mouse

4101 Eisenhower Avenue Alexandria, VA 703-746-4774 alexandriaanimals.org Mon-Fri, 1-8 pm Closed Wed Sat & Sun, 12-5 pm

Little friends often have the biggest personalities. Spend some time with Bianca and you’ll see! You would never know a mouse could have this much fun, whether it’s burrowing tunnels in her tank or sniffing out hidden treats, and she can’t wait to have a best friend who will enjoy every fun moment with her. Could it be you? Schedule an appointment to adopt Bianca today! Bianca’s photo courtesy of AWLA.

Adopt by appointment at the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria. Schedule an in-person or virtual appointment at AlexandriaAnimals.org/Adopt-By-Appointment. Old Town Crier

SOXIE

COCO

3 Year Old, Female, Black and White Domestic Shorthair

6 Year Old, Female, White and Brown Staffordshire Terrier

Hi there! My name is Soxie and I am an adorable three-year-old black and white kitty patiently waiting for the right person to take me home. They call me Soxie because of the cute white “socks” on my feet. But that is just one of my endearing features — I have the longest white whiskers on an all-black face and the most beautiful green eyes you have ever seen! I can be a little shy when meeting new people but warm up very quickly. I am an active cat and like to play — both with toys and people. But because I can get a little overly enthusiastic when playing, I would do best in a home with children over the age of 12. I love being around people — especially if they give me lots of pets and scratches! I can be a very affectionate girl and would be happy just being by your side all day. So if you think we can be a match, make an appointment so we can meet. You will be glad you did!

Let me introduce myself — my name is Coco and I am a beautiful six-year-old American Staffordshire Terrier looking to be part of a loving family. I am a fun girl who loves to play with toys, especially the squeaky ones — they are the best! I am a very sweet and affectionate pup who loves being around people. I am a little more selective, however, when it comes to my four-legged friends. As I like to be the center of attention, I would do best in a home where I am the only dog. I can see myself cuddling up on the coach with you at the end of a long day. I am a very loyal girl who will make someone a great companion. You will never have to worry about where I am because I will always be by your side. So if you are looking for a loving companion to spend your days with, give me a try. I can’t wait to meet you!

Soxie’s photo courtesy of Alison Lane Photography

Coco’s photo courtesy of Dirty Paw Photography

May 2021 | 21


CARIBBEAN CONNECTION BILLY PHIBBS

St. John

S Sargass

um Alga

e

Coming and Going…

pring break is in full effect and the Virgin Islands is locked into a steady spin cycle of drink, rinse, repeat tourism. For every midday hangover that boards a departing flight back to Boring Town, U.S.A., there is a binge drinking arrival passing them on the tarmac, ready to imbibe lethal doses of rum and ruckus. Having one of the least difficult entry requirements of all travel destinations in the world, the Virgin Islands has seen a different crowd as of late. Many local and long time visitors have spoken out about this civil unrest and can only hope that this new “party phenomena” will dwindle in time but for now, it is the unfortunate result of low airfares and carelessly spent stimulus checks. Seasoned island veterans have developed a keen sense and methodology to help avoid these horde like creatures. A “tranquility checklist” of sorts has become a hot conversation topic for many locally dwelling friends and families as well as for visitors looking for time to relax and unwind. It reads much like a monster manual would to ensure safety: • Go early before they awake • Don’t stay out too late • Stick to the lesser known beaches • Don’t make eye contact The characteristics of this newly defined invasive species are distinct. They are easy to spot due to their bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. Often times they travel in a large group of six or more and have items like Bluetooth speakers and have little knowledge of sidewalks or other socially acceptable behavior. Their garments will be sparse and language foul. Don’t let this passing nuisance ruin your trip. The real magical roots of St. John are still ever present and everywhere. The

22 | May 2021

benefits of having to go a bit off the beaten path to avoid these beasties is discovering some of the lesser known, more secluded beaches of St. John like Salt Pond, Lameshur, Water Lemon, and Francis Bay. There are others, but I have been sworn to secrecy as a transplanted yet semi-permanent member of St. John. Uttering these locations would mean exile or death for sure, but feel free to explore at your own risk. Some other seasonally disparaging aspects that might hinder a May adventure is the growing issue of sargassum. Referred to as the “brown tide”, this dirty brown blanket of macro algae is far from comforting. This growing issue has origins that were thought to be spawning from inside the Bermuda Triangle but, as the St. Thomas Source article reports, it seems a “New Sargassum Sea” is accumulating between Brazil and Africa in the South Atlantic. The reasons as to why this ecological threat is getting worse are widespread. Increased water temperatures, higher than normal levels of nutrients caused by pollutants, and the increase of algae “fertilizers” like magnesium, calcium, phosphorous and nitrogen are some of the main contributors to its massive size. The end result of this now 86 kilometer band that is nestled South of Lesser Antilles could be similar to 2018 and 2019 where the translucent, turquoise waters of the Caribbean were stained brown with tons of sargassum washing ashore. It’s vile odor and the suffocating effects it has on marine life make it not only an eyesore but a sincerely icky predicament altogether. Thankfully, St. John is blessed by its location and currents, allowing for most of the effects of the sargassum to pass by, unnoticed. One of the main coconspirators to this pungent

mass of blooming brown algae is Sahara dust, another off putting event that wields its dusty head in the month of May. As the wind begins to change its flow, the trade winds carry soil particles from the Saharan Desert across the Atlantic creating a hazy atmosphere in the spring months. This not only makes for a stuffy air quality around the island in general but causes those with respiratory and allergy conditions to really suffer some sniffly consequences. Due to last month’s eruption of ‘La Soufiere’ in St. Vincent, many bar room meteorologists had speculated this foggy facade to be from the aftermath of its ash plume. This has since been retracted by resident rain dancers as “the vodka talking” and put to rest by actual weather forecasters as our seasonal dust display. The Sahara dust is unavoidable. It will linger, leaving behind empty shelves of Claritin and a powdery particle glaze reminder of its passing on just about everything on the island. “So you mean to tell me, if I come to St. John in May, not only do I have to wear a mask, but I’m gonna be surrounded by crazy drunk people, covered in dust and consumed by smelly brown algae?” Sounds like my Junior prom but her name was not Algae... Life is all about perspectives and while these episodic events may not seem like the most inspiring accounts of the Caribbean at the moment, they are in fact the juicy details of what’s happening at the moment. Jeep rentals are impossible to find, restaurant reservations are scarce and high season is in full tilt. The allure of island life is always apparent but at times a bit tougher to see based on how busy things are. As a metaphor, the hazy atmosphere and deluge CARRIBEAN CONNECTION PAGE 23

Old Town Crier


CARIBBEAN CONNECTION FROM PAGE 20

of rotten macro algae is sort of representative of the ambiance as of late in more ways than one. What really matters is how you can make do with what you are offered. The USVI and the world in general are experiencing an overhaul of unleashed tourism following this last year of solitary confinement. Everywhere has been a bit wild and as we stumble through the

beginning stages of vaccine protocol, things are going to be a bit weird but in the end, all will return to normal and when the dust settles and all the invasive algae disappears, St John will still be the same shiny pristine jewel of the Caribbean Islands it always has been. Phibbs is a Rutgers Graduate originally hailing from NJ. He now lives in St. John with his island wife Cory Emerson and Renfield. his nefarious cat. An

English Major during college and an avid dabbler in the black art of creative writing over the last 20 years, Billy and Cory also run a grocery provisioning service, Landlubber Logistics. Having spawned this service amidst the Covid 19 pandemic, it was designed to help community members and flourished into a luxury service for villas. Using social media as his platform, he seeks to educate himself as well as adventurers to all the magic St. John has to offer...and bring them groceries.

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May 2021 | 23


FROM THE BAY

TIM WHEELER

Underwater Drones In Chesapeake Oyster’s Future

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eople have been farming oysters in the Chesapeake Bay since at least the 1800s, and some of the methods and tools in use today haven’t changed much. Now, some researchers and entrepreneurs are working to bring oyster aquaculture into the 21st century. Just as agriculture increasingly uses new technology such as airborne drones to monitor crop growth and equipment that applies fertilizer more precisely, scientists hope to boost the aquaculture industry’s output and profitability by employing remote sensing, robotics and other cutting-edge technology. Such innovations are important for both oyster growers and the Bay. With the Chesapeake bivalve population suffering from pollution, habitat loss and disease, oyster farming has become a vital complement to the wild fishery. And, if the new efforts succeed, the growth of aquaculture can further ease harvest pressure on ecologically important wild oysters and help restore their abundance in the Chesapeake. Eyes underwater Working with a $10 million grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, a group of researchers from the University System of Maryland and other institutions on the Gulf and West coasts is developing a submersible drone that could increase the efficiency of planting and harvesting oysters on the Bay’s bottom. “Basically, what we’re trying to do here is very similar to land-based precision farming,” said Miao Yu, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland College Park campus and research team leader. Oyster farmers, especially those who cultivate the mollusks the old-fashioned way — loose on the bottom 24 | May 2021

oysters of marketable size can be dredged from the bottom with the least expense of fuel and labor. In a November 2019 field test, the team deployed their underwater drone in the Bay, where it was able to see oysters on the bottom and allow for some tentative assessment of their condition. But Yu said the water was unusually clear at that time, unlike the algaefilled murk that typically clouds the Bay in late spring

(Top) Using a video game controller, University of Maryland research fellow Randy Ganye pilots “underwater autonomous vehicle,” or drone, around tank at UMCES’ Horn Point lab. Watching the action are UM fellow Behzad Sadrfaridpour, UMCES Assistant Professor Matt Gray and UMCES graduate student Laura Wiltsee.

Photo by Dave Harp.

(Right) An underwater drone spotlights oyster shells in a tank at the Horn Point laboratory of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Through the use of “machine learning,” researchers hope to get the device to “see” through murky Bay water to identify live oysters on the bottom and find favorable spots to plant more.

Photo by Dave Harp

of creeks and coves — often check on their crop’s progress by pulling some of them out of the water, using scissorslike tongs similar to what watermen wielded in the 1800s and 1900s. Or they may send divers down to inspect the oyster beds, though the water is often too murky to see much. Don Webster, an aquaculture specialist with University of Maryland’s extension system, said it’s time for oyster farming to catch up with land-based agriculture. With shellfish aquaculture, Webster said, “we’re somewhere between Amish horse-drawn implements and a 1950 Farmall H,” he said, referring to the classic red farm tractor once widely used to till fields and harvest row crops. Crop farmers today

“don’t walk thousands of acres of corn and soybeans,” Webster pointed out. “You send a drone out, [which] can do in minutes what used to take hours.” The team has been working to develop the ability to “see” the bottom of a murky waterbody, using an underwater drone equipped with cameras and sonar. In early March, they began testing their underwater autonomous vehicle at the Horn Point Laboratory of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, on the Choptank River outside Cambridge, MD. There, alternately fitted with a camera and sonar, they tested its ability to “see” through water of varying clarity to spot shells scattered on the sand-covered bottom of a giant fish tank. Matt Gray, an assistant professor at Horn Point, said

the initial tryout went well. “We’re just getting started,” he said. The goal, he explained, is to perfect machine learning algorithms that can enable the device to analyze what its sensors pick up and quickly distinguish between live and dead oysters. Another goal is to give it the ability to determine whether the bottom is soft mud, firm sand or covered with shells, which can help farmers maximize the survival of hatchery-reared spat, or juvenile oysters, they put in the water. In order to survive and grow, oyster larvae need to settle on hard surfaces, or substrate, on the bottom. “We want to be able to identify suitable substrate for them,” Yu said. The team is working on “smart” harvesting as well, using remote sensing to identify where the most

and summer when a lot of oyster farming activity occurs. So, more testing is planned this summer under “more challenging conditions,” she said. Sensor-equipped drones are likely to be too expensive for many oyster farmers to own outright. Rather, Yu said she envisions the technology would support a consulting service for oyster growers. They would pay a fee to have their leased bottom and oyster beds surveyed, with the results available for download to a computer or smart phone. Tim Wheeler is the Bay Journal’s associate editor and senior writer, based in Maryland. You can reach him at 410-409-3469 or twheeler@bayjournal.com. For more information on what is happening in the Chesapeake Bay, logon to bayjournal.com. Old Town Crier


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ROAD TRIP

VANESSA ORR

Outdoor Adventure, Iconic Homes Make the Laurel Highlands a Must-visit Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater Photo courtesy of GO Laurel Highlands

I

’ve always thought of the Laurel Highlands as a magnet for those who love outdoor adventure, from skiing at Seven Springs Mountain Resort to whitewater rafting at Ohiopyle State Park. But as I recently realized while enjoying a peaceful outdoor picnic and lightly oaked Chardonnay at GreendanceThe Winery at Sand Hill, it’s also the perfect place to relax and just take in everything nature has to offer. Even before the pandemic, people were flocking to the Laurel Highlands, located about an hour’s drive east of Pittsburgh, PA, to enjoy its spectacular natural scenery and outdoor recreation. The area is also a huge attraction for those who love iconic buildings as it is home to four Frank Lloyd Wright masterpieces. And since the establishment of the Laurel Highland Pour Tour in 2019, it’s become even more popular as a place to spend reinvigorating time away.

The Great Outdoors There are so many ways to enjoy the natural world in the Laurel Highlands that 26 | May 2021

you may never want to go back inside. From its almost 700 miles of hiking and biking trails to whitewater rafting, ziplining and shooting sporting clays, there is something to attract every kind of outdoor adventurer. Not only is the area home to Ohiopyle State Park, Pennsylvania’s largest park, but it also encompasses Laurel Hill State Park, Laurel Ridge State Park, Linn Run State Park, Kooser State Park, and Keystone State Park, along with four state forests. Ohiopyle is especially beautiful in the spring and fall when its many waterfalls are at their most scenic; from massive Ohiopyle Falls, which plunges 20 feet into the Youghiogheny River, to the more serene Cucumber Falls with its 30-foot drop. One of the most photographed waterfalls in Pennsylvania, Cucumber Falls is also a visitor favorite because it’s easy to walk right down to the waterfall from the parking lot; just be careful as the stones along the trail can be quite slippery!

World-renowned Architecture The waterfalls in the Laurel Highlands

are so inspiring, in fact, that one was the impetus for the creation of one of America’s most famous homes. Fallingwater, the home designed for the Edgar J. Kaufmann family by world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright (FLW), was originally supposed to sit across from a waterfall on Bear Run Creek so that the homeowners could enjoy the view. Instead, Wright decided to cantilever a home directly above it; a set of steps from the living room even leads directly into the rushing water below. While the house has been limited to outside-only tours through the pandemic, it will be reopening to visitors on May 1 with a new Guided Architectural Tour, so you can see this marvel yourself. I also suggest visiting Kentuck Knob, another Frank Lloyd Wright house located about six miles down the road, which includes a woodland walking trail featuring sculptures by renowned modern artists. While I enjoy Fallingwater, I really love Kentuck Knob; the smaller house feels more homey and is almost denlike in the way that it nestles into the woods. The Laurel Highlands is also home to Old Town Crier


Walking trail at Greendance Photo : Vanessa Orr

(Left) Hemlock Trail, Laurel Hill State Park Photo courtesy of GO Laurel Highlands

te Park un Sta urel Highlands R n in L , f GO La urtesy o ck Trail Photo co Flat Ro

ROAD TRIP FROM PAGE 26

Polymath Park, which features two more FLW-designed properties, Mäntylä and Duncan House. While there are daily house tours, and lunch and dinner tours, what is really unique is that you can stay overnight in Mäntylä —one of only seven of his properties in the world where this opportunity exists! Two other homes in the Usonian style, designed by Wright’s apprentice, architect Peter Berndtson, make up Polymath Park and are part of the tours.

Drink in the Ambience Hiking the Laurel Highlands Trail or wandering through FLW’s masterful creations can build up a thirst, and the Laurel Highlands Pour Tour provides 45 different destinations where you can experience local favorites, whether you’re a fan of craft beer, cider, mead, hard spirits Old Town Crier

or wine. The trail even includes pop-up and farmers’ market locations. At Greendance, for example, you can sample delicious fruit wines made with the farm’s own raspberries, blackberries, red and black currants, gooseberries, heritage variety apples and more. They also make picnic lunches to go, as well as decadent desserts— again using their own berries— on-site at Cafe Persimmon. The Laurel Highland Meadery’s products are made using honey provided by a local farmer, and local, farm-fresh products are also the key to Unity Brewing’s impressive, eclectic menu that accompanies its collaboratively brewed beers.

Where to Stay To truly soak in the ambience of the Laurel Highlands—and to get to visit as many places as possible in this three-county, 3,000 sq. mile area—try to at least

Laure l Tour 2 Highlands P .0 p a s sp o r t o u r Photo co urte

sy of GO Laurel spend a Highla nds weekend if not longer. Lodging choices range from primitive camping and RV camping in state parks, to romantic cabins in the woods, to classic bed-and-breakfasts and chain hotels. The area also has two resorts—Seven Springs Mountain Resort and Nemacolin—for those who prefer higher-end accommodations. To learn more, visit www. golaurelhighlands.com.

Freelance writer. Roadtripper. Travel diva and dog rescuer. Will write for food or kibbles and bits. Based out of Pittsburgh, PA, via Juneau, AK, Vanessa has been a freelance writer for more than 25 years. An avid traveler, she always brings home amazing memories…and often more dogs. Find out more at www. VanessaOrrInk.com or follow www.EveryRoadaStory.com.

Four Seasons Brewing Company Photo: Vanessa Or

May 2021 | 27


TO THE BLUE RIDGE

JULIE REARDON

...Just an Embarrassment?

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or the baby boomer generation, all those antiques and silver are not worth what you were led to believe. All of my life, I remember being told by my mother, aunts, and grandmothers how valuable this or that antique piece of furniture was worth. We had china sets we never used because they were way too valuable to risk using for holidays and special events that included heathen children who might break things. They sat, dainty and beautiful, in valuable china cabinets and on the very top shelves of our mid-century modern kitchen cabinets. That they were not dishwasher or microwave safe was an added reason they were never used.

Silver, including monogrammed tea sets might sit proudly on an antique sideboard. Polishing silver became a childhood household chore, along with learning the stories behind these valuable pieces of sterling that were way too expensive to be able to afford these days. Back in my grandparents’ day silver was freely given for christenings, birthdays, graduations, Christmas, weddings and other occasions. My parents couldn’t afford that type of generosity but oh how Mom loved that sterling silver. But now, no one else does and often it’s worth more melted down and sold by the ounce. And forget silver plate—you can’t even give it away. And all those beautiful

antique pieces? The sideboards, the desks, the dressers and tables. Forget it—today’s young adults shun brown furniture as if it was tainted. The reality is that the collectible business is changing all the time. The big demographic shift is of baby boomers downsizing after 50 years of post-World War II consumption. The bad news is that the resale market is glutted with their household goods that no one wants. Items in the general antique category have lost 50 percent or more of their value since the late 1990s, say some reports. Young families that once bought second-hand furniture or took hand-me-downs, now want new but cheap and sleek

imports ala IKEA. No heavy brown furniture. In my early years of living on my own and then as a young newlywed, I gladly accepted hand-medowns from my parents and grandparents…furniture, dishware, sterling silver. It was a way to get started. There was no IKEA or Target or imports from China. Families ate around a real dinner table separate from the kitchen. Now it’s one big happy freefor-all bar-style meal, or even plate on your lap in front of the TV or computer. According to those who deal in antiques or estate sales, the market is flooded with boomer rejects. “Hardly a day goes by that we don’t get calls from people who want to sell a big dining room set or bedroom

suite because nobody in the family wants it. Millennials don’t want brown furniture, rocking chairs or silver tea sets. Millennials don’t polish silver.” The formal furniture is often sold at bargain prices, or if it’s not in good shape, it might go straight to the dump. For generations, adult children have agreed to take their aging parents’ possessions—whether they wanted them or not. But now, the anti-clutter movement has met the anti-brownfurniture movement, and the combination is sending dining room sets, sterling silver flatware, and knick-knacks straight to thrift stores or the curb.

From the Publisher: I guess the moral of the story here is that if you are of a certain age or at the point where you think that everything old is new again and have always wanted a fancy silver tea set or that ornate sideboard you coveted at a more monied family’s home when you were younger, now is the time to get them at rock bottom prices. The Blue Ridge is filled with some amazing antique and consignment stores tucked away in the amazing small towns that dot the mountain sides. This month might be a good time to take a drive and do some sourcing for some pieces to repurpose or just to see how good a deal you can get. While you are at it, take a side trip to a winery or two and have something to eat in one of the many small town eateries you will encounter on the way. 28 | May 2021

Old Town Crier


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DINING OUT

THE GASTRONOMES

To Brunch or to Dine?

T

What defines “Brunch”? According to Wikipedia: Brunch is a combination of breakfast and lunch, and regularly has some form of alcoholic drink (most usually champagne or a cocktail) served with it. It is usually served any time before 2 o’clock in the afternoon. The word is a portmanteau of breakfast and lunch. Brunch originated in England in the late 19th century and became popular in the United States in the 1930s. 30 | May 2021

his is the question that I posed to all of my Facebook friends out there who are Mothers. While we were pondering about what eating establishment we should feature in this column this month and keep with the Mother’s Day theme we decided that we couldn’t pick just one place. Our advertisers and most all of the other fine dining establishments in the area all have good things to offer on this day. We also pondered whether it would be better to feature brunch or dinner and that is where the survey came in. Ultimately Sunday Brunch won out by a fairly large margin. It seems that the Mom’s in my realm like to linger over a nice, leisurely midday meal with a Bloody Mary or Mimosa in hand. As you can see from the information in the sidebar to this column, brunch has some parameters. I will be the first to admit that I have had brunch well after 2 pm over the years. We did find that most establishments that serve brunch in the area have it available between 11 am and 3:30 pm so there is a decent window for making a reservation. Speaking of which, if you are looking

at snagging a table outside or on the waterfront anywhere in the area, it would behoove you to make that reservation immediately. With some of the pandemic protocols and some people’s reluctance to dine indoors still at the forefront, these tables will fill up fast. This is also dependent on Mother Nature so you may want to keep your options open. Let’s talk about our favorite part of brunch (besides the Mimosa) – brunch food! Eggs Benedict isn’t something you make every day for breakfast and neither is French toast or quiche. Most of us don’t serve peeled shrimp and carvings of prime rib and honey baked ham at lunch either. Brunch is when you can choose from either category no matter the time of day. The days of the buffet are slowly coming back but we aren’t aware of any places that are putting out Brunch Buffet for Mother’s Day. Personally, I am not a fan of a buffet. For some reason when I go through the line with my plate(s) I feel compelled to take some of everything. If you are the person following me in the line you would think that I was preparing for my last meal. I just want a few really nice choices that some nice expeditor puts together on my plate served to me at the table. For those Moms who prefer to be taken for a nice dinner, you also have

many great places to choose from and many of them are offering special Mother’s Day Dinner menus. These special menus are normally very extensive and well worth the money. If you are still hesitant about dining out, the majority of the restaurants are offering their special menu for delivery, takeout or curbside pickup. The beauty of living in the area we do is that we can dress to the nines or wear our best spring casuals and still be treated to a great meal. There are places with an atmosphere for every taste – white table cloth to bar stool. There are places that will have sports on for Mom and then there are places that will have nice music and a rose waiting for her. No matter which meal you choose to treat Mom to, we encourage you to consider our restaurant advertisers when making your selection. In addition to these fine establishments, there are many other options here in Old Town and metro Alexandria. There are some new faces on the waterfront and in the North End. Check out the Dining Guide for some suggestions. On a parting note….there is always the option of cooking for Mom at her house or yours. Keep in mind, however, this means that you do the cleaning up as well! Have a fabulous Mother’s Day! Old Town Crier


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May 2021 | 31


LET’S EAT

CHARLES OPPMAN

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ow that soft shell crab season is upon us we should be thinking about frying up a few of these fabulous crustaceans. The soft shell crab is one of the South’s greatest contributions to American cuisine. Soft shells are a delicacy in every sense of the word. They can be sautéed or deep fried. A soft shell is a common blue crab that’s harvested during the early stages of molting, when the crab sheds its smaller shell and before a new, larger shell forms. The crab should be cooked before the new shell begins to harden. A bit of pre-cooking preparation needs to be done. The crab needs to be cleaned. 1. To clean soft-shell crabs, hold the crab in one hand, and using a pair of kitchen shears, cut off the mouth and eye parts. 2. Lift one pointed end of the crab’s outer shell; remove the gills by pulling them out. Repeat on the other side. 3. Turn the crab over and pull owwff the small flap known as the apron. Rinse the entire crab well and pat dry. Once cleaned, crabs should be cooked immediately. Only buy crabs that are alive. If they don’t move when touched, they’re dead and you won’t know when they expired. Smell the crabs. Like other seafood, soft shells should odorless or smell like the ocean. Avoid buying frozen crabs as they lose most of their body fluid when they thaw out and appendages tend to break off. Soft shells should only be consumed during the season, which varies with the latitude. Soft shells are great with French fries and coleslaw or as a po’ boy sandwich. Any po’ boy should be made on a crunchy French baguette. The po’ boy can be dressed with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce.

Ingredients 4 soft shells 2 large eggs ½ cup milk 1 cup all-purpose flour 2-3 cups frying oil, or as needed depending upon the size of pan. Salt, pepper & seafood seasoning mix such as Old Bay, to taste

Directions Combine the flour, salt, pepper and Old Bay. Whisk together the milk and eggs to make egg wash. To coat the crabs, dredge them thoroughly in seasoned flour, then dip in egg wash and back into the flour mixture. The crab is now ready for frying. Heat the frying oil to 350ºF in a sauté pan. Carefully place the crabs into the hot oil. Cook for at least 2 minutes, or until golden brown on one side. With tongs, carefully turn over and cook until golden on the other side. When crabs fry they tend to explode splashing oil on anyone standing nearby so cover with a frying screen or hold a lid a few inches over the pan. Drain on paper towel. Serve hot while they are still crispy. Serves: 4 Time: 30 minutes

32 | May 2021

Old Town Crier


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Cooking With Cicadas

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eat other arthropods like lobsters, shrimp and crawfish. So, maybe it will be easier for people if they think of the cicada as a ‘land lobster’”. When asked if he really thinks that eating cicadas will catch on, Frothingham responds that “entomophagy” [the practice of eating insects] has been a human practice for thousands of years. “This cookbook has a strong novelty value and will be given to many people as a ‘gag gift’. That being said, many people might become curious and if they do, they stand a good chance of being pleasantly surprised

oldtowncrier.com

opportunity.“If you can’t beat ‘em, eat ‘em,” says Frothingham, author of “Cooking with Cicadas”. Along with recipes such as “Cicada Frittata”, “Pasta a la Cicada”, “Cicada Curry” and “Caramel Cicada Crunch”, this one-of-a-kind cookbook also includes information regarding cicada consumption safety and suggestions about “harvesting” this high protein, low fat ingredient. For example, “Cooking with Cicadas” suggests that female cicadas (identified by pointy abdomens) have the most “meat” and, as such, should be targeted for use in cooking. “Eating cicadas can make people squeamish,” says Frothingham, “but the cicada is an arthropod and people

Check us out online at

T

his is a fun cookbook with recipes for using cicadas for snacks, meals and desserts. It has been released just in time for the return of the cicadas on the eastern seaboard of the US. This year, millions of cicadas that burrowed underground 17 years ago will emerge from their subterranean world. Appearing in clusters of up to 1.5 million per acre along the eastern seaboard of the United States, it is an incredible natural phenomenon. There are a variety of ways to react to this unique occurrence. Some will study it and some will treat it as a scene from a horror movie. Northern Virginia resident Scott Frothingham prefers to treat it as a gastronomic

when they try the recipes in this little book.” Right now, “Cooking with Cicadas” is the only cicada recipe book on Amazon. com and is available both as a paperback and as a downloadable Kindle eBook. About the Author: R. Scott Frothingham is an entrepreneur, consultant, speaker, business coach and author of a number of business books including “6-Minute Success Training,” “High

Conversion E-Mail Copywriting” and “Successercize” and the 6-book “Words & Wisdom” series featuring Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Ben Franklin and other iconic Americans. This is Scott’s first cookbook.

Publishers Note: In the spirit of cicada season and in conjunction with the beautiful cover of this June issue, we thought it only fitting to publish a book about cooking them. Looking forward to all of the comments that will start rolling in. office@oldtowncrier.com

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DINING GUIDE AMERICAN

ADA'S ON THE RIVER 3 Pioneer Mill Way 703-638-1400 AUGIE’S MUSSEL HOUSE 1106 King Street 703.721.3970 BLACKWALL HITCH 5 Cameron St. 703-739-6090 CAFE 44 44 Canal Center 571-800-6644 CHADWICKS 203 Strand St. 703-836-4442 CHART HOUSE One Cameron St. 703-684-5080 CITY KITCHEN 330 South Pickett St. 703-685-9172 fatcitykitchen.com COLUMBIA FIREHOUSE 109 S. St. Asaph St. 703-683-1776 EVENING STAR CAFÉ 2000 Mt. Vernon Ave. 703-549-5051 EXECUTIVE DINER & CAFE 1400 Duke Street 703-299-0894 FIVE GUYS 725 King St. 703-549-7991 FOSTERS GRILLE 2004 Eisenhower Ave. 703-725-1342 GADSBYS TAVERN 138 N. Royal St. 703-548-1288 GRATEFUL KITCHEN 727 N. Henry Street HARD TIMES CAFE 1404 King St. 703-837-0050 HEN QUARTER 1404 King St. 703-684-6969 HOPS 'N SHINE 3410 Mount Vernon Ave. 703-566-1509 HUMMINGBIRD 220 South Union Street 703-566-1355 JACKS PLACE 222 North Lee St. 703-684-0372 JOE THEISMANNS 1800 Diagonal Rd. 703-739-0777 JUNCTION BAKERY & BISTRO 1508 Mount Vernon Avenue Alexandria 703-436-0025 LAPORTAS 1600 Duke St. 703-683-6313 THE LIGHT HORSE 715 King Street 703-549-0533

34 | May 2021

LORI'S TABLE 1028 King Street 703-549-5545 LOST DOG CAFE 808 North Henry St. 571-970-6511

MACKIE’S BAR AND GRILL 907 King St. 703-684-3288 mackiesbarandgrill.com MAGNOLIA’S ON KING 703 King St. 703-838-9090 MAJESTIC CAFÉ 911 King St. 703-837-9117 MASON SOCIAL 728 Henry Street 703-548-8800 mason-social.com MURPHYS IRISH PUB 713 King St. 703-548-1717 murphyspub.com NORTHSIDE 1O 10 East Glebe Rd. 703-888-0032 OAK STEAKHOUSE 901 N. St. Asaph St. 703-840-3395 OCONNELLS RESTAURANT & BAR 112 King St. 703-739-1124 PORK BARREL BBQ 2312 Mount Vernon Ave. 703-822-5699 THE PEOPLES DRUG 103 N. Alfred Street 571-257-8851 RAMPARTS 1700 Fern St. 703-998-6616 rampartstavern.com RIVER BEND BISTRO 7966 Fort Hunt Rd. Hollin Hall Shopping Center 703-347-7545 riverbendbistro.com ROCK IT GRILL 1319 King St. 703-739-2274 RT's RESTAURANT 3804 Mt. Vernon Ave. 703-684-6010 rtsrestaurant.com SHOOTER MCGEES 5239 Duke St. 703-751-9266 SLATERS MARKET 1552 Potomac Greens Dr. 703-548-3807 SMOKING KOW BBQ 3250 Duke Sttreet 703-888-2649 SONOMA CELLAR 207 King St. 703-966-3550 SOUTH BLOCK 106 N. Lee Street 703-465-8423 SOUTHSIDE 815 815 S. Washington St. 703-836-6222 SWEETGREEN 823 King St. 571-319-0192

Please Contact your favorite restaurants for updates on their "Social Distancing" policies. SWEET FIRE DONNA'S BBQ & HOPS 510 John Carlyle Street 571-312-7960 T.J. STONES GRILL HOUSE & TAP ROOM 608 Montgomery St. 703-548-1004 tjstones.com TOASTIQUE GOURMET TOAST & JUICE BAR 1605 King Street 571-312-1909 UNION STREET PUBLIC HOUSE 121 South Union St. 703-548-1785 unionstreetpublichouse.com VERMILLION 1120 King St. 703-684-9669 VIRTUE GRAIN & FEED 106 South Union St. 571-970-3669 VOLA’S DOCKSIDE GRILL & THE HI-TIDE LOUNGE 101 North Union St. 703-935-8890 THE WAREHOUSE BAR & GRILL 214 King St. 703-683-6868 warehouseoldtown.com ASIAN

ASIAN BISTRO 809 King St. 703-836-1515 KINGS RANSOM 728 King Street 571-319-0794 KISSO ASIAN BISTRO 300 King Street 703-888-1513 MALAYA 1019 King St. 703-519-3710 MAI THAI 9 King St. 703-548-0600 NASIME 1209 King St. 703-548-1848 SIGNATURE THAI 722 King Street 707-888-2458 STREETS MARKET AND CAFE 3108 Mt. Vernon Ave. 571-431-6810 THAILAND ROYAL 801 N. Fairfax St. 703 535-6622 TOKYO JAPANESE STEAKHOUSE 66 Canal Center Plaza 703-683-8878 CAPHE BANH MI VIETNAMESE 407 Cameron St. 703-549-0800 KAI ZEN TAVERN 1901 Mt. Vernon Ave. 703-836-1212 SISTERS THAI 503 Montgomery St. 571-777-8154 THE SUSHI BAR 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue 571-257-3232

CONTINENTAL

BRABO by Robert Weidmaier 1600 King St. 703-894-3440 CEDAR KNOLL GW Parkway at Lucia Ln. 703-780-3665 OLD HOUSE COSMOPOLITAN 1024 Cameron Street 703-717-9361 TEMPO 4231 Duke St. 703-370-7900 temporestaurant.com VILLAGE BRAUHAUS 710 King Street 703-888-1951 villagebrauhaus.com FRENCH

BASTILLE 606 N. Fayette St. 703-519-3776 bastillerestaurant.com BISTRO SANCERRE FRENCH 1755 Duke Street LE REFUGE 127 N. Washington St. 703-548-4661 FONTAINES CAFFE & CREPERIE 119 S. Royal St. 703-535-8151 LA MADELEINE 500 King St. 703-729-2854 TWO NINETEEN RESTAURANT 219 King St. 703-549-1141 ITALIAN

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GRAPEVINE

J

ulia Child once said, “Wine is meant to be with food - that’s the point of it!” Nobody will argue that wine isn’t wonderful on its own. But if you really want to elevate your experience, it is crucial that you pair your wine with the right dish.

MATT FITZSIMMONS

The Chefs Behind Three of Virginia’s Popular Winery Restaurants

GRAPEVINE > PAGE 38

The Farmhouse at Veritas

The Palladio Restaurant at Barboursville Vineyard

Chef Michael Clough Chef Daniel Zbiegien The Farmhouse has long been famous as an upscale bed and breakfast, but over the past few years, word has gotten out about the quality of the restaurant. It first opened for dining in 2015 but has gradually expanded to its present 38 person capacity, serving both visitors and those staying overnight. Chef Daniel Zbiegien started in 2017 and after a brief stint elsewhere, returned as its head Chef. Daniel approaches wine and food pairings by prioritizing the menu first and finding the right wine to match it with afterwards. While many of the Farmhouse’s pairings are the result of his own experimentation, Daniel credits Veritas’ winemaker Emily Hodson as a great tutor for Virginia wine. When asked what his favorite pairings are, Daniel went with a homemade classic. “You can’t live a full life without experiencing variety. A lot of people ask me what my favorite dish is but it’s always changing. But if I had to pick a favorite meal, it may be a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup.” “As for wine, my ‘first favorite’ was viognier, but I also love our petit verdot and cabernet franc. The viognier has soft acid and the weight of the alcohol balances heat, so it’s great with spicy food. I also pair it with burrata dishes, mixed with tomatoes, paprika, and grilled peaches.” “Our petit verdot is a big red with notes of toasted vanilla beans and blackberry notes; I like pairing it with almonds and duck. But you can never go wrong with a well seared steak.” “Cabernet franc was my introduction to Virginia reds. It’s very versatile and goes well with duck, sausage, lamb rump and soft cheeses. Spring is a great time to work because so much is coming into season.” As for Daniel’s favorite part of the job? “Going out into the dining room and talking to the guests. All the chefs at Veritas are very accessible. The interaction with the guests is almost unique to the Guesthouse. Also, the view at the Farmhouse is amazing.”

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If there’s a single Virginia winery that needs no introduction, it would be Barboursville. The winery is one of the oldest in the state, and its restaurant the Palladio is a perennial contender in many “Best” lists when it comes to wineries that offer fine dining. Winemaker and general manager Luca Paschina is a great cook (watch him effortlessly prepare an Italian dish while doing his Tuesday Facebook Live chats) but the role of Executive Chef is held by Michael Clough. Michael started as an intern at the Palladio and rose his way up until reaching his present position in 2020. While the Palladio’s dishes are inspired by Italy, Michael emphasized that the menu is seasonal. But as Luca explained, “Almost all restaurants claim they are inspired by Italy, but not all of them do it right.” When it comes to pairing his dishes, Michael designs the menu first. With 18 different wines to choose from, he never has trouble finding the right wine pairing. The real secret to his creations are in the ingredients. “I spend a lot of time researching good ingredients. If you have good ingredients then the food preparation is always a lot easier.” As for favorite pairings, they have a few favorites. Luca readily claimed, “One of my favorites is nebbiolo and pasta with white truffle – classic! I grew up with it. I also love vermentino with shrimp or soft shell crab, or a light fish like walleye. It’s also good with pasta or an Italian mollusk dish.” “For dessert, I like to pair our Paxxito (his Virginia Governor’s Cupwinning dessert wine) with savory dishes, like an apple fritter. A wine shouldn’t be sweeter than the dessert. Cheese boards also go well with it.” What’s Michael’s favorite part of the job? “The creative process. I never tire of experimenting with new ideas.”

May 2021 | 35


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hen I was a kid growing up in Upstate New York in the early 70’s, my parents didn’t really drink much wine. There was always a Gallo Hearty Burgundy in the cabinet for the spaghetti sauce, but they would buy a bottle of Mateus when guests were coming over. It was a pale pink wine in a uniquely shaped bottle, and everybody knew it. The wine had a little sweetness and it certainly was easy drinking (or so I’m told…). In the early 80s a new wine product from Sutter Home was becoming popular: White Zinfandel was on the market and people were drinking it like it was going out of style. It was sweet, pretty pink in color and a little bubbly, and all the wineries got on the band wagon. At the time, the red Zinfandel wine was out of fashion and the price for the fruit reflected that. White Zinfandel was born out of an attempt at making something saleable out of grapes that weren’t selling. Pressing the grapes prior to fermentation gave the wine its unique pink color and left the tannins behind. The result was more of an entry level wine for the beer and sweet flavored wine crowd, and it was all the rage for a while. Unfortunately for rosé producers in that timeframe, there was no market for their wines—those drier styles of pink wine with a solid acid structure that are so foodfriendly. Somewhere in the early 2000s, fortunately, the trends started to shift again and the old school dry and offdry rosés began their resurgence. The foodie movement helped move this forward, and rosé wine has now gained a widespread following. Virginia wineries have ridden this wave too, creating many lovely wines that are perfect for our summers and outdoor activities as well as for our cuisine. Most rosés are made from red grapes, and there are several ways to make rosé wine. The grapes are usually crushed and then lightly pressed to extract the flavor and a touch of color. The longer the juices sit on the skin the bolder the flavor and darker the color, in general. Another way to make rosé is to add a touch of red wine to a white wine for color. A third way of making rosé happens in the process of making a red wine when a portion of the juice is drained from the fermenter to increase the skin to juice ratio in the red wine. The juice that is drained out is already fermented and, instead of throwing it out, it’s bottled as a rosé wine. Although some rosés are made from a single grape varietal, sometimes several varietals are combined, and it may be adjusted for acidity or sweetness before bottling to make the best wine possible. With a shorter fermentation and aging process, rosés are usually ready to bottle and drink just a few months after harvest, so we see a lot of rosés coming out in the spring and early summer. Springtime is always a great time as we enjoy those new rosés released at this time of year. The timing is perfect, too—asparagus wrapped with prosciutto, spring salads, and lots of Mother’s Day sunshine all pair fabulously with a good rosé. Seek out rosé wines from your favorite Virginia wineries and enjoy the flavors and colors of springtime with this classic—and reborn—style of wine!

May 2021 | 37


GRAPEVINE FROM PAGE 35

A well designed pairing will either amplify shared flavor compounds to heighten their sensation, or create a contrast of different tastes. There’s a science behind this process. But it’s more than science; pairing wine and food is an art. Carlisle Banner of Upper Shirley Vineyards, Daniel Zbiegien of The Farmhouse at Veritas, and Michael Clough of the Palladio Restaurant at Barboursville are among the masters of this art. While Virginia is famous for having around 300 wineries, only a handful provide a full dining experience. For those who wish to experiment with pairing Virginia wine and local dishes, these are the three wineries you should visit.

Matthew Fitzsimmons is a wine blogger who has visited almost every one of Virginia’s nearly 300 wineries. Track his progress on https:// winetrailsandwanderlust.com/

Upper Shirley Vineyard Upper Shirley is located along the banks of the James River in a rural area around 30 minutes south-east of Richmond. While most wineries tend to be part of a wine trail, Upper Shirley breaks the model by providing an all-inclusive experience that keeps patrons from needing to go anywhere else. Executive chef (and partner) Carlisle Bannister explained, “In order to really capture our market, we thought that having a restaurant would really showcase what we can do culinary. We have beautiful views, award winning wine, all in one place to capture the full experience.” As for his favorite pairings, “My palate has become seasonal. In the wintertime, I love using our rich and tannic tannat and Zachariah red-blend. Pairing those with anything hardy in the winter is super fun and is just a great match. One of my favorite pairings is these with a hearty, fatty ribeye. That’s pretty sexy right there. There isn’t a food on this earth that we couldn’t pair our wines with.” “In the summertime, I love our chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. The chardonnay has your traditional oaky flavor but is light and crisp. The sauvignon blanc is light, crisp and citrusy. It pairs nicely with lighter fare. And our traditional sparkling blanc de blanc pairs with everything.” His favorite part of the job? “I have a lot of favorites. Working with my young staff and teaching them, training them, and seeing them grow and become chefs is really fun. And not only do they have the chance to learn and grow I’ve learned almost everything I know from my guys. You learn new things every day.”

Chef Carlisle Banner

Barrel Oak Winery and Farm Taphouse Virginia’s Favorite Winery

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NICOLE FLANAGAN

FITNESS

ON THE RUN…

S

pring is in full swing and so is the pitter pat of beginning runners hitting the roads and trails across the country. Similar to the masses of new gym goers in January excited by New Year’s resolutions to become fitter, beginning runners often hit the road at the first sign of warmer weather with similar aspirations. Many new runners head out with good intentions and admirable goals, but often find themselves

overwhelmed or unenthused with the progress of their new activity. Why is that? Running is often the first choice of new fitness enthusiasts because of the low start-up costs, the fact that you can do it just about anywhere, and there are no long term dues or fees associated with running. Because of the low cost and ease of access, many new runners aren’t prepared mentally or physically for the new demands they’re about to put on their bodies

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and well as the time investment needed. All good things come in time and running is definitely one of those “good things.” Here are 10 tips to help ensure success with your new adventure into running. 1. Get Fitted: Pay a visit to your local independent running store. Often these smaller stores have more knowledgeable staff than the big box retails stores. Many provide gait analysis which reveals your foot strike pattern. Knowing this will help in selecting the best shoe for your foot type. Don’t skimp on your shoes. Be prepared to pay $80 to $100 for a good pair of running shoes. 2. Get Technical: Invest a little in some technical fabric running shorts, tops, and socks. Technical fabric can be made of a variety of fibers including natural and synthetic materials. Avoid 100 percent cotton. It tends to retain sweat causing chaffing, irritation, and even blisters. Technical fabrics allow the moisture to rise to the surface where it can evaporate. They still get damp, but not nearly as much as 100 percent cotton. 3. Get a Group: Motivation, inspiration, accountability, and commitment increase dramatically when you’re a part of a running group or at least have a running buddy. Everyone experiences times when they don’t want to run, but if you know you have buddies counting on you, it can make all the difference in the world when it comes to rolling over and getting out of bed. Check with your local running store. Many provide beginning running groups or know of running coaches in the area that work with beginning runners. 4. Get a Plan: Just getting out the door and running often does not work for many people, especially if you’ve been sedentary or away from exercise for any period of time. Find a beginning running plan

to follow. There are beginning running programs online or you can contact your local running store, running club, or running coaches in the area to inquire about beginning running plans. One of the most effective ways to begin is with a run/walk method 5. Get Acclimated: Whenever you begin new exercise your body’s fitness level will actually dip a little while you acclimate to the new demands you’re putting on your body. Understand before you take up running that it takes your body about four to six weeks to acclimate to the new demands. Anticipating that “wiped out feeling” can actually make it less of a shock. Just know that you’re going to feel the effects of your new activity. Hang in there and before you know it, you’ll pull out of that dip and begin to feel stronger than before you started. Also, start slowly. Many new runners experience shin splints, pulled calf muscles, cramping quads, or sore hips from going out too fast or from doing too much too soon. Take it slow and ease into your new activity. 6. Get Fueled: Fueling your new activity is very important. Timing is key. It’s a good rule of thumb to eat about 1.5 hours prior to your run. This will give your body time to digest the food and provide your body with the needed energy for your activity. Not eating or not eating enough before your run can make your run feel labored or cause your muscles to feel fatigued. Eating too soon can sometimes cause stomach issues. 7. Get Hydrated: Being wellhydrated is just as important as being well fueled. Be sure to drink about 20 oz. of water about two hours prior to running. This will give it time to pass through your system and be voided before your run. During your run, drinking water is fine. Once you’re running more than 45 to 60

minutes, you’ll need to switch to a sports drink to help replace vital electrolytes which are minerals (sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus) that play a major role in helping to maintain proper water balance in your body. Electrolytes can be lost though your perspiration. Sports drinks such as Gatorade contain these important minerals. 8. Get Warmed-Up: Before you head out on your run, be sure to warm-up your muscles with a dynamic stretch. A fiveminute walk is a great way to do this. This will help decrease the chance of your muscles feeling tight during your run. Save the traditional stretch-and-hold stretches for after your run. 9. Get In Tune With Your Body: Listen to your body. If you’re feeling something other than regular workout-related muscle soreness, don’t run. Running through the pain is never a good idea. If you’re experiencing pain along your shin, hip, IT Band or any area of the body that’s beyond normal muscle soreness, ice it, elevate it, and use your normal choice of anti-inflammatory medication and rest. When you no longer feel any pain, ease back into your running. If the pain persists, don’t let it linger. Go see your doctor. 10. Get Rest: Rest is just as important as your workout. Rest allows your body time to rebuild and recover. When you run or do any type of exercise, you actually create little micro tears in the muscle tissue. Your body then rushes in to rebuild and repair the tears. This is the normal muscle-building process that makes you stronger. However, if you don’t take the proper rest, your body may not have time to fully repair before your next run causing you to feel sore, tired, and sluggish. When you first start your beginning running program, it’s a good idea to have at least one day of rest in between runs. May 2021 | 39


FROM THE TRAINER RYAN UNVERZAGT

Get Out Your FitBall

M

ay is the perfect month to initiate an exercise program if you have slacked lately. The weather starts to cooperate better which favors more outdoor activities. Walking, bike riding, hiking, jogging, or even rollerblading are fun things to do this month. I encourage you to get outside but if not, I have a great exercise for your core. This one’s called the FitBall Crossover Crunch. I find it helpful to use a ball that is a size smaller than the one you normally would use. A 65cm ball is my usual size, however, I’m using a 55cm for this exercise because a smaller ball will keep you closer to the ground for stability. You need your opposite hand and foot touching the floor while performing this exercise. If a bigger ball is used, you might not be able to reach the ground and there’s a good chance you’ll fall off! To start, lay on top of the ball with it placed on your midto-low back. The ball should curve along the lumbar and lower thoracic vertebrae. Keep your opposite foot and hand in contact with the floor while the other leg is straight and parallel to the ground (figure 1). You 40 | May 2021

should have your other elbow bent with the hand behind your head. Bring your elbow toward the opposite knee (from the straight leg) to “crossover” to the middle. Focus on contracting your abdominals to help bring your shoulder toward the center for a slight rotation (figure 2). During this movement, the ball should not roll. To finish, slowly release tension on the abs to bring your elbow and leg back to the start position. Finish 20 reps with the same side before you switch to the opposite arm/leg combo. Don’t try to alternate sides, this can be unsafe. To progress, you can add more reps or keep your opposite arm and leg straight during the exercise. Keep up the hard work and we’ll see you next month! Unverzagt holds Bachelor of Science degree in Wellness Management from Black Hills State University. He is a certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength & Conditioning Association and a Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

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GENEVIEVE LEFRANC

FIRST BLUSH

S

top and think for a minute; just how many products do you spray, slather, and swipe on from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, without a second thought? If you’re anything like me you have dozens of products scattered atop your dresser, lined up in your bathroom, and overtaking the shower shelf. And that’s because cosmetics and personal care products are supposed to be fun to collect and experiment with. Everyone knows the thrill of testing that talked about new shampoo or saving up for the must-have lipstick of the moment, but how thrilled would you be if you knew most of your tried and true favorites are chock full of harmful chemicals, toxins, and carcinogens? And what’s worse—no one is telling you. Lead in your lipstick. Dioxane and formaldehyde (a known carcinogen) in your favorite shampoo. Parabens (linked to cancer) in your deodorant. Diethyl phthalate in your perfume. What gives? Although difficult and depressing to accept, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, cosmetic products and their ingredients do not require FDA approval before they go Haircuts $15 Shampoo, Cut & Blow Dry $18 (extra charge for long hair) Scissors Cut $17+up Color $43+up Permanent $45+up (including haircut & conditioner)

LEAD IN YOUR LIPSTICK? on the market to be sold to unsuspecting consumers. The FDA actually has no authority to require safety assessments on cosmetics before they are sold for both salon and customer use, making them some of the least-regulated and least-reviewed products on the market. Some numbers say as much as 89 percent of all ingredients in cosmetic products have not been evaluated whatsoever. In short—no one is making sure your moisturizer, mascara, shampoo, or even baby products are safe. Americans are at serious risk of being

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unknowingly exposed to harmful chemicals. Scary stuff. Don’t believe me? Head on over to the FDA’s own website: “FDA’s legal authority over cosmetics is different from other products regulated by the agency. Cosmetic products and ingredients are not subject to FDA pre-market approval authority, with the exception of color additives.” When you think about all the products that go into your Saturday date night or happy hour with the girls, or even the several products you use to simply take a shower, small exposure to these chemicals consistently over time can add up to some harmful outcomes like cancer, immunotoxicity, or developmental and reproductive issues.

So What Can You Do? Thankfully, a trend has been surfacing where consumers are making themselves more aware of what goes into their products, and demanding that manufacturers be more transparent about their ingredients. But what’s a girl to do when said ingredients make as much sense as hieroglyphics? A “fragrance” labeling alone can contain up to 3,163 different harmful ingredients, and most of us won’t be memorizing those any time soon. Well, naturally,

there’s an app for that! I’ve found the simplest and quickest way to stay on top of what’s really in my products is by taking advantage of some of the wonderfully detailed and informative apps available for your smartphone. Technology takes all the guesswork out of clean, green beauty shopping. My personal favorite is Think Dirty. This app is the nearly fool proof answer to learning the truth about the potentially toxic and harmful ingredients in your products. Simply type in the name or scan the barcode of 68,000 North American and European products and Think Dirty rates them on a “dirty scale” from one (cleanest) to ten (dirtiest). You can be an educated, empowered consumer and receive straightforward, easy-tounderstand information as well as several options for cleaner alternatives, all from your phone. When I first heard about Think Dirty, I straightaway typed in the products I had been using for almost a decade. You know, that staple face scrub that never fails you, or your tried and true mascara you’ve never seemed to beat. I was shocked and honestly upset to see that the face wash I had stood by since my preteen acne days was a whopping 10

on the toxicity scale. Despite its crisp white bottle and wholesome-ingredient, allnatural marketing angle, I was indignant that I had been duped by great packaging and smoke and mirrors. But I am optimistic that one day soon we won’t have to choose between our favorite products and our health. With the rising popularity of this app (it’s already been downloaded more than 70,000 times!) and similar ones, like The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep, there is real hope that the go-to brands we’ve come to love will be held accountable and their manufacturers will actually change their formulas to substantially reduce or eliminate harmful ingredients.

Products & Brands They say necessity is the mother of invention, and that couldn’t be truer in the case of safe cosmetics and care products. Even as little as a decade ago it would’ve been nearly impossible to find all the products you love and use regularly in a safe, organic, toxic-free line, let alone a variety of lines and brands to choose from. Using only certified organic ingredients and/or a mix of natural and organic ingredients can be limiting, so most brands don’t go that far, and a lot of the standard, big names aren’t as allnatural as they claim to be. And honestly, it’s more about what these organic lines aren’t using that matters here: absolutely no unnecessary chemicals, parabens, fillers, preservatives, or additives. But ask and you shall receive! We beauty lovers and producthoarders have spoken, and with our demands we have noticed a surge in just how many great lines and brands there are these days offering safe, harmfree cosmetics. Even big name brands have been rolling out safer products one by one. May 2021 | 41


GO FISH

STEVE CHACONAS

Angling Buzzes with Cicadas

S

howing up every 17 years, cicadas enter the region with sight and sound and are expected to appear up and down the East Coast between late April and early June, as the ground temperature reaches the mid 60s. They come out of the ground, mate and then die while their offspring go back underground and wait another 17 years before emerging to repeat the process. Anglers and fish will be waiting for cicadas with baited breath. Cicadas provide a meaty snack that creates a buzzing invitation along the surface, often buzzing in circles to allow fish of every species to zero in. A few billion will take to the air and some will inadvertently end up in the water. This creates a topwater feeding frenzy. During Cicada season 17 years ago, anglers noticed that fish keyed on anything that lingered on the surface as the cicada conditioned fish looked to the skies when eating. Around 2 inches in length, cicadas are not hard to find. They are all over trees and on the ground, making them easy to collect for bait. If they can’t be seen, noisy males can be heard and then located. As if the noise wasn’t enough, these insects are hard to miss with their orange wings, buggy red eyes and distinctive noisy mating calls. They are totally harmless to humans, and a tasty meal to fish. 42 | May 2021

Cicadas may enhance fishing in clear-water scenarios where fish feed by sight, or in shallow water where they are close to the fish despite visibility. Fish will find them. Looking for birds diving on cicadas will reveal areas chummed with cicadas. These are the best places to fish as the buffet attracts fish. As with other topwater lures and baits, low light, calm and clear water are the best conditions. Early morning and just before dusk are the best times. If using artificial topwaters, matching the hatch with cicada like patterns, black bodies with orange bellies and gold wings, will produce. But lures that create a disturbance work best. This includes small buzzbaits, poppers and prop baits. Topwater fishing provides more coverage than bottom baits. In addition, buzzing cicadas don’t move very far, remaining a visible noisy target for a longer period of time, pulling fish from a distance or to get the bigger more reluctant fish to finally emerge to silence the loud intruder. Using cicadas as a live bait is highly productive for bass, bluegill, catfish, trout and even carp. Hooking the cicada under the thorax shell from the back of the insect towards the head will allow the size 6 bait keeper hook to be less snaggy and let the cicada buzz on the water letting out an ultrasonic ring. It’s like a

dinner bell. Fish move from quite a distance to smash cicadas when trapped on the water’s surface. Avoid sinkers, floats or other terminal tackle. However a float will enable longer casts in clearer water. Put a float on your line about 2 feet above the hook. Spinning reels make casting much easier. A medium action 6’6” rod will enable hooksets with a reeling set. A double rig with one hook tied directly to the line and then about 3 feet away to the end of the line tie another. Sometimes this will produce

double hook ups. As for line, a strong monofilament 6-10 pound test will work, or a 10 pound braided line with a monofilament leader in the 6-10 pound range about 6 feet long. Flourocarbon isn’t the best choice as it sinks and will pull cicadas below the surface, losing its buzzing action. When fishing current, allow cicadas to rest in slack water and slowly drift to the edge where fish will target them before they leave. Cast into the wind or current, allowing the bait to be gently blown

towards you to present the bait to more areas, and more fish. After waiting patiently for 17 years, cicadas and anglers are ready for some action. This could be the best 3 or 4 weeks of fishing of the season and possibly a lifetime. Author Capt. Steve Chaconas is Potomac bass fishing guide. Potomac River reports: nationalbass.com. Book trips/ purchase gift certificates: info@ NationalBass.com.

Potomac River Bassing in May Water is reaching the mid 60s and fish are in shallow waters for the spawn. Fish are staying shallow on wood cover and submerged grasses. The good news is that Potomac bass spawn in waves and this can last into mid-June. So, anglers can target pre spawn, spawn and post spawn bass in the same areas. For the pre spawn bass, active lures like lipless crankbaits and shallow crankbaits are good choices to cover water. Use 10 pound test Gamma Edge fluorocarbon line. Another good lure is a suspending jerkbait. In clear water with a chop and cloudy skies, make long casts and uncover the magic cadence. Slight snaps and pauses will bring bass out of hiding to take the bait. Again, 10 pound test Edge will be best. With the smaller baits, use spinning gear for longer casts. Carolina rigs find all stages of bass. Use 50 pound Gamma Torque braid, a ¾ ounce weight, and a 12 pound test Edge leader. Once grass is found, follow up with soft plastics. Drop shots with 15 pound Torque braid and 10 pound test Edge leader and a 3/16 ounce Water Gremlin BullShot weight will find grass and remain to get fish in highly pressured grass beds. If water is a bit stained, try ¼ ounce spinnerbaits with gold Colorado/Indiana blades and a white skirt on 12 pound test Edge. Slowly retrieve and bump cover or snap out of grass. Pitch Mizmo tubes with ¼ ounce Mud Puppy Custom Baits insert heads. Skipping under docks and near cover will also produce along with Neko and Ned rigs. Faster Quantum Smoke spinning reels make it easier to take up slack for hooksets with 15 pound Gamma Torque braid with 10 pound Edge leader.

Old Town Crier


OPEN SPACE

M

ay is a bittersweet month for me. All those ads for finding that perfect Mother’s Day gift make me sad. It’s been 15 years since I’ve had the opportunity to splurge on a pair of earrings for Mom. I miss her every single day, but Mother’s Day is especially rough. I know I’m not alone in the ‘missing mom’ club. If you’re blessed to still have your mom, please give her a call or a hug if you can. Mom left behind many great memories though, many of them around Memorial Day. She didn’t love to entertain, but she loved to have all of her children home and she used Memorial Day as a good excuse to gather her children and grandchildren around the table for a barbecue. The choice of meat may have varied but two things were always on the table—her famous potato salad and her sweet tea. She’s been gone since 2006, and her tea and tater salad are still the recipients of high praise. May is also the month I Old Town Crier

LORI WELCH BROWN

had my open heart surgery. I can’t believe it’s been ten years since I took a very unplanned helicopter ride from the hospital I was having an outpatient test to Washington Hospital Center for double Coronary Artery Bypass Graph or as it’s commonly called, a ‘cabbage.’ That surgery on May 20, 2011 saved my life, and everything that got me onto that operating table still seems like a very surreal dream. Physically speaking, I healed quickly. After the surgery, I came home and was surrounded by friends and family. Then everyone left, and it was Memorial Day weekend. Since Mom’s passing, Memorial Day had come to be one of my least fave holidays. It was the holiday for making fun summer plans and kicking off summer. Inevitably that weekend would sneak up on me, and I would find myself without plans. No duffle bag packed ready to whisk off on a boating weekend or grabbing a short flight to the Cape for me. Nope. Even the lame

family cookout that I had so often dragged myself to had dried up. Dad had a new lady friend, and as Facebook so glaringly showed me, everyone else on the planet was having the time of their lives parasailing, sipping margaritas, and showing off their six-pack abs alongside their dream dates. So there I sat, alone again, and feeling incredibly sorry for myself. My only weekend plan was a phone call with my therapist. Part of my daily post-surgery recovery was a daily walk so I laced up and headed out my door and up Mt. Vernon Avenue. My chest was still pretty raw from the surgery so a bra was out of the question, as was washing and blow drying my hair or putting on makeup. I kept my head down as I passed happy, beautiful couples with strollers and dogs on leashes milling about. I was on the loop back to my house when I spotted my ex-boyfriend who was on his way to Rolling Thunder—which had been on my bucket list. You know that ex that kicks your chest

in when you see him? Yeah, that one. I wanted to run and hide, but it was too late. He spotted me. “Hey—what’s up? Judy told me about your surgery.” Insert uncomfortable pause. “Did you tell them to add anything while they were in there?” Really? That was what he said to me. Dude— no, sorry. My life was busy flashing in front of my eyes so implants didn’t really register. I went home and sobbed like I had never sobbed before. I’m talking primal wailing. I can’t believe I didn’t bust my chest wide open again. When I was done, I picked myself off the floor and made a promise to myself to use that surgery—and that excruciating moment—to move forward. For whatever reason, God and a handful of very talented medical professionals had saved me. My life was going to be different—had to be different. Different meant moving forward because I could. That lesson wasn’t lost on me. And different in that I would only give my time, attention,

and energy to people who deserved it. It’s been ten years since that awful weekend. The following year I lost one of my best friends to cancer and met the man I would marry. The decade has been filled with many highs and a lot of lows, but I’m still here moving forward and carrying my memories close to my healing heart. This is my first Memorial Day without Dad—a veteran of the Korean War. I am flooded with thoughts, feelings, and emotions, but trying to stay grounded in all the beautiful memories and the lessons both he and Mom instilled in me, mostly to be grateful for all that I have and give thanks to those who made it all possible, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Celebrate Memorial Day with those you love!

If you would like to read more of Lori’s work, you can follow her on Medium at Lori Welch Brown. May 2021 | 43


NATIONAL HARBOR

LANI GERING

All Is Quiet On the Harbor Front

MawMaws Kettle Corn

I

have been at a bit of a disadvantage in resourcing the subject matter for this month’s Harbor Section since I have spent the bulk of the last 6 weeks in Southern Maryland helping the Publisher with his knee replacement rehab. Sure, I’ve commuted a few times up to civilization to check on things on the home front but didn’t have an opportunity to spend any time in my old stomping grounds in the Harbor. That being said, I had to rely on the Harbor’s marketing people and their PR firm for input. At the time of this writing, plans are being made for a big splash over the Memorial Day Weekend but nothing has been set in stone so…..your best bet is to keep checking with the harbor website (nationlharbor. com) and their Facebook page for updates on the scheduled events. In the meantime, you may want to take advantage of the good weather and smaller crowds during the month and check out the tribute to the military statues at the foot of American Way. This is a very popular photo op place in the Harbor and it will be packed with people waiting their turn during Memorial Day weekend. I do know that the MawMaw 44 | May 2021

Hydrobike Miller’s Kettle Corn tent will be set up in the Harbor for the season on May 1st! They will have their full range of kettle corn flavors and fresh lemonade shakers ready and waiting for you to pick up. The popcorn is made fresh as is the lemonade so it really is a treat. Be sure to try my favorite flavor – and the favorite of many others – “Sweet and Salty”! MawMaw’s is part of the infamous Miller Farm’s Market. This area destination sells produce - and much more – and is located in Clinton, Maryland. Miller Farm’s has been a family operation for the last 142 (yes…one hundred and forty two) years. I am thinking that this family owned operation might just be worth a “Business

Craig Cat Profile” in an upcoming issue. You can find MawMaw’s on the waterfront on weekends (weather permitting): Saturdays & Sundays 11 am – 7 pm. Springtime sunny weather should be in full force this month and that makes for a good time to check out the water features available at the Harbor. In addition to the Water Taxi being back up and running there are some new aquatic opportunities at your disposal. New this year are hydrobike water bikes. One of the newest water crazes, these bikes are non-polluting, easy to ride, lightweight safe and stable with 400 pounds of flotation. These may be enjoyed by ages 8 and up and are available from

Boating in D.C. at National Harbor. The company also offers kayaks, paddleboards - with paddleboard lessons available - and the fun pedal boats in the shapes of swans and dragons. The Freedom Boat Club is new this year and is a membership-only program where guests can rent a boat from one of their 250+ locations. A boating license is required. Maryland Yacht Charters has added an additional boat for National Harbor this season. Here, you can rent a boat with a captain for 2-4 hours and BYOB. Last year, National Harbor introduced Monumental Boat Tours’ new two-person CraigCats. These are available

along with a knowledgeable guide, in a separate boat, who provides history and exploration on a two-hour tour from National Harbor to Mount Vernon. Boaters will see Jones Point Lighthouse, Fort Washington, a lot of Potomac River wildlife and more. Monumental Boat Tours opens on May 1. Also new last year, and back this year, is Float Boat 360. This boat allows up to six friends and/or family to hop on for a fun-filled cruise. It comes with a boat operator. It allows guests to bring food and drinks. Float Boat 360 is now open Thursday – Sunday. Expanding to full schedule in June. All of the boats and boating equipment are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized between uses. Face masks are currently required while on the docks but may be removed by guests during tours. Guests are asked to book online to minimize contact. Reservations may be made on each boating operator’s website. Don’t forget to give your Mom and little extra loving on the 9th and keep those in the military that have sacrificed their lives for our freedoms in your heart on the 31st. Old Town Crier


BUST OUT! The days are longer, the sun is warmer, and the road beckons. We invite you to visit both of our unique distillery locations for whisky flights and craft cocktails, and of course, bottles of your favorites to bring home. We’ve been waiting for you.

Experience the flavor journey that never ends.

9 River Lane Sperryville, Virginia 540.987.8554

901 Capitol Landing Road Williamsburg, Virginia 757.903.2076

www.copperfoxdistillery.com


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Old Town Crier May 2021 Full Issue  

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