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Since 1988 • Priceless

From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

November 2021

oldtowncrier oldtowncrier.com


Setting the Standard In Old Town Since 1979


november’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

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SOCIAL MEDIA & WEBSITE Ashley Rosson

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

From the Bay...................................................................22

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

DESIGN & PRODUCTION Electronic Ink 9 Royal Street, SE Leesburg, VA 20175 703. 669. 5502

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

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

Pets of the Month.........................................................19

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

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

Points on Pets.................................................................18

Art & Antiques................................................................15

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

CONTRIBUTORS Timothy Long Cindy McGovern Meg Mullery Melinda Myers Billy Phibbs Ron Powers Kim Putens Julie Reardon Ashley Rosson Ashley Stimpson Bob Tagert Carl Trevisan Ryan Unverzagt Lisa Velenovsky Lori Welch Brown

Business Profile................................................................. 4

Grapevine.........................................................................36

Caribbean Connection...............................................20

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

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

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

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

Let's Get Crafty...............................................................35

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To the Blue Ridge......................................................... 26

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

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

Urban Garden.................................................................29

Stephen Bearce Sarah Becker Alexander Britel Cheryl Burns F. Lennox Campello Steve Chaconas Carolyn Cockroft Scott Dicken Doug Fabbioli Matt Fitzsimmons Nicole Flanagan Lani Gering Christina Hitchcock Tom Horton Miriam Kramer Genevieve LeFranc

Publisher’s Notes.............................................................. 2 Road Trip...........................................................................24 Special Feature: SCYC Fundraiser.............................. 7 Take Photos, Leave Footprints.................................16 Thanksgiving Feature: OTC Thankfulness.............. 7

© 2021 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.

about the cover On Display in the Conservatory at the MGM Grand, the Crescent Moon: The magnificent crescent-shaped moon spans 24 feet and adorned with nearly 6,000 flowers comprised of 28 fall varieties of florals and foliage including mums, chrysanthemums, marigolds, black-eyed Susans, daisies, gourds and pumpkins. Sitting atop the curve of the moon, the 14-foot “Fairy Celine” shields the rain that gives water and life to the flower bed with 50 hand-painted leaves crafted to form a transparent leaf skirt. Under the moon, a rock pond – surrounded by over 1,200 fall plants, pumpkins and gourds – collects the rainwater falling off the fairy’s skirt. Photo by Lani Gering

Old Town Crier

On the road with OTC Old Town Crier fan and an adventurous Alexandrian, Vera Embick, went on a huge bucket list trip to the Antarctica in Jan-Feb 2020, and returned home right before everything shut down with the pandemic. What an amazing trip! The attached photo is of Vera reading the Old Town Crier aboard ship on her cruise to the Antarctic with some spectacular scenery in the background. Notice she is even wearing a hat with a penguin on it - to remind her of the hundreds of icebergs, whales, birds, seals, and penguins that she saw on her trip. They went ashore every day for a short hike and nature exploration, and even set foot ashore below the Antarctic Circle. Not only that, but this visit means that Vera has visited all 7 continents! 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.

November 2021 | 1


PUBLISHER’S NOTES

BOB TAGERT

The third week of October sure brought a crisp change in the temperature. The steady winds blew fall in fast. We sailors are grateful for the consistent breeze and the long sleeve fleeces were welcome against the chill. Recapping what you have to look forward to in this issue…In From the Bay, Beth Crabtree shows us how to learn to sail in the cooler months. If you long for the warmer climate, Caribbean Connection welcomes you to Jamaica, Mon! In Gallery Beat, Lenny Campello talks again about American University’s museum at the Katzen Arts Center. In High Notes, Ron Powers introduces us to new musicians each month. I find myself listening to oldies and Ron’s article is a way to learn about the current music scene. In Grapevine, Matt Fitzsimmons changes hats to enlighten us on the Virginia cider scene. In A Bit of History, Sarah Becker writes about the first Smithsonian Museum. Open Space columnist Lori Welch Brown takes a look inside our anxieties. In To the Blue Ridge Kim Evoy Bryant writes about her endeavor to re-establish the American Chestnut again. It is interesting that Copper Fox Distillery has just made an American Chestnut Whiskey (see their ad on inside back cover). This month’s Road Trip took us to the newly renovated Blue Rock Restaurant and Inn. The Blue Rock is an Alexandria favorite of longtime residents that has been closed for the last several years but is on its way to thriving again. Many of you locals will recognize the subject of our Personality Profile, Kevin Peck. He certainly has led an interesting life and I bet there are some things you didn’t know about him. It is clear that business has rebounded here in Alexandria as well as regionally and internationally. Our business has begun to come back but not as vigorously as we had hoped it would. For those who stuck it out with us we are eternally grateful. For those who have come back recently we thank you. All we can do now is work to acquire new business and help market those businesses to our reading public – online and in print – who, after all, make this worthwhile. Thanks! Don’t forget to give some special attention to our Veterans on the 11th but be sure to honor them every day. Also, let’s all give a special thanks on the 25th to the good things that have happened this past year and strive to make the next year better! A salute to our Veterans and a Happy Thanksgiving to you all! Publishers Note: The Scottish Christmas Walk is back - mark your calendars for December 4th!!!

Here's to all of our Veterans!

Congratulations to Trae Lamond and Chadwicks Restaurant on their long awaited balcony and new brick patio. The views of Waterfront Park and the Potomac River are great. Come to an Old Town original and tell them the Old Town Crier sent you. See you there!

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Subscribe today and enjoy every issue of the Old Town Crier at home. Fill out this form, enclose a check for $25 (12 issues) and drop it in the mail to: Old Town Crier, PO Box 320386, Alexandria, Va. 22320 Name _____________________________________________________________ Address ___________________________________________________________ City/State/Zip _______________________________________________________

2 | November 2021

Old Town Crier


Alexandria ` EVENTS & INFORMATION

Photo: Matt Chenet for Visit Alexandria

THROUGH THE FALL Tall Ship Providence Happy Hour Cruises

Friday evenings throughout the Fall 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Admission: $45 per person Tall ship Providence • 1 Cameron Street 703-772-8483 • tallshipprovidence.org Take up your Friday night happy hour game a notch higher. The historic tall ship Providence is now hosting Friday evening happy hours on the Potomac. Our twohour cruises allow you to take in sweeping views of the unique D.C. skyline while sipping a seasonal adult beverage. Reserve your place now, as space is limited.

Alexandria Ghost Tour Pub Crawl with Nightly Spirits

Wednesdays through Sundays throughout the Fall 7:30 p.m. Admission: $25 per person Various locations throughout Old Town 844-678-8687 • nightlyspirits.com Experience a haunting mixture of ghostly sights and pub crawling on this walking tour of historic Old Town Alexandria. Listen to creepy stories of ghosts and local history. Your costumed guide will take you in and out of several haunted pubs and other locations in Old Town. Hear about murder, death and tragic love stories as you walk along historical streets. Tours last about two hours, cover approximately one mile, and include plenty of time to calm your nerves with a few strong spirits along the way. Must be 21+ for this tour.

NOV. 11TH – 14TH The 15th Annual Alexandria Film Festival Admission: $12 per showcase or $75 per All-Festival Pass alexfilmfest.com

The Alexandria Film Festival will take place as a hybrid event—virtual, with some in person events. The festival footprint is expanding this year to include a partnership with the Alexandria

Symphony Orchestra, which will feature six original films and will be presented with a “live to picture” performance of the orchestra on November 6 and 7. This performance will be in person but will observe current safety protocols such as social distancing. To get the latest information, the website.

NOV. 13TH Discovering Alexandria Architecture Tour

10:00 a.m. Admission: $20 per person Carlyle House • 121 N. Fairfax Street 703-549-2997 novaparks.com/parks/carlyle-house-historic-park Alexandria has grown from a small town in the 18th century to a bustling small city in the 21st century. Join Carlyle House for a tour of Alexandria looking at the various architecture styles that adorn the city streets and make it one of the best places to live and work. Reservations are required as space is limited. Please wear comfortable shoes for this one-anda-half hour guided tour. Tour is held rain or shine unless there is severe weather.

NOV. 20TH City of Alexandria Tree Lighting 6 to 7 p.m. Admission: Free Market Square • 301 King Street 703-746-5592 • alexandriava.gov

Santa Claus arrives at Market Square via the King Street Trolley to help light the 40foot Holiday Tree at City Hall. Enjoy a bit of live music to set the festive mood. Santa will then circle the block, waving at visitors as he passes on his way back to the North Pole. As a COVID precaution, there will not be photos with Santa this year.

LOCAL FARMERS MARKETS OLD TOWN FARMERS MARKET Market Square 301 King Street Saturdays, 7 am – 12 Noon Year Round 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.

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

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.

FOUR MILE RUN FARMERS & ARTISANS MARKET

DECEMBER 4TH

4109 Mount Vernon Avenue Sundays, 9 am – 1 pm Year Round

11:00 am • Old Town Alexandria

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

50th Anniversary Scottish Christmas Walk

The parade is back this year! The Scottish Christmas Walk is hosted annually by Campagna Center, Alexandria’s oldest nonprofit dedicated to supporting children & families from cradle to career

Photo courtesy of Visit Alexandria

All funds raised during the event benefit Campagna Center programs, which serve 2,000 children, teens, and adults in Alexandria every day. Registration is open for the parade at https://www. campagnacenter.org/scww-parade-registration/

Old Town Crier

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. November 2021 | 3


BUSINESS PROFILE

LANI GERING

Row, Row, Row Your Bloat…

Rowers

Cynthia Svendsen, GM

hat’s an odd headline, right? It does, however fit right in with the subject matter of this month’s Business Profile. The Row House Old Town blipped across my radar a couple of weeks ago and I have been smitten ever since. Anyone that truly knows me probably thinks this is a new “Happy Hour” joint on the water in Old Town but alas, it is one of the most amazing “Workout” joints in the area. Yes….I have found a workout that I think I can stick with. This will be the first time since the late 80’s when I took “JazzerciseLike the name implies, the Row House is a place where you go to “row”… and a little more if you like. The “boats” aka ergs in this case aren’t vessels on the water but are machines that glide seamlessly in place in a cool, literally, room with fun lighting and invigorating music. The concept of the Row House workout includes building both aerobic endurance and muscle strength all in one session. A combination of classes are offered that incorporate resistance training in conjunction with rowing and stretching. ”! I am taking this opportunity to get a head start on rowing my “bloat” - from holiday eating that is sure to

take place - away before it gets even more out of hand. I always knew that swimming exercised virtually every muscle in your body without an impact on any joints, but until I met with Row House Old Town’s General Manager, Cynthia Svendsen, I didn’t realize that rowing engages over 86% of your muscles including your arms, legs, core and back without any impact on any joints as well. This is good for any of you who have had joint repair or replacement surgery. Classes are structured so that members of all levels of ability can participate in the same class. This makes for a fun group. I was a brand new person in the class that I took and there were people with every level of endurance and tenure in my group. I am admittedly REALLY out of shape but I could keep up and it was a great workout but I didn’t feel like I had been through the wringer after class. Row House Old Town opened its doors in August 2019 and was going great guns until the spring of 2020 rolled around and the pandemic put things on hold. When

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Brian Comey coaches a member. ROW HOUSE OLD TOWN 917 NORTH ST. ASAPH OLD TOWN ALEXANDRIA 703-935-4500 THEROWHOUSE.COM/LOCATION/OLD-TOWN-ALEXANDRIA

Ready for Al Fresco Class

4 | November 2021

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BUSINESS PROFILE > PAGE 5

Old Town Crier


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BUSINESS PROFILE | FROM PG 4

mandates were lifted to the point that they could have “safely distanced, masked” members they stepped outside of the “building” and conducted classes outdoors weather permitting - for those who were/are still leery about being in a room with other people. In fact, they still offer outdoor sessions because it’s just plain fun as well. The classes are small as there are only 15 ergs in the room and the Coach is easily visible to everyone in the class. One wall is mirrored and if you are in the front rows, you can catch a glimpse of your form. I checked myself out a couple of times.:-) The low lighting and the tunes are what really add the magic to these classes. The music that Coach Brian chose for the workout was a great combo of tunes from the 80’s and 90’s and other more recent hits. The members in the class discussed doing a Disco tune version in the future. The BeeGee’s Stayin’ Alive and Donna Summer’s Last Dance and Hot Stuff would be stellar tunes to row to. The class that I took was a noon session that was strictly Old Town Crier

rowing at different levels in intervals of 2 minutes on, 1 minute rest for a total of about 45 minutes. There was a longer rest midway through the class. This is called the Full Row. There are two other classes: the Signature class is a mix of rowing intervals and low-impact, full-body floor exercises and the Power class is a low impact, high intensity interval training style class guaranteed to get your heart pumping and your muscles pumped up. I believe I will check out the Signature next time and try to schedule intervals of it and the Full Row until I get in better shape and then I’ll add the Power class to the mix. All three instructors/coaches are experienced Crew members and have spent a significant amount of time on the actual water so are well versed in form and technique. They are all certified in CPR so if you are getting short on breath they know what to do. I have yet to meet the other coaches but Coach Brian did a great job with my first class. He is a local guy who attended and was a member of the rowing team at TC Williams (now Alexandria High). He also rowed in college and is now coaching the men’s

team at George Washington University and the Chevy Chase High School team when he isn’t pushing real estate in the local area or conducting classes at Row House. Don’t be intimidated if you haven’t done anything physical in a long time. There were people at every level in the class I took and we all made it through with flying colors. I think I may have made a couple of new pals that day as well. The fact that they are fans of the Old Town Crier didn’t hurt any either. I might mention that you don’t have to bring anything with you if you don’t want. They have water and towels and all of the equipment you need is on the premises including yoga mats. There are lockers if you need one. Like Cynthia told me, “The only thing you have to do is make sure that you walk through the door!” Row House is located in the new Old Town North area of Alexandria in the same complex/building as West Elm, Oak Steakhouse and the Gables Condominiums. For information on memberships and to register for classes, call or go online.

Shop Early. Ship Early. Old Town Pack & Ship Service, Inc. • In-house packing • Wooden crates for delicate items • Small and large items • Shipment anywhere using UPS, FedEx and others • Free pickup service in Old Town Alexandria

822 King St. Old Town Alexandria 703.549.7167 [fax] 703.549.7168 www.vatopservices.com November 2021 | 5


PERSONALITY PROFILE

LANI GERING

JUST DROPPING A FEW NAMES:

THE STARS HAVE ALIGNED FOR ALEXANDRIA’S

Kevin Peck

Oliver Stone John Sayles Samuel Jackson Rita Moreno Kevin Costner Patty Duke Astin Barry Bostwick Tim Roth Alexis Arquette Rory Cochran Glenn Close Mary Tyler Moore Madonna Marley Matlin William Hurt

6 | November 2021

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ave you ever had everything come together for no apparent reason than kismet? If you have, you are very lucky. After many years of being in the business of film production with some professional acting thrown in, event planning and production, restaurant management, and all things food service related including bartending and catering, Kevin’s worlds collided at the first event he was pulling together at his latest gig as Restaurant and Catering Manager at Café 1823 on the campus of the Virginia Theological Seminary here in Alexandria. First of all, I had no idea that the campus had a restaurant and pub that “regular” people can frequent. Guess it really is a “best kept secret”. The day I conducted the interview for this column was the day before the event and Peck admitted that he was a bit on the nervous side. Said event was a reception and unveiling event for a TV Pilot Episode, Being Van Black, that Kevin has a role in as Maurice, the agent to the main character, Van Black who is a journalist who is drugged and goes off of the rails (think the guy from the movie Network) and lots of intrigue ensues. At the time this event was booked, Peck had no clue that the reception was for the unveiling of a production that he was in and that the people who booked it had ties to

his old high school. The unveiling went off beautifully with the food, the venue and the company enjoying every aspect of it. Compliments abounded for Kevin and his team. Not every day your acting career combines with your catering career. I have known Kevin since the mid 90’s. We met at the now defunct Fleetwood’s on Canal Street where he assisted with getting the place open. We think it may have been when Bonnie Raitt was playing and before I was involved with the Old Town Crier. Anyway, I’ve always thought there was something special about this guy. Until I did the interview I didn’t realize what a versatile character he is. He is a local kid whose entire immediate family – mother, 3 brothers and 2 sisters - still resides in the Alexandria area. He attended high school at then Groveton now West Potomac where he said he wasn’t exactly the model student. That being said, immediately after high school he moved to the Big Apple to attend acting school. He says while he loved the school part, he wasn’t very good at the drumming up auditions part. This is when he decided he was a fabulous fit for the behind the scenes and production end of film making. He has held several positions as Associate Producer and told me he is pretty handy at smoothing over testy situations that pop up in the business. He says that’s because he takes after

his father who was an excellent flirt and was pretty persuasive in his day. He has met and worked with a plethora of famous people who were both in front and behind the camera in the film business. He has had a few stints on screen as well and was lucky enough to attend the Grammy’s backstage in 2004. He has lived in the notorious Chelsea Hotel in NYC, danced at Limelight and the Palladium - all at very young age. He has danced with Angela Bassett, sang with Jeff Goldbloom, got acting tips from Lloyd Bridges, lunched in Donald Sutherland’s trailer on set and rubbed elbows with many others. As time went on, Kevin made the move back home to Alexandria in 1992 and got back into the hospitality business. He has opened many a local restaurant and worked as a server, a bartender, a general manager, an event designer, director of special events….and the list goes on. In between some of those gigs he used his film production expertise at United Way Worldwide, Rafferty and Weiss Film & Media and Castle Gate Media & Ogilvy Worldwide to name a few. Kevin has a very easy way about him. Again, he attributes that to his late father. He is very witty and obviously very talented. I have watched him morph into a few different looks over the years and I have to admit I wasn’t a fan of his pandemic inspired long hair, just didn’t suit him. I guess he has the long hair in his “Being Van Black” role so if it makes the big time, you may be able to check it out for yourself and form your own opinion. Old Town Crier


SPECIAL FEATURE

UPCOMING EVENTS:

BOB TAGERT

The Santa Clause Yacht Club Gearing Up for the Holidays

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his is a story of goodwill and compassion about a group of guys and gals that got together to help a friend. Around the time Southside 815 first opened, one of the first customers was a retired Captain. Captain Smalls was a kindly older guy (about like we are now) who became a buddy of the local young businessmen that frequented Southside back in the 90’s. Somehow Captain Smalls lost his pension and these pals, led by sailor/businessman Bill Ross decided to do something for the captain. They formed a social group to raise funds for the captain. With most parties involved around a nautical theme, they named their organization the Shit’s Creek Yacht Club (SCYC). As they organized fund raisers for the Captain and golf tournaments, they reached their goals and then exceeded them so they began to help others in Alexandria. Eventually some of the enthusiasm died and then

Captain Smalls passed away. The SCYC renamed their club the Santa Claus Yacht Club and continued to help the disadvantaged with food pantries and Thanksgiving turkeys. Membership dwindled and soon the SCYC was inactive. Also in the early 1990’s another happy hour group in Old Town, the Alexandria Regional Tea Society (ARTS), had formed. ARTS was a group of local professionals who gathered on Friday afternoons to unwind. In 2013, an Alexandria local police officer, Peter LaBoy, was shot in the line of duty. ARTS member Michele Cumberland thought that ARTS should hold a fundraiser for the LaBoy family. She approached Tim Long, an ARTS founder, with the idea. Tim pitched the idea to then Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub GM Kenny Mitchell about having an event there. Kenny jumped at the idea. ARTS held a fundraiser in Murphy’s

SCYC President Timothy Long and Robert Condon at the Tap Take Over Fundraiser upstairs bar that turned into a huge success. The group raised over $13,000 for the LaBoy family. The members of ARTS realized that they could be more than just a social group. They began looking into becoming a charity. In 2010, the SCYC had gone dormant. In 2014, after the success of the LaBoy event, Michele was approached by former SCYC members Daryl Mull, Gary Heinzmann and

Bill Ross about taking over the charity. Within days Tim and Michele became the first new members of SCYC in over 4 years. They immediately recruited members from ARTS and others to join the revived charity. The SCYC was reborn. Since the re-founding, the SCYC has continued supporting families in need in our community by working with local elementary schools. As always, the charity raises most of its funds through fun social events. Although Covid-19 set them back a bit, as it did to most local charities, the SCYC is once again active and raising money to support their mission. SCYC continued to support the local schools throughout the COVID crisis, using creative means to raise funds in a difficult time. Note: This folks is the Old Town Alexandria I have known for the last 43 years. This community knows how to come together!

Giving Tuesday Giving Tuesday is a Day of Giving that kicks off the holiday season. This year’s date is November 30th. The SCYC has a fundraising drive every Giving Tuesday. To participate, please go to the SCYC website, scycva.org.

SCYC Annual Ugly Sweater Party This party is one of the SCYC’s biggest events of the year. This year’s party will be held on Wednesday, December 8th at 6pm in the upstairs bar at Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub. There will be music, a silent auction, a raffle, and drink specials. So, pull out your ugliest sweater and plan on attending to support the SCYC and a group of folks that have been helping Alexandria since the mid 90’s. Tickets will be available in mid-November on the SCYC website, scycva.org.

Happy Thanksgiving From All of Us at the Old Town Crier of friends, and the best family a girl could ask for.

- Lori Welch Brown, Open Space

I am thankful and grateful to be living in the greatest nation in the history of our planet.

- F. Lennox Campello, Gallery Beat

These last couple of years have been a bit trying and as hard as it may seem we all have something to be thankful for every day. On top of the blessings we enjoy with a roof over our head and food in the fridge we are thankful for all of you readers and advertisers – without you we wouldn’t be here!

Contributors Thanks: I am thankful having had the opportunity to work on the Old Town Crier with Bob and Lani for the past 6 years. The Old Town Crier allowed me to still be a part of my home town after moving to Southern Virginia. I am also thankful for my seven animals and my family for always keeping me on my toes. -Ashley Rosson, Social Media Maven

I’m grateful for, in no particular order, mashed potatoes, vaccines, caregivers, medical personnel, my family, more mashed potatoes, second helpings of everything, yoga pants, a wealth

Old Town Crier

I’m thankful for the health and good fortune of my precious family and friends. This year I am especially grateful for my new Chiweenie puppy, Max, who lightens every day.

– Miriam R. Kramer, Last Word

I’m so thankful for good music and good art and the people that create it. I’m also thankful for all the kindness people have shown me over the last year. Whether it’s from friends, family or a random stranger on the street. It’s always nice to see the good in people shine through. – Ron Powers, High Notes

July 2021 marked the beginning of my 25th year with Crier Media Group. Bob, Lani and I met in 1996 when the Olympic torch was coming to Alexandria. They asked if I, a thenACVA Board member would write a one-time only article recounting the event. It is from that experience A Bit of History was born. I am thankful a chance encounter has proven successful; for Bob and Lani’s giving me the time and space to grow the column, and for each and every loyal reader. – Sarah Becker, A Bit of History

There are so many things I am thankful for, but the ones at the top of my list at the moment, after my family, are the many people who have taught and mentored me over the years and the opportunity I have to pass along that knowledge by mentoring the new generations of farmers and land stewards, the beauty of the countryside here in our corner of Virginia and the chance to play a part in preserving it, the challenges that help me keep growing and learning and, as you’ll see in my column this month, the chances we all have at a “do-over” to set things right when needed. – Doug Fabbioli, Exploring VA Wines

The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria is grateful for the support of our amazing community, who offer their time, skills, funds and hearts to help animals throughout our community and across the country. Thank you for making Alexandria a wonderful home for pets and the people who love them! – Gina Hardter, Pets of the Month

I’m thankful that tourism-reliant communities across the country are finally having the chance to bounce back stronger than ever after a tough year and a half. Here’s to an even stronger 2022!

– Scott Dicken, Take Photos, Leave Footprints

The beauty of this holiday is that it beacons us reflect on what we have, not what we don’t have. I am thankful for my lovely wife, my crazy dog, my family,

and my friends. Never take for granted the love and support you have in your life. I give thanks that I live in such a beautiful area. And I’m thankful that I can give back to this great community through my work with the SCYC (Santa Claus Yacht Club). Helping those in need is a very rewarding experience. – Timothy Long, Let’s Get Crafty

Being able to share my fishing knowledge and experience with others, especially the younger kids in our family, passing on a legacy they will always remember. – Steve Chaconas, Go Fish

I’m thankful for my health and my family’s health, especially as the pandemic continues. I also want to thank all of the healthcare workers who risk their own wellness taking care of others that need lifesaving treatment. - Ryan Unverzagt, From the Trainer

I’m thankful for my parent’s health. My friends who have supported me. And a wine industry that has embraced me.

– Matthew Fitzsimmons, Grapevine

This year I am most thankful for my community, near and far (they truly are the best). I'm also thankful that my old, crotchety dogs are still with me and still stealing my spot on the couch every time I get up. But most of all, I am thankful for my health allowing me to care for those not so lucky.

- Lauren Fleming, Layout Designer

November 2021 | 7


FINANCIAL FOCUS

CARL TREVISAN, CFP© & STEPHEN BEARCE

The Caregiver Crunch: Five Time-and-Money Coping Strategies with your manager about a flexible schedule or working from home—which can also save on commuting time and transportation expenses.

2. If others don’t volunteer their help— ask for it.

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or millions of unpaid U.S. caregivers, finding a healthy balance between taking care of children and elderly loved ones is a constant challenge—and often a drain on time, health, and finances. According to a 2017 report from Transamerica Institute, 74 percent surveyed have been caregivers for one or more years, with 27 percent providing care for five or more years. Caregiving is a full-time job for many—even though 52 percent are already employed. Thirty-six percent of caregivers spend 100 or more hours per month on time-intensive duties including companionship, meal preparation, personal care, and feeding.¹ Additionally, the same Transamerica report cites that the health of caregivers often takes a back seat to those they care for—55 percent admit their duties leave them physically and emotionally exhausted. Seventeen percent say their general health has

declined since becoming a caregiver. Which begs the question: “Who cares for the caregivers?” If you’re a caregiver, or know someone who is, here are five practical ideas to consider.

1. If you work, talk with your employer. Caring for family members can be a 24-hour-a-day responsibility, making it nearly impossible to coordinate with the demands of a fulltime job. Among those who are employed or who have held jobs during their time as caregivers, approximately one-third have used personal, vacation, and sick-leave days for caregiving. Furthermore, depending on household income level, as many as onefifth of caregivers have taken a leave of absence.¹ To find a better balance between your home and work life, discuss these options with your manager and human resources professional:

Determine if your situation qualifies for the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Under this federal law, covered employers may be required to protect your job while you take unpaid leave for qualified medical and family situations. Under FMLA, eligible employees may qualify for 12 weeks of unpaid leave in a 12-month period. Even though this is an unpaid leave, it could be worth considering if you really need to concentrate on caregiving duties for a period of time. Ask if your company has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Some companies have an EAP built into their benefit plans to assist with the challenges that come with caregiving. Benefits may include referrals to counseling services, support groups for caregivers, and services for care recipients. Adjust your work schedule or location.If the nature of your job permits it, talk

Don’t assume—or let others assume—you can handle all the caregiving responsibilities alone. If family and friends volunteer help, take it. If they don’t offer, recruit others to ease the burden. Discuss with family members how much time, energy, and money each is able to contribute to your loved one’s care. Don’t be afraid to arrange for “respite time” for yourself; if family members or others contribute time so that you can take a vacation, have time with a friend, or get to your own medical appointments, that will help you be a better caregiver. Post and share a caregiving chart that lists everyone’s tasks on a weekly or monthly basis. Every minute delegated is time back for you, so no task is insignificant—from your child playing a game with grandma to your sister taking your father to his doctor’s appointment.

3. Organize financial resources. A 2016 AARP study found U.S. caregivers spend an average $6,954 a year on outof-pocket caregiving expenses.² Get a handle on all family financial resources and current living costs – both your loved one’s, and your own. Estimate outlays down the road and plan for emergencies. Use budgeting software to track your finances. If your loved one has limited financial resources, talk to an

experienced elder law attorney about whether he or she might qualify for government assistance. An attorney can also help create the proper legal mechanisms to allow for management of your loved one’s financial resources and property.

4. Take advantage of (free) resources providing information and assistance. Resources such as Eldercare. gov, Caregiver.com, AARP. org, and Medicare.gov can provide useful information and contacts. If you’re caring for someone with very limited resources who is receiving Medicaid, find out if your state offers a program that allows recipients to use benefits to pay caregivers. Also check with religious organizations and social services agencies in your community that may provide free or low-cost care or companionship for elderly adults.

5. Take care of yourself. Save for your future— don’t let supporting loved ones jeopardize your own long-term financial security. Contributions to 401(k) plans, IRAs, and 529 college savings accounts offer tax benefits that can help you invest more tax efficiently. Finally, don’t feel guilty about scheduling “me time” when you can—have dinner out with friends, play a round of golf, or join a book club or gym. Keep your own health in check with regular doctor visits, and use your vacation time to get away and rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit

¹Transamerica Institute, “The Many Faces of Caregivers: A Close-Up Look at Caregiving and Its Impact” Report, 2017. ²AARP, “Family Caregiving and Out-of-Pocket Costs: 2016 Report,” 2016. Wells Fargo Advisors is not a tax or legal advisor. This article was written by/for Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Carl M. Trevisan, Managing Director-Investments and Stephen M. Bearce, First Vice PresidentInvestments in Alexandria, VA at 800-247-8602. Investments in securities and insurance products are: © 2020 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC. All rights reserved. 8 | November 2021

Old Town Crier


A BIT OF HISTORY

©2021 SARAH BECKER

Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian

I

n 1879 greenbacks reached a face value with gold; Congress granted female lawyers the right to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, and the California maxim “the Chinese must go” was popular. Thomas A. Edison discovered that “a thread of carbonized cotton in onemillionth of an atmosphere would burn for 45 hours without overheating,” and Congress passed a bill “allowing a sum…sufficient to erect a fireproof edifice…commensurate with the size and value of the [Smithsonian’s] many specimens.” America’s first National Museum: the Smithsonian’s Arts & Industries Building [AIB] opened to the public in 1881. Designed by architect Adolf Cluss, the building—“far ahead of its time: sustainable, efficient, and stunningly elegant”— temporarily reopens this month. A severe 2004 snowstorm raised concerns about the stability of the structure and forced the museum to close. The Smithsonian’s second oldest building—the Castle is the first—the AIB is described as “more than a museum.” It was “an incubator; a hall of invention, and the mother of museums.” The opening celebration was grand. Crowds poured in to see Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone; the first cast of a blue whale, “remarkable treasures that…showcased geology,

Old Town Crier

America’s First National Museum:

The Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building metallurgy, zoology, medicine, anthropology, art, history and technologies.” “It is not generally known that the functions of the National Museum and the Smithsonian are entirely different,” The New York Times wrote in 1879. “The object of the former is the establishment of a collection of specimens, natural and artistic, which shall exhibit the resources of the country, or present at a glance the materials essential to a condition of high civilization which exists in the different States of the Union; to show the various processes of manufacture which have been adopted by us, as well as those used in other countries; in short, to form a great educational establishment by means of which our inhabitants may be informed.” “The Smithsonian Institution, on the other hand, does not offer its results to the physical eye, but presents them to the mind in the form of new discoveries derived from investigations, and an extended interchange of new ideas with all parts of the world,” The Times continued. “It is the design of the Museum

to continually increase its collections of material objects; of the Institution to extend the bounds of human knowledge.” The Arts & Industries Building’s November 20, 2021-July 6, 2022 exhibit is fittingly titled FUTURES. The building was restored in 2014 and admission is free. Starting this November visitors “will be among the first to pilot an experimental new way to design sustainable, inclusive future cities—by building them from the ground up, together. The Co-Lab, a first of its kind collaborative design experience developed with Autodesk, a leading design of 3D software, invites the public to bring their creativity and sense of play to co-design better, greener communities in real time.” The FUTURES exhibit is “a milestone” as was the Smithsonian Institution’s founding. In 1829 British national James Smithson, a “liberal and enlightened donor,” died. In his will he bequeathed the whole of his property “to the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an

establishment for the increase & diffusion of knowledge among men.” President Andrew Jackson [D-TN], President John Quincy Adams successor, was informed of the gift in 1835. Once advised, a grateful Congress responded. Representative, former President John Quincy Adams [NR-MA] chaired the select House Committee which recommended acceptance. “This was a bequest to the Congress of the United States…as parens patrias of the District,” Judiciary advocates concluded in 1836. “We were appointed trustees not for Washington, Georgetown or Alexandria [the then District of Columbia] but for all mankind.” Smithson’s bequest, received in 1838, equaled 100,000 gold sovereigns or more than $500,000, approximately 1/66 of the country’s federal budget. “Mr. [John C.] Calhoun was not friendly to the Smithsonian Institution,” Joseph Henry, the first Smithsonian Secretary wrote. “He thought the money should not have been accepted.” Senator Calhoun [Nullifier, D-SC] felt Smithson’s endowment, the lack of legislative limitations and

restrictions, violated states’ rights. After years of contentious debate Representative Owen [D-IN] rallied. Educated in natural science and medicine, Owen introduced the handwritten Act which established the Smithsonian Institution. President James K. Polk [DTN] signed the law on the day it passed, August 10, 1846. Owen was then appointed to the founding Board of Regents and remained “a Regent for some years.” “The Senate had passed a bill which devoted the bulk of the Smithsonian bequest to the purchase of a mammoth library; but when it reached the House of Representatives, Mr. Robert Dale Owen, of Indiana, introduced, as a substitute, another very different bill,” the Alexandria Gazette reported. “Taking our primary schools as the basis of the best means for ‘the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men,’ Mr. Owen presented, what seems to us, a well arranged plan, including a scientific museum, library, experimental farm, agricultural professorship, and gratuitous lectures….” Robert Dale Owen [18011877] spent his life advocating for universal public education. He published “a small work, his Outline of the System of Education” in 1824. G.P. Putnam released his Hints on A BIT OF HISTORY > PAGE 10

November 2021 | 9


A BIT OF HISTORY | FROM PAGE 9

Public Architecture, Views on Behalf of the Building Committee of the Smithsonian Institution in 1849. “Indiana seems incapable of producing men of a high order,” The New York Daily Times wrote in 1853. “In speaking of the politicians of Indiana, however, as a class, honorable exception should be made in favor of Robert Dale Owen, who is, in all respects, an intellectual and cultivated man…The reforms which he has advocated prove him to be a statesman of that rare but noble type.” In 1851 Robert Dale Owen convinced the Indiana State legislature to constitutionally “protect the property rights of married women.” “Such a man,” The Daily Times continued, “always will be found in the van of Progress—ever battling for Free Education, Free Suffrage, and freedom from the harsh and stupid enactments of far-gone and semi-barbarous ages. In this character he seems, here, to stand, among politicians, almost alone.” It was Robert Dale Owen— emancipation advocate, Lincoln correspondent [1862] and member of the American Freedman’s Inquiry Commission [1863-64]; associate of “advanced” thinker

Frances Wright and ardent supporter of women’s equality— who suggested suffragists step up their game and fight for Universal Suffrage [male and female]. Reconstruction Amendment 15, as passed by Congress February 26, 1869: Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” Although the suffragists were unsuccessful—Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony included— their attempt marked “the first national petition-drive that featured woman’s suffrage among its demands.” “In his long life of literary labor, and as an enthusiastic, if slightly utopian regenerator of the human race, Mr. Owen was a very striking example of the singular theory of hereditary genius upheld by Sir Francis Galton in 1869,” The Times obituary explained. Robert Dale Owen was the son of famed utopian Robert Owen [1771-1858]. Utopia: “an ideally perfect place especially in its political, social, and moral aspects; an imagined state of things, plan or design.” “The best governed state will be that which shall possess the best national system of

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education,” Robert Dale Owen’s father wrote in 1813-16 in A New View of Society. Soon after Joseph Davis, Jefferson Davis’ elder brother, met utopian Robert Owen on a stagecoach; he left impressed— with Owen’s ideas. “Between 1827 and the Civil War, Davis allowed his Mississippi slaves an unprecedented and technically illegal amount of freedom… [including] in some cases access to the plantation library,” The New York Times said. “Women,” Robert Owen imagined in 1836, “will no longer be made slaves of, or dependent upon men… They will be equal in education, right, privileges, and personal liberty.” “Utopianism is having a moment,” Billy Fleming wrote in 2019. “Everything from the box office success of bigbudget science fiction films… to the groundswell of support for the Green New Deal signals our revival of the utopian imaginary—of our desire to construct and inhabit an idealized world. Already, we can see this impulse reflected in the renderings of the United Nations-endorsed Oceanix project [and] the Rebuild by Design competition in New York after Hurricane Sandy.” Perhaps in the Smithsonian’s FUTURES exhibit also. Marc Lore, billionaire and former WalMart Executive, unveiled his plans to build the world’s first utopian city in September 2021. He wants, with the help of Copenhagenbased architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group, “to create a more equitable, sustainable future.” Said Lore, “We are going to be the most open, the most fair and most inclusive city in the world.” Nevada, Utah and Idaho are possible locations. Among the images: “a skyscraper called Equitism tower that houses elevated water storage, aeroponic farms and an energyproducing roof.” “The public’s renewed faith in utopian design coincides with the growing recognition that climate change is an inexorable, existential threat to everything we…care about on this planet,” Fleming continued. “The shame and grief of our great moral failure—the spoiling of a planet some 6 billion years old in a few generations—has given… [billionaires] Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk the cover they need to propose escapist fantasies in space.” On October 13 Star Trek’s Captain James T. Kirk, 90 yearold actor William Shatner became the oldest person to fly in space. He was a guest aboard Bezos’ Blue Origin “fully autonomous” New Shepard NS-18 rocket. The cadre of

four’s commercial journey lasted eleven “unbelievable” minutes. Musk’s SpaceXInspiration4 September 15 launch was billed as a threeday, four-civilian only commercial flight to raise $200m for St. Jude’s Children Hospital. Billionaire Jacob Isaacman rented the team’s SpaceXCrewDragon craft. The four orbited earth 47 times and exceeded their Dale Owen circa 1840s fundraising goal. “Human history is replete with examples of elites and designers Building. For the first time in working together around the 140 years we seek to reimagine idea that new technologies the building in its entirety. To and spatial forms could undo think about, even solve some of the devastation wrought by the biggest challenges we face colonialism, capitalism, and today.” climate change,” Fleming Robert Dale Owen’s statue concluded. stands nearby ready to welcome The United Nations 2021 you. Enjoy the exhibit—and report on Climate Change your Thanksgiving holiday! confirms that the “levels of Vaccinations and masks carbon dioxide released into included. the air by the burning of fossil fuels, cement production, Columnist’s Comment: deforestation and other land Blue Origin and billionaire use changes…is higher than entrepreneur Jeff Bezos have just at any time in the past 3.6 announced plans to construct a million years.” The result: the space station within Earth’s orbit. National Park Service’s aptlyKnown as Orbital Reef it could, named Maclure glacier—named if NASA accepts Blue Origin’s for Owen affiliate and social proposal, replace the two decadeexperimenter William Maclure old, $100 billion International [1763-1840], the “father of Space Station. Blue Origin’s American geology”—is rapidly stated goals: “to generate new retreating. It is one of only two discoveries, new products; new remaining glaciers dating from forms of entertainment, and the Little Ice Age. global awareness of Earth’s Robert Dale Owen died fragility and interconnectedness.” two years before Congress The outpost’s schematic resembles appropriated the Arts & the current ISS; the construction Industries Building’s “sum.” funding to be raised mostly from Why today’s Smithsonian private sources including wealthy Institution, the various tourists, academic and corporate Smithsonian museums do not researchers. Partners include actively celebrate his legacy is Sierra Space and Boeing. The beyond comprehension. Owen’s latter “has built…segments on interests—public education; the ISS for NASA.” natural science; emancipation Sarah Becker started writing for and voting rights, women’s and The Economist while a graduate racial equality—are timely, century[s] old topics. student in England. Similar 2021 is the Smithsonian’s publications followed. She joined 175th anniversary. FUTURES the Crier in 1996 while serving visitors are “invited to discover, on the Alexandria Convention debate and design not one but and Visitors Association Board. many possibilities: underwater Her interest in antiquities began homes, lab grown meals, smell as a World Bank hire, with of a molecule, AI robots and Indonesia’s need to generate more.” For more information, hard currency. Balinese history, visit aib.si.edu. i.e. tourism provided the means. “FUTURES is your glimpse The New York Times describes into humanity’s next chapter,” Becker’s book, Off Your Duffs & AIB Director Rachel Goslins Up the Assets, as “a blueprint said. “Architect David for thousands of nonprofit Rockwell’s firm designed the managers.” A former museum four exhibit halls, while a team director, SLAM’s saving grace of scientists, historians, and art Sarah received Alexandria’s experts curated the 150 items Salute to Women Award in on display. With FUTURES 2007. Email abitofhistory53@ there’s no better place to dream than in the Arts & Industries gmail.com Old Town Crier


THE LAST WORD

I

t’s important to give thanks this month for family, camaraderie, the happiness of being together, and the books that sustain as much as any hearty Thanksgiving dinner. As I look back over years, I can always pick out a number of novels suitable as the weather turns colder and my focus turns inward. Most of us want to relax before the holiday whirl of travel, parties, and family gettogethers is underway. The triumvirate I wrote about below in November 2017 always makes me happy and satisfied upon a re-read. The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, The Likeness by Tana French, and Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie are the perfect

MIRIAM R. KRAMER

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” — J.R.R. TOLKIEN

accompaniament to a hot cup of tea by the fire. These classic suspense novels will give you a respite from hectic reality and take you on a dream trip to Europe as cold rain blows against your windowpanes. In The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith is a master of psychological suspense. Her clipped, matter-of-fact sentences

present one of the most interesting anti-heroes of twentieth-century suspense: Tom Ripley, a small-time crook who dabbles in mail fraud while moving from one shabby apartment to another in New York City. The father of a casual friend, Dickie Greenleaf, offers him a trip to Italy if he will visit Dickie there and persuade

him to give up his dilettantish pursuit of becoming an artist to return home and join the family business. Tom, notable only for his lack of notability, takes on this voyage from its inception as a method for metamorphosis. He lies skillfully and pathologically, making up stories about his origins. In the

process, he gradually inserts himself into the life of careless, affluent Dickie and his resentful friend, Marge, who jealously guards against Tom’s intrusion into their idyllic Italian life. Through intertwining himself in Dickie’s life, Tom creates a new persona that he almost believes to be true. Resourceful and completely without scruples, he casts a chilly enchantment on the reader as he pulls off a masterful re-invention of himself that makes us root for him despite his ruthlessness. Rarely have I found myself so drawn in to a character’s psychological journey in a suspense

THE LAST WORD > PAGE 13

Old Town Crier

November 2021 | 11


HIGH NOTES

RON POWERS

by Les Shirley

T

hanksgiving is just around the corner and I couldn’t be more thankful for the upbeat banger of a song I have to share with you this month. “Forget It I’m In Love” is by Montrealbased power trio Les Shirley and is the 10th track off the band’s first full-length album “Forever Is Now”. This song delivers everything you might want in a catchy rock tune. From fun riffs, and cool melodies, to a zipping guitar solo that hits like a bolt of lightning. I’d be lying if I said “Forget It I’m In Love” didn’t have it all. Singer/guitarist Raphaëlle Chouinard begins the song with a spunky riff reminiscent of “A-punk” by Vampire Weekend except with a ska rhythm. The intro riff is quickly followed by the sound of rumbling bass guitar and drums with plenty of compression and saturation. As the verse is introduced the guitar switches to meaty chords and we hear the first lines of the song… “I think we met at a bar on a Monday / We had a mutual friend and we kicked it right away / I’m so glad you came”. Between the first and second verses, that catchy riff that introduced the song is 12 | November 2021

repeated. Then Raphaëlle continues telling her story of meeting and falling in love with a stranger at a bar. Transitioning out of the verse we hear the lines “I can take a fight / bring it” sung with a melody reminiscent of Johnny Rotton of The Sex Pistols. Tough-sounding guitar chords and bass notes performed with a stuttering staccato rhythm support the melody along with a pumping drum beat flowing underneath. Next, the band cuts loose with a melodic lead guitar line which repeats while the bass guitar swoops from note to note and the drums maintain the groove. Sparse lyrics are added on top to complete this unexpected yet satisfying section of the song. Les Shirley ignores conventional song structure with “Forget It I’m In love”. The chorus feels more like a bridge and the bridge feels more like a chorus. And we only hear the chorus one time before the bridge is introduced. However, I didn’t notice all this “rule” breaking while listening to the song. “Forget It I’m In Love” brings the listener in so completely and rivets the attention so thoroughly.

The last thing you’re thinking about is whether or not the band is sticking to the “verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, solo, chorus” formula. Les Shirley’s disregard for structural norms reflects a creative process that is interested in expressing an authentic feeling rather than doing things “correctly”. This authenticity is silently communicated and is a connection point between the band and its audience. Les Shirly has one show left for the year. So, if you happen to be in Montreal Canada on November 12th be sure to catch their performance at Le National with Gazoline. If you’d like to learn more about Les Shirly you can find them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. If you’d like to listen to “Forget It I’m In Love” or any of the many great songs by Les Shirly you can find their music on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and most other places 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

novel. It is rightfully a classic, written in an eerily detached manner that allows us to approach the story on our own terms. Tana French’s The Likeness is the second in a series of mysteries set in Dublin, with each novel featuring a character briefly mentioned in a previous book. The book begins with a detective, Cassie Maddox, being called in to a murder scene in a small town outside of Dublin. When she arrives, she sees her own deceased doppelganger. Not only could this woman be her twin, but she also carries an ID identifying herself as Alexandra Madison, an alias Cassie used when working an undercover case years ago. To solve the murder and understand this illusive shadow, a version of Alexandra Madison, Cassie dons her old guise, pretending that “Lexie” survived the attack as a way of enticing the murderer to finish the job. Going undercover as an amnesiac Lexie, she “returns from the hospital” to infiltrate Lexie’s tight-knit and cliquish group of grad student friends, who live in a romantic shambles of a country house. As Cassie descends deeper into an identity that had once been nothing but a fictional skin, she also insinuates herself into the lives of Lexie’s provocatively peculiar housemates. French plays with the notion of perception as Cassie finds her view skewing, seeing not only them but also herself in a funhouse mirror. Most of us believe that we have a double somewhere in the world. Tana French takes this concept and makes it a work of art. She writes so beautifully that any of her novels is an exquisite experience. Along with her gift for creating atmosphere and exploring character, her work is tinged with melancholy and magic, creating a sense of unease hard to pinpoint. In this work

she offers a plot that instantly puts the reader inside the narrative, as Cassie puts herself in jeopardy to divine the life of her double. I read widely in suspense and mystery. Much of the work in those genres is formulaic. French is the opposite, a writer whose complex, gripping body of work aspires to literature, offering the reader a special world that seems rooted in the commonplace while playing with the reader’s subconscious terrors. Dame Agatha Christie needs no introduction, yet she has her own distinctive skills in creating and presenting a plot that deserve examination. I could have picked almost any of her books, including the captivating And Then There Were None, but here I choose the classic Murder on the Orient Express. This quick-reading mystery presents the legendary detective Hercule Poirot traveling via train from Istanbul via Trieste, Italy, to Calais, France. Poirot meets an unpleasant businessman, Mr. Samuel Ratchett, who is traveling with his male secretary. Ratchett, who is concerned about his security, offers Poirot the job of protecting him. Poirot turns down the offer because, as he says, “I do not like your face, M. Ratchett.” When Mr. Ratchett is killed, Poirot discovers that he is really a criminal named Cassetti. He realizes that Cassetti was the kidnapper and murderer of a little girl named Daisy Armstrong, whose prominent American family went to pieces after her death, with her mother dying and her father shooting himself. Having gotten off on a technicality, Cassetti has made his way to Europe, receiving death threats along the way. When it turns out that no one could have left or entered the train between the times Ratchet/Cassetti was seen alive and discovered dead, Poirot must focus on

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gathering puzzle pieces to figure out a highly perplexing problem, one that indicates passengers and then discounts them one by one. Murder on the Orient Express reveals Agatha Christie’s gift for creating suspenseful atmosphere and tricky, tightly plotted narrative. It also highlights her keen ear for dialogue and ability to create realistic everyday connections between characters, with only a few exceptions that play to stereotypes of the 1930s. Here she does so in an exotic setting, as the passengers’ anxiety heightens while Poirot gathers together contradictory evidence. Although she writes simply, reading her prose is like breathing. While this particular story has been filmed numerous times, the written novel is much more interesting and atmospheric than any tepid, genteel re-run on PBS. If you have not read Christie, or not read her in a while, dip into this short, compelling book that reminds us why she is one of the bestselling authors of all time.

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November 2021 | 13


GALLERY BEAT

F. LENNOX CAMPELLO

Reveal Exhibition Installation Photo: Greg Staley

FOLLOW

A Illumination 1, 2020. Acrylic on mylar, 9 x 9 x 6 in. Courtesy of the artist.

Silent Spread, 2020–21. Graphite on mylar, 28 components, dimensions variable.

External Wind, 2019. Acrylic on mylar, wire, 49 x 59 x 9 in. Courtesy of the artist.

14 | November 2021

Photo: Lucian Perkins

utumn is here and American University’s gorgeous museum at the Katzen Arts Center once again proves my thesis that AU has the DMV’s leading museum program, as evidenced by the continuous series of spectacularly diverse and interesting shows that continue to be presented under the leadership and guiding hand of Jack Rasmussen. On the lower floor of the museum, this Fall we get the opportunity to see a brilliant show titled Reveal: The Art of Reimagining Scientific Discovery by Rebecca Kamen, and curated by the equally brilliant Sarah Tanguy, and presented by the Alper Initiative for Washington Art. AU tells us that in Reveal, “Rebecca Kamen unlocks curiosity as a creative link between the arts, humanities, and sciences, exploring the symbiotic relationship behind scientific research and artwork’s development. From her extensive collaborations with scientists and philosophers at American University and beyond to her own life experience, the selection of painting, sculpture, and installation harnesses the emotive power of abstraction to humanize scientific breakthroughs in novel and unexpected directions. In the process, the exhibition becomes a laboratory of possibilities, shedding light on the many and disparate connective threads of her own artistic progress in the last two years.” This is a fascinating, intelligent and beautiful exhibition, and a show which allows the artist to display and showcase not only groundbreaking concepts in the marriage of art and science, but also to flex enviable technical artistic skills. Kamen’s multiple exhibitions in one start with a display

of a very attractive series of paintings which the artist created while she had a serious optical issue which caused her to have double vision. During the period that she created these works, she painted while thinking that this double vision effect – eventually corrected via the use of prisms – was permanent. The resulting artwork is immensely captivating in the sense that it seems to trigger something in nearly every viewer that I chatted with at the museum it is almost as if these images reside, in some personal form, within our personal ancestral memories. It is as if we’ve seen these images in our own thoughts and dreams. They do not only document an unusual way of seeing the world, but also stand alone as almost fantasy-like works of art. Kamen titled most of these dazzling paintings “Reveries”, in honor of Nobel prizewinner Santiago Ramón y Cajal, a Spanish neuroscientist, pathologist, and histologist who specialized in neuroanatomy and the central nervous system. There are also multiple sculptures in the exhibition, which Kamen says were each inspired by different lines of research. A work from this series which caught my attention was “Hemispheres”, an intriguing sculpture which Kamen notes was inspired by the cerebellum research work of American University’s Associate Professor Catherine Stoodley. In the catalog Stoodley notes that the cerebellum “contains about half of the brains’ neurons packed into 10% of the brain’s volume.” The sculpture itself, which is composed of acrylic paint on folded Mylar, has thin, dark wires woven into a pattern around the two hemispheres that form a GALLERY BEAT | FROM PAGE 14

Old Town Crier


ART&ANTIQUES ANTIQUES Spurgeon-Lewis Antiques 112 N. Columbus Street BW Art, Antiques & Collectibles 108 N. Fayette Street Imperfections Antiques 1210 King Street The Antique Guild 113 N. Fairfax Street Silverman Galleries 110 N. St. Asaph Street Red Barn Mercantile 1117 King Street Washington Square Antiques 425 S. Washington Street Susquehanna Antique Co. 608 Cameron Street Old Town Antiques 222 S. Washington Street Verdigris Vintage 1215 King Street Cavalier Antiques 400 Prince Street Sumpter Priddy III 323 S. Washington Street Henry Street Antiques 115 S. Henry Street Curzon Hill Antiques 108 S. Columbus Street The Hour 1015 King Street A Galerie 315 Cameron Street Random Harvest 810 King Street Acme Mid-Century + Modern 128 S. Royal Street Van Bommel Antiek Hous 1007 King Street Lloyd’s Row 119 S. Henry Street

YO U R A R T

Corona 3, 2020. Acrylic on mylar, 18 x 18 x 4 in.

Courtesy of the artist.

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 Cochran David 105 N. Union Street Betty Grisham Studio 105 N. Union Street Imagine Artwear 112 King Street

Exclusively representing the works of

Warming 4, 2019. Acrylic on mylar, 24 x 18 in.

F. Lennox Campello

Courtesy of the artist.

Price and additional images upon request.

GALLERY BEAT | FROM PAGE 14

grid while also expanding aggressively out from the main body, almost as electrical connections shooting (or shouting) out ideas, thoughts, memories and sensations. Kamen also contributes to the contemporary artwork canon inspired by the Covidian Age and its terrifying and beautiful virus. There are several colorful and almost sensual wall sculptures stimulated by the virus itself, but the crowning achievement (pun intended)

of all contemporary Covidian art which I have seen so far, is without a single doubt the large magnificent wall sculpture titled “Silent Spread.” The installation and lighting of this work, an elegant array of light coronas spreading over a large expanse of the back wall, adds a key component of how this important work is engraved into our memories when we first see it. The site specific lighting gives each individual virus piece a diabolical extension and reach, an almost palpable breath of

infection spreading from the wall shadows. This is an important and memorable work, which I recommend be acquired by American University, or one of our museums, as a key reminder of the Covidian Age and more importantly, how a truly gifted artist reacted to it. The exhibit is free and open to the public and runs through December 12, 2021.

“ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING PEOPLE OF WASHINGTON, DC” – Washington City Paper

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

Alida Anderson Art Projects, LLC, Washington, DC www.alidaanderson.com / info@alidaanderson.com

Season Gifts of the

All of the shops and restaurants in Old Town Alexandria will be ready for your holiday shopping and dining. You’ll find an amazing selection of gifts in Alexandria and especially at Imagine, where all of our selections are hand-made by artists in North America.

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November 2021 | 15


TAKE PHOTOS, LEAVE FOOTPRINTS

SCOTT DICKEN

Photos: Scott Dicken

16 | November 2021

Old Town Crier


Safari in the Deserts of Dubai

I

Safaris are available without Dune Bashing

’m not a massive fan of Dubai. For me, it’s lost 95% of its oldworld Arabian charm and replaced it with nothing but high-rise metal, concrete, and a glaringly obvious penchant for ‘one-upmanship’. Secondly, experiencing Dubai is particularly challenging if you’re on a budget. Paying outrageous prices for average experiences that you could have in any other large city feels like a complete waste. There was, however, one exception to this general disappointment. An experience that, while still pricey, I would gladly recommend to anyone visiting the United Arab Emirates. The Dubai Desert Safari. Typically taking place in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, a 225-sqaure-kilometer nature reserve about an hour’s drive outside of the city - close to the border with Oman - a Desert Safari provides a fantastic opportunity to escape the concrete jungle, spot some Emirati wildlife, and learn a little more about local culture – certainly more than you’ll learn in the pricey elevator ride up the Burj Khalifa!

A few people I know have steered completely clear of desert safaris because they thought that all tours included dune bashing. They had no desire to be thrown about in a vehicle or for living through the constant fear that the next dune will be the one on which the driver rolls the car. As a result, they missed out on the whole experience. As I said in the opening to this post, this is the one activity I would recommend to anyone visiting Dubai (or Abu Dhabi or Oman for that matter). If avoiding any form of exhilarating speed is your aim then your best bet is to stick with the more conservation, luxury and wildlife focused tours offered by Platinum Heritage.

Avoiding Guided Tours Altogether

5 Top Tips for your Dubai Desert Safari At first glance there are a bewildering number of Desert Safari options. Choosing between them can prove dauting. However, your choice will likely amount to what activities you want your safari to include. Here are some of the main activities available and some suggestions for which tour operator you could opt for: Dune Bashing: Probably the activity most people opt for, dune bashing is essentially driving up and down dunes in a 4x4 at high speed – often resulting in the fear that the vehicle is going to roll (it never does!). Not all tour operators offer dune bashing on their itineraries and some claim, somewhat justifiably, that it doesn’t exactly fit the type of activity that should be taking place in a conservation zone. Nonetheless, it’s a lot of fun and extremely popular. We used Travo Travel (travcotravel. ae) for our tour, but you should also check out Arabian Adventures (arabian-adventures.com) or Alpha (alphadestinationmanagement.com). Dinner and Evening Entertainment: Most Dubai Desert Safaris that start in the afternoon finish with dinner in a Bedouin camp or more luxurious private tented camp. Dinner is typically accompanied by live entertainment that ranges from whirling dervishes and belly dancers (which aren’t representative of Emirati Old Town Crier

culture) to more traditional cultural dancing and coffee-making. If you’re specifically looking for something more representative of Emirati culture, then I’d suggest looking at Platinum Heritage (platinum-heritage.com). Falconry: Practiced in Emirati Bedouin culture for over 4,000 years, falconry is seen as an important form of hunting and is viewed as a traditional sporting activity. Although several tour operators offer falconry as a part of broader packages (including Platinum Heritage and Arabian Adventures) if you’re looking for something specifically focused on falconry then look no further than Royal Shaheen (royalshaheen.ae). Wildlife Viewing: In theory, once you enter the Conservation Reserve all Dubai Desert Safaris offer the opportunity to spot wildlife. However, the reality is that many of the tours whizz past the areas where you’d find most of the wildlife to get to the next activity. So, if you’re intent on wildlife spotting, conservation education, or photography then my advice is to opt for a tour with Platinum Heritage. If you’re an Instagram junkie then you’ll be pleased to know that they offer wildlife tours in vintage, and brightly painted, 1950’s Land Rovers.

Camel Trekking: I once spent three days riding a camel into the Sahara Desert. The fact that I struggled to walk for several days after means that I now typically steer clear of them. But that doesn’t mean that you should! If riding a camel into the desert is on your bucket list, check out the available options with Arabian Adventures or Platinum Heritage.

This is not an African Safari

Unfortunately, if you have your heart set on visiting the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve then a guided tour is your only option. However, if you have access to a car and you’re purely interested in wildlife spotting then you might wish to visit the nearby Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve. This new reserve only opened to the general public in 2018 but is home to much of the same wildlife as you’d see on an organized safari; in addition to a large flock of flamingo that occupy a set of man-made lakes in the reserve.

And Finally, Do your own research It’s often tempting to arrive in a destination, especially when you’re staying at a high-quality hotel, and rely entirely on the hotel’s concierge to recommend the best tours for you. The same goes for booking your Dubai desert safari; particularly because the number of options can seem overwhelming. But I’d avoid that slippery path if I were you. You’ll most likely end up on the tour that offers them the best commission! Instead, my advice is to do the research yourself before you leave and either book before you go or have concierge book your chosen tour when you arrive. Hopefully this post will help you with that research!

There is a temptation to hear the word ‘safari’ and conjure images of the Maasai Mara or Serengeti; vast African savannah settings teeming with wildlife. A Dubai desert safari does not offer that experience. Wildlife sightings, even on dedicated wildlife tours, are much less frequent than you would imagine. That said, you stand a decent chance of spotting the Arabian Oryx, Arabian Gazelle or Sand Gazelle. Much less likely sightings, but theoretically feasible, also include sand foxes, sand cats, caracals or the Gordon’s wildcat. Keep your eyes peeled and your camera at the ready and you might just be lucky Happy travels and make sure to check out (obviously more difficult if takephotosleavefootprints.com for more. you’re dune bashing at the time)! November 2021 | 17


POINTS ON PETS

T

STEPH SELICE

How to Hire a Pet Sitter During a Pandemic

he COVID-19 pandemic continues, and life goes on. As we adapt to what the new coronavirus variants will bring, people with pets will still need to plan around their work and school schedules, holidays, travel, and family emergencies. Pet sitters have ridden the roller coaster of the last 20 months along with the rest of us. Here are a few things they might want us to keep in mind. Get Vaccinated and Stay Healthy It’s essential that you, your pet sitter, your family, and your pets stay healthy, so please get vaccinated and take care of yourselves. Your pet sitter will want to know that you and your pets have had your shots and are in good health. Because pet sitters visits dozens of homes during the year, knowing your home is safe to work in is important. They will have guidelines for vaccinations and health status, social distancing, and use of masks, so they can help keep your pets and your home clean and safe. You’ll want everyone to be healthy and your home to be clean enough for a visitor. If 18 | November 2021

you or one of your humans or pets is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or another illness, let your pet sitter know, just as you would expect them to tell you. Decide What Pet Sitting Services You Want Before hiring, think about what services you’ll need. Do you want someone to check on your pet regularly during the workweek, walk your dog, or care for your pets while you’re away from

home? Do you want someone who’s affiliated with your vet’s office (many in those offices also work as pet sitters)? Do your pets take medication, eat prescription food, or have special needs? What else does your pet sitter need to know about your pets, their preferences and daily routine, and your home? How often would you want your pet sitter to come to your place? Some pet sitters visit once or twice a day as standard care; others

offer housesitting, grooming, and other services too. In return, your pet sitter will ask you many questions about your pets and their routines and will want your vet’s contact information and a summary of your pet’s health history. Interview Your Pet Sitter Before Your Start Date Animal people agree that what’s most important when hiring a pet sitter is that the person has experience,

connects with your pet, feels like a good fit for your family, and will meet your pet’s needs. An adult who is a friend or relative and is an experienced pet human can be an excellent sitter without professional certification, and may even know and love your pets already. Teenagers who are experienced with pets can be great too, if they’re mature enough to care for a pet on their own (and ideally, have backup from adults). If you’ll be interviewing people you don’t know, you’ll want to ensure that your potential pet sitters are knowledgeable, professional, have references and clean criminal records, and are insured. To confirm that your pet sitter is licensed and is certified by a professional pet sitting organization, check with those listed in Resources below, or ask your vet for a recommendation. If you’re comparing pet sitting services, a checklist like the one from the Professional Animal Care Certification Council (PACCC) can help (https:// paccert.org/choosing-a-petPOINTS ON PETS > PAGE 19

Old Town Crier


POINTS ON PETS | FROM PAGE 18

care-provider/). Introducing your pets and your family to the sitter personally and walking them through your pets’ routine should be part of your hiring process. When you meet, you’ll be able to answer some vital questions: Do you and your family feel comfortable with this person in your home? How did they react to being with you and yours pets? Do your pets feel safe

and at ease with them? Are they mature, knowledgeable, and professional? No matter what you see or hear in an interview, go with your gut. Never hire someone to care for your pets unless everyone agrees that the decision feels right. Schedule as Far in Advance as You Can Whether you’re planning a vacation or attending an inperson conference, tell your pet sitter as early as possible. Pet sitting services have seen

their business wax and wane since March 2020, but you can help them accommodate you by letting them know your plans promptly. They’ll also want written instructions and contact information for you and your vet. Keep Up with Medical and Veterinary Advice About COVID-19 The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says in its most recent update: “A small number of pets worldwide, including cats and dogs, have

been reported to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, mostly after close contact with people with COVID-19. . . . Based on the information available to date, the risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is considered to be low.” Keep up to date by checking the

CDC website along and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA; see Resources). Steph volunteered with King Street Cats in Alexandria for 7 years and now lives in Pennsylvania with her humans and their two cats.

Resources Professional Pet Sitting Organizations National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS) Find a Local NAPPS Pet Sitter | The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters Pet Sitters International (PSI) Pet Sitters International, the leading pet-sitter association Professional Animal Care Certification Council (PACCC) CHOOSING A PET CARE PROVIDER - PACCC: paccert.org

COVID-19 Information About Pets “COVID-19: If You Have Pets,” CDC, June 29, 2021

“Current Information About COVID-19 and Pets: Caring for Your Pets with SARS-CoV-2,” AVMA AVMA_SARS-CoV-2_Caring-for-pets_Client-handout.pdf Selected Alexandria-area Animal Shelters/Rescues Animal Welfare League of Alexandria 4101 Eisenhower Avenue Alexandria, VA 22304 703-838-4774 alexandriaanimals.org/

Fairfax County Animal Shelter 4500 West Ox Road Fairfax, VA 22030 703-830-1100 airfaxcounty.gov/animalshelter/

Animal Welfare League of Arlington 2650 S Arlington Mill Drive Arlington, VA 22206 (703) 931-9241 www.awla.org

King Street Cats 25 S. Dove Street Alexandria, VA 22314 703-231-7199 kingstreetcats.org/

PETS

OF THE MONTH

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

ELTON JOHN

CARSON

KARLI & ILANA

At 10 years old, sweet and soulful Elton John knows the way to your heart. No, it’s not music; it’s his endearing personality and handsome face! This American bulldog can be a bit shy at first, but once he gets to you know, be prepared for the best friend you could ask for. And best of all, his adoption fee has already been paid, so he’s ready to meet his new family today. Visit AlexandriaAnimals.org/AdoptBy-Appointment for more information.

It wouldn’t be surprising if you confused Carson for your shadow, not because he’s black, but because he’d like to be by your side all day long. This 14-year-old gent is the sweetest guy, and he is currently enjoying a stay in a foster home on the way to meeting his future family. He’d prefer to be your only cat - so he can focus all his attention on you - and his adoption fees have already been paid. Schedule time to meet with Carson in his foster home today by emailing adopt@ alexandriaanimals.org or calling 703.746.4774.

Bunny best friends Ilana and Karli know how to get the joint hopping. The bonded pair of 10-monthold Holland Lop rabbits have lived together for their entire lives and are excited to welcome their new family into their Best Friends Club. This dynamic duo are sweet, snuggly and just a bit sassy; everything you could want in a new bunny friend. To schedule time to meet them, visit AlexandriaAnimals.org/ Adopt-By-Appointment.

The AWLA has a lot of amazing adoptables at the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter and even more in foster care throughout the community. Meet some of our foster favorites and schedule time to meet them by emailing adopt@alexandriaanimals.org. November 2021 | 19


CARIBBEAN CONNECTION CARIBBEAN JOURNAL STAFF

The Rockhouse Hotel in Negril

I

15 year old Vintage from Martinique

t’s never easy for lovers of rhum agricole in the United States. Supply of the cane-juice nectar of the French Caribbean has always been scant in America, with just a few brands that have even entered the market in the last decade. The two companies with the biggest presence have always been Martinique’s Rhum Clement and Rhum J.M, whose entry to the market a little over a decade ago was a very welcome development. Even so, finding those companies’ most sought after expressions in the U.S. has often been next to impossible. Rum lovers have always had to make the trip to Martinique, St Maarten (or the Caribbean Rum Awards in St Barth this month) to even have a chance to find the best bottles. There’s one exception, and U.S.-based rum aficionados probably recognize it: it’s the Rhum J.M with the leather label, the one that’s always at the corner of the back shelf of the liquor store. For those who find it, it’s a collector’s item: the 15-year vintage, almost always the single-best bottle of rhum agricole you can buy off the shelf in the United States, a sought-after expression for one of the island’s most venerable distilleries. And now it’s back again, this time from 2003, with an even more beautiful wooden-frame packaging, a new look for what was one of the best JM vintages of the last decade. It’s instantly a collector’s item.

So what’s it actually like? This 41.8-degree expression has that classic J.M amber color, with an aroma of citrus peel, cane stalk, chocolate orange and a hint of herbs. The flavor profile is marked by oak, citrus, dried cherries; carambola; apple; tobacco; a whisper of white pepper; all working in exquisite harmony, the concerto that can only be played by a pure cane juice rum. The finish is long, luscious and velvety; it just keeps going and going before it softly fades away like a Wild West horizon. It’s just astonishingly good; a spectacular expression from a wonderful vintage; the kind that always finds its way to the top shelf of your collection. And the kind of bottle for which it’s never easy to stay on the shelf. Rum Journal Review: 97 Points

20 | November 2021

A

merican travelers are helping to fuel the tourism rebound in Jamaica, officials said this week. That increased demand is leading to an expansion in airlift to the Caribbean island. That includes American Airlines, which will be up-gauging its aircraft on Montego Bay flights from Miami, Philadelphia and Dallas-Fort Worth, with new wide-bodied 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft on those routes. Southwest Airlines is also increasing its flight service to Jamaica, with the carrier now very close to its pre-pandemic lift to Jamaica. The numbers are borne out in the island’s hotel

performance; travel giant Expedia says room night passenger growth metrics are exceeding the same period in 2019, before the pandemic. “American, Southwest and Expedia are all critical partners for Jamaica’s tourism sector, and we look forward to welcoming many more visitors in the near future,” said Jamaica Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett. “Confidence in growth for Jamaica’s tourism remains strong and we will maintain our world-class Jamaica CARES health and safety protocols, including our Resilient Corridors, to ensure a robust winter.” For more on how to visit Jamaica log on to www. visitjamaica.com

The OTC is happy to partner with Alexander Britell, Founder and Editor-In-Chief of the Miami, Florida based Caribbean journal, and his staff. Check them out online at caribjournal.com for valuable information on all of the fabulous travel options and things of interest in the Caribbean. Old Town Crier


10 Cool Facts You Never Knew About Jamaica Jamaica Has the Fastest Runners on Earth Jamaica Produces the Most Music per Capita Jamaica Has the Most Churches per Square Mile Jamaica Has the Most Rum Bars per Square Mile Jamaica Is the Top Consumer of Cranberry per Capita Jamaica Has a Bobsled Team The James Bond Series Was Written in Jamaica Jamaica Was Once a Spanish Speaking Country Jamaica Is Home to Beautiful Women Jamaica Supports Equal Rights for Humanity

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November 2021 | 21


FROM THE BAY

BETH CRABTREE

Learn To Sail in Winter?

Yes. You. Can.

J/World in Annapolis offer winter classroom courses that welcome all levels of experience.

Read Books and Tie Knots Pick up some books and magazines about sailing. Tried and true books include “The Annapolis Book of Seamanship” (recently updated), “North Sails’ Trim Book,” “Chapman Piloting & Seamanship,” and “Sailing Fundamentals” by Gary Jobson. For Bay-specific sailing, read SpinSheet Magazine in print form or digitally at spinsheet.com. As for tying knots, go to your local boating store, purchase some line, and begin practicing knots. You’ll find step-by-step instructions in most sailing books and on many websites. See how quickly you can tie them, and then practice tying them with your eyes closed. Although it may not seem too exciting trust us - it will be very useful on a sailboat.

Click to learn

F

or many sailors on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries—that means you too, Potomac River lovers—October offered beautiful days on the water. There will no doubt be several days in November, as well, when the air is crisp and clear, fewer powerboats are on the water, and the light, fluky winds of summer have given way to steady breezes. At Halloween, most sailing programs in our area will have stopped running their on-thewater instructional programs, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until next spring to learn how to sail. Here are a few ways for a mid-Atlantic wouldbe sailor to continue learning through autumn and winter. 22 | November 2021

Take a ‘Learn to Sail’ Vacation

Visit winter sailboat shows

During the winter months, some local sailing schools are in full swing with classes farther south. Sail Solomons, which runs summer classes out of Solomons Island, MD, also offers courses in the Caribbean, such as a flotilla in 2022 in Guadeloupe. Whether you’re looking at a Chesapeake-based school’s satellite program, or a school headquartered down south, such as Offshore Sailing School, look for schools recognized by the American Sailing Association or U.S. Sailing, organizations with high standards for safety and instruction.

The St. Petersburg Sail and Power Show (January 2023, 2022) and Chicago Boat Show (January 12-16) are two such shows. (The U.S. Sailboat Show held in Annapolis in October has come and gone but worth plugging into your calendar October 1317, 2022). Here you’ll find representatives from sailing schools and clubs who can help you get started as well as representatives from charter companies who offer learning vacations. You will also find informative, free seminars. If you’re willing to hire a captain, you could spend a weekend this fall sailing on

the Chesapeake Bay, or you could charter a boat in the Caribbean for a mid-winter escape.

Private On-Water Instruction or Classroom Seminars Many sailing schools offer private lessons, so even if their summer group sessions end in early October, they may be able to arrange private lessons on their training boats well into November. As for classroom learning, we recognize it isn’t that sexy, but the knowledge you’ll gain is invaluable, and it’s also a good opportunity to meet people in the sailing community. Schools such as

The team at the monthly SpinSheet Magazine publishes Start Sailing Now, a new sailors guide meant to address all the questions you ever had about sailing but were afraid to ask. Find SpinSheet and Start Sailing Now in their entirety at spinsheet.com. Beth Crabtree, a senior editor at SpinSheet, sails out of Round Bay on the Severn River in Annapolis. She pens a monthly “Start Sailing Now” column for sailors who have started as adults and gotten hooked. Find video clips of her interviewing new sailors on SpinSheet’s YouTube channel.

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ROAD TRIP

BOB TAGERT

A

ctually…Blue Rock has ties to the city of Alexandria. Many years ago, two brothers, Bernard and Jean Campagnelbracq, owned La Bergerie Restaurant on North Lee Street - La Bergerie was a very popular French Restaurant for many years whose doors have since been closed. These are the same brothers who opened the original Bleu Rock Inn, which became a popular destination for Alexandrians back in the 80’s and early 90’s. The business has had a few different owners since then and the property eventually deteriorated until the recent purchase by Chef Bin Lu, formerly of Pineapple and Pearls, Bourbon Steak and Cityzen in D.C. After watching the restoration of this beautiful piece of property over the last year, we finally had a chance to pay a visit when they opened their doors in late October. Although the Blue Rock is not “new”, it has had major renovations all the way around. The old “Tavern” is now the “Tasting Room”, the main dining room and terrace have all been revamped and there are now rooms available for those who want to spend the night/weekend. The old stables are gone and the landscaping has taken on a whole new life. (You will see, however, that the arena polo field is still in need of some TLC. We were informed that bringing it back to life is on the agenda but it may be awhile down the road.) Located in the heart of Rappahannock County, Blue Rock is a modern take on the classic country inn. The 80-acre equestrian themed property, set against the Blue Ridge Mountains, features five uniquely designed inn rooms, an on-site restaurant lead by esteemed chef, Bin Lu and the aforementioned Tasting Room. An adjoining five-bedroom farmhouse, also recently restored, is available for private rental. The experience at Blue Rock is designed to connect their guests to the history of the space and the surroundings through locally sourced ingredients and cuisine inspired by the Virginia countryside. Their goal is to reflect the inn’s deep history and pay homage to Blue Rock’s legacy through food and exceptional service. The restaurant at Blue Rock features contemporary American cuisine offering an elevated yet approachable dining experience, regardless of the occasion. A seasonal, four-course menu composed of small plates, mains, and dessert offerings, will be exclusively ROAD TRIP > PAGE 24

24 | November 2021

Old Town Crier


ROAD TRIP FROM PAGE 24

available in the restaurant, with a la carte options in the coming weeks. Highlights include Buttered Peekytoe Crab with burnt caramel vinaigrette and Charlston “Ice Cream”, Blue Rock Private Reserve Caviar with house-made sourdough donuts, and Quinoa Crusted Black Bass served with chilled tartare, grapefruit and chicharron. Dessert features a DarkChocolate “Candy Bar” with banana sherbet, toasted hazelnuts and fresh cherries; MadeiraPoached Figs with warm olive oil cake and smoked ice cream, and a Champagne Sorbet with fresh fruit salad. The four-course menu is priced at $99 per person. The Tasting Room at Blue Rock offers flights, tastings, and a comprehensive wine, beer and spirits menu with craft cocktails featuring local and imported brands. My favorites are the products from Copper Fox Distillery located in Sperryville a few miles down the road from Blue Rock. In fact, their cooperation is already paying off...the wood for the new Copper Fox American Chestnut Whiskey was sourced from a farm a few miles from Blue Rock. Visitors can choose from local Virginia wines or an eclectic mix of traditional and global options from emerging regions like Texas, Bosnia and Bolivia. Wine flights are meant to inspire discovery and conversation with tastes highlighting everything from Virginia wines to grower Champagnes, to Old and New World reds. A la carte food options in the Tasting Room include local and international offerings the likes of Charcuterie ($15) with red eye gravy and pimento dressing, Warm Crab and Gruyere Dip ($12), or a double patty Blue Rock Burger ($20). Tasting Room beverages and food can all be enjoyed at the bar or outdoors on the terrace, at fire pits and seating areas throughout the beautifully appointed grounds. Construction was being completed on the new stage overlooking the pond the afternoon we were there since they had live entertainment coming in for the Grand Opening Ceremony the next day. Guests Old Town Crier

are now able to enjoy outdoor entertainment while seated on the manicured lawn or on the terrace. On the particular day that we went, the weather was perfect. During these crisp autumn days the air is clear which makes for great photographs. The sky is a bright blue with puffy white clouds scattered about. Skyline drive is only about a twenty minute drive from Blue Rock. I would caution that on weekends half of Northern Virginia will be out this way. If you can, plan your stay during the middle of the week. Besides just enjoying being in the countryside, there are interesting places to visit. There are excellent wineries near Blue Rock as well as shopping in Sperryville. Taking route 211 west will take you over the mountains at Thornton Gap and into the town of Luray, Virginia and the impressive Luray Caverns. Also nearby is Old Rag Mountain and White Oak Falls for a day of hiking. As mentioned, the town of Sperryville is enchanting. There are a few shops and galleries, a few places for breakfast, lunch or dinner and a few places to stay if Blue Rock is sold out...our favorite is 29 Main On the River. There is even a camping/outfitter located in Sperryville. The town is a true classic that a river runs through! And….we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that Washington, VA aka Little Washington is right around the corner as well. There are some nice shops and galleries in that little burg as well. The time of travel to Blue Rock is somewhere around an hour depending on traffic on I-66. You can jump off of 66 at Gainesville to Warrenton and then 211 to Blue Rock or jump off at Markham and check out the back roads. Once you get off of I-66, the back roads are a joy to drive with the beautiful countryside to enjoy. The leaves will be at their peak in November...time for a Road Trip!

Tanna-Rae Higby Behind the Bar in the Tasting Room

November 2021 | 25


TO THE BLUE RIDGE

KIM EVOY BRYANT

Chestnuts, a Vital Ingredient to the American Melting Pot

I

’m sitting at my farm in Nelson County, Virginia. We grow chestnuts and this is the first time we have invited folks to come and pick their own chestnuts. I had questions. Would anyone want to pick chestnuts, would they be okay with driving down our dirt road, would they be able to find our farm nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains? It’s a perfect fall day with the sun out and just warm enough for everyone to enjoy. The cars start coming in and I’m a little nervous about what people will think about picking chestnuts. It’s not a difficult task, but can take a little while. Chestnuts, when ripe and ready for harvest, fall to the ground, so each nut has to be harvested from the

floor of the orchard. As the day goes on, I realize that more than 50% of the people coming for the harvest are first- generation Americans. Their parents have come from Korea, China, Japan, Croatia, Serbia, Italy, Greece, Finland, Turkey, Russia, Philippines and Macedonia, maybe more. My ancestors originated in some of these countries. Our visitors are so excited and keep telling us stories about chestnuts in their country and how they had been waiting for this day. One gentleman was overjoyed, said he had been “looking for a chestnut orchard for 16 years” and was elated that we were within driving distance. With his son by his side, he shared a lovely memory of being a

boy in his country and picking chestnuts. What has happened on our farm is amazing to us! My husband and I initially set out to grow a crop that would be profitable and take us into retirement. We love living on the farm and really just wanted the farm to pay for itself. Over the years we have enjoyed meeting and working with other chestnut growers and of course meeting our customers. But we were not prepared for the overwhelming response from a community that had been looking for this very thing; a chestnut orchard. We have learned so much in the last few weeks from our visitors. Chestnuts is one of those food items that really does bring people together. People that have come from other countries

to find a better life in America. And chestnuts take them back to their childhood, their families, their farms, their dinner table. While I was sitting out in the orchard waiting on customers, my 8-year old niece and I were talking. I said, “Livie, listen to all of the languages being spoken.” Families came with their lunch baskets and blankets, they spread them out under the chestnut trees. Children ate a bite and then ran around. Everyone was happy. My heart is still full, which is an understatement. This entire world has been though a very difficult time in the last 18 months. Folks everywhere seem to be at the end of their ropes. Some are questioning whether America is

still a great place. All I can tell you is that from our farm it is peaceful, lovely, calm and a great representation of the best of America. I still love my country. Even more at my farm. For more information visit online at www.virginiachestnuts.com About the Author: Kim Evoy Bryant was born in Kentucky, raised in New Jersey and since 1986 has made her life in Virginia. Kim and her husband David established their farm in 2003, planted chestnut trees in 2009 and since then have learned about chestnuts as a food source. They are currently working to help others begin their chestnut orchard journey with Chestnut School and tree sales.

Visit the Blue Ridge Whisky Wine Loop and show a receipt from any 3 members dated the same week to receive 50% off a Mimslyn room. Sunday-Thursday ONLY. One night, non-holiday thru December 31, 2021. Corkage fee applies to bottles from the loop and enjoyed on our front porch! www.discovershenandoah.com.

26 | November 2021

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“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.” — Melody Beattie

To me, gratitude comes from a spiritual place. It is the authenticity of acknowledging those who have supported you and your efforts over the years. Here at Copper Fox, we are thankful for our talented staff, we are thankful for our family, but most of all, we are thankful for your continued support.

9 River Lane Sperryville, Virginia 540.987.8554 901 Capitol Landing Road Williamsburg, Virginia 757.903.2076 www.copperfoxdistillery.com

Old Town Crier

November 2021 | 27


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28 | November 2021

Old Town Crier


URBAN GARDEN

CHRISTA WATTERS

Common Plants in Thanksgiving Meals There are several staples to every Thanksgiving meal that have been passed down from generation to generation. These classic dishes are known for Thanksgiving because of the time the plants are ready to be harvested. There have been popular spins on each of these veggies, herbs and even fruits. Here are some of the most common plants that are ready to harvest for Thanksgiving, thus making them popular in most Thanksgiving meals: Veggie trays - this is how we attempt to eat healthy every big family gathering. Veggie trays will typically include ranch dressing to dip each veggie in. The most popular veggies that are harvested in the fall and included in veggie trays are carrots, celery, radishes, and olives. Cranberries - there are several different dishes and drinks that include cranberries. These berries are synonymous with fall and are most commonly eaten as cranberry jelly. Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes - who doesn’t love sweet potato casserole and mashed potatoes and gravy? Potatoes are grown all over the world and can be harvested late into the year and also will last a long time in the pantry after digging them out of the ground.

P

It’s Not Too Late to Plant Bulbs!

rocrastinators rejoice! Though those of us who grew up in colder climes may think it’s too late to plant our bulbs for spring bloom, it’s really not – at least not for all bulbs. Tulips, for example, can rot in the ground in our heavy Virginia soil during warm, wet falls. Some sources say that waiting until about first frost is better for tulip bulbs, which like colder climates. Plus, it gives the squirrels less time to dig them up before frost hardens the ground. Still, you need to get them in before the ground really freezes. So November, and sometimes even early December is still fine. It’s also fine for planting daffodils and narcissus bulbs, hyacinths, crocuses, even grape hyacinths. Be generous – color massing is the most effective way to create an impressive and heartlifting display next spring. So cluster the bulbs in drifts that complement the rest of your borders or beds. In our area, most hybrid tulips don’t successfully come back in succeeding years, and should thus be treated like annuals. If you do leave them for a second year,

Old Town Crier

choose Darwin varieties, some authorities recommend. Alternatively, choose species tulips that generally perennialize better and naturalize well in rock garden clusters, as in this photo of Kaufmanniana tulips at the Simpson Waterwise Garden. Daffodils and narcissi are much more reliable at coming back year after year and even multiplying in the ground. Choose some bulbs for their massing effect, yes. But also consider choosing some for their individual beauty, like these gracefully winged white and yellow Cyclamineus narcissi. For fall crocus and colchicums, the fallblooming relatives of our spring bulbs, it is, unfortunately too late this year, but while you peruse the catalogs, make a note on your calendar to order the bulbs in a timely manner next year. Spend some time this winter researching the best times for those. Publishers Note: This column provided by Master Gardners of Northern VA. We encourage our readers to follow their site for amazing tips and stories. www.mgnv.org

Corn - corn is synonymous with fall. Sweet corn is also one of the symbolic foods that were shared between the pilgrims and Native Americans when settlers first arrived in America. Onions - similar to potatoes, these are easily grown all over the world and will last a long time in storage. Onions can go with any popular dish and provide additional flavor and texture to the dish. Garden Sage - herbs can be harvested last into the year until the first hard freeze. You can also dry or freeze herbs to get more use of them into the winter. One common dish sage is used for is in stuffing. Rosemary - this plant is starting to become more and more popular. The herb provides a strong flavor to many popular dishes, even on the turkey itself. A new trend that people are doing, is growing a rosemary topiary as a fall decor centerpiece,that also provides a great aroma in the house. Pecans, Apples, Pumpkins - these are the most popular desserts made during Thanksgiving using local produce. Most commonly made into pies, but there are several other dishes you can make using these foods. Pumpkin pie is the most common made pie for Thanksgiving, Pumpkins are also used as decor from Halloween through Thanksgiving. For more information on these and other common holiday plants and much more, log on to www.plantaddicts.com!

November 2021 | 29


DINING OUT

GASTRONOMES W/CAITLYN HITT

Left: Adult Beverages Below: The Buffet

Aave Bblluuee

Birthday Boy Al Vyn and Laura the Emcee

La B e l l

e la M a

Desiree

Dik

ffia

Want to Have Some Big Fun?

Take In Drag Queen Brunch

W

e are members of a local dining out based Facebook group and lately there was an inquiry as to what fun and entertaining things are there to do with the relatives that are coming in for the Thanksgiving holiday that include food and entertainment. The inquirer was clear that they were looking for something more entertaining than a dinner cruise on the Potomac and we immediately thought of “Drag Queen Brunch”! In fact, the day that that inquiry popped up was the same day that we were going to a Drag Queen brunch celebrating our friend Al Vyn’s 30th birthday – is that

good timing or what? In fact, all of the photos accompanying this column are from that gig and we would like to give a shout out to Eric Faughn, proprietor of Stoney’s Kingfisher Restaurant, Al Vyn for the invite and to LaBella Maffia, Aave Bblluuee and Desiree Dik and the very talented Emcee/Host Laura for the entertainment. We have been to several Drag Brunches over the years and the food and beverage have always been pretty impressive as well as the entertainment. We have partnered with Caitlyn Hitt who writes for Thrillest and offer some enlightening information on the history of the DQB.

Perry’s

Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant

1811 Columbia Road NW Adams Morgan 202-234-6218 Perrysam.com perrydragbrunch@gmail.com Sat & Sun – Seating at 10am & 1 pm $39.95 Buffet & Show Cocktails by the Pitcher

Nellie’s Sports Bar 900 U Street NW 202-332-6355 Nelliessportsbar.com Sat & Sun – Seating at 11am & 1pm $50 All You Can Eat Buffet & Show 1 complimentary Mimosa/Bloody Mary 30 | November 2021

555 23rd Street Crystal City 703-685-0555 Freddiesbeachbar.com Freddie’s Follies Drag Show – Saturday Nights 9pm-11pm Ala carte dinner menu The two most popular places in the DMV for the brunch are Perry’s and Nellie’s, however there are several other places in the area that offer DQB on an intermittent basis so you can do like we did and use your Google search. Freddie’s offers ala carte dining with the show on Saturday nights.

The Glittery History of Drag Brunch

By Caitlyn Hitt

D

rag brunch has been dazzling day drinkers for decades. The only thing better than traditional brunch is drag brunch. Booze, breakfast, queens, and glitter. Most people think drag started decades ago, but it actually has roots that date all the way back to the 17th Century. Drag brunch came about not long after. We’re not gonna say Shakespeare and other playwrights started drag, but they did fill their plays with men in male and female roles. There’s a long-standing legend that because petticoats drag on the ground, stage actors referred to putting on women’s costumes as “putting on their drags.” Seems like foreshadowing. Long after Shakespeare’s death, New Orleans restaurateur Madame Begue started serving something called “second breakfast,” AKA brunch, in 1884. Her eatery featured a “wall of fame” full of signed photos of celebrity guests, including Julian Eltinge -- a wellknown female impersonator. Madame Begue’s now considered

the inventor of brunch, so be sure to raise a mimosa to her the next time you and your crew gather at your favorite spot. In 1895, an article titled “Brunch: A Plea” was published, urging folks to consider a Sunday meal that’s lighter than your average Sunday supper but still satisfying. This marked the first time brunch is used in print, which is a pretty big deal. The article made no mention of drag queens though, which probably would have sold a few more people on the idea. Hindsight is 20/20, though. The drag portion of drag brunch grew in popularity in the early 1900s. Vaudeville shows became more popular, with drag performances drawing the biggest crowds. Early drag stars largely impersonated famous women of the time and people ate it up. A wrench was thrown in the works in the 1920s, however, when prohibition went into effect. Speakeasies became the answer to bars being closed and more diverse crowds started flocking to them. Drag acts, too, flocked to speakeasies and the stage shows DINING OUT > PAGE 31

Old Town Crier


DINING OUT FROM PAGE 30

got more intriguing than ever before. The death drop wasn’t invented until Willi Ninja took the stage in the 1960s and wig reveals didn’t come until later either, but the queens of the day knew how to slay. Prohibition finally ended in the ‘30s, but the Great Depression hit, and rather than crack down on booze, authorities took aim at “deviants.” Basically, everything fun about the ‘20s was considered lewd, gay people were lumped in with sex criminals, and female impersonation was banned. Boo! But out of all this restriction came something new: the Pansy Craze. Pansies, or people acting out stereotypes of effeminate men, emerged as an alternative to drag queens. Some time passed, queens and the LGBTQIA+ community continued to fight the good fight amid discrimination, and things took a turn in the ‘70s. Hamburger Mary’s, a gayfriend burger joint, opened in San Francisco. The same year Crystal and Lottie LaBeija

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created the first ballroom house, House of LaBeija. Overthe-top underground events called balls were held there. They included competitions in things like dancing, lipsyncing, and modeling along with cash prizes and titles. “Voguing” was born from the ballroom scene. At the same time, David Bowie’s star was on the rise. He and the New York Dolls introduced their fans to drag and the idea of genderbending. Meanwhile, The Rocky Horror Picture Show was a late-night movie success. Come the 1980s, a new vibe had taken hold and drag was getting bigger than ever. RuPaul performed for the first time at The Pyramid Club, Lady Bunny held the first-ever Wigstock, Jennie Livingston started filming the hit documentary Paris is Burning, Lucky Cheng’s opened and started offering a drag dining experience daily, and Sex and the City came out and continued to push brunch and speak to girls and gays everywhere. Eventually, a bit of a brunch boom hit. Suburban restaurants wanted to get in on the action, so they started offering up omelets, frittatas,

challah French toast, and whatever else makes brunch, brunch. Google data from 2004 shows an uptick in searches for drag brunch restaurants. Additionally, more and more young people flocked to major metro areas. In 2009, RuPaul’s Drag Race premiered and quickly gained a massive following. The show was many people’s first exposure to drag and its hilarious, meme-worthy moments made it a social media hit. Although drag brunch was on the rise already, the premiere of “Drag Race” sent demand skyrocketing. The term was eventually trademarked by one of the largest producers of drag performances in 2018, which is a bold move. Brunch by itself is great, but brunch with drag queens is so much better. So, thank you prohibition, thank you foodies, thank you queens old and young. We owe so many fun Sundays to you! If you would like to see more of Caitlyn’s writing and a plethora of other fun reading, log on to Thrillest at https://www.thrillist. com/authors/caitlyn-hitt.

Champagne

Our Almost Annual

Dinner Saturday Nov. 27, 6:00pm

13 Champagnes 5 Course Tasting Menu $150 each

(tax and gratuity not included)

Reservations Required

Happy Thanksgiving!

River Bend will be closed all day

7966 Fort Hunt Road * 703-347-7545

RiverBendBistro.com

November 2021 | 31


LET’S EAT

CHARLES OPPMAN

DISCOVER THE BEST OF TIMES!

Call Us To Order Your Family Thanksgiving Dinner with all the Trimmings!

CALL US FOR COMPLIMENTARY LOCAL DELIVERY with no fees or contract!

Turkey and Smoked Sausage Gumbo

Call 703-548-1785 to place order. Visit our website for menus www.unionstreetpublichouse.com 121 SOUTH UNION STREET, OLD TOWN ALEXANDRIA 703.548.1785 • UNIONSTREETPUBLICHOUSE.COM

W

ith Thanksgiving arriving in a few weeks, we ought to consider a recipe that is a bit more interesting than the worn out leftover turkey and veggie soup. Most Americans know that gumbo is a classic soup made famous by Louisiana chefs, but it is also rooted in African and American Indian cuisines. Okra is commonly used as a thickening agent and for flavor. The slaves brought okra with them from Africa and the Choctaw Indians of Louisiana introduced filé (a spice essential to gumbo) to early American chefs. Gumbo came out of bayous of southwest Louisiana. There is not a single recipe for gumbo, every family and every restaurant has its own. Here’s one that I learned from a veteran New Orleans’ chef who passed away during Katrina. Try this soup, you’ll love it.

Ingredients 2 pounds smoked sausage, cut into ¼’’ slices 4 pounds turkey parts, thighs and legs (chicken, duck or pork is optional) 1 cup each parsley, bell pepper, celery and onion; chopped ¼ cup fresh garlic, chopped 6 bay leaves 4 tablespoons tomato paste 2 tablespoons thyme leaves 3 tablespoons Worstershire sauce ½ cup vegetable oil or butter ½ cup flour Hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste

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Instructions In a stockpot, just cover the turkey parts with water or chicken stock. Simmer uncovered until tender, approximately 1 hour. When cooled, de-bone the turkey reserving the meat and stock. In a large, heavy pot combine the oil and flour and make a roux. Cook over medium heat and stir continuously with a whisk until the color of peanut butter. DO NOT burn the roux as this will impart a burnt flavor to the soup. If burnt, discard and begin again. To the hot roux add sausage, onions, bell peppers, celery, parsley and garlic. Sauté until vegetables are partially cooked. Add thyme, tomato paste, Worstershire sauce, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Add turkey stock and stir until mixture is homogenous. Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer for one hour. Finally, add shopped turkey meat and adjust seasoning. Remove bay leaves. Serve with white rice. Serves: 6-8 Time: 1½ hours 32 | November 2021

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907 KING STREET OLD TOWN ALEXANDRIA 703.684.3288 MACKIESBARANDGRILL.COM November 2021 | 33


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 | November 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

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 BRABO 1600 King St. 703-894-3440 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

ALDO'S ITALIAN KITCHEN 2850 Eisenhower Avenue (behind the building) 703-888-2243 BUGSYS PIZZA RESTAURANT 111 King St. 703-683-0313 FACCIA LUNA 823 S. Washington St. 703-838-5998 HANK & MITZI'S PIZZA AND PASTA 600 Montgomery Ave. 571-312-4117 IL PORTO RESTAURANT 121 King St. 703-836-8833 LANDINI BROTHERS 115 King St. 703-836-8404 landinibrothers.com LENA’S WOOD-FIRED PIZZA & TAP 401 East Braddock Rd. 703-960-1086 MIA'S ITALIAN KITCHEN 100 King Street 703-997-5300 MICHAEL’S LITTLE ITALY 305 S. Washington St. 703-548-9338 PIECE OUT 2419 Mount Vernon Avenue 703-398-1287 RED ROCKS FIREBRICK PIZZA 904 King St. 703-717-9873

MEDITERRANEAN

BARCA PIER & WINE BAR 2 Pioneer Mill Way 703-638-1100 TAVERNA CRETEKOU 818 King St. 703-548-8688 tavernacretekou.com PITA HOUSE 719 King St. 703-684-9194 DELIAS MEDITERRANEAN GRILL 209 Swamp Fox Rd. 703-329-0006 VASO'S MEDITERRANEAN BISTRO 1118 King Street 703-566-2720 VASO'S KITCHEN 1225 Powhatan Street 703-548-2747 SEAFOOD

HANKS OYSTER BAR 1026 King St. 703-739-HANK FISH MARKET-OLD TOWN 105 King St. 703-836-5676 fishmarketoldva.com THE WHARF 119 King St. 703-836-2834 WHISKEY & OYSTER 301 John Carlyle 703-567-1533 INDIAN

DISHES OF INDIA 1510A Bellview Blvd. 703-660-6085 DIYA 218 North Lee, 2nd Floor 703-706-5338 NAMASTE 1504 King St. 703-970-0615 MEXICAN LATIN SOUTHWESTERN

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LET'S GET CRAFTY

TIMOTHY LONG

N

o celebration is complete without beer. It’s been that way since 7000 BCE. Why would our modern Thanksgiving be any different? Think about your average Turkey Day. You go out and volunteer for a charity in the morning or walk/run a 5K or 10K Turkey Trot. Will you need a beer afterward? Certainly, you will. In fact, you deserve it for being such a good person. Or you stay home and watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade. You’re going to need a beer at the end to cheer Santa as he arrives at Macy’s! And what comes on television after the parade? Football!! It’s almost un-American not to drink beer while watching football. And does beer go with Thanksgiving dinner? Of course! What was the first thing the Pilgrims did when they arrived at Plymouth Rock? They built a fire. And why did they build a fire? To brew beer! They wanted beer. They needed beer. Thanksgiving is a beautiful festival, a giving of thanks for all we have. It’s the great American tradition. It deserves beer. Even Black Friday requires beer. Especially if you work for a retailer and just completed one of those horrific Black Friday shifts. The whole thing adds up to a great weekend for beer. But first, let’s explore Turkey Day and the great beers that can go with it. We’ll start with the founders of this feast, the Pilgrims. We tend to have a stuffy opinion of who they were. They were puritan in their ways, but not actual Puritans. The Pilgrims were separatists who rejected the Church of England and everything in it that was related to Roman Catholicism. The Puritans came here 10 years later. Their goal was to ‘purify’ the Church of England from everything related to Roman Catholicism. They did not separate from the church. We assume that both groups were boring and no fun. But nothing could be further from the truth. According to Steve Prothero, a Boston University

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Turkey Dinner

Beer With My Turkey? Yes Please!! religion scholar. “When we think of the New England Puritans who gave to us Thanksgiving, we tend to run to predictable nouns, including killjoy and prude. But Thanksgiving is a festival, which is to say it was made for fun. And New England’s Puritans were by no means allergic to fun.” Both groups of settlers loved to drink beer and wine. The Pilgrims consumed both as part of the harvest to celebrate and give thanks at the first Thanksgiving. Although they abhorred drunkenness, they loved their beer. Beer has been part of Thanksgiving since the beginning. Let’s look at some craft beers and see how they may fit into your Thanksgiving celebration.

Thanksgiving Morning It’s 11:00 AM, and time for the beer you’ve earned. You can drink before Noon. Who’s gonna stop you? You’re allowed because it’s a holiday. It doesn’t matter whether you did charity work or started the dinner and fixings for that afternoon, you worked hard and deserve this beer. And if you didn’t do anything, so

what. Have a beer with the person who did. It’s the least you can do to show your appreciation. This is a perfect time for a Blue Hen Pilsner from Dogfish Head Brewery based in Milton, Delaware. A light, crisp, refreshing beer with Delaware grown malted barley. At 4.98% ABV, it’s a great first beer of the day. I’ve been drinking their beers forever and they rarely steer you wrong.

Toasting Santa The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is ending, and it’s time to toast Santa as he arrives at Macy’s. This can be a very fun activity. The kids can toast Santa as well, just not with beer. While they’re hoisting their juice or milk, you should be hoisting a Tidings Ale from Port City Brewery in Alexandria, VA. It’s a strong, spicy, Belgian-style Ale with hints of coriander, cardamom, and ginger. The perfect for toasting Santa. It’s

What beers pair well with turkey? Let’s start with the amber ale. The browning during the brewing process is reminiscent of caramelization that occurs with turkey while cooking. I recommend the High Barbary Amber Lager from Fair Winds Brewing Company in Lorton, VA. It has a sweet, toasted malt flavor with a 5.4% ABV. And it has the perfect body to pair with turkey. An Indian Pale Ale (IPA) can also pair well with turkey. There are many to choose from, but one of my favorites is the Heavy Seas Loose Cannon from Heavy Seas Brewery in Halethorpe, MD. It’s a 7.5% ABV American IPA with a soft mouthfeel and floral bitterness.

Black Friday only available in November and December. But be careful, at 8.5% ABV, this beer can have a kick to it.

Football Football kicks off at 12:30 PM. And since there are games all day long, you will need to remember the first tip from my October article, The Art of The Football Tailgate; it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Your football beer needs to be light and low in ABV. Don’t get drunk before dinner and infuriate your mom, wife, or, worse yet, grandma. Old Town Lager from Aslin Brewing Company in Alexandria, VA is a great way to start. It is a clean and crisp beer with a dash of floral hops. At 4% ABV, it’s perfect for the long haul. The Downright Pilsner from Port City Brewery is also a great choice. A Bohemian-style, medium-bodied lager with an ABV of only 4.8%.

Thanksgiving is over, and the most horrendous shopping day of the year is upon us. It’s a great day to visit a brewery. It doesn’t matter whether you’re shopping, stuck dealing with the massive crowds, or just trying to avoid the madness, a trip to a brewery is a great escape. Any local brewery would provide a great time, but my recommendation is Aslin Brewing Company. The brewery is a short drive from Old Town Alexandria, VA. They will be releasing their Black Friday Stouts. Four stout beers aged in bourbon and rye barrels. All four are uniquely crafted and guaranteed to please the palate. What a fun way to enjoy a crazy day. I wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers. Enjoy the time with your family and friends. And make sure you “gobble” some good craft beers. Cheers!!

Timothy Long is an educator, writer, consultant, and experienced restaurant operator. Instagram and Twitter: @wvutimmy. Blog:What Is That Fly Doing In My Soup? https://whatflyinmysoup.com/ Email: tlong@belmarinnovations.com November 2021 | 35


GRAPEVINE

MATT FITZSIMMONS

When It Comes To Cider, What’s Old Is New Again!

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irginia will soon celebrate Cider Week, which runs from November 12-21. This event is an opportunity to heed Benjamin Franklin’s advice that, “It is indeed bad to eat apples. It is better to make them all into cider.” Cider makers must have listened because sales of Virginia hard cider have skyrocketed in the last decade. Virginia now has over 30 cideries, most of which opened in the past 4 years alone. According to the Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office, in fiscal year 2020, approximately 55% of all hard cider sold in Virginia was Virginia-made. Critics have taken notice. The Virginia Governor’s Cup wine competition now uses dedicated cider judges for its cider entries, with Lost Boy Cidery’s “Comeback Kid” taking the win in 2021. Fellow cider professionals have also heard the buzz because CiderCon®, the world’s largest professional cider conference, is coming to Richmond in February 2022.

More Complex Than Most People Realize For both business and stylistic reasons, some cideries model themselves after wineries with a focus on beverages that reflect conditions in the orchard, while others draw more inspiration from breweries by experimenting with new flavors. It gets even more complicated if you add in perrys (cider made from pears) and specialty ciders, including those made with hops, spices, or other fruit. This split parallels cider’s two main categories; Heritage and Modern ciders. Heritage ciders are usually made from apples traditionally associated with cider making, including Kingston Black (bittersharp), Roxbury Russet (American heirloom), and Wickson (crab). These beverages are usually drier, emphasize the flavor profile of the varietal it’s made from, and served in wine bottles. Modern ciders are primarily made from apples you find in the grocery store including McIntosh, Golden Delicious, or Gala. They also offer a dizzying array of flavors not usually associated with cider, such as pumpkin, cherry, even habanero. The need for carbonation means they are usually served on tap or in cans. Both styles are found in Virginia but few are as passionate about Heritage ciders as Diane Flynt of Foggy Ridge Cider, one of the pioneers of the Virginia cider movement. Foggy Ridge was the state’s first cidery, which Diane modeled after an estate vineyard with an eye towards ‘orchard focused cider’. While Foggy Ridge Cider’s last call was several years ago she still grows apples and advocates for Virginia cider, especially those that reflect the orchards they come from. In explaining her hopes for the future of the industry, Diane said, “We need locations that are willing to invest the time 36 | November 2021

to make great cider. What (Foggy Ridge) did is focus on what the site gives you for flavor, not any additives.” That said, the line between Modern and Heritage cider is sometimes fuzzy. Many cider makers treat their Modern ciders as artisanal beverages, while the term ‘Heritage cider’ may seem something of an oxymoron since they are made using very modern techniques. Don Whitaker of Castle Hill Cider makes both styles, explaining, “Our Heritage line pays tribute to the apple, while our craft line is more fun and accessible. But it doesn’t matter which line it is, we still want to showcase the apple.” “But some of our friends (in the cider industry) want to take cider making as far as they can go with new flavors. It’s all up to the imagination and the market.”

Explaining Cider’s Newfound Popularity According to several cidery owners, direct sales are roughly split between men and women and skews towards a younger demographic. When asked why cider sales have seen such growth, Philip Carter Strother of Valley View Farm had a straightforward explanation. “The truth is hard cider is delicious, but it’s been overshadowed by beer. Hundreds of years ago cider was just as popular as beer. But a lot of effort has been made to make cider approachable to a larger audience, and a larger audience drinks beer.” Emulating the marketing and distribution of craft beer has allowed cider sales to soar. Last year 63% of Virginia cider was sold via distribution and the remainder in direct sales. While this ratio favors modern ciders that are packaged and sold like beer, growing recognition has helped heritage cider sales as well. This popularity has pushed a number of Virginia wineries to get in on the action. Wineries recognize cider fills a niche for lighter, fresher beverages, and their ability to step up is eased by how much of the equipment and licensing is the same. Several make their cider in-house, while others use an outside partner. Cider’s status as a lower-alcohol, glutenfree beverage is another selling point. While no alcoholic beverage can ever truly be called ‘healthy’, cider compares relatively well to beer. In his description of Comeback Kid, Tristan Wright of Lost Boy Cider explained how the cider’s name was in part a tribute to his own health comeback when he discovered his allergies to gluten and soy. Even though hard cider is unlikely to ever be considered a health drink, it has one additional advantage over other options. “Nobody has sentimental feelings about barley. But everyone has a connection to apples” enthused Will Hodges of Troddenvale Cider. “People just have a pull to it; it’s a very American beverage.”

Ciders You Should Try Cideries can be found in every corner of Virginia, ranging from urban tasting rooms in Alexandria and Richmond, rural businesses in the Blue Ridge Mountains, to wineries and breweries serving cider alongside their own beverages. Don’t wait for CiderCon; start sampling Virginia’s cider today. Blue Bee Aragon: Blue Bee is Richmond’s first urban cidery, located in an old stable and carriage house. Aragon is their best seller; an off-dry blend of modern and heirloom apple varieties that provide a light, crisp mouthfeel. Castle Hill Cider’s Celestial: Located south of Charlottesville, Castle Hill’s Celestial has strong fruit aromas, bright acidity, and a clean taste. While you can drink this anywhere, their tasting room is stunning – and beverages always taste better when sampled in the place they were made. Coyote Hole Ciderwork’s Apparition: Coyote Hole kicks off Halloween with a cider that brings all the cozy flavors of fall in one drink. The perfect balance of cider and pumpkin, Apparition has all the comforting notes of traditional pumpkin pie with a hint of spices. Lost Boy Cider’s Comeback Kid: The first beverage to win the cider award at the Virginia’s Governor’s Cup, Comeback Kid is Lost Boy’s bestselling cider for good reason. Made with Shenandoah apples, it’s light, dry and unfiltered. While heritage ciders boast about their complexity and tastiness, this cider could give them a run for their money. Troddenvale at Oakley Farm’s House Cider: One of the most ‘wine-like’ ciders on the list, this heritage-style cider is made with a blend of eight apples. Its use of lees during fermentation provides a fuller mouthfeel and greater complexity. It’s then bottled like a sparkling via the “traditional method” until disgorged before release. Valley View Farm’s Noble Pome: Noble Pome benefits from aging on the lees, which gives it a texture and body somewhere between a white wine and a beer, and contributes yeasty flavors and toasted notes. Bone dry and crisp, it tastes strongly of the Stayman apples used to make it. An excellent accompaniment to food, particularly with barbeque and pork dishes.

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EXPLORING VA WINES

DOUG FABBIOLI

WHAT AM I THANKFUL FOR?

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I

n life, there are some things that you only get a chance to do once. I have had a number of these types of opportunities come my way. But I am truly grateful and thankful when I have the opportunity for a second chance to make things better. We all have bad days, and thoughts or actions that show our humanity. If we are fortunate we have the chance to learn from some of these challenges and are able to improve, revise, restart, or simply say “I’m sorry” to make the problem a bit less than it was. There was a post the other day on a social media group about a small business owner making a mistake with a client and trying to recover from that. The advice was to always be open about the “oops” and to bring a solid solution to the problem along with that openness. I’ve learned to start off a relationship with a new client by telling them “I will make mistakes, but I will try to keep them small and be open about them.” With forty years in the wine industry I have made my fair share of mistakes and recoveries. There is very little hiding possible in this business. We had a situation in the tasting room on a recent Saturday afternoon when a small bus of rather intoxicated women decided they needed to come to our establishment for one more round. We informed them as they were finishing off their previous

round in the bus that we were unable to serve them any further alcohol. We offered water and use of our restroom facilities, but a number of the ladies got rather vocal and upset. The situation did not end on a great note and left us anticipating the coming wrath of social media reviews and commentary: how dare we turn them away, and what a terrible place to visit. Surprisingly enough, that concern did not come to fruition. Even more surprising was the phone call we received the next morning as we were opening the tasting room. One of the ladies called to apologize for her and her group’s behavior. This incident truly made me proud of my team: they were able to manage the situation in a way that the guest found considerate once she sobered up. I am clearly proud of the guest as well for taking the initiative to call us. It’s good to get an opportunity to right a wrong, take another swing, rethink, back up or try again. When it involves other humans, which it usually does, putting empathy first is always the best card to play. I want to do the right thing the first time, but I always truly appreciate getting a second chance. So as you enjoy your glass of fine local wine this holiday season be grateful for the successes, but be especially thankful for those chances at a re-do. I consider those saves! November 2021 | 37


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NICOLE FLANAGAN

FITNESS

Staying Fit For The Start Of The Holiday Season

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ovember marks the beginning of the holiday season. This is the time of year when we start making all those yummy baked goods and delicious homemade soups. Instead of letting all this wonderful food catch up to us this year, let’s make a goal to maintain our fitness. Last month I said how fall is the best time to get yourself back into a fitness routine and gear up for the cooler months ahead. Well it has been thirty days since then and hopefully everyone has been able to stick with his or her fitness routines. In case you are starting to falter from your schedule, here are some tips to keep you motivated for the next month. I’m sure that some of you have had a little extra time to set aside for your workout now that the kids are back in school. Just remember that dedicated workout times are great but

you can get your exercise other ways as well. You don’t necessarily have to set aside a whole hour to workout. Exercising can actually be a lot of fun. Wondering what to do on a Saturday afternoon? Look for an activity that suits the whole family! Check out a local climbing wall or hiking trail. Push your kids on the swings or climb with them on the jungle gym. Plan a neighborhood kickball or touch football game. Find an activity you enjoy, and go for it. If you get bored, try something new. If you’re moving, it counts! Exercise helps us deal with stress and can increase the energy we have to deal with all of our daily activities. Exercise stimulates various brain chemicals, which may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out. You’ll also look better and feel better when you exercise regularly, which

can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem. Exercise even reduces feelings of depression and anxiety. Use regular exercise as a way to improve your own well-being and as a way to keep with your busy life. If your weekdays are anything like mine you are running around from the minute you wake up in the morning until you climb into bed at night. While exercise can help you have more energy throughout the day it can also help you sleep better at night. Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. The timing is up to you, but if you’re having trouble sleeping, you might want to try late afternoon workouts. The natural dip in body temperature five to six hours after you exercise might help you fall asleep. When you sleep better at night you wake up feeling more energized for the day. Having a good

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night’s sleep can improve your productivity, mood and concentration. As if there weren’t enough good reasons to exercise, here is another one that will keep you motivated through the cooler months. Exercise helps improve your immune system. We are exposed to viruses other than just the Covid 19 version and germs every day. As the weather gets cooler we tend to spend less time outdoors and more time inside. While there seems to have been a substantial decrease in cold and flu cases with the mask mandate and people paying extra attention to hand washing, some people are naturally less susceptible to becoming sick because their immune systems are stronger. More and more research is finding a link between moderate, regular exercise and a strong immune system. Regular exercise has

been linked to a positive immune system response and a temporary boost in the production of macrophages, the cells that attack bacteria. It is believed that regular, consistent exercise can lead to substantial benefits in immune system health over the longterm. With the holidays right around the corner and things becoming more hectic we can all count on exercise as one way to de-stress and stay healthy. Aside from the many benefits I have mentioned already I’m sure that you have come to find that exercise is something that can help many aspects of our busy lives. Whether you workout to distress from work, keep up with your family, or simply for the feeling of a good hard workout, exercise is something that you can always fall back on.

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November 2021 | 39


FROM THE TRAINER RYAN UNVERZAGT

Get Ready for the Holidays!!

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he holidays have arrived in quick fashion and for many of us it’s probably one of the busiest times of the year. Whether you’ve made travel plans to see family and friends, trying to find that perfect Christmas gift or attending multiple holiday parties, this time of year is fun, but can also be stressful. As we get wrapped up in the holiday madness, it’s easy to let your fitness routine slide, which can mean unwanted weight gain. However, there are a few simple things you can do to

avoid the extra pounds. Choose Snacks and Drinks Wisely at Holiday Parties: Holiday parties are a great way to unwind, but they can also set us up for easy weight gain. You want to try to limit sweets, juices, and alcohol. Instead, opt for tea, coffee, and water. If you choose to drink alcohol, stick with the light beer. You should stay away from high-fat meats and cheeses such as salami, minidogs, and cheddar and jack cheeses. Look to eat turkey breast, ham, low-fat cheeses like mozzarella, Swiss, or

provolone instead. Always fill your plate with plenty of fruit and vegetables and eat them first!

of your favorite TV show. If the weather is nice, go for an afternoon walk or bike ride around the neighborhood.

so you can have that piece of pie, fudge, cookie, or cake. Remember to do so in moderation.

Stay Active: This might be the most difficult task to achieve, especially when the weather is bad. If you can’t make it to the gym for a workout, there are some activities you can try at home. Hold a contest between family and friends to find out who can perform the most situps, pushups, crunches, squats or jumping jacks (Do this only before eating, of course). Walk up and down the stairs during the commercial breaks

Don’t Skip Dessert! That’s right. This is not a misprint. You should be able to treat yourself during the holidays, rather than feel deprived. Just adjust your portion sizes down at the dinner table

Drink Water: 0 Calories! What more do I need to say? I hope that you find these tips useful in your battle to fight off those unwanted “holiday pounds”.

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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FIRST BLUSH

A

s we approach the holidays, food becomes more than a necessity to nourish our bodies. It is a reason to bring families together, a reminder of fond memories, and the focus of many traditions that we didn’t get to celebrate last year in the midst of the pandemic. We don’t typically think of food as an important ingredient in our skin care products. In fact, many items from our holiday table are showing up in many skin care products. In the spirit of the holidays, one ingredient 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)

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worthy of special attention is Pumpkin. This enzyme is an alternative to alpha hydroxy acids as an exfoliant/peel ingredient for the skin. A fruit acid, pumpkin has many properties - as an exfoliation accelerator, a powerful antioxidant and a mild retonic acid substitute. As an exfoliant pumpkin gently breaks down the outer layers of the skin, leaving it looking fresher and feeling softer by sloughing off dead skin. As a powerful antioxidant, it combats oxidative and free radical damage. The beta carotene properties of pumpkin work

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to naturally repair skin damage. What also makes pumpkin so desirable in skin care products is that it does not contain fragrance chemicals that are often irritating to the skin. Since food ingredients are proliferating skin care products, let’s explore some of the other common ingredients penetrating our products, their usages and beneficial properties. BASIL – contains antiinflammatory properties and protects the vascular system. In doing so, it calms inflammation and diminishes dark circles. BLUEBERRIES – another darling of the antioxidant world, blueberries also have an important vasoconstricting impact. They help diminish redness and, because of its gentle qualities, it is safe for the rosacea-prone to use.

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CHAMOMILE – found in many forms, the principal components of the essential oil extracted from the flowers has moderate antioxidant and antimicrobial activities.

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radical damage, and works to combat inflammation. CUCUMBER – softens, hydrates and protects the skin. It is also very gentle and often used in products for sensitive types. GINGER – as an antiinflammatory, ginger calms inflammation on the skin. GRAPEFRUIT – a fruit acid known for its exfoliant and astringent properties. It also absorbs excess oil on the skin. GRAPESEED – has powerful antioxidant properties known to help diminish the sun’s damaging effects and lessen free radical damage. It has also been shown to have wound-healing properties. GREEN TEA – contains polyphenols which are the active ingredients and possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties. Green tea polyphenols prevent ultraviolet -induced immune suppression and skin cancer induction. Early studies have found the ingredients in the tea can reduce sun damage and may protect skin from skin cancer when applied topically. Using green tea extract under sunscreen may yield a double dose of

protection. Like antioxidants, polyphenols have also been shown to reduce free radical production. An antiinflammatory, polyphenols in creams and lotions may also slow signs of aging and reduce sagging skin and wrinkles. LYCHEE – with antioxidant properties, lychee works to neutralize free radicals and prevent damage to the skin. PAPAYA – an exfoliant that gently eats away dead skin cells. PEPPERMINT – in the oil or extract form, peppermint has antimicrobial properties and assists in providing a closer shave. ROSEMARY – helps reduce inflammation, prevents bacteria build up on the skin and protects cells from free radical damage. TOMATOES – the source of the power antioxidant – lycopene – it has amazing ability to neutralize free radical damage providing important protective properties while reducing inflammation. WATERCRESS – its main purpose is to tone and purify the skin. November 2021 | 41


GO FISH

STEVE CHACONAS

Catching Cobwebs

D

uring a recent visit to the Potomac River, I finally got to step into my pro buddy’s boat for more than a quick interview or a photo. Troy Morrow has been around for a while, fishing several pro tours. He has a knack for the Potomac River. Lots of things have changed for Troy in the last two covid seasons. The biggest, his move to Phoenix boats was a rare move for the Georgia pro who’s had the same sponsors for quite some time. His deck was decked out with 17 white Duckett rods and reels, spooled up with high end Sun Line. Each outfit is specifically tuned for each technique Troy plans to employ in this tournament. His lures of choice to cover water were a unique buzz bait and a Zoom crankbait. Troy demonstrated a new sticky sharp Gamakatsu G-Finesse hook. The bait keeper secures soft plastics, perfect for drop shot. Zoom soft plastics are on his line for every fishery across the country. Every tournament stop requires different baits and different colors to be successful. Making baits for nearly 40 years, Zoom is one of the oldest soft plastic makers with more than 70 industry-leading products and more than 400 unique colors. But it was the crankbait made by the company’s founder Eddie 42 | November 2021

Chambers that got us talking about how innovative his company was, stretching the imagination of the soft plastics industry and going beyond with fish-catching balsa wood crankbaits. After Eddie’s death, Zoom stopped cranking out crankbaits, but Troy keeps throwing them, taking extraordinary efforts to retrieve when snagged as they are selling for hundreds of dollars on eBay. A Garmin LiveScope master, Troy uses two LiveScope units, one in forward scan, the other in the wider perspective view. Finding the fish holding cover that produces a fish that might win a tournament is important but finding a fish no one else has located can be just the edge he wants. Dropping waypoints help him remember specific spots from year to year. Troy fine tunes his approach to them to find the best conditions for each spot, depending on weather, water clarity and of course tides. Tides do more than bring water in and out, they dictate fishing strategies. Pad fields normally filled with water and fish wouldn’t be targeted as tides weren’t going to be high. Instead, milk runs of hard cover or scouring grass beds would be the strategy. But grass beds would be tough to fish and likely crowded. As if conditions couldn’t be tougher with the bad turn of the

tides, the rainiest August on record left the Potomac rather muddy. Five bites would be tough to come by. Normally five fish winning limits would average 15 pounds a day. But it was more than just fish talk. Every angler has fishing tools, pliers, net, lure retrieving devices. Troy also had an umbrella. Of course, I asked about it. When waiting in his boat for the tournament to take off, sometimes Tory is sitting in the rain. The umbrella comes in handy to keep him dry at the beginning of the day. Good to know! Troy and I go back to the early days of the BoatUS pro team. The Angler program lasted for four years. We had a great team and had a great product for bass tournament anglers to protect their boats on and off the water. This insurance addressed specific needs of anglers that also covered rods and reels along with

other accessories. But more importantly, we had fun. The Potomac has been my home waters for 40 years. Troy has owned it for about 5. He still maintains it’s his Garmin electronics, but after spending 10 hours on the water with him, it’s his time on the water, paying attention to detail, that makes him great at what he does. Subaquatic vegetation isn’t all the same. Troy recognizes all of them and has developed love or hate relationships with each. Knowing the architecture and the time of emergence for each type will dictate how and if you should fish them. Approaching a dock, I noticed that spiders had been busy stretching webs from piling to piling. Troy says these are good ones because no one has been fishing them to remove the strands. Interesting to know.

I’ve probably seen spider webs thousands of times and never gave them a second glance. But when money is on the line and competitors are all around, a small detail could pay big dividends by providing a slight edge. Fishing with a professional angler is educational and entertaining. Fishing with a friend who’s on national tours is a rare opportunity. I’ll be watching the standings to cheer him on, and ready to chat to keep him alert on his long drive to his next tournament destination, keeping his mind free from cobwebs. 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 November Grass beds are nearly gone! Hard cover is still a good target but paying attention to depth changes will be key. Finding areas close to deeper water and channels leading to the deeper water are primary targets. To cover water, craw patterned squarebill crankbaits can deflect off cover. Same goes for ¼ ounce spinnerbaits with gold blades and white skirts. Tie to 10 pound test Gamma Edge fluorocarbon line. Vary the speed depending on water clarity. With temperatures above 60, crawling a lipless crankbait along gravel banks also on 10 pound test Edge will find fish close to deeper water. Jigs on cover are a good choice, but also Texas rigged tubes and shaky heads rigs can pick off fish on hard cover and especially docks. Drop shots will get even the tougher fish to bites. This finesse technique can work very well on docks. Always have a buzzbait rigged to locate fish and to determine their mood.

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OPEN SPACE

LORI WELCH BROWN

Giving

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ovember is the month of giving thanks, but really shouldn’t we be expressing gratitude daily? I say that and yet I find myself struggling a bit to push my sadness and anxiety aside in order to feel genuine gratitude. October dealt a few blows that hit below the belt. A couple of dear—not to mention, young and vibrant— friends received frightening medical diagnoses. Another friend’s son decided to take his own life. Another friend is struggling with walking again after a stroke left her paralyzed. As I’m writing this column, I received word that a friend’s brother passed away suddenly and unexpectedly leaving her devastated. With all this awful news, I can’t help but wonder what the universe has in store next? Tsunami? Another mass shooting? And, I’m angry because it seems that the kindest, most caring people I know seem to either be taken away too young or dealt the worst hands. I find myself asking, “What or who is next?” “Is it my turn?” When does the other shoe fall? That’s no way to live so I’m left with faith, hope, and prayer. I can be angry, anxious, and worried, or I can be content, hopeful, and trusting in the fact that there’s a higher power that is in control of the situation. Whatever the outcome, I’m not in charge. All I can do is pray and keep the faith. Oh—and give thanks. On those days when I find myself slipping down into the dark rabbit hole where funk resides, giving thanks requires a preliminary pep talk. I’ve found that even on the darkest

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days, there is always something to be grateful for—the food in my pantry, the fact that I have a pantry, the excellent medical care available to my friend, the fact that I have so many friends, the warm blankets I can crawl under to hide. You get the picture. Making a quick gratitude list helps me stay grounded and present. After all, slipping down into the rabbit hole isn’t helpful to anyone. Expressing gratitude not only roots me in the present, but it also reminds me that there is always a beautiful bloom or two to be found in the pile of rubble. The trick is to hunt them down and keep them in focus. The rubble pile doesn’t miraculously disappear, but it’s nice to know that regardless of how high or deep the pile gets, something beautiful will always be able to break through. We all know people who are facing big challenges—whether it’s the C-word, job loss, sick child, etc. Heck—you may be the one feeling adrift in a sea of hopelessness. Staying

grounded in gratitude helps as does being in service to others. Recently I’ve started to keep a running list of things I can do to help others and/or people to reach out and check on as part of my daily routine. Sometimes it’s as simple as sending a text to a friend who is on her way to chemo or mailing a card to my elderly aunt. These small acts not only keep us connected, but remind me that it truly is the little things that can make a big difference. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do when people are dealing with a devastating loss or diagnosis, but the mere act of reaching out and saying, “I’m thinking of you,” or “I’m just checking in,” can be just what that person needs in that moment. Every act of kindness, every gesture of thoughtfulness is lifting that person up. It’s letting that person know they’re not alone. Even if I can’t relate and/or may not be able to understand what that person is going through, I can offer compassion. October was a rough

month in the midst of a rough year and a half. Just when I started to think things were getting back to ‘normal,’ I was reminded that life is cyclical, ever-changing, constantly evolving, and frequently unfair. It is up to us to weather the storms to the best of our ability while knowing we are never alone. If you find yourself feeling alone this holiday season— which is possible even if you’re in a room full of people—try to look for ways to connect. Sometimes connecting with a ‘stranger’ via a help line or therapy session can help put things in perspective. I’ve often found that pouring my heart out to someone who has the ability to see things through a different, non-biased viewpoint has been my saving grace. Some of the best ‘connections’ that may light you up inside may come in ways that might surprise you. Often when I’m feeling depleted, it’s that spontaneous conversation in line at the post office or Starbucks that has buoyed my

spirit. Too often we overlook these small opportunities to connect because we are so busy in our own heads or are face planted in our phones. It’s these small interactions that feed our souls and remind us that we are here together sharing this experience called life. This holiday season, try giving a few minutes of your time by making eye contact with the person sharing the line or saying hello to a few passing ‘strangers,’ and see what comes back to you. Reach out to someone who may be struggling in ways you cannot begin to comprehend. If you can’t think of what to say, start with “Hi, thinking of you.” You might be pleasantly surprised as one of those encounters might be the highlight of your holiday season—and theirs. Please follow Lori on Medium. She is a local writer, painter and pet lover who loves to share her experiences and expertise. November 2021 | 43


NATIONAL HARBOR

LANI GERING

A Gourd-geous Fall! Conservatory at night Photo courtesy of MGM Grand

Gearing Up for the Holiday Season!

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hat’s all I can say about the “Gourd-geous Fall” display in the Conservatory at the MGM Grand this year. It. Is. Spectacular! I have been lucky enough to have seen almost every display they have had since opening and maybe I should call this one an “exhibit” because it really is like fine art. If you remotely appreciate beautiful things, you should treat yourself to this. A picture is worth a thousand words and more when it comes

to describing this year’s display. The three pods feature all sorts of moving parts in addition to the intricate detail of every part of each of them. There is “The Ornate Acorn, The Dragonfly Fairy and the 24 foot Crescent Moon that appears on the cover of this issue. This year’s display was curated by the resort’s horticulture team and designers Le Savarese and Cory Pope of SolarLife Technologies. I know that there are readers out there who have no inclination

to step foot into a casino. I’m definitely not one but….you don’t have to go into any part of the casino to enjoy the beauty of the Conservatory. It is located next to the lobby of the Hotel portion of the MGM and just outside of the entrance into the Theater. The parking is free and there is lots of it if there isn’t a show going on. While you are there you might want to treat yourself to a walkabout and grab something to eat in the Market or at one of the several restaurants in the resort.

“A Gourd-geous Fall” by The Numbers 18,013: Flowers and plants throughout the exhibit 825: Pumpkins & gourds of various sizes 60: Team members involved in this season’s display 50: Glass leaves on each fairy’s skirt 7: Illuminating dragonflies 2: Magical fairies 44 | November 2021

fter the depressing lingering effects of the pandemic last year, it is such a fantastic feeling to have the Harbor gearing up for Holiday Season 2021! The Gaylord is back with Christmas on the Potomac with a fabulous new lineup of activities and events. Unfortunately, they won’t be bringing ICE@ back but I think you all are going to like the changes. The festivities begin on November 26th. Watch for all of the details on “I Love Christmas Movies” in this space in the December issue! I think you are going to be blown away.

Harbor Tree Lighting & More The 56 foot tall Christmas tree lights up for the 2021 Holiday Season at 5:50 pm on the 13th and stays on until January 2nd. The light show will take place as in years past every 30 minutes starting at sunset with the last show at 9 pm.

Photo: Waymon Meeks

Fireworks are back at the Harbor

Every Saturday at 5:30 with the exception of Christmas Day.

Storytime for the Youngsters

Saturdays at 2 p.m. on American Way.

Holiday Movies on the Waterfront Plaza Every Sunday at 2 p.m.

14th - The Muppet Christmas Carol 21st - Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) 28th – A Christmas Story

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A G AY LO R D H OT E L S O R I G I N A L E X P E R I E N C E

WALK THROUGH YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE SCENES IN AN ALL-NEW, MULTI-SENSORY POP-UP

This holiday season, see five iconic holiday films come to life through more than 13 fully immersive scenes in I Love Christmas Movies™, only at Gaylord National. Enjoy days of Christmas activities, fully renovated guest rooms, and proximity to National Harbor attractions. It’s all part of So. Much. Christmas.

BOOK YOUR TICKETS AND OVERNIGHT PACKAGES TODAY.

NOV. 26 - DEC. 31 ChristmasAtGaylordNational.com ELF and all related characters and elements ©️ & ™️ New Line Productions, Inc. A CHRISTMAS STORY and all related characters and elements ©️ & ™️ Turner Entertainment Co. NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION, THE POLAR EXPRESS, THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTA CLAUS and all related characters and elements ©️ & ™️ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (s21)


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