Setting the Standard In Old Town Since 1979
A Division of Crier Media Group OTC Media LLC PO Box 320386 Alexandria, VA 22320 571-257-5437
Published the first week of every month. Worth waiting for!
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© 2023 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.
A Bit of History 6
After hours 9
Alexandria Events 3 Art & Antiques 12 Business Profile 4
Caribbean Connection 18 Dining Guide 33 Dining Out 28 Exploring VA Wines 35 Financial Focus 5 First Blush 39
From the Bay 24
From the Trainer 41 Gallery Beat 12 Go Fish 42 Grapevine 34 High Notes 9 Let's Eat 30 Let's Get Crafty 36 MLK Day 38 National Harbor 44
On the Road 2 Open Space 43 Pets of the Month 17 Points on Pets 16 Publishers notes 3 Road Trip 21 Take Photos, Leave Footprints 14 The Last Word 10 To the Blue Ridge 26 Urban Garden 20 Where is the Mural? 32
ON THE ROAD WITH OTC
ON THE COVER
We have had some incredible images on the cover over the last 35 years and 2022 was no different. This cover marks the 421st as we continue marketing Old Town Alexandria and its metro area
“From the Bay to the Blue Ridge” into the New Year.
Above: On their first outing to Europe after the pandemic, Old Town Crier favorites Lynn Weigle-Snow and Joff Snow trekked to Barcelona Spain with their friends the Bigelows in September with their OTC in hand. We hear that a fantastic time was had by all – guess they brushed off the “pandemic” dust!
Club Director Andrea Veneziano (left) with John Sterling of Alexandria (Old Dominion Boat Club) check out the happenings at home following the burgee exchange ceremony at Sanremo Yacht Club, Italy in September. Many thanks for taking the OTC along for the ride.
If you would like to see your photo in this space, email a high resolution image (along with a brief description of your locale and any other special information you would like included in the caption) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1988 - Present
With the printing of this issue we celebrate our 35th year in print and our 27th year of being both in print and online. Little did we know when I secured “oldtowncrier.com” it would be such a sought after moniker. We did find out that there are quite a few Old Town Criers out there in the “world” that we beat to the url registration punch. We have come a long way since my late partner David Underwood and I started out.
Thirty five years ago Old Town Alexandria pretty much ended at Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub in the 700 block of King Street. There was no metro then and the west end of King Street was
abandoned warehouses, odd car dealerships and a hub for hookers on the corner of King and Henry. The footprint was quite different then and when we distributed our very first issue in January 1988 it was a couple hour process not a 2-3 day one. We distributed to the shops and galleries in Old Town as well as the bars and restaurants. Many of those businesses are gone now, but what a grand time it was back then. Parking was easy to find and everything was in a short walk. While I remain nostalgic for “back in the day”, Lani welcomes the renewed vibrance of the waterfront and the energy that it is bringing to Old Town with open arms –parking be damned.
As we developed the OTC into the early 90’s, we became a Regional publication when we expanded our content as well as our distribution to cover destinations into the Blue Ridge and near the Chesapeake Bay. These new markets gave us the opportunity to market Old Town – our Heart and Soul - and the surrounding neighborhoods literally “From the Bay to the Blue Ridge.” This not only gives our local advertisers targeted exposure to readers in these areas, it gives us the opportunity to bring local readers information about them as well and vise versa. We remain the only local monthly that markets and promotes our Alexandria businesses, people and places outside of the area every month.
As we celebrate these 35 years we realize there are many, many businesses and people who have made all this possible. We have advertisers who have been with us from day one and more who have supported us for a very long time. As we supported all businesses through our publication
during the COVID pandemic, it is those advertisers who supported us so that we might stay in business. There are a handful of special folks that helped us in the beginning and they know who they are, don’t they Frances and Peggy? We also want to thank all of those who read us each month. We know that you are there. There is no more wonderful gratification that having to refill our distribution points three and four times during the month. And that, dear reader, is why we push on every month.
— Wishing you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!
7TH – FEBRUARY 26TH
Ice Skating at Cameron Run Saturdays and Sundays
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission: $ 4001 Eisenhower Avenue 703-760-0767 cameroniceandlights.com
It just wouldn’t be winter without outdoor ice skating. Grab your hat and scarf and head to Cameron Run Regional Park for an afternoon of ice-skating bliss. Ice skating reservations are required. Tickets are on sale now.
ABOUT ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA
THROUGH THE 8TH
“The Golden Age of Toys” Exhibit
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission: $ Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden 614 Oronoco Street
Join Lee-Fendall House Museum for this special holiday exhibit and venture into the golden age of toys from 1870 to 1920. Learn how toy production was perfected in the era when Christmas first became associated with toys and gift-giving and explore some highlights from the Lee-Fendall collection. The exhibit is free with general admission.
Named a Top 3 Best Small City in the U.S. in 2021 by the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards and one of the South’s Best Cities on the Rise 2022 by Southern Living, Alexandria hums with a cosmopolitan feel and a walkable lifestyle—a welcoming weekend escape next to our nation’s capital. Founded in 1749, Old Town Alexandria is the nation’s third oldest locally designated historic district, boasting more than 200 independent restaurants and boutiques alongside intimate historic museums and new happenings at the waterfront. At the heart of it all is bustling King Street, a walkable mile recognized as one of the “Great Streets” of America. Walk in the footsteps of George Washington and America’s Founding Fathers while learning about Black history and African American change-makers that have shaped the history of Alexandria and the U.S.
piece, Slaters is very well stocked and featured on the large chalkboard are the many food offerings. This place has something for every palate. You will note that the Sandwich Lab creates both hot and cold versions and there are some pretty simple combos along with the elaborate!
I also am impressed that the bulk of the sandwiches are Scott’s creations and that they have “names”. My personal favorite is The Last Waltz. Named after the ionic rock and roll documentary that took place on Thanksgiving in 1976, this sandwich has thinly sliced roast turkey breast, stuffing, mayo, turkey gravy and sour cherry jelly. Get it? If you missed your turkey dinner during the holidays, this is the sandwich for you. I recommend that you order it on multi-grain bread.
Shirley Comes Full Circle at Slaters
Scott Shirley started his restaurant career right out of college in the mid 1990’s when he landed a job at the then popular Bruscato’s Italian restaurant located on North Fairfax Street in Old Town Alexandria. He learned the ins and outs of the business working at this family owned and operated enterprise before moving on to managing corporate restaurants in D.C. for the next 25 years. He was the General Manager of P.J. Clarkes on K Street when the pandemic hit and all of the restaurants closed down. After a few months of trying to sort out how he was going to support his wife and three kids, he hit upon the idea of getting back into a venue similar to where he started those many years ago. The stars aligned when he and his wife paid a visit to Slaters Market in the north end of Alexandria commonly known as Potomac Greens. They met the then owner and put together a deal that was mutually beneficial during the trials and tribulations of the pandemic in 2020 and the rest is history.
While the word “market” connotates a small grocery store, Slaters is much more than that. The Market does handle a fair amount of dairy and grocery staples and all sorts of gourmet products but it is also a gourmet sandwich shop that also sells homemade soup, madeto-order salads, ice cream, craft beer and wine. Shirley prides himself on stocking some very eclectic wines from wineries that have top ratings but are very reasonably priced at $20 and under.
As you can see by the photos accompanying this
Until I did the legwork for this write up I didn’t realize that they offer some “package” deals. The Slaters Before Noon is available on Saturdays and Sundays and consists of two handcrafted breakfast sandwiches, a choice of LaMarca or 90 Plus Prosecco and a Natalie’s orange or grapefruit juice for $29.99 or you can double the order for $54.99. The second package Slaters for Two is offered daily and is made up of any two sandwiches from the Lab, two bas of Route 11 potato chips, your choice of a brownie, pack of cookies or a Nightingale ice cream sandwich, and your favorite craft beer or a bottle of 90 Plus wine at a cost of $39.99. Both of these packages are excellent deals.
Last but certainly not least, Slaters has a very impressive catering menu. This is something else I didn’t realize they did. All catering orders are delivered for free locally. We will be looking in to this for our next party for sure.
Scott and his crew use only high quality, fresh products in everything they make in the market. He is adamant about the quality of everything that goes out his front door. Customer service is also a priority at Slaters. You are greeted with a smile the minute you walk in the door and any and all questions about the inventory (Scott is a good wine guy) or the menu are welcome. That is what keeps his customers coming back on a regular basis.
After all of the holiday cooking and baking you’ve been doing, treat yourself to a trip to Slaters Market this month. You won’t be disappointed.
How a Gift of Money Can Help Build Investing Habits
As a parent or grandparent, you likely want to teach children sound money habits and help them become financially successful adults. There are a variety of ways to instill good financial habits. The following two approaches allow you to gift assets to children while providing them with hands-on investment experience that may prove useful in the future.
Custodial accounts can be opened for your children before they turn 18. They can be a useful vehicle to teach them about the principles of money and investing.
With these accounts, custodians control how investments are managed. Sharing account statements and the way you make decisions on your children’s behalf can be an opportunity to teach smart investment principles.
There are a couple of considerations you will want to think about as you determine whether such an approach is right for you and your family. First, when funding these accounts, keep in mind that control of these accounts transfers to the child when the custodianship ends. This generally happens when the child reaches age 18, 19 or 21, depending on state law. You may not want your child to have control of more financial assets than they can handle at that age.
It is also important to know that special tax rules, the “kiddie tax” rules, may also apply. The income or capital gains generated in these accounts could be taxed at trust income tax rates for children under age 19 (age 24 if a fulltime student). This means your young child may have to file an income tax return of their own, and the tax bill could be higher than if you held the assets in your own name. Your tax advisor can help you determine how these rules would apply to your situation.
Gifting money in an IRA (Individual Retirement Account)
Helping fund an IRA can benefit adult children who are starting their career and can’t afford to contribute to a retirement account or don’t have a workplace retirement plan. Even teens with earned income can fund an IRA.
The earlier your children start investing for retirement, the more their investments may accumulate over time. There are two types of IRA, a Traditional and a Roth.
If eligible, your child may receive a tax deduction when they contribute to a Traditional IRA, which will also offer taxdeferred growth potential. Any earnings from the account may grow tax free until the money is finally distributed.
This type of account is not eligible for tax relief on the contributions, but any earnings could be distributed tax-free if taken after the Roth has been opened for more than five years and your child is aged 59½ or older. In addition, your child may be able to tap into these funds if they need them due to a disability or for use in purchasing their first home.
If you are thinking of gifting money, be sure to talk to a tax professional. Any time you give money to a child — including to a custodial account or an IRA — IRS gift rules apply.
Wells Fargo Advisors does not provide tax or legal advice. Please consult your tax and legal advisors to determine how this information may apply to your own situation. 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 President- Investments in Alexandria, VA at 800-247-8602. Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and nonbank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. ©2022 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC.
• Not Insured by the FDIC or Any Federal Government Agency
A SHORT HISTORY OF BULLIES
British historian Andrew William Kinglake, best known for his 1874 book The Invasion of The Crimea, published his first tome Eothen, or Traces of Travel, Brought Home from the East in 1844. It is for reason of the latter that his poem Stick and Stones became forever famous.
Kinglake’s rhyme: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me….” The rhyme has long been “used as a defense against name-calling and verbal bullying.”
The Virginia Code [22.1-276.01(A)] defines bullying as “any aggressive and unwanted behavior that is intended to harm, intimidate, or humiliate the victim; involves a real or perceived power balance between the aggressor or aggressors and victim; and is repeated over time or causes severe emotional trauma.” Cyber bullying is included: ordinary teasing, horseplay, argument, or peer conflict is not.
In 1844 former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and Tennessee Governor James K. Polk [D-TN] defeated statesman Henry Clay [WhigKY] for President. America’s anti-slavery movement was gaining momentum, as was Polk’s plan to annex the Republic of Texas. Anti-slavery Whigs thought annexation troubling and Polk supporters responded by claiming Clay “spent his days at the gambling table and his nights in a brothel.”
In 1862 Congress forbid slavery in federal territories and President Abraham Lincoln [RIL] completed the first draft of his Emancipation Proclamation. The black community, free and enslaved became enthused and the African Methodist Episcopal [AME] Church—“born in protest against slavery”—rallied. The Church adapted an “old adage,” Kinglake’s Sticks and Stones and delivered. Said the AME’s Christian Reporter in March 1862, “Sticks and stones may break my bones,
but words will never break me.”
The first black members of the U.S. Congress were elected in 1870. Two years later Southern Republicans, Negroes were “told to stand on their own two [political] feet.” The Freedmen’s Bureau— formed by President Lincoln in 1865—closed on June 10, 1872. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never harm me,” London’s Mrs. Cupples replied.
Name-calling as defined by the MerriamWebster Dictionary: [1.] “the use of offensive names especially to win an argument or to induce rejection or condemnation (as of a person or project) without objective consideration of the facts.” [2.] “The use of abusive names to belittle or humiliate another person in a political campaign, an argument, etc.”
“Research has consistently shown that bullying can have a negative impact on how well children and adolescents do in school,” stopbullying.gov said. “Exposure to bullying in any manner—by being bullied, bullying others, or witnessing peers being bullied—has long-term, negative effects.”
Bullying and violent aggression are often linked.
According to Hanover Research only 58% of ACPS school children feel safe in city schools. Thirtynine percent of ACPS students cite bullying, cyber bullying as a problem. Thirty-two percent fear a gang presence problem.
My poodle, Parker, a reading education assistance dog was sometimes called a “dumb-mutt”—as were children, the “dumb-nuts” reading aloud to him in public places. Always Parker responded by standing tall next to the child, his tail wagging proudly. Name-callers did not understand that reading aloud not only improves the brain it also increases the child’s vocabulary, his or her familiarity with the printed word.
“Skeezie Tookis is not the only one who gets names slapped on him just on account of…,” James Howe wrote in 2001 in The Misfits. “Names come Addie’s way, too, only in her case it is because of her being so tall, in addition to the factor of her intelligence, both of which fall on the plus side of the ledger if you happen to be a boy and are major liabilities if you were born in the world a girl. At least, that is my impression of how it goes in the dreaded middle-school years.” Bullying’s Four Ps: Power, Pain, Persistence, and Premeditation.
John Adams [F-MA] and Thomas Jefferson [DR-VA] were both dedicated to country. Each participated in the American Revolution. Both signed the Declaration of Independence. Each served as a U.S. Minister overseas. But they clashed: politically, philosophically in 1796 and almost irreconcilably in the election of 1800.
Washington’s Vice President John Adams was a Federalist [F]. His Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson was Democratic-Republican [DR]. Adams defeated Jefferson in the presidential election of 1796 and the rules, as then written, gave the Vice Presidency to Jefferson.
“They were an incongruous pair,” Joseph J. Ellis wrote. “Adams, the short, stout, candid-to-a-fault New Englander; Jefferson, the tall, slender, elegantly
elusive Virginian; Adams the highly combustible, ever combative, mile-a-minute talker, whose favorite form of conversation was an argument; Jefferson, the always cool and self-contained enigma, who regarded debate and argument as violations of the natural harmonies he heard inside his own head… Choosing between them seemed like choosing between the head and the heart of the American Revolution.”
“The [presidential] campaign of 1800 was a collision of three republican ideas: the oligarchic republic of Alexander Hamilton and the High Federalists, the balanced republic of John Adams (a balance between the few and the many), and the representative republic of Jefferson and Madison (in our terms a democratic republic),” editors Fischer and McPherson noted.
Scandalous charges were hurled. “Most vicious were the charges that Adams was insane,” David McCullough said. “If Jefferson was a [French] Jacobin, a shameless southern libertine, and a ‘howling’ atheist; Adams was a [British] Tory, a vain Yankee scold, and, if the truth be known, ‘quite mad.’”
Adams lost the Presidency by 211 electoral votes, a resounding defeat. The Federalist Party all but collapsed: except in Alexandria. Adams’ Attorney General, Federalist Charles Lee lived in Alexandria.
Other Presidents verbally abused: Martin Van Buren [D-NY, 1837-1841], President Andrew Jackson’s Secretary of State and later Vice President. His opponents called him “Martin Van Ruin.” Still he won the 1836 presidential election.
Former President Donald Trump [D-NY, 20172021] is, by most accounts a name-calling, verbal bully. He seems to have a nickname for almost everyone who gets in his political way. Trump calls his successor, President Joe Biden [D-DE] “One percent Joe.” Former Attorney General Bill Barr is a “weak and pathetic RINO, Republican in Name Only.” Vice President Kamala Harris is “Nasty” and outgoing Republican Representatives Liz Cheney [RWY] and Adam Kinzinger [R-IL], members of the
January 6th investigating Committee are “Crazy” Liz and “Cryin’” Adam.
“Abraham Lincoln, the father of the Republican Party, appealed to our ‘better angels,’” former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg [R], “Little Michael” said in 2016. “Donald Trump has run the most divisive and demagogic presidential campaign I can remember.”
The time has come for politicians of both political parties, those of all religious sects and economic situations to stop the name-calling, the bullying and lead. Children, the country need role models of an exemplary type.
From Unitarian Universalist Minister William Ellery Channing’s oft quoted 1819 speech, I Thessalonians 5:21 King James Bible: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”
In 2019 the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey found that “22% of students, ages 12-18 reported being bullied at school.” Not surprisingly “more females than males” felt the Pain. “About 16% of students in grades 9–12 reported being electronically bullied.”
As for Congress:
In 2020 the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.Res. 1154, 317-18, Condemning QAnon and rejecting the conspiracy theories it promotes. “Whereas, throughout history, conspiracy theories that falsely blame secret cabals [political cliques] or marginalized groups for society’s ills have fueled prejudice, genocide, and acts of terrorism;… Whereas, QAnon is a movement promoting a collection of unfounded conspiracy theories that have spread widely on the internet since 2017;… theories that likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the ‘modern information marketplace’… Resolved, That the House of Representatives urges all Americans, regardless of our beliefs or partisan affiliation, to seek information from authoritative sources and to engage in political debate from a common factual foundation.” Two of the Resolution’s six sponsors: former Representatives Adam Kinzinger and Denver Riggleman [R-VA5], author of The Breach H.Res. 1154 may slow political bullying, but it
will not stop school bullying. A 2022 Associated Press poll found that about half of both youngsters and parents view social media as having a mostly negative effect.
Start your New Year by observing No Name Calling Week, January 16-20. The national celebration is organized by K-12 educators and students to end name-calling and verbal bullying in schools. The Code of Virginia 22.1-279.6 “requires school boards to include rules against bullying in their Codes of Student Conduct….”
Bullying not only pervades our politics and corrupts our culture, it empowers the bully: gives the bully the means to demean others. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but name-calling harms us all: children, adolescents and adults. The physically disabled, emotionally and mentally impaired.
Column Reply: OTC, A Brief History of Guns, Sept. 2022. According to the U.S. Gun Violence Archive the total number of gun violence deaths from January 1, 2022-December 15, 2022, was 42,295. The total number of mass shootings was 628, down slightly from 690 in 2021. As readers again suggest let the New Year’s resolutions begin!
Sarah Becker started writing for The Economist while a graduate student in England. Similar publications followed. She joined the Crier in 1996 while serving on the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association Board. Her interest in antiquities began as a World Bank hire, with Indonesia’s need to generate hard currency. Balinese history, i.e. tourism provided the means. The New York Times describes Becker’s book, Off Your Duffs & Up the Assets, as “a blueprint for thousands of nonprofit managers.” A former museum director, SLAM’s saving grace Sarah received Alexandria’s Salute to Women Award in 2007. Email: abitofhistory53@ gmail.com
Northern Lights: A Scandinavian Savory Soiree Concert d Sumptuous Multi-Course Scandinavian Cuisine and Wines
Saturday, January 28th • Two Seatings – 5 pm & 7:30 pm 711 Princess Street, Old Town Alexandria d
About the Performers:
Praised by critics as “a grand pianist” (Il Cittadino, Italy) and a “master of piano” (Music Magazine ‘Auditorium’, Korea), Marianna Prjevalskaya performs as a recitalist and concerto soloist, and captivates audiences with emotional intensity, maturity, richness and beauty of tone.
Ms. Prjevalskaya has appeared with major orchestras such as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, National Lithuanian Symphony Orchestra, Rzeszow Philharmonic Orchestra, Korean Symphony Orchestra, Granada Symphony Orchestra, Galicia Symphony Orchestra and Sendai Philharmonic Orchestra, and collaborated with renowned conductors such as Rumon Gamba, Ion Marin, Roberto Trevino, Clemens Schuldt, Carlos Prieto, and many others.
Described as “a violinist of outstanding technical accomplishment and a musician of inordinate sensitivity” by conductor Steven White (Metropolitan Opera), has performed at notable venues in the United States and abroad including Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, the ‘Globe Theatre’ of Villa Borghese (Rome, Italy), and the Palais de la Musique et des Congrès (Strasbourg, France).
Currently based in Washington, DC, Elise is Assistant Principal Second Violin of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and has performed with the Baltimore, Delaware, Maryland, Richmond, Virginia Symphonies, and the Rhode Island Philharmonic, among others.
The festivities begin with a Lingonberry sparkling cocktail reception before a dinner of Finnish Salmon Soup “Lohikeitto”, Arctic Char with Hasselback potatoes and ending with Rice pudding served with blueberry sauce “Risgrynsgrót ris, a la Malta” and a warm glass of Glögg. Dinner is served indoors in our beautiful Atrium with two seatings. Seatings will begin 15 minutes before; service will begin promptly and there will be no late admission. Vegetarian or gluten-free meals will be available upon request in advance. For special requests and wheelchair accessibility; please contact: Jayci@ClassicalMovements.com or call (703) 683-6040 x217. This event is presented by Musical Movements for Change.
Play With Fire by The Rolling Stones
For this month’s Flashback article, I hope to spark your interest in “Play With Fire” by The Rolling Stones. “Play With Fire” offers a uniquely dark feeling that is both beautiful and eerie. The lyrics focus on the singer’s relationship with a highsociety girl who is leading an oblivious and self-centered lifestyle. It was recorded late at night in Los Angeles at the RCA Studios with Phil Spector. The song was originally released in 1965 as the B-side to the song “The Last Time”, and later included on the American release of their 1965 album Out of Our Heads
“Play With Fire” begins with Keith Richards performing finger-picked acoustic guitar. The music is enchantingly smooth and pulls the ear in with an intriguing and uncommon feeling. After a few bars, the guitar is accompanied by Jagger’s mellow and spooky vocal melody. We hear the lyrics, “Well you’ve got your diamonds / And you’ve got your pretty clothes / And the chauffeur drives your car / You let everybody know”. The minimal instrumentation of this song allows for the detail and microemotion of each element to shine through clearly. I particularly enjoy the vocals and the sound of the echo chamber effect used on them.
As the first chorus is introduced, a lovely harpsichord melody is added to the instrumentation. This deepens the feeling established in the verse and adds a touch of sarcasm to the music given the harpsichord’s association with the upper-crust types the lyrics critique. The simple words, “But don’t play with me / Cause you’re playing with fire” are performed with a topline melody that conveys a quiet fortitude that is somehow inspiring and chilling all at once. Tambourine strikes which resound with open-room reverb also adds a touch of rhythm to the music without disturbing the low-key tone of the song.
Coming in at two minutes and thirteen seconds, “Play With Fire” is a brief yet satisfying number. The Stones prioritize the quality of the song-listening experience over elaborate and long-winded musical arrangement. Yes, serving the song has always taken priority over any one band member attempting to showcase themselves when it comes to The Rolling Stones’ music. “Play With Fire” is a clear example of this mantra in how the band allows the song to remain simple in its “verse to chorus” dynamic. In the exclusion of tempting song elements like bridges, solos, and key changes, “Play With Fire” is allowed to shine in a way that wouldn’t be possible had the band not expressed such tasteful restraint.
If you’d like to listen to “Play With Fire”, you can find it on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and most other places music is streamed or sold. If you’d like to learn more about The Rolling Stones, you can find them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Currently, the Stones are preparing for the release of a live album/film called GRRR Live!. It’s set for release in February of 2023. The release will be available on all audio and video formats and you can find more information at rollingstones.com.
About the Author: Ron Powers is an independent A&R specialist and music industry consultant and is constantly searching for, discovering and writing about new talent.
Birchmere 703.549.7500 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave. birchmere.com
The Blackwall Hitch 571-982-3577
5 Cameron St. theblackwallhitch.com
Carlyle Club 411 John Carlyle Dr. 703-549-8957 thecarlyleclub.com Chadwicks 203 S. Strand St. 703.836.4442
Evening Star Cafe 703.549.5051 2000 Mt. Vernon Ave.
The Fish Market 703.836.5676 105 King St. fishmarketoldtown.com La Portas 703.683.6313 1600 Duke St. The Light Horse 703.549.0533 715 King St. lighthorserestaurant.com Michael’s Little Italy 703-548-9338 305 S. Washington St. Murphys Irish Pub 703.548.1717 713 King St. murphyspub.com
O’Connell’s 703.739.1124 112 King St. Rock It Grill 703.739.2274
1319 King St. Shooter McGees 703.751.9266 5239 Duke St. shootermcgees.com
Southside 815 703.836.6222 815 S. Washington St. St. Elmos 703.739.9268 2300 Mt. Vernon Ave. Taverna Cretekou 703.548.8688 818 King St.
TJ Stones 703.548.1004 608 Montgomery St. tjstones.com
The Study 703-838-8000 116 South Alfred Two Nineteen 703.549.1141 219 King St.
Village Brauhaus 710 King St. 703-888-1951
A Policeman in Galway
As Americans, many of us have Irish heritage that we celebrate with trips overseas to ancestral villages, atmospheric Guinness-soaked pubs, lonely cliffside views of crashing seas, and all the misty green landscape we can soak in. If Ireland is indeed a land of stories, I almost always want to hear them. This goes doubly true in the case of storytellers such as Dervla McTiernan, an author of police procedurals who goes beyond that cliched tale-telling structure to achieve something more. Trained as a lawyer, McTiernan has written a detailed series starring Detective Cormac
Reilly, who solves crimes in such books as The Ruin, the Scholar, The Good Turn, and the recent prequel novella, The Roommate.
In The Ruin, Detective Inspector (DI) Cormac Reilly is a garda, a detective of twenty years who has transferred from Dublin to Galway, where he originally started his career as a young policeman. He has taken a step back in his career to accommodate his live-in girlfriend, Emma, a brilliant and accomplished scientist who found a job in a renowned Galway laboratory.
Mistrusted by his station and
assigned to cold cases, he oddly finds a current case connected to one he encountered in Galway as a brand-new garda. Twenty years ago Reilly found Hilaria Blake, a heroin addict, dead in a house with her ignored and abused children, fifteen-year-old Maude and five-year-old Jack. After making sure Jack goes to the hospital, Maude disappears, and Jack goes into foster care. Reilly has no way to investigate it further.
Twenty years later, DI Reilly finds out that Jack, now a young man, has committed suicide for no apparent reason. Reilly meets his fiancé, Aisling
Ryan, a doctor-in-training, to find out why. Under pressure, Aisling eventually investigates circumstances surrounding Jack’s suicide that invite suspicion. Yet the police department does not want to investigate until a figure from Jack’s past emerges, actively trying to prove that Jack did not kill himself.
Cormac Reilly emerges in this first mystery as a dogged, thoughtful investigator, juggling the difficulties and police politics in his career while trying to do good work. He fights
to bring closure to a case that has haunted him, eventually floating to the surface of his conscious like a body that refuses to remain submerged. The Ruin accurately represents him and this series. You can feel the Galway rain falling, the cynicism and darkness of the police factionalism, and realize Reilly’s innate decency as he struggles to solve this terrible puzzle.
In The Scholar, Emma, his beautiful scientist girlfriend, calls him because she has found a blond woman’s body near her laboratory. Although the figure has been rendered almost unrecognizable, Reilly finds an ID for Carline Darcy in the woman’s pocket. She is the granddaughter of the owner of Darcy Therapeutics, Emma’s employer. In an effort to protect Emma, Reilly goes against his own instincts and professional standards to take on a case despite his personal connection to it.
As the case progresses, Reilly finds himself unraveling a scenario much more complicated than he expected, literally and emotionally. Emma herself comes in for doubt and scrutiny, adding duress to a relationship he cherishes. His own flaws come under her microscope, pun intended, and he finds himself dissecting his own romantic relationship while researching the dead granddaughter of Emma’s rich and secretive boss.
The Good Turn is the most recent full novel of the Reilly series. In this tale, we see not only DI Reilly’s process, but also that of young Garda Peter Fisher, a member of his team. Since his superiors are still out for his blood, Cormac has few resources with which to follow up the kidnapping of a young child as his department focuses a potential drug bust that would get them positive publicity and political power. He runs into opposition from above at every turn.
A police screw-up results in a tragedy, making Reilly and Fisher unwilling scapegoats for their department. With Reilly suspended, Fisher is sent back to a tiny country police station in the town he escaped—the town where his estranged policeman father works. There he solves a separate mystery. In this way he finds an explanation for the reasons why his father was able to pull strings for him with higher-ups in Dublin. All threads of this story of corruption begin to come together
as the two policemen weave them together from different angles. Reilly also takes some necessary time to come to terms with his adored Emma, and decide whether they can change enough to stay together.
An enjoyable addition to the Cormac Reilly series is a short prequel, The Roommate, about a teacher whose pleasant but distant roommate turns up dead in the foyer of her apartment building. Suspicion falls upon her from her school, threatening her job teaching small children. Investigating is the newly minted policeman Cormac Reilly. The story focuses on roommates: what they do and do not know about one another, and how we often take people into our lives on trust rather than the suspicion we see as paranoia. It too is enjoyable. I liked it enough that I wished McTiernan could have turned it into a novel rather than a novella.
If I could compare McTiernan’s work here to any other authors focusing on the same subject matter, I would bring up one of my favorite current Irish authors, Tana French, and American author Michael Connelly. McTiernan does not write with the feverish, haunting prose of French’s earlier Dublin Murder Squad mysteries, but she possesses a subdued thoughtfulness and attention to psychological detail reminiscent of French at her finest. Cormac Reilly, like Michael Connelly’s hero Harry Bosch, is a flawed man intent on solving both current and cold cases. He too is sometimes devoted to police work at the expense of his personal life, a life that involves women put on a pedestal. I would actually pick McTiernan’s work over Connelly’s, however, because of her subtlety and ability to infuse a touch of melancholy in her work.
If you like detective series that exceed the limits of the genre, please pick up McTiernan’s introspective and suspenseful novels. I love the Ireland of blarney—beguiling and misleading talk—much more than the Blarney Stone tourist trap image that publicizes it. What can be more beguiling and misleading than a wellwritten thriller? I appreciate the seanchaí or scéalaí, the renowned storyteller who stands in front of a peat fire as rain falls outside, spinning tales in front of villagers in a cozy room. Since I do not live in this mythologized Ireland, I will gladly take McTiernan’s DI Cormac Reilly series instead.
A Rainy Weekend, Elvis, and a Harbor Called Gig
As I look back at 2022, it strikes me once again as to how important things like art, family and small things become a cornerstone of lives. I am just back from a quick Fridayto-Monday visit to the Great Pacific Northwest to see my daughter Elise perform at the Tacoma Playhouse’s most excellent adaptation of Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat, more on the show later.
But first some thoughts on the surreal beauty of this part of the country. Both my daughters, Elise and Vanessa, live in Gig Harbor, Washington. This is perhaps one of the most beautiful and scenic small towns on the planet.
When I use the words “on the planet”, I mean it. There’s nothing in France, Spain, or Italy, that is ahead of Gig Harbor when it comes to a natural, in-harmony-with-Nature, beauty. There are certainly plenty of beautiful places and small towns in
those ancient nations and others that I’ve been lucky enough to visit, but in my experience, Gig Harbor stands toe to toe with any scenic spot on our blue world.
Lenster, this is an Old Town Alexandria publication… why are you yapping about Washington State? Hang with me.
Back to Gig Harbor. In the winter there’s a brooding beauty that I suspect is rare to find elsewhere, maybe Japan, or Norway, or Sweden. That beauty is not only rare, but also needs the accompaniment of people who can adapt and add to it. It is no mistake that three of the most brooding cultures on Earth settled in this part of the world when immigrants began to arrive from all over the world.
The Gig Harbor waterfront, in downtown proper, is a classic fishing town turned into an impressive seaside town full of life and small-town charm. But I feel that it is the fact that
there is such different feels – all related to weather – associated with this part of the world, its closeness to water, and its omni-present formal dress of pine forests everywhere, that adorns the area with a mystic prettiness that is hard to duplicate elsewhere.
We always stay at the same place: the Best Western Wesley – we’ve been coming here for years, and in spite of being part of a huge hotel chain, this particular Best Western is so charming and welcoming, its employees and workers so nice and hard-working, that it always makes us feel at home. At the risk of sounding a little corny, it is a homey and family place! The morning breakfast is also old-fashioned and generous, the sort of breakfast that hotels “used” to do. Whether it is Alejandra or Lani manning the kitchen, there’s always plenty of eggs, sausages, links, waffles, cinnamon buns, cereals, yogurts, breads of every kind, hard boiled eggs,
oatmeal, raisins, cranberries, etc.
The skies are gray and the street wet on our first morning on Saturday, and the breeze from the water cold and damp. My wife goes out running early in the morning and comes back with a report of lots of fellow runners braving the chill but enjoying the beauty of the town.
Later in the day we go visit the grandkids, all full of the joy and vigor that a three and two-year-old can bring to new visitors. Afterwards we head out to Tacoma, cross the spectacular bridge across the Narrows, take the first exit onto Jackson Street in Tacoma and arrive at the Playhouse.
The theatre is packed! It is the next to the last performance and attendance is excellent. The show starts with Elise, as one of the two narrators, bringing two loads of kids onto the stage, and the play begins.
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
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
Enamelist’s Gallery 105 N. Union Street
115 S. Henry Street
Curzon Hill Antiques 108 S. Columbus Street
The Hour 1015 King Street
Torpedo Factory Art Center 105 N. Union Street
Principle Gallery 208 King Street
Potomac Fiber Arts 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
She enthralls the audience from the start, and expertly guides them to the ancient world where the play starts.
It is an impressive display of not only theatrical skills but also athletic prowess, the actors do not disappoint. It is a fast-moving play, and the director has also introduced the angle of sneaking in nuanced homages to multiple Andrew Lloyd Webber plays – and the audience has been challenged to detect them! I pick up on “Evita” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
In addition to a powerful performance by Carlos Barajas in the lead role, I was also impressed by Richard Cubi as one of the brothers, and by Steve Barnett’s skits as an Elvis Pharaoh! The wives were all spectacular, but I was especially impressed by tiny Liza Morado – later on I discovered that she’s still in High School! I see a bright future for this actor!
Tacoma is lucky to have this place, and clearly this Playhouse is one of the jewels in the art scene not only of this city, but of the Great Pacific Northwest as a whole!
On Sunday Argentina wins the world cup and then we meet my daughter Vanessa at Table 47 for lunch – I am still somewhat full from the asusual-spectacular breakfast earlier at the hotel. Nonetheless we enjoy tasty flatbreads, butter squash soup, a gigantic burger and the best, tastiest roasted Brussel sprouts that I have ever consumed!
Vanessa travels through her private world accompanied by a fancy Russian cat named Myska, and our conversation reveals how she ended up as my daughter’s commanding pet. The Covidian Age has not been kind to this part of the country as far as jobs, but she raves about her new job tending bar – a gigantic bar build for tall bartenders at the same restaurant. At one point, we converse so much, that someone reminds her that her shift started three minutes ago! She goes to work at the bar, and we depart to go visit the grandchildren again for a little bit and then it is back to the Tacoma Playhouse for the party that the actors are giving themselves as the last performance has taken place earlier that day. It is a joyous scene full of laughter and plenty of drinks!
A late night of TV-watching and ice cream
eating at Elise’s house follows – is there anything better on the planet that chocolate ice cream with a generous dollop of peanut butter?
On Monday, we prepare to depart – it is the breakfast ritual, followed by a last visit to see the grandkids, and then Elise’s amazing husband drives us back to the airport, braving unexpected heavy traffic, which as I recall from my days at the University of Washington, is historically terrible.
We arrive, Alaska Airlines is wonderful, and lets retired veterans hop in first, as modern air travel now always introduces the specter of full airplanes resulting in a dearth of available storage space for your carry-on – Thank you!
Our plane gets de-iced by a machine which was clearly inspired by the drop cannon pod of the Millennium Falcon, and the kid seating behind us immediately makes the connection.
My wife is a world-class sleeper, I have never seen anyone be able to fall asleep so fast! At night, she has a ritual where she reads the Washington Post (yep, the old-fashioned print edition) for a bit, then turns the light off, and I am pretty certain that before the light photons dissipate, she’s already out! Essentially out like a lamp, but before even the lamp is out!
We’re airborne as I wrote this somewhat odd and unusual column, sitting in row 21 of a 737, which puts us right over the wings. The roar of the engines drowning everything else out, and I think about that fact that the sound produced by the mighty Boeing is now and always a perennial part of the universe, traveling in all directions forever, perhaps to be picked up by alien and faraway sensors, who will perhaps also wonder as to the origin of such mighty sounds.
Have a great 2023!
About the Author: F. Lennox Campello’s art news, information, gallery openings, commentary, criticism, happenings, opportunities, and everything associated with the global visual arts scene with a special focus on the Greater Washington, DC area has been a premier source for the art community for over 20 years. Since 2003, his blog has been the 11th highest ranked art blog on the planet with over SIX million visitors.
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Syreni Caledonii (Northern Atlantic Mermaid). Watercolor, charcoal and Conte. 2019, 12x36 inches.
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And, the circle now is brand new—it’s a new year! It’s time for a little “me time” and time to concentrate on a few new surprises just for you! We hear you at Imagine and we will have lots of fresh, new outfits and little treats that will brighten up the winter ahead. We are expecting new shipments from many of our artists including the IC Collection, Harshita, Kay Chapman, and Moonlight. Come in and see us soon!
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The World’s Best Safaris
The classic African safari naturally conjures images of rugged wilderness and vast open savannah teeming with wildlife. Thankfully, gone are the days of glamourous elites donning safari suits and pith helmets to hunt big game with a blunderbuss (a la Jumanji). Instead, the last few decades have seen the rise of the African Safari for even the most budgetconscious of travelers. Whilst you might not be able, or willing, to afford the five-star, allinclusive, safari lodge you’ve seen on TV, there are a myriad of budget options in all the major game reserves across sub-Saharan Africa. For those who haven’t been on safari before, there is a natural inclination to immediately think of Kenya and Tanzania- undoubtedly two of the best African safari options available - but other options abound. This month I explore 5 of the best destinations for anyone seeking a true safari adventure.
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia: South Luangwa is my number one pick for a few reasons. Unfortunately, if you’re on a budget and don’t want to pay for a flyin safari then I can personally attest to the fact that it’s a bit of drive to get there with a
possible overnight stay in Chipata on the way. But therein lies the reason why Luangwa is number one. The long drive (or higher cost) means that it remains off the list of the more touristy national parks. Fewer visitors mean that Luangwa has a more remote, wilderness feel, and you can easily go for an hour without seeing another game vehicle. Unlike the Masai Mara, where if you find a big cat, you’ll have 25 other game vehicles parked next to you within 5 minutes, I sat parked under a tree watching a leopard for an hour before the next vehicle arrived. We were able to maneuver the 4x4 around the tree to get different camera angles; and anyone who has been to the Masai will attest how difficult that can be there. As a bonus, this is probably the most renowned park for walking safaris (not for the faint hearted).
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania: The Serengeti (together with the Masai Mara which is the Northern extension of the Serengeti in Kenya) is host to probably the world’s best-known wildlife event; the wildebeest
migration. The reason I’ve put the Serengeti above the Mara is simple; it’s ten times bigger - which means you can more easily manage to find areas of the park that aren’t deluged with other tourists (particularly in the private concessions). In addition, its larger size means a greater habitat diversity which adds a little bit of interest to your safari. Otherwise, the similarities are all there; an abundance of predators, far reaching savannah, picture-perfect sundowners and plenty of opportunities for ‘nationalgeographic moments’ such as big cats hunting or rutting antelope. If you can put up with the crowds, then head east to the Ngorongoro Crater. This volcanic caldera has probably one of the greatest concentrations of wildlife anywhere on earth.
Okavango Delta, Botswana: The Okavango Delta provided me with one of the most ‘get your hands dirty’ safaris I’ve ever been on. Joining the safari from Maun, we took (led by a local guide) a dug-out tree canoe (locally called a mokoro) three hours into the delta. From there we put up camp for three days, including digging out our own toilet, in the wilderness on one of the thousands of ‘islands’ that grow and shrink across the delta during the wet and dry seasons.
During the day we went on walking and mokoro safaris and in the evening we pitched in with cooking duties and sat drinking around the campfire. Okavango hosts the big 5 so you won’t be short on opportunities for big game viewing, but if you’re planning
for lodge accommodation then be prepared for potentially exorbitant prices.
Masai Mara, Kenya: The Masai Mara is probably the first destination that comes to mind for first-time safarigoers; and therein lies the problem. The Park is undoubtedly one of the best African safari experiences and the game-viewing opportunities are near second-to-none. But the chances are that you’ll be viewing that game alongside a gaggle of mini-buses and overland trucks topped off with some 4x4 self-drivers who might well scare the game off. All that said, it still makes my top 5 solely due to the cat-viewing opportunities. Nowhere have I been parked up under a tree watching three cheetahs sleeping only to turn around to the other side of the car to watch a lion kill a zebra. Top this off with the Northern end of the wildebeest migration and you’d be hard pressed not to have it on your top 5 African Safari experiences despite the hordes of tourists. It’s probably one of the best bets for a first timer as it
will certainly whet your safari appetite!
Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda: Not strictly the typical African safari, but tracking gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park is a once in a lifetime experience. Unlike a typical safari, where you’re safely sheltered in a vehicle, you’ll be guided (by an armed guide) into the forest on foot. Following an hour or more trekking and carving your way through the forest with a machete you’ll have the chance to sit, for an hour, mere meters from a troop of gorillas. I really can’t stress how close you’ll have the opportunity to get but the fact that the guides ask you not to stare the silverback straight in the eyes probably gives a good enough idea.
About the Author: Scott Dicken is a world traveler and amateur photographer on top of being employed full time at an internationally known company. His love of travel is evident – you can read more articles like this at takephotosleavefootprints.com
WINTER IS COMING
Know How to Keep Your Pets Safe
Predicting winter’s anticipated snowfall is an annual tradition. Will the D.C. metro area receive any measurable snow? If so, when, and how much? The Capital Weather Gang is predicting a mild winter with little snow accumulation with January temperatures in the normal range, disappointing many. But that doesn’t mean you can write off winter and if you are a pet owner, you still need to plan for the cold with its freezing temperatures and chemically treated roads and sidewalks.
Just like people, every animal reacts differently to the cold and it’s important to know your pet. If you have an arthritic or older pet, they will likely feel the cold more than a younger animal. They may also have problems walking on snow and ice and be more prone to slipping and falling. Pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances may have a harder time regulating their body temperature and thus be more susceptible to problems from temperature changes.
If it’s cold outside for you, it’s cold for your pet. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a common misconception is that because an animal has a fur coat, they’re immune from the cold: they’re not. Just like people, cats and dogs can get frostbite and become hypothermic and should be kept inside during cold weather. Some long-haired dogs breeds, such as Huskies, are more cold tolerant, but they’re the exception, not the rule. In fact, short-haired breeds feel the cold faster because they have less protection and short-legged pets even more so because their bellies and bodies are closer to the cold or snow-covered ground.
Know the signs of hypothermia: whining, shivering, seeming anxious or weak, slowing down or not moving are all possible indications. Get the animal back inside quickly and if they’re wet, dry them off before wrapping them in a blanket. Frostbite is harder to detect and may not be fully recognizable until a few days after the damage is done. If you suspect your pet has hypothermia or frostbite, consult your veterinarian immediately.
For any animal, exposure to cold can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaky skin. Limit baths during the cold as washing can remove essential oils from the skin and increase your pet’s chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If you must bathe your
pet, use a vet recommended moisturizing shampoo or rinse. If your dog is long-haired, trim his fur to minimize attracting ice balls, salt crystals and deicing chemicals that can dry the skin. And don’t forget the hair between the toes.
Pay particular attention to your dogs’ paws in cold weather and check them frequently for cracked paw pads or bleeding. During a walk, a sudden lameness may be due to an injury or ice accumulation between the toes. Your dog (or cat) may also pick up deicers, antifreeze, or other chemicals that could be toxic. Once the walk is over, wipe down the animal to remove the chemicals. Not only does this protect the feet and skin, it reduces the risk that your dog will be poisoned after he licks his feet or fur. Use petfriendly ice melts whenever possible and be sure to clean up any antifreeze spills quickly and thoroughly. The American Kennel Club has information on pet friendly deicers, as does Dogs Naturally Magazine.
One way to protect paws is by massaging petroleum jelly or other protectants into their paw pads before going outside. Booties provide even better protection and can prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between the toes and causing irritation. Not all pets will tolerate them and it’s important that they fit properly. To complete your pet’s winter wardrobe, consider a sweater or raincoat, but remember, wet sweaters can actually make them colder.
Cats are notorious at hiding and a warm vehicle
engine can be appealing for outdoor and feral cats, but also deadly. If you know there are feral cats in your neighborhood, make sure you check underneath your car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn before starting the engine to scare them away.
While a car may seem like a safe place for your pet over the winter, it can act as a refrigerator that holds in the cold, just as it holds summer’s heat, and cause animals to freeze to death. Pets that are young, old, ill, or thin are particularly susceptible to lower temperatures and should never be left in cold cars.
Now that we’ve covered the outdoors, what can you do inside to keep your pet safe and comfortable? Just like you, pets like to be comfortable when sleeping and may change their preferred location based on the season and temperature. Give them some options away from cold drafts with warm blankets or beds and if possible, move the beds off the floor. Be careful with space heaters that can cause burns or be knocked over. Make sure your traditional wood fireplace has a grate to prevent your pet from exploring or embers from escaping.
It’s natural to resort to hearty meals and comfort food over the winter and some pet owners think a little extra food will help their pet feel better as well. But just as you will struggle to shed that winter weight in the spring, so will your pet. It’s best to keep them on the same diet and at their normal, healthy weight. Outdoor pets do require more calories in the winter to generate enough body heat and energy to keep them warm, but for most pets, winter is not the time to overeat. Cold weather can also lead to dehydration, so make sure your pet has plenty of water to drink to keep them well-hydrated and their skin less dry.
Winter can be a magical time with your pet if you know the risks and how to mitigate them.
www.avma.org/resources-tools/pet-owners/petcare/cold-weather-animal-safety www.animalhumanesociety.org/news/keeping-pets-safe-cold-weather www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/cold-weather-safety-tipsBy Gina Hardter
If your new year’s resolution is to be more mindful, then 3-year-old Baby is happy to help you achieve your dreams! Baby is all about the calm and quiet, and she’d love a household where her future family takes it slow and low. If your New Year’s Eve is less fireworks and more falling asleep to a marathon of Cake Boss, then Baby is the girl for you. Email Adopt@AlexandriaAnimals.org or call 703.746.4774 to schedule time to meet Baby from her foster home.
Grover’s new year’s resolution is to get more exercise...although he’ll admit he already gets a fair amount of exercise. But too much exercise can never be a bad thing, right? It’s just more ways to keep your brain and your body in great shape. Plus, there are all kinds of fun exercises, from Fetch to Chase to learning new tricks, and Grover is happy to do them all with his future family. Schedule time to meet Grover by emailing Adopt@AlexandriaAnimals.org or calling 703.746.4774.
New year’s resolution Number One for Thumper? Stop getting confused with that rabbit from Bambi. They don’t even look alike. New Year’s resolution Number 2? Find a new home where he can get all the hay and apple sticks he can dream of. Resolution number three? Learn how to replace a car tire. It’s sure to come in handy someday, right? Help Thumper achieve at least one of his resolutions and schedule time to meet him by emailing Adopt@AlexandriaAnimals.org or calling 703.746.4774.
BEACHFRONT SEASONAL RENTAL AVAILABLE
Naples has again claimed the top spot by Travel and Leisure and several other groups for best beach town in the US. The jewel of SW Florida’s Paradise Coast has sugar sand beaches, turquoise clear waters and every amenity worthy of a world class resort town. Seasonal lease of well furnished 2BR 2BA condo in the very best beachfront location is available this winter (90 day minimum lease term). No ner view from inside and better beach access at any price and most rentals in area start at twice the price. Includes carport parking, heated pool, elevators and privacy; uncrowded beach and, onsite management. Photo is the view from inside!
Call (no texts), email or visit our Facebook page @NaplesOceanfrontCondo. 540-364-9480 • firstname.lastname@example.org
10 Best Hotels In Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico has never been hotter, buoyed by a pandemic-era boom that filled its hotels to capacity and put a new travel spotlight on the destination. It seems like new flights routes launch just about every week to the island, the airport is dizzyingly busy as travelers finally start to realize just how diverse, vibrant and, well, beach-filled the island actually is.
That includes a seemingly endless array of hotels and resorts across the island, from the Caribbean metropolis of San Juan to golf resorts at the edge of rainforests. The CJ team scours Puerto Rico’s hotels each year, and we’ve curated our rankings of the best places to stay on the island, making sure to highlight every kind of hotel. That means boutique hotels, wellness hotels, golf resorts, luxury resorts and even gaming destinations.
There really is a different kind of hotel in Puerto Rico for every kind of traveler, and we’ve done all the heavy lifting for you. All you have to do is decide what kind of Puerto Rico vacation you want: an urban getaway, a golf retreat, an Ayurvedic cleanse or a good-oldfashioned week on the sand.
Here are ten of the best hotels in Puerto Rico for 2023.
➊ DORADO BEACH, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve In the last few years, Dorado has become Puerto Rico’s most sought after destination, turning what had been a popular San Juan getaway into a global hotspot, with booming home prices, new luxury development and a new energy. Its epicenter is this: Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, the island’s premier resort, one with almost 70 years of heritage dating back to its founding by Laurance Rockefeller. It’s also, for now, the only Ritz-Carlton Reserve, the brand’s elevated collection, in the Caribbean.
Today, Dorado Beach is a serene, exquisite luxury resort, with 114 rooms, the stunning Spa Botanico, three signature eateries and two outstanding golf courses, including the only TPC (Tournament Players Club) course in the Caribbean.
The rooms themselves are fantastic, all with their own private plunge pools and either verandas or rooftops, along with outdoor showers and other lovely touches.
Guests have access to the broader Dorado
Beach country club complex, with everything from XX to what is almost certainly the world’s most beautiful water park, built to look like the ruins of an old sugar plant.
It’s the best hotel in Puerto Rico, period.
➋ ST REGIS BAHIA BEACH RESORT A strong number two on the island is the St Regis Bahia Beach. The luxury resort, set on more than two miles of beachfront on the northeastern coast of Puerto Rico, has 139 bright, colorful rooms and a growing collection of luxury villas (part of a broader residential component). Dining concepts re range from the Greek-focused Paros restaurant to the Seagrapes restaurant in view of the ocean.
The spa here, called Iridium, is fantastic, as is the fitness center, and there is golf, too: a Robert Trent Jones Jr course.
It’s what you expect from the St Regis brand: immaculate service, crisp, sleek design and the comfort of secluded serenity.
➌ CONDADO VANDERBILT HOTEL Let’s be honest. While Puerto Rico has a number of great resorts across the island, the vast majority of visitors to the island still come for one major attraction: the fabulous city of San Juan. And the city’s best hotel is a luxury urban resort: the Condado Vanderbilt. Set in San Juan’s upscale yet fun-filled Condado neighborhood, the Condado Vanderbilt is the reimagining of a property that dates back to 1919, one that followed decades of disuse. Now, it’s a stunning, charming, elegant place to stay that marries state-of-the-art hospitality with the sort of old-world grandeur and elegance that are not that easy to find anymore. The Vanderbilt is home to 317 rooms across two different towers in a waterfront location that includes a sparkling “Beach Club” (more of a pool club, but still outstanding) anchored by an ocean-view infinity pool and terrific pool and beach butlers.
The Vanderbilt is also home to arguably the most diverse, exciting culinary offering of any hotel on the island: that includes the signature 1919 restaurant (one of the best eateries in all of Puerto Rico), the Mexican-inspired Tacos & Tequila, a Caribbean outpost of popular steakhouse brand STK and the marvelous AVO Lounge, among others.
Now that we're all working remotely Wouldn't you REALLY rather work from the beach?Ritz-Carlton’s Dorado beach
No hoteliers have had more of an impact on Puerto Rican hospitality in recent years than Loisse Herger and Fernando Davila, who sent shockwaves through the island with their first hotel, O:live, in Condado back in 2012, an innovative, Mediterranean-inspired boutique hotel of the sort that simply hadn’t existed in Puerto Rico. That followed with their flagship, the OLV: Fifty Five, a 15-room stunner just down the street in Condado that is as sleek and sexy a hotel as there is in the Caribbean, with indulgent, glorious bathrooms, a spectacular rooftop eatery and lounge and outstanding food by celebrity chef Mario Pagan.
a “Rainforest” spa, and even a collection of “villas” for larger groups. The food and beverage concepts are vast: a teppanyaki spot, a a sushi eatery, an American steakhouse and several colorful bars. And for golfers who want to extend their days beyond the course, there’s a TopGolf Swing Suite at the resort’s Sand Trap bar.
These are just ten of the Caribbean Journal Staff’s twenty top hotels on the island. For the full list and information on the others, log on to caribjournal.com.
ROYAL ISABELA Puerto Rico boasts one of the top golf offerings in the Caribbean. But The Links at Royal Isabela just might be the best course on the island. The cliffside course is a mix of Caribbean tropical design and oceanside Scottish-style holes. But the course is just the beginning at this luxury resort on the northwestern corner of the island. Every “casita” at the 20-unit resort has its own plunge pool; venture beyond your villa and you’ll find terrific locally-sourced dining, a wonderful bar called Croquet and a breathtaking stretch of beachfront.
➏ FAIRMONT EL SAN JUAN It’s San Juan’s iconic hotel: the Fairmont El Juan Hotel in Isla Verde, a resort that during the Jet Set era drew everyone from Frank Sinatra to Nat King Cole. After a massive renovation project, the hotel has never looked better, and now it’s added a significant new amenity: the firstever Foxwoods casino in the Caribbean, a 15,000-square-foot gaming destination with a full offering of slots, table games and, soon, a DraftKings sports book.
The 388-room hotel is a classic beach resort with four pools, frequent live music, a beach club and a vibrant food scene that also includes the Caribbean’s only Meat Market steakhouse. It doesn’t hurt that the resort is set on Isla Verde, one of the best beaches on the island and certainly the best beach in metropolitan San Juan.
➐ WYNDHAM GRAND RIO MAR The first thing that stands out at this hotel about 45 minutes from San Juan is just how beautiful the property itself is. There’s the rainforest in the background, the golden sand at the edge of the sea. The resort is as complete as any in Puerto Rico: a trio of pools, a 20,000-square-foot “sundeck”; a surprisingly broad culinary program (10 food and beverage outlets in total), and almost 50,000 square feet of meeting space.
Most notably, on an island where the golf is outstanding, the golf here is right near the top, with a pair of spectacular courses managed by Troon Golf.
➑ HOTEL EL CONVENTO Old San Juan is the kind of neighborhood you instantly fall in love with. The colors of the colonial buildings. The fortresses. The cafes. The shopping. But these half-millennium-old streets can be daunting for the uninitiated, particularly when choosing where to stay. But we’ll make it easy: El Convento. This endlessly charming historic hotel (the building itself dates back to 1646) has 58 rooms in a convenient setting in the heart of the old town. The centerpiece here is the beautiful multi-level, open-air courtyard, home to a terrific bar and an authentic restaurant with delicious mofongo. The rooms are nice, tending toward the historic look; amenities include a 24-hour fitness center, meeting space for up to 300 and a lovely rooftop pool.
➒ AIRE DE O:LIVE The newest O:live hotel in Puerto Rico is a reimagining of the San Juan Water and Beach Club in Isla Verde. The 80-room tower is a masterpiece, a complete redefinition of the modern Caribbean beach hotel, with earthy but sleek rooms with sparkling views of Isla Verde blue. In tune with the O:live brand, there’s a rooftop bar and restaurant, a Japanese fusion spot called Kumo.
One thing to note: it’s not completely finished. That means some of the floors have been “converted” into the Aire de O:live, while some lower floors are still San Juan Water Club rooms. When it’s finished, it will be one of the hottest places to stay anywhere in the Caribbean.
➓ HYATT REGENCY GRAND RESERVE Another excellent golf resort, the Hyatt is home to a pair of 18-hole championship courses designed by Tom Kite, frequently home to the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open. The 579-suite resort has myriad pools,
Publishers Note: We are happy to partner with Alexander Britell, Founder and Editor in Chief of the Miami, Florida based Caribbean Journal and his staff contributing to the OTC and our Caribbean Connection Section. Check out the popular online magazine/website at caribjournal.com for valuable information on all fabulous travel options and things of interest in the Caribbean.
Publishers Note: We are happy to partner with Alexander Britell, Founder and Editor in Chief of the Miami, Florida based Caribbean Journal and his staff contributing to the OTC and our Caribbean Connection Section. Check out the popular online magazine/website at caribjournal.com for valuable information on all fabulous travel options and things of interest in the Caribbean.
This is “For the Birds”, Literally…
...Over 58 million Americans watch the birds and many of them have read or heard that feeding birds in the winter is B-A-D and does more harm than good. Perpetuated myths say feeding birds during fall and winter can prevent timely migrations or cause birds to depend on feeders rather than foraging for food themselves- then the myth jumps to, if you stop feeding birds in winter, they’ll starve to death??!! That is FAR from the truth, and those 58 some-odd million people who have a vested interest in bird watching (and feeding!) should know they are not hurting the birds by feeding them in cold weather! The fact of the matter is, winter may be the most important time to leave feeders up, stocked with seed. Leaving feeders up through winter will not keep migratory birds from flying to warmer climates, instead full feeders will supplement natural food sources for migrating birds and birds that don’t migrate (resident birds), won’t be forced to scour for food all winter long. I will say that to feed or not to feed in cold weather, IS an age-old question –BUT- the truth is
these are myths and feeding birds is actually beneficial to their well-being.
Birds migrate regardless of seed in feeders. It’s estimated that wild birds only get 25 percent of food from feeders, the rest is naturally sourced, so full feeders don’t keep birds from migrating. Instead, several triggers urge birds to migrate; like changes in nesting locations as trees lose leaves, less natural food sources, insect decline, winds, temperature drop, and day length. As days grow shorter, many birds get internally restless and head south, taking advantage of lots of natural food sources, and (hopefully!) stocked feeders to help fuel their long flights ahead.
During cold weather, resident birds that don’t migrate, need extra calories to stay warm as they burn lots of energy keeping body temperatures up when temperatures drop. As natural resources decline, resident birds expend much energy in search of food. Providing supplemental food at feeders helps keep birds’ caloricintake high, supporting them during bouts of brutally cold weather. Providing the right feed for winter and the
right bird feeders, including feeder placement, is all quite beneficial.
In wintry weather, birds can use up to 75 percent of their fat stores per nightthat’s a big number! Studies show birds with regular access to feeders are healthier, have better feather growth, disease resistance, and more successful reproduction. The right bird feed and feeders attract a wide variety of resident and migrating birds to backyards.
“Not all bird feed is created equal. Cole’s takes exceptional care to select only the top 1 to 2 percent of the highestquality seeds birds like, with no filler seed ever used.
Our “Harvest Fresh Lock” packaging protects nutritional content and doesn’t allow seed to spoil or dry out like other bird feed. No dangerous pesticides, chemicals or mineral oils are ever used,
keeping seed safe and as close to natural as possible”, says Cole.
“For cold weather, I suggest black oil sunflower, white proso millet, cracked corn, niger seed, raw peanuts and suet cakes or kibbles to ensure the nutritional benefits of feeders. Offering top-quality feed means less waste and an increase in birds at feeders.
Providing a variety of feed and feeder types increases the diversity of avian visitors.
A tube feeder is a “musthave,” these all-purpose feeders keep seed dry and accommodate a wide variety of birds feeding from multiple ports. Specialty wire-mesh tube feeders, designed for birds that cling, can easily dispense tiny, oil-rich niger seeds, protein-packed dried mealworms, and other specialty feed.
For an easy-to-use, onesize-fits-most feeder, select a bowl style with a protective dome that can be raised and lowered to thwart large birds and squirrels while protecting seed from inclement weather. Easy to hang and fill, bowl feeders accommodate any seed, nuts, suet and even chopped fruit.
Invest in larger feeders which hold more seed, like the ‘Tubezilla.” Frigid weather makes energy conservation critical; birds can’t afford to waste time waiting for food if feeders are empty. Large capacity feeders decrease the frequency of empty feeders, while increasing the number of bird visits- And they’ll save you some frigid trips outside to refill feeders,” said Cole.
*It’s always essential to clean out residue before adding fresh seed. Because some feeders can be difficult
to scrub, this step is too often ignored. Cole’s tube feeders have a built in “quick-clean” feature; a removable base that with one push of a button, provides easy access to the inside, making scrub cleaning – a vital step in preventing disease - a breeze!
*It’s difficult to find essential, unfrozen water in winter. The fix? A birdbath with an electric heater that’s continuously full and clean.
*Allow leaves to remain under trees and shrubbery which attract birds with shelter, insects, and fallen seeds.
*Protect birds from predators like cats or hawks by hanging feeders in sheltered spots.
*Providing shelter is as simple as stacking branches and brush, preferably in a corner of the yard, away from direct winds. Also, instead of dragging that spent Christmas tree to the curb, put it in a corner of the backyard, for nesting, protection from wind and predators.
It’s important that people know they should keep bird feeders up and full during the winter and that it won’t harm the birds, instead it will be beneficial to their well-being! This is news they want to know!!
All that said, the answer to that age-old question, “To Feed or Not to Feed the Birds in Cold Weather”- is a resounding FEED ‘EM!!
About the Author: Birding expert, Elaine Cole, owner of Cole’s Wild Bird Products, Co., offers timely advice on continuing to feed birds throughout cold weather, and keeping birds safe and healthy.
2022 In the Rear View
As is our practice every January, we revisit our Road Trips from the previous year. In 2022 we were finally able to hit the road with less worry about masking up and the stigma of the pandemic lightened up. Whew!
February - Harrisonburg, VA
February found us on the road to Harrisonburg in the central Shenandoah Valley of the Commonwealth. The city has come to represent a large community of ethnic and linguistic diversity in recent years. Over 1,900 refugees have been settled in Harrisonburg since 2002. Language learning software Rosetta Stone was founded in Harrisonburg in 1992 and the multilingual “Welcome Your Neighbor” yard sign originated in Harrisonburg in 2016. This part of the Commonwealth is home to James Madison University and Massanutten Ski Resort. It is also in close proximity to the Shenandoah Wine Trail wineries and lots of outdoor activities. The food scene in Harrisonburg is as diverse as its residents –a good place for you “foodies” to visit.
March - Leonardtown, Maryland
We decided to “Rediscover a most Exceptional Place”…Leonardtown. Many of you may recognize the name Leonardtown since it is famous for sponsoring the annual oyster-shucking championships held at the St. Mary’s County fairgrounds. Although most of Southern Maryland is surrounded by water, the only water access to Leonardtown is Breton Bay which leads to the Potomac River. Today, historic Leonardtown remains the only incorporated municipality in St. Mary’s County with its own elected mayor and town council. The town is experiencing a renaissance of its downtown as witnessed by the recent and continued openings of several new restaurants and businesses, some which are located in historic buildings. The ever changing Leonardtown Wharf is open as a public attraction for both locals and tourists, Facilities for boating, kayaking and canoeing are in place and future additions are in the works. Be sure you check out all of the murals that abound in the small town.
April - Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and the
Boardwalk Plaza Hotel
In an uncertain world where everything seems to change daily, we decided to take a trip to a true constant…Rehoboth Beach and the ever constant Atlantic and the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel. The Boarwalk Plaza is perfectly located on the boardwalk and only two blocks from Rehoboth Avenue…the main drag. The early spring is a great time to go as prices are reduced, accommodations are plentiful and street parking is free. Another bonus is that children are still in school and the whole vibe is laid back with a peaceful easy feeling about it all.
As you enter the Plaza you will be created by a doorman who will help you with your luggage and get you squared away at the front desk. This is when you will notice the other reception committee. A trio of parrots…Emro, Peanut and Moose. Chances are good that Emro will be busy working at the front desk perched on a computer screen while Moose (the smallest bird)may be prancing on top of his cage looking for attention and Peanut (the largest) will be quietly observing everything from his perch while letting out an occasional whistle and offering an off-hand comment ever so often.
After checking in with the welcoming committee, we took the elevator to the fourth floor and our ocean front room. There are only four floors to the hotel and the fourth floor is reserved for adults only, which in the summer months is a bonus. The rooms are spacious with every comfort that you will need. The fourth floor also has access to the roof where there is a very nice hot tub. The Plaza is a full service hotel featuring a large indoor/outdoor spa pool. Victoria’s Restaurant is award-winning and is one of the only ones in Rehoboth open for breakfast, lunch and dinner 365 days a year.The Pub and restaurant have outdoor dining right on the boardwalk.
May - Fairies, Gnomes, Otters and Rays – Solomons, Maryland
As some of you who read us often, you know that we distribute the Old Town Crier to Solomons and St. Mary’s County in southern Maryland. On this trip to southern Maryland we visited two amazing family oriented destinations – the Annemarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center and the Calvert Marine Museum. Annmarie is most certainly a magical place even when the Fairy House and Gnome Home exhibits are gone. Fortunately, they will be on display during the month of May throughout the ¼ mile walking path that meanders through the woods on this 30 acre property. There are both adult and children’s creations set up in various sections. In additions to these whimsical exhibits, there are some very impressive sculptures in several mediums. Some of the sculptures are permanent while others are on loan from the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art.
Anyone who knows me very well knows that I’m not exactly the first person to want to go to a museum. However, this is one I could visit a couple of times a month if I lived closer. Why?? Because of the resident
otters - Chessie Grace, Chumley and Calvert. These three entertainers are river otters so they are different than most of the ones you see in those cute Facebook posts. Those are most often sea otters who are two to three times the size of River otters and are the ones who float on their backs when at the waters surface. River Otters swim belly down and remain in that position when they are at the surface. These guys put on a show in their outdoor “pool” on a daily basis and worth the trip alone.
June - An Afternoon in Another Old Town – Winchester, VA
In the last two years, Old Town Alexandria has been tweaking their pedestrian walkway in lower King Street. Last year we decided to visit Winchester and visit their Walking Mall. It showed us that Winchester had faced some of the same issues that Alexandria was encountering. In the early 1970’s Loudoun Street was the heart of Winchester’s shopping district. A few of the downtown businesses came up with the idea of converting the street into a two block pedestrian walkway. An advisory board was created to oversee the special district, In 1974, the Loudoun Street Walking Mall was born. Today the Loudoun Street Mall features cultural events, concerts, outdoor screenings of classic movies, lamp posts with banners displaying weeks by local artist, holiday celebrations and much more.
There is a Civil War Museum and many historical locations throughout the Mall as well as in the blocks surrounding it. We went to visit the Mall during the week as we understood that it is pretty crowded on weekends. The first thing I noticed was the four Autopark’s around the Mall which provided abundant sheltered parking at a very low $1 per hour rate. One of the out popular events to happen in Winchester is the annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. This year it happens from April 28 to May 7. Make sure you check it out. Also if you are a country music fan, you can tour the home where Patsy Cline grew up.
July - Our favorite part of Charm City – Fells Point, MD
Fells Point is located along the Patapsco River near Baltimore.. In 1726, English Quaker, William Fell bought land he named Fell’s Prospect. This eventually became Fell’s Point. I first discovered Fell’s Point when I crewed on the Schooner Patricia Divine in the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race from Annapolis to Norfolk, Virginia. Fells Point was the gathering point for out boats before the morning parade to Annapolis for the start. Looking forward to a few days of round-the-clock racing, we took a little liberty and visited the town of small shops, restaurants and an array of really cool bars. We spent the majority of the night at the Cat’s Eye Pub, truly a sailor’s kind of place. Back then, the area was undergoing a revitalization period and the results show today. The main attraction is still the selection of watering holes and restaurants along Thames Street, the main drag. Like Old Town Alexandria, they have all adjusted to the additional outdoor dining space (result of the pandemic protocols) that take up former parking spots. There are also a number of fine establishments a block or two off of Thames Street. One of these popular places is Bertha’s Mussels. Berthas was established in 1972 when the area was run down and trying to find its way…similar to the struggles in Old Town Alexandria around that tie.
At one end of Thames Street you will find places like Duda’s Tavern, Fells Point Tavern, The Horse You Came In On, and Bayou Blues. In the next block you will find the likes of Kooper’s Tavern, Waterfront Hotel Bar (WTF Waterfront Tavern), Thames Street Oyster House and the Cat’s Eye. This is what legitimate Pub Crawl organizers dream about! If you decide to stay the night, check out the Admiral Fell Inn!
August - The Home of Dirty Dancing – Pembroke, VA
That is, the movie Dirty Dancing! With the 1987 iconic movie celebrating its 35th year, we decided to take our Road Trip to the primary filming location most of us are familiar with - Mountain Lake Lodge. Don’t be fooled, however, there is so much more to Mountain Lake Lodge than Dirty Dancing fame.
Mountain Lake Lodge is located in the southwest mountains of Virginia in Pembroke. Nearby is the campus of Virginia Tech, the New River, the Appalachian Trail and plenty of mountains. At approximately 4,000 feet on Salt Pond Mountain you will find the stone lodge, rustic cabins and cozy cottages that make up Mountain Lake Lodge. Upon our arrival, after a winding uphill climb, we arrived at the lodge nestled in a bowl at top of the mountain and surrounded by the old growth forest. The stone lodge is very impressive on first sight and more so after entering the beautiful hotel. We checked in and were given directions to our cottage in the center of the complex. Our accommodations were very comfortable and complete with a balcony over looking the volleyball and badminton courts, the two pools, Baby’s cottage and in the distance the dry lake.
If you are familiar with the Dirty Dancing movie, you will remember the classic lift scene in the lake. When we arrived at Mountain Lake I began looking for the lake but could not find it. The lake was in a drying stage. My disappointment turned into appreciating the wonders of nature as I learned that Mountain Lake was in a cleansing cycle that had been going on for six thousand years. The lake is estimated to be about 6,000 years old, and geologists believe it must have been formed by rock slides and damning.Because of the narrow channels, or fissures, in the lake bottom, the level has a history of changing dramatically depending on the water flow through these channels. The lake is more than 100 feet deep when the lake is filled. There is water very close and kayaking and tubing on the New River is a great added adventure available to guests at the Lodge. They have partnered with Paul Moody and his on-the-water venture…The New River’s Edge.
September - Glamping in the Shenandoah Valley – Luray, VA
So what is Glamping? Glamping is short for “glamorous camping” and has become a mainstay of outdoor recreation over the past decade. If your essential list contains thins such as a real mattress, running water or an actual toilet, you can still find numerous options that bridge the gap between traditional camping and the comforts of home. Spacious Skies is a serene slice of heaven, conveniently located just 20 minutes off of I-81 and about four miles from Skyline Drive and Thornton Gap. The complex is nestled in the farmland
atop a hill. Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, the views are spectacular. The campground is close to Luray Caverns, the famed Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, the Shenandoah River and several Civil War sites. In addition to camp sites and the Yurts they also offer both shaded and open sites that can accommodate all sized RV’s and trailers and they are big rig friendly. Each site includes a picnic table, fire ring, 30 or 50-amp electrical services and sewer. They have deluxe patio sites and deluxe tent sites as well. The Yurt comprises the “glamorous” part of Glamping. “Yurt”- a circular domed tent of skins or felt stretched over a collapsible lattice framework and used by pastoral peoples of inner Asia. Instead of animal kins our yurt was canvas covered with a front door and two flap Windows that are screened. The yurt we were in was approximately 21-feet in diameter with a clear dome on top with a ceiling fan in the center. There is a bathroom with a sink, shower and toilet, a kitchen nook with entail utensils, a fridge, microwave and the ubiquitous Keurig coffee maker and it is air-conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter. The queen size bed was in the middle and there were also two very comfortable chairs at the foot of the bed. For about $120 a night you have the sense of being a “real” camper with the basics comfort of home. Lots of other amenities abound at Spacious Skies Shenandoah.
October - Riding the Rails on the Potomac Eagle, Romney, WV
To get a jump on folks seeking fall foliage in October, we hopped on the Potomac Eagle for a leisurely trip through the heart of the West Virginia Potomac Highlands and the South Branch of the Potomac River in Romney, West Virginia. The vintage diesel locomotive took us on a three hour round trip ride through the beautiful mountains and fields that border the South Branch of the Potomac. The journey begin at Wappocomo Station located next to a charming homestead and a sprawling view of the mountains. Once you get out of the station, the train tracks are about 25 to 50 feet back from the river. The summer foliage (September) was still thick and made for difficult views of the river except when the train came to the occasional clearing and then views of the rapids and kayakers were spectacular. Soon the fields and pastures began to disappear as the mountains closed in on the river from both sides. We had entered a part of the canyon named The Trough. The Trough is a 6-mile long wooded gorge carved by the river as it continues northwestern course with several bends in the river and large boulders dislocated from the ridges above dotting its shores. The steep slopes of the Trough are forested primarily with oaks, hickories, Virginia pine and large quantities of paw paw, with several rock outcrops visible on both sides of the river. The two wooded ridges that define the Trough make it inaccessible from either side. Entry into the Trough is only by the South Branch Valley Railroad, by boat or on foot. The area is also well known as perfect habitat for Bald Eagles. The rock outcrops as well as tall trees make for perfect, protected nesting for the Eagles and the river provides their favorite food…fish.
The entire trip is accompanied by a live narration. Not only is the history interesting but the narrator can point out eagle nests on the other side of the river. Binoculars certainly make for better viewing. On our return trip we had a young bald eagle keep pace with the train as he flew alongside up the river…therefore the name Potomac Eagle. Potomac Eagle offers 7 different types of trips with pricing at all levels so there is something for every budget. There are dining options that range from the snack bar and a Box lunch to a 4-course meal served in a luxurious Club Car during the ride.
November - Swanendele Inn: A Maryland Gem –Ridge, MD
For our November Road Trip we ventured to the end of St. Mary’s County Maryland to the town of Ridge and the elegant Swanendele Inn. When we arrived at the Inn we were greeted by owner Gerald Meyerman. This proper Dutchman walked with us to the front entrance and explained that Swanendele was Dutch for “Valley of Swans” and named after the resident pair of swans that call Saint Jerome Creek home. The property was purchased in 2001 by Meyerman and his wife Victoria O’Hara – Alexandria residents at the time. The couple were impressed by the natural beauty of St. Mary’s County and the property features 800 feet of waterfront on St. Jerome Creek. The couple planned and built the Inn between professional assignments overseas, resulting in the opening of Swanendele in June of 2019.
Although the Inn resembles a beautiful building from yesteryear, the house also features modern systems and conveniences, including geothermal heating and cooling, ultraviolet filters in all air handling units while preserving the warmth of a large loved and lived in family home. Both Gerald and Vicki have lived and worked all over the world in professional capacities. The furnishings and artwork at Swandndele represent the many destinations of their travels.
As we continued our walk with Gerald we found our way to the front entrance of the Inn. Set at a slight angle, the entrance seemed smaller than the actual size of the Inn. This illusion quickly faded as we ascended the stairs and entered the main room. A large two-sided stone fire place greeted us. Either looking straight through the hearth of the fireplace or a little to either side you could see the wooded lawn and St. Jerome Creek through the glass wall on the other side of the room. This place is massive with verandas as well as wrap around porches. The suites and bedrooms are on the second floor and appear to wrap around the main room where a balcony encircles the entire floor. The bedrooms are large and well-appointed with every convenience you can think of. The views of the property are breathtaking from the pine tree studded grounds to the serene views of Jerome Creek with oyster men plying their trade. Swanendele is an exceptional property run by exceptional people and it resides where it should…at Lands End.
December – Home for the Holidays – Old Town Alexandria
In December we stayed home as is the tradition and wrote about our home town, Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. Her story has been in these pages each month for the last 35 years! Come Visit! We are looking forward to many new adventures and treks to places we haven’t featured as well as some visits to those that we haven’t been to in a while!
Decemb er ‘22 - Home for the Holidays
Outside the Comfort Zone Why We Frostbite Race
To someone who prefers the couch to the cockpit when it’s wintry outside, the only question that makes sense to ask those who frostbite race is: “Why do you do it?” Yet, when you ask active frostbiters that question, their answers tend to make so much sense and exude so much enthusiasm that it makes you want to get up off the couch, gear up, and give it a try.
Harbor 20 sailor Bell Carty has been frostbite racing in the Annapolis Yacht Club (AYC) series since the early 90s. She says, “The appeal of frostbiting is to be on the water. It’s a little outside of the comfort zone, but still fun! Bundling up can be fun—it’s cold but not too bad.”
Jay McGinnis races his 1979 J/30 Blitz, also in Annapolis, and has done so for the past decade. “First and foremost, I appreciate and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere,” he says. “We are all out there to have fun and to try to improve on some aspect of sailing that we can carry over into the next season. I think all of us understand that ‘it’s just frostbite.’ Not that we aren’t competitive! I mean, we are sailors… of course, we are competitive!
“As a skipper, I really like the two-race format. It gives me an opportunity to really focus on positioning the boat during the start sequence. If I make a mistake, I can get right back on the start line for the second race and try it again.”
Heidi Frist is a little bit newer to the game, having started her frostbite race career aboard her J/30 Suzie Q three or four years ago. She says, “I enjoy frostbiting because my crew and I can focus on fine tuning our basic skills (i.e. timing starts, trimming, and tactics) without having to deal with the spinnaker. We also don›t need as many crew to race in frostbites, so finding crew is a little easier.”
There’s no bad weather, only bad gear
Frostbite sailors learn quickly what works best for them in terms of warmth and dryness. Carty wears her “old Musto and Helly Hansen foulies over Patagonia puff jacket and fuzzy pants. Now I wear
an Army hat to support my cadet! Always a warm hat! Always gloves. Any kind that keeps your hands warm and fit properly.”
McGinnis says, “With the unseasonably warm temperatures we’ve had lately, this is a hard question to answer! Heck, some days I’ve contemplated sailing in shorts! When the temperatures really drop, I have a pair of Harken neoprene gloves that I really like. I also wear some winter socks by Fox River that I got issued back when I was in the Army. They’re made from some kind of heavyweight wicking material that really does a great job of keeping your feet warm and dry.”
“I love my Dubarry Boots and my fleece ear flap cap from Duluth Trading Company,” says Frist. “I feel like I can withstand the cold temps no matter how low they go by keeping my feet and head warm! Other mainstays are fleece lined leggings, layers of tops, a warm foul weather jacket, full-fingered racing gloves, and good sunglasses.”
There are tough days…
About 10 years ago when he first started racing, McGinnis says, “I had a J/24 named SWAG. My crew and I decided to race the Hangover Bowl… Up to that point, my only experience racing was with the standard windward/leeward format during weekend regattas and Thursday nights with J/World. I had absolutely no experience finding my way around government marks. This particular Hangover Bowl, the temps were in the 20s or 30s, and the wind was howling and just brutally cold. Between the strong gusts, the cold air, and not having the first clue where I was on the racecourse, let’s just say our overall performance was less than impressive. We had fun and we learned a lot… but I was happy to get off the water!”
Frist says, “Every frostbite race has the stress of trying to make sure we can see all traffic, especially the tiny boats crossing our path. This is a challenge because we are not allowed to leave the cockpit.”
Carty shares a lighthearted cold-day memory:
“When we were rigging the boat we were scraping ice and snow off of it and launched with snow still in the cockpit. We had snowball fights and were laughing around the racecourse. The tough part that day was keeping your hands warm!”
Making amazing memories
One memorable day for McGinnis came early in the season. After making a smart decision to start closer to the seawall than the pin, he managed to stay in the pressure, put a substantial distance between his boat and the rest of the fleet, and score the bullet. “We had not had a good season up to that point, so the bullet was a much-needed morale boost, not just for me but for the crew,” he says. It changed the way his crew now approached the wind when it was coming down the Severn.
“The other thing that was reinforced that day is the value of having a quiet boat. As we were heading back from that win, my main trimmer leaned over and said, ‘Did you notice nobody was yelling?’ He was right. Everyone on the boat knew what they were doing. We were all focused on one thing: making the boat move fast…Since then, I’ve done my utmost to recreate that environment every time we get on the racecourse. I’ve got a great crew. All I need to do is trust that they know what they are doing, get out of their way, let them do their job, and just drive the boat!”
Advice for would-be frostbite racers
What would these sailors recommend to anyone interested in frostbite racing in the future?
McGinnis says, “I think the best way to get into frostbite racing is to get into Wednesday or Thursday night racing, and the best way to find a boat for Wednesday night or Thursday night racing is to list yourself on the SpinSheet Crew Finder list (spinsheet.com) or attend the SpinSheet Crew Party (in spring). I say this because there simply isn’t much room for extra crew during frostbite races (since) we aren’t using spinnakers and have to keep everyone inside the cockpit.” The idea is that once frostbite season rolls in, you’ll already be an active part of a team.
Frist says, “If someone wanted to get into frostbites as crew, dress warmly, and bring fun boat snacks! As a skipper, don’t use your best racing sails!”
Carty adds, “If you are interested, find someone doing it that can help you out. Go down to the dock, talk to people, and ask!”
This first appeared in the January 2022 edition of SpinSheet Magazine. Find more sailing articles at spinsheet.com. Winans is a longtime friend of the Old Town Crier and the Managing Editor of SpinSheet and Prop Talk boating magazines based in Eastport, MD.
TACKLING A TOUCHY ISSUE: Too HorsesMany
“How can you call yourself a horse lover and be in favor of killing horses for food?” This is a typical reaction that I and other horsemen in the Blue Ridge get when asked why we’re not outraged that horses are still being slaughtered for food. The Blue Ridge Mountains did not ring with roars of outrage, nor did hunt country residents lock arms and march en masse across the river when President Obama quietly signed into law the bill that lifted the U.S. Ban on domestic horse slaughter in 2011, but 11 years later, there are still no places in this country that will process horses so those sent to slaughter are trucked to Mexico or Canada. Often a lengthy and cruel trip, to processing plants without the humane safeguards and regulations that this country requires. An emotion-fraught topic for horse lovers, horse slaughter was once an option, albeit not a popular one, for owners of animals that could not otherwise be rehomed. Like the general public, Virginia’s horsemen and women are squeamish about the thought of eating horses for food, but unlike those that have never lived with and cared for them, most tend to take a more pragmatic view on what’s viewed as a necessary evil. A dead horse is like the 800-pound gorilla in the room—it’s there, but no one wants to look or even acknowledge how difficult it is to deal with. A dead horse is large, and it’s not easy to move. Many places forbid burying them, most landfills will not take them, and cremation is expensive and not readily available. Horsemen predicted the disastrous unintended consequences when the ban on slaughter went in force in 2006.
By 2007, the last three slaughterhouses that processed horses in the U.S. closed their doors. Without that outlet, an already depressed horse market plummeted even more. Coinciding with the recession and massive job loss, there was a steep
increase in cases of abandoned, starving and neglected horses. Many who otherwise would’ve sold horses they couldn’t afford, found no market for them and could no longer feed, care for or even dispose of them. Just as the problem seemed to be improving, the pandemic caused more unwanted horses and more economic woes. Feed costs, especially hay and grain, have skyrocketed over the past 3 years, taxing both owners and rescue organizations that historically cared for unwanted horses. While there are bright spots such as the racing Thoroughbred industry’s commitment to retired runners, other rescue groups became overwhelmed; and there simply aren’t enough of the good ones to keep pace with the burgeoning surplus of unwanted horses. Scammers cashing in on an emotional issue have proliferated, diverting funds to themselves instead of helping the most vulnerable animals in need.
Horses generally live twice as long as dogs or cats; most live to 25 or 30 years, some as long as 40 years. And euthanizing a horse is not cheap—it can cost upwards of $2,000. Someone who cannot afford to feed a horse or pay the vet bills on a gravely ill one, likely cannot even afford to have it humanely put down. A vet visit for lethal injection costs hundreds of dollars and rendering plants, if you can find those that still accept them, charge similar fees to pick them up. Landfills won’t take them. Hiring a backhoe to dig a large enough hole costs $500 or more; and that’s if you own the land and are even allowed to bury a horse on it. Carcasses that contain drugs and chemicals for treatment of illness and/ or lethal injection can contaminate
groundwater, and many locales forbid any livestock burial at all.
Although horsemeat was never considered table fare in this country, horses were routinely slaughtered for export abroad and for the pet food industry. Congress never banned slaughter outright, but mandated USDA inspections of facilities that slaughtered them for food in 1996. Ten years later, funding for the inspections was withdrawn. Without inspections, the meat couldn’t be sold, so the industry died, to the cheers of the animal rights lobby that thought they were helping horses by ending what they viewed as a barbaric practice. In truth, over 100,000 U.S. horses annually were still slaughtered for food, but they now had to be trucked out of the country, enduring grueling trips and a final end out of the reach of U.S. laws for humane dispatch.
Even radical animal rights lobbies such as the Humane Society of the U.S. and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals agreed the slaughter ban had backfired. “To reduce suffering, there should be a ban on the export of live horses in the U.S., even if that means opening slaughter houses in the U.S. again,” said PETA spokesperson David Perle. However, even banning export for slaughter as well as slaughter itself, does nothing to solve the problem of what to do with all the unwanted horses. Despite lifting of the ban, there are no plants that slaughter horses in the U.S. currently in operation, and funding for the needed inspectors is unlikely.
In Loudoun County, the Equine Rescue League is the local rescue that does its best to save and rehome abandoned and unwanted horses; it’s been in operation for 32 years.
Originally on a farm east of Leesburg, it moved operations northwest to Lovettsville. “My mother, Patricia Rogers, started it in 1990,” explains operator Cheryl Rogers, and said they’ve stayed busy and at capacity most of those years. The ERL was busy this fall with a big intake of three groups of horses whose owners passed away. “Only one had any kind of provisions for taking care of them,” said Rogers. One was a group of 17 beautiful purebred Morgan horses, and the ERL has successfully placed all but 4 of them since taking them in. But even she admits that’s just a drop in the bucket. With over 80,000 horses trucked out of the country for slaughter annually, many under horrific and unregulated conditions, clearly creative solutions are needed. For more information, you can visit them online or on Facebook www.
Another resource for struggling horse owners seeking to do the right thing, and people that wish to help them, is the non-profit organization United Horse Coalition, www. unitedhorsecoalition.com This is a broad alliance of equine organizations that have joined together under the American Horse Council to educate the horse industry about the issues facing horses At-Risk, or in transition. The group seeks to provide information for existing and prospective owners, breeders, sellers, and horse organizations regarding the long-term responsibilities of owning and caring for horses, as well as focusing on the opportunities available for these horses. Through industry collaboration, the UHC seeks to promote education and options for atrisk and transitioning horses.
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are pretty sure the majority of our local readers are familiar with the ins and outs of a “Restaurant Week” since we have several of them during the year in the DMV and it appears that Alexandria is starting off with the first
Weone of the New Year starting on the 20th and running through the 29th!
In actuality, it is 10 days (including 2 weekends) of over 70 eateries in Alexandria offering great eats at good prices. The number of participating restaurants has grown exponentially over the years and they are as varied as the cuisine they serve. There is something for every palate.
Restaurant Week showcases the inventiveness of local chefs throughout the city. In addition to the popular
Old Town section, eateries located throughout neighborhoods in Del Ray, Carlyle, Eisenhower and the West End will offer a $25, $35 or $45 prix fixe dinner for one. Special menus will be available for in-person dining at participating restaurants with many having heated outdoor dining options.
We have highlighted offerings from some of our favorite participating restaurants in this writing and encourage you all to try them out. We are looking forward to experiencing
some “new to us” establishments during this promotion as well. We tend to get stuck in a continual loop of our favorites but it is always good to step outside of the box. Guests can browse a list of participating restaurants on AlexandriaRestaurantWeek.com.
Stay tuned for a digital flip-book of menus at participating restaurants that will be available on the Restaurant Week site early this month.
BASTILLE BRASSERIE & BAR
$45 Dinner for One Person
Bastille is an award winning brasserie and wine bar, offering guests a contemporary spin on French cuisine, in a sophisticated yet comfortable atmosphere. Chefs Christophe and Michelle Poteaux’s creations are sparked by the use of seasonal, locally sourced and farm fresh ingredients. With an expansive wine list, unique draught and bottled beer selections plus creative cocktails, Bastille has a little something for everyone.
CHADWICK’S OF OLD TOWN
$35 Dinner for One Person
Serving classic American cuisine. Best brunch in Old Town, Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kitchen open ’til 1 a.m. every night. Family friendly.
DANIEL O’CONNELL’S IRISH RESTAURANT & PUB
$45 Dinner for One
Daniel O’Connell’s Irish Restaurant and Pub is a modern Irish restaurant in an ancient Irish setting. Our expert culinary team invite you to join us and embark your taste buds on an exciting journey through new age Ireland. Our surroundings say it all; four bars with an average age of 240 years young. So sink into our comfortable seating, be served by our professional and welcoming staff, and enjoy good drink, good food and good times!
MURPHY’S GRAND IRISH PUB
$25 Dinner for One Person
Murphy’s Irish Pub is a traditional Irish restaurant offering a warm and friendly dining experience for all. We strive to bring the flavors and cuisine of Ireland with Irish flair to each and every guest that passes through our doors. Offering live entertainment seven nights a week and the best Irish happy hour in town.
$35 Dinner for One Person
RT’s Restaurant is Alexandria’s renowned neighborhood restaurant for over 31 years, featuring fresh seafood, creole and Cajun specialties.
$35 Dinner for One Person
Located in the heart of Old Town Alexandria, The Warehouse is one of the area’s most popular restaurants specializing in prime aged steaks and fresh seafood. The superb food is served in a casual but elegant atmosphere that features caricatures of the local gentry on the walls of the historic building. Enjoy our Steak “Pontchartrain” or famous all lump crab cakes. Don’t miss our very popular Sunday brunch and be sure to enjoy a drink at our antique mahogany bar!
Addresses and contact information are available in the Dining Guide on page 33.
Mamma’s Turkey Pot Pie
Now that the holidays are over what do you do with all that leftover turkey? We can only eat so many turkey sandwiches and soup recipes. Why not turn those turkey leftovers into a filling
dish that will get you through the chilly days ahead? Make a turkey pot pie. It’s easy, inexpensive (you already have the main ingredient) and tasty. Americans are pie lovers. Pies are a
vestige of our colonial past, especially here in the Mid-Atlantic region. The English are great pie makers, especially savory ones. The French tend to make sweeter versions known as gallettes the most famous of which is the gallette du Rois (King Cake) eaten on the day of the Epiphany.
1 stick salted butter
1 cup potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
1 cup onion, diced
3 tablespoons flour
• 1 cup turkey broth or canned chicken broth
1 cup table cream
• 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups leftover turkey, chopped
In a heavy-bottomed pot melt butter. Add potatoes, celery and onions and sauté until al dente. Add frozen peas and carrots, thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Mix in flour until distributed, allow cooking for several minutes, but do not brown. Stirring continuously, add all cream and broth,
Wales v Ireland KO 9:15am
Scotland KO 11:45am
At New Year’s Eve parties and celebrations around the world, revelers enjoy meals and snacks thought to bestow good luck for the coming year. In Spain and several other Spanish-speaking countries, people bolt down a dozen grapes—symbolizing their hopes for the months ahead—right before midnight.
In many parts of the world, traditional New Year’s dishes feature legumes, which are thought to resemble coins and herald future
financial success; examples include lentils in Italy and black-eyed peas in the southern United States.
Because pigs represent progress and prosperity in some cultures, pork appears on the New Year’s Eve table in Cuba, Austria, Hungary, Portugal and other countries.
Ring-shaped cakes and pastries, a sign that the year has come full circle, round out the feast in the Netherlands, Mexico, Greece and
elsewhere. In Sweden and Norway, meanwhile, rice pudding with an almond hidden inside is served on New Year’s Eve; it is said that whoever finds the nut can expect 12 months of good fortune.
Publishers Note: Many thanks to History.com and the members of their talented editorial staff.
only as needed, to achieve a thick stew-like consistency. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Transfer mixture to casserole of baking dish. Allow to cool before topping with pastry.
2 sticks unsalted butter
½ tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cups very cold milk, as needed
2 cups sifted cake flour, all-purpose will suffice
1 egg, beaten
Mix together sifted flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut butter into the flour until pieces are pea-size. To form dough, add milk incrementally and mix until a dough ball is formed. Mix until just combined. Do not over mix. It should not be crumbly, but not sticky either. If too wet, add flour to compensate. Form dough into a flat disc, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2
hours, preferably longer. On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten dough. Roll dough from center to outward to a size 1” larger than the casserole dish.
Food processor directions: Prepare as above, except place steel blade in food processor bowl. To bowl add flour, butter, sugar and salt. Pulse until most of mixture until butter is dispersed, but remains pea size. Add milk incrementally through feed tube and pulse until ball just begins to form. It is preferable to add too little milk when using a processor as dough can be formed by hand. Remove dough from bowl to plastic wrap, shape into a disc and refrigerate.
Assembling and baking
Rolled pastry will be transferred to cover filled casserole dish. To transfer pastry, dust with flour and wrap it around the rolling pin. Unfurl dough onto casserole. Crimp edge with fore finger and thumb to create a fluted edge. With a pastry brush, paint entire dough with beaten egg. Do not prick pastry. Place pot pie on cookie sheet and bake at 400ºF until pastry is golden brown and cooked, about 45 minutes. Serve immediately.
Where Is It?
Where Is This Mural?
Be the first person to respond with the correct location and receive a $50 gift certificate to a local dining establishment of our choice. In order to participate, you will have to Like and Follow us on: Facebook @ oldtowncrier Instagram @ otcregionalmag
Send a PM with your answer and we will contact the winner each month via PM to arrange for prize delivery.
Congratulations to CHRISTIAN LOVO for being the first to identify the December Mural – Junction Bistro in Del Ray. We thought this would be another tough one but Christian guessed it within 4 days of the issue being on the streets.
1799 PRIME STEAK & SEAFOOD 110 S. Pitt Street 571-404-6001
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
BOB & EDITHS 1743 King Street 703-664-0043
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
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
KINGS RANSOM 728 King Street 571-319-0794
LAPORTAS 1600 Duke St. 703-683-6313
THE LIGHT HORSE 715 King Street 703-549-0533
LORI'S TABLE 1028 King Street 703-549-5545
LOST DOG CAFE 808 North Henry St. 571-970-6511
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 DanielOconnells.com
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
SWEET FIRE DONNA'S BBQ & HOPS 510 John Carlyle Street 571-312-7960
THE STUDY 116 South Alfred Street 703-838-8000 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
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 BISTRO 809 King St. 703-836-1515
INDOCHEN 1625 King Street (571) 404-6050
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
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
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
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
ALDO'S ITALIAN KITCHEN 2850 Eisenhower Avenue (behind the building) 703-888-2243
ANDY’S PIZZA 107 N Fayette St 571-319-0497
BUGSYS PIZZA RESTAURANT 111 King St. 703-683-0313
FACCIA LUNA 823 S. Washington St. 703-838-5998
FRANK PEPE NAPOLETANA PIZZERIA 3231 Duke Street Alexandria Commons 703-719-2035
HANDOVER BY THE SLICE 728 King Street 571-319-0794
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 ON KING 703 King Street 703-838-9090 Michaelsonking.com
PIECE OUT 2419 Mount Vernon Avenue 703-398-1287
RED ROCKS FIREBRICK PIZZA 904 King St. 703-717-9873
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
HANKS OYSTER BAR 818 N St. Asaph 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
KISMET MODERN INDIAN 111 North Pitt Street 703-567-4507
NAMASTE 1504 King St. 703-970-0615
MEXICAN LATIN SOUTHWESTERN
CASA TEQUILA (next to Crate & Barrel) 1701 Duke 703-518-5312
CHOP SHOP TACO 1008 Madison Street 571-970-6438
DON TACO TEQUILA BAR 808 King St. 703-988-3144
LOS CUATES RESTAURANT 1116 King Street 703-548-2918
LOS TIOS GRILL 2615 Mt. Vernon Ave. 703-299-9290
LOS TOLTECOS 4111 Duke St. 703-823-1167
TAQUERIA POBLANO 2400-B Mt. Vernon Ave. 703-548-TACO (8226) TEQUILA & TACO 540 John Carlyle Street 703-721-3203
URBANO 116 116 King Street 571-970-5148
MEET THE NEW OWNERS:
Barrel Oak, Fox Meadow, and Sunset Hills
Chris Pearmund once said, “The sale of a winery is the fulfillment of two dreams. The dream of the new owner, and the dream of the seller.”
This statement holds more truth than people realize. Operating a winery is fraught with financial risks, ranging from swings in the economy to Virginia’s capricious weather. At any given time there are around a dozen wineries on the market, many of which take years before they find the right buyer.
While some prospective vintners prefer to start their dream winery from scratch, others opt to purchase an existing property. The new owners of Barrel Oak Winery, Fox Meadow Winery, and Sunset Hills Vineyard (with its sister property, 50 West Vineyards) decided to take this second route, all with an eye of how they can elevate Virginia wine.
viticulture, the Darvills understand what it means to be farmers.
“We both grew up on tractors, and I definitely enjoy having dirt on my hands and being part of nature more than being in an office,” Amanda explained while pouring a sample of Darvill’s favorite wine, their Le Renard Rouge red blend. But wine was part of her background as well; Amanda previously attended Le Cordon Bleu, a culinary school in Paris which gave her an appreciation of pairing cheese and wine.
The Darvills also know how to run a business; she’s a communications executive while his background is in finance. They immediately saw the advantages of retaining Fox Meadow’s key staff, asking winemaker Tom Payette and vineyard manager Bob Mortland (the son of the previous owner) to stay.
BARREL OAK WINERY: Kavelle and Ken Bajaj
Kavelle and Ken Bajaj already possess a long roster of titles including President, Founder, and CEO. With their July purchase of Barrel Oak they have a new title; ‘Winery Owners.’
The Bajajs emigrated from India in the 1970s and made their fortune in the IT world. Despite this, their joining the Virginia wine community is hardly surprising considering their interest in both wine and farming.
“I’m a farm girl at heart,” laughed Kavelle. “His dream is to make the best wine in America. I’ve been drinking wine forever!”
The couple looked at several local wineries before choosing Barrel Oak as their latest venture, in no small part because it possessed an established brand and experienced staff. The family-oriented nature of the Virginia wine industry, and Barrel Oak in particular, was also a draw.
“That’s what was appealing about Barrel Oak,” said Ken about founder Brian Roeder. “The families of these places were doing the work.”
Making ‘the best wine in America’ is a lofty goal, but the Bajajs are undeterred. As soon as the purchase was finalized they shared a bottle of Caymus Special Select (a high-priced Napa brand) with winemaker Jeremy Lingon and told him, “This is the benchmark of quality we are aiming for.”
Fortunately, Jeremy is rising to the challenge. This December, the San Francisco International Wine
Competition awarded his 2021 Pinot Gris Double Gold.
Various upgrades have since been implemented to achieve their vision of a more premium experience. While some favorites including the Bowhaus Red & White will be retained, Jeremy is reducing his roster of 25 different wines to a more manageable 15 or so labels, focusing on drier styles.
The wine list isn’t the only thing changing; the Bajajs are giving the entire business a facelift. Director of Relations Bob Grouge ran through the various upgrades Barrel Oak received in the last few months, ranging from new furniture, lighting, and winemaking equipment, planting new vines (look forward to sauvignon blanc and pinot gris), and introducing cans for the brewery.
Fortunately, Kavelle and Ken understand Virginia isn’t Napa. This doesn’t deter them either.
“I have a PhD in persistence,” Kavelle explained. “I believe in the future of Virginia wine. California is in trouble, France is in trouble, but in Virginia we’re at the point we can make a huge impact. It’s a challenge to make great wine in Virginia, but we are going to do it.”
FOX MEADOW WINERY:
Amanda and Whiticar Darvill
Amanda and Whiticar Darvill have a very personal connection with Virginia wine; their first date was at the 2011 Virginia wine festival.
The couple took ownership of Fox Meadow in March 2022. While they don’t have a degree in
The quality of Tom’s wines was part of what sold them on the purchase; his 2021 Pinot Grigio was recently awarded Best in Class at the 2022 Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association competition. “Our winemaking style is inspired by Burgundy, but we aren’t trying to make a Napa Cabernet. We want to highlight the difference in terroir. I want people to say that ‘I want a Virginia wine tonight.’”
Fortunately their vineyard’s 1800 foot elevation gives them different options than other Virginia wineries; the Darvills plan on planting more petit verdot and cabernet sauvignon, and perhaps some sauvignon blanc in the future.
The Darvills are also adding their own touches. Future changes include a remodeling of the tasting room and eventually a rebrand of the website.
Amanda also wants to host more events.
Their biggest surprise didn’t come from the vineyard. Jim Law is just down the street and is happy to share advice, and he’s not alone. “We aren’t in competition with other wineries. Our biggest surprise is the camaraderie in the industry”.
SUNSET HILLS VINEYARD: Chris and Katie Key
Chris and Katie met at a wine tasting in Mendocino, but eventually Chris’ Virginia roots took him home.
Katie’s background is in corporate and public relations, while he grew up in Sterling and was a ‘serial entrepreneur’, having bought & sold three
Working Together for Better
When my family and I moved to Virginia in 1997, there were about 60 wineries in the state and only four in Loudoun County. I was hired to be the new winemaker and vineyard manager at Tarara Winery, just a few miles up the road from where we eventually bought our own farm. My new boss encouraged me to get to know the other winery folk and get involved with the industry associations that were around at the time: the Virginia Wineries Association and the Virginia Vineyards Association. These groups were focused (and still are) on growing and strengthening our industry through sharing knowledge of best practices, the marketing of our products, and getting the voice of the industry to our business representatives’ ears.
As our industry has grown, more associations and organizations have started up to address specific groups or regions. Here in Loudoun, the
Loudoun Winegrowers Association began with a focus on vineyard operations. Not long afterward the Loudoun Wineries Association came along to focus on tasting rooms and wine sales, along with many other related issues. Recently these two groups have merged, making a stronger, more cohesive, and efficient organization that hopes to achieve even more than in the past. The Loudoun Bed and Breakfast Guild, an offshoot of our industry, has many wineries signed on as associate members in order to collaborate in our efforts for our guests and visitors.
On a local government level we have the Rural Economic Development Council. Although I no longer serve on this council, I spent over a decade helping this organization give the county guidance and feedback on issues regarding the future of all of the agriculture and rural-based business sectors of our county, including the
wine industry. Another organization, Visit Loudoun, supports and enhances tourism in the county and they have a large board of local business leaders helping with input and collaboration. On a federal level Wine America is the association that represents our industry. This board focuses on lobbying the lawmakers in Washington about our needs, challenges, and the value we provide our businesses and communities.
With each of these organizations, the time and effort put in by volunteers is crucial and invaluable. However, any volunteer needs to have listening and leadership skills in order to play their role effectively. Anyone can state their opinion, but that is not how we grow better together. Hearing others, finding middle ground, and focusing on the goals of the organization are the key points to success for these groups. These skills are critical to succeeding in other roles as well. We have been separated from each other over the past few years. We have small pods of folks that we may work with and spend time with, but thinking and
acting beyond oneself can take us to the next level in any setting. I have been fortunate to work with some great folks over the years in my roles in a number of the groups listed above. (Besides, we’ve got to focus on wine rather than other, possibly more uncomfortable subjects!) But the skill sets are the same in wine as in life: empathy, leadership, teamwork and end-goals. Utilize these skills in the New Year ahead, enjoy a glass of wine as you overcome challenges as a group, and you will probably find that you come out even better than before!
About the Author: Farmer, winemaker, entrepreneur, educator, and leader, Doug Fabbioli has been accelerating the growth and quality of Virginia’s wine industry since 1997. With his wife Colleen, Doug is the owner/operator of Fabbioli Cellars in Leesburg, VA. He is the founder and director of The New Ag School, which focuses on teaching the next generation of farmers and agriculture-related leaders. No wonder they call Doug Fabbioli the Godfather of DC’s Wine Country.
companies. After Chris sold his last company in 2019, they seriously began thinking of buying a winery.
Being drawn to Sunset Hills is hardly surprising; this was the first Virginia winery they visited together.
Chris further explained, “It’s been a special place for us because we’ve consistently had a great experience and great wine. I really like how Sunset highlights Virginia wine and doesn’t try to be California”.
Like their fellow new winery owners, the idea of building upon an established brand was appealing.
“It was important to come into a business with a solid team who wanted to stay. When the old owners announced their sale, the first thing we did was tell everyone we wanted them to stay.” The purchase included both Sunset Hills and its sister winery 50 West, as well as over 75 acres under vine spread between 4 vineyards (those at Sunset and 50 West, plus two larger parcels in the Shenandoah Valley).
Their immediate changes are fairly limited, with a focus on remodeling of 50 West to give it more indoor seating. But additional changes are in the pipeline, including plans to produce a series of vineyard-specific wines, such as their 100% petit verdot from their Shenandoah Springs vineyard.
Winemaker Jason Burris detailed another initiative; their ‘wine to vines’ tours of the Sunset Hills vineyard.
“One of our wine educators will take the group to the vineyard and different parts of the farm, talking about the winemaking
process while sipping wine along the way. Guests will actually be able to cut some clusters as they explain why dropping fruit is important to improve quality.”
Chris was understandably excited over what Sunset Hills can contribute to the Virginia wine scene.
“A big thing for us is to elevate the region. We came into this in June so we got to experience our first harvest. At the same time there is a comforting part of this that you get to control your quality. At the end of the day it’s appealing to control everything end-toend.
We in Virginia have to set ourselves apart. When we first started sampling Virginia wines we were given a chardonnay and a cab sauv. I think the region has evolved.”
Author: Matthew Fitzsimmons is a blogger who has visited nearly every winery in Virginia –most of them twice. Track his progress at winetrailsandwanderlust.com/.
A Funny Thing Happened While in Cabo
Approaching any situation with an open mind is tantamount to success in life. Life will often remind you of this fact. I was reminded of it recently, during a trip to Mexico.
We were vacationing in Cabo at the beginning of December. A fun family vacation, one of the many that my wife’s brother sets up. I love the place. It’s beautiful. The only drawback to the trip is that the flight is over five hours long. There was a time that you would be served a meal on such a flight, but not anymore. The cart came around only once. We got a drink and cookie, lucky us. Makes paying that extra $50 for the checked bag totally worth it. So, by the time we land in Cabo, wait for our luggage, wait for our rental car, and then drive to the resort, we are starved. Our villa isn’t ready yet, so we stow our luggage and head to one of the resorts restaurants for lunch.
I decide to have a beer with lunch. I know, big shock. They have the usual suspects listed: Corona,
Tecate, Dos Equis, Modelo, etc. When given this list, I usually go with Dos Equis, the Modelo Negro, or the Modelo Especial. All three are good beers. I then spot a beer on the list that I do not recognize. It’s called Cabotella. And it’s brewed by Baja Brewing Company in Cabo San Lucas, which is right down the road from us. I knew that there was a brewery in Cabo, but my hopes were not high. It’s a craft brewery in Mexico. How good could it be? The Cabotella is a blonde ale. A blonde ale in the land of light lagers. I’m highly skeptical. My wife then points it out on the menu.
“Honey, they have a craft beer.”
“Yeah, I see it. “
“Are you going to get it?”
“I guess I should.”
Why not? Let’s get this over with. I remember getting excited that there was a craft brewery in St. Barts in the Caribbean when we went there. The beer was not worth writing about.
This will probably be the same.
I order the beer.
When the waiter comes back with it, I’m surprised. It looks good. It has a very light blonde color to it and a good head. I take a drink. I’m amazed.
“Holy sh!t this beer is good! I mean it’s really firetrucking good!!”
I turn to tell my wife. She’s already looking at me. Evidently, I had vocalized my thoughts. And I didn’t say firetrucking.
“Inside voice.” She says, even though we are outside.
“So, you like it?”
“It’s really good.” I reply. I leave out the expletives this time.
In fact, it’s perfect. This blonde ale hit every note. It’s simple and light, with a pale malt sweetness and a “biscuit” flavor.
I take another sip and stare at the beer. A perfect blonde ale in Mexico. I was still struggling with the reality of it. And I had hesitated to order it. How stupid of me. Life had just reminded me: I really need to be more open minded.
We decided to visit the brewery. A little research reveals that the owners are from Colorado, a craft beer mecca. No wonder the blonde ale was so good. The brewery is attached to a hotel called the Corazon Cabo Resort, right in Cabo San Lucas. The tasting room is a giant deck that overlooks the Bay of San Lucas. It’s a beautiful day and the view is stunning. Yachts, parasailers, and other boaters are visible all over the water.
We find a table and are mesmerized by the view when the waitress approaches. I tell her I’d like to do a beer tasting and ask her if they have flights of beers. She replies yes, then explains that it is comprised of 12 beers, all 4-ounce pours. Do the math; that’s 48 ounces of beer.
We’re there for lunch. It’s a bit early. Twenty years ago, young Tim would have accepted the challenge. But older Tim would need a long nap afterwards.
“Do you have any smaller flights? Four or six small pours?”
“No sir, only the 12 beers”
My wife chimes in that she will help me taste
Cheers! Slainte! Salute! Prost!
Wishing you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!— Bob & Lani
them. We get the giant flight. And an order of their Donkey Balls. I had to order them when I saw the name. They’re lightly fried chicken meatballs. And they are quite good. We start tasting the beers. I notice that there are only 11. That’s fine with me. There is not a bad beer in the bunch. They have the Cabotella, of course. But I start with their Black Ale. It’s smooth and malty. A delightful beer. It ends up being my favorite. Along with their Pilsner, a light, crisp, and refreshing beer. It’s great for a hot Mexican day. And their very well done, hoppy, but not overly hoppy, Session IPA.
The view and the beers were both fantastic. What a great experience. It made for a wonderful afternoon. If you have never visited Cabo, I strongly suggest you do. Plan to go to Baja Brewing Company while you are there. It’s worth the time. Get the giant beer tasting and devour the Donkey Balls. There actually is great craft beer in Mexico. I’m so glad I tried it.
About the Author: Timothy Long is an educator, writer, consultant, and experienced restaurant operator. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Instagram and Twitter: @wvutimmy. Blog: What is that fly doing in my soup? whatflyinmysoup.com
Whiskey and Cigar Recommendations
Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve 9 Year
I wrote about being in Cabo, so the expectation is that I would do a tequila recommendation. We did do a great tequila tasting while we were there. But it’s January here. And I’m not recommending a tequila in January. This month’s recommendation is the Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve 9 year. It’s an easy drinking, high proof bourbon. The nose had a good amount of spice, with apple, brown sugar, and caramel. It’s sweet on the palate, but not overly so, with maple syrup, vanilla, and brown sugar. The finish is long with oak, cinnamon, and leather. It’s 120 proof, so be careful. But at $55 a bottle, it’s a real bargain.
Rocky Patel Cigar Smoking World Championship Cigar Mareva
Again, having just returned from Mexico, I could have written about a Cuban cigar. But this month, let’s stick with one you can purchase here. The Rocky Patel CSWC Mareva starts out with notes of espresso, cedar, red pepper, and cocoa. As you smoke it, the espresso remains prominent with red pepper and cedar notes remaining as secondary tastes. The cocoa becomes a back taste. As the cigar finishes, it gets earthy with some light fruit notes. Enjoy.
This cigar, and many other fine cigars, are available at John Crouch Tobacconist at 215 King St. in Old Town Alexandria.
Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day
The fight to make the Martin Luther King Jr. birthday a holiday took 32 years, a lot of campaigning, and guest appearances including Stevie Wonder, Ted Kennedy, and the National Football League.
King’s birthday was finally approved as a federal holiday in 1983, and all 50 states made it a state government holiday by 2000.
Officially, King was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta. But the King holiday is marked every year on the third Monday in January.
The King Center in Atlanta has a detailed chronology of how the efforts, starting shortly after King’s death in 1968, paid off in the long run. It wasn’t an easy task for holiday supporters, who had to push hard in Congress to get the federal holiday created.
A second battle took place to get individual states to also recognize the holiday, with often emotional disagreements in two states.
Today, the King holiday serves multiple purposes: It honors the total legacy of King; focuses on the issue of civil rights; highlights the use of nonviolence to promote change; and calls people into public service.
The struggle to get the holiday recognized reflects all these topics, along with some interesting twists and turns along the way.
Representative John Conyers introduced the first motion to make King’s birthday a federal holiday in 1968, just four days after King’s assassination in Memphis. It took another 11 years to the federal holiday to come up for a vote on the House of Representative’s floor in 1979.
The bill needed a two-thirds majority to pass, but it fell five votes short with a 252-133 count, despite a strong organizational effort from the King Center, and support from Congress members and President Jimmy Carter.
The holiday’s supporters regrouped and intensified their efforts. Musician Stevie Wonder helped in 1981 by releasing the song “Happy Birthday” to promote the holiday. (He would later sing it at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial dedication in 2011).)
The King Center kept up its efforts. It organized a march on Washington that included an estimated 500,000 people. Coretta Scott King, along with Wonder, presented a petition signed by 6 million people to House leader Tip O’Neill.
The House took up the bill in 1983 and it passed by 53 votes. Democrats O’Neill and Jim Wright, along with Republicans Jack Kemp and Newt Gingrich, gave speeches supporting
the King holiday.
But getting the bill passed in the Senate would be contentious. Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina openly opposed it. At first, Helms introduced a filibuster, and then he presented a 400-page file that accused King of being a communist.
Senator Ted Kennedy criticized Helms and Senator Daniel Moynihan called the document “filth” and threw it on the Senate floor.
Despite Helms, the bill passed the Senate by 12 votes—even South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond voted in favor of the King holiday.
President Ronald Reagan signed the bill in November 1983. The first federal King holiday was celebrated in 1986.
It took longer for the 50 states to adopt the holiday. By 1986, 17 states had already adopted it. But there was strong resistance in Arizona to passing a state holiday.
The fight between state legislators came to a head when the King holiday was put up for an Arizona voter referendum in November 1990.
At that point, entertainers had started
Left, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is located in West Potomac Park next to the National Mall. The memorial covers four acres and includes the Stone of Hope, a granite statue of Civil Rights Movement leader Martin Luther King Jr. carved by sculptor Lei Yixin.
boycotting the state in protest, and the National Football League threatened to move the 1993 Super Bowl from Tempe if the holiday was defeated at the polls.
The King holiday lost in a two-part voter referendum and the NFL made good on its threat, taking the Super Bowl to Southern California and costing the state an estimated $500 million in revenue.
Arizona voters approved the King holiday two years later.
There was also a fight in South Carolina over the holiday. It was one of the last states to approve a paid King holiday for state employees in 2000.
The state’s governor had tried to link the holiday to a commitment to allow the state house to fly the Confederate battle flag. Instead, he signed a bill that approved the King holiday along with a Confederate Memorial Day celebrated in May.
Publishers Note: Our thanks to Annie Stone at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA for granting us permission to publish this piece from their blog – constitutioncenter.org - in print.
Bye, Bye Winter Blues!
The holidays are over and the winter blues have set in. You looked fabulous getting through the holiday parties, the trips to see Santa, and the late-night shopping adventures, but the hectic schedule and craziness have left you feeling blah. So, here’s how to survive the winter blues and look good doing it.
Take care of your skin
When your skin looks great, your makeup looks even better. During these cold, drab winter months, it’s easy for our skin to start looking dull and lifeless. A couple of ideas to jumpstart the appearance of your skin – apply a mask, experience a deep exfoliation, and apply a richer moisturizer. Try a mask that has rejuvenating properties. Masks that rejuvenate the skin work to exfoliate off dead skin and bring back its natural glow. These masks specifically get the blood flowing to the surface so that the skin looks youthful and glowing. A deep exfoliation will get rid of the layers of dull dry skin that have accumulated as a natural winter blanket on the skin. Most over the counter physical exfoliants – the granular ones – will do the trick. Chemical exfoliants with glycolic acid are also very effective. Finally, make sure to apply a richer moisturizer than usual. These winter months are incredibly dry and impact the skin’s natural moisture levels. Using a proper moisturizer is important in providing relief and in diminishing the look of dry, aging skin.
Take care of your hair
For many of us, our mood and how we approach the day is dependent upon the way our hair looks. Frizzy hair, split ends, and lifeless locks are consequences of the dry winter months. Frizzy locks are very common. There are many ways to help the hairs lay flat. Try a deep conditioning mask once a week or once a month, depending upon how frizzy the hair. Apply to the hair, wrap in a towel, and allow the hair to marinate in the conditioner. Rinse and let air dry to give your hair a break from the heat of a blow dryer. On a daily basis, use leave in conditioners and defrizzing styling products on the hair before heat styling. To combat split ends, get your coif trimmed frequently. Lifeless locks can be revived with a change in routine. Try a clarifying shampoo once a week to combat build up caused by using lots of hair products such as hair sprays, styling aids, and heavy conditioners.
Take care of your nails
With all the worries over flu season and winter colds, we tend to wash our hands more often in the winter months. This causes our hands to become dry and our nails brittle. Give your hands a treatment to keep them looking youthful and your nails healthy. Once a week, apply an extra deep moisturizer to your hands and wrap them in socks overnight. The next morning, your hands will feel smooth and be less dry and cracked. It will also help to improve the look of your nails as the moisturizer penetrates to make them less brittle and prone to breakage. For added protection and help, apply a cuticle moisturizer over the entire nail bed and cuticle area. Finally, keep nails trim and deal with breakage immediately by filing with an emery board to prevent further breakage.
Take care of your feet
Feet constrained in high heels and fancy shoes during the holiday season are in need of a respite. Nurture your tootsies with foot soaks, foot scrubs and foot moisturizers. Once a week, give your feet the soak they deserve. Look for foot soaks with moisturizing ingredients and soak them often. After the soak and while your feet are softer, use a foot file to scrub off the dead skin. Finally, apply a deep moisturizer to keep the feet feeling soft and smooth. As with your hands, try applying a deeply moisturizing foot cream and stuff your feet into socks overnight. The heat of the socks reacts with the moisturizer to make them softer and more hydrated the next day. Trying doing this once a week or as needed.
Starting the New Year Off Right
Ilove a new year. It almost seems like we can start all over, finally become that wonderful, productive, healthy, happy person we’ve always wanted to be. The trouble is, the enthusiasm to make changes, especially with exercise and diet, tends to fade once we realize we can’t change everything overnight. If you want to make lasting changes, there are three things you can do to make your resolutions work all year long: Adjust your attitude, change your lifestyle and come up with a plan for success.
If you have the wrong attitude about fitness, you’re already setting yourself up for failure.
Most people look at exercise as:
Punishment for bad eating
Time consuming Impossible to sustain over a long period of time
If any of these sound familiar, how long do you think you’ll stick with your program? Nobody wants to do something painful, boring or obligatory. Before you throw yourself into weight loss, get yourself a more positive attitude about exercise and figure out a new way to look at fitness
Try a different perspective and look at exercise as:
A break from a stressful workday
A way to boost energy and mood
The only time you’ll have to yourself all day
A chance to get totally physical and let your mind rest
A chance to reward your body for working so hard
A way to improve your quality of life immediately
One of the resolutions on every one’s list is weight loss. Remember that losing weight and maintaining that weight loss is a lifetime prospect. You will never stop working to maintain your fitness and weight. So, before you start that same old diet or exercise program, ask yourself this question: Can I sustain this diet for the long term? Is this exercise program something I can do every day? Once you recognize the gravity of permanently losing weight, you’ll need to change your lifestyle to accommodate this goal. Figure out your bad habits. Keep a food/ activity journal for an entire week. Do it without judgment or shame-you’re simply trying to figure out what you’re doing every day that may be hurting your weight loss goals. Then work towards replacing those bad habits, one at a time, with different habits. Experts know that you can’t break bad habits without forming new ones. If you take away your daily Egg McMuffin and don’t replace it with something else you’ll drift right back into the old McDonald’s habit. This may sound simplistic, and it is. Giving up something yummy for something healthy isn’t easy. You have to change your environment to make it impossible to have or even want that Egg McMuffin. Get started with these ideas. Decide what you’ll eat instead of fast food. Stock up on breakfast foods
you like, keep meal replacement bars in the car or try healthy fruit shakes or smoothies. Eat before you get in the car so you won’t be starving and, therefore, tempted to hit the drive thru. Change your driving route to work so you don’t even pass by McDonald’s. Don’t carry cash in the car (even if you DO have the urge to indulge, you won’t be able to), write down your weight loss goal and tape it to your steering wheel or your glove compartment so, when you’re reaching for your wallet, you’re immediately reminded your goals.
Your best chance at making your resolutions last is to make a plan for success. A few simple steps taken ahead of time can save you time and energy. Once you have figured out how to change your bad eating habits by replacing them with good ones, you’ve learned to create an environment that doesn’t allow those bad habits to exist. Now, you need to make a plan for what you really want. Write down specific goals you have (not just ‘I want to lose weight.’). List everything, for example: How much weight you want to lose. Make sure the amount of weight you want to lose is reasonable for your height and frame. Next, set a target date to reach your goals. Make sure you’ve given yourself a reasonable amount of time to reach that goal (a safe bet would be to lose a pound a week). Also write down the reasons why you want to lose weight (you are getting married or want to look good in a bathing suit for summer). Think about how you will feel once you reach your goals. Trying to set small goals throughout your program is a good way to keep yourself motivated.
Plan ahead to figure out how you’ll maintain your weight loss once you reach your goal (remember, it’s a lifetime thing-even when you reach your goal-you can’t quit!).
Now that you have your goals set, it is time to set up a fitness program! To set up a good routine, you’ll need to know the basics of a complete program. Your program need to involve cardio, strength training and stretching. Easing your way into a new workout will ensure that you do not get overwhelmed and that you can stay committed. If you are already a member of a gym, try signing up for a single personal training session and have a trainer show you how to use some of the cardio and weight machines. If hiring a personal trainer is not in your budget, grab your best friend and get them to commit to two days a week with you. When you have someone else who is depending on you to be there it gives you a bit more motivation to get up and get to the gym. If you feel that working out on your own is not going to work, try signing up for a class. Group classes are a great way to stay motivated and, believe it or not, they can be fun!
The important thing to remember is that losing weight and staying fit requires that you change your lifestyle. You have to change the way you think about exercise and eating; change the way you schedule your day and how you prioritize your tasks. It’s easy to lose a few pounds, but it’s hard to keep them off for good. Being prepared for what’s ahead is your first step in the right direction.
Good luck in the New Year!
Cast a S.P.E.L.L. on Stress!
tension for 20 seconds to help reduce anxiety. It will take some time and practice before you really notice the benefits. For example, clench your fist firmly for 10 seconds then slowly release that tension and remain relaxed for 20 seconds. Do not hold your breath during any of these exercises (flexibility too). Progress your way to other muscle groups and focus on releasing the tension completely. A quiet place is helpful to practice progressive relaxation.
Ease in To the New Year
intended) the importance of laughter. Medical studies have shown that laughter increases the level of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killer, and lowers epinephrine levels, the stress hormones. Laughter helps connect people emotionally, improves mental alertness and mood. It has too many benefits to fully cover within this article, but has watching a funny movie ever put you in a bad mood?
I didn’t think so. I truly believe that laughter is the best medicine.
I hope all of
had a memorable holiday season and happy new year!
After all of the hustle and bustle that the holidays bring (gift returns, credit card bills, writing thank you notes, tolerating shopping crowds), it’s very easy to accumulate stress. Everyone has their own unique way of handling stress, but I would like you to consider these healthy ways to cope with it all.
Stretch Your Muscles
Flexibility is one of the most neglected aspects of staying healthy. It’s not only good for your muscles, tendons, and joints, but it also can
have a calming effect. Take a few minutes each day to gently stretch the major muscle groups of your body (Neck, shoulders, chest, torso, lowback, hips & legs). Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds several times a day. Your local health professional can show you safe, effective stretching techniques to help relieve that stress.
Practice Progressive Relaxation
This is a relaxation technique that you can do sitting in a chair at work or lying in a bed. It involves tensing particular muscle groups for 10 seconds, and then releasing that
Approach the New Year slowly. Give yourself time to get back into a new routine or return to your pre-holiday mode.
Listen to Your Favorite Music
Music is powerful and can help change your state of mind. Stress relief doesn’t always come in the form of relaxation. Depending upon what type of music you like, it can calm you down or get you going. Music can make you forget about life’s problems for a little while.
I can’t stress enough (no pun
Stress will always be a part of your life, there’s just no getting around it. How you cope with it is what matters. There are many more healthy ways to handle stress, but these four activities can help you keep your worries to a minimum.
About the Author: Unverzagt holds a 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.
Pouring a Legend
When looking into the tournament goodie bag 40 years ago, the pack of Zoom centipedes on the bottom of the bag didn’t interest me. No legs, no tail, no nothing. Just a French fry-shaped slab of plastic. Not catching my interest, how could it interest a fish. So, I stashed them in the bottom of the boat for a few years. reparing for another tournament, we found fish were biting Carolina rigged lizards. Lots of them. Not wanting to burn up the supply, the bag of centipedes volunteered to be a place keeper. Surprisingly, these do-nothing baits produced bigger fish. Excitement and anticipation followed and a trip to the local tackle shop came up empty. There was no internet, no Amazon, and no way there would be centipedes for the impending tournament.
Seeing a frowning face, my wife suggested making some. Impossible I said. Never having poured soft plastics or even knowing anything about it, I was at the mercy of my spouse. She gathered up some plaster of Paris and took the single remaining centipede and poured the molding solution over the bait and the next day, we had a single cavity mold. Using old soft plastics and the microwave, a centipede was born. However, after cooling, it was learned that plastic shrinks when cooled. Putting the baits back in the mold, more plastic was poured. Since coloring wasn’t an exact science, this homemade version was a
laminate. A few days later the two-tone bait performed like magic. I loved it and so did the fish. So intrigued with this bait, it became my primary lure, not only for Carolina rigs, but for split shot and drop shot rigs. It was so effective that my guide clients wanted to take a few home to try in their home waters. But the single cavity mold couldn’t keep up with my demand… and the plaster of Paris mold was crumbling. I found a Lure Craft catalog. Lo and behold they had silicon molds with five cavities and soft plastic liquid, dyes, and glitter. Now I was ready to pour to my heart’s content. But I became more specific on colors. A short pour of green pumpkin with black flake topped with watermelon with red and sometimes orange flake. This bait gave me 25 years of service with happy guide clients.
Lure Craft created a bait pouring monster. I learned to use a simple injector along with aluminum molds for precision injecting. Stickworms and baby brush hogs filled out nearly all of my soft plastic needs. Recently small 3.8 Swimbaits found their way into my angling arsenal as swim jig trailers and as stand-alone swimbaits. A call to Lure Craft and chatting with Kim Straley, I decide to give swimbaits a try. When the molds arrived, all of my dyes and glitter were summoned to create something no one else had. A slight pour of clear plastic on the sides followed by an injection, mixing and matching dyes and glitter a
Potomac River Bassing in January
Target hard cover near drops as fish head into winter holes. Downsize to GAMMA 6-pound test Edge fluorocarbon either as a main line or leader with 10-pound test GAMMA Torque braid on reels with smooth drags.
Drop shot, shaky head, and split shot are best bets. Use Mustad 1/0 Mega Bite hooks along with 3/16-ounce Water Gremlin BullShot weights for drop shots and split shots. Time for 3” avocado stingray grubs on ¼ ounce ball head jigs made with Mustad Ultra Point hooks. Also break out hair jigs with matching chunks. Use slow horizontal presentations. Soak soft plastics
dozen baits were created. They looked good to me, now it was time to find out what the fish thought.
Taking the finished product to the lake, I chose my first color. It was chartreuse with green and purple glitter in clear sides. The fish loved it. I decided to shoot some video to share my discovery on my YouTube channel, NationalBassGuide. After a few fish were caught on the homemade bait, I went to a second color, then a third and then a fourth, all worked to fool the fish. Lesson learned that color doesn’t matter all the time.
Hand poured baits are back in style as finesse fishing has taken hold. Regional garage businesses and anglers know what colors work on their bodies of water. Flat side stigma is no longer an issue, as laminating colors supersedes injected round baits. However, there were limitations to how much detail and appendages could be easily poured into open cavity molds. Mass produced, intricately detailed and durable aluminum injection molds became readily available and this
and jigs in bait spray.
Time for ½ ounce Silver Buddy lures: silver when sunny, gold when cloudy, on 10-pound test GAMMA EDGE on casting reels on spinnerbait rods with tip flex for casting and hook-setting backbone. On all of these, keep an eye on the sharpness.
Flat-sided cranks on 10-pound test EDGE work along warmed surfaces. Shad patterns in clearer water or sunny days, craw otherwise. When water reaches 50, try suspending jerkbaits
allowed the recreation of any soft plastic lure, including the Senko. Patent security and exclusivity were not protected by many bait makers as they were cost prohibitive to defend. The result? Many bait molds are available.
Today, this hobby has been adopted by many anglers across the country. It doesn’t take a huge investment to get started. In business for over 48 years LureCraft has silicon molds of just about every soft plastic ever made and ones never seen before as well as
fishing catching supplies to fill tackle boxes. And if there’s a bait they don’t have, they supply the silicon to easily create a unique recreation of your lucky old favorites. If you have the imagination and creativity, pouring soft plastic lures can be enjoyable and they work!
Author Capt. Steve Chaconas is a Potomac bass fishing guide & freelance writer. Potomac River reports: nationalbass. com. YouTube channel NationalBassGuide.
My Vision for 2023
Is it me or was 2022 mildly to moderately crappy?
In retrospect, for me it was akin to riding my bike across a long, flat highway. In other words, it was a grind, days to be flipped on the calendar. And, December was especially brutal. A sweet little five year old boy my husband and I had come to know died unexpectedly. Heart wrenching.
Everyone seemed to be going through something big and heavy. Maybe it’s always been that way and/ or I’m noticing it more because I’m getting older and that’s what happens. People get sick, bury parents—or even children—divorce, etc. Cancer, addiction and grief seemed to be the buzzwords for the year, and that’s just flat out wrong.
So, I’m envisioning a brighter, more joyous 2023, and I’ve come to realize that’s an inside job. Maybe 2022 felt like I was dragging around a wet blanket because I was the wet blanket. So, instead of a facelift, I’m giving myself an uplift.
Of course, many of us start the year with some resolutions that fall apart with the first hang over of the year. I’ll probably make some of those because at this point it’s a solid tradition. This year, however, instead of using them as failure points to beat myself up about,
I’ll use them as directional compass points to guide me towards SMART goals.
Another thing I love to do is create a vision board. If you’ve never done one, I highly encourage you grab your glue sticks and old magazines stat. Besides giving a purpose to that stack of mags gathering dust, you can make a fun girls’ night out of it. Everyone brings their fave mags; I usually provide the poster board, glue sticks, scissors, and wine. We all gather around the table and start flipping and ripping.
The thing about gathering images is to not give it too much thought. If something appeals to you and/or you’re drawn to it, rip it out and set it aside. Once you have a nice pile of pics, start placing them on your board and when you’re happy with it, glue them down. BONUS—It can become a great piece of art for your home office.
I love looking back on mine, and I’m often surprised by the things that have actually come to fruition. Actually, a memory came up on Facebook recently of a vision board party from years ago, and one of my friends commented how my beach themed board had come to life as my husband and I bought a beach house in 2018. Ha!
Again—the thing about vision boards is to have fun and not overthink it. Once it’s done, put it somewhere you can see it occasionally. You don’t have to pray at the altar of your images, but merely look at them because they make you happy.
Another ritual I’m thinking of resurrecting is writing morning pages. I’ve been a fan of morning pages ever since reading Julia Cameron’s amazing book The Artist’s Way. As the name suggests, morning pages are to be written upon waking. Roll over, grab a pen and a notebook and start writing. Like the vision board, it’s not a thinking exercise, but rather a doing one. It’s a brain dump. Angry at your boss? Let ‘er rip. Thinking about the bread you have to pick up? Write about it. No typing allowed. No lap tops or iPads. This is old school pen to paper motion. There’s something magical about it, and I’m ready to get back to it as I need some magic in my life.
And, I think that’s the answer. Last year felt a bit lackluster, and I don’t want to think the magic is gone so it’s up to me to find joy in the every day. I got sidelined by COVID in late November so my exercise routine came to a halt. Exercise has always
helped lift me in countless ways. There’s nothing like a brisk walk and breathing in some fresh air to get the endorphins dancing. And, hey—if it’s too cold to walk outside, I can always turn on the tunes and have a private dance party. I’ll channel the 1990’s version of myself and get my jazzercise vibe glowing. My leotards and body suits are long gone, but I’ve still got my dance moves!
There’s always good to be found and something to be grateful for, and while I’m grateful 2022 is in my rearview mirror, I’m also grateful for the opportunity to break open a brand new calendar. It’s one of my favorite things. The first thing I do is write in everyone’s birthdays. As I write their name by their special day, my mind pulls up wonderful memories and I think of how blessed I am to have all these amazing people in my life. I look forward to celebrating them, and I see the possibilities that lie ahead and all the potential for cake in my future.
I resolve to be a joy seeker this year. I hope you will join me on the journey, but regardless, I wish you a joyful, healthy and well—mentally and physically—new year.
About the Author: Lori is a local writer, painter and pet lover who loves to share her experiences and expertise with our readers. She has been penning a column for the OTC for over 20 years. Please follow Lori online on Medium for more missives like this.
The Harbor is In S-L-O-W Mode …
….with the exception of the 20th Anniversary of MAGFest, aka Music and Gaming Festival, taking place at the Gaylord Resort from the 5th through the 8th. This year’s gathering is classified as a SUPER MAGFest!
I was introduced to MAGFest several years ago. I was living in the Harbor at the time and on one of my “walkabouts” I saw literally hundreds of people pretty much dressed the same (faded jeans, plaid shirts and a several in what I would call odd costumes) unloading case upon case of water, energy drinks, etc. in front of every hotel in the Harbor. It appears that being a 24 hour-a-day gamer is very dehydrating.
Here is the Readers Digest explanation of MAGFest:
MAGFest, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization -- that’s right! MAGFest is more than just a fun musical festival to party at several times a year! Our status as a non-profit organization is a way for us to further our mission statement, which is:
MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE THROUGH VIDEO GAMES.
We achieve this through numerous events, such as Super MAGFest, MAGWest, MAGStock, and Bit Gen Gamer Fest. During these events, we also support other not-for-profit organizations, such as Child’s Play.
Primary goals of MAGFest include:
• -To educate the public about video game music, art, and history.
-To promote public appreciation of video game music, art, and history.
-To preserve for posterity the culture and history of video games.
Being of a certain age I immediately thought that this was a gathering of teenagers and college kids who hung out to play video games. Upon closer inspection, I saw people from every age group gravitating to the Resort to “begin the games”. It really is pretty sophisticated and fodder for some amazing people watching. For everything you need to know about this event check out super.magfest. com.
Back to Slow Mode…the month of January is a good time of the year to take a spin on the Wheel on a crisp clear day – hoping we will have several of those – without having to stand in line. The gondolas are heated and offer a fantastic view of the river front on both sides. On Saturdays and Sundays through the month of January they are offering a “Brew & View” package that includes your ticket, a beverage (alcoholic or non) of your choice (no need to drink a brew if you don’t want to) and a souvenir cup all for a mere $20!
Treat yourself to one of the many amazing eateries in the Harbor without having to deal with crowds and a ton of kids milling around. Bond 45 and Fiorella’s are two of my favorites near the water and
This month is a good time to check out the latest addition to the Harbor - Spirit Park. I wrote a piece about it as it was in the last throes of construction in October and seeing it in completion is very impressive. The flag is amazing but the iron sculptures of the bison family are my favorite parts. Also a good opportunity in the cold weather is to head up the hill to the MGM for another form of fabulous people watching and to spend some of that Christmas money you got in your stocking. I have targeted a portion of my take and I am actually pretty lucky at the video poker - it’s about the only thing I can afford besides the slots. If you aren’t a gambler, just sitting in the Conservatory among the seasonal décor is a treat. The holiday theme will be coming down mid-month and the winter display will be up and running around the 20th. If you didn’t get a chance to see the Christmas theme last month, it is worth checking out.
Wishing all of you a very Happy New Year and a Prosperous 2023!