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Since 1988 • Priceless

From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

February 2020

Celebrating President’s Day and Black History Month oldtowncrier.com


Setting the Standard In Old Town Since 1979

february’20 A Division of Crier Media Group OTC Media LLC PO Box 320386 Alexandria, VA 22320 571-257-5437 office@oldtowncrier.com oldtowncrier.com Published the first week of every month. Worth waiting for! PUBLISHER Bob Tagert MARKETING & ADVERTISING Lani Gering Bob Tagert Meg Mullery SOCIAL MEDIA & WEBSITE Ashley Schultz DESIGN & PRODUCTION Electronic Ink 9 Royal Street, SE Leesburg, VA 20175 703. 669. 5502 CONTRIBUTORS Meg Mullery Melinda Myers Ron Powers Kim Putens Julie Reardon Ashley Schultz Jaime Stephens Bob Tagert Carl Trevisan Ryan Unverzagt Lori Welch Brown Molly Winans

Peggie Arvidson Nancy Bauer Sarah Becker F. Lennox Campello Steve Chaconas Scott Dicken Doug Fabbioli Nicole Flanagan Lani Gering Miriam Kramer Genevieve LeFranc Sarah Liu

© 2018 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............................................................. 18


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

After Hours.......................................................................11

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

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

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

From the Trainer............................................................43

Road Trip...........................................................................28

Alexandria Symphony Orchestra '19-'20 Season....11

Gallery Beat.....................................................................12

Arts & Antiques..............................................................13

Go Fish...............................................................................45

Behind the Bar................................................................32


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

High Notes.......................................................................10

Cooking Corner..............................................................36

National Harbor.............................................................47

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

Old Town's Best Happy Hours.................................35

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

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

Exploring Virginia Wines............................................39

Open Space.....................................................................46

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

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

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

Valentine’s Day Special................................................. 6

First Blush.........................................................................42

Personality Profile............................................................ 4

Why We Celebrate President’s Day.......................... 7

Social Media Message................................................... 2 Special Feature: Leap Year.........................................17 Spiritual Renaissance...................................................44 Take Photos, Leave Footprints......................................14 The Last Word.................................................................... 9 To the Blue Ridge..........................................................26

From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Since 1988 • Priceless

February 2020

On the road with OTC

Celebrating President’s Day and Black History Month oldtowncrier.com


about the cover Celebrating President's Day and Black History Month Washington, Lincoln and Douglass. Photo by Lani Gering

Old Town Crier

Alexandria residents and world travelers Mike and Betty McAndrews took a copy of the OTC along on a cruise down the Rhine River in Europe. The Viking ship sailed through 4 countries stopping at a number of towns to visit centuries old castles, cathedrals, historical sites and Christmas Markets that featured displays of local culture, cuisine, wines, pastries and other specialty items. If you would like to see your photo in this space, take a high resolution shot and email it with a description for the caption to office@oldtowncrier.com. February 2020 | 1



As we welcome February, the weather has been pretty dry and reasonably to unseasonally warm. Hopefully February will continue that trend. I wanted to give a shout out to our friend and local Alexandria talent, Johnny Artis who recently underwent heart surgery. Our thoughts and best wishes go out to him. I am also sad to report that Kris Davis, wife of RT’s Restaurant owner Ralph Davis passed away last month. Our prayers go out to Ralph and his family in this difficult time. Here is a short recap of what to expect in this issue: This kind of February only comes along once every four years. It is Leap Year. Meg Mullery writes about this Irish Legend and resetting of the earth’s rotation with our calendar in a Special Feature. For a little nostalgia we took a Road Trip to Rehoboth Beach to embrace a 50-year-old memory. If you plan to go to the U.S. Virgin Islands this winter, Caribbean Connection gives you all of the information you need to get from St. Thomas to St. John. In From the Trainer, Ryan Unverzagt updates his “Sweetheart” exercises for St. Valentine’s Day/Month and in Fitness, Nicole Flanagan addresses exercising in cold weather. In From the Bay Molly Winans gives you five reasons to go sailing in 2020. In Take Photos, Leave Footprints Scott Dicken writes about his wife’s bout with acute mountain sickness. In a Bit of History Sarah Becker explores early Alexandria and writes of Colored Rosemont-A Black History Lesson. In Grapevine Nancy Bauer discusses the virtues of Virginia Wineries in the winter and spring. This month we combined our Personality and Business Profiles as Lani Gering introduces Tia Blount...a force to be reckoned with! In High Notes Ron Powers introduces us to the Mowgli’s, a Los Angeles based pop-rock band and their new single, Wasting Time. Lori Welch Brown has another stellar column for you in Open Space-it’s a must read. I hope everyone has a great February and takes advantage of that extra day. Don’t forget to attend the largest President’s Day parade in the USA right here in our own backyard on the 17th! Wishing everyone a very Happy Valentine’s Dayspend it with someone you love.

Having some fireside fun with the restaurant manager of Victoria’s Restaurant in the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel. Say hello to Kathy when you stop in.



Reconnecting with Lost Loves with a Click


ocial media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter are not just for venting about the latest political turmoil or posting trending gifs or memes. For years, people have been using sites like these to reconnect with old friends and lost loves. In some cases, those reconnections have led to love, marriage, and happilyever-afters. Let me tell you about two couple’s stories that I was able to find online and how their love grew and blossomed through social media. Also, names have been changed for their privacy. It was 1983 when Julie Aldridge and Jason Hamm met in seventh grade - they continued to be friends throughout high school. In eighth grade, Hamm 2 | February 2020

gave Aldridge a gold angel his mother made for her Christmas tree. Every year Aldridge put it on her Christmas tree and could not help but think of him. The last time the two friends saw each other was graduation day, 1989. Aldridge married and had three children, but later divorced. In 2011, Hamm saw on Facebook that Aldridge was going through a divorce, as was he. He decided to message Aldridge, “I know we haven’t seen each other in over 20 years, but I’m here if you want to talk.” A few days later, they started talking, messaging back and forth for two months before they finally decided it was time to see each other again. Over the next few years, they regained their friendship and then grew even closer, falling in love.

In 2018, Hamm proposed to Aldridge, and they now live together. Bob Alan and Christine Ross met in high school in 1986. They were the best of friends. Alan was always there for Ross, driving her through snowstorms and listening when she needed someone to talk to. Six years later, when Ross found herself pregnant and alone, Alan was there by her side. “He drove me to and attended all of my doctors’ appointments, and stayed with me when I was hospitalized because of pregnancy complications,” said Ross. After her daughter was born in 1992, Ross focused on her new role as mother and slowly lost contact with Alan. Following a marriage and another child, Ross divorces and

once again, it was Alan who showed up to see if she was OK. “He cooked dinners for us, took my kids to the park, helped me when I needed help and treated my children like his own,” she said. The pair decided to finally start dating in 1993, but it was not the right time for Ross, so they bid farewell until 2007, when Ross, who was ill at the time, moved to Florida to live with her parents. “My sister messaged me that Alan had found her on Facebook and was asking about me,” said Ross. Ross accepted Alan’s friend request, and once again, the pair started talking as if they hadn’t been separated for so many years. The only problem-Ross was now engaged. “But this time is was different,” she said. “I had feelings for Bob I didn’t

have before, so I broke off my engagement and told Alan.” Ross moved back to New York with Alan to start their life together. “I loved her strength and courage to overcome anything, and the way she put everyone else’s needs, wants and desires ahead of her own,” Alan said. “We always had a fun and unique friendships and it just felt like there was not time that we were ever apart.” In 2011, they married with a son of their own and a grandchild. “We look forward to our future life together thanks to Facebook, “ said Ross. So for all those singles out there, you never know, maybe that one that got away, or the one you were to scared to talk to, is just a click away. Old Town Crier


MORE EVENTS: 18th Century Dance Classes January 30, February 6 and February 13, 2020, 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Gadsby’s Tavern Museum


In preparation for George Washington’s Birthnight Ball on February 15, 2020, learn 18th-century English country dancing from expert dance instructors at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. Tickets are $12 per class or $30 for the series. Reservations are recommended. For more information, visit AlexandriaVA.gov/ Shop or call 703-746-4242.

Chocolate with General Washingto February 8, 2020, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., George Washington Masonic National Memorial Children and accompanying adults are invited to spend an hour with General Washington talking about the events of the revolution, asking questions of our first citizen and enjoying hot chocolate and delicious comestibles. To learn more, visit WashingtonBirthday.com or call 703-829-6640. FREE

Breakfast & Meeting of the Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association February 17, 2020, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., The Westin Alexandria Old Town Meet special guests and enjoy a hearty breakfast with members of this historic association at this annual tradition. Be there for the first appearance of the day of General and Lady Washington and a talk by a renowned special guest. Tickets are $40. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www. FriendshipFireCo.org or call 703-829-6640.

Hunt for Washington February 17, 2020, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Parade Reviewing Stand

Photo: Tisara


Alexandria Celebrates George Washington’s Birthday With More Than 15 Events Throughout February


housands will join in the revelry for the 288th anniversary of George Washington’s birth in his adopted hometown of Alexandria, Virginia. The city celebrates the General’s birthday throughout the month of February with more than 15 festive events, including the George Washington Birthday Parade, a Cherry Challenge among Alexandria’s restaurants, free admission to historic sites, popular walking tours and an 18th-century banquet and ball. Alexandria is a “best of ” when it comes to the spectrum of sites and special events associated with General Washington. With George Washington’s Mount Vernon just eight miles south of historic Old Town, more than 140 locations in present-day Alexandria are associated with the nation’s first president who conducted business, gathered with friends, worshiped and even owned a townhouse in the city. For complete event information, visit www.VisitAlexandriaVA.com/GWbday.

Enjoy a fun and challenging game to uncover clues about Alexandria and George Washington. The hunt, which should take about an hour to 90 minutes to complete, will take you to a few of the places in Alexandria associated with the General. You will learn some fun facts about the father of our country and visit several historic sites around Old Town as you search for the answers to the clues. Start by picking up a clue sheet at the Parade Reviewing Stand after 10 a.m. and then use your sleuthing skills to find answers to the clues. There are prizes and mementos associated with this new event. For more information, visit www.WashingtonBirthday.com or call 703-829-6640. FREE

Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the Revolution February 17, 2020, 11 a.m., Old Presbyterian Meeting House Join the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Sons of the American Revolution as they honor the soldiers of the Revolution at the Old Presbyterian Meeting House (321 S. Fairfax St.). FREE

Concert at Market Square February 17, 2020, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., Market Square Come enjoy a one-hour concert by the parade marching band units and other musical units in honor of the General and Lady Washington at Market Square. FREE

Armed Forces Community Covenant Ceremony February 17, 2020, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., Market Square Salute our nation’s veterans and active military, and sign the community covenant document showing your support for our armed forces and their families at this special ceremony at the Parade Reviewing Stand adjacent to Market Square. FREE



February 17, 2020, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Old Town Alexandria The nation’s largest George Washington Birthday Parade marches a one-mile route through the streets of Old Town Alexandria. The parade grand marshal is RADM Robert Shumaker (ret.) who had a distinguished career in the United States Navy. As a fighter pilot during the Vietnam War, he was shot down on a mission and spent the next eight years as a POW. At the Pentagon, as a Rear Admiral, he was responsible for coordinating the research efforts of the Navy’s air, surface, electronics and space activities and was a finalist in the Apollo astronaut selection. This year’s parade is dedicated to Kathleen Kelly (1944-2019), a volunteer for Historic Alexandria for more than 30 years. For more information, including parking, maps, route and status, visit www.WashingtonBirthday.com or call 703-829-6640. FREE THE CELEBRATION CONTINUES > PAGE 7

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February 2020 | 3



Networking with former clients

TAPYOUR ASSETS Emerging from ‘Prison’ to Becoming an Entrepreneur, Investor, and Savings Passionista

L. Tia Blount is a force to be reckoned with. I met Tia a few weeks ago after I had been eavesdropping on the conversation she was having sitting next to me and she immediately had me in awe. In the course of the 26 years that I have been associated with the Old Town Crier, I have had the opportunity to meet an assortment of fascinating people who have wonderful stories to tell. When I approached Tia about being a candidate for a Personality Profile, little did I know where it would lead. I asked her to send me some more info about herself as resource material but when I got what you are reading in this month’s column I decided no one could tell her story better than she. This was first published in Amazon best seller “Desire, Discipline & Determination: Lessons from Bold Thought Leaders”. Enjoy the read. – Lani Gering, Co-Publisher

“When I grow up, I want to be visible.”


trange coming from a five-year-old girl. Typically, at that age, thoughts turn to becoming a doctor, lawyer, or even a princess. I was born in the late 70s and raised by a single parent in a lowincome household in southeast Washington, DC. During those days—many fell victim to the crack cocaine epidemic in the District—either becoming users or dealers, an inevitable fate that didn’t appear to be open to revision, and where both sides were met with disastrous ends. My mother worked tirelessly to move us out of “the projects.” Those long work hours often translated into nights, or even weeks, at my grandmother’s house. My beloved grandmother was a mother of 14 children, a devoted missionary, and a pillar in the community. Under her roof, there were always people coming and going. They’d come to experience powerful, soulstirring sermons from the Top: Tia and former classmates small, makeshift church in her headed out to zipline in Costa Rica. basement, and often leave with Bottom: Tia (next to last) with friends bags filled with clothing, toys, at Carnival in Nassau, Bahamas and other supplies received as 4 | February 2020

donations for her nonprofit. With so much movement in and out of my grandmother’s home, I often went unnoticed, and so did my sexual abuse. My environment reflected my mental and emotional outlook—underdeveloped and poverty-stricken. Inside my grandmother’s home, family often slept three or four to a bed, roach infestations were common place, and food was boxed, canned, and scarce. Outside, the spattering of gun shots, the ruckus shouts of drunkards stammering home, and the ballet of police sirens created an obnoxious urban symphony that made it impossible to sleep. Those long nights and silent cries were met with a burning desire for freedom from my environment and from undetected molestation at the hands of an older male relative. With what little resources I had at my disposal, I eventually learned to tap into two of my earliest known ASSets: imagination and writing. Armed with a pen, paper, a vivid imagination and visualization—I would sit up for hours writing and constructing my future. I literally wrote my way out of this mental prison, out of my environment, into college, and into a career in global health communications.

I’d go on to visit nearly 30 countries to experience the very images I had imagined during my childhood “time travels,” a coping mechanism I unwittingly adopted to disassociate or minimize the emotional pain. Early in my career I spent time building clinical trial networks and extending communications capacity across some of the most remote villages in Africa. I worked for two large NGOs whose missions were to accelerate the development of prevention technologies for HIV/AIDS and malaria respectively. My time outside of work was devoted to learning about personal finance, real estate, and investing. Having no formal education except for the in-home stock market courses taught by my dogged Vietnamese investment coach Hai Nguyen, I was determined to save (and eventually invest) every dollar I could. Tapping the ASSets of discipline and determination, I studied and crunched numbers, assembled and disassembled budgets, studied spending patterns, and learned to control unhealthy emotions around spending. Through monthly budget development and weekly tracking, I created a budgeting system that took me from $1 in savings to over $1500 a month.

With the savings created, I began dabbling in the stock market, mostly through trial and error, and investing in several other ASSets including mutual funds and real estate. Taking a slow, steady, and systematic approach, I grew $1 in savings to over a quarter of a million in ASSets in less than 10 years. I knew this was the kind of money and system that could change lives, particularly those who grew up in similar neighborhoods. I shared my system and created hundreds in monthly savings for individuals, couples, families, women’s groups, and churches. I became a savings passionista (one with a passion and skill for savings), an avid investor, and a budget coach. I found an uncanny parallel in my ability to help organizations save time and money extending into the millions, on marketing and business solutions. I believe it was partly my ability to develop strategies, map critical paths, dissect budgets, and evaluate what was critical and what was fluff. After a prosperous nine-year climb up the corporate ladder and establishing a home-based business devoted to budget coaching and debt elimination, PERSONALITY PROFILE > PAGE 5

Old Town Crier


2008 hit like a tsunami, destroying everything in its path. For the next four years, my life was reminiscent of a town devastated by storm. I was left to rummage through the rubble to find what was left of any semblance of normalcy. My business suffered during the recession, my five years of marriage ended in divorce, and I was left to pay several mortgages that resulted in foreclosure proceedings on my primary residence. I lost my job in 2012 due to funding shortages. To add insult to injury, my health was being challenged by a spinal disorder that limited my range of motion. I felt emotionally, physically, and mentally broken. The mental prison I thought I had escaped as a child was once again threatening me with steel bars and a powerful grip. I battled with depression and turned to alcohol and overeating as coping mechanisms. I settled into this pattern until a close colleague saw a familiar pain in my eyes and suggested I see a counselor. I reluctantly agreed although I wasn’t convinced I had a problem. My counselor diagnosed me with post-traumatic stress disorder and suggested a treatment plan. Sessions were grueling. We were able to unearth memories I thought I had laid to rest. I discovered that I had merely swept my traumas under the proverbial rug and pretended to function as normal. I often overcompensated in areas of my life (i.e., my career) to avoid the sense of powerlessness and fear I felt as a child. When faced with setbacks or “triggers,” feelings that lay dormant and unresolved rose to the surface. Session after session, I separated what “happened” in my past from “the stories” I told myself. This myopic cognitive dissonance framed my beliefs about self, men in general, and my inability to trust. Once I channeled these negative emotions, I learned to release them and tap into the ASSet of positive thought. I applied the same desire, discipline, and determination to my mental, physical, and spiritual health as I had to my career and my finances. I incorporated rituals of prayer, meditation, scripture reading, journaling, exercise, and positive affirmations. I learned about my triggers and practiced healthy dialogue rather than becoming frustrated and Old Town Crier

reverting to unhealthy coping mechanisms. My process led to an increase in compassion, forgiveness, and a commitment to advocate for others who suffer in silence. Ironically, this breakthrough in mind-body-spirit alignment resulted in a breakthrough in my career. In late 2012, I landed a gig as director of marketing for a Marylandbased real estate developer that preserves affordable housing and provides life-changing programs and services for low- to- moderate-income families. While going through my internal transformation, I managed to transform the culture of the organization in the process. During my sixyear tenure, I created a new organizational culture, raised our visibility and profile, helped expand our real estate portfolio and geographic footprint, assisted in securing additional resources, and was promoted to vice president of external relations. Day by day, one calculated step at a time, I rebuilt other areas of my life, including my credit and the remnants of dwindling ASSets that I had worked so hard to accumulate. With my mind, body, and spirit aligned through counseling, daily rituals, and with the help of chiropractic, acupuncture, and reiki (energy work) for my spine, I discovered the ASSets of wellness, balance, and confidence—ASSets that had only existed in principle up to this point. By early 2017, the developer I worked for became such an attractive company that the CEO decided to merge with a national intermediary. He approached me to lead the due diligence and transition planning phases of the corporate merger, a process that would ultimately result in firing myself and other support functions that were duplicated in the larger organization. After getting over the initial shock and disappointment, I tapped the ASSet of positive thought and decided to view this as an opportunity. I also tapped the ASSet of confidence to negotiate an aggressive retention package and took on a new role as chief of strategy charged with leading the transition. Upon signing my walking papers at the end of 2017, I took a much-needed sabbatical to clear my head, ideate on next steps, and travel to eight countries. During this period of reflection and realignment, I tapped into my mentors as ASSets and sought guidance,

encouragement, and wisdom. I had several conversations with my business mentor and good friend Ype Von Hengst, cofounder, COO, and vice president of culinary operations of Silver Diner, a successful restaurant chain across Maryland and Virginia. I reconnected with one of my real estate coaches Ronnie Lucas, an avid investor who introduced me to my first international real estate deal in Salvador Bahia, Brazil. I also met my newest mentor, Kyle Wilson, the mastermind behind Jim Rohn International and coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur’s Soul. Kyle encouraged and gave me a platform to share my story. While abroad, I applied for several jobs, one of which resulted in an offer for a C-Suite (chief marketing officer) position working in community development. While this opportunity would have been the normal career progression, my spirit spoke from a different place. I was tired of not standing in my full potential and allowing fear of uncertainty, criticism, and failure to have a grip on my life. Deep within my soul I could hear that five-year-old girl crying, this time loudly and audibly, “I want to be VISIBLE.” This yearning is now translated as my desire to have an impact on those who feel helpless with respect to personal finance and those who want to increase their visibility and profitability in business. In 2018, I tapped the ASSet of faith and transformed my fledgling consultancy initially established in 2012—one that took on clients on an ad-hoc basis—into a fully operational firm that blends my passion and purpose. I am now the founder of Saving Solutions, a boutique firm that specializes in saving individuals and businesses time and money on three powerful solutions: buzz marketing, business development, and budgeting. I continue to coach individuals, couples, and families on using my R.E.A.L.I.S.T.I.C budget method, one that can create hundreds in monthly savings. I am also a real estate and novice stock market investor that started with nothing but the desire, determination, and discipline to break the poverty cycle, move beyond living paycheck-to-paycheck, and escape what Robert Kiyosaki refers to as the “rat race”. If you’re wondering what this whole ASSet business is all about, now is where I give you the punch line. Over the years,

I’ve discovered that ASSets are far greater than tangible possessions measurable in terms of money (i.e., stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, gold, etc.). An ASSet can also be intangible (i.e., valuable qualities, characteristics, people, or resources). The capitalization of “ASS” in ASSet, as referenced throughout this chapter, is designed to be a subconscious signal that nothing happens in life without your ability to: • Discover valuable tangible and intangible ASSets that can be tapped, • Create a plan of action designed to put those ASSets to work for you, and • Get your ASS-set in gear and do the work. While mine isn’t the story of a multi-millionaire sharing the secrets to getting rich quick, I hope to inspire you to take action to improve your finances, starting first with a R.E.A.L.I.S.T.I.C budget. I encourage you to plan for emergencies as we continue to experience shifts in the economy. I empower you to tap into intangible ASSets that help you break free of mental, emotional, and/or

physical barriers that have (or may) come your way. Desire, discipline, and determination are among the main ASSets I tapped to emerge from my mental prison to become an entrepreneur, investor, and savings passionista. What ASSets will you tap? Tweetable: Nothing happens in life without your ability to 1) discover valuable tangible and intangible ASSets that can be tapped, 2) create a plan of action designed to put those ASSets to work for you, and 3) get your ASS-set in gear and do the work. About the author: With more than 20 years of experience leading marketing and communications campaigns designed to tackle some of the toughest problems across the globe (i.e., poverty, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and affordable housing), Tia has demonstrated what effective storytelling, and other lowcost marketing solutions can do. To connect with Blount for speaking engagements, for marketing and/or business development support, visit www. savingsolutions.biz or send an email to savingsolutions1@ gmail.com.

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This year may be a good one to make your own Valentine cards. While we are sure that the good portion of our readership is full of wit and wisdom, maybe the following quips and quotes may be of some use for those who draw a blank when it comes to the perfect saying!!

6 | February 2020

Old Town Crier

Why We Celebrate Presidents Day


residents Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February; Presidents Day 2020 occurs on Monday, February 17th. Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, the holiday became popularly known as Presidents Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers. While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other figures, Presidents Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents, past and present. The story of Presidents Day begins in 1800. Following the death of George Washington in 1799, his February 22 birthday became a perennial day of remembrance. At the time, Washington was venerated as the most important figure in American history, and events like the 1832 centennial of his birth and the start of construction of the Washington Monument in 1848 were cause for national celebration. While Washington’s Birthday was an unofficial observance for most of the 1800s, it was not until the late 1870s that it became a federal holiday. Senator Steven Wallace Dorsey of Arkansas was the first to propose the measure, and in 1879 President Rutherford B. Hayes signed it into law. The holiday initially only applied to the District of Columbia, but in 1885 it was expanded to the whole country. At the time, Washington’s Birthday joined four other nationally recognized federal bank holidays—Christmas Day, New Year’s Day,


FEATURED EVENTS: CHERRY CHALLENGE January 26-February 9, 2020, various restaurants throughout Alexandria In honor of George Washington’s birthday, more than 50 Alexandria restaurants will create unique, cherry-centric dishes in celebration of one of the most cherished legends surrounding our first president. This year features dishes from every area of Alexandria and along the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Participating restaurants include Cheesetique, Fontaine, Lost Boy Cider, Sonoma Cellar and Union Street Public House. Patrons rate their favorite dishes, and winners are given special recognition at the George Washington Birthday Parade. For more information, visit WashingtonBirthday.com or call 703-829-6640.


Every Sunday in February 2020 (2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd), 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., beginning at the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s south entrance Explore historic Old Town Alexandria as George Washington knew it. These free 90-minute guided walking tours will explore sites associated with Washington and his closest colleagues. The tours begin behind the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s south entrance in front of Vola’s Dockside Grill (101 N. Union Street). No advance reservations required. Contact 703-599-4010 for more information. FREE Old Town Crier

the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving—and was the first to celebrate the life of an individual American. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, signed into law in 1983, was the second. The shift from Washington’s Birthday to Presidents Day began in the late 1960s, when Congress proposed a measure known as the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. Championed by Senator Robert McClory of Illinois, this law sought to shift the celebration of several federal holidays from specific dates to a series of predetermined Mondays. The proposed change was seen by many as a novel way to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers, and it was believed that ensuring holidays always fell on the same weekday would reduce employee absenteeism. While some argued that shifting holidays from their original dates would cheapen their meaning, the bill also had widespread support from both the private sector and labor unions and was seen as a surefire way to bolster retail sales. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act also included a provision to combine the celebration of Washington’s Birthday with that of Abraham Lincoln, which fell on February 12. Lincoln’s Birthday had long been a state holiday in places like Illinois, and many supported joining the two days as a way of giving equal recognition to two of America’s most famous statesmen. Be sure to check out all of the President’s Day celebration activities in Old Town during the month. A partial listing is in the calendar section of this issue.

Source: The History Channel – www.history.com

WASHINGTON’S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION February 17, 2020, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., George Washington’s Mount Vernon              

Celebrate the first president of the United States on the most exciting day of the year. Witness a presidential tribute featuring honored guests and a wreath laying at Washington’s tomb. Listen to remarks given by esteemed speakers during the Official Observance Ceremony of George Washington’s Birthday. Watch Continental soldiers conduct a marching drill, fire their guns and charge at their enemy in an exciting military demonstration. After the smoke clears, listen to the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps play patriotic music. Listen to the Washington family share stories about past celebrations of the General’s birthday, including the first public celebration and the gathering during the winter encampment at Valley Forge. All day, pose like George Washington in front of our life-sized version of Gilbert Stuart’s Landsdowne painting in the Education Center Lobby. For more information, visit www.MountVernon.org/Birthday or call 703-780-2000. FREE

HISTORIC ALEXANDRIA OPEN HOUSES February 17, 2020, hours vary by site, six historic sites throughout Old Town Alexandria

In honor of George Washington’s birthday, admission is free at these historic Alexandria sites: Alexandria History Museum at The Lyceum, Christ Church, Friendship Firehouse Museum, Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, Old Presbyterian Meeting House and the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum. FREE


Lecture: George Washington: Commander-in-Chief February 20, 2020, 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Gadsby’s Tavern Museum During this lecture, Professor Peter Henriques will examine how George Washington, despite his limited experience and numerous mistakes, was somehow able to overcome obstacles to win independence for the new country he committed himself to without reserve. Henriques will touch on Washington’s view of a professional army, the need to win over the general populace and the necessity of civilian control of the military, as well as how Washington saved the American cause with his actions at Trenton and Princeton. Tickets are $12 per person ($10 Gadsby’s Tavern Museum Society members and volunteers). For more information, visit AlexandriaVA.gov/Shop or call 703- 7464242.

George Washington’s 288th Birthday February 22, 2020, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., George Washington’s Mount Vernon Celebrate the first president of the United States on the most exciting day of the year. Take a selfie while posing like George Washington in the Education Center Lobby. General Washington greets his guests in the historic area, and the Sons of Liberty provide birthday music. Savor a piece of birthday cake in the Vaughan Lobby (while supplies last) and hear the Air Force Strings perform in the Smith Auditorium. For more information, visit www.MountVernon.org/Birthday288 or call 703-780-2000. FREE

George Washington Symposium February 22, 2020, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., George Washington Masonic National Memorial The theme of the 2020 George Washington Symposium is “George Washington’s Construction of the United States Capitol.” The symposium will take place February 22, 2020, as part of the memorial’s celebration of Washington’s birthday. The lectures begin at 1 p.m. in the memorial’s theater. The George Washington Symposium is held annually on Washington’s birthday to provide the public with enlightening contemporary research on the life of George Washington. Admission is free, and free parking is available. Details, including information about the speakers, are available at www.GWMemorial.org. FREE

Annual Washington’s Birthday Gala February 22, 2020, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., George Washington Masonic National Memorial Formal (white tie optional). Reception at 5 p.m. Entertainment in the Memorial Theater at 6:30 p.m. Banquet in the memorial’s Grand Masonic Hall at 7:30 p.m. The presentation of the George Washington Memorial Award will take place during the banquet. Tickets are $200. Reservations are required. To purchase tickets, visit www.GWMemorial.org or call 703-683-2007. For the most up-to-date information about related celebrations, visit www.WashingtonBirthday.com. The George Washington Birthday Celebration Committee also maintains a 24-hour phone line that will report any change of status or the cancellation of any event (in case of inclement weather, for instance). Call the events hotline at 703-829-6640.

ABOUT ALEXANDRIA, VA Named the #1 Best Value U.S. Travel Destination 2018 by Money magazine, a Top 3 Best Small City in the U.S. 2019 by the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards and one of the South’s Prettiest Cities 2018 by Southern Living, Alexandria hums with a cosmopolitan feel and a walkable lifestyle—a welcoming weekend escape next to our nation’s capital. A nationally designated historic district founded in 1749, Old Town Alexandria is home to more than 200 independent restaurants and boutiques alongside intimate historic museums and new happenings at the waterfront. At the heart of it all is bustling King Street, a walkable mile recognized as one of the “Great Streets” of America. New restaurants tucked in to 18th- and 19th-century architecture still intact from the city’s days as George Washington’s hometown ignite historic and off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods as the waterfront district evolves with new energy. Learn more at VisitAlexandriaVA.com. February 2020 | 7



Four Times You Should Review Your Beneficiary Designations


any of us take a set-it-andforget-it approach to beneficiary designations on retirement accounts, life insurance policies, wills, and trusts. We create the document, we choose a beneficiary, and we consider the work complete. But the truth is, many life-changing moments are times to thoroughly review those beneficiary designations to make sure they’re up to date. Travis Huber, IRA Product Manager for Wells Fargo Advisors, lists four life events that should trigger beneficiary reviews. He also notes common mistakes to avoid.

When to review your beneficiary designations When you divorce or remarry. At these milestones, many people remember to update their wills, but they may forget about other accounts such as IRAs and life insurance policies. “You’ve got to rethink everything,” Huber 8 | February 2020

says. “If you forget to update a document, the beneficiaries may not be your kids or new spouse as you prefer. Instead, your ex-spouse could wind up as the designee.” When you have a child or a grandchild. The time that your family grows might be the time to consider making a child a beneficiary. You can do this individually within a policy or account, or you may want to consider using a trust. You should also revisit primary/secondary IRA beneficiary designations when a child becomes a legal adult, Huber says. If you want several children to split funds from your IRAs, make it clear in your designations. Legally, a sole beneficiary is not obligated to share funds with a family member you haven’t named as a beneficiary. Even if the beneficiary decides to do so, it could trigger a gift tax for the recipient. When a beneficiary dies. Some individuals may outlive their beneficiary, whether it’s a spouse or a child. If, for example, a deceased person is

named in your life insurance policy as a beneficiary, it could pose complications. “Even if you had named contingent beneficiaries, it’s still better to have the paperwork updated,” Huber says. “That will mean less time and effort to get those benefits to the right recipient.” When beneficiaries’ financial needs change. As time passes, your beneficiaries’ financial circumstances may evolve. Maybe you named your dependent children and your spouse equal beneficiaries on an IRA. Now those children are adults with successful careers; they no longer need the money as much as your spouse would. Make sure your beneficiary designations reflect those changing needs.

Two common mistakes to avoid Conflicting designations. Huber sees this often, and it can make your intentions unclear. For example, perhaps you established an IRA when

you were younger and named a sibling as a beneficiary. But years later, you created a will dividing your assets between your spouse and your children. However, beneficiary designations on IRAs and retirement plans supersede what’s stated in a will or trust, Huber says. “Your spouse and children can try to use their interest in the will or trust to gain IRA assets; however, the actual IRA designated beneficiary will likely remain in control of the inherited IRA assets.”

instead of one at a time— because there can be a ripple effect. “If you change one, it might change what you want to do with the others,” Huber says.

Incomplete designations. “Sometimes you put your wishes on paper, but maybe you didn’t sign the paper, or you forgot to submit it,” Huber says. “This would likely create confusion, perhaps cause challenges and delay or prevent passing the assets to the person you want to receive these funds.” Finally, whenever you review, take a holistic approach to beneficiary designations—reviewing all of your accounts together,

Investments in securities and insurance products are: NOT FDIC-INSURED/NOT BANKGUARANTEED/MAY LOSE VALUE

Wells Fargo Advisors is not a tax or legal advisor. This article was written by/ for Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Carl M. Trevisan, Managing DirectorInvestments and Stephen M. Bearce, First Vice PresidentInvestments 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 non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. © 2019 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC. All rights reserved. Old Town Crier



Life on Earth


hat is the love that creates and shapes you, and how do you bear its loss? How do you not only survive but also live? How do you create a community when you’ve lost all the love you knew? In Ann Napolitano’s new novel, Dear Edward, Jane and Bruce Adler, and their two sons, Jordan and Eddie, are moving across the country on a flight from Newark to Los Angeles to start a new life. When their plane crashes, only one of the 192 passengers and crew survives: twelve-year-old Eddie. In his hospital bed Eddie becomes Edward. Tragedy formalizes him and forces him to enter adolescence as an indefinable combination of child and adult. In Dear Edward, Napolitano has created a lovely, accessible novel and an unusual page-turner. The narrative proceeds along two tracks. In one, she relates the stories of the usual disparate grouping of passengers heading across the country together to an uncertain future, including the then-Eddie and his family. In the other narrative, Edward has to adjust to a radically new existence. Recovering in the hospital, he remain s traumatized and unresponsive. With the country fascinated by him and the crash, he receives a condolence call from the President of the United States and gains fame as the “Miracle Boy.” His uncle and aunt, John and Lacey Curtis, come to pick him up and take him back to their home in New Jersey. As Edward heals painfully and slowly, he meets his new next-door neighbors. Single mother Besa introduces herself and her daughter, Shay, who is also 12. After having spent his life sleeping in a room with his brother, Edward gravitates towards this girl his age. He alleviates his almost unbearable loneliness and trauma by spending most of his time with her as he gets ready to start school. Through switching back and forth between Edward’s current life and the lives lived on the flight, Napolitano creates a compulsively readable book. She tells the stories of a group of people on the plane who Old Town Crier

Ann Napolitano, author, Dear Edward. are planning for meetings, new lives in California, fresh starts, drug trials to cure cancer, and other ventures. Eddie and his brother, Jordan, are nervous about starting over in California after having lived in New York their whole lives. Their father, Bruce, an academic, regrets his inability to get tenure at Columbia, as his wife, Jane, looks forward to a new opportunity to write TV shows in Los Angeles. Benjamin, a muscular, wounded soldier returning from Afghanistan, ponders his past and decides to figure out who he is outside of his Army identity. Mark Lassio, a young multimillionaire hungry to make and close deals, meditates on his former dysfunctional cocaine use. In first class, he offers homage to Crispin Cox, an abrasive plastics magnate with cancer who has been one of his role models. Crispin, in his eighties, sardonically observes this upcoming kid eager to prove himself, realizing that he no longer cares about his own long-time presence on the yearly Forbes list. He thinks of his four exwives and wishes that he had spent more time with his kids. Mark admires a savvy flight attendant, Veronica, in first class, and gets her attention in a way that makes both feel exhilarated and alive. Florida, a joyful free spirit who believes in reincarnation, tries to help Linda Stollen, a woman heading to California for the first time, newly pregnant and worried

about whether Gary, a biologist who studies whales, will propose. When the crash approaches, passengers turn to each other, seeking comfort in each other’s presence during their last minutes alive. As Napolitano flips back and forth between Edward’s story post-crash and the complicated lives of the passengers on Flight 2977, she gradually shows how intertwined they are, and how responsible we as humans are for each other’s welfare. Several years after the crash, Edward, still listless and plagued by insomnia, finds a cache of letters his Uncle John had collected and saved for him until he was older. These letters written by relatives of the crash victims implore him to represent their loved ones by adopting their professions or hobbies, ask him if he recognizes them in their pictures, and pour out their own pain and grief. Able to sleep deeply for the first time since the crash, Edward finds redemption and satisfaction in learning about each passenger aboard Flight 2977. With his best friend Shay’s help, he goes through the letters and writes responses. With his uncle, he catalogues the victims and information about them. In this way he keeps the crash victims alive for himself and those who loved them. He ponders the mystery of their lives, and in the process, his own. Two of the most poignant themes of Dear Edward are family and community. Edward’s community and family were his brother, Jordan, and his parents in their New York

neighborhood. After the crash, he finds himself in New Jersey with his aunt and uncle, a new community and a new family. His aunt, uncle, Shay and her mother are important members, along with his therapist and school principal. When Edward finds the letters, he finds another community and family: the dead and those who loved them. The ex-wife of Crispin Cox becomes a mentor who sends him books. He keeps in touch with others and thinks about how he can help them. In growing up, he decides to keep his brother Jordan alive and honor him by adopting some of his brother’s attitudes and visiting a woman who was Jordan’s first girlfriend. Dear Edward represents people aiding each other through tragedy, as Shay helps Edward acclimate to his new school. Edward helps those who write to him, along with supporting his aunt and uncle as they get over their multiple miscarriages. They are not his parents, but he understands how their love for each other and him has helped them understand and live with their own grief. In the process he figures out how to define himself as an adolescent growing into adulthood, one already adult through the impact of this tragedy but not always for the worse. Ann Napolitano has written a beautiful novel that captures the pains and mystery of adolescence and the trauma of almost unbearable grief. As he grows up, Edward realizes that helping his friends and the crash victims is a gift he can give, and that he owes no one anything. He owes it to himself to figure out who he is now after years of sorrow and paralysis. As a young adult, his responsibility is to define himself and his values, which include spiritual and financial generosity towards those in his community, and offering love to those in all his families. Dear Edward is not a depressing work, regardless of its subject matter. It is about vibrant lives cut short, the importance of making the most of one’s existence, and most importantly, Edward’s painful and beautiful life on earth. February 2020 | 9



Wasting Time by The Mowgli’s


was going through the new release section of Spotify the other day and the art for a new single called “Wasting Time” caught my eye. The song is by Los Angeles based poprock band The Mowgli’s and it hooked me the instant I pressed play. I haven’t paid much attention to The Mowgli’s in the past but the power-pop fun of “Wasting Time” has made me a fast fan. Interestingly, “Wasting Time” is the

10 | February 2020

second track The Mowgli’s have released since their former lead singer left the band. The song serves as strong evidence that the band’s appeal comes from something bigger than any one member. This band is a true collaboration and not just another one-man show. Vocalist/guitarist Josh Hogan is responsible HIGH NOTES > PAGE 11

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Alexandria Symphony Orchestra 2019-2020 Season STRING SERENADE HIGH NOTES | FROM PG 10

for the basic idea of “Wasting Time”. According to Hogan, the melody hit him while he was out walking his dog. He quickly recorded the idea with his phone and later brought it to rehearsal where a friend of the band started playing chords under his voice recording. Hogan says the song came together quickly and practically wrote itself after that. “Wasting Time” is about being stuck in the day-to-day rat race – something most everyone can relate to from time to time. The lyrics are made up of simple well-placed words that are easy to understand. This further adds to the song’s accessibility. We don’t need or want every band to be as innovative and experimental as Radiohead or Sigur Rós. That’s part of why I like The Mowgli’s. No one is asking you to overthink it. “Wasting Time” is a straightforward power pop-rocker that does not disappoint. The song’s structure begins with a quick fourbar intro consisting of catchy vocals and ambient synth chords. These elements are run through an automated EQ filter which gradually swoops from low to high frequencies creating a gentle rising action into the first verse. Throughout the

song we hear singer Josh Hogan deliver catchy and sweet melodies accompanied by aggressive hard toned drums and a pumping bassline that has an 80s plucked synth flavor. As the song progresses, a palm-muted guitar melody is introduced with a tight slap delay effect. This creates a playful tension that leads nicely into the songs ultra-catchy power chorus which is decked out with huge background vocals and big booming guitar/synth sounds. The arrangement for “Wasting Time” further enriches its ability to connect with the everyday music lover. It has a classic structure, moving from verse to pre-chorus to chorus. The purpose of this song is to make people feel good. The Mowgli’s are not trying to reinvent the wheel. Thank goodness! You don’t have to strain to “get” this song. You just put it on and enjoy it. That’s it. If you’d like to learn more about The Mowgli’s and stay up to date on tour announcements and new music, be sure to visit their website (themowglis.net). You can also find them on the various social media networks (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook). If you’d like to listen to their music you can find them on Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and most of the other places digital music is streamed or sold.

James Ross, Music Director Berta Rojas, guitar MOZART: Serenade No. 6 “Serenata notturna” CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO: Guitar Concerto in D Major PRICE: Andante Moderato from String Quartet in G Major (arr. by James Ross) SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 5 Saturday, February 15, 2020  at 8:00 p.m. Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall Sunday, February 16, 2020  at 3:00 p.m. George Washington Masonic Memorial

MUSICAL TALES OF BELONGING James Ross, Music Director Claudia Chudacoff, concertmaster PRECHTL: Tribute (world-premiere) FRANK: Three Latin-American Dances RIMSKY-KORSAKOV: Scheherazade

Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall Sunday, May 17, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. George Washington Masonic Memorial Tickets: $20-$85 for adults. Student tickets $10 (with ID). Youth tickets $5 (age 18 & under). Military, senior and group discounts available.  Purchase online at www. alexsym.org or call 703-548-0885. Free parking provided by the ASO at both venues. The Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center is accessible by Metro bus lines 7A, 7B, 7F, 7Y, 25A, 25C and 25E, as well as DASH bus line AT6.  The George Washington Masonic Memorial is accessible by the Blue and Yellow metro line (King Street station), numerous Metro, Dash and Richmond Highway Express bus lines, and the King Street Trolley in Old Town, Alexandria.

AFTER HOURS 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.

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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 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 LaTrattoria 703-548-9338 305 S. Washington St. Two Nineteen 703.549.1141 219 King St. Village Brauhaus 710 King St. 703-888-1951 These establishments offer live entertainment. Call to confirm show times, dates and cover charges. Check our advertisers’ websites.

October 2019 | 11



Art in the City… and the Metro Area!


hy DC Needs Art Galleries” is the title of a January article in the DMV area glossy Washingtonian magazine. The article is by Ian Bourland, who is assistant professor of contemporary art history at Georgetown University and an art critic for a range of international publications. Bourland does an excellent job of updating the current gallery around the District (not the DMV). He goes back a little too far in history (for my taste) to recount the halcyon days of the DC gallery scene, at least according to him when he notes: “Decades ago, before the economic turnaround transformed Washington, it seemed as though the city might be an emerging art capital. The Corcoran School of Art & Design was thriving, and DC boasted the hard-edged abstraction of the Washington Color School, anchored by now-canonical figures Morris Louis and Sam Gilliam.” Why am I starting my column with this observation? Two reasons: (a) It is rare to see any DC area media write and discuss DMV area art galleries, and (b) It reaffirms my commitment to this column, which for a couple of decades now has been trying to do that! Kudos to the Old Town Crier! Another point: In my opinion, technically the zenith of the DMV gallery art scene (no pun intended with Zenith Gallery, which coincidentally represents my work) was more around the late 1990s to mid-2000s, when the number of art galleries of all flavors: independently owned commercial art galleries (such as Conner, Fraser, eklektikos, Marsha Mateyka, Irvine, Davidson, Anton, Robert Brown, Heineman-Myers, Alex, Baumgartner, Alla Rogers, Veerhoff, Neptune, Aaron, Numark, G Fine Art, Hemphill, Addison-Ripley, Littleton, Parish, and others, as well as the highly survivable artists’ cooperatives (Touchstone, Studio, Multiple Exposures, Factory Photoworks, Gallery West, etc.), and GALLERY BEAT > PAGE 13

12 | February 2020

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Curzon Hill Antiques 108 S. Columbus Street

B&B Art Gallery 215 King Street

Exclusively representing the works of


The Hour 1015 King Street

Gallery West 1213 King Street

Price and additional images upon request.

Spurgeon-Lewis Antiques 112 N. Columbus Street

A Galerie 315 Cameron Street

BW Art, Antiques & Collectibles 108 N. Fayette Street

Enamelist’s Gallery 105 N. Union Street

Random Harvest 810 King Street

Imperfections Antiques 1210 King Street

Printmakers, Inc. 105 N. Union Street

Acme Mid-Century + Modern 128 S. Royal Street

The Antique Guild 113 N. Fairfax Street

Van Bommel Antiek Hous 1007 King Street

Silverman Galleries 110 N. St. Asaph Street

Lloyd’s Row 119 S. Henry Street

Red Barn Mercantile 1117 King Street


Washington Square Antiques 425 S. Washington Street

Torpedo Factory Art Center 105 N. Union Street

Susquehanna Antique Co. 608 Cameron Street

Principle Gallery 208 King Street

Old Town Antiques 222 S. Washington Street

Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery 105 N. Union Street

Verdigris Vintage 1215 King Street

St. George Gallery 105 N. Alfred Street

Cavalier Antiques 400 Prince Street

The Art League 105 Union Street

Sumpter Priddy III 323 S. Washington Street

Local Colour Old Town 218 N. Lee Street

Betty Grisham Studio 105 N. Union Street

Henry Street Antiques 115 S. Henry Street

Icon Galleria 101 N. Union Street

Imagine Artwear 112 King Street

F. Lennox Campello

Kelly’s Art & Frame 510 N. Washington Street Oerth Gallery 420 S. Washington Street Jeffrey Winter Fine Arts 110A S. Columbus Street

Old Town Crier

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

– Washington City Paper

Johnston Matthew 105 N. Union Street

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

Mezzanine Multiples 105 N. Union Street Silverman Galleries 110 N. St. Asaph Street Cochran David 105 N. Union Street

Warm Hearts this Winter Bogo 50% off Feb 7th-17th

Huddy Studio 105 N. Union Street


the non-profits (MOCA, DC Arts Center, Athenaeum, Art League, Target, etc.), and all the university galleries plus all the embassy and embassyassociated galleries (Mexican Cultural Institute, Goethe, etc.). Back in those closer to the present and true halcyon days of the DMV art scene, the number of galleries in the DMV art scene exploded, as galleries colonized areas such as Dupont Circle, Georgetown, Bethesda, Alexandria, etc. At one point there were eight galleries in Georgetown’s Canal Square alone, and several in downtown Alexandria – remember Perry House Gallery on Duke Street? And one last point: Why just DC galleries? When you cross the street in many places in the DC “box” on the map, now you’re either in MD or VA - that’s why we call it the DMV (an acronym that I invented by the way)... when pieces are written about the city’s art scene, by default it is about the DMV art scene and includes Bethesda, Alexandria, Rockville, Mt. Rainier, etc. In fact, there are more artists’ studios in Rockville or Alexandria or Mt. Rainier, than in all of DC! In fact, the Torpedo Factory hosts more artists’ studios than any other single spot in DC! OK, I’m calm now. A few days ago, I visited the solo exhibition by local area artist Akemi Maegawa at the Stone Tower Gallery inside


915 King St. • Old Town Alexandria 703-684-1435

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the Glen Echo National Park, which by the way is another local gem full of artists’ studios, several art galleries, a couple of theatres, etc. Maegawa’s show was one of the most innovative and curiously diverse shows which I’ve seen recently. There we some works seen previously seen around the area, and yet, within the context of the show at the very intimate Stone Tower, they seemed refreshingly modern and new. Make no mistake, this is an artist with immense talent and a superbly educated artist and curator. Maegawa is a constant presence at art fairs of all kinds and levels, and her keenly trained eye is matched by enviable technical skills and intelligent ideas. There is not a single piece in this show that is a breath of fresh visual delight, and they easily cement Maegawa’s position as one of the leading artists of the DMV.

Akemi Maegawa

TriangulateDC.com TriangulateDC.com

A Winter Garden ...

... on your new rain jacket by Nikki Jones. It’s winter bright and warm enough for lighter winter days plus it’s a great escape into Spring! Nikki has also designed a fetching lepord print rain jacket that will take you well into April as well. Come in to see our extraordinary collection of handcrafted hats, scarves, accessories, jewelry, elegant clothing, and crafts by North American artists and craftspeople. We have a wonderful selection of warm winter outfits, fabulous outerwear, and lots of new arrivals with a hint of spring. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff is always ready to assist. Come see our entire line of amazing North American-made clothing, jewelry and crafts.

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Alexandria, Virginia 22314 • (703) 548-1461 www.imagineartwear.com

Mon – Sat 10 am – 7 pm

Sunday 11 am – 5 pm

February 2020 | 13


Acute Mountain Sickness:

An Everest Evacuation Vacation Story


irens blared as we weaved our way around the airport tarmac and through the morning rush hour traffic of Kathmandu. Sitting in the back of the ambulance I looked down at my wife who was being tended to by an EMT. Looking out of the front window I was horrified to see that we were driving on the wrong side of the road into oncoming traffic; a feat not for the faint-hearted on Nepal’s roads. This wasn’t how I expected our vacation to end! A mere 24 hours earlier it had all been so different. My wife’s long held aspiration of reaching Everest Base Camp had been achieved; smiling photos and video footage attested to our success. Everything was going

14 | February 2020

according to plan and the Diamox (medication designed to reduce the likelihood of succumbing to Acute Mountain Sickness) seemed to have adequately done its job. It was time to turn around and start the 4-day descent to Lukla Airport where we would take an onward flight back to Kathmandu. But the high of reaching Everest Base Camp was unexpectedly short-lived. No sooner had we taken our celebratory photos with the rest of our team of intrepid explorers than my wife started to experience searing headaches and crippling nausea. The slow trudge back to the nearest teahouse at Gorek Shep, a 3-hour hike from Everest Base Camp, was a long and painful journey in freezing and snowy conditions; and that was without even considering the lack of oxygen at 17,600 feet. The relative warmth of the teahouse seemed to provide very little comfort and her condition seemed only to deteriorate. Despite attempts to eat, nothing was staying down and she spent the next 15 hours curled

up in the fetal position, ghostly pale, trying to keep warm. By the time breakfast came around it was clear: my wife was suffering from high altitude sickness and a decision needed to be made. At this point, I need to explain my wife’s personality; the personality which made me fall in love with her. She is strong willed to the point of ‘lovingly stubborn’. So when I suggested that we might need to consider medical evacuation, her immediate response was ‘no way, I want to walk’. Bearing in mind that the day’s descent hike was scheduled to take somewhere around 9 hours, a fair portion of which we would be out of satellite communication range, it was a fairly herculean statement from someone who couldn’t hold food down for the last 20 hours and was severely dehydrated. It was at this point that I decided to play my ace card…..tough love. If she wanted to soldier on, then the first step was to go outside in the negative temperatures and prove she could walk around the teahouse. To my chagrin, she

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crawled out of bed. To my astonishment, she made it to the outside porch. It was bittersweet when only a few minutes later she sunk to her knees in the snow. I was relieved that this little practice run made her see sense and do the right thing – which was to rapidly descend and seek emergency medical treatment. The next hour is a bit of blur. After tentatively walking my wife back to our room to lie down, bags were packed, insurance companies were called, a helicopter was scheduled, and a hospital transfer directly from the airport tarmac was arranged. In fact, no sooner had I said goodbyes to our group than the distant sound of helicopter rotors began to grow. It was time to make our way to the helipad. By this point, my wife had truly abandoned any notion that she was physically capable of walking. Instead we had three Sherpas inching her up the hill to the helipad whilst I crawled up behind carrying bags and trekking poles. Positioning ourselves behind a rock, the roar of the helicopter grew louder and the wind from the rotors blew me down from my crouched stance. Under the deafening noise and blustery conditions whipping up snow into our faces, we

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were loaded into the helicopter which promptly took off and banked to the right to avoid the mountains surrounding us. All around me was the beautiful but unforgiving Himalayan Mountain range covered in a pristine layer of winter snow and below me were valleys raging with glacial meltwater rivers. After an hour and a half in the helicopter tracing our journey back to Kathmandu, we landed at the airport and were greeted by our ambulance. It had been an adventure and this was just the start of it – we still had days in the hospital to come!

The Moral of The Story: Travel Lessons Learned I’ve adopted a light-hearted approach to this story: my wife’s symptoms rapidly improved as soon as we touched down in Kathmandu, and we now joke about this particular travel experience all the time (particularly when she makes a passing comment about hiking the Andes or K2 in Pakistan). But it’s experiences such as these from which travelers learn. When I’m travel planning, I often agonize over the details – flights, hotels, restaurants and activities – all are researched in meticulous detail. Everything, that is, except travel insurance! Despite often traveling off the beaten path and, on occasion, to areas of the world cut off from modern amenities, travel insurance is a subject

I rarely pay much attention to. Thankfully, my wife happens to have specialist knowledge in expatriate insurance which takes the pressure off me. If it hadn’t been for her, we wouldn’t have had appropriate coverage, and I certainly wouldn’t have understood the procedures for notifying the insurance company in a timely manner. That lack of knowledge could have been a seriously dangerous and incredibly expensive situation to resolve. It’s for that very reason that we had specialist coverage, including helicopter evacuation coverage specific to Nepal, with a leading travel insurance provider. On the vast majority of occasions, your vacation will likely be smooth and certainly without the need for helicopter evacuation off of the side of the world’s tallest mountain. Fingers crossed, you won’t ever have to experience the worst-case scenario of hospitalization. But, and it’s a big “but”, there remains a small chance that you will. In those worst-case scenarios, you’ll want to ensure that you have the financial means to safely and securely get yourself back home in one piece. So, the moral of this particular story: travel insurance is worth every cent! If you want to read more travel stories like this, then make sure to visit takephotosleavefootprints.com!

February 2020 | 15



ven though it may still be cold, damp and miserable outdoors, an occasional dose of sunshine could certainly put the gardening bug into you. With a little luck, Mother Nature will send a few blossoms your way this month. We are now at a time when we can no longer put off those garden projects, waiting for a nice day...... Don’t be caught off guard though, winter is far from being over! If exceptionally cold weather is forecast, provide protection to early flowering or tender plants by covering them with some type of cloth material. Remove the covering as soon as the weather moderates again.

Shrubs and trees • Deciduous shrubs and trees are still dormant enough to transplant this month, once the buds have begun to swell, it will be too late. Check with your local nursery for information on transplanting azaleas or moving specimen plants. • Trees which weren’t fed last fall should be deep fed by punching a series of 12 inch holes two feet apart around 16 | February 2020


Winter Garden Tips Don’t Be Caught Off Guard! the drip line and filled with an appropriate food. A mulch of well composted manure is also an excellent treat for your tree. • Mid to late February is the time to fertilize shrubs and evergreens. Use an acid type rhododendron fertilizer to feed evergreens, conifers, broad leaf evergreens, rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. Use an allpurpose fertilizer to feed roses and other deciduous trees and shrubs. If you use dry type fertilizers, be sure to water it in thoroughly. • Prune your summer flowering shrubs now but be aware that spring bloomers have already produced their buds last fall, and pruning them now will result in the loss of flowers. Forsythia, quince, spirea and other early spring flowering shrubs should be pruned a

little later, after they have finished flowering. Pruning to improve the shape of the plant, as well as to open up the center of the plant to good air circulation and sun exposure. Always start your pruning by removing all dead, decayed or broken branches. • It’s also a good time to stroll around and trim back any branches that were damaged by the ravages of winter. • If you haven’t yet applied your dormant fruit spray, DO IT NOW!! • Perennials, annuals, and bulbs • Plants which may have been pushed out of the ground by frost heave should be pressed firmly back into place. • Plant daylilies, bleeding hearts, and plantain lilies this month.

• Deciduous vines such as honeysuckle should be pruned and shaped. • Most perennials may be divided and moved up until they begin to show new growth. • Check your stored plants such as fuschias and geraniums and if they are shriveled, water them lightly. • Summer flowering bulbs may try to start into growth if they are subjected to heat. They should be kept very dry, and stored at 45 degrees F. If they are shriveling, put them into slightly damp peat moss, but keep them cool! • If you plan to grow lobelia, ageratum, verbena, petunia and vinca plants from scratch, the seeds should be started indoors in the later part of the month. Follow the instructions on the seed

packets for the best results. • Climbing roses should be thinned out to get rid of last years tangled growth.

Odds and ends • House plants may notice the longer days, and begin growing. You can begin feeding them again, but use a dilute 50% fertilizer mix until the growth is robust. • Continue feeding our feathered friends, you’ll want them to stick around to help you in insect control when the weather warms again. • Did you check your garden tools yet? Don’t wait ‘til the spring rush to get your mower back in shape! • In the event of snow, be sure to shake or brush off the white stuff from the branches of your evergreens and shrubs. • It’s time to turn the compost pile! Melinda Myers will be back on board with her column next month. This column provided by TheGardenHelper.com Old Town Crier



Pause. Reflect. Reset. A

n Irish legend identifies St. Brigid as an early feminist by her successful negotiation of a deal with St. Patrick allowing women to propose to men every four years. St. Brigid, weary of dudes making the lifealtering decisions and then mansplaining them, attempted to introduce a balance to the traditional male-female roles. The best she could be was every four years. Whatever. St. Patrick, equally weary of St. Brigid’s incessant eye-rolling, acquiesced. He also was dealing with a pesky snake problem that perhaps weakened his resolve. Julius Caesar introduced Leap Year more than 2000 years ago. The Julian (now Gregorian) calendar added an extra day every four years to the common 365 day calendar to synchronize it with the solar year. The extra day keeps our calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolution around the sun. Ever since the introduction of Leap Year, Leap Day on February 29 has been a day of traditions, folklore and superstitions. A google search of these reflects the pathetic status of women and marriage throughout the centuries. To be clear, men looked forward to the dreaded Leap Day much like Mitch McConnell would look forward to slow-dancing with Nancy Pelosi to the music of Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful.” In 1288, Scotland passed a law that allowed women to propose to the man of their choice. Any man who declined a leap year proposal had to pay a fine ranging from payment for a silk dress to a pair of gloves. Gloves were a popular form of payment for rebuffing a proposal. In European countries, Old Town Crier

tradition dictated that any man who refuses a 20 seconds is a critical indicator of the functional woman’s proposal had to buy her 12 pairs of ability of the brain. Staying in the plank position for gloves to hide the embarrassment of not having one minute (Cher does it daily for five) has proven an engagement ring. It’s unclear why 12 pairs were highly effective for strengthening core. If you can necessary. Perhaps leaving your gloves on the bar at do only one or neither, inform your family you will the local tavern is not a new phenomenon. need to plan several spa weekends for It’s time for women to repurpose Leap Day in your mental and physical health. a manner that captures the celestial reason to Buy yourself an engagement realign and ring. Because you’re rebalance. awesome. Here are some suggestions: Begin a campaign for a restart movement and nominate Meghan Markle Honorary Chairperson. If you believe the Washington, D.C. political establishment needs a reset, vote. Pioneering bartender Harry Craddock at If you believe the Washington D.C London’s Savoy Hotel invented the Leap Day political establishment does not need Cocktail in 1928. A cousin of the martini, it’s said a reset, vote. to have been responsible for more proposals than Rather than the Book Club any other cocktail ever mixed. Here’s the recipe. discussing The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s 1 dash lemon juice Tale, watch the movie Cats and scring 2/3 gin (not a typo; mash-up of scream and 1/6 Grand Manier sing) along when Jennifer Hudson 1/6 sweet vermouth laments, “Touch me. It’s so easy Shake, serve, garnish with a lemon peel and to leave me.” Adult beverages enjoy the flood of bittersweet flavors. recommended for this activity. (Ladies, don’t forget your gloves.) Balancing on one leg for

Leap Day Cocktail

February 2020 | 17



The 1949 unaltered minimum model home as designed/delivered to owner Stanley Greene’s parents John Henry and Carrie Maxwell Greene by “abolitionistminded angel” Virginia Fitzhugh Wheat Thomas.

Photo courtesy of Duncan Library.



n 1939 Winston Churchill described the Soviets as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma;” German authorities required Jews to wear the Star of David, and black American W.E.B. DuBois published Black Folk, Then and Now: An Essay in the History and Sociology of the Negro Race. Germany invaded Poland; Columbia pictures released “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” and Rochester, New York, started a food stamp program. In Alexandria—on June 19— musician and socialite; heiress and white realtor Virginia Fitzhugh Wheat Thomas, Mrs. Augustus Howell Thomas bought “real estate…bounded by Wythe, Payne, West and Pendleton Streets” as part of a privately-funded housing project known as colored Rosemont. “Housing affordability is an issue that disproportionately affects people of color,” Virginia Governor Ralph Northam affirmed in 2019. The U.S. Supreme Court decided Plessy v. Ferguson the racially divisive separate but equal Jim Crow Car Law in 1896. “To Colored People—Own your own home, 5 room houses…dollars down, balance like rent,” the Alexandria Gazette suggested in 1920. In segregated Alexandria most property deeds, most 18 | February 2020

neighborhoods were racially restricted. The result: “[T]here is a scarcity of suitable housing for persons of average means,” American Construction council president Franklin D. Roosevelt told The New York Times in 1925. Mrs. Thomas’ good work predates the U.S. Supreme Court decision Shelley v. Kraemer. “The parties of the first part covenant with the [colored] parties of the second part that they have the right to convey this property to them; that there are no encumbrances [restrictive racial covenants], and that the [colored] parties of the second part shall have quiet and peaceable possession thereof,” the Thomas family Deeds of Bargain and Sale consistently recorded. “Virginia Wheat Thomas was an angel, an abolitionistminded angel,” Stanley Greene said. Unlike the city of Alexandria’s conservative southern elite—white Democrats like Congressman Howard W. Smith who supported “managed race relations,” FDR’s Neighborhood Composition Rule, and segregated public housing— Mrs. Thomas favored home ownership; the expansion of Alexandria’s home owning black middle class. Especially post WWII. The Neighborhood Composition Rule assured

southern Democrats, segregated cities like Alexandria that the new federal presence, FDR’s New Deal agenda would not alter the existing racial composition of any given project area. “Because many neighborhoods then housed both black and white families, the Neighborhood Composition Rule resulted in placing all black housing projects in neighborhoods that were only partially black, further concentrating the black population.” De-concentration, off-siting as per the terms of the 2008 Braddock Road and Braddock East Small Area Plans, has mostly failed. In part because the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s 2012 strategic plan again favors FDR’s Neighborhood Composition Rule. ARHA claims dispersal is a budget buster. Yet ARHA purchased 401 Wythe Street, an upscale office building in 2014 for $4.8 million “in hand paid by Grantee.” The Federal Housing Administration was the first federal agency to openly support racial division. Three out of every five American homes purchased between 1930 and 1950 were financed by the Federal Housing Administration. Fewer than 2% of FHA loans were made to non-white home buyers.

The city of Alexandria annexed Wheat & Suter’s Subdivision; Rosemont; Shooter’s Hill and Braddock circa 1915. Because of the Rule the Braddock cum Old Town neighborhood [Census Tract 16]—developed a disproportionate share of concentrated public housing. Described today as economically diverse, the Braddock neighborhood is promoted historically as black. In truth—in 1870, in Ward Three, the Braddock neighborhood’s black population was 1,724 or 37%. In 1924 segregated black residents were 50.88% of the population; 55.98% in 1947. “In 1943 the nation realized that self-interest as well as humanitarian impulse would demand a resolution of the anticipated postwar housing shortage,” author Barbara M. Kelly wrote. “It was in the best tradition of the Jefferson ideal that the 1944 G.I. Bill of Rights…was designed to foster the simple, single-family cottage on its own plot…The houses were built in the late 1940s [and] were remarkably similar.” Mrs. Thomas’ houses, like William J. Levitt’s 800 sq. ft. suburban houses, “represented the American Dream reduced to its basic minimum.” Stanley Greene’s parents John Henry and Carrie Maxwell Greene purchased

their, now his, detached one story brick, 720 sq. ft., Wythe Street home in 1949. Other colored home buyers included West Street’s Robert L. and Shirley F. Burke. The Burke’s principal sum: $4500 in successive and monthly installments of $40 each, including interest at 6% per annum. Both Greene and Burke were WWII veterans. Two colored troopers who bought the Thomas’ minimum model using the GI Bill of Rights’ low interest fixed rate mortgage. When taken together “the [architectural] focus becomes the truthful relationship between the deliverer-designed minimum model [Wheat/ Greene unaltered] and the owner’s later redesign and expansion.” [Wheat/Burke altered] “The housing debates were filled with angry references to ‘interference in free enterprise,’ to ‘breaking down American self-reliance,’ as well as accusations that the publichousing advocates were acting as ‘the cutting edge of the Communist front,’” The New York Times reported. Alexandria’s first segregated public housing was constructed in 1942 in the Braddock neighborhood; the 90 unit white-only John Roberts and the 15 unit A BIT OF HISTORY > PAGE 19

Old Town Crier


black-only Ramsey Homes. The Federal Public Housing Authority’s pre-fabricated, concrete slab Ramsey Homes— “an experimental project for Negro war workers”— was leased to the Alexandria Housing Authority, now ARHA, in November 1942. The program was “paternal in its management; crude and segregated.…” Virginia Fitzhugh Wheat Thomas [1893-1987], of notable heritage, was the only child of “the well-known and popular” Harrie Fitzhugh [1866-1912] and Kate Duncan Houck Wheat [1869-1899]; the granddaughter of Benoni [1823-1902] and Matilda Taliaferro Fitzhugh Wheat [1831-1885]. Matilda was an indirect descendant of Fredericksburg’s William Fitzhugh of Chatham. Alexandria born Benoni Wheat, “a prominent, useful and successful citizen,” was involved in real estate. As of 1840 he was “among the city’s wealthiest and most enterprising merchants.” The family’s flour mill, his rental buildings produced the product; his wharf, the “old Baltimore steamer Columbia” the services. He purchased 414 Duke Street in 1854, and thrice served as President: of the Alexandria Insurance company, the Alexandria Water Company and Citizens National Bank. Benoni was “regarded as the true type of Christian citizen,” even after serving 12 years on Alexandria, D.C./Alexandria, VA’s common council [1836-1853]. Benoni’s son Harrie was also “engaged in the real estate business…buying, selling, and exchanging property a specialty [including] loans made on real estate in Washington and Alexandria.” An Alexandria resident, his firm Wheat & Suter was located in Washington. Harrie launched Wheat & Suter’s [prePlessey] Alexandria Addition [Princess, Oronoco, West, Peyton and Earl Streets] in 1893. “Wheat & Suter’s Addition has numerous advantages,” the Alexandria Gazette advertised. “It is convenient to depot, being only three blocks distant in a northwesterly direction, located on high grounds, commanding an excellent view of the surrounding country… no two houses will be exactly alike and [the houses] will not be built in rows.” Wheat & Suter “commenced the erection of two modern dwellings” in 1894. A member of Alexandria’s Old Town Crier

Citizens Progressive Association, Harrie declined the Association’s 1904 invitation to run for Council. “He was not desirous of becoming a candidate [because] if elected he would not have the time to devote to [daytime] committee meetings,” the Alexandria Gazette said. Progressive, as defined by The Oxford American Dictionary: “favoring or implementing rapid progress; social reform or new policies.”

those denied “educational and social opportunity”—echoed mightily. Virginia F. Wheat was three years old when the Plessy decision was announced; nineteen years old when her father Harrie died. Harrie died in 1912 the same year Virginia, with the help of her father’s Trust, bought 16 W. Rosemont Avenue. Virginia and A.H. Thomas—a West Virginia born WWI veteran 14 years her senior—married on May 19, 1919; “at the residence of the

Rosemont homeowners Carrie Maxwell and John Henry Greene circa 1978. Kate Houck Wheat died when daughter Virginia was six years old. Harrie coped by packing up the house and moving into 414 Duke Street with his sister. It was there, probably in 1903, that Virginia met 408 Duke Street neighbor, physician and social reformer Kate Waller Barrett [1857-1925]. Barrett, widowed at age 42, was working as Superintendent of the Crittenden Mission. The 400 block offered many causal learning opportunities including the 1908 arrival of the Florence Crittenden Children’s Home [406 Duke]. “Mr. Crittenden has presented the Washington Home with two pieces of property in Alexandria,” the Alexandria Gazette noted in 1902. “One will be used as a home for little children. The other house will accommodate unfortunate colored girls.” Barrett, a Waller plantation slave owner, was “ambivalent to the race issue,” historian Katherine G. Aiken wrote. The Crittenden “experience coincided with the institutionalization of the Jim Crow practices in the South. Barrett contended that the fact the slaves did not rebel despite their treatment… illustrated the slaves ‘loss of independence and selfrespect.’” Her “recognition of the power of paternalism to control victims”—especially

bride in Rosemont.” After a brief hiatus, Virginia and her expanding family returned to Alexandria. She continued to sell real estate; A.H. Thomas managed Armour & Co. until his retirement in 1929. Thomas then divided his time between real estate—in partnership with his wife—and farming. In 1930 the Thomas family purchased 1515 Princess Street, within Wheat & Suter’s Alexandria Addition. Fast forward and the privatelyfunded colored Rosemont housing project was completed.  Just not according to public housing advocates specs. In 1967 President Lyndon Johnson’s open housing law, a law to prohibit discrimination in the sale and rental of housing, struggled. It died in the U.S. Senate in 1966 then suffered a second Congressional defeat in 1967. In the meantime ARHA, which had obtained funding “for 225 highly disputed [black only] public housing units,” completed its 90-unit Andrew Adkins rental project. “The location was… approved…after a series of heated public hearings,” The Washington Post said in 1962. “The leading objectors were representatives of the Durant Civic Association, the city’s major Negro organization. They complained that the site includes a number of Negro-

owned or Negro-occupied homes which will be leveled.” Like colored Rosemont’s Payne Street Negro-owned homes. “The association [President A. Melvin Miller] particularly objected because of the availability there of vacant land for private Negro housing,” The Post continued. “This is one place open to Negroes for building...” In January 1964 black lawyer and home owner Otto L. Tucker—Samuel W.’s brother— “challenged the city’s right to condemn land [a house and two lots] he owns for a public housing project, claiming that the site for the project was picked because its inhabitants [20 families] were Negroes. ARHA declared lawyer Tucker’s racist assertions “irrelevant and immaterial to the proper issues involved...” Why not? In 1952 Virginia W. Thomas, widow; black realtor Samuel A. Tucker, Jr.—Samuel W.’s father—the Olympic Boys Club, Inc., and others lost their property to ARHA’s black only James Bland public housing development. Johnson’s 1968 Fair Housing Act, Virginia’s 1972 Fair Housing law was the segregated black’s path to freedom. “I believe in the wisdom of the Bible,” President

Lyndon B. Johnson [D-TX] wrote. “Where there is no vision the people will perish.” Today Alexandria’s public housing residents are 91.2% black; only 53% of households have income from wages and the mean income is low. Colored Rosemont homeowner Stanley Greene has prospered; not perished. For this he wants Virginia Fitzhugh Wheat Thomas’ vision, her minimum model home[s] remembered. 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 FROM



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February 2020 | 19



Photograph of President Franklin D. Roosevelt with his dog Fala at a picnic on "Sunset Hill" near Pine Plains, NY. Fala is four months old.



President James Madison’s wife, Dolley, also a bird lover, had a macaw parrot named Polly. Macaw parrots can live up to 50 years, and Polly was no exception to this rule. When James Madison died in 1836, Polly was still alive and well. It has been rumored that the parrot outlived Dolley as well, but this is unsubstantiated. Tied for the most prolific Presidential pet owners are President Theodore Roosevelt and President Calvin Coolidge. Roosevelt, who majored in biology at Harvard, had a keen First lady Grace Coolidge and her pet interest in nature. His raccoon Rebecca, 1927. White House companions included dogs, cats, rats, horses, guinea pigs, a rabbit, a badger, flying squirrels, snakes, a lion, hyena, wildcat, coyote, five bears, two parrots, a zebra, barn owl, lizard, roosters, a hen, a pig, and a raccoon. President Coolidge’s menagerie included cats, dogs, canaries, a thrush and a mockingbird, a donkey, bobcat, and raccoons Rebecca and Reuben. One of the best-known White House pets, Rebecca the raccoon was sent to Washington from a woman in Mississippi and intended to be part of the White House’s 1926 Thanksgiving PRESIDENTIAL PETS > PAGE 21


residents of the United States of America have historically been animal lovers, either bringing their pets to the White House on Inauguration Day or acquiring them while in office dogs, cats, and even some unusual and exotic animals. Pets have enjoyed their place in the White House, and even in the Oval Office, since the time of George Washington. President Washington, a fan of American Foxhounds and Black and Tan Coonhounds, also owned many horses and a pet donkey, gifted to him by then King Charles III of Spain. Although President Washington is probably best known for his hunting dogs, his journals and letters show that he had many types of dogs throughout his lifetime, estimated at 50 or more. His wife, Martha, owned a parrot named Snipe. Thomas Jefferson was also a bird lover and had at least four mockingbirds while in office. His favorite one was said to be named Dick. He had several dogs and horses and, for a brief time, two grizzly bear cubs, one male and one female, gifted to him by Captain Zebulon Pike, for whom Pike’s Peak is named. Jefferson gave them to Charles Wilson Peale’s Museum in Philadelphia, one of the first museums in America, shortly thereafter, declaring them “too dangerous and troublesome to keep.” Before they were transported to the Peale Museum, however, they were kept in a cage on the front lawn of The White House. Male grizzlies can weigh up to 600 pounds and females between 300 and 450; when standing they can reach between eight and ten feet tall. The bears apparently grew too big and strong for their cage at the museum; at some point, one of them got out and ran loose in the museum before being shot dead. Both bears (it is assumed the other was euthanized) were mounted and put on display for museum visitors.

ADOPTION CALENDAR FOR DETAILS AND MORE INFO www.kingstreetcats.org emai: contact@kingstreetcats.org

Are you or someone you know free during weekday mornings? King Street Cats is looking for weekday morning caregivers and vet taxis to transport our cats to the vet. Please email: contact@kingstreetcats.org for details. King Street Cats is looking for foster homes! You provide the spare room and TLC and we can provide food, litter and all vetting. Please email: contact@kingstreetcats.org for details.

20 | February 2020

KING STREET CATS 25 Dove Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 Every Saturday and Sunday from 1.30pm-4.30pm PETVALU Bradlee Shopping Center, 3652 King St, Alexandria, VA 22302 Every Sat/Sun from 1pm-4pm

The Obamas welcome Bo, a six-month old Portuguese water dog and a gift from Senator and Mrs. Kennedy to Sasha and Malia, recently at the White House.

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Old Town Crier


meal. The Coolidge family, lovers of all animals, found the raccoon friendly and docile and decided to keep her as a pet instead. While raccoon might seem an odd menu choice on the White House dinner table these days, the Washington Evening Star thought the strange part of the story was that the president didn’t want to eat the animal, stating that raccoon meat was far less fatty than possum, noting that raccoon tasted like chicken crossed with a suckling pig. When asked for comment, President Coolidge smiled and said perhaps for some people, but not for him. Coolidge then adopted the raccoon

as a presidential pet— at a time when far fewer of them contracted rabies. President and First Lady Grace Coolidge were known to be such animal lovers that people sent them unsolicited pets on a regular basis. Woodrow Wilson also had some interesting pets, including a flock of Shropshire rams. President Wilson came up with a very unusual way to support the World War I effort – he decided to use a herd of sheep to graze on the grounds of The White House. This accomplished two things - it freed up the grounds staff and also served as a source of revenue when the flock’s fleece was sold. When auctioned in 1919, their combined fleece earned $52,823 for the Red

Cross, a huge sum at the time. The next year, 185 pounds of wool was donated to the Salvation Army. Old Ike, the leader of the ram herd, was by all accounts a mean and ornery animal who enjoyed chewing discarded cigar butts. After two years, the herd was disbanded and Old Ike was sent to live out his remaining days in Maryland.

References: presidentialpetmuseum. com/ petmd.com/exotic/ slideshows/seasonal/ presidents-day-pictures-ofpresident-pets

Since 1953, and Dwight D. Eisenhower’s presidency, most of the presidential pets have been cats and dogs, with a few exceptions. Only two American Presidents have not had pets in the white house – James Polk, the 11th President of the United States (who also had no children) and current President Donald J. Trump.

bestlifeonline.com/whitehouse-pets/ About the Author: Jaime Stephens lives in Alexandria with her husband and two cats, OJ (the tripod in the byline) and Pookie.

Celebrate Valentine’s with a new love

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Cremation of Horses & Companion Animals (571) 835-0540 Chantilly, VA IMPetServices.com

Meet former King Street Cats Alumnus

Peppercorn She now resides in the office of The Old Town Crier and it has been rumored that she is quite helpful with the paperwork.




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

Old Town Crier

TERRY AND JULI Adult, Male Parakeets

Birds of a feather flock together, and those holds true for Terry and Juli! These handsome parakeets agree on everything. Millet seeds are their favorite snack, mirrors are their favorite toys and chatting, or chirping, is their favorite activity together. These two could tweet the day away and are looking for a family to join in their fun! alexandriaanimals.org/animal-profile/?id=41609 alexandriaanimals.org/adoption-information/ Photo of Terry and Juli courtesy of Dirty Paw Photography


Adult, Neutered Male, Brown Tabby Domestic Shorthair

Adult, Neutered Male, Brown and White Pit Bull Terrier

Looking for a sweet guy to join your pride? Parm might be just the guy for you! He can be a little shy of new people but warms up to his feline friends right away. Parm comes out of his shell a little more every day, and he can’t wait to show his future family what a love-bug he can be!  

Do you think I’m the best dog ever? Well, what do you know - I think I’m the best dog ever too! My name is Kingston, and I love to play, cuddle and show off my “sit”. I’m one smart pup - just look at how well I pose for the camera - and love learning new things for treats. I can’t wait to meet my future family, so I’ll always have best friends by my side. Could it be you?

alexandriaanimals.org/animal-profile/?id=36038 alexandriaanimals.org/adoption-information/ Photo of Parm Courtesy of Shelley Castle Photography

alexandriaanimals.org/animal-profile/?id=41670 alexandriaanimals.org/adoption-information/ Photo of Kingston courtesy of Dirty Paw Photography

February 2020 | 21


I St. John: How To Get Here “News” You Can Use!

t’s not easy getting to a little island in the Caribbean. Here’s a quick rundown on how to get here, the latest ferry and barge schedules and more. For starters, let’s talk about location. St. John is located in the United States Virgin Islands which is southeast of Florida. We do not have an airport here on St. John, so you have to fly into St. Thomas. The airport code is STT. From there, you have to take a ferry over to St. John. Well that’s unless money isn’t an issue. Then you can helicopter over via Caribbean Buzz for $495. There currently are three ways to get to St. John – the Red Hook ferry, the Crown Bay ferry or the car barges. The Red Hook ferry leaves Red Hook daily at 6:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m. and then every hour on the hour from 8 a.m. to midnight. For the reverse route, the ferry leaves Cruz Bay every hour on the hour from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. The cost of the ferry is $8.15 one way for non-residents. There is a small fee for baggage. It takes roughly 45 minutes to get to the Red Hook ferry from the airport. The crossing over to Cruz Bay takes roughly 15-20 minutes. This ferry is first come, first served. There is no reservation system. The Crown Bay ferry leaves from the CARIBBEAN CONNECTION > PAGE 23

Love City Car Barge

Courtesy of Love City Car Ferries

Red Hook Ferry

Courtesy of VINow.com

GOOD TO KNOW... If you are choosing to rent a vehicle on St. Thomas, you will have to take the car barge to St. John. The car barge dock is located beside the passenger ferry dock, so the travel time between the airport and the barge is roughly 45 minutes. There are currently four car barges operating – Big Red Barge Co., Global Marine and Love City Car Ferries, which currently has two barges running. The schedule for all of the vessels is below:

Global Marine Ferry

Courtesy of VisitStJohn.com

St. John Ferry Dock

Courtesy of VisitStJohn.com

22 | February 2020

Old Town Crier

St. John Travel Info at a glance: • St. John does not have an airport. • The closest airport is Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas. The airport code is STT. • St. Thomas and St. John are both part of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The two islands are maybe 6 miles apart at their closest points. • From St. Thomas you take a ferry to St. John. • The main “town” on St. John is called Cruz Bay. • Cruise ships occasionally call on Cruz Bay, St. John. Passengers are brought to shore on a tender. • Our St. John is spelt St. John (no s). Once in a blue moon, visitors confuse St. John (island in U.S. Virgin Islands) and St. John’s (the capital city in Antigua). Antigua is a different Caribbean island, not part of the USVI, and it is 210 miles away from St. John. Mixing them up can be a pricey mistake with change fees on flights, and hotel cancellations.


Crown Bay Marina and is operated by Inter Island Boat Services. It leaves Crown Bay daily at 9:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. For the reverse route, it leaves Cruz Bay daily at 8 a.m., 11 a.m., and 4:15 p.m. The cost is $20 one way plus $5 per bag. The Crown Bay ferry takes roughly 4045 minutes. The taxi between the airport and Crown Bay is roughly five minutes. You can reserve your tickets in advance

online. You can do so at www. interislandboatservices.com. The cost for all of the barges is $35 one way or $50 round trip. The companies do not share tickets, which means if you buy a round trip ticket, you must take that same barge (or barge company) on your return trip. The Big Red Barge Co. and Love City Car Ferries have online booking capabilities. Global Marine does not. You can buy a ticket for any of the ferries once you get onto the barges.

Now that we have four barges running, traveling between the islands via vehicle is much smoother. So a big thank you to the barge companies for that! Well, there you have it… Like we said, “news” you can use! Jenn Manes is the author of a popular online blog about the daily happenings of St. John - News of St. John, Established in 2004. Check out NewsofStjohn.com daily to see what is happening on and around the island.

Escape to paradise Hillcrest Guest House is located within a residential area, rising two stories above Cruz Bay, on the crest of a hill and minutes from the beach and the US National Park, Virgin Islands. Six suites available, $185-$235/day Call 340-776-6774 or 340-998-8388 hillcreststjohn.com



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Key West Getaway One Block from Sloppy Joe’s Contact: historichideaways.com • 1-800-654-5131 Old Town Crier

February 2020 | 23





llow me to be the one writer on a February deadline to not discuss valentines, black history, presidents, tax season, or how cold it is. Let’s talk about the five reasons you should go sailing this year. I know, it’s cold—but we’ve agreed not to talk about that. Run with me on this. REASON NUMBER ONE: You know you want to go sailing… someday. Everyone does, right? Perhaps a few of you get sick on boats. (There are solutions for that. Keep reading.). Most of us feel better on boats than we do on land. We dream of the freedom of casting off our lines with the sun on our faces, the wind in our hair. We have seen all those ads with sleek Ralph Lauren and Nautica models on beautiful wooden boats (so much shinier than real bodies of water would ever allow) sporting their navy cable sweaters and white pants, looking so cool. Note: white pants are the dumbest thing you could ever wear on a boat. But who doesn’t want to look cool? Who doesn’t want 24 | February 2020

to feel cool? Sailing feels cool. This you will learn only by actually sailing. Take my word for it. You know you want to go. TWO: It’s not as expensive as you think. All of those magazine images and movies make sailing seem only accessible to the super rich. People who use the word summer as a verb. Snobs who say the words “yachting” and “regatta” through clenched teeth as they order martinis on white terraces. These people do exist—I’m not going to lie to you. The good news is that you can go sailing extensively and joyfully for many years and not hang out with those people at all. To balance out the “yachtie” rich guy attitudes, there are “regular” folks who sail every weekend via truly affordable community sailing programs and schools. These are the people who welcome new sailors with open arms. Among the community sailing programs worth looking into regionally are DC Sail, Baltimore’s Downtown Sailing Center (DSC), and Sail Nauticus in Norfolk, VA. There are even top-notch and affordable programs for disabled sailors, such as Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating and the adaptable program at the DSC. Sailors of

all ages, sizes, shapes, colors, and abilities are welcome. THREE: You will be blown away by the kind, upbeat, sailing-crazy enthusiasm of the people you meet at community sailing programs. You will meet them, go for a sail, have an amazing day, and ask yourself what took you so long to try sailing. FOUR: You can come up with excuses all day long— too busy, don’t know how to get started, don’t have anyone to go with, not sure your spouse will like it, need to do yard work. It’s amazing how many excuses we can come up with to avoid something fun. Why do we procrastinate fun? Because change is hard. To wake up, be unsure about what you need to wear on a boat, to drive to a place you have never been, to meet people you don’t know, and to try something new is hard. Yard work is hard, too, but it’s familiar. So you put off fun and mow the lawn instead. Next thing you know, another year has passed, and you still have not gone sailing. Make this your year to embrace the change. Forget the yard. Seize the day. If you’re that guy who gets seasick, try a Scopalamine patch or over-the-counter drugs such as Bonine or

Dramamine. (Ask your doctor first.) They work quite well. So do a number of other solutions, including putting an earplug in one ear. See 50 seasickness solutions by clicking to gcaptain.com/ seasickness-ways-tackle. REASON NUMBER FIVE WHY YOU SHOULD GO SAILING IN 2020: Go because you may not be around for 2021. Gulp. Really? Are we really going to end this column with death talk? Really. It goes hand in hand with taxes. What if. What if you’re not around or able to plan a sailing day next year? Plan it now, before you get all wrapped up in Valentine’s or President’s Day. Before Black History Month ends. Forget the cold. Visit a website, such as one of the community sailing programs or startsailingnow.com. Make a phone inquiry. How nice would it be to end February with a spring sailing plan? You can thank me later. Molly Winans is the managing editor of SpinSheet, PropTalk, and FishTalk Magazines based in the Eastport section of Annapolis, Maryland.

Old Town Crier

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o issue in recent memory has stirred up passion and emotion here in the hunt country of suburban and rural Virginia like gun control. Most news reports tried to portray the massive crowds that showed up in Richmond on January 20th as angry old white Republican men. But the crowd that assembled to lobby against more gun control was as diverse as the state’s population. Young to old, students; at least one World War II veteran; African Americans, Asian Americans and other people of color; LGBTQ, immigrants, and yes, Democrats and Never Trumpers were among the thousands there. Daily, those who oppose gun control are portrayed as evil white men who’d rather see school children die and mass murders occur just so they can keep their guns. But who are these people really? We interviewed some to find out. Because of the contentious nature of the gun control issue, no names or identifying details are included. The majority who spoke to us were not old, male and white, but all were rural dwellers living an hour or more southwest of Washington D.C. They do not believe the gun itself, and their own guns in particular, cause the problem. They are as appalled at these incidents as everyone else. “I’m not a singleissue voter,” said one married woman in her late 50s with grown children. “We’ve always had guns here; our [grown children] learned to shoot growing up. But I’m not the kind who’d rather die and have you pry it out of my hands,”

she explained. “I’m not going to vote for a pro-gun candidate unless I agree with everything else, like taxes and spending.” Another younger woman, who had been a victim of domestic violence, admits she did not grow up in rural Virginia nor with guns. She recently completed the requirements for a concealed carry gun permit and planned to buy at least one hand gun, attended the Jan. 20 Lobby Day in Richmond and said: “A month ago, I probably would not have protested over just the one gun a month restriction because you don’t always get all of what you want. But now it seems that some restrictions are never going to be enough until all guns are banned and I’m against that.” Both women, and several men we spoke to all agreed they do not want to see children and innocent people or anyone die at the hands of a murderer wielding a gun any more than the most rabid gun hater. “Even those who don’t own handguns and would not be affected by the one per month limit side with those that don’t want that law, because we know it won’t stop criminals and the mentally ill from harming others,” said a retired U.S. Military combat veteran. The unintended consequence of all the proposed gun legislation in Virginia is that many who would have accepted some of the restrictions, feel backed into a corner, ignored and now side with those that want no restrictions. The vast array of bills introduced, some of which will be laws be laws by press time, “won’t stop the BLUE RIDGE > PAGE 27

Old Town Crier


crime wave and will have a combined effect of punishing people who have never committed crimes nor been a danger to others.” Setting aside the “shall not infringe” 2nd Amendment argument, the people we spoke to have legitimate worries about the new laws. “Obviously these laws were drafted by people who lack a basic understanding of firearms, said one man, an avid hunter. “What looks like a scary machine gun is just a plain old hunting rifle with decorations. Banning it is like saying you’re a felon because your Honda Civic or Prius has too much chrome.” “Many of us, not just those who shoot regularly because they hunt or shoot clays, own guns we inherited, heirlooms and antiques from our fathers and grandfathers, great grandfathers. I have my grandfather’s World War II gun and it is on the banned list,” said the woman with grown children. “Owning this and probably a few [her husband] has makes us instant felons or worse. We were supposed to feel appeased when forceful confiscation was taken off the table and the first bill withdrawn— but a second bill replaced confiscation with a grandfather clause and a tax. That’s too much.” Inherited and gifted guns are, of course, acquired without background checks so there’s no record of who owns what. Confiscation and levying charges are difficult to impossible if you don’t know who owns what. “So the new bill tosses us a bone. We can keep these guns we already own with mandatory registration and taxation. And that gives our government a road map and a GPS straight to our front

door to confiscate them at a later date when confiscation becomes law. And it will eventually, because every time something happens, people scream for more laws. Even though taking guns from law abiding gun owners has never, anywhere in this country, done anything to reduce gun crimes or make criminals and psychopaths stop committing crimes.” Another unintended consequence that bothered many is the potential for harm from red flag laws. “The red flag law sounds so good and reasonable at first. If you know someone is so angry or unbalanced they could be dangerous, you just notify the government, and law enforcement will remove their guns. You can even do this and remain anonymous. This may save a life but we are afraid it will cost far more than it saves.” Anonymous accusers foster a disturbing victim and snitch culture that some say is becoming increasingly prevalent. “Far too many people manipulate the court system for petty revenge, and/or suffer from the helpless victim mentality—the unwillingness to accept the consequences of their own poor life choices. Normal people are able to learn from their mistakes and change their behaviors to avoid them in the future. Perpetual victims blame every setback, even if completely self created, on someone else.” “A vindictive ex, a marriage or relationship gone wrong, is fabricated into a reason to call authorities and claim the person is dangerous. Snitching is easy. Plenty have practiced it anonymously on social media for years, keyboard warriors never having to face the accused. In real life, you should have to reveal

yourself before making a life threatening accusation.” It’s already happening in other states with red flag laws. There are legitimate reasons to fear a person with mental issues and access to guns, but anonymous snitching is a dangerous way to deal with that. “I have nightmares about the pets and innocent family members that will die because one of their loved ones is unjustly accused by a cop breaking down their door at 2 am,” said one young gun owner. Then, there are the proposed taxes on the few guns people will be allowed to have, and on ammunition; in some of the bills the revenue would go to various programs, such as schools and education. Some of these programs are worthy and needed. “Why should gun owners be the only ones to pay for them?” asked one man. The imposition of these taxes might be grudgingly accepted if the programs included training and gun safety. But it’s been made clear that will never happen. A bill to provide gun safety classes in schools was shot down before it ever made it out of committee. Guns had always been such an integral part of the fabric of rural society that until now, few gave their presence much thought. Now, many feel unfairly punished because of a criminal element that has nothing to do with them or their lives. And they feel their governor and legislators consider them not constituents but flyover country—not worth listening to. “We feel like criminals are being rewarded by being able to vote, by the ease of pleading guilty to a misdemeanor after a felony was committed to avoid charges, while us law abiding gun owners are the new lower class,” lamented one person.

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Old Town Crier

February 2020 | 27

Rehoboth Beach Sunrise


Photos by Bob Tagert and Lani Gering


“If you like Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain And the feel of the ocean, and the taste of champagne If you like making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape You’re the love that I’ve looked for, come with me and escape”...

Winter ti


me Bo

h Moo h Beac

ot Rehob


or those of us who grew up in this area, summers always meant a trip to the Atlantic Ocean. Back in the mid-sixties we all went to Ocean City, Maryland. The ocean was always something you could depend on. It never changed and was always consistent... always waiting for your return. Ocean City in those days was about 60 blocks long and then nothing but dunes and surfers. There were no lifeguards beyond 60th Street, only endless sands and dunes supporting the growth of grass and other foliage. It was where you could escape from it all...and we did. Now, 55 years later, my body isn’t interested in volleyball on the beach or throwing a football or practicing lacrosse catches. Today I can understand my parent’s rationale of beach going...it is for the kids but it is wonderful just being here. As the years passed, the coast became more and more developed. High rises shot up to the clouds and there were more and more people. Although roads were widened, 28 | February 2020

the crowds kept getting larger. On busy summer weekends, traffic can be a test of your patience. One remedy for this is to visit the beach in the colder months and that is just what we did last month. We set our sights on Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Rehoboth is a year round town and has a number of residents. Although some attractions and businesses close in the winter, there are still a number of good restaurants and business open year round. We stayed at the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel right on the boardwalk in the heart of town. Our fourth floor accommodations were beautiful with a great view of the beach and the full moon and sunrises. We checked in and then made our way to the Purple Parrot...always a busy and fun place. As we expected, the place was packed. It turned out we picked a great weekend as the temperatures were in the 60’s and reached 70 degrees on Saturday. Another nice thing about Rehoboth in the winter is that they eliminate the parking meters so all parking

is free. The Purple Parrot is easy to spot. All you need do is look for the color purple. This Friday night the place was packed and the energy level very high. The people are very friendly, the cocktails are generous and the beer is cold. It happened to be karaoke night so I threw my hat in the ring. After a few songs, we made our way back to the Plaza for a dip in their huge jacuzzi. It is a relaxing way to end the day. After eight o’clock no one under 18 is allowed in the area. It was such a mild night that we decided to hit the hot tub on the roof and enjoy the full moon. This also, we had all to ourselves. The next morning I was up to wait for the sunrise. As the darkness began to turn to light, I saw those same waves that I had seen 50 years ago. Nothing had changed. I watched as the sun rose higher and the temperatures began to rise. By now there were numerous people strolling on the boardwalk and some began to make their way to the beach dragging beach chairs behind. It was

going to be a beautiful day. As we returned to the lobby that morning we were greeted by Emro, the Plaza’s celebrity Sun Conure Parrot. Emro is a hand raised parrot that came from a local bird farm where they rescue and hand raise babies. Hand raised birds are more human friendly which fits right into the Victorian theme at the Plaza. When the hotel opened in May of 1991, the owners concerned themselves with providing a level of service that matched the awardwinning Victorian design and decor. In 1992, the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel received the prestigious Four Diamond Award from the American Automobile Association, which signifies to the traveling public that the staff of the hotel and restaurant provide a level of service that exceeds a guest’s expectations. The hotel has won this award consecutively each year through 2019. The hotel and restaurant celebrates 30 years of business in 2020. This is an exceptional hotel. Think of the Grand Hotel in the movie “Somewhere



in Time” and you will get the idea. Although located right on the beach, great care is taken to ensure the proper experience. The hotel is decorated throughout in period furniture, furnishings and feel. The hallways have plush carpets appointed with button and tufted chairs and beautiful antiques. This is first and foremost a place for adults although families do vacation here. For a certain amount of serenity, the fourth floor is reserved for adults only and is accessible only for those with key cards for the elevators fourth floor. Access to the roof is only through the fourth floor. As one would expect, the rooms are exceptional with large comfortable beds and a sitting room with a balcony that looks out over the boardwalk, across the dunes to the ocean. Along the boardwalk the hotel provides two top tables as well as comfortable couches and chairs surrounding gas fires on the center table. At ROAD TRIP > PAGE 29

Old Town Crier

Fireside cocktails at the Boardwalk Plaza Hotel

Emro Jr. at the Boardwalk Plaza

The Boardwalk Plaza Hotel Starboard

Indoor outdoor spa pool Starboard Breakfast

Starboard Bloody Mary ROAD TRIP | FROM PAGE 28

the north end there is a hot tub pool which is part of the huge grotto spa located in the atrium of the hotel. For breakfast on Saturday morning we decided to visit one of Lani’s favorite places at the beach...The Starboard in Dewey Beach. Coming to The Starboard brought back good memories of when I used to play rugby against the owner, Dickey Heidenberger. This was back in the 80’s in D.C. where Dickey owned a few restaurants with one being the Bottomline, which was also the party bar for Dickey’s team. Heidenberger has always made his restaurants a part of the community and The Starboard is exactly that. This restaurant has two bars and the largest Bloody Mary smorgasbord that I have ever seen. We found two seats at the bar to enjoy our breakfast of eggs benedict and choice of tater tots or hash browns. I got the tater tots, a treat from when I was a kid, while Lani opted for the hash browns which were also very good. Our breakfast was super as well as the Bloody Mary’s and Todd, our Old Town Crier

bartender, was fun, engaging and a pleasure to talk to. Stop in and say hi. The Plaza is located within two blocks of the heart of town and in easy walk for food, entertainment, shopping or just enjoying a walk. There are restaurants and shops located on the side streets of Rehoboth as well. One of our favorites is the Blue Moon on Baltimore Avenue but it was closed for the season. On Wilmington Avenue you can find Henlopen City Oyster House...a very popular place with the locals. And….for those of you who have been frequenting Rehoboth over the years, you gotta stop in the Summer House during your stay.

As I mentioned at the beginning, the ocean never changes. Sure, storms move in, beaches are reclaimed by pumping sand from the ocean to replenish the beach, but unlike us...not much has changed over the past 50 years. The waves still lap at the shores welcoming us back and those same waves wave goodbye to us when it is time to leave... always knowing that I will return. If you really want to pamper yourself or have a rocking good time, head for Rehoboth Beach this winter. It is a scenic two and one-half hour drive from Alexandria and the break will do you good. February 2020 | 29



MICHAEL’S LITTLE ITALY 305 South Washington St Old Town, Alexandria 703-548-9338 Michaelslittleitaly.com

Michael’s Little Italy

One Part Fine Dining, One Part Pizzeria!



Papparedelle Bolognese

Saltimbocca Alla Romana

hree years ago Michael Strutton left Nashville to come to Alexandria to be near his mother. He had formed a band and was playing at Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub and would stop in at Trattoria da Franco after some performances. He would talk to Franco about restaurants and his desire to own one someday. At the time, Franco had been at this 305 South Washington Street location for over 30 years. Eventually an agreement was reached and Michael took over the restaurant renaming it La Trattoria Old Town. The past few months he has finally achieved his goal after totaling remodeling the restaurant and to rename it Michael’s Little Italy Ristorante & Pizzeria. This establishment is a combination with two concepts side by side –fine dining and a pizzeria. Their tagline is “Serving Southern Italian Cuisine and New York-style Pizza”. The bar and fine dining area are on the right as you walk in. This is an intimate dining room with a cozy fireplace and fully stocked bar. This room is bathed in a deep red wine color and dimly lit with lots

of fun movie/music inspired artwork on the walls. The back bar is assembled from wooden wine cases and done in a nice country fashion. It is very comfortable and inviting. The room is also used for some small musical acts including Flamenco Night and other events like music trivia which Michael tells us will begin in February on Thursday nights. The bar has a large flat screen TV which is not turned on unless requested and is used when appropriate for special sporting events, etc. On the other side of the first floor is the pizzeria featuring New York-style pizza. The pizzeria is a more casual style and great for families. The décor is fun with checkered table cloths and wall hangings. There is a stand-alone gas fireplace that adds to the ambiance as well. This is where you can be a bit more laid back. The pizzas are all 18 inch (with the exception of the margherita which is a 12 incher) pies and are served by the slice as well as whole. Toppings include cheese, meat and veggie pizzas and a New Haven clam pie. Michael was in the kitchen the night we dined and was

gracious enough to give us a slice of the cheese pizza to sample while we were having a cocktail. It was very tasty. Definitely something we will order soon. This casual bistro style pizzeria also serves Meat and Eggplant Lasagna, Spaghetti and Meatballs and Chicken and Veal Parma. They also offer beer and wine as well as drinks from the bar. All items can be ordered to go including wine. Perfect for a night on the couch. The second floor features an overflow dining room/ special event space and the cigar bar/lounge. The dining room is cozy and comfortable. This room also serves as the musical venue for Sunday nights including the popular “Opera Night” the last Sunday of the month. Bob Smith, former White House Pianist, plays and locals take to the microphone to sing and entertain you a couple of times a month. The talent is pretty amazing from opera

quality to just good. Although I have sung with Bob playing in the past, I will not put myself in either group, but I can get by. The cigar room was a Strutton idea a few years back and has proven very successful. There are a group of regulars that light up here as well as new folks. It is open to the public and does not require membership. It is, however, open after 10:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays only. We chose to dine on the fine dining side of Michael’s DINING OUT > PAGE 31

The Fabulous Semifreddo 30 | February 2020

Old Town Crier


on this visit where they presented their winter menu. It is a nice concise menu that isn’t overwhelming. You will find a Chef ’s Soup Selection, Insalata Caprese and Caesar, Antipasto, Insalata Burrata, Calamari Fritti and Cozze al Vino Bianco. We split the Insalata Caesar and it was perfect. Cold, crisp Romaine lettuce and crunchy croutons with a delightful dressing. They offer a nice selection of homemade pastas and entrees. I won’t run through them here but would recommend you check out their web site. I have had the Spinach Capellini alla Vongole (little neck clams in a white wine garlic) and have enjoyed it, however on this trip I ordered the Veal Saltimboccco alla Romano. I am a big fan of veal and this did not disappoint. Three hearty slices of veal with paper thin prosciutto on top of creamy pasta made for a very filling meal. I brought one of the veal medallions and pasta home for another meal. My partner ordered one of her favorite pasta’s – pappardelle

Old Town Crier

– with bolognese sauce. She commented on what a difference it makes when the pasta is made in house. She had to take a portion of her dish home as well since she was set on having some dessert. And…it was definitely the right move to make. We shared their house-made Semifreddo. This is the first time we have actually had this, in fact, neither of us had ever heard of it before this experience. Semifreddo is a cross between whipped cream and ice cream. It is more like

a frozen mousse in texture. Michael’s version is made with pieces of almond brittle and caramel sauce. It is over the moon good. Michael’s also has a nice wine list and the prerequisite craft beer selection as well as a fully stocked bar. Located only one block from the Little Theater in Old Town, this place sees many early diners before the show. Seating is fairly limited with only 16 seats on the floor and 8 or so seats at the bar so reservations are a good idea any day of the week.

February 2020 | 31



Heather serves up “That Sweet Heat Margarita” – Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, habanero agave shrub, orange juice garnished with a spicy pickled pepper and tajin

Heather Allor How did you get started in the bartending business? I had been working at the same place since I was 18, so when my manager thought I was turning 21 she really wanted to put me behind the bar...It was only my 20th birthday. Needless to say, three days after I turned 21 I started training and have been behind the bar ever since.

In this day and age of craft cocktails, do you consider yourself a “good old fashioned” bartender or a “mixologist? 32 | February 2020

I’ve always liked to consider myself a “good old fashioned bartender”.

What is the cleverest line anyone has ever used to get you to give them a free drink? I wouldn’t say it’s the cleverest, but I love when someone orders a drink and says to “make it strong” thinking I am just going to give them extra booze for free.

What is the best and/or worst pickup line you have overheard at the bar?

I have heard so many it’s too hard to choose!

What is your biggest bartender pet peeve? I don’t really have any big pet peeves, nothing that is really going to ruin my day. However, I do always like when I ask for someone’s ID and they try and give me a hard time about it.:-)

All bartenders have good stories to tell about encounters with customers BEHIND THE BAR > PAGE 33

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Small Batch, Gourmet Hot Sauce

– please share one of your favorites with us. I honestly can’t think of just one, I have met so many wonderful people over the years.

If you could sit down and have a drink with anyone in the world, past or present, who would that be? That would definitely have to be my grandfather. I would love the opportunity to sit down and have a beer with him. From what I can remember and all the stories I have heard, he was one amazing individual. I would love for him to see the person I am today.

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Pub Note: Heather doesn’t have a set schedule at this time so just drop for a beverage and take a chance on her being behind the bar. If you would like to see your favorite bartender featured here, send contact information to office@oldtowncrier.com

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Old Town Crier

February 2020 | 33


AUGIE’S MUSSEL HOUSE 1106 King Street 703.721.3970

JOE THEISMANNS 1800 Diagonal Rd. 703-739-0777

BILBO BAGGINS 208 Queen St. 703-683-0300

JUNCTION BAKERY & BISTRO 1508 Mount Vernon Avenue Alexandria 703-436-0025

BLACKWALL HITCH 5 Cameron St. 703-739-6090

LAPORTAS 1600 Duke St. 703-683-6313

CAFE 44 44 Canal Center 571-800-6644 CARLYLE CLUB 411 John Carlyle St. 703-549-8957

THE LIGHT HORSE 715 King Street 703-549-0533

CHADWICKS 203 Strand St. 703-836-4442 CHARLIE'S ON THE AVENUE Mount Vernon Avenue 703-851-3270

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

CHART HOUSE One Cameron St. 703-684-5080

MACKIE’S BAR AND GRILL 907 King St. 703-684-3288 mackiesbarandgrill.com

CITY KITCHEN 330 South Pickett St. 703-685-9172 fatcitykitchen.com COLUMBIA FIREHOUSE 109 S. St. Asaph St. 703-683-1776 EVENING STAR CAFÉ 2000 Mt. Vernon Ave. 703-549-5051 EXECUTIVE DINER & CAFE 1400 Duke Street 703-299-0894 FIN & HOOF 801 N. Saint Asaph St. 703-836-4700 FIVE GUYS 725 King St. 703-549-7991 FLAT TOP BURGER 529 East Howell Ave. 571-970-1006 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 HUMMINGBIRD 220 South Union Street 703-566-1355 JACKS PLACE 222 North Lee St. 703-684-0372 JACKSON 20 480 King St. 703-842-2790 JAVA GRILL 611 King Street 571-431-7631

34 | February 2020

LIVE OAK 1603 Commonwealth Ave. 571-312-0402

MAGNOLIA’S ON KING 703 King St. 703-838-9090 MAJESTIC CAFÉ 911 King St. 703-837-9117 MASON SOCIAL 728 Henry Street 703-548-8800 mason-social.com MOUNT VERNON INN Mount Vernon, Va 703-780-0011 MURPHYS IRISH PUB 713 King St. 703-548-1717 murphyspub.com MYRON MIXON PITMASTER BBQ 220 North Lee St. 703-535-3340 NECTAR COFFEE & WINE BISTRO 106 Hume Avenue 571-431-6150 NORTHSIDE 1O 10 East Glebe Rd. 703-888-0032 OCONNELLS RESTAURANT & BAR 112 King St. 703-739-1124 PORK BARREL BBQ 2312 Mount Vernon Ave. 703-822-5699 THE PEOPLES DRUG 103 N. Alfred Street 571-257-8851 RAMPARTS 1700 Fern St. 703-998-6616 rampartstavern.com RIVER BEND BISTRO 7966 Fort Hunt Rd. Hollin Hall Shopping Center 703-347-7545 riverbendbistro.com ROCK IT GRILL 1319 King St. 703-739-2274 RT's RESTAURANT 3804 Mt. Vernon Ave. 703-684-6010 rtsrestaurant.com

SAMUEL BECKETTS IRISH GASTRO PUB 2800 S. Randolph St. Villages of Shirlington 703-379-0122 SHOOTER MCGEES 5239 Duke St. 703-751-9266 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 T.J. STONES GRILL HOUSE & TAP ROOM 608 Montgomery St. 703-548-1004 tjstones.com UNION STREET PUBLIC HOUSE 121 South Union St. 703-548-1785 unionstreetpublichouse.com VERMILLION 1120 King St. 703-684-9669 VIRTUE GRAIN & FEED 106 South Union St. 571-970-3669 VOLA’S DOCKSIDE GRILL & THE HI-TIDE LOUNGE 101 North Union St. 703-935-8890 THE WAREHOUSE BAR & GRILL 214 King St. 703-683-6868 warehouseoldtown.com ASIAN

ASIAN BISTRO 809 King St. 703-836-1515 MALAYA 1019 King St. 703-519-3710 MAI THAI 9 King St. 703-548-0600 NASIME 1209 King St. 703-548-1848 STREETS MARKET AND CAFE 3108 Mt. Vernon Ave. 571-431-6810 THAILAND ROYAL 801 N. Fairfax St. 703 535-6622 TOKYO JAPANESE STEAKHOUSE 66 Canal Center Plaza 703-683-8878 CAPHE BANH MI VIETNAMESE 407 Cameron St. 703-549-0800 KAI ZEN TAVERN 1901 Mt. Vernon Ave. 703-836-1212

THE SUSHI BAR 2312 Mount Vernon Avenue 571-257-3232

RED ROCKS FIREBRICK PIZZA 904 King St. 703-717-9873



BRABO by Robert Weidmaier 1600 King St. 703-894-3440 BRABO TASTING ROOM 1600 King St. 703-894-5252 CEDAR KNOLL GW Parkway at Lucia Ln. 703-780-3665 OLD HOUSE COSMOPOLITAN 1024 Cameron Street 703-717-9361 TEMPO 4231 Duke St. 703-370-7900 temporestaurant.com VILLAGE BRAUHAUS 710 King Street 703-888-1951 villagebrauhaus.com FRENCH

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

BUGSYS PIZZA RESTAURANT 111 King St. 703-683-0313 FACCIA LUNA 823 S. Washington St. 703-838-5998 HANKS PASTA BAR 600 Montgomery Ave. 571-312-4117 IL PORTO RESTAURANT 121 King St. 703-836-8833 LANDINI BROTHERS 115 King St. 703-836-8404 landinibrothers.com LENA’S WOOD-FIRED PIZZA & TAP 401 East Braddock Rd. 703-960-1086 MIA'S ITALIAN KITCHEN 100 King Street 703-997-5300 MICHAEL’S LITTLE ITALY 305 S. Washington St. 703-548-9338 PARADISO 124 King St. 703-683-5330 PINES OF FLORENCE 1300 King St. 703-549-1796

LA TASCA 607 King St. 703-299-9810 TAVERNA CRETEKOU 818 King St. 703-548-8688 tavernacretekou.com PITA HOUSE 719 King St. 703-684-9194 DELIAS MEDITERRANEAN GRILL 209 Swamp Fox Rd. 703-329-0006 VASO'S MEDITERRANEAN BISTRO 1118 King Street 703-566-2720 VASO'S KITCHEN 1225 Powhatan Street 703-548-2747 SEAFOOD

HANKS OYSTER BAR 1026 King St. 703-739-HANK FISH MARKET-OLD TOWN 105 King St. 703-836-5676 fishmarketoldva.com ERNIES ORGINIAL CRABHOUSE 1743 King St. 703-836-0046 THE WHARF 119 King St. 703-836-2834 INDIAN

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

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

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4- 7pm M-F 330 South Pickett Street 703-685-9172 $3.75 Select Wine, Liquor and Beer

3-7 pm M-F 105 King Street 703-836-5676 Select Import Bottles $5.00 Rail Drinks $5.00 Classic Margaritas and Cocktails $6.00

MACKIE’S SPORTS BAR & GRILL 3 - 7pm M-F 907 King Street 703-684-3288

Select Draft and Bottles $3.00, House Wine $5.00, Rail Drinks $5.00, Jameson $5.00


HAPPY HOURS MURPHY’S GRAND IRISH PUB M-F 4-7pm 713 King Street 703-548-1717

RAMPARTS TAVERN & GRILL M - F 4 - 7pm 1700 Fern Street 703-998-6616


Everyday 4-7pm 3804 Mt. Vernon Ave. 703 684-6010

Select Draft, Rail Liquor and House Wine $3.50

$1.00 Off House Liquor Drinks, Premium Wine Selections $6.00 Select Beers $4 - $5


4 -7pm M-F 214 King Street 703-683-6868


$2 off Draft Beers and House Wine by the Glass. $5 House Spirits

Rail Drinks $6.00, Draft Beer $5.00, Domestic Bottles $4.00, Wine $6.00

Draft $5.00, Speciality Cocktails $10.00, $2.00 Off Wine By the Glass, $4.00 Well Drinks

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M-F 4-7:30PM Beer: $4.50 Select Imports and Virginia Craft Drafts Select Domestics $3.75 All Rail Drinks $$4.50 House Wines $5.50

4-7 pm M-F 608 Montgomery Street 703-548-1004 Draft Beer: Yuengling, Blue Moon, PBR, Parkway Amber $3.25 House Wines $3.25



DID YOU KNOW… …In Europe, Valentine’s Day has many different names:


Valentine’s Day Is for “Chocolate” Lovers!

alentine’s Day is observed by many people, in many countries, in a variety of ways. According to a recent poll, chocolate, in any form, is the preferred gift of both recipient and sender when commemorating this holiday. A long time ago someone said “chocolate is the nectar of the Gods.” The first people to discover the secrets of this nectar were the Aztecs and the Mayans. Mixing cacao seeds with various spices became a favored drink of royalty, and the seeds were often offered to the gods in lieu of human blood. When the Spanish conquered the natives, they brought the seeds back to Spain in the 1500’s where new recipes were created using the cacao seeds. Nearly a century later, the rest of Europe started experimenting with the seeds and made a variety of different chocolates. However, it remained a royal delectable because sugar and cacao were very expensive. In the 1800’s things changed when mass production lowered the cost of producing the chocolate. Today, it is readily available in various forms, at affordable prices. One day while window shopping in Georgetown, I saw a young woman wearing a T shirt that said “Give me some chocolate and nobody will get hurt.” It struck a familiar chord in my mind, because it made me think of how many times I thought that everything would be better if only I had some chocolate! I am not alone. In this country, there are millions of people who feel the same way. In the spirit of the day and for chocolate lovers all around the world, here are two of my favorite home-made chocolate candy recipes:

• Wales, the Welsh people celebrate Dydd Santes Dwynwen (St. Dwynwen’t Day ) on January 25th. The day commemorates St. Dwynwen, the patron saint of Welsh lovers. • France, Valentine’s Day is called Saint Valentin. • Spain, it is known as San Valentin. • Denmark and Norway, Valentine’s Day is known as Valentinsdag. • Sweden, it is called Alla hjartans dag (All Hearts Day) • In Finland Valentine’s Day is called Ystavanpaiva (Friend’s Day) • Slovenia, the day of love is March 12, Saint Gregory’s Day. It is thought to mark the start of spring. • Romania, February 24 is the traditional day for lovers and is called Dragobete – named after a character from Romanian folklore. • Turkey, Valentine’s Day is Sevgililer Gunu, meaning “Sweethearts’ Day. • Israel, the 15th day of the month of AvTu B’Av which usually falls in August, is the festival of love. Today, modern Israeli culture celebrates this as day to pronounce love, propose marriage, and/or give gifts like flowers or cards.

Chocolate Sticks Two squares of bitter chocolate One cup of sugar Two eggs One-half cup of butter (unsalted and at room temperature) One-quarter tsp. of salt One-half tsp. of vanilla One-half cup of flour One-half cup of chopped walnuts, pecans or macadamia nuts


Melt the chocolate with the butter then add the sugar, stirring well. Separate the two yolks from the two egg whites and add. Then add the tsp. of salt and beat well. Add the vanilla, a half cup of flour and fold in the nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, or until done. When the mixture has cooled, cut into thin rectangular sticks.

Chocolate Turtles Two packages of prepared caramels One-half to one cup of semi-sweet chocolate bits, melted in double boiler One quarter cup of heavy cream which you will add to the melted chocolate. One-half to one cup of nuts of your choice. Put the caramel pieces in a pre-heated 325 degree oven until the pieces start to flatten. Remove from oven immediately and press two nuts directly into each caramel. When it is cool to the touch, dip each caramel/nut piece into the melted chocolate/ cream mixture. (I find that using wooden skewers works well.) After each piece has been dipped into the chocolate, put them on waxed paper until thoroughly cooled. They can be stored at room temperature or kept in the refrigerator. This column is reprinted from the February 2009 issue in memory of Judy Eichner. Judy was a contributing writer for several years. 36 | February 2020

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BEYOND VALENTINE’S DAY: One-of-A-Kind Experiences in Virginia Wine Country

f you love Virginia Wine Country in the summer and fall, you’ll double-love it in winter and spring. In the off-season, there’s plenty of room at the tasting bar, and winemakers can take the time to chat and catch up with their guests. It’s their time to reconnect to what they love best. To encourage wine enthusiasts and other travelers to get to know Virginia in the slower season, I put together the first-ever Great Virginia Wine Country Travel Auction-just in time to scoop up some creative Valentine’s Day gifts! Dozens of Virginia wineries and lodgings are participating, with romantic getaways, oneof-a-kind experiences and buy-it-now deals. The travel auction will bring visitors from all over to visit Virginia and get to know the quality wines being made here, including many off the beaten path. And I’m especially happy that a portion of the auction proceeds will support Virginia’s Winemakers Research Exchange, which does so much to help wineries improve wine quality and become more economically sustainable. Whether or not you plan to bid during the auction, I thought you’d like seeing some of the best items on the auction block. Many of these you can put together yourself later, or contact the venue directly if you’d like to arrange for a private experience at a 38 | February 2020

later date. The online-only auction runs from February 3 through February 10. You can preview the items at www.auctria.com/ auction/VAWineTravel and pre-register so you’re ready to go when the auction goes live at 8AM on February 3. Corcoran Vineyards and Waterford Reservations Getaway: In Waterford— perhaps the most beautiful part of Loudoun County— plan a sweet overnight getaway at one of Waterford Reservations’ country lodgings. Choices include a tiny home; a villa just off the W&OD walking/biking trail; a 4 bed/4 bath cabin right on Catoctin Creek, and more. At Corcoran Vineyards, you can hang with winemaker Lori Corcoran and try out her very special pairing of port-style wines with a variety of desserts. Corcoran Vineyards has been a pioneer in Loudoun County’s wine, craft beer, and cider evolution, and today specializes in portstyle wines aged for 7-8 years in whiskey barrels. Philip Carter Winery’s Ambassador Club: One of the quickest ways to build friendships in Virginia’s wine world is to join a wine club, where you’ll have regular chances to mix and mingle with fellow vino lovers at a winery of your choice. Nearly every winery offers a club, each with different benefits, but you can expect regular shipments of wine

(often special, small-lot bottlings that aren’t offered to the general public), complimentary tastings when you visit, membersonly events, and generous discounts. In beautiful Fauquier County, Philip Carter Winery’s Ambassador Club is one of the most generous in the state. A one-year membership also includes 50% off on case purchases, admission to several winery festivals, a barrel tasting, vineyard picnic, and holiday party. Off-Road Adventure and Tailgate Picnic at Ankida Ridge Vineyards (south of Charlottesville): Your private group of 6-8 will take a ride

to the top of the mountain with the Ankida Ridge winery owners on their Kubota UTV, where the tailgate opens to a multi-course picnic and lots of wine. (Ankida Ridge is known for their Pinot Noir.) On the way down, you’ll stop at the winery’s overlook above the vineyards for dessert and Photo: Rick Collier

sparkling wine, and maybe a chance to pet a few sheep who roam freely on the property. Day of Taste, Night of Feast at Barboursville Vineyards: One happy outcome of the growth of Virginia’s wine industry is the growth in charismatic on-site lodgings and restaurants. Among the most cherished are at Barboursville Vineyards, east of Charlottesville. While the auction package includes something very hard to come by--an afternoon with Barboursville’s winemaker, Luca Paschina, for a reserve tasting in the winery’s Library 1821—anyone with an GRAPEVINE > PAGE 40


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Or pick one up at these select wineries: Pearmund Cellars, Magnolia Vineyards, Two Twisted Posts Winery, Narmada Winery, Desert Rose Winery, Lake Anna Winery, Sassafras Shade Vineyard

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Images courtesy Twentieth Century Fox

It’s Valentino Time!


t. Valentine was lucky enough to be associated with love, romance and passion of the heart. It seems to me that wine has been the beverage most associated with romance going back for a few hundred years. And of course Champagne or sparkling wine is at the top of this upper tier of special beverages for imbibing with your loved one. I am certainly pleased that my industry can have such a revered position in our culture that folks think of our products when planning to celebrate love. Chocolates often go along with this celebration as well. Somebody locally has been known to make a Raspberry Merlot that goes quite well with chocolate, but I can’t quite remember who that might be. But how did wine get connected with romance more than any other beverage? Is it the passion in the vineyard of

growing the absolute best fruit for the year? Is it the timing and commitment to pick and process that fruit right away with a structured plan and execution in order to capture and accentuate Mother Nature’s fruit flavors? Is it the patience of aging and monitoring so as to bottle the wine at the right moment knowing that it will evolve further once it is aging in the bottle? Or is it not because of the vintner at all? The presentation, the shape of the bottle, the “pop” of the cork, how it makes two people feel together, or how it can enhance a special dish, is most likely what makes wine so special. There are a few wine movies out there that capture the romance without trying to define it. A Walk In the Clouds with Keanu Reeves was a truly romantic movie with some fabulous scenes and cinematography. The grape stomping scene was filmed at Haywood Winery in Sonoma Valley, back when I worked with Peter Haywood and his wines. The movie is a bit cheesy but certainly has the heartstrings played to the upper octave. Another film

Publishers Note: The Raspberry Merlot referred to in this column is the brainchild of the author and we can attest to it being a fabulous accompaniment to chocolate.

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of romance and wine is A Good Year with Russell Crowe, Marion Cotillard and Albert Finney. It’s fun and campy, but in a good way. The third movie in my repertoire of wine and heart is Bottleshock with Chris Pine and Alan Rickman. Based on a true story of a blind wine tasting that opened up the eyes of the world to California wines in the 1970’s, the romance is more with the wine and the lifestyle than the girl. This one tends to be my favorite because it brings in the father and son relationship, the winery issues of finance, quality, teamwork and mentoring. I tend to pass over Sideways as a preferred

wine and romance movie because the two lead characters were such immature tools through most of the movie it was hard for me to get past them. Also, Merlot has never fully recovered from Miles’s badmouthing of the varietal. Although Virginia Madsen’s soliloquy about what she tastes in a great wine is the best nod to our vineyard team I have ever heard. So you may not have expected an edge of Roger Ebert from me, but take these suggestions to your Netflix

account, pull out a special bottle from the rack, and snuggle in with your romantic partner for a cinematic wine ride. It is our pleasure to play your heart strings!


email us at info@fabbioliwines.com 15669 Limestone School Rd • Leesburg, VA 20176 703.771.1197 • fabbioliwines.com February 2020 | 39


Photo: Rick Collier

abundance of pocket change can stay at Barboursville’s historic 1804 Inn and have dinner at the romantic Northern Italian-themed Palladio restaurant. Two Nights of Chill at The Hague Winery: Ah, the Northern Neck of Virginia. Don’t know it yet? Here’s your chance. Virtually traffic-free,

the Northern Neck is fields, pastures, and - these days vineyards. Dotted with tiny towns and bounded by the Chesapeake Bay, Potomac River and Rappahannock River, the “Rivah,” as it’s fondly called, is the perfect relaxed weekend exploration. Book a two-night stay at The Hague Winery’s charming historic cottage, just a short


offering ITALIAN VARIETALS 10100 Three Fox Lane, Delaplane, VA (540) 364-6073 • www.threefoxvineyards.com



stroll from the winery tasting room. Stop in for a tasting, and then—as part of the auction package--head back later for a special Spring Wine Club dinner. A B&B of Your Own at Glass House Winery (near Charlottesville): I admit it: when I stay at a B&B, I’d much rather nap on the couch than make small talk with strangers. You, too? Then consider booking the whole Glass House Winery B&B yourself, or maybe with some friends. Start at the winery, where you’ll quickly see how Glass House Winery got its name. On a cold winter’s day, the chill will fall off your bones when you enter the splendor of the glass-enclosed atrium, planted with towering banana trees and riotous tropical flowers. It’s a botanical garden, but better--because there’s wine, chocolate, and music. The B&B has 5-6 ensuite bedrooms, each with a different style and view. On warmer nights you can take a seat by the pool outside or at your own personal tiki bar across the patio. Though you’ve barred the door to other guests, you’ll make an exception for the inn’s live-in manager, Peggy Young, who makes you a tasty breakfast each day, featuring a homemade hot dish along

with fresh fruits, cereals and other goodies. Suite Weekend at Prince Michel Vineyards: Fancy a peek into what big wine production looks like in Virginia? Book a tour of one of Virginia’s largest production facilities, Prince Michel Vineyards in Leon, Virginia. Prince Michel is just far enough away from home to feel like a getaway without having to spend your life on the road (it’s about 2 hours from D.C. or Richmond). The winery’s on-property luxury suites are another ingredient that makes Prince Michel so special; the suites are decorated in French Provincial style, and each has a king bed, small kitchen, cozy living room with fireplace, large bath, and private patio with views of the vineyards and mountains. Beer lovers will appreciate Prince Michel’s new Tap 29 Brewery, in the same building as the winery, which also serves pub-style food with live music on weekends. Nancy Bauer (Nancy@ VAWineInMyPocket.com) writes about Virginia Wine Country travel on the Virginia Wine in My Pocket website and smartphone app, and is the author of the book, Virginia Wine Country Travel Journal, available at Amazon.com.

Tasting Bar at Prince Michel Vineyard and Winery

Photo: Rick Collier

1 in 10 Women Suffer from Endometriosis EndoArmy and Barrel Oak Winery present the

Endo Inspire Gala

Sat., Feb 8th, 6pm • Barrel Oak Winery 3623 Grove Ln., Delaplane, VA

A night to come together, support patients, learn about Endometriosis from medical professionals, and more. EndoArmy is a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization dedicated to creating recognition for, give a voice to, and empower the dreams of warriors with endometriosis. Donations go toward helping patients pay for necessary medical treatment as well as awareness.

Be inspired to live beyond your diagnosis. Ticket Info: https://bit.ly/34IHKRh

40 | February 2020

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Heart Health


lthough winter is a beautiful time of the year, it brings low temperatures, shorter daylight hours and snow (only once every few years here). Cold weather can strain the heart, and according to research, increase the risk for a heart attack. Many people are not even aware that they are at risk until they have a heart attack, so it’s very important to know the risk factors. The risk of heart disease increases if you’re older, a smoker, overweight, have high blood pressure, don’t exercise enough or have a stress-filled life. Heart problems can also be hereditary. If you’re at risk, you must be especially careful during the winter months. Why? Colder temperatures cause your blood vessels to get smaller, which reduces the flow of blood and oxygen supply to your heart. Your blood becomes thicker when temperatures drop, and this can cause an increase in the risk of clotting. Cold weather can also lead to an increase in blood pressure, which puts more stress on your heart. If you’re not used to exercising, your risk of a heart attack during winter weather may increase from overexertion. If you are not accustomed to exercise, shoveling snow or even walking in deep or heavy snow can trigger a heart attack. If you don’t know the dangers of being outdoors in cold weather, you could suffer from hypothermia— Old Town Crier

an abnormally low body temperature. Most deaths from this condition are caused by heart failure. It is also important to know the signs of a heart attack. If you experience any of the following signs you should call 9-1-1. • chest pain, pressure or discomfort • pain, pressure or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach • shortness of breath • cold sweat • nausea • lightheadedness Heart healthy living can be part of your lifestyle year round. Factors like diet and exercise contribute to a healthy heart every day. For heart healthy nutrition, avoid foods that are high in saturated fats such as cheese, Haircuts $15 Shampoo, Cut & Blow Dry $18 (extra charge for long hair) Scissors Cut $17+up Color $43+up Permanent $45+up (including haircut & conditioner)

whole milk and butter. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Different fruits and vegetables are available at certain times of the year, try and stick to produce that is in season. Eating lean meats and fish will get you those heart healthy omega-3’s. Limiting sodium intake can keep blood pressure in normal range and decrease your risk for heart attacks. When it comes to exercise the American Heart Association recommends at least 30minutes of exercise about five days per week. Exercise can include anything that makes your body burn calories such as jogging, swimming or biking. Walking can be one of the easiest ways to improve your heart health. Even though it does not look like we will be doing much shoveling in Old Town this year, it has been quite

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cold. Just remember that when temperatures drop, the risk for heart attacks and hypothermia go up. Dress in layers and know the signs and keep yourself protected with a healthy diet and daily exercise.



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hristmas is a distant memory, New Year’s a blur, and in a couple of weeks, February 14th will be here in all its red, rose-scented glory. Contrary to popular belief and too many women’s magazines, Valentine’s Day is an equal opportunity occasion where everyone— canoodling couples and sassy singletons alike—should seize the day to look and feel their best. V-Day is all about love, so follow my tips for showing your skin, hair, and nails some major affection, no matter how you choose to spend your February 14th.


your pucker smooth, you don’t have to worry about your lips drying out or your color bleeding into fine lines. Over forty shades to choose from. For perfectly touchable skin all over, stick with long-time favorite, Kiehl’s Crème de Corps body moisturizer. For over four decades, this rich,

celebrating your fabulousness with your best friends. Feel free to go wild and experiment with a makeup trend you’ve been otherwise reluctant to try. Whether you’ve been holding back because of work, or because your boyfriend thinks Technicolor products are bizarre, this is the perfect

girl’s night out. Opt for Laura Mercier’s Metallic Crème Eye Colour for a vibrant punch of both color and texture. This lush, metallic eye color leaves your peepers with rich pigment and a gorgeous, shimmering sheen that lasts and resists creasing. The lightweight, waterproof, and non-greasy

hydrating lotion, with betacarotene, cocoa butter and sesame oil, remains one of the most elegant and luxurious choices for pampering skin. The iconic body cream provides luscious, all-day moisture that yields touchably soft arms and legs—perfect for showing off in a slinky dress or lingerie. For optimum suppleness, apply after a shower or bath on damp skin and allow your skin to soak up the goodness before you dress to guarantee skin softer than Cupid’s bottom!

opportunity to let your hair down and really experiment with something fun and new. And don’t worry, your girls will tell you if you look ridiculous. Try a funky nail polish, like O.P.I.’s Shatter Lacquer, that provides a stylish two-texture effect in an array of fun colors. Or, for similar wow factor, apply Nails Inc. Magnetic Polish. This revolutionary magnetic nail polish creates stunning, one-of-a-kind 3D nail art design in trendy metallic shades perfect for the winter season. Using a specially developed formula with metallic particles, in just a few minutes this polish creates patterns using magnetic force—how cool is that? Textured and special effects nails are huge this season, so don’t hesitate to try them for a night on the town with your gal pals. You’ll have as much fun applying them as you will receiving compliments. Metallics, color, glitter, and texture are all bold makeup trends just begging for a

formula comes in a small squeeze tube for an easy, controlled application. Choose from five high metallic pearl shades that can be layered for an intense color or a light swipe for subtle shimmer. Nothing screams flirty fun like big, voluminous, rockstar hair. For hair that’ll last through dinner, drinks, and getting down on the dance floor, try Sexy Hair Concept’s Big Sexy Hair Spray & Stay “All Nighter” hairspray. This works for all hair types, resists humidity, provides longlasting hold, and intense shine. Keep those crazy updos and elaborate styles in place through dancing, laughs, and reminiscing with your best girls.

Date Night Whether you enjoy the comfortable intimacy that comes with years of togetherness or you’re brave enough to agree to a Valentine’s date with a new suitor, few things compare to the giddy excitement of prepping for a date. Everyone enjoys grooming and preening to look their best, and these products will ensure that everyone else enjoys you looking your best as well. For flawless, luminescent skin that radiates in the glow of a candlelight dinner, dab a highlighter, such as Benefit High Beam, across your brow bones, the bridge of your nose, and your Cupid’s bow. This ethereal, radiant liquid highlighter creates a lustrous, dewy complexion for a romantically angelic sheen. This supermodel-in-a-bottle product works wonders for all skin tones, and will have your date drooling over your incandescent skin. To avoid that sloppy, smeared-clown look after hours of smooching, try CoverGirl Outlast All-Day Lipcolor. This affordable, long-lasting formula lasts up to 16 hours, and remains resilient through a long day at work, a romantic dinner, a tough workout, and, most importantly, a Valentine’s Day snog session with your significant (or not) other. With a moisturizing topcoat that helps lock in shine and keeps 42 | February 2020

Girls Night Out It’s a known fact that your girlfriends will appreciate your beauty efforts more than the opposite sex. If you refuse to let Valentine’s Day be the bastion of coupledom, round up your best girlfriends, don that wild cocktail dress you’ve been too shy to try, and go all out with your beauty routine. Open up a bottle of wine (or two) and spend the evening getting dolled up and

Me, Myself, and I If you simply refuse to participate in this HallmarkFlowers-And-Candy Fest, why not enjoy a day of indulgence at home with the best girl you know—you! You’re worth it,

so treat yourself! Feel your worries melt away while enjoying blissful, at-home treatments. How often did you pamper yourself when you were with Mr. Dirtbag, anyway? Even if no one else is there to pamper you, take the liberty of enjoying a mani/ pedi, at-home facial, or deep conditioning hair treatment. If you don’t feel like spending a fortune on a full-size container of a product, head over to your local Sephora or department store and ask for samples. Kick back on the couch with your favorite movie and snack, and bask in the glory of a hydrating facemask. My favorite is H2O Plus Aquafirm Weekly Active Foam Mask. This self-foaming mask replenishes skin’s moisture levels while activating skinfirming collagen production, and the sea-sourced nutrients produce an instantly firming effect that plumps up your skin. The foaming action stimulates your skin for a deep surge of hydration that will leave you looking fresh, glowing, and dewy, and it’s actually kind of fun, too. You put it on, it foams up, and the foam slowly disappears as you kick back and relax. While you’re laying there with your face covered in goop, why not add to your spa image by slipping on a pair of Bliss Glamour Gloves. Pamper parched winter cuticles and rough dry skin with these moisturizing mitts. In only 20 minutes, your tight, flaky hands will be transformed into supple, soft skin, perfect for hand-holding. The self-activating gel lining immediately softens hands and lasts up to 50 uses—guaranteed to last longer than your next fling! Whether you choose to go the traditional date route, raise some Cain with your girlfriends or stay at home for a quiet night of self-pampering, keep the wise words of Oscar Wilde in mind as you celebrate the day of love: “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” Old Town Crier



TWICE THE FUN I Exercises for Two!

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t’s time for the annual “Sweetheart” exercise advice. If you’ve been following any of my advice, you may have discovered that exercising with a friend is a fun way to get that not so easy “chore” done and over with. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and would provide that perfect opportunity to exercise with your sweetheart. I have four partner designed exercises to share with you this month. The first sweetheart exercise to try is the FitBall Squat. This is performed by placing a FitBall between you and your partner’s backs, then squatting together keeping the ball from falling to the floor. This one requires teamwork, great timing, and trust to pull it off successfully. Since you will be facing in opposite directions, communication is essential. Try 15 reps and if you want to increase the difficulty, just pause at the bottom of your squat for a ten second count, then repeat ten times. The second sweetheart exercise is the seated medicine ball (MB) rotation. Sit on the floor beside your partner with knees bent as if you were to perform a situp. There should be about a two foot space in between. Both of you lean back about 45 degrees and lift your feet off the floor to balance on the tailbone. Now this is the start position. To begin, grab one MB with elbows bent 90 degrees and rotate at the waist away from your partner, then back toward the two foot space in the center to set the ball down on the floor. Your sweetheart then grabs it off the floor and rotates away from you and back to

set it down in the same spot. You should maintain the 45 degree lean with heels off the floor when your partner has the MB. This position keeps constant tension on the abdominals during the exercise. Try 10 reps each before resting completely. The third sweetheart exercise is a “tug-o-war.” This time sit on the floor facing each other with feet together and knees slightly bent. Both of you grab the end of a bath towel while sitting with good posture. You provide resistance for your sweetheart as they pull using the upper back muscles by squeezing the shoulder blades together. Try 10 reps each without leaning back for leverage. The final sweetheart exercise is the “match ‘em” pushup. This one is pretty self-explanatory, but you will try to “match” your sweetheart pushup for pushup. So you will start with a pushup, then your partner will perform one as you wait for your turn. Keep alternating pushups to see who can finish with the most! (Hint for the fellas: If you want a great Valentine’s Day, let your sweetheart win this contest…) I wish everyone a Happy Fit Valentine’s Day this year…and keep up the hard work! Unverzagt holds Bachelor of Science degree in Wellness Management from Black Hills State University. He is a certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength & Conditioning Association and a Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography. February 2020 | 43



our intuition works when you set an intention, take action to make the intention real, AND release your attachment to the outcome. This seems a little counterintuitive, right? Releasing your attachment to a specific outcome does not mean that you sit on the couch, watching reality TV for hours and just hope that your intention manifests. It’s not an excuse to let yourself off the hook when the intention doesn’t come through, rather it’s a state of being – that lets you hold the vision clearly and specifically, all the while believing that your outcome exists. This is an important and often over-looked nuance when tapping into your intuition and noticing signs. Addressing and making use of signs is a first step in the pursuit of stretching your intuitive muscle – and if you question whether or not your sign is just “wishful thinking,” read on. It’s all about attachment to the outcome. Are you struggling more than you need to earn what you’re worth? Maybe you’re putting up with a less than stellar work situation, or stagnating with a direct marketing company or some other work-related issue which leaves you feeling worn out. The good news of course is that you’re not alone and changing the situation is literally in your hands. The really good news is that you can make a choice and 44 | February 2020

decide to get out of the blech and into the flow of more fun and better times and you can ask for Divine guidance and information about how to do it. Really. No one is more blessed or talented or worthy than you. Conversely no one is less blessed or worthy than you. Here’s how to make a stand for your worth and trust the signs that you receive in the process: Laser in on specifically what you want. “More Money” or “Less Debt” doesn’t count. You have to specifically state what number you want. Do not get worked up over whether it’s the right or wrong number. No one but you has to feel it’s accuracy. So if you are determined to gain 500 dollars or 5000 dollars in the next week or month or quarter, it’s completely up to you. Make sure the number is one you believe in. It can be a stretch, but not so much of a stretch that your ego is shouting, “You may as well sit on the couch and eat bonbons, because that shizz ain’t happening!” Write that decision down. When you’re writing it down use a pen and paper rather than computer – it works to keep your body involved in this way. As you’re writing pay attention to how you feel. Write down how your choice makes you feel and how it feels to have that intention fulfilled. (If you think this doesn’t work, or you’ve heard it before, ask yourself honestly if you’ve actually put your all into this step in the past!) Ask the Universe/God/

Angels/Guides to give you clear and specific insight on what is the perfect next step to make this intention a reality. Listen closely. You may receive an idea out of the blue right away, or you may come up with an idea, get a picture in your mind or trip over a random note in the coming days or weeks. It helps to be specific in your request for guidance, for instance, “Hello Guides, I’d like your assistance in manifesting this dollar amount by the 15th of this month.” Or “If you were me would you say now is a good time to launch my new 1-1 freelance coaching class?” Then ask, “can you send me a

clear sign in the form of a red rose (or whatever sign speaks to YOU personally)? Thank you so much for your help. Oh and if there’s something else you want me to know, I’m open to receiving.” Let it go. Take steps each day to achieve your goal, but don’t attach yourself to any specific outcome or HOW that outcome should arrive. If you have an emotional, heart-wrenching sense about the sign (or no sign) this is wishful thinking. For instance, if you’re secretly hoping that a red rose doesn’t arrive or your heart sinks when it does, the real sign is that you don’t want

to create the product and do the launch, and therefore, it’s not actually the right idea or the right time. On the other hand, if you are curious about what does or does not arrive in the form of your sign, what you do receive is, in fact, a sign! Always remember you have free will in all areas of your life, including the way in which you earn money. Therefore spend some time each day reconnecting with your true desires and examine how your beliefs are creating the life you’re currently living. Do this without judgment, simply observe.

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Spinning Superiority


thletes in every sport accept the realization that extending their range and abilities will allow them to compete at the highest level. Obviously for fishing, it’s a matter of time on the water, but there are a few things that will enable anglers to stay in the game. The base of the fishing triangle is casting. If you can’t cast, you can’t get lures to fish. Serious anglers spend hours on the water, challenging themselves to cast farther and with more accuracy. Short or long casts all benefit from being on target. Quite often, it’s the first cast to a good spot that gets the bite. There are two types of reels in the fishing arsenal. Casting reels take time to master, but are built for speed and accuracy, They are capable of making quiet pitches to nearby targets. In addition they can handle heavier lines and lures. This makes them the first choice for many “power fishing” techniques. Spinning reels are usually the first employed by beginning anglers, but the first to be abandoned by experienced fishermen who would rather live or die by their casting gear. Spinning reels are easy to cast and have very few issues. They are capable of very long casts. They also enable line to spool off for vertical fishing. Smoother drag systems allow fish to pull line without breaking. Typically these reels have been used for light line presentations, partially because heavier lines don’t perform well on them. Spinning reels have received a resurgent as finesse

techniques like drop shot, shaky head, and others have worked their way into most fishing approaches. The other reason spinning reels have prospered is braided line. Braid is strong, with a very thin diameter, and casts a mile. Using 15 pound test braided line (with 4 pound test diameter) enables every finesse presentation to be effective. Adding a fluorocarbon leader presents baits on clear line and by changing line diameter, can be fished around even the snaggiest cover. Leader diameter can also be used to impact the fall rate of baits. Heavier leaders fall slower. Even straight braid without a leader can power up spinning gear, with heavier action rods, for heavier baits. But spinning outfits have been ridiculed, called buggy whips, fairy sticks and noodle rods. Bass anglers turn their noses up at spinning combos as assaults on their manhood. After all, it takes skill to use a casting reel and anyone can quickly master spinning gear. Given these lightweights can produce heavyweight results, it’s time for big sticks to downsize. Hook setting is different for spinning gear. No need to plant your foot, square shoulders and cross their eyes. Spinning applications don’t need a jerk at both ends. Sharp, thin-wire, hooks and lines with very little stretch only require reel, feel, and pull hooksets. The other stigma attached to winding wands is they can’t cover water. Various techniques can cover all depths and speeds. Instead of a big bulky jig on 20 pound fluorocarbon with a

7’6” flipping stick, a finesse jig on spinning tackle can get in and out of cover to entice fish that are ignoring the common place big baits tossed at them by every angler coming down the bank. Double bladed spinnerbaits on casting gear can haul bass down a grass edge or tree line, but a speed worm on a spinning rod can come through vegetation and wood easier and dropped into cover to target fish reluctant to exit for a flashy fish imitation. Deflection off hard cover and snapping out of grass with crankbaits isn’t lost on light line. Hard bait makers are loading tackles stores with mini and more effective cranking morsels to clean up after the chunking and winders. Small crankbaits with thin wire hooks can be cast long distances, achieve various depths, and present easy meals for bass in open water or around over. These mighty mites cannot be easily cast on casting gear. Many other standard techniques like jerkbaits, especially suspending, are enhanced as their season is

often when the water is clear when long casts are necessary to avoid spooking fish. Springtime jerkbait season is usually accompanied with windy conditions, rendering casting reels a snarled mess. Spinning gear can launch these lures a mile and can be fished on light line making them even more deadly to wary colder water bass. When conditions call for light line and there’s a tough

bite, nothing is more effective in getting baits to the fish that others are unable to power their big baits with casting gear. Spinning gear is a powerful way to cover water to catch fish without being under powered. Author Capt. Steve Chaconas is Potomac River bass fishing guide. Potomac fishing reports: nationalbass.com. Book trips/ purchase gift certificates: info@ NationalBass.com.

Potomac River Bassing in February The water is cold, under 40 degrees. Warm water discharge areas like Blue Plains and Four Mile Run are easier to fish. For the rest of the river, get some ½ ounce silver or gold Silver Buddy lures. Tie to 10 pound test Gamma Edge fluorocarbon line on a fast Quantum Smoke casting reel. Cast to the shallow end of drops and work down with short burps. Hair jigs, Mizmo tubes and grubs and drop shot are other techniques to entice fish to bite. They still need to eat, but won’t chase lures very far, so work baits slowly. Rig tubes and grubs on open hook ball head jigs. The leader for drop shots should be around 5 inches. For line, use a 15 pound test Gamma Torque braid with 8 pound test Gamma Edge leader. Drop shot with 1/8 ounce Water Gremlin BullShot weights. Sharp hooks are really important now since fish mouths are tougher and bites are light. Mustad hooks are very sharp and stay sharp longer. I use them on ball head and tube jigs. For drop shots, 1/0 Mustad Mega Bite hooks keep baits weedless, but also penetrate easier to set the hook.

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February 2020 | 45




ebruary, the month for passion and love. If you’re looking for love, I’m not sure you’re reading the right column. I got married for the first time at 48. I much prefer the term “Late Bloomer” to “Old Maid”, thanks very much. And besides, 50 is the new 30, right? I certainly didn’t feel like a mature bride, but that’s another column for another time. Although my seamstress did suggest that I should not plan to lose weight before the wedding (as most brides attempt) as it would only make my face look more wrinkled. A little plumpness on a mature bride is a good thing apparently. Before I met my husband, I dated a lot and often felt disappointed, confused and frustrated a lot as a result. Of course, I’d feel that way. First off, this was back in the day when we had to rely on talking to strangers standing in line at Whole Foods with the hope of a connection. I’m introverted so match.com was a Godsend to someone like me who would rather die than strike up small talk with some random guy sniffing cantaloupes. Makes me wonder how all the generations before us met and fell in love. Ain’t those stories grand, though? God—I love hearing the “we met on a blind date” and/or “we met at a dance” stories. Nobody is breaking out their tissues for the “it was love at first swipe’ stories. All I ever wanted was what everyone else had—a loving marriage to a well-dressed college-educated burning hunk of a man; set of boy/ girl twins; SUV to cart them around in; and a two-story house in the ‘burbs (pool 46 | February 2020

optional). Yet, that dream seemed way beyond my grasp. Let me back track for a second. I was pretty successful in most things I put my mind to at that time. I wanted to own my own place by the time I was 30. Check. I wanted to make a certain amount of money. Check. I wanted to leave a job I began to loathe and start my own company. Check. I felt in control and confidant in those departments. The Romance department, however, different story altogether. I was always a girls’ girl. Girls were my tribe—I ‘got’

my girls. Bonding and making friendships came naturally to me, and as a result, I have a plethora of amazing women I am blessed to call my friends to this day. I am comfortable in the company of women. Maybe I should have opted for playing for the other team, but alas, I didn’t have that jersey. Many of my friends were serial daters, and I was captivated by their capacity to always have a guy in the wings pining away. What did they have that I was lacking beyond the obvious flat-ironed luminous blonde hair and fancy (bigger)

Victoria Secret bras. But wait—if I had really wanted that three bedroom Colonial in a nice little cul-de-sac, wouldn’t I have been spending more time shaving and waxing than reading Pema Chodron and drinking wine on my back deck in the hip little ‘hood that is Del Ray? Light bulb moment. Or—maybe I would not have spent so much time pursuing biker dude who was barely out of marriage #3 and had no relationships with either of his children. Oh, yeah, and no job. Light bulb moment. Or—wait.

Then there was ‘House Smells Like an Oil Spill’ guy. The first and only time I was there, I was confident I had a brain tumor by the time I left. Geez. I almost forgot about Mr. Short Guy (nothing wrong w/that, but I’m 5’10”). He had been divorced three times, had a two year old with his baby momma, and yet still managed to ask me on our first date, “Why haven’t you been married? What’s wrong with you? Are you some crazy cat lady?” For the record, I had one cat, but I contemplated stopping by the shelter and picking up a dozen more on my way home. Confession: I went out with him twice more because clearly I had issues beyond how many cats I was/wasn’t housing. What are the lessons here? You could be really great at one thing in your life and totally suck at another? Maybe? You could be really smart about business, but dumb as a box of rocks about your personal life? Perhaps. Your radar could be flawed. Hmmm. Distinct possibility. Perhaps you are your own worst enemy and saboteur of your own happiness? Pondering… I’m not sure where the answer lies except that I am probably not your best resource for dating advice. I do, however, believe the universe will present things to you once you’re ready and have learned what you needed to learn—the most important lesson of all being: Love yourself enough to spend time alone with you. And, trust yourself enough not to go out on bad dates twice. That’s just crazy. Old Town Crier



Experience the MGM Grand for Under a $100!


ell, it may be apparent that I was grasping at straws for some subject matter for this column this month. After having received nothing from the marketing and PR gurus for the Harbor regarding February happenings, I decided on taking a solo trip to the MGM. Having limited funds after the spending spree for the holidays, I wanted to see how much fun I could have on a $100. Turns out that I had a really fun time without spending my whole budget. Let’s start with the Conservatory…probably my favorite part of the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino here in the Harbor. The displays are always over the top. Since it’s opening in December 2016 their winter display takes on the annual Chinese New Year theme. This January is one of the best so far with the “Year of the Rat” as the subject matter. It is so hard to convey the enormity of these displays and photos definitely don’t do them justice but I tried with the ones you see here. Keep in mind that these displays fill a 2 story plus space. This year there is a water feature and an animated bird that moves its head back and forth. One can sit in and

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around this space for an extended period of time and just chill. And….it’s FREE! I was a bit hungry and since I was on my budget, I decided to forego Ginger and TAP and head to the National Market aka the Food Court for a burger and beer at the Shake Shack. The beauty of this dining section is that it has reasonably priced good eats and is usually pretty fast when it comes to service. The afternoon I was there it was not crowded in any shape or form so I was enjoying my Shack Burger single with krinkle fries and a 16 ounce Shack Ale in under 5 minutes. All for under $18.00. After soaking in the coolness of the conservatory and grabbing some eats, I headed to the casino. Once again keeping my budget in mind that I had $40 that I was willing to forego in the quest to win thousands. Well…..we all know that didn’t happen but I did put $20 in my favorite Buffalo Gold 25 cent slot and won some and lost

some and donated all but 50 cents of that $20 but I played for about 45 minutes to an hour. I decided I would check out another of my favorite spots on the main floor, the Cherry Blossom Lounge. I really like to play video poker (I think there are better odds with winning at these machines since you at least have to know how to play the game as opposed to just hitting a “spin” button on a slot machine), and they have them at the bar at the Blossom. I invested another $20 while I had a vodka drink to the tune of $13 plus a $2 tip. I did make out way better here – only ended up losing

$5. And….to be clear, I played the minimum of $1 per hand and was there for at least 45 minutes. I would have stayed for another beverage but the bartender on duty was pretty much of a dud so I decided to move on. Since I was half way to meeting my allowance cap, I decided to leave the casino and hit up the Lobby Bar on the second level across from the check-in area of the Hotel portion of the MGM. They have Happy Hour there from 4-6! I chose a good old vodka martini shaken and up to the tune of $11.99 plus my $7 tip. A pleasant surprise was the bartender, Allen (2 L’s and and e). Hence the $7 tip. He is an engaging and knowledgeable guy and I will definitely take pals back there for cocktails. I found out that they also have live piano music on a regular basis (during event nights and on the weekends) in this lounge. That will be worth frequenting again. I decided it was time to head back home since it was still Happy Hour at some of my favorite establishments in the Harbor and I had only spent $77 of my $100. I parked my vehicle in my spot at One National and headed to McCormick & Schmick for a vodka and fresh squeezed grapefruit juice (do you see a theme here?). This is one of the best Happy Hours in the Harbor by the way and it is hard to get a seat most of the time unless you get there early. Anyway, I found a place at the crowded bar at 6:30 pm and

ordered. I didn’t order any food since I was still pretty full from the burger and fries (something I don’t often eat BTW) but they have good happy hour offerings. My tab came to a whopping $15 but I always tip on what the actual price of the cocktails would be at regular prices so add another $7 to that. All total, I spent $99 and had a fabulous afternoon. This all being said, I am actually amazed that I stuck to my plan but I am so glad I did. I proved something to myself and I guess it did help that I was on deadline and had to stick to a timeline so I could bang this column out and get it to our layout and design guru under the wire. Guess there is a lesson here somewhere. Celebrate President’s Day and Valentine’s Day doing things you respect and love and make a plan for that extra day we have the end of the month this year. Just “Leap” into it!

AllenTwo L's and an E February 2020 | 47

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