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Since 1988 • Priceless

March 2017

From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Road Trip

ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND The Nation’s Sailing Capital Business Profile

BLüPRINT CHOCOLATIERS Artisan Chocolate in Old Town Dining Out

CASTLEBAY IRISH PUB Traditional Irish Fare in Historic Annapolis Personality Profile

R. KEVIN BROOKS Sailor, Singer, Songwriter

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A Division of Crier Media Group OTC Media LLC PO Box 320386 Alexandria, VA 22320 703. 836. 0132

march’17 25

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office@oldtowncrier.com oldtowncrier.com Published the first week of every month. Worth waiting for! PUBLISHER Bob Tagert MARKETING & ADVERTISING Lani Gering Bob Tagert SOCIAL MEDIA & WEBSITE Ashley Schultz DESIGN & PRODUCTION Electronic Ink 9 Royal Street, SE Leesburg, VA 20175 703. 669. 5502 Chris Anderson Peggie Arvidson Sarah Becker Frank Britt F. Lennox Campello Steve Chaconas Jimmy Deaton Doug Fabbioli Nicole Flanagan Lani Gering Miriam Kramer Genevieve LeFranc

CONTRIBUTORS Sarah Liu Jeff McCord Kim Putens Julie Reardon Ashley Schultz Chester Simpson Bob Tagert Carl Trevisan Ryan Unverzagt Lori Welch Brown Molly Winans

5 A Bit of History................................................................ 8

First Blush.........................................................................44

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

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

Fitness................................................................................40

Pets of the Month.........................................................17

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

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

Points on Pets.................................................................16

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

From the Trainer............................................................41

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

Behind the Bar................................................................28

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

Road Trip...........................................................................20

Business Profile................................................................. 5

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

Social Media Message....................................................3

Caribbean Connection...............................................18

Grapevine.........................................................................38

Spiritual Renaissance...................................................43

Chef’s Special..................................................................34

High Notes.......................................................................11

St. Patrick’s Day Trivia...................................................39

Civil Discourse................................................................... 9

Little Washington, Va. Film Festival.......................26

The Last Word.................................................................10

Dining Guide...................................................................32

Maryland Wine Month................................................23

To the Blue RIdge..........................................................25

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

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

Urban Garden.................................................................... 7

Exploring Virginia Wines............................................36

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

Virginia Wine Trails........................................................37

Financial Focus.................................................................. 6

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

© 2017 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 as well as St. John, USVI.

about the cover on the road with OTC The Irish Wolfhound is a very large sighthound from Ireland. The name originates from its purpose — wolf hunting with dogs — rather than from its appearance. Originally developed from war hounds to one used for hunting and guarding, the breed is very old, possibly brought to Ireland as early as 7000 BC.

OldTownCrier

Lori Foster, a resident of Old Town, was in her hometown of Mobile, Alabama on Christmas Eve where she entertained a group of friends with the latest edition of the Old Town Crier. The longtime pals were celebrating at T.P. Crockmier's, a restaurant named after Thaddeus P. Crockmier who was born in Virginia and fought with General Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. There's a little bit of NOVA even in southern Alabama! If you would like to see your picture here, take the OTC with you on your next trip, snap a high resolution photo and send it along with information for the caption to office@ oldtowncrier.com. Happy Trails!

March 2017 | 1


PUBLISHER’S NOTES

BOB TAGERT

C

Congratulations to our friend Caroline Bruder Ross of River Bend Bistro & Wine Bar on winning first place for best entrée in the 2017 Cherry Challenge. Her grilled quail with George Washington gristmill grits and a cherry and pinot noir sauce took the prize. photo: Chester Simpson

W NE NT ER EME D UN NAG MA

an you believe this weather? I am writing this on February 23 and expected highs today are 72 degrees! The George Washington Parade was held last month on a 63-degree-day. The same parade had to be cancelled the previous two years because of snow and cold. I think sailing season will begin early this year. With St. Patrick’s Day this month, we thought we would take a road trip and check out the Irish heritage that is part of Annapolis, Md. We decided to make the best of the weekend and spend an afternoon at Castlebay Irish Pub (see Dining Out). We have provided a little bit of history between Annapolis and Eastport and the friendly rivalry that exists every November, while we check out the music scene through Kevin Brooks and The Eastport Oyster Boys in Personality Profile. It was a grand weekend spending time with old friends and making new ones. Pictured with me is one of our favorite bartenders at O’Brien’s Oyster Bar & Restaurant, Gordon McKenney. We realized it had been almost 10 years since we had seen him but it seemed like we just saw him yesterday. We made several new friends as well. We welcome back our friend Doug Coleman and his insights into the Civil War in Civil Discourse. Sarah Becker lent her space to Parker S. Poodle in her Bit of History column. He is one talented pooch. Lori Welch Brown pontificates on the month of March in Open

Space, and Ashley Schultz tells us it is actually therapeutic to watch cat videos in her Social Media Message. This and much more awaits you in this issue. March is also my birthday month and this year is a big one — 70! Yes, Seven Zero! I cannot believe I even typed that number in relation to my age. I am not sure how a 70 yearold man is supposed to act — guess we will find out! All I can say is that had I known I would live this long I would have taken better care of myself … hmmm … maybe not! Don’t forget to take in one of the best St. Patrick’s Day parades around on March 5. Old Town will be decked out with everything Irish and the Shriners will be back in those fun little cars!

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Alexandria

SOCIAL MEDIA MESSAGE ASHLEY SCHULTZ

FEBRUARY TOURS, EXHIBITS, EVENTS

ST. PATRICK’S DAY CELEBRATIONS IN OLD TOWN SATURDAY, MARCH 4

CLASSIC CAR SHOW North Pitt Street 9:00 AM

FUN DOG SHOW Market Square 10:30 PM

ANNUAL ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE

On King Street in Old Town 12:30 PM This is a day of fun and excitement for the whole family in Old Town Alexandria. Don’t miss the Classic Car Show on North Pitt Street (in front of the former Ireland’s Own location) and the Fun Dog Show at Market Square with Steve Rudin, ABC7 meteorologist. For detailed information go to Ballyshaners.org.

2017 GRAND MARSHALLS: BILL & KARAN BUTCHER

The Ballyshaners, organizer of Alexandria’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, is pleased to announce that Bill and Karen Butcher, founders of Port City Brewing Company, will be the Grand Marshalls of the 2017 St.

Patrick’s Day Parade. This will be the 36th parade that the organization has hosted in Old Town. “We are thrilled that the Butchers accepted our invitation to serve as the Grand Marshals for our upcoming parade,” said Ballyshaners Chairman Mike Pablo. “The Butcher family’s long history in Alexandria, plus Bill and Karen’s efforts not only to create outstanding craft beers, but also to also make Alexandria better-known throughout the nation made them an obvious choice,” Pablo noted. Bill Butcher is a fourth generation Alexandrian and serves on the Board of Governors of Visit Alexandria. Karen is a Partner at Morgan Lewis, where she leads the global trademark, copyright and advertising practice. She also has enjoyed watching their boys participate in Alexandria Little League baseball over the last several years. Karen and Bill live in Rosemont with their two sons, Riley and Key. Bill noted, “Karen and I were thrilled to be asked to lead the Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day Parade. We have participated in the event for the last five years. Serving as Grand Marshals in our hometown is a terrific honor. It will be a great day.” The Ballyshaners is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to promoting and preserving Irish history and culture.

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

get your!

Cat Videos As Therapy?

L

il Bub, Grumpy Cat, and Piano Cat are just a few of the viral videos and their feline stars that have taken the Internet by storm. Although these videos are entertaining, it has been found that they also provide more than a good laugh. According to a study by Indiana University Media School researcher Jessica Gail Merick, “Some people may think watching online cat videos isn’t a serious enough topic for academic research, but the fact is, it’s one of the most popular uses of the Internet today. If we want to better understand the effects the Internet may have on us as individuals and on society, then researchers can’t ignore Internet cats anymore. We’ve all watched a cat video online, but there is really little empirical work done on why so many of us do this, or what effects it might have on us,” added Myrick. “As a media researcher and online cat video viewer, I felt compelled to gather some data about this pop culture phenomenon.” In Myrick’s study it was found that people were often more energetic and felt more positive after watching catrelated online media, they had fewer negative emotions, and the pleasure they got from watching cat videos outweighed any guilt they felt about procrastinating. She concluded that her results suggest that online cat videos could be used as a form of low-cost pet therapy. She stated that, “Even if they are watching cat videos on YouTube to procrastinate

or while they should be working, the emotional payoff may actually help people take on tough tasks afterward.” Even while writing this column, I ended up watching several cat videos — the likes of Aaron’s Animals and Cole and Marmalade. Although it did delay the completion of my column, along with one of my three cats, constantly walking over my keyboard, it did give me an emotional boost to finish. Many people indicated they also produce their own cat-related media to post online. These posts often amass comments and likes. Online cat-media consumption is, therefore, an interactive process where media consumers can be media producers and media critics all in the same space. My own social media page is full of videos and pictures of my three four-pawed felines. I receive a positive emotional response from the reactions of others viewing my cat pictures and videos. Maybe a new motivational and inspiring way for employers to increase employee performance will be to take time to watch a few cat videos. Next time you are caught at work watching a cat video, you can explain it is emotional therapy! Ashley Schultz holds a Master’s in Public Relations from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Fla. You will find her social media pages filled with her three cats: Jesse, Walter, and Hank and of course any viral cat video!

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March 2017 | 3


PERSONALITY PROFILE

BOB TAGERT

Kevin Brooks: Sailor, Singer, Songwriter

photo: Bridgett Rheem

S

ome lives are like ships passing in the night. I am forever thankful that Kevin Brooks life and the Eastport Oyster Boys collided with mine (about that later). It all began on a cold winter day in 1998. The Maryland State Highway Administration was shutting down the drawbridge that connected the Eastport peninsula to the mainland of Annapolis for much needed repairs. This would cause an enormous economic blow to the merchants and individuals who inhabited Eastport. The citizens of Eastport took advantage of their isolation and decided to sever their social, political and economic ties with Annapolis. I know…I was there and became an official Ambassador to the Commonwealth of Virginia. That is how the Old Town Crier became a part of the folklore of today’s Eastport…The Maritime Republic of Eastport or MRE. We got to know Kevin as he and his friends drank a few pints and carved out a plan to deal with the situation…sorry about that table! The plan

was to make Eastport the place to be, rather than avoided…and they did it…raising more money for local charities over three months than they did the previous year. That trend continues today, 20 years later. Kevin was born in Baltimore in 1954 and raised in Linthicum, Maryland. He attended the University of Maryland and earned a Bachelor of Science in Community Development. In the 1980’s he and his wife Jan moved to Eastport, a perfect place for this sailor, singer and community oriented guy. They still reside in Eastport when not out cruising on their 30foot Cape Dory Cutter…The Pearl of Eastport! Kevin began playing music professionally at the age of 18 and has performed with a number of folk, bluegrass and Americana groups in the DC/ Baltimore/Annapolis area since the early 70’s. In 1980 he joined the raucous and locally favored Irish rebel band “The Shannon Tide” whose members are a literary who’s who of the Irish pub music scene in the DC region including Danny Costello, Jimmy Nalls, Paul Gannon and Martin O’Malley. Kevin was also a regular performer at the popular Annapolis music venue, The King of France Tavern, where he mixed with the likes of jazz great Charlie Byrd, singer/songwriter Mack Bailey and a parade of touring professionals. While touring with Mack Bailey, the two shared the stage with many legendary performers including Chet Atkins, Don McLean, Glenn Yarbrough (my favorite) and numerous Nashville and international music greats. Mack Bailey now resides in Aspen, Colorado and when he and Kevin occasionally perform out west…they play as the “Rocky Mountain Oyster Boys”…they really do. In the early 1990’s, Kevin teamed up with Eastport Poet Laureate, Jeff Holland to form “Them Eastport Oyster Boys” who’s music and mirth was solidly centered upon both stewardship and celebration of their treasured natural resource...The Chesapeake Bay! The “Boys” toured regionally and internationally as Musical Goodwill Ambassadors of Annapolis and the Chesapeake as well as achieving multiple recording, radio, television and print credits. The Eastport Oyster Boys also graciously performed at the Old Town Crier’s 15th anniversary at the Old Town Theater. Holland retired from performing with the group in 2012 and the band has since expanded to feature the current members including multi-instrumentalist and novelist Tom Guay, keyboard virtuoso Mike Lange and trombonist Andy Fegley. The “Boys” are known as much for their clever boaty and bay centric lyrics as well as their outstanding musicianship and engaging stage presence. They do indeed seem to like performing. Their songs flow like the rivers, winds and Natty Boh (local jargon for National Bohemian beer), and reflects the beauty, culture and the role

of stewardship toward the Chesapeake. And with Pruitt as the new head of EPA, that stewardship is paramount! According to the “Boys”, life is pretty simple if you have a “Good Hat, Good Dog, Good Boat”. Yup…it is really that easy! Kevin thinks 2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for the Oyster Boys as their tour schedule starts to heat up with the upcoming annual “Rite of Spring” in the MRE…the Burning of the Socks! This annual ritual will be celebrated at the Annapolis Maritime Museum this month on Saturday, March 18. Kevin and a few friends joined sock burning guru Bob Turner back in the 80’s when, after a harsh winter of working in local boatyards, Turner on the first day of spring took an old paint tray (used in painting the bottom of boats), took off his socks, dowsed them with lighter fluid and put a match to them and swearing not to wear socks the rest of year. This rite of spring has become a tradition along the shores of the Bay and beyond. Following Eastport’s lead, The Old Dominion Boat Club in Alexandria began their annual sock-burning day, which has also turned into an annual event. Oyster Boy keyboardist Mike Lange penned the “Vernal Sock Burning Boogie” to help commemorate the day that all boaters look forward to each spring and the official beginning of the boating season. Lange and his wife Kelly, like all the EOB’s, are avid boaters and spend as much time as they can gunk holing (look it up) around the Bay on their 22-foot Boston Whaler…Pearl, hummmm, seems to be a pattern here. Rounding out the Boys core group is the highly in demand dulcet tones of the slide trombone of Andy Fegley. All of the EOB’s are dedicated water rats but Captain Andy and his wife Amanda can make money at it…they both hold 100 ton professional mariners credentials and are currently preparing their custom built Defever trawler (slow powerboat that can take you around PERSONALITY PROFILE > PAGE 45

photo: Karen Guay, Blue Moon Photography

4 | March 2017

OldTownCrier


BUSINESS PROFILE

LANI GERING

Blüprint Chocolatiers: Precisely Unique!

T

Top: The Old Town Collection; Bottom: Bruce and Kim Gustafson

his is another great story about leaving the corporate world and diving into the entrepreneur pool. Kim and Bruce Gustafson opened the doors of their chocolate shop on the corner of Patrick and King streets in 2015 after a nine month search for just the right space. Kim tells me she is 70 percent of the operation and Bruce the remaining 30 percent. She left her consulting job in DC and took the full leap while Bruce still maintains his corporate position. With two full-time and three part-time employees, they are on the path to success. What made them choose chocolate? After a trip to Denmark where they visited a couple of chocolate shops, Kim tells me, “I was in my vacation “dreamy place” and I thought it would be fun to own a shop of my own.”

She decided it might be time to start “living the dream.” With a BS in nutrition, an MS in food science and an MBA on her resume, along with Bruce’s BS in engineering, an MBA and a law degree, they came up with the basis for their business plan on the plane ride home. Their blueprint came in to fruition in the months to follow. They pay homage to Copenhagen with the umlaut in the name Blüprint. Blüprint has a pretty strict formula it adheres to when it comes to its product. Right proportions. Right temperatures. A right balance of physical characteristics. Like its website says, “think gloss, snap, texture and, of course, taste.” Blüprint offers twenty-four different flavors ranging from a basic Dark Chocolate and a Salt Caramel to a BUSINESS PROFILE > PAGE 13

BLÜPRINT CHOCOLATIERS 1001 King Street Old Town Alexandria 703.518.3065 Bluprintchocolatiers.com

OldTownCrier

March 2017 | 5


FINANCIAL FOCUS

CARL TREVISAN, CFP© & STEPHEN BEARCE

Decipher Your Investment Puzzle

W

hen you set up your investment portfolio, you probably also settled on an asset allocation strategy — for instance, 60% stocks and 40% bonds. You, perhaps with the help of your Financial Advisor, determined that this particular balance of investments could help you generate average returns that would help you meet your financial goals and match your personal tolerance for risk. As the economic market shifts, though, everyone’s financial portfolio naturally drifts out of balance to some degree, says Tracie McMillion, CFA®, Investment Research Manager, and Head of Asset Allocation for the Wells Fargo Investment Institute. During a market downturn, for example, the stock allocation of your portfolio could shift from the 60% you originally envisioned to just 50% because the value of those stocks decreased while the value of the bonds remained steady. To get your portfolio back to its original allocation, you might need to sell some bonds and buy additional stocks at their current, lower prices.

The Importance and Timing of Rebalancing

This practice, known as “rebalancing,” is a critical part of maintaining a healthy financial portfolio. “Rebalancing is intended to both control the risk in your portfolio and help potentially enhance your returns over time,” she says. It’s not, however — as some people believe — a way to try to maximize your portfolio’s earnings, notes McMillion. “It’s simply meant to take your investments back to that original, well-balanced asset allocation you, with the help of your Financial Advisor, determined was correct for you,” she says. So how do you know your portfolio needs a refresh? There are two primary “trigger strategies” for rebalancing your investment portfolio, explains McMillion. The first is time: You regularly rebalance your portfolio on a specific schedule — quarterly or annually, for instance. The second is threshold: You routinely readjust your investment mix when your allocation is out of balance by a particular amount

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6 | March 2017

— such as 5%. It’s also possible to use a combination of the two strategies.

Choose a Strategy

McMillion believes that no single approach — time, threshold, or a combination — is significantly more effective than another. What’s most important is to pick a consistent rebalancing strategy and stick with it. Work with your Financial Advisor to choose a regular rebalancing structure that meets your needs. Some factors to consider when selecting your personal rebalancing approach: TAXES. Buying and selling investments in most nonretirement investment accounts can trigger capital gains taxes. So if you’re rebalancing in a taxable account, particularly if you’re in a higher marginal tax bracket, you may want to consider rebalancing your investments less often — annually, instead of quarterly, in October or November — suggests McMillion. That gives you time to plan for what you may owe the IRS the following April. Depending on your tax situation and your income needs, you’ll need a good mix of assets to adequately rebalance and often, incomeproducing assets are more tax efficiently held in tax advantaged accounts. TRADING FEES. These costs may complicate the decision to rebalance, since buy/sell actions could result in extra charges. McMillion suggests checking with your Financial Advisor to make sure your investment vehicles don’t charge onerous transaction fees or have strict trading restrictions. It’s also important to consider regulatory limitations

for certain securities (for example, mutual funds) may have limitations on purchases and redemptions. EMOTIONS. “Regardless of what you initially decide, it can be really challenging to sell some of your ‘winning’ investments and buy ‘bargains’ during rebalancing,” says McMillion. However, this tactic can be important if you want to take advantage of the financial market’s best prices. “Buying low and selling high should always be a core strategy,” McMillion reminds.

Get It in Writing

One way to stick to your strategy and make sure it’s not just a one-time rebalancing attempt is to put your asset allocation plan in writing and discuss it with your Financial Advisor. Once you’ve developed the strategy, many advisors with discretionary authority will do the actual rebalancing on your behalf according to your agreed schedule or guidelines. Having a set schedule is a great start, but McMillion notes there are a couple of situations in which you may want to rebalance even if it’s not your normal time to do so: • There’s been a significant market change — positive or negative. Although you don’t want to let typical market ups and downs trigger you to rebalance early, a major correction could throw your portfolio significantly out of balance, says McMillion. In that case, you may want to talk with your Financial Advisor about making some portfolio adjustments early, rather than waiting for a predetermined date. • You’ve had a major life change. If something significant occurs that could fundamentally shift

your financial goals — the birth of a child, job change, divorce, remarriage, or significant health challenge — you may want to revisit your portfolio allocation with your Financial Advisor to make sure it still meets your needs, suggests McMillion. That could warrant a new allocation strategy, not just a simple rebalancing. It’s also important to remember that as you get closer to retirement, your allocation strategy may become more conservative to protect your portfolio for when you need to start using the money for living expenses. Overall, McMillion says, keep in mind that creating a healthy asset allocation strategy should not be a “set it and forget it” activity. Wells Fargo Investment Institute, Inc. (“WFII”) is a registered investment adviser and whollyowned subsidiary of Wells Fargo & Company and provides investment advice to Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Wells Fargo Advisors and other Wells Fargo affiliates. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. is a bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. All investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal. There is no assurance any investment strategy will be successful. Asset allocation cannot eliminate the risk of fluctuating prices and uncertain returns. Our firm is not a legal or tax advisor. This article was written by/for Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Carl M. Trevisan, Managing Director-Investments and Stephen M. Bearce, First Vice PresidentInvestments in Alexandria, VA at 800-247-8602. Investments in securities and insurance products are: Not FDIC-insured/Not bankguaranteed/May lose value. Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and nonbank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. © 2016 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC. All rights reserved.

OldTownCrier


URBAN GARDEN

HOW TO GROW A

I

Shamrock

n the spirit of the month of March and one of the Old Town Crier’s favorite celebration days — St. Patrick’s Day — we thought you would like to know the secret to growing these lucky plants! Stories have it that shamrocks won’t grow any place other than in Irish dirt. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. The word, “shamrock” is the English form of the Irish word “seamrog,” which means “little clover” and clover is something that grows just about everywhere. If you’d like to grow shamrock, also known as “white clover,” you’ll find it to be a fun and flowering, low maintenance plant. Read on to learn how to grow shamrock:

month until it goes dormant. 6. Protect your shamrock against the occasional attack of aphids or whitefly. A natural and safe insecticidal spray can be made at home by chopping up onions and chilies, simmering them together. Shamrock is fairly disease free,

susceptible only to root rot if you keep them too wet.

Warning

Be careful where you place your shamrock plant because if it is ingested by pets, it can cause them to suffer kidney failure or worse.

Publisher’s note: Urban Garden contributor, Jimmy Deaton aka Farmer D and his gal pal Angie took a welldeserved vacation to several places in the sun so we gave him the month off. Credit for this article is given to contributors from ehow.com. To read more on “How to Grow a Shamrock” log on to www.ehow.com!

1. Select a good plant by looking for one with new growth, a few flower buds just opening and more ready to bloom. You can grow shamrock from seed, but starting with a plant is much more reliable. 2. While it can be grown outside, it does best indoors. Shamrock needs bright light (not full sun) and moist, well drained soil until its two- or three-month dormancy period in the winter. That’s when you’ll need to keep the plant in a cool, dry area and the soil barely moist until spring when watering should resume. 3. Place plants in trays or flower boxes for best results. Shamrock grows from the tip by sending out runners that take root. Being in containers allow the tips to make contact with the soil to produce the runners. 4. Keep your plants cool at night, about 50 to 65 F and don’t let them get any warmer than 70 to 75 F during the day. Plants habitually exposed to warmer environments will go dormant quicker. 5. Fertilize your shamrock once a month during the winter and spring growing periods. A liquid or water soluble fertilizer works best. When the plant stops growing, fertilize every other OldTownCrier

March 2017 | 7


A BIT OF HISTORY

PARKER A. POODLE™

Poodle-doo

T

he weather is warming, springtime awaits, and the dogwoods debate their blooms. I welcome the change of seasons. March 2 is Read Across America Day and I invite all to sit with me beneath the trees, a book in paw or hand. I, Parker A. Poodle, am a retired Reading Education Assistance Dog. The dogwood is Virginia’s state flower (1918) and tree (1956).

In preparation my lady and I strolled to Alexandria’s Duncan Library to check out their latest books. She entered while I waited outside. A seated bench mate put down his guitar and watched. I was restless and it showed. Not long before my arrival an angry passer-by thumped my rump and told me to pick up my poodle-doo. My lady stood poop bag in hand while I explained, in doggerel or clumsy fashion, that poodle-doo is American regional English synonymous with bird, a clipped-wing Mississippi bird to be exact. The word originated in 1906. He next called me a poodleworm, American regional English for caterpillar with lots of hair. Maybe the passer-by thought I was Dog Town educated. Not so, though my lady is a Midwesterner. Poodles are “proud, active, and very smart!” Ask the American Kennel Club. With the AKC as my reminder I stood

silently and let it go. It was then my bench mate spoke to me. “Did you come to the library to read?” he asked. “No,” I responded. “Only to research and later write.” My bench mate asked if I was familiar with the children’s book Rocket Writes a Story. Rocket is a dog and it is a book I often recommend. His favorite children’s book: Go, Dog, Go. In P.D. Eastman’s Go, Dog, Go the poodle is pink. “Hello again,” the poodle asked. “And now do you like my hat?” “I do,” the yellow dog replied. “What a hat! I like it! I like that party hat!” The canines’ message: try, try, try and you will succeed! Will my explanation of American regional English succeed? English: the language of the United States. Regional: a specified district or territory. Regions frequently rely on distinctive words, phrases and pronunciations to communicate. The Dictionary of American Regional English, a research project that has 60,000 entries and lasted 50 years, explains the vernacular. For example like the Akita some dogs’ tails curl. My short tail stands straight. In 1638, in Virginia, curl was a noun not a verb and referred to a bend in the river, a nearly complete circle. “When [Rocket] opened a new book, it smelled like a place he’d never been to, like a friend he’d never met,” Tad Hills wrote. “Rocket loved words…He’d fetch some nice ones… then hang them on [his] word tree.” My bench mate asked which words I hung on my word tree. I responded unconditionally: love. Also dogged, dog-tired, and dog-eared. Some of my books corner pages are dog-eared, turned-down. I refer to them often. “Do any of your books have dogeared pages?” I asked in reply. “Maybe my sheet music,” my bench mate said. “Please stay until I come back.” My bench mate entered the library and returned with an armload of books. He carried the Library’s newly acquired, six volume, Dictionary of A BIT OF HISTORY > PAGE 15

8 | March 2017

OldTownCrier


DOUG COLEMAN

CIVIL DISCOURSE

Traitor’s Hill

S

amuel Cooper was born in New York in 1898, the son of a revolutionary serving as a major in Knox’s artillery. He died on Cooper’s Hill a Virginian and the highest ranking officer in the Confederate army, senior even to Lee. He entered the U.S. Military Academy at age 14, graduating in 1815. Like his father, he joined the artillery and was transferred to Washington City in 1821. His connection to Alexandria came in 1827, when he married George Mason’s granddaughter, whose family owned an estate at the top of the hill on Quaker Lane. His service in Washington included stints as chief clerk of the War Department and assistant adjutant general of the Army. He served in the Second Seminole War and the Mexican War. He became Adjutant General of the Army in 1852 and served briefly as Secretary of War in 1857 (his predecessor was Jefferson Davis). When Virginia seceded in 1861, he faced the same decision as his colleague Robert E. Lee (a friend and neighbor, related by marriage and both attending church at the Seminary). Like Lee, he chose to serve Virginia rather than Lincoln - - thus the army lost its best administrator just before it lost its best tactician. Resigning after 46 years of service on March 7, 1861 (and over a month before Virginia left the Union) he traveled to the Confederate capital in Montgomery and offered his services to his friend Jefferson Davis, now president of a coalescing Confederacy. He was immediately commissioned a general and tasked with organizing an army to defend the new nation. His early commission as a general officer made him the most senior and highest ranking officer in the army. The Yankees invaded Virginia and occupied Alexandria in May of 1861. Cooper’s estate Cameron was strategically located on a spur flanking the high ground on Seminary Ridge. The invaders occupied this terrain immediately, vandalizing the buildings and grounds. Many of these buildings OldTownCrier

would be serve as officers’ quarters and hospitals. Others, like Colonel Herbert’s Muckross and the Fairfax family’s Vaucluse, would be torn down and their bricks used to construct powder magazines for the earthwork forts going up on Seminary Ridge. Such was the fate of Cooper’s house, Cameron. Initially the estate was used as a campsite and hospital (local legend has it that the octagonal outbuilding on the grounds served as the “dead house” for the hospital, though other sources say it was neighboring Clarens). By now the land had been confiscated by the Federal government and was known as “Traitor’s Hill” in reference to the fact that Cooper was the highest ranking Union officer to join the Confederacy. He also lost a farm he had inherited in New York. In 1863, “Fort Traitor” went up on the site, Cooper’s house being razed to use the bricks in the construction of a large powder magazine. At the behest of Cooper’s son-in-law, a general in the Union army, the fort was later renamed Fort Williams in honor of Thomas Williams, killed at Baton Rouge in August 1862. It was a roughly hexagonal earthwork with emplacements for 13 guns, 250 yards in perimeter, with a brick magazine covered with a thick earthen mound in the center. Robert Knox Sneden’s outline from 1863 depicts the foundations of the house as almost a part of the fort, with part of the enclosure open to the northwest, differing from the neat official plan. It flanked Fort Worth on the next hill and commanded Duke Street, the railroad and the heights beyond. It was an anchor at one end of a line of obstructions stretching across the valley of Hunting Creek to Fort Lyon (Huntington Metro stop), a line designed to block and prevent Confederate cavalry raids on the rail depot and warehouses of Alexandria. A line of trenches and batteries extended north towards the Seminary to cover the ravine flanking Fort Worth. An advance work in the shape of a “w” was down the hill south of

the fort, while a line of trenches to the south paralleled Quaker Lane. Another line of trenches tracked the top of the hill to the east, battery emplacements beyond at Bishop Ireton, with Fort Ellsworth on Shuter’s Hill anchoring the line. Today, all that remains of the fort is its magnificent powder magazine. Cooper Dawson, a descendant of Cooper’s who lived on the property, told me in the 1970s that the old man hated that fort and spent the rest of his post-war days leveling the earthworks. The foundations of Cooper’s house were still there in the ‘70s, as was a stub of trench line connecting the fort to the line on Quaker Lane, and the “w” shaped work down the hill — I fear these are gone now. At the crest of the hill in Fort Williams Park there is a sunken trench or battery, a good workout if you want to see it. Cooper ended the war as part of Jefferson Davis’ band on the run, surrendering in May 1865 in North Carolina. He made a major contribution to American history by preserving and turning over the official records of the Confederate army. Ironically, Harper’s 1866 History of the Great Rebellion gives him only the slightest footnote, dismissing him as “a traitor to his state, as well as his nation” and completely failing to credit him with feeding and supplying the Confederate army for four years. After the war, he returned to Alexandria and was housed by friends in a house called the “Wilderness” at the Seminary. Eventually he was able to recover his estate when his friend W.M. Corcoran (the same guy who gave Washington the art gallery) purchased the property on his behalf.

He lived in his former slave quarters (he had owned at least six slaves) to which the generous Corcoran added an addition. He was ruined financially, as reflected by a $300 gift in 1870 by former Confederates (including $100 from his friend Robert E. Lee), which would be about $25,000 today. He died on his hill in December 1876 and is buried in Christ Church cemetery. He never regained his United States citizenship.

Sources

• S. Cooper Dawson, Speech before the Washington Civil War Roundtable, January 10, 1978, www.generalcooper.com • William G. Thomas, III, My Home, House of the Dead, https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes. com/2013/09/07/my-home-thehouse-of-the-dead/?_r=0 Doug Coleman is an attorney and amateur historian in Alexandria; comments and corrections are welcome at dcoleman@coleman-lawyers.com. March 2017 | 9


THE LAST WORD

MIRIAM R. KRAMER

Ghost Ship, Ghost Train

L

ast year Colson Whitehead won the National Book Award for his novel The Underground Railroad, which asked readers to imagine that slaves escape on an actual railroad heading off in multiple directions, looking to find freedom and a place to create the identities stolen from them. Yaa Gyasi penned her celebrated first novel, Homegoing, as a tale starting with two half-sisters born in the 18th century—one taken to America as a slave on one of the ships full of slave ghosts leaving the Gold Coast, and the other enmeshed in the evils of African participation

in the slave trade. In telling the story of their descendants over three hundred years, she follows one sister’s lineage in Ghana and the other’s in America, encapsulating African-American and African experiences while entwining them in one stream of consciousness. Despite their weighty subject matter, both authors write clearly and simply, easily drawing the reader into unsentimental and compelling stories. These novels, while stylistically different, stand side by side, beckoning the reader to a better understanding of diverse points of view on the results of

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CARIBBEAN hISToRY AND ADvENTURE Where did the villain General Santa Anna of Alamo infamy retire? Is time travel possible? What was it like on the ground in the worst hurricane of the 19th century? Can a band of rogue sailors from Coral Bay, St. John, defeat ruthless corporate mercenaries? These questions and more are answered in Jeffrey Roswell McCord’s new fact-based novel “Santa Anna’s Gold in a Pirate Sea.”

Available from Amazon or as a Kindle download

10 | March 2017

racism and nationalism within and beyond slavery. They pointedly reveal the institutionalizion of African tribes and AfricanAmericans as dehumanized Others, races that must be kept in their place. Colson Whitehead tells the story of Cora, an outcast on her cotton plantation in Georgia who risks everything to follow in her mother’s footsteps and escape her slavery. Caesar, a new slave on her plantation, urges her to run with him. They escape to a friendly conductor who puts them on a train on a railroad under his house, one that will give them only one option, “anyplace but where they had escaped.” In writing this novel, Whitehead creates a surreal scenario in which Cora and Caesar flee on trains going to unknown destinations, ending up in re-imagined states like South and North Carolina, where whites’ control of African-Americans works in multiple ways. Whitehead portrays America symbolically in pieces, where one state gives AfricanAmericans a false, superficial sense of freedom while white institutions still work to destroy their individuality and curb their proliferation. Another state blatantly and systemically tries to destroy African-Americans through ritual lynchings. Hiding in an attic, Cora is a figure like Anne Frank, reading and learning in the captivity of hiding. Whitehead creates a symbolic America where African-American genocide is as bad as slavery, with seemingly benevolent or openly cruel overseers creating the institutionalized evil of a Final American

Solution. His most compelling character is Ridgeway, a slave catcher who feels a compulsion to follow and catch Cora. As a young man, Ridgeway finds his vocation of returning slaves to their owners. Whitehead depicts him as a cog in this system, one who has no interest in promoting slavery himself but is obsessive in his pursuit of runaway slaves. Impersonal and terrifying, he is Faulknerian in scope, a character who also reminds the reader of Victor Hugo’s Javert from Les Miserables. In contrast to Ridgeway, Cora shows resilience and strength, keeping alive her uncertain optimism of a postslavery life as she goes from station to station. She searches tenaciously for an existence in which she can be an individual instead of a ghost riding trains in the darkness. Yaa Gsayi’s novel takes an overarching view that contrasts the evolving consciousness taking place in America and Ghana as slavery in America begins and ends, while tribes fight colonialism in Ghana. Not knowing each other, Effiah and Esi are born to the same mother, one who escapes her own slavery under Effiah’s father to marry Esi’s father. Effiah is married off to an Englishman who helps runs a slave trade himself in the Cape Coast Castle where she lives. She tries to keep out of her consciousness any knowledge of the dungeon beneath her home, not knowing that her half-sister has been kept there until she can be transported in a ship to America. In following the paths of Effiah’s and Esi’s offspring in Ghana and America, Gyasi skillfully depicts two struggles. In one she reveals African tribes’ complicity in capturing and selling

members of other tribes to Europeans, who in turn sell them overseas to American and Jamaica. Some of Effiah’s descendants become slave traders while others reject it. One tells Effiah, “I want to be my own nation,” one that does not demonize and hurt anyone else for speaking a different language and being the Other. Some pay for the sins of their ancestors in symbolic ways, bearing the heavy weight of selling their brethren overseas. They also become involved in fighting the British colonialism that threatens to overtake their country. As Gyasi depicts these descendants, she paints a complex picture of a country struggling to reconcile its own guilt while gaining independence from the Europeans who are intertwined with their own history. She also creates complex characters who accept, reject, or suffer from their own history, along with those who work to gain freedom from it. By depicting Esi’s descendants in America, Gyasi takes the reader through the AfricanAmerican experience from slavery to Reconstruction and into the twentieth century phenomenon of the Great Migration. Like Colson Whitehead, she covers many of their experiences as they leave the South to escape Jim Crow laws, although she writes a less condensed and symbolic story. Discrimination continues to keep them second-class citizens, ghosts who are ignored or punished by a highly racist system, ghosts who internalize racism and inadvertently practice it themselves in an effort to increase their status and become fully realized and THE LAST WORD > PAGE 11

OldTownCrier


HIGH NOTES

Ryan Adams: Prisoner

One of the more prolific artists of his generation, Ryan Adams has been cranking out masterpiece after masterpiece ever since his Whiskeytown days, over twenty years ago. Prisoner is his sixteenth solo album and one that often evokes the feel of classic Tom Petty, Bryan Adams, Mellencamp, that sort of dark 80’s heartland rock. Written and recorded while Ryan was dealing with a very public divorce (from Mandy Moore) this album is his own Blood On The Tracks, twelve tracks of catharsis, and some of the best work of his career. Kicking off with “Do You Still Love Me?”, the mood is set right off the bat. “I am a prisoner for your love”, he sings on the title track. While details of the split have never been explicitly discussed, it’s clear that this was a traumatic experience and one that can be read all over these songs. This sense of loss and loneliness can be found in “Haunted House” – “I live here alone and no one else…. my friends all disappeared one by one”. “I miss you so much I shiver and shake”, he sings on the following song, while “To Be Without You” finds him confiding that “every night is lonesome and longer than before” and “I feel empty, I feel tired, I feel worn”. Musically, these songs are generally upbeat but these are words of defeat. The singer at the end of side one is, if not broken, then significantly marred. Side two finds bitterness bubble to the fore in “Anything I Say To You Now”, where he says that “anything I say to you is a lie” – communication is down. These are the sorts of feelings we all experience in a breakup, especially a tumultuous one. These emotions come to a head in the dark grooves of “Breakdown”, where he all but gives up. “Outbound Train”, THE LAST WORD FROM PAGE 10

recognized people. Gyasi also depicts their uneven advancement as they make their way in the world. After following different threads throughout history, Gyasi intertwines OldTownCrier

with its Springsteen feel, is that stage of grief where you try and downplay the significance of the relationship – “I swear I wasn’t lonely when I met you girl, but I was so bored”. We all go through those motions, the ones that we design for ourselves to make ourselves feel better. “Broken Anyway” continues that reassurance that the relationship was doomed from the start and there’s no point in sugarcoating and getting wistful because, well, “it was broken and it was fake”. The acoustic “Tightrope” finds Ryan getting nostalgic again, “all I want is for you to make me smile/ all I want is for you to drive me wild”, but while the lyric never actually goes there, the movement of the musical track suggests that he knows it’s hypothetical. Usually, breakup albums end on a positive note, that glimmer of hope at the end of a journey through grief. This album, however, ends with “We Disappear”, and Ryan closing up, sinking into himself….which can be considered a victory as well. I mean, if the point is to get over someone, I guess anything can be a success so long as it gets the job done, right? Even if that means having to admit that “I got nothing for you but a bag of tricks and a broken noose” and how it all feels like “a bad commercial in the movie of my life”. We’ve been there. Truth told, Ryan Adams has never been a writer of happy songs. This is the guy who sang “Love Is Hell”, after all. But this is something else. Perhaps it’s because we know what inspired these songs, perhaps not, but this definitely is a much more tangible sort of downer for him. That said, however, this is also one of his finest albums, where every song is a killer. Grief yields results. Just ask Bob Dylan. the threads of her story elegantly as African meets African-American in America. Her characters achieve and make progress throughout the centuries while also revealing their flaws, anger, humanity, and beauty. Whitehead’s writing is spare and

Shaman Elephant: Crystals

Whenever I travel I like to discover music from whatever area I am visiting. It proved successful when I was in Rome, Istanbul, and Newfoundland. I’m a fan of many Norwegian bands so when I was in Norway last month, I already had a pretty big shopping list. However, I chanced upon this while I was in Bergen, at this amazing bar/record store called Apollon. After buying records by Opeth and Motorpsycho, and chatting about music, the clerk alerted me to Shaman Elephant, a local treasure. He dropped the needle on the record and, before the first song was over, I bought a copy. Like most bands from that neck of the woods, Shaman Elephant sings in English and their songs are clever and really cool. Sometimes they get heavy, in a King Crimson vein, such as on the epic album opener, “Crystals”, but they have a lighter side as well, which is evident on the Zappa-meets-late-90’sPorcupine-Tree of “Shaman In The Woods”. “I.A.B.” reminds me of what Fugazi might have sounded like if they had an organ player, but that soon dissolves into the mellow jazz fusion of the instrumental “Tusko”. This track is what you might expect to hear if Vince Guaraldi had led Return To Forever. Amazing, and that was only side one.

CHRIS ANDERSON

MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC

minutes of that kind of deep, dark psych that makes Black Mountain sound like a pop group. The coda will make your hair stand on end. Rounding out the album is the 12-minute “Stoned Conceptions”. You can probably guess how that one turns out. What makes it great is that this band does “far out” really well. Spacey in the right places, heavy in the right places, just the right amount of quirk, and enough skill to keep it compelling all the way through. This band deserves everything good that might ever happen to them.

Mark-Almond: Rising

Side two finds the band stretching out on two long-form pieces. The first is called “The Jazz” and is ten

I’d seen this in dollar bins for years but never knew what it was. Thought it was the dude from Soft Cell. Finally I realized today that it’s not. So I picked it up for $1 — it’s pretty cool.

bone-deep, cleanly and symbolically depicting Cora as she seeks her own home where she can create an equal identity. Gyasi weaves a tale in which her characters bring together their disparate threads to create their own African-American home. Her kente

cloth encompasses the reality of both African emigrants to America and the traditional African-American experience, a home where everyone is real and the ghosts of past sins can be recognized and understood, if not abandoned. March 2017 | 11


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BUSINESS PROFILE FROM PAGE 5

Chili Cinnamon and a Lime in the Coconut with a host of flavors in between. All of the chocolates are made with premium chocolate sourced from beans grown in several countries, and infused with fresh fruit purees, premium teas, select coffees, spirits, nuts and flavorful spices. Each piece is molded and dipped (some by hand) on site. One of Blüprint’s specialties is its Old Town Collection tasting box. This selection of six flavors feature images of a Scottish piper, the Masonic Temple, an Old Town home, Christ Church and the Appomattox Memorial. This would be the perfect choice for that hostess or house warming gift! Another fun-tasting box is the Single Origin collection. Consisting of twelve bonbons (two each from six countries/ regions) that come with suggested pairings with adult beverages. While many of us might not immediately think chocolate when we pour that shot of malt whiskey, glass of Cabernet or snifter of Frangelico, this is a unique approach that must be experienced. In addition to the bonbons, truffles and chocolates, they serve espresso, coffee, tea and drinking chocolate* in their micro café. I was lucky enough to sample some of the wares while conducting the interview. The store is a very inviting and comforting place to be. Maybe it is the aroma of the chocolate that puts you in sort of zen-like state. The coffee and tea sold at the café is also available for purchase along with a few select bean-to-bar products from chocolate makers that embrace Blüprint’s philosophy. The chocolates are sold individually as well as in boxes of three, six, sixteen and twenty-four pieces. They also offer catering of corporate events, weddings and parties and will create custom orders with your logo either on the chocolate or on the packaging. Online ordering will be available later this year. If you haven’t already done so, treat yourself to a visit to this fun place and a sampling of their wares. You will not be disappointed! *Blueprints “drinking” chocolate is different from conventional “hot” chocolate in that it is made from liquid French chocolate and milk as opposed to cocoa powder.

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OldTownCrier

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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 Trattoria da Franco 703-548-9338 305 S. Washington St. Two Nineteen 703.549.1141 219 King St. These establishments offer live entertainment. Call to confirm show times, dates and cover charges. Check our advertisers’ websites

March 2017 | 13


GALLERY BEAT

F. LENNOX CAMPELLO

This&That

S

omeone once said that the difference between good artists and great artists is that great artists learn how to use their mistakes. If you’re a watercolorist, then you know well the angst of separation lines, or when two colors dry at different speeds, or when your “wet on wet” fails to find a wet spot. A while back I was alone at home and enjoying some precious art creation time in my studio – a rather generous term for the laundry room in the basement that I use as my art studio. Both my hands were very dirty from charcoal, as I had been rubbing a drawing for the longest time... and I was hungry. Upstairs, the smell of freshly cooked steak wafted down to the basement – as I had a nice steak in the oven. I went up, and soon there was a nice plate of steak, onions and mushrooms all ready to be eaten. I was alone, and so I took the plate down, intending to eat while I continued to work in the studio. Downstairs I realized that I had left the utensils upstairs... but the steak 14 | March 2017

had been already sliced into somewhat manageable portions. I was too tempted and decided that I would iguana-eat a piece, so that I could eat it while I went back upstairs... and so I iguana’d the chunk of steak, but I was so hungry that I ate it too quickly … What to do? Master iguana-eaters perfect their eating craft while carrying one of those giant buckets of popcorn (at the movies) in one hand, and a giant soft drink in the other. No one can resist waiting to be seated to start on the popcorn, and so many of us iguana the popcorn enroute to our seat... the head dips, the mouth opens and popcorn is iguana into the gullet. As a master iguana-style-eater, I decided to grab another piece of steak, and then head upstairs for the utensils.... my head dipped down into the plate... black charcoaly hands spread out for balance. I iguana’d the steak bite, raised my neck, and a smaller piece of meat, which had been barely attached to the larger piece in my mouth, went flying... and landed squarely on the middle of the drawing.

Now… steak grease on paper — that’s a mistake!

Exhibition Opportunities

It would also be a mistake, especially if you’re one of those artists who live around the DMV, and is always complaining about lack of exhibition opportunities, if you don’t look into the 2017 iteration of Artomatic — coming to Crystal City later this year. Visit www.artomatic.org for details.

DMV

Talking about the term “DMV” to refer to the District/Maryland/ Virginia: Who invented that term? Does anyone know?

Bad Things Galleries Do to Artists

Unethical galleries will take in a piece of artwork by an artist, and when the price is discussed, the gallery says: “What’s the price?” and the artist says: “$1000” The gallery nods OK and the artist leaves, knowing that if sold, he’ll get $500 (most commercial galleries charge 50% commission — in NYC some are as high as 70 percent). The gallery then sells the piece, but for

$2,000, sends the artist a check for $500 and pockets the extra $1,000. That is why artists should insist on having a contract with a gallery, and the contract must specifically address that the artist will get 50 percent of the actual sale price.

Bad things Artists Do to Galleries

A reputable gallery gives an artist a show, and goes through all the various expenses associated with doing so (rent, electricity, staff salaries, publicity, ads, post cards, opening reception catering, etc.). So far the gallery has put forth a considerable investment in presenting the artist’s works. An interested novice collector meets the artist at the opening and expresses interest (to the artist) in buying some of his artwork. The artist, wishing to stiff the gallery for their commission says: “See me after the show and I’ll sell it to you directly and save myself the gallery commission.” This is not only unethical, but it’s also guaranteed to ruin the artist’s reputation in the city, as these things always come out in the wash, and soon no gallery will exhibit any work by this artist. OldTownCrier


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A BIT OF HISTORY FROM PG 8

American Regional English. My bench mate invited me to read. I chose Volume II, D-H. Jeopardy! had nothing on us. Neither did apothecary Edward Stabler, the Alexandria Library Company’s founding Secretary and first Librarian. “Endowed by nature with a clear, comprehensive, and discriminating mind” Stabler, a Quaker stressed “the importance…of reading over and over the leaves of our own lives.” Leaf: Any of the sheets of paper bound in a book. “Would you like to play a word game to pass the time?” my bench mate inquired. “Of course,” I responded, “unless you prefer to play your guitar.” He stroked the strings then chose three American regional English words for me to describe: dog walk, dogie (dogy), and doggery. “Dog walk, a Northern, Midwestern and Western term that ‘refers to the open hall between two parts of a house,’” I said. “Dogie (dogy) is a young, sometimes stray, ‘often runty calf that has no mother,’” a Western word originating in 1888. I am a doggie (doggy). Doggery, a Southern word introduced in 1821, is “a saloon; a place where spirituous liquors are sold.” Dive is the familiar synonym. Duncan Library is located in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood. Del Ray, once bluecollar, was established as a railroad town. Nearby St. Elmo’s also. In 1908 the two towns combined, to become the self-governing Town of Potomac. Potomac was annexed by the segregated city of Alexandria in 1930. A vintage Norfolk and Western Railway car stands near the Library’s door. Only children are permitted to climb aboard. N&W, known for its steam locomotives and Civil War hauls, operated from 1838 to 1982. With the railcar in view, I gave my bench mate his three American regional English words: doghouse, dog law, and dogcatcher. “Doghouse,” he smiled. “My wife sometime suggests I shelter there.” I howled! “Doghouse,” my bench mate repeated, “is a Railroad term, a 1916 word for freight caboose. Dog law is ‘a law that prohibits a train crew from working longer than 16 hours.’ As of 1945, dogcatcher was ‘a railroad crew sent to relieve a crew that had exceeded the 16 hour law.’” My bench mate shared a lunchbox treat. Three for three, the competition was a draw. OldTownCrier

Sunday 11 am – 5 pm

Unlike Watty Piper’s Little Engine That Could: “Chug, chug, chug. Puff, puff, puff. The little train ran along the tracks.” Game over my lady appeared. She untied my leash, ready to go home. I thanked my bench mate for his kind indulgence. We talked for quite a while. “May I ask your name?” I inquired. “My name is Brack Stovall,” he replied, “Duncan Library’s branch manager. The book I’m reading is If Dogs Run Free, Bob Dylan’s adaptation of his 1970s song.” My tail wagged as I listened to him read: “Just do your thing you’ll be king, if dogs run free. If dogs run free, why not me? Across the swamp of time.” Swamp angel: a Northern term for the hermit thrush, a songbird with a flute-like sound. Walt Whitman memorialized the hermit thrush in his1865 tribute to slain President Abraham Lincoln: When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d. Duncan Library is open daily. If I’m not there I am at Lyles Crouch Traditional Academy with People Animals Love, an ongoing caninechildren’s reading program. Trained therapy dogs listen while children read, books like Michelle Knudsen’s Library Lion. “Soon the lion began doing things without being asked,” Knudsen wrote. “He dusted the encyclopedias…He let small children stand on his back to reach books from the highest shelves. Then [like me] he curled up in the story corner to wait for story hour to begin.” Please read! The Dictionary of American Regional English included. Parker A. Poodle™, age 13, is the significant companion of columnist ©2017 Sarah Becker. Sarah 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

The Batman Brooding From the Naked Superheroes series Charcoal on Paper, 20x16 inches ©2015 F. Lennox Campello Represented by Alida Anderson Art Projects, LLC Washington, DC For more information or images of other works from the Naked Superheroes series, email us at info@alidaanderson.com

ART&ANTIQUES ANTIQUES

GALLERIES

Spurgeon-Lewis Antiques 112 N. Columbus Street

Torpedo Factory Art Center 105 N. Union Street

BW Art, Antiques & Collectibles 108 N. Fayette Street

Principle Gallery 208 King Street

Imperfections Antiques 1210 King Street

Potomac Fiber Arts Gallery 105 N. Union Street

The Antique Guild 113 N. Fairfax Street

St. George Gallery 105 N. Alfred Street

Silverman Galleries 110 N. St. Asaph Street

The Art League 105 Union Street

Red Barn Mercantile 1117 King Street

Local Colour Old Town 218 N. Lee Street

Washington Square Antiques 425 S. Washington Street

Icon Galleria 101 N. Union Street

Susquehanna Antique Co. 608 Cameron Street

B&B Art Gallery 215 King Street

Old Town Antiques 222 S. Washington Street

Gallery West 1213 King Street

Verdigris Vintage 1215 King Street

Enamelist’s Gallery 105 N. Union Street

Cavalier Antiques 400 Prince Street

Printmakers, Inc. 105 N. Union Street

Sumpter Priddy III 323 S. Washington Street

Kelly’s Art & Frame 510 N. Washington Street

Henry Street Antiques 115 S. Henry Street

Oerth Gallery 420 S. Washington Street

Curzon Hill Antiques 108 S. Columbus Street

Jeffrey Winter Fine Arts 110A S. Columbus Street

The Hour 1015 King Street

Johnston Matthew 105 N. Union Street

A Galerie 315 Cameron Street

Huddy Studio 105 N. Union Street

Random Harvest 810 King Street

Mezzanine Multiples 105 N. Union Street

Acme Mid-Century + Modern 128 S. Royal Street

Silverman Galleries 110 N. St. Asaph Street

Van Bommel Antiek Hous 1007 King Street

Cochran David 105 N. Union Street

Lloyd’s Row 119 S. Henry Street

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

March 2017 | 15


POINTS ON PETS

SARAH LIU

KING STREET CATS ADOPTION CALENDAR MARCH 2017 FOR DETAILS & MORE INFO website: www.kingstreetcats.org email: contact@kingstreetcats.org King Street Cats is looking for foster homes! You provide the spare room and TLC and we provide food, litter and all vetting. Please email for our Kitten Fostering FAQ at: contact@kingstreetcats.org KING STREET CATS 25 Dove Street Alexandria, VA 22314 Every Saturday & Sunday 1:30 - 4:30 pm PRO FEED Bradlee Shopping Center 3690 King Street Alexandria, VA 22302 Every Saturday & Sunday 1:00 - 4:00 pm PETCO UNLEASHED AT PENTAGON ROW 1101 S. Joyce Street Arlington, VA 22202 Saturday, March 4 Saturday, March 18 Sunday, March 19 1:00 - 4:00 pm THE DOG PARK 705 King Street Alexandria, VA 22314 Saturday, March 11 1:00 - 4:00 pm NATURE NIBBLES 2601 Mt. Vernon Avenue Alexandria, VA 22314 Saturday, March 11 1:00 - 4:00 pm

16 | March 2017

Kitten Season Too much of a good thing

W

hen I began volunteering at a local animal shelter, I heard curious phrases over and over again: “We’ve had a really great winter, but Kitten Season is right around the corner.” “We need to find more foster homes before Kitten Season starts.” “Kitten Season. Oh no.” Oh no? Why “oh no”? Kitten Season sounded pretty great to me. In my inexperience, I imagined a welcome influx of fluffy playful kittens just in time for spring. And, of course, a hoard of perfect potential adopters beating down our doors to carry three or four kittens back to a purrfect forever home. Fast forward four years, and now I know the reality of Kitten Season is much harsher. So what’s it all about? To tell us more, I sought out the assistant foster coordinator at King Street Cats in Alexandria, Andrea Cerrino, for some inside information. According to Andrea, Kitten Season “begins in the early spring and goes through summer; it’s the time

of year when the majority of kittens are born.” Andrea explained that the phenomenon begins in spring, because the estrus or heat cycle in cats is regulated by the weather. Cats are polyestrous, which means, Andrea said, they “typically experience three heat cycles per year, and in warmer climates they can have four.” The result? Plenty of chances to mate, plenty of chances to conceive, and plenty of newborn kittens. So what’s the big deal? Why do shelters and rescue organizations dread Kitten Season? Andrea explained: “The biggest challenge is the sometimes overwhelming number of homeless kittens. Finding foster homes for these kittens can be difficult as it can be a several-months long commitment, depending on the age of the kittens. Also the cost of vetting the kittens is very expensive for the shelters. Some shelters, like King Street Cats, ensure that all kittens are fully vaccinated, spayed or neutered, microchipped, and tested for FELV (feline leukemia) and FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) before they are available for adoption.”

Andrea is right. Statistics are hard to pin down, but the ASPCA estimates 1.4 million cats are euthanized in the United States alone every year. That’s 41% of all cats entering shelters. Although statistics are not readily available, shelter volunteers can sadly attest that unwanted kittens comprise a large percentage of that 1.4 million. Now that we’re sad, how can we help? Andrea has some great suggestions: “One way to help is to foster. If you are interested, contact your local shelter or rescue group for additional information. Shelters and rescues are always in need of people willing to foster animals. It’s is a wonderful experience that does not require a lifetime commitment. It is perfect for a family with children that are too busy during the school year for their own pet. If you have a spare room and some extra time, fostering can be very rewarding. Homeless kittens are found at all ages, so you may be able to specify the age and/or number of kittens you feel you can handle.” If you’ve never taken care of kittens POINTS ON PETS > PAGE 17

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POINTS ON PETS FROM PAGE 16

before, you may be apprehensive or uncertain about the type of responsibilities involved. Don’t let this stop you. Your local shelter will be glad to find you a good fit in terms of a cat’s age, ability, and special needs. Andrea had some tips for prospective foster humans: “Ideally, kittens should stay with mom until they are at least 6 weeks old. Unfortunately, sometimes they are found abandoned too early, or mom does not survive. In this case the time commitment would be much greater, because the kittens would likely need to be bottle fed for a while. Most times the kittens just need to have a safe, warm, clean space with plenty of food and water, toys, and a clean litter box. As much time as you can spend interacting with them is wonderful, but about 45 minutes a day would make all the difference.” If you’re even a little bit interested, I can support Andrea’s encouragement with personal experience: I brought my first foster kittens home from a family farm after a visit home in the early spring. It was still snowing in Indiana, and I was advised by family members that three stray kittens were living in a wood pile, their mother killed or run off by the resident junkyard dog, and likely soon to be finished by the snow and subzero temperatures. Not content to let nature take its course, I rooted all three kittens out of the wood pile, bundled them in blankets, and drove them back to Virginia and the mercy of my rescue organization. The kittens were filthy dirty and wild as wolves, but once clean, they were just exhausted balls of thick fluff. I was shocked they could be so cute and so wicked. But over the next few months, and with the financial support and moral encouragement of King Street Cats, I socialized them into attentioncraving lap cats, fully vaccinated, neutered, and ready for forever homes. I will never forget the first time they purred when I picked them up (it took a few days), or the day they were

chosen by their forever families. I still keep in touch with their families, and they (kittens and humans) are thriving. I’ve had several families of foster kittens since then, and I can honestly say these are some of the most rewarding experiences of my life. So that’s my pitch, but what if it’s just not possible to host kittens in your home? There are other ways to help alleviate the stresses of Kitten Season. One of the best ways is to prevent the birth of so many unwanted babies by getting involved in a trap, neuter, release (TNR) program. Andrea explains, “TNR groups work to get feral cats trapped so they can be spayed or neutered to help keep the population down.” According to TNR pioneer organization Alley Cat Allies, which started in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC, the TNR program improves the lives of feral colony cats by relieving the pressures of pregnancy and mating; improving physical health and number of cats vaccinated against rabies; and diminishing unwanted mating behaviors such as spraying, yowling, and fighting. Interested in TNR? Please contact your local animal shelter or Alley Cat Allies in the links below. Interested in fostering a kitten, cat, or other animal? Please contact King Street Cats or another rescue organization. KSC and your local animal shelter or rescue can also help you when you’re ready to adopt a pet.

The DC stands for Dog and Cat For more info: www.dcPawsRescue.org

SHELTER PET & LIFE OF THE PARTY

Resources

Alley Cat Allies www.alleycat.org American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA) www.aspca.org Animal Welfare League of Alexandria www.alexandriaanimals.org King Street Cats www.kingstreetcats.org Amazing stories start in shelters and rescues. Adopt today to start yours.

PETS OF THE MONTH

HAMILTON 75K+ Instagram Followers

BEANIE (A069887)

TINK (A070049)

MIMI (A068382)

Meet Beanie! Beanie is a neutered male Terrier mix, estimated to be about four years old. Beanie is a cute pup whose favorite activity is, by far, playing with toys! We think Beanie would do best as an only pet in an adult-only home, as he is a dog who values his personal space. Beanie will also need an owner who is willing to help him with potty training and other doggie manners.

Say hello to our sweet Tink! Tink is a spayed female Pit Bull terrier, estimated to be about five years old. Like the Disney character she shares her name with, Tink is as loyal as they come (all she’s missing are her wings!)! Come to the AWLA to experience just how magical she is!

Her name is Mimi- so nice, they named her twice! Mimi is a spayed female Domestic Shorthair, estimated to be about five years old. She has been with us since last July when her family moved and could not take her with them. We have learned that Mimi sometimes plays favorites with her human friends, but once you’re in her good graces then she will never leave your lap! If you’re looking for a beautiful kitty who’s also full of personality, ask us about Mimi!

CHANGE A LIFE.

ADOPT

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

March 2017 | 17


CARIBBEAN CONNECTION JEFF McCORD

Rogues, Vagabonds, the Idle & Dissolute (and the Luck of the Irish)

A

s we anticipate St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, it’s fun to think about the role of the Irish in the Virgin Islands and Virginia. Sons and daughters of Eire have been pioneers, planters, pirates, entertainers and much more throughout the Western Hemisphere. It all started in 1603, when English King James 1 declared the people of Ireland dispossessed by invading English armies and occupiers to be “rogues, vagabonds, idle and dissolute.” That made them eligible for deportation as indentured servants to West Indian sugar plantations, which needed cheap labor. Those not deported often became sailors or joined the British military out of desperation. A sailor named Francis Magnel was the first Irish man known to visit both the Virgin Islands and Virginia. He served in the band of explorers and 18 | March 2017

colonizers that landed on the then uninhabited island of St. Thomas in the spring of 1607 before continuing northward to found Jamestown in Virginia. Less than 100 years later, ten percent of the sugar plantations that would be established on St. Thomas were owned by Irish men and, by the mid 1750s, most of the plantations on the larger, more easily farmed island of St. Croix were owned by the English and Irish, according to the historian William W. Boyer who chronicled “America’s Virgin Islands.” Two strong-willed Irish women made their mark in the Caribbean. One was the pirate Anne Bonny and the other the famed actress Maureen O’Hara. Bonny, born in County Cork about 1698, travelled with her parents to Charleston, SC as a child and grew to become a “fierce and courageous” teenager who spent a lot of time with sailors in saloons, says

pirate story teller Captain Charles Johnson (a likely pen name for “Robinson Crusoe” author Daniel Defoe). In the process, she married a sailor who took her to the pirate den of New Providence Island in the Bahamas where she met and became the mistress of Captain John “Calico Jack” Rackham. Rackham, who wore colorful, printed cotton (calico) clothes, had learned piracy serving with Charles Vane and both had likely visited Virgin Island waters searching for Spanish, French and British merchant ships. In addition to being his lover, Anne Bonny served Rackham as a very able crew member who became friends with another woman in the crew (Mary Read) who disguised herself by wearing men’s clothes. A captured merchant ship captain described the two women as “very profligate, cursing, and swearing much, and ready and willing to do anything on board,” says historian David Cordingly in “Pirate Hunter of the Caribbean.” Eventually, Captain Johnson says, a British naval vessel cornered Rackham’s ship at an awkward time

when most of the crew was drunk or passed out below decks. Only Anne, Mary and Rackham resisted arrest and Anne evidently believed her paramour did not resist enough. When all three were later sentenced to death, she was allowed to visit him in prison and told him “she was sorry to see him there, but if he had fought like a Man, he need not be hanged like a dog,” Captain Johnson says. When Anne was discovered to be pregnant, her death sentence was commuted. She was later freed and returned to Charleston where she remarried and raised a family. In our own time, the Irish born actress Maureen O’Hara became known for her strong-willed, often heroic roles beginning with her first film, “Jamaica Inn,” an Alfred Hitchcock film about a gang of ship wreckers and pirates operating along England’s Cornwall coast. She also starred in the pirate movies “The Spanish Main” and “Black Swan.” Beyond Hollywood, though, O’Hara played a real life role in a Caribbean adventure when in 1968 she married CARIBBEAN CONNECTION > PAGE 19

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CARIBBEAN CONNECTION FROM PAGE 18

a World War 11 aviation hero and moved to St. Croix where they started a flying boat business, Antilles Air Boats. Within ten years, it became a thriving regional air carrier providing service between St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John, Tortola and San Juan. After her husband tragically died in a plane crash in 1978, she managed the business and became the first woman to be president of an airline. O’Hara’s most famous movie role may have been opposite John Wayne in “The Quiet Man,” a classic John Ford movie about Ireland. The memory of the movie lives on in St. John through The Quiet Mon pub, an Irish bar that has captured the attention of country singer Kenny Chesney, who is of Irish and English descent. Chesney, who has a house on St. John and spends a fair amount of time there, cites the pub in these lyrics: “I want to go where I can lighten up the load Drive a little while on the wrong side of the road Play my guitar in the Caribbean sun Hang with the locals at The

Quiet Mon.” For us St. Johnians, though, The Quiet Mon may be best known as a sponsor of, and backdrop for, our annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, said to be the world’s shortest. Speaking of pirates, old St. Patrick himself might not have fulfilled his destiny if Irish pirates had not kidnapped him as a young man from Roman Britain and taken him to Ireland as a slave. Jeffrey R. McCord is a freelance

journalist whose work on international economics and consumer protection has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Gannett newspapers and Truthout. org. Jeff is the author of two fact-based Caribbean novels: “Undocumented Visitors in a Pirate Sea,” a quarter-finalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest; and, “Santa Anna’s Gold in a Pirate Sea,” a 2016 Next Generation Indie Book contest finalist. He divides his time between Virginia and St. John, USVI.

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March 2017 | 19


ROAD TRIP

BOB TAGERT

ANNAPOLIS MARYLAND

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inset photo: Lynn Bracato

20 | March 2017

have sailed in and out of Annapolis many times over the past 25 years. Maryland’s capital sits alongside the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States, spanning 64,000 square miles and six states and offering sailors everything from quiet retreats in calm inlets to national and international sailing regattas in open water. Even though the last part of February is arguably sailing weather with balmy temperatures and plenty of wind, we still opted to drive to this maritime town for our monthly road trip. Like Alexandria, Annapolis is a seaport town, and like Alexandria there are many great shops, museums and restaurants. We timed our trip to Annapolis so that we would be there when Kevin Brooks, a close friend, was playing music at Castlebay, a traditional Irish Pub. With March being the month of the Irish (and my birthday), we thought this is a good month to write about our neighbor and the Irish. Getting to Annapolis is very easy although traffic can sometimes be a problem. Just get on the beltway to Route 50 and head east. In less than an hour you will hit the turn off for “Naptown”, a favorite moniker used by the locals. Like Old Town Alexandria, OldTownCrier


the main street in Annapolis runs perpendicular to the water. The main street is one way so all traffic begins around Ego Alley, the canal that runs from Spa Creek into the city. Here is where you will find all of the sailboats and powerboats that were first come first served at City Dock. Others will be tied to mooring balls or anchored in the harbor. Metered parking is also available around the city dock and this is where the shops and restaurants begin. Bars and restaurants are plentiful and are usually very busy, especially on warm spring days. Mussels and little neck clams are always a favorite at McGarvey’s Saloon and Oyster Bar. Established in 1975, McGarvey’s was recently purchased by three midshipmen. This is quite a coincidence, since three Lt. JG’s originally started the Chart House Restaurant group when they bought their first restaurant in Aspen, CO. One of the most beautiful Chart House Restaurants sits across Spa Creek from Ego Alley. This is the first Chart House I ever experienced and is still my favorite. Across from McGarvey’s is Middleton Tavern, which has always been a popular destination. This tavern is one of the oldest continuously operating taverns in America and was originally OldTownCrier

established in 1750. The history is amazing and worth looking up. As it is with a lot of places in Annapolis, there is usually live entertainment to be found. Other restaurants along Ego Alley include the new Mission BBQ, Dock Street Bar & Grill and Pusser’s Caribbean Grille on the other side of Ego Alley…a great place to people and boat watch and home to the famous Soggy Dollar Pain Killer! At the end of Ego Alley is the Annapolis Market House, a food court of sorts with open vendors. Opened in the 1780’s the old Market House was destroyed by Hurricane Isabel in 2003. It took 10 years to reopen and is thriving today. Outside of the market is a brightly colored upright piano that anyone passing by can play. It was enlightening to hear some of the music floating through the air. Walking one block up Main Street and passing many other restaurants and shops you will come to O’Briens Oyster Bar & Restaurant. In the 70’s Fran O’Brien, a popular defensive lineman for the Washington Redskins back in their glory years, purchased the restaurant. The steak and seafood menu became a favorite amongst the legislators, businessmen and politicians, a distinction it still enjoys today. In 1993, Jerry Hardesty, the owner of Middleton Tavern took over ownership

and operations, changed the name to O’Brien’s and brought back the emphasis on Chesapeake Cuisine. For a time we distributed the Old Town Crier to Annapolis (which we will start again) and O’Brien’s was one of our favorite places so we had to visit this trip. What a surprise, one of our favorite bartenders was still working there from the early 90’s…Gordon McKenney (see how those Irish names keep popping up). It was great catching up. These are the experiences that make it all worthwhile! Continuing on up Main Street you will pass Hillman Parking Garage off to the left as well as a number of shops. In the next block you will find Chick & Ruth’s Deli, one of the most popular places to eat in Annapolis. They have everything from a classic breakfast to an incredible crab cake. They also have the Colossal Sandwich Challenges. On our visit we sat next to a nice couple (Harry Blair from Woodbridge, VA and Nakia Craig from Waldorf, MD). Harry was participating in one of said challenges – eating a 3-pound, 3-patty cheeseburger in an hour. We left before he was done but understand that he did not finish in the allotted hour and later lost his lunch. Gotta give him an E for Effort! Continuing up Main Street

toward Church Circle, you will again encounter many fine shops and restaurants. We stopped in to Castlebay Irish Pub, which is also the subject of our dining out this month. This is a great place to grab a pint and listen to some fabulous music. As I mentioned earlier, there are a number of music venues in Annapolis but more importantly, the musicians are very talented across the board. Besides strolling around town and taking in the sights like the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial at the foot of Main Street, Annapolis also offer bay tours, boat rentals or you can always get away by taking a sail on the 74-foot wooden Schooner Woodwind. The Woodwind offers two-hour sailing cruises as well as Sunset Sails. If you are lucky, you might encounter our personality profile, Kevin Brooks, entertaining throughout the sail. This is just a small sample of what awaits you in Annapolis. It is truly one of the best destinations in our region for simply getting away from the city in under an hour if the traffic Gods are with you. March is shaping up to be a great month to get out and enjoy an early spring. Take road trip!

March 2017 | 21


FROM THE BAY …

MOLLY WINANS

Rites&Refusals

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refuse to burn my socks. It’s a quiet refusal. I’m not trying to mess up anyone’s rites of spring or to rally support for an anti-sock-burning movement. It seems to me that my quiet rebellion, exercising my right to just be me, is in the spirit of the season. I’m not the only sailor in Annapolis who will attend a sock-burning gathering for the vernal equinox and walk away still wearing socks. I’ve seen a few shamelessly sock-clad friends participate by pulling old socks out of a pocket and dropping them into the bonfire. As if removing and torching one’s footwear as a seasonal ritual isn’t quirky enough, imagine what the

22 | March 2017

outside world would make of such cheating. As well as a fondness for the occasion, the sock-in-pocket crowd and I share a preference for warm feet on damp, chilly March days. Besides toasty toes, I have other reasons for clinging to my socks. I don’t have that many pairs. If I’m wearing them to a bonfire party, it’s likely that I consider them part of my sailing gear. I’m not trying to perpetuate the stereotypes of the frugal sailor or the starving writer. I can afford new socks, but I choose not to buy them often. Why? I’m not desperate yet. My feet are still warm. I have enough pairs of socks to get by—just not enough to sacrifice to the

7TH ANNUAL ANNAPOLIS OYSTER ROAST & SOCK BURNING This year join the Annapolis Maritime Museum’s 7th Annual Oyster Roast, which is a party in itself, Saturday, March 18th. Admission includes unlimited raw and roasted oysters, live music, admission to the Museum’s exhibits and a chance to enter the oyster shucking competition. Barbeque, lobster rolls, beer, wine, Bloody Marys, Dark & Stormies and more will be available for purchase. A display of waterman’s workboats will be at the Museum’s waterfront campus. The general admission ticket is $25 per person in advance, $30 at the door, and free for kids 12 and under. Visit amaritime.org to learn more.

equinoctial gods for fun. I think a lot of sailors have this sort of attitude toward their gear. They hang on to it until it’s lost, destroyed, or so leaky that they suffer for one bitter day before throwing it away, if they can part with it. Imagine a sailor friend blowing out a toe in his old dinghy boot. Does he: a) immediately drive to a boat supply store to buy new boots, or b) duct-tape it? If he chooses the tape option, when it wears off, does he: a) go out and buy new boots, or b) re-duct-tape it? If this image makes you smile, then you know that it’s less about frugality and more about the challenge of surviving a boot blowout and the joy of sporting a boot with a story. Sailing gear, even a pair of socks, has memories attached to it. That’s why it’s tough to say goodbye to it. I would love to survey sailors about the first time they wear their foul weather gear in the spring and what treasures from the previous season they find in the Velcro pockets. Among the items friends and I found last year were a ginger beer cap, lost sunglasses, a cotter pin, a hotel key, a nail file (crucial on deck in foul weather), a business card from a guy long forgotten, five beer bottle labels stuck together, and two drink tickets from the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. Even if each item in our pockets didn’t spark a specific memory (such as the Bermuda ticket surely did), a relic like a ginger beer cap suggests a lively moment in time. After a long winter, such a memento may rekindle hope, as a budding crocus does, and reminds us that sailing season is coming. Pull enough hopeful tidbits out of any jacket pocket, and it’s a sure bet that you’ll become attached to it for its pleasant association if not for its warmth and wicking wonders. That’s

why we tend to hang on to our gear until it’s over. Perhaps this is a rationalization for being too cheap to buy new gear. There’s a grain of truth in that. But there’s more to it. My attachment to my gear, including my socks, is a mix of practicality, sentimentality, and resistance to change. Besides the fact that it’s a lighthearted, home-grown tradition, what’s so charming about the Burning of the Socks, is that it’s a shunning of cold days—held on a cold day. The temperature at the spring equinox usually peaks at 48.9 degrees in my neighborhood. Not exactly flipflop weather, but the natives strip off their socks and burn them anyway. If that doesn’t hold some loony charm for you, then you won’t like this place. As much as I enjoy the concept, I resist it. That the chill may linger for a few weeks following the equinox is okay with me. I like the winter months and their empty weekends, free for dawdling around the house or taking walks. Fresh in memory is a beautiful, bright February morning walking through the fluffy snow, so light that it whisked away with one swoop of a broom, and seeing it sparkle in the trees. I don’t need to rush forward into the next season when there’s still something to savor in this one. Do I want to go sailing? Yes. Soon. But on that symbolic date when the day is as long as the night, I’m going to hang on just a little while longer to my memories, my quiet time, and my socks. Whether we force it or not, spring will come. When she is not working as managing editor of SpinSheet and PropTalk magazines, Molly Winans is trying to finish her second novel.

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Inaugural Maryland Wine Month: Visit St. Mary’s County Wineries BY BOB TAGERT

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arch marks the first ever Maryland Wine Month. To uncork the month, their website will have a listing of events and activities at wineries across the state. They will also launch the Wine Month Challenge! Participants can pick up a challenge card from local wineries. Each time you visit a winery you will receive a sticker. At the end of the month, members can send in their marked challenge card to the Maryland Wineries Association for prizes. The Maryland Wineries Association will be hosting a

Winemakers Seminar Series in different regions throughout the month. Pick your weekend, region and a topic that interests you. With the incredible spring weather we have had, March appears to be the perfect time to sit back, sip and savor not only the flavor of the county, but also some of the wines being produced by Port of Leonardtown Winery and Slack Winery in nearby St. Mary’s County. Port of Leonardtown Winery is located on the beautiful grounds of Port Leonardtown Park in Leonardtown. The winery is right off Route 5 and sits a few dozen yards MARYLAND WINE MONTH > PAGE 27

clockwise from above: Slack Winey, Port of Leonardtown Winery and Lauren Zimmerman, with Tributary and Albarino, Maryland Gold Cup winners

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“The Wines of March” Where the Potomac and the Chesapeake meet!

county, md. Award-Winning Wines from Local Vines.

Make March the time to sit back, sip and savor St. Mary’s County’s own wines. Visit Port of Leonardtown Winery in historic Leonardtown and Slack Winery in scenic South County; both offer special events, tastings, hotel packages and more all month.

visitstmarysmd.com/winemonth OldTownCrier

March 2017 | 23


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24 | March 2017

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JULIE REARDON

TO THE BLUE RIDGE

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SPRING 2017 PREVIEW

POINT TO POINT

T

echnically spring’s not here yet, but an unusually warm February had many of us itching to get outside and enjoy all the area has to offer. And as reliably as blooming forsythia and daffodils, March brings the opening of Virginia’s legendary hunt race meets. Yes, we could still get a big winter storm, although I personally take comfort in the fact that the snow doesn’t hang around in March the way it does in January or February. Gardeners are itching to get their hands dirty although we know better — we scratch the itch by starting seeds indoors and pruning things that need it ‘til the danger of frost passes. This winter, most farm ponds never froze and barely even got occasional skim ice, so Canada geese and wood ducks have been pairing up and nesting since last month. This can be a tricky month to plan ahead for outdoor activities, but most of the early spring races are held rain

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or shine (or mud) unless it’s unusually prolonged or a danger to the horses and jockeys. Our mild winter has allowed owners, trainers and riders to keep horses in training all winter, so entries should be plentiful offering full fields at the early meets. And dressing and preparing a tailgate for unpredictable early spring weather is part of the fun, but just in case we’ve included numbers so you can call the day of the meet if the weather looks questionable. Most of the point to point meets offer general admission with decent viewing areas. With general admission tickets available at the gate, if you like spur of the moment adventures, not much advance planning is required. However, reserved tailgating spaces, especially those with the best views of the race course, need to be purchased in advance, with prime spots selling briskly this year. General admission tickets usually offer substantial savings if bought in advance

as well. And you’re guaranteed to see lots of daffodils, forsythia and maybe even some early blooming redbuds at the end of the month on the drive out. Attire for the March and early April meets is usually weather dependent, but casual. Most point to points are held in pastures and farm fields, so a 4 wheel drive vehicle is recommended as well as sturdy all weather shoes. Later in spring and for the sanctioned meets, attire and tailgates get dressier. The National Steeplechase Association sanctioned meets (noted on the calendar with NSA after the meet) are dressier and some offer advance purchase admission only, so they typically require more advance planning and a larger cash outlay to get a reserved tailgate party space. Some of the NSA meets are now offering pari-mutuel wagering, although unlike flat racing, they’re not dependent on wagering for purses.

SATURDAY, APRIL 22 1:00 PM Warrenton Hunt Hunter Pace Events 540-219-6562 www.warrentonhunt.com SATURDAY, APRIL 22 1:30 PM Middleburg Spring Races (NSA) Glenwood Park, Middleburg 540-687-6545 • 504-687-6595 SATURDAY, APRIL 29 1:00 PM Foxfield Spring Races (NSA) Charlottesville 434-293-9501 www.foxfieldraces.com SUNDAY, APRIL 30 1:00 PM Middleburg Hunt Point to Point Glenwood Park, Middleburg 540-687-6069 • 540-454-2991 SATURDAY, MAY 6 1:00 PM Virginia Gold Cup Races (NSA) Great Meadow, The Plains 540-347-2612 www.vagoldcup.com

March 2017 | 25


The 3rd Annual Film Festival at Little Washington, Virginia Next month, April 7–9, The Film Festival at Little Washington, Va. will once again light up Rappahannock County. The Festival has entries in many categories including features, shorts documentaries, student, animations, web series or episodes, and music videos. The Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community (RAAC) is once again the proud sponsor of this prestigious event. All filmmakers, both professional and amateur, were invited to submit work completed after January 1, 2012. The submission period closed on January 15, 2017. “The premier event came about three years ago when several Rappahannock filmmakers approached the RAAC, whose mission is to enhance the lives of community residents through exposure to the arts and active participation in art programs and request a forum for 26 | March 2017

their films,” explains festival program director, Theresa Wood. Despite being kept rather low-key, the 2015 festival was well received, leading to the decision to expand the event. “This is the only film festival in the state featuring films partially or wholly produced in the state of Virginia by filmmakers who reside here partor full time, Wood says. Wood also points out the Virginia Film Office, a division of Virginia Tourism, has been very supportive of this film festival, as it aligns perfectly with their mission of bringing film and television series to the Commonwealth. The Film Festival is an all-volunteer, non-profit enterprise with net proceeds going back into the arts community in the form of Claudia Mitchell grants. The Fund was established with a generous bequest from the estate of Claudia Mitchell, RAAC’s president for many years

and a dedicated supporter of the arts community. This years Festival kicks off with an opening night reception at Tula’s Restaurant and Bar, 5-7 p.m. The event is open to the public and tickets — $25 each — allow guests to sample delicious food, wine and beer, all crafted in Virginia. The evening continues at 7 p.m. just across the street from Tula’s in the Little Washington Theatre with a welcome, followed by two films: a short and a feature. The evening wraps up with a Q&A session with the filmmakers. Saturday features the majority of the festival’s films, which range in length form three minutes to nearly an hour and a half, covering a broad range of subject matter. Beginning at 10 a.m., films continue throughout the afternoon and evening with periodic Q&A sessions.

Sunday’s film line-up will kick off with a Champagne reception at Gay Street Gallery. Sunday’s films begin showing at 11 a.m. With more than 175 films submitted for screening, this Festival has become one of the hottest tickets in Virginia. The proposed threats to the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities by the current administration in Washington will make events like the film festival at Little Washington that much more special. Community theatre may be what gets us through! Tickets go on sale March 1 at EventBrite.com. For more information, you contact Theresa Wood, festival director, at FFLW2017@gmail.com or by phone at 817-403-0496. Be aware that cell service in Rappahannock County is sketchy at best.

OldTownCrier


Walnut Hill A Civil War Era Farmhouse

Bucolic retreat less than an hour from DC in the Loudoun County countryside. Private, 11 wooded and open acres with pond. Almost 3000 sq. ft. of finished space. New kitchen with eat-in room overlooking pond. Stainless steel appliances, gas cooking, quartz counters, cherry cabinetry. Custom walnut built-in bookcases (harvested from property) in living room. Updated baths (2.5), five bedrooms, including master with sitting room and main level guest bedroom. Original heart pine floors, pinched seam metal roof, expansive deck and stone walls. Vegetable garden, chicken coop, mature plantings and perennial beds. Near the lovely villages of Taylorstown and Waterford; minutes to the MARC commuter train. Offeredatat$649,000 $599,000 MLS No. LO9679173 Offered

For More Information: Kathy Shipley, RE/MAX Premier Ryan Clegg 540.338.0300 • 703.314.5539 Atoka Properties kathyshipley.com ryan@atokaproperties.com 703.209.9849

MARYLAND WINE MONTH FROM PG 23

from beautiful McIntosh Run. There are kayaks and canoes on site for rental and the run empties into Breton Bay two miles away. Port of Leonardtown Winery is the end result of The Southern Maryland Wine Growers Cooperative and was formed in 2007 as the region began to transition away from tobacco production to other agricultural pursuits. The potential for the emerging wine industry to positively affect agriculture and tourism in southern Maryland was recognized and supported by the state, local government and farmers. Partnering with St. Mary’s County and Leonardtown, interested farmers and others with a passion for wine set in motion a plan to ensure the success of wine grape growing in Southern Md. The cooperative formed as the first agricultural cooperative in the state of Maryland leading the way for viticulture and future wineries. The cooperative entered into a lease agreement with the Town of Leonardtown in 2009 to operate the Port of Leonardtown Winery making it the first commercial winery in St. Mary’s County. In 2010 the winery opened OldTownCrier

and began tours, tastings and sales. Today the cooperative has 18 members including 12 vineyards and produces in excess of 45 tons of fruit each year. They produce a number of wines with their most notable being Albarino, Chambourcin, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot. Vidal Blanc is also a popular wine and a hearty grape, which thrives in the soil found in the county. Rich Fuller and winemaker Lauren Zimmerman who are usually onsite at the winery head the cooperative. Events at the winery will include a special wine pairing March 11-12 & 18-19: Irish cheese paired with Port of Leonardtown wines. March wine deals (March only), include a combo pack of 5th Anniversary Red & 5th Anniversary White for $19.99. There will also be musical entertainment on the evenings of March 3, 4, 11, 18 and 25. Located a short drive south of Leonardtown is Slack Winery. The winery is located on Jubilee Farm, a 139-acre estate that sits on Blake Creek and overlooks the Potomac River. The vines and tasting room are located at Jubilee Farms but they also have a second location for tasting

BEER. BED. BREAKFAST. VISIT THE BREWERY NEAR SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK AND STAY THE NIGHT

47 MAIN STREET • SPERRYVILLE, VIRGINIA 540.987.3383 • HOPKINSORDINARY.COM

in Ridge, Md. at the Historic Woodlawn Farm Waterside Market, a 180-acre property that also serves as a B&B. The winery gets its name from slackwater, that quality of water that is relaxed and easy, just like their wines. This winery is the epitome of laid back. Winemaker and owner Tucker GrubeO’Brien is brief and to the point … he doesn’t waste

many words. His theory on wine production is about the same. Their Italian method of producing table wines is time tested, producing young, fresh and vibrant wines. They produce Barbera, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and their favorite, Chardonnel. Slack Winery only produces about 1500 cases of wine each year and usually sells out

locally. During March you will be able to taste and buy wines at the Jubilee location with a schedule that will vary so please call. Tasting and purchases can be made in Woodlawn on weekends at the Multi Vendor Market. Check with these two wineries before going in March for specific times and any new events.

March 2017 | 27


Katy Gorman

BEHIND THE BAR

How did you get started in the business?

I was 20 and studying abroad in Northampton, England. What I thought would be a great adventure turned out to be a very stressful time. My dad, who was back home in the US, was diagnosed with GBS and put on life support and instead of calling me home, I was asked by my family to stay where I was and continue my studies. To add to the situation, I

28 | March 2017

KATY GORMAN IS BEHIND THE BAR AT DANIEL O’CONNELL’S RESTAURANT & BAR 112 KING STREET OLD TOWN ALEXANDRIA 703-739-1124 DANIELOCONNELLS.COM

was broke. I then decided to take a job tending bar at Wembley Arena in London. I just served drinks for concert goers, but it was my first taste of service. When I got home, I realized that I had more potential to help support my family at the time by working nights at a local restaurant. I was a daughter-nurse by day and a server/bartender by night. And so you have it…

Katy muddles up a new specialty drink — The Butterscotch Manhattan. She is behind the bar Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday days.

What is your biggest bartender pet peeve?

I’ve really grown out of most of them by now. The biggest one these days is when a guy is pushing me to give him my number. Sorry, guys, but it’s not always welcome. It’s actually rather uncomfortable, especially in front of other guests.

What is the most clever line anyone has ever used to get you to give them a free drink?

I can’t think of anything special. I know I used to get free drinks all the time! What are the chances …being a cute female and all …no lines needed.

BEHIND THE BAR > PAGE 29

OldTownCrier


Old Town’s Home of LIVE

Eat Drink & Be Irish

St. Patrick’s Day Friday Mar 17th 11am - Late

CRAIC!

Corned Beef & Cabbage

Fish’n Chips

6 Nations Rugby Fri 10th 3:05pm Wales v Ireland Sat 11th 8:30am Italy v France Sat 11th 11am England v Scotland Sat 18th 8:30am Scotland v Italy Sat 18th 10:45am France v Wales Sat 18th 1pm Ireland v England

Ireland’s call Shoulder To shoulder

Live Music Irish Dancers Irish Specialties

Irish Egg Rolls

Shepherd’s Pie

Opening at 11am on Sat Mar 11th and Sat Mar 18th. Serving Brunch. Irish Coffee/Drinks

112 King Street Alexandria, VA 703.739.1124

Guinness Burger

NEW Pub Trivia

Tuesday Nights 7pm – 9pm

Traditional Irish Sessions Mondays & Wednesdays 8pm Sunday Brunch 11am – 3pm Sunday Jazz 12:30-2:30pm

Open Sun–Sat 11am – Late Happy Hour Mon-Fri 3-7pm Live Music Fri-Sun DanielOConnells.com

This is where your new favorite whiskey comes from. Visit us in Sperryville. Tours daily. www.copperfox.biz

BEHIND THE BAR FROM PAGE 28

What is the best/worst pick-up line you have overheard at the bar?

So this guy tells me his pickup method at bars: he tells a girl he bets he can guess the last four digits of her number if she gives him the first three. He of course guesses wrong, but she has already given him the first three. Later on after more drinks, he bets her again that he can guess the first 3 digits of her number if he gives her the last OldTownCrier

four. In doing so, she doesn’t realize she’s given him her full number!

Tell us an interesting encounter you have had with a customer.

I met Desmond Tutu one afternoon. That was amazing. His daughter was working at Christ Church and I was bartending at Bertucci’s in Old Town. They stopped in for Sunday lunch. To meet someone of his caliber felt like I

was beyond worlds. The kindness in his eyes was like no one I’ve ever met. I feel truly blessed to have been at the right place at the right time.

I’m at in my life, I feel I would have so much in common with her. From the stories I’ve heard, I think she was a very special lady.

If you could sit down and have a drink with anyone in the world, past or present, who would that be?

If you would like to see your favorite bartender featured in this space, send contact information to office@ oldtowncrier.com.

Honestly, my grandmother. She died when my mom was 22, so I never had a chance to know her. With where

March 2017 | 29


DINING OUT

LANI GERING

CASTLEBAY IRISH PUB

Great Eats, Good Craic & Guinness!

Castlebay proprietor Vincent Quinlan

W

e decided to step outside of the box a bit with this month’s column. Instead of the “white tablecloth order an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert and a glass of wine” format, we decided to spend an afternoon in an Irish pub! Every day is St. Patrick’s Day in an Irish establishment. While we are very loyal to our very own Old Town favorites — Daniel O’Connell’s and Murphy’s — we decided to kill two birds with one stone and combine the R&D for this month’s Road Trip to Annapolis and the Dining Out at the same time. Castlebay was established in October 1998. Like most of the areas Irish establishments, it is owned and managed by a native of Ireland. 30 | March 2017

Vincent Quinlan, a native of Dublin, has reproduced a Dublin City pub in the heart of downtown Annapolis. Just like Vinny says,” Castlebay is a place where all will feel welcome, have lots of fun and enjoy great food and drink”. Not only is he a restaurateur, Quinlan has traveled nationwide and throughout Canada entertaining guests as a professional singer. Many may remember him as a member of the popular

CASTLEBAY IRISH PUB 193A MAIN STREET ANNAPOLIS, MD 21401 410-626-0165 CASTLEBAYIRISHPUB.COM HOURS: MON-THURS 11:30A-12:00A FRI-SAT 11:30A-2:00A SUN 11:OOA-12:00A

“Celtic Folk” band that played in the DC metro area from the ‘70’s through the ‘90’s. He now performs with the house band Murphy’s Law. Touted as a “local band with national aspirations”, we were happy to know that they would be entertaining us at some point during the day. We were lucky enough to be at Castlebay when they were hosting a fundraiser benefitting the Annapolis St.

Patrick’s Day parade organizers. You know, the Annapolis version of Alexandria’s Ballyshaners. This meant that in addition to the normal Sunday afternoon crowd, there was a fantastic assortment of Irish music and some local celebrities. We also ran into some old friends that we haven’t seen in quite some time. Anyone that knows us, knows that we have a little bit of experience with spending an afternoon at a pub – not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but many of these afternoons have resulted in finding several of the fantastic people we have profiled over the years here at the OTC. In true Irish fashion, we started our afternoon out with a pint of Guinness and a Bloody DINING OUT > PAGE 31

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Mary (not sure a Bloody Mary is very Irish but it was really good). The idea of spending the afternoon is to just roll with the flow. If you get hungry, order some food. If you just want to drink, order that Irish coffee or just the one more pint and a shot of Jameson. No rules. Just enjoy. The food coming out of the kitchen here is spot on! We witnessed the Fish and Chips that will feed two, Irish Stew with a loaf (yes, a loaf) of fresh bread, traditional steamed mussels with white wine and garlic, Bangers & Mash, Corned Beef & Cabbage and several orders of their chicken wings (offered Buffalo, teriyaki, BBQ or Chesapeake style). The next time I am there, the Irish Oak Smoked Salmon Plate is going to be the ticket. The menu is well-rounded and reasonably priced. The interior truly imitates the likes of a Dublin pub with lots of stained glass work in the light fixtures and in the windows, portraits of Irish icons and memorabilia on the walls and that warm pub feeling throughout. What can I say about a good Irish pubs bar that you don’t already know? Castlebay’s back bar is much like other Irish bars, including Old Town’s Murphy’s, with police/military patches from all over the country attached to it. The shelves display pretty much every Irish whiskey known to man and of course, taps of Guinness, Smithwick’s Ale, and Harp along with several domestic beers. I am a big fan of Magners Hard Cider and was surprised that these guys have

England-based Strongbow on tap instead of its Irish counterpart. They do, however, have Magners in a 16 oz can but it just isn’t the same! The balance of the bar is rounded out with the rest of the usual suspects. We have a new best friend in our bartender, Nikki. In true Irish fashion, she kept our glasses full and told us some good stories. On top of that, she made the whipped cream for the Irish coffee literally by hand with an oversized whisk (I was totally impressed since I use my electric mixer) in between setting up drinks and food for the early crowd. Everyone that was working that day was pretty amazing. The place got stacked to the rafters right before we had to leave and the staff was working like a well-oiled machine. Guess they are used to it, right? We were entertained throughout the afternoon by the likes of Murphy’s Law, The Eastport Oyster Boys and Dublin 5. We have a special place in our hearts for the Oyster Boys — see the Personality Profile in this issue to see why. It was our first time listening to Murphy’s Law and Dublin 5 but it definitely will not be our last. Take the time to spend an afternoon in your favorite Irish pub this month (or anytime for that matter) and soak in the spirit of Erin. Put Castlebay on your list of places to dine the next time you head toward the Annapolis part of the Bay. Tell them that the Old Town Crier sent you. Slainte!

Fine Seafood, Historic Setting Outdoor Seating • Happy Hour • Private Events 119 King Street • Old Town Alexandria 703.836.2836 • wharfrestaurant.com

OldTownCrier

March 2017 | 31


AMERICAN ASHAR RESTAURANT AND BAR 116 South Alfred St. 703-739-6090 BILBO BAGGINS 208 Queen St. 703-683-0300 BLACKWALL HITCH 5 Cameron St. 703-739-6090 BURGER FI 111 N. Pitt St. 703-746-9242 CARLYLE CLUB 411 John Carlyle St. 703-549-8957 CHADWICKS 203 Strand St. 703-836-4442 chadwicksrestaurants.com An Old Town tradition since 1979 and an original Georgetown pub and restaurant since 1967. CHART HOUSE One Cameron St. 703-684-5080 CITY KITCHEN 330 South Pickett St. 703-685-9172 fatcitykitchen.com USA City inspired menu choices that bring together traditional American and global cuisine with their own personal touch. Casual dress. $30 and under. Lots of free parking. Open 7 days a week with brunch on Sat & Sun 11-3. AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

INDIGO LANDING #1 Marina Dr. Washington Sailing Marina 703-548-0001 JACKS PLACE 222 North Lee St. 703-684-0372 JACKSON 20 480 King St. 703-842-2790 JOE THEISMANNS 1800 Diagonal Rd. 703-739-0777 KING STREET BLUES 112 N. St. Asaph St. 703-836-8800 LAPORTAS 1600 Duke St. 703-683-6313 LIVE OAK 1603 Commonwealth Ave. 571-312-0402 LOST DOG CAFE 808 North Henry St. 571-970-6511 MACKIE’S BAR AND GRILL 907 King St. 703-684-3288 MAGNOLIA’S ON KING 703 King St. 703-838-9090 MAJESTIC CAFÉ 911 King St. 703-837-9117 MASON SOCIAL 728 Henry Street Old Town Alexandria 703-548-8800 mason-social.com

PORK BARREL BBQ 2312 Mount Vernon Ave. 703-822-5699

THE WAREHOUSE BAR & GRILL 214 King St. 703-683-6868

RAMPARTS 1700 Fern St. 703-998-6616 rampartstavern.com

ASIAN ASIAN BISTRO 809 King St. 703-836-1515

REYNOLDS STREET CAFÉ 34 S. Reynolds St. 703-751-0830 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 SOCIETY FAIR 277 S. Washington St. 703-683-3247 SONOMA CELLAR 207 King St. 703-966-3550 SOUTHSIDE 815 815 S. Washington St. 703-836-6222

COLUMBIA FIREHOUSE 109 S. St. Asaph St. 703-683-1776

MOUNT VERNON INN Mount Vernon, Va 703-780-0011

sweetgreen 823 King St. 571-319-0192

EVENING STAR CAFÉ 2000 Mt. Vernon Ave. 703-549-5051

MURPHYS IRISH PUB 713 King St. 703-548-1717 murphyspub.com Old-world Irish pub featuring a roaring fireplace, serving a variety of imported, domestic and non-alcoholic beers in a friendly atmosphere. Serving robust American-Irish meals at fair prices. Favorites include fish and chips and Irish stew. Irish-style entertainment nightly.

T.J. STONES GRILL HOUSE & TAP ROOM 608 Montgomery St. 703-548-1004 tjstones.com American cuisine with libations from around the world. Bar specials Mon-Fri, 4-7 pm. Brunch served Sat & Sun.

FIN & HOOF 801 N. Saint Asaph St. 703-836-4700 FIRE FLIES 1501 Mt. Vernon Ave. 703-548-7200 FIVE GUYS 725 King St. 703-549-7991 FLAT TOP BURGER 529 East Howell Ave. 571-970-1006

MYRON MIXON PITMASTER BBQ 220 North Lee St. 703-535-3340

FOSTERS GRILLE 2004 Eisenhower Ave. 703-725-1342

NICKELLS AND SCHIFFLER 1028 King St. 703-684-5922

GADSBYS TAVERN 138 N. Royal St. 703-548-1288

NINAS DANDY Potomac Party Cruises Zero Prince St. 703-683-6076 dandydinnerboat.com

HARD TIMES CAFE 1404 King St. 703-837-0050 HEN QUARTER 1404 King St. 703-684-6969 HUNTING CREEK STATION 801 King St. 703-836-5126

32 | March 2017

TRADEMARK 2800 Jamieson Ave. 703-253-8640 UNION STREET PUBLIC HOUSE 121 South Union St. 703-548-1785 unionstreetpublichouse.com Old Town’s favorite neighborhood tap and grill. Southern style menu, fine steaks, fresh seafood. Sunday brunch, private parties, happy hour. VERMILLION 1120 King St. 703-684-9669

MALAYA 1019 King St. 703-519-3710 MAI THAI 9 King St. 703-548-0600 NASIME 1209 King St. 703-548-1848 RED MEI 602 King St. 703-837-0094 STREETS MARKET AND CAFE 3108 Mt. Vernon Ave. 571-431-6810 THAILAND ROYAL 801 N. Fairfax St. 703 535-6622

LA MADELEINE 500 King St. 703-729-2854 TWO NINETEEN RESTAURANT 219 King St. 703-549-1141 YVES BISTRO 235 Swamp Fox Rd. (in Hoffman Ctr.) 703-329-1010 LA BERGERIE 218 N. Lee St. 703-683-1007 labergerie.com ITALIAN BUGSYS PIZZA RESTAURANT 111 King St. 703-683-0313 bugsyspizza.com FACCIA LUNA 823 S. Washington St. 703-838-5998 THE ITALIAN PLACE 621Wythe St. 571-777-8981

KAI ZEN TAVERN 1901 Mt. Vernon Ave. 703-836-1212

GERANIO RISTORANTE 722 King St. 703-548-0088 geranio.net Still Old Towns highest-rated Italian restaurant (Zagat). Discerning Old Towners flock here for refined cuisine in this comfortable, yet sophisticated restaurant. With entrees from $14, there is no reason not to enjoy a selection from their Wine Spectator award-winning list, while being attended by the friendly staff of seasoned professionals. Reservations recommended and casual attire welcomed.

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

HANKS PASTA BAR 600 Montgomery Ave. 571-312-4117

CONTINENTAL BRABO by Robert Weidmaier 1600 King St. 703-894-3440

IL PORTO RESTAURANT 121 King St. 703-836-8833

TOKYO JAPANESE STEAKHOUSE 66 Canal Center Plaza 703-683-8878 CAPHE BANH MI VIETNAMESE 407 Cameron St. 703-549-0800 SANG JUN THAI 300 King Street 571-312-3377

BRABO TASTING ROOM 1600 King St. 703-894-5252 CEDAR KNOLL INN GW Parkway at Lucia Ln. 703-799-1501 RESTAURANT EVE 110 S. Pitt St. 703-706-0450 TEMPO 4231 Duke St. 703-370-7900 temporestaurant.com Northern Italian, French provincial & American cuisine featuring fresh seafood, meats and pasta served in a contemporary, romantic atmosphere. FRENCH

NORTHSIDE 1O 10 East Glebe Rd. 703-888-0032

VIRTUE GRAIN & FEED 106 South Union St. 571-970-3669

BASTILLE 606 N. Fayette St. 703-519-3776 bastillerestaurant.com

OCONNELLS RESTAURANT & BAR 112 King St. 703-739-1124 danieloconnellsrestaurant. com

VOLA’S DOCKSIDE GRILL & THE HI-TIDE LOUNGE 101 North Union St. 703-935-8890

LE REFUGE 127 N. Washington St. 703-548-4661 FONTAINES CAFFE & CREPERIE 119 S. Royal St. 703-535-8151

LANDINI BROTHERS 115 King St. 703-836-8404 landinibrothers.com Elegant, classical Italian cuisine served in a lovely historical setting. Fresh veal, homemade pastas, and fresh fish are some of the daily choices. An extensive list of wines and champagnes served in a sophisticated and friendly atmosphere. LENA’S WOOD-FIRED PIZZA & TAP 401 East Braddock Rd. 703-960-1086 PARADISO 124 King St. 703-683-5330 PINES OF FLORENCE 1300 King St. 703-549-1796

MEDITERRANEAN LA TASCA 607 King St. 703-299-9810 Offering unlimited tapas at lunch and dinner. Choice of dessert included. Lunch 11:30 am - 4:30 pm for $20.07; dinner 4:30 pm - close for $30.07. Eat a little, drink a little, have a lot of fun! TAVERNA CRETEKOU 818 King St. 703-548-8688 tavernacretekou.com PITA HOUSE 719 King St. 703-684-9194 thepitahouse.com Family owned and operated; carry out available and free delivery. DELIAS MEDITERRANEAN GRILL 209 Swamp Fox Rd. Alexandria, VA 703-329-0006 SEAFOOD HANKS OYSTER BAR 1026 King St. 703-739-HANK RTS RESTAURANT 3804 Mt. Vernon Ave. 703-684-6010 FISH MARKET-OLD TOWN 105 King St. 703-836-5676 fishmarketoldva.com Internationally known and locally owned! We serve shrimps, a few crabs, tall people and lots of nice people, too! Live music and lively food! ERNIES ORGINIAL CRABHOUSE 1743 King St. 703-836-0046 THE WHARF 119 King St. 703-836-2834 wharfrestaurant.com "Its All About the Seafood," traditional and creative coastal cuisine. FISH MARKET-CLINTON 7611Old Branch Ave. Clinton, MD 301-599-7900 INDIAN BOMBAY CURRY COMPANY 2607 Mount Vernon Ave. 703-836-6363 DISHES OF INDIA 1510A Bellview Blvd. 703-660-6085 NAMASTE 1504 King St. 703-970-0615 MEXICAN LATIN SOUTHWESTERN DON TACO TEQUILA BAR 808 King St. 703-988-3144 LOS TIOS GRILL 2615 Mt. Vernon Ave. 703-299-9290

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

LOS TOLTECOS 4111 Duke St. 703-823-1167

TRATTORIA DA FRANCO 305 S. Washington St. 703-548-9338

TAQUERIA POBLANO 2400-B Mt. Vernon Ave. 703-548-TACO (8226)

OldTownCrier


“The Finest Lebanese Cuisine” –Washington Post, 2001 Family Owned & Operated Come and Enjoy a Cozy Candlelit Dinner Carry-Out Available • Free Delivery Open 7 Days for Lunch & Dinner

719 King St. Old Town Alexandria 703.684.9194 • thepitahouse.com

Now open for BRUNCH Saturdays & Sundays at 10AM 121 South Union Street, Old Town Alexandria 703.548.1785  unionstreetpublichouse.com

G GERANIO RISTORANTE Redefining Italian Cuisine in Old Town Alexandria Dinner Entrees from $14 722 King Street Old Town Alexandria 703.548.0088 www.geranio.net

OldTownCrier

March 2017 | 33


CHESTER SIMPSON

CHEF’S SPECIAL

PETER DURKIN

I was about twenty and I had friends that had gone to the Culinary Institute of America and so I followed suit. I have been doing it ever since. I also used to help my mother in the kitchen as well.

Who or what has been your biggest inspiration during your career?

I would say, what sounds outdated now but was called at the time, The California Cuisine — fresh and seasonal. The culinary chef Alice Waters inspired me. For four decades, Alice Waters, restaurateur and food activist, was at the forefront of the now flourishing locally grown, organic food movement. She is the owner of Chez Panisse, a Berkeley, Calif. restaurant famous for its organic, locally grown ingredients and for pioneering California Cuisine.

What dish on the menu are you most curious to see how it’s received? Steak Diane — it has just been added to the dinner menu.

What do you feel sets your cuisine apart from others in your field?

PETER DURKIN IS THE CHEF AT HUNTING CREEK 1106 KING STREET OLD TOWN ALEXANDRIA 703-836-5126 HUNTINGCREEKSTEAK.COM

I have been a chef all my life. I would say that my two favorite things in the world are food and beverages. You have to have the right purveyors, great people and organizations that supplies our restaurant with fresh seasonal ingredients. You have to insist on quality. We try to source local product, the fresher the better. I’ve always loved to cook and I’ve loved to eat and I like being around food. I’ve been around long enough to see a lot of changes in cooking and the

current rage, Farm to Table, is a force to be reckoned with it. The main thing is the procurement of the best and freshest ingredients. You have to have great ingredients, if you want to have great food and know how to cook.

which we’re both involved in, too. Tammy realized a need for a “cupcakery” in Alexandria, using creative combinations of flavor like chocolate, peach and basil, and some with honey, yogurt and local ingredients to create quality treats.

If any chef in the world (past or present) could prepare a meal for you, who would you want that to be?

I’ll get in trouble for this but it’s a “Chilly Cheese Dog”!

What if I was to say my wife, Tammy? We have another business, Lavender Moon Cupcakery, on 116 South Royal Street. A cupcake shop,

Left to right: Grilled Chesapeake Rockfish, Filet Mignon, Steak Diane, Steak, Arugula, and Gorgonzola Crostini, Seafood Cobb, and Prosciutto Wrapped Sea Scallops.

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photo: ©2017 Chester Simpson

When did you first become interested in cooking and what made you choose a culinary career?

What is your guilty food pleasure?

If you would like to see your favorite chef featured here, send contact info to chester@chestersimpson.com.

photo: ©2017 Chester Simpson

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March 2017 | 35


EXPLORING VA WINES

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s spring approaches, I recognize that we are very fortunate to work in an industry where, overall, things are happy. People like to consume wine and generally they are in good spirits while doing it. Our staff enjoys serving the customers, growing the grapes, and making the wine. I realize that not all businesses, industries and work environments are that fortunate. I also realize that on busy, stressful, understaffed or ill managed days, even the bright and cheery tasting room can have an edge for a moment or two. We as humans have been given the gift of intelligence and self-awareness to be able to effect the spiral of negativity! In this day and age, I believe it is our responsibility to do just that. Try approaching a negative situation with a positive outlook on improving the climate and learning something in the process. Here is an example. In one of my community meetings here in western Loudoun County, we have been discussing the challenge of 36 | March 2017

DOUG FABBIOLI

traffic on our numerous gravel roads. We have visitors that have not driven on roads like this before. We have tractors, horses, wildlife and walkers to be mindful of as well as experienced residents who do not want to be stuck behind a person driving 5 mph down the middle of the road. So here is an educational opportunity for all to

courteous, and thoughtful to avoid conflicts, accidents and frustration. We can be better and happier if we make a commitment to do so. Another thought on this is the concept of finding a way to “Disagree Agreeably.” This is something that our political leaders used to be rather good at and have lost their tactfulness over

Kill ’Em with Kindness (or How to Drive a Country Lane) learn more and improve our culture. A “Drive Gently” campaign is beginning to evolve in order to teach all about driving here. And it will not stop with our western Loudoun gravel roads. As many of our corridors are overwhelmed with commuter traffic, it is important that we stay aware,

the years. There is much more of an “Us vs Them” mentality rather than understanding that a representative is elected to represent all, rather than just those that voted for him or her. The social media review system is a way that feeds this fervor as well. As folks that are not pleased with their

experience at an establishment, such as ours, find it much easier to send out a review from the parking lot of the establishment rather than talk with the management about their experience and how it could be improved. Having new tools to address a need is great, but we should not easily dismiss the old ones. Simple common courtesy, positive outlook, human contact, empathy and self-awareness will go a long way toward keeping us connected with one another. This is one planet, and we are one country upon it. Individuals can show leadership, and we as Americans can show others and ourselves just how good we can be. Enjoy this spring season as Mother Nature shows us all about how great renewal can be. Doug is the proprietor and winemaker of Fabbioli Cellars in Loudoun County and has been penning this column for several years. He has been instrumental in the success of many of the Commonwealth’s vineyards and wineries. OldTownCrier


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BLUE RIDGE WINE WAY www.blueridgewineway.com The Blue Ridge Wine Way features eight wineries and vineyards in the spectacular mountains of the Northern Virginia region. BOTETOURT COUNTY WINE TRAIL botetourtwinetrail.com The Wine Trail of Botetourt Country features three wineries in the Blue Ridge Mountains. EASTERN SHORE WINE TRAIL esvatourism.org The Eastern Shore of Virginia Wine Trail hosts three wineries along the Land Between Two Waters. This area is a unique rural coastal environment. Hundreds of miles of Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay shoreline provide a wealth of recreational opportunities for beach-lovers, fishermen, and boaters in addition to wine lovers. FAUQUIER COUNTY WINE TRAIL fauquiertourism.com/wineries.html Fauquier County is home to 16 wineries and vineyards — each with its own unique flavors. Enjoy award-winning Virginia wines, wine tastings and tours. SHENANDOAH VALLEY WINE TRAIL svwga.org The Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail is an association of six vineyards and wineries. LOUDOUN WINE TRAIL visitloudoun.org Loudouns Wine Trail in Northern Virginia takes you through Virginias hunt country to 23 participating wineries. CHESAPEAKE BAY WINE TRAIL chesapeakebaywinetrail.com The Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail, in the Chesapeake Bay region, highlights six different wineries. HEART OF VIRGINIA WINE TRAIL www.hovawinetrail.com The Heart of Virginia Wine Trail in Central Virginia presents several events throughout the year at four wineries located in the central region of the state. BLUE RIDGE WINE TRAIL blueridgewinetrail.com The Blue Ridge Wine Trail features five wineries and vineyards in the spectacular mountains all within minutes of the Blue Ridge Parkway. GENERALS WINE & HISTORY TRAIL thegeneralswinetrail.com In 2009, 10 wineries banded together to form a new type wine trail experience. The new wine trail experience was to tie our rich wine heritage with our rich historical heritage and thus the Generals Wine & History Trail was born. MONTICELLO WINE TRAIL monticellowinetrail.com The Monticello Wine Trail leads to 24 wineries from its hub in Charlottesville. Source: Virginia Wine Marketing Office

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VISITING VIRGINIA’S WINE COUNTRY It’s always a good idea to call before visiting. Many Virginia wineries are small, family-owned operations and may be closed during the time you are planning to visit. If you are a group of eight or more, call ahead to help the winery prepare for your visit and to make sure they can accept groups. Most of our wineries have grape cluster highway signs within a ten-mile radius pointing the way to the winery. Many of these signs also tell you how many miles to go before reaching the winery. March 2017 | 37


GRAPEVINE

The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Wins 2017 Governor’s Cup It joins 11 other Virginia wines to comprise the 2017 Governor’s Cup Case

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overnor Terry McAuliffe awarded the 2017 Virginia Wineries Association’s (VWA) Governor’s Cup to The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards for their 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon. The VWA’s Governor’s Cup Gala, hosted by the Virginia Wine Board is a private, invitation-only event and was held Tuesday evening at John Marshall Hotel, in Richmond, Virginia. Speaking at the Governor’s Cup awards ceremony, Governor McAuliffe said, “I’m excited to see The Barns at Hamilton Station Cabernet Sauvignon win this year’s Governor’s Cup. Andrew and Maryann Fialdini are seeing the results of eight years of planning and hard work come to fruition. My congratulations to them on this outstanding wine and for their success with their winery.” The winning Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied wine with well-balanced acidity. It is aged in French and American oak and expresses notes of dark cherry and coffee. It is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and is complemented by a soft tannic structure that is integrated with the fruit. Clove and tobacco notes add complexity and extend through the finish. Andrew Fialdini stated, “We are honored to be among the Virginia wineries who have won the Governor’s Cup in previous years. After years in government service, my wife and I were looking to start a second career where we could work the land. This experience has surpassed all our expectations. We are very proud of this Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2014 vintage was a special one and we knew we wanted to develop a wine that was 100% Cabernet Sauvignon with the fruit from this vintage.” “Our team is especially proud of this wine. It is a classic Virginia Cabernet Sauvignon. Perfectly balanced, and has mature tannins that are ripe but not overly extracted; and it has nice acidity.” said Michael Shaps, the winemaker for the winning wine. “The fruit comes from mostly Carter’s Mountain with some additional fruit from Mount Juliet vineyards. Carter’s Mountain has southwest exposure, constant breezes, great drainage and a slightly cooler climate to retain nature acidity.” The 2017 Virginia Governor’s Cup Competition was conducted over four weeks of preliminary tastings, held at the Capital Wine School in Washington, D.C in January.  The final round of tastings was held at The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia the last week of January. The Governor’s Cup award winner was selected from the 2017 Governor’s Cup Case, a selection of the top 12 scoring wines chosen from 494 entries of both red and white wines, from 102 wineries. Now in its 35th year, the competition was revamped in 2012 to become one of the most stringent and thorough wine competitions in the country. In addition to the winner, 11 other wines are 38 | March 2017

included in the Governor’s Cup Case. The official 2017 case includes: • Barboursville Vineyards 2013 Paxxito • Breaux Vineyards 2012 Meritage • Horton Vineyards 2015 Viognier • Ingleside Vineyards, 2014 Petit Verdot • Jefferson Vineyards, 2014 Petit Verdot • King Family Vineyards, 2014 Loreley • King Family Vineyards, 2014 Petit Verdot • Michael Shaps Wineworks, 2014 Meritage • Valley Road Vineyards, 2014 Petit Verdot • Veritas Vineyard and Winery, 2014 Petit Manseng • Veritas Vineyard and Winery, 2014 Petit Verdot Paul Shaffer 6th Edition Both the Governor’s Cup Competition and the resulting Governor’s Cup Case boost the visibility of the state’s highest-scoring wines through various programs and exposure to top industry critics and tastemakers. The esteemed panel of judges had the difficult task of ranking each wine after blind tasting based on a unified scoring system. Unique to this year’s competition, five 2014 Virginia Petit Verdots were among the top scoring wines. This will excite Virginia Petit Verdot fans who have been cheering for this grape’s growth in Virginia. Also among the top scoring wines this year were three dessert wines, two made from Petit Manseng. A Virginia Viognier, two Bordeaux style blends and the winning Cabernet Sauvignon round out the 2017 Governor’s Cup Case. The Governor’s Cup competition is a result of a partnership among the gubernatorial-appointed Virginia Wine Board (VWB), the Virginia Vineyards

Association (VVA), and the VWA, which owns and manages the competition. Any wine made from 100% Virginia fruit was eligible for the competition. All entries included an affidavit with a certification of 100% Virginia fruit and vineyard particulars, including grower names and location, as well as information on alcohol, acidity or basicity (pH), and residual sugar. Wine included in the Governor’s Cup Case will be used by the Virginia Wine Board Marketing Office for marketing purposes in Virginia, across the country, and around the world. A number of cases will be shipped to select wine media, promoting Virginia wines to a larger national and international audience. The award-winning wines will be used for education purposes at Virginia winemaker roundtable discussions to improve overall quality of Virginia wines. Governor’s Cup Case wines will also be used by Governor McAuliffe on select domestic and international marketing missions and other events designed to promote Virginia wine and winery tourism. The rapid growth of Virginia’s vibrant wine industry has made it one of the fastest growing agricultural sectors in the state. Today, there are over 280 wineries in Virginia, and 330 vineyards that cultivate over 3,800 acres of grapes. A recent economic impact study revealed that Virginia’s wine industry contributes $1.37 billion to Virginia’s economy and provides for 8,218 jobs in the Commonwealth. Virginia wineries attract over 2.2 million visitors annually helping build jobs in Virginia’s rural areas.

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GET YOUR IRISH ON! The Shamrock

The shamrock, which was also called the “seamroy” by the Celts, was a sacred plant in ancient Ireland because it symbolized the rebirth of spring. By the seventeenth century, the shamrock had become a symbol of emerging Irish nationalism. As the English began to seize Irish land and make laws against the use of the Irish language and the practice of Catholicism, many Irish began to wear the shamrock as a symbol of their pride in their heritage and their displeasure with English rule.

mission in Ireland, St. Patrick once stood on a hilltop (which is now called Croagh Patrick), and with only a wooden staff by his side, banished all the snakes from Ireland. In fact, the island nation was never home to any snakes. The “banishing

Irish Music

Music is often associated with St. Patrick’s Day — and Irish culture in general. From ancient days of the Celts, music has always been an important part of Irish life. The Celts had an oral culture, where religion, legend and history were passed from one generation to the next by way of stories and songs. After being conquered by the English, and forbidden to speak their own language, the Irish, like other oppressed peoples, turned to music to help them remember important events and hold on to their heritage and history. As it often stirred emotion and helped to galvanize people, music was outlawed by the English. During her reign, Queen Elizabeth I even decreed that all artists and pipers were to be arrested and hanged on the spot. Today, traditional Irish bands like The Chieftains, the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem are gaining worldwide popularity. Their music is produced with instruments that have been used for centuries, including the fiddle, the uilleann pipes (a sort of elaborate bagpipe), the tin whistle (a sort of flute that is actually made of nickel-silver, brass or aluminum) and the bodhran (an ancient type of framedrum that was traditionally used in warfare rather than music).

The Snake

It has long been recounted that, during his

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• First St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in Boston in 1737. • Saint Patrick was not Irish by birth; he was a Romano-Briton Christian missionary born in England. His true given name was Maewyn Succat. • St. Patrick’s Day did not become a national holiday in Ireland in 1903 and the first parade wasn’t held in Dublin until 1931. • Upwards of 15 million pints of Guinness will be consumed on St. Patrick’s Day. • The color originally associated with St. Patrick was blue; green became associated during the 19th century. • According to legend, St. Patrick was known for banishing dangerous animals from Ireland, particularly snakes. • St. Patrick’s celebrations were originally religious festivals. • There are 36.5 million U.S. residents who claim Irish ancestry, more than eight times the population of Ireland itself (4.5 million). • There are four places in the U.S. named Shamrock: West Virginia, Texas, Indiana and Oklahoma. There are nine Dublin’s — Dublin, Calif. and Dublin, Ohio are the most populous. • More than 100 St. Patrick’s Day parades are held across the United States. New York City and Boston are home to the largest celebrations.

of the snakes” was really a metaphor for the eradication of pagan ideology from Ireland and the triumph of Christianity. Within 200 years of Patrick’s arrival, Ireland was completely Christianized.

Corned Beef

Each year, thousands of Irish Americans gather with their loved ones on St. Patrick’s Day to share a “traditional” meal of corned beef and cabbage. Though cabbage has long been an Irish food, corned beef only began to be associated with St. Patrick’s Day at the turn of the century. Irish immigrants living on New York City’s Lower East Side substituted corned beef for their traditional dish of Irish bacon to save money. They learned about the cheaper alternative from their Jewish neighbors.

The Leprechaun

The original Irish name for these figures of folklore is “lobaircin,” meaning “small-bodied fellow.” Belief in leprechauns probably stems from Celtic belief in fairies, tiny men and women who could use their magical powers to serve good or evil. In Celtic folktales, leprechauns were cranky souls, responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies. Though only minor figures in Celtic folklore, leprechauns were known for their trickery, which they often used to protect their much-fabled treasure. Leprechauns had nothing to do with St. Patrick or the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, a Catholic holy day. In 1959, Walt Disney released a film called Darby O’Gill & the Little People, which introduced America to a very different sort of leprechaun than the cantankerous little man of Irish folklore. This cheerful, friendly leprechaun is a purely American invention, but has quickly evolved into an easily recognizable symbol of both St. Patrick’s Day and Ireland in general.

March 2017 | 39


FITNESS

NICOLE FLANAGAN

RESET YOUR ROUTINE

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pring is on its way. The days are getting longer and warmer and everything is waking up from winter. With springtime comes a new energy to evaluate and recommit to fitness plans. It is almost like a second shot at a New Year’s resolution. Maybe you need to set some new goals, or even start over completely. Here are a few ways to tweak your workout and keep your fitness moving in the right direction.

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Train Smarter

If you are looking for an all-in-one training tool, check out the TRX Suspension System. It is portable, versatile and makes the most out of a bodyweight workout. Because of the suspension, you must use your core to stabilize and therefore work more than one muscle group at a time. With the TRX system you can get a workout done in as little as twenty minutes. The TRX system is designed for all fitness levels from novice to elite. It comes with

a workout guide and there are many ways to modify the exercises whether you are just starting out, or are looking to bring your workout to a new level. It really is an all-in-one workout. Staying with the idea of a portable workout, another great piece of equipment is an exercise band. They are inexpensive, compact, and you can carry them almost anywhere. Try this; from either a seated or standing position, pull a band up around your thighs, slowly pull your legs apart at the

knees. This works both inner and outer thigh muscles. Start with three sets of ten.

Back Up Your Workout

You know how to train your abs, but what many forget is how important it is to strengthen your entire back. By adding a few exercises that work to improve back strength and stability you will be doing your core a big favor. Try this. Starting on your hands and knees, slowly raise your opposite arm and leg until your body forms a straight line from fingertips to heel. Pause then return hands and knees to starting position. Do three sets of fifteen to twenty. Lets talk about the ab routine. If it typically consists of things like sit-ups and V-crunches than it may be time to rethink your core workout. You have five lumbar vertebrae, and each one gives you about seven to nine degrees of motion, for a total of forty -five degrees. That means to truly work our core you need to to stay between zero degrees (like a plank) and forty-five degrees (like a crunch). From forty-five degrees to a full sit-up, you’re engaging your hip flexors, which attach directly to your lumbar spine. Too many reps will not only make you hip muscles sore, but our lower back will start to hurt as well.

Eat and Drink

Workouts cause muscle damage, its how muscles repair that makes them stronger. If all you do is break down muscle cells, you are on the path to injury. The first ten minutes post workout is the time to replenish those cells so they can begin to repair and be ready to work out again. You don’t have to run out and grab a sandwich right after a workout, but something light, like a banana and peanut butter or a protein shake, will help. Lastly, drink plenty of water. Water is one of the most underrated nutrients; we often forget just how much too much or too little water can affect a workout. Most people do not drink enough water. When you are dehydrated your workout suffers. The best way to make sure you are drinking enough water is to bring a water bottle with you. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and during and after workouts. If you start to feel thirsty, you are already a little dehydrated. Whether you needed a full revamp of your workout or just a few minor adjustments, now is the time to get your fitness routine back on track. With spring just around the corner it’s a great time to find some new motivation.

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his month’s exercise is the Parallel Bar Dip. As I have mentioned in previous columns, body weight training can be just as effective as using dumbbells and weight plates for resistance. The dip is as “old school” as jumping jacks, sit-ups, pushups, and chin-ups. Several versions of the dips exercise include seated on a machine, triceps dips off the edge of a bench or chair, or utilizing weight plates for added resistance by either using a belt with a chain or on the lap using two flat benches. With the parallel bar dips, the bars should be about shoulderwidth apart. This width will target the lower chest, front of the shoulders, and the triceps. The narrower the width, the more triceps and shoulders are involved. Figure 1 shows the start and finish position. Ideally, the bar height will allow you to lower your body so that the elbows are at 90 degrees without your feet touching the floor. If not, just bend the knees so that your feet are behind you. I like to cross the lower legs, but this is not necessary. Most parallel bars are part of a station that you can perform multiple body-weight exercises that include parallel “steps” that help you get set for the start without having to jump up into position. At the top, your arms are straight supporting your body weight through the hands. As you lower yourself, lean forward to make the chest muscles perform most of the work. The shoulder blades should come together as the elbows reaches 90 degrees (figure 2). Push yourself back to the top without pausing at the bottom. Going down should be a little slower pace than pushing up. Try two sets of 10 reps initially, and then add either another set or more reps. If your own body weight is too difficult, have a partner spot you by grabbing your feet to assist you during the exercise. The dip exercise is a great stand-alone exercise or as an addition to any chest or triceps routine. Enjoy its benefits until I bring you another worthwhile exercise next month! Unverzagt holds a BS in Wellness Management from Black Hills State University. He is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) through the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA), and a Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer (RDCS) through the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).

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RYAN UNVERZAGT

PARALLEL BAR DIP

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March 2017 | 41


GO FISH

STEVE CHACONAS

Potomac Prognostication

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he Potomac River Fisheries Commission held its third annual symposium to discuss the status of the Potomac River largemouth bass fishery. Virginia, DC, and Maryland provided a look at the fishery management mosaic and opened a dialog for regulatory consistency. The latest fisheries data was revealed to members of Maryland’s Black Bass Advisory Subcommittee, representatives from VA Region 1 Bass Federation, New Horizon Bass Anglers, The Nation’s Capital Bass Federation, a few guides, and Curtis Dalpra (Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin). A handful participated via webinar. Leading off was VDGIF biologist, John Odenkirk. Surveying the Potomac for largemouth bass began with the appearance of the Northern Snakehead. Prior to this

invasive showing up, they were not surveying the Potomac. Odenkirk began collecting data in 2004. Shoreline electro surveys take place in Little Hunting, Occoquan, Dogue, and Pohick Creeks in April and May, when fish are vulnerable in less than 4-5 feet. Virginia surveys each area twice. Odenkirk reported his surveys were the best in 2009 and the worst in 2012 and 2013. However, a gradual improvement to 2014 and 2015, in spite of a fish kill cause unknown. 2016 was a very good year, reflecting the success of previous year classes. The good news is fingerlings, fish less than 8 inches, also increased more in 2016 than in the last two years. Odenkirk says the LMB population is rebounding and ties variable recruitment to changes in submerged aquatic vegetation GO FISH > PAGE 45

POTOMAC RIVER BASSING Longer days bring a change in the weather and warming water. The month starts cold, but warms dramatically. Use Silver Buddy lures to find fish on drops, in out of the current areas. Follow with Mann’s Stingray grubs on ¼ ounce heads and drop shot with 3.75 Mann’s Reel N Shad on a 1/0 Mustad Octopus hook! Line is key with soft plastics especially. Start with 6-pound test GAMMA Edge Fluorocarbon and beef

MAR.

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up as fish move shallower and grass emerges. Use Mizmo Tubes on insert heads early and Texas rigged later in the month. Soak in garlic Jack’s Juice Bait Spray. Crankbaits, when water warms to 50, are effective. Mann’s Baby 1-Minus and Baby X cover depths to 3-4 feet. Using suspending Lucky Craft Pointer 78 jerkbaits on 10 pound Edge works in clear areas and when water is around 50 or more. When water moves to 45 degrees, use Mann’s Classic 3/8-ounce spinnerbaits with white skirts, gold Colorado and willow blades. On 12-pound Edge, slowly crawl along the bottom, hesitating every once in a while.

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SPIRITUAL RENAISSANCE PEGGY ARVIDSON

What’s Your Brand?

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his topic has been floating around my head for a while now. It started when I got a call out of the blue to apply for a contract at a big employer in my hometown. I’ve worked for myself for 13 years and the idea of working for a big company, even on a contract, seemed daunting. The idea of pushing my own boundaries in 2017 was at the forefront of my mind when I thought, “What the heck!” and went for it. Low and behold they offered me not one, but three different possible contracts. At first I thought it was a fluke and played small in my own mind — “they must not have many people to choose from…” and “Wait until they find out I really don’t know what I’m doing!” all cropped up as I tried to talk myself down from what I identified as my inflated ego. I chose one of the contracts and went about my life, preparing for another big upheaval in my life just 4 months after moving across the country. All I could think was that there was no time like the present to start pushing my boundaries and getting out of my comfort zone. It turns out that although it had been more than 13 years since I set foot, willingly, in a corporate setting, I was, I am a natural. Some people are born to sing and it appears, I’m born for business. Who knew?! Although my colleagues are and average of 15 years

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younger than I am, and the workplace is incredibly different than it was my last time around (who knew you barely keep any paper in or on your desk anymore?!) much has remained the same, and although it pushed me beyond my comfort zone to head back to a commute and an office, it’s been very worth it to revisit the idea of my personal and professional brand. For 13 years I’ve worked as an entrepreneur, honing my brand and my message and helping others to do so with the intention of attracting and working with clients who are the best possible fit. It turns out that all that focus on values and brand messaging translates well no matter what work you’re doing in the world. Ultimately people want to know who you are in terms of what you stand for. Whether you run an independent coffee shop, sell homes in your community or work for the local Fortune 100 darling, you are only as good as your personal brand. During my first week on the job, the manager of our project gave a passionate speech about personal branding and I knew I’d made a good decision. He told stories of his time in business school and how it didn’t take long to know who you would and wouldn’t choose to have on your team as you went through the program. Aside from a few inhaled breaths, comparing myself to those who have MBAs, I was on board with his message.

After all, you don’t build a business without knowing what you stand for and how you want others to talk about you when you’re not there. My shorthand for “brand building” is that simple — how do others talk about you when you’re out of earshot. Do they take notice of your work ethic or your frequent trips to the coffee bar on the company dime? Your personal brand is the living, breathing embodiment of your core values and whether you’re at work or at play, you can’t fake what is meaningful to you. Over years of working in the corporate and entrepreneurial environment I’ve realized that a personal brand evolves from

The

a personal passion. While you may not be passionate about every single task required in your work, if you can’t find a passion for the overarching vision, there’s a good chance that you aren’t going to pull off being “on-message” or onbrand! Being “on brand” requires you to have clarity about your personal vision and values. It asks you to ask yourself hard questions like “what am I willing to do for what I believe in?” and “What would I do or say if someone else tried to convince me that their vision was more important or valuable than my own?” Admittedly, being an entrepreneur for 13 years allowed me to sit in my own

bubble, believing my own stories (both good and bad) and heading out into the corporate world helped me solidify my answer to the those questions. I know what I stand for in a new way and I couldn’t be happier with the progress in both my contract life and my entrepreneurial life as a result. Now that you’re nearly a quarter of the way through the “new” year, is it time to ask yourself “what’s my brand?” Peggie Arvidson is a mentor who uses ancient and modern tools to help people clear blocks that keep them stuck so they can truly live in prosperity, joy, and peace.

Pragmatic Palmist PEGGIE ARVIDSON

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March 2017 | 43


FIRST BLUSH

GENEVIEVE LEFRANC

Full Plait

A

fter bone dry winter weeks of resorting to messy buns and wool caps to mask lifeless, static-stricken locks, everyone is ready for a new hair look. Temperatures are fluctuating and spring is right around the corner, but I just can’t wait to give my favorite transitional season look a go … the braid. While spring and summer provide the moisture to give hair gorgeous volume and texture, winter weather strips your mane of any body or bounce. A braid, however, doesn’t rely on volume to look great, and instantly disguises limp locks in a chic and puttogether ’do. It’s quick, easy, and looks effortlessly sexy. Unlike popular trends like candy-colored skinny jeans or skin-tight minis, braids work for women of all ages— everyone can wear them! Braids are an inclusive trend women can get in on and pull off, no matter age or hair

Stuff We Dig!

length. I love braids because they can be dressed up or down, transition easily to a workout, are appropriate and practical for work, simple and sexy for a date, and add flair to typical pulled-back styles. Many women avoid braids due to their juvenile reputation earned by the likes of Pippi Longstocking and Cindy Brady. However, braids are now more edgy and modern and have been elevated to high-glam status by the many celebrities sporting them. For those of us past our awkward youth but bored with ponytails and uptight buns, braids are the perfect way to switch up your hairstyle while remaining age appropriate, stylish, and elegant. Give these various styles a go this spring, and you’ll be in on the latest hair trend hitting the runway and red carpet.

The Messy Side Braid

Probably my favorite braid

style, the messy braid is the epitome of effortless, relaxed sexy—this undone style gives off a carefree, sultry vibe. Since the whole idea behind this look is tousled, imperfect bed head, it’s extremely simple and fast to pull off. No need for perfection here—go for a look that’s less Pocahontas perfect and more pulled out, uneven, and partially undone. This look suits thick, long hair, sweeping the hair out of the way without the severity of a pristine updo. Plus, when you take it out you’ll be left with romantic soft waves, a la Boticelli’s Birth of Venus. First, spritz on a bit of texturizing spray or wax to add some thickness and texture, like Sally Hershberger Genius Spray Wax ($12.50). Next, create a deep side part and sweep your hair to one side. Braid it loosely, beginning just below the ear. Don’t worry about pieces falling out—the looser and messier the better! Once your

Niucoco Renewing Hair Serum Product Description: Add texture and control as you renew, repair and boost your style. This nutrient-rich serum and styling oil does it all, including detangling ends, protecting against heat and adding high-octane shine. Infused with extra virgin coconut oil, guava fruit extract and sunflower seed oil, this multitasker encourages smoothness and nourishment while helping the hair look bouncy and luxurious. Product Evaluation: This serum can be used on either wet or dry hair. We tried it both ways. It worked okay on dry hair but much better on wet (depends on the length and texture of your hair and whether or not you are fond of the scent of coconut). Neither of us has a head full of dense curly hair and I can see where this would be great for all over use if you do. If you have long straight hair, avoid using it close to the scalp but definitely use on the rest of your hair. It does indeed make your hair nice and shiny. We recommend this product especially if you have dry, over-processed locks. The cost might be a little prohibitive for those of us with long hair due to the amount that you have to use each time. Otherwise, it’s worth a try. Price: $50 Available at: www.niucoco.com

44 | March 2017

braid is secured with a hair elastic, gently break up any tightness or tension by using your fingers to massage and separate the braid. If you’re worried about looking like a beach bum, fancy it up! Adding a hair accessory like a sparkly clip or comb makes this messy look instantly elegant for a wedding or formal evening event.

The Milkmaid Braid

Don’t let the name fool you; the milkmaid braid is sweet and feminine, and perfectly romantic for any occasion. Also called the headband braid, the milkmaid is a braid that goes around the crown of your head—the perfect combination of carefree flower child and sophisticated trendsetter. This look requires very long hair, so either resist the salon for the next few months or opt for a braided hair extension that matches your color. Start by creating two long pigtails, and don’t stress about making a perfect part. Pull out a few face-framing pieces so the look isn’t so perfect, or else you’ll actually look like an old school milkmaid tending to an udder. Braid each pigtail loosely, starting at the ears, and secure with an elastic band approximately 2-3 inches above the ends. For that relaxed, intentionally imperfect look, make sure to gently pull apart the braids

with your fingers. Next, lift one of the braids toward the top of your head and place it about an inch back from your forehead. Where the elastic is, attach the braid to your head with bobby pins that match your hair color. Repeat with the other braid, and place it on top of the first braid, making sure to position it so that it hides the first braid’s elastic band. Tuck the end of the second braid under the first and securely fasten with bobby pins. Make sure to add extra bobby pins near your ears, since the hair here is prone to falling out.

The “Lauren Conrad” Braid

This wildly popular trend is probably something your nieces or daughters know all about. This mini “hairline” braid was made famous by Laguna Beach and The Hills reality TV star Lauren Conrad, and has been spotted, ever since, on celebrities from Jennifer Aniston to Jessica Stam. This look is subtle, easy to wear as well as create, and works on nearly any type or length of hair. These little braids are also perfect for sweeping back bothersome bangs, or fringe you’re fighting to grow out of the awkward in-between stage. Begin by parting your hair to the side and separating about two inches of hair away from your forehead. Tie back FIRST BLUSH > PAGE 45

OldTownCrier


PERSONALITY PROFILE FROM PG 4

the world) for an upcoming trans Atlantic passage to spend time cruising the canals of Europe. Kevin’s friendships and love of sailing run deep. Kevin and Tom Guay first met at the University of Maryland in the early 70s and have been performing together over the years in a mix of bands. When Tom and his wife Karen moved from the DC area to Annapolis, Kevin quickly made Guay a critical gear in the Oyster Boys music wheel. Guay has penned some of the Oyster Boy’s crowd favorites such as “Hot Crabs, Cold Beer” and “Long Cold Run”, which is dedicated to Kevin when he sailed very late in the year for warmer harbors. When he is not helping local environmental organizations such as the Severn River Association, he works on his soon to be released historical and nautical adventure novels. As alluded to earlier, Kevin, or “Brother Shucker”, as his fellow MRE patriots call him, was at the forefront of developing the quirky and fun loving nonprofit organization that is known for their strong independence movement from Annapolis proper (or Westport, as it is called in Eastport) back in the late 90’s. Next year will be the 20th anniversary of the MRE whose motto “We Like it This Way” was created by Kevin and is also featured in many of his songs and stories. Kevin is also featured along with other GO FISH FROM PG 42

(SAVs) abundance. It is his opinion the LMB population is not affected by tournament related mortality. He further states there is nearly zero bass exploitation with no bass being kept for consumption according to creel surveys. With 99% or more voluntarily released, low mortality and the rebound, he doesn’t support a slot limit harvest restriction. Next up was DC biologist Chris Adrian. DC has conducted more extensive and ongoing surveys over 9 sites. DC surveys monthly for more complete data in water 2-5 feet deep from the Wilson Bridge to Fletcher’s Boat House to Anacostia. Reporting the juvenile index in 2015 was the highest since 1990, Adrian noted 2016 saw the numbers slip, but still a positive trend. Numbers showed declining relative abundance for larger fish, but an uptick in smaller fish. As SAVs returned LMB abundance also rose, compared to declines when grass was sparse. However, he revealed all bass tested, were positive for largemouth bass virus (LMBV). Bass are carriers and it’s uncertain what tipping point puts it into a lethal state. There have been no major die offs due to LMBV. These tests will provide baseline data. Interestingly, DC conducted a large tagging survey and less than 1% of the tagged fish were weighed in during tournaments in MD and VA. Like VA, DC reports zero consumption of LMB according to hundreds of creel surveys. MD DNR Tidal Bass Program Manager Joe Love cites surveys dating back to 1984 but relies on more recent data compliant with recent methodologies. In 1989, MD began to attend tournaments to observe and to collect data. Maryland created a Fishery Management Plan (FMP) 4 years ago. In 2016, the Black Bass Advisory Subcommittee was established to focus on LMB issues. Consistent with DC findings, OldTownCrier

MRE patriots in the soon to be released feature length film “Eastport/21403”, which spins the tale of the spunky Republic, its character and its fun approach to community building with such annual events as the 0.5K marathon each spring and the world recognized Tug of War against Annapolis each November. Spa Creek is closed down and a 1900-foot rope that was made by Yale Cordage is laid out across the creek from Eastport to Annapolis. The film, produced by Boatyard Bar & Grill owner Dick Franyo, came about after he and Kevin were discussing raising the awareness of the MRE and will be released at the upcoming Annapolis Film Festival held March 30 – April 2 of this year. If you make it to Annapolis this month you can catch the Eastport Oyster Boys Irish alter ego “The Auld Brigade” performing around town. They will be at Castlebay Irish Pub on March 5 as well as the “Up the Republics Night” at the Boatyard Bar & Grill on March 14. Recently retired as a non- profit CEO, Kevin and his wife Jan plan to spend more time exploring the quiet harbors of the Bay. Not ones to stand on the dock for long, they look forward to more maritime adventures and world travels while carrying a bit of the Chesapeake in their hearts wherever they sail. www.oysterboys.com; Facebook: “Eastport Oyster Boys” LMBV is present, though not prevalent. MD conducts fall electro surveys, when critics feel over abundant hydrilla makes surveys more difficult. 2011 was a bad year for SAV and bass. Juvenile fish populations in 2007 and 2008 were good. As grass disappeared in 2011 indices took a hit and MD saw fewer younger bass. 2013 was below average. Since then SAVs increased resulting in above average numbers of fish. Improved reproduction and recruitment made for a better 2016. However, Dr. Love points to the FMP, as surveys slipped below their line for 3 consecutive years. He feels the fishable slot limit, four fish 12-15 inches and only one allowed over 15 inches, would help save the older, bigger fish. These special restrictions will go into effect June 15Oct 31. Waivers are negotiable. Until then, efforts to educate anglers on better fish care practices will continue. Proper handling of fish from livewell to release will protect bigger fish that are more susceptible to handling stress. Doing their part, MD DNR has planted over 80 reef balls in National Harbor with plans to add wood cover. Although Love predicts modest benefit, MD stocked over 100,000 LMB into the Potomac River. The Department’s outreach includes fish care videos, mandatory for MD permit applicants. He does see examples of LMB consumption with anglers taking advantage of tournament release fish. DC played gracious host at their Aquatic Resources Education Center. The PRFC has set the cooperative wheels in motion as the three jurisdictions continue to put the fisheries management puzzle together. Capt. Steve Chaconas is a Potomac bass fishing guide and contributing writer for BoatU.S. (BoatUS.com) Potomac River reports: nationalbass.com. Book trips/purchase gift certificates: info@NationalBass.com.

FIRST BLUSH FROM PG 44

the rest of your hair that will not be used for the braid so it’s out of the way. Begin French braiding your bangs or hairline locks downwards until you reach your ear. Next, secure your braid by tucking it behind your ear and pinning into place with several bobby pins. Finish with a quick spritz of hairspray for a little shine and firm hold.

The Accessorized Braid

If you really want to punch up any type of braid, take it a step further by adorning it with accessories. It’s easy and fun to give a simple braid a little extra something with ribbons, strips of fabric, flowers, or bows. My favorite is the ribbon or fabric accessorized braid. This romantic look is perfect in spring and summer when you’re feeling boho chic and a little unique. Divide your hair into three equal sections as you would for a typical braid, and place the length of ribbon or fabric around the middle section. Then, weave the ribbon under and over the right-hand section. Holding the ribbon or fabric firmly, begin to braid normally as you incorporate the ribbon into the braid as you go, trying to keep the ribbon on top so it will actually show. When you reach the end of the braid, secure your hair and ribbon with an elastic band. If need be, trim the end of the ribbon neatly with scissors and tuck the end into the braid.

The Fishtail Braid

Using a fishtail technique to braid your hair is the simplest way to add a subtle spice that people really notice. This braid uses only two sections of hair for braiding, rather than the usual three, with an end result mimicking the scales on a fishtail. Use a fishtail technique for any of the above styles for a chic edge and unexpected twist. Go online for step-by-step guides or video tutorials to master this technique. A quick Google search will yield a wealth of info, but try allure.com for their “Insiders’ Guide: How to Fishtail Braid” article for detailed, step-by-step instructions.

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OPEN SPACE

LORI WELCH BROWN

March Madness

E

ver feel like your current situation is never going to change? That you’ll be stuck exactly where you are in this moment — whatever this moment is —Your abysmally single moment? Your pathetically broke butt, no money in your account, moment? Your pants don’t fit no matter how much you suck it in moment? Your boyfriend dumped you via a post-it moment? Your career is stuck at the corner of Goin’ Nowhere Street and Underpaid Avenue moment? Yeah, that moment. The hopeless moment that is so beyond frustrating that it deserves its own word. Any change feels like it would take a miracle from God or a winning lottery ticket. Becoming the next Mrs. Brad Pitt seems more likely than losing a dress size no matter how many trips to Gold’s you make. The mole hill is Mt. Everest and you are the ant standing at its base. The pounds feel like tons. The smallest goal feels like a glacier and your feet are rooted in quick sand. Your best move is to go back to bed 46 | March 2017

and ruminate about everything that has gone wrong—everything that isn’t working. You curse your boss for your last performance review, curse your workout buddy for cancelling on you, curse Hillary for not being more likable, and even curse your parents for ever having that twinkle in their eye that resulted in your birth. This, my friends, is March Madness. And you thought it had something to do with hoops and balls? Tsk, tsk. March is a cold-hearted woman. She will break you if you let her. Unlike May, June and July that fly off the calendar, March is like watching your ex make out with your pretty cousin. It is beyond maddening, and it feels like it will never end. The only way to make it out alive is by taking little, tiny baby steps. Start by getting out of bed and putting one foot in front of the other. Take it easy. Cut yourself some slack. Move a little slower. Rest a little more. Take naps. Write letters. Read a book. Throw an extra log on the fire and hunker down with some chili. I swear I think St. Patrick threw

in a day of drinking just to give us something to look forward to during the dismalness that is March. Carpe diem, folks. March is winter’s final hoorah, and it feels like she is gonna drag last call out forever. While it may feel like you’re on the road to nowhere, change is around the corner. And no matter how long March feels, rest assured that change is a’comin. The light at the end of the tunnel is almost here. They say March is the hardest month, and I think ‘they’ are right. I’ve been working furiously — or at least it feels like it — at chipping away at a couple of personal goals and I just don’t seem to be making any head way. Some days it feels like no matter how hard I try. Sigh. The pointer doesn’t move. The scale isn’t budging. The barometer isn’t rising. I get nothing. Zilch. Zippo. So what’s the point? Why try at all? Because I’m assured that this plateau can’t last forever. Nothing does. March is the yin of the yang. Before you know it, the sky is going to be azure blue again, the songbirds are going to be

belting out their morning melodies, and we’ll be singing, “looks like we made it” from the rooftops. Oh how we’ve missed you, Barry. Soon we will be picking out our Easter bonnets and dusting off our beach chairs. We will be yang’ing our butts all over the place. And, if we kept moving through March, hopefully those butts will be just a wee bit smaller in time for bathing suit season. Sorry, March. I’m a summer girl. In the meantime, think slow and steady. Think baby steps. Think tortoise — that hare didn’t stand a chance. Go to your Crayola box, grab your your brightest, happiest crayon and color the crapola out of something. Brighten your world any darn way you can and tell March to kiss your you know what. Progress is being made even if you can’t readily see it or feel it. Trust that the glacier is melting just a little bit each day — just not at the speed you’d like it to. Remember, it’s only a month, not a lifetime. Find some joy. April, are you here yet? OldTownCrier


NATIONAL HARBOR

W

ell, it is almost 70 degrees outside as I sit here in the last weeks of February writing my March column. I have moved my outdoor plants back out on the balcony and am tempted to start sprucing up my teak table and chairs. What is up with this weather? Last year at this time I was trying to figure out how to get a snow drift away from my glass doors without shoveling it off the balcony onto the heads of people going into the coffee shop that I live above. Looking at the extended forecast on my Weather Channel app, it appears that we aren’t going to get any below freezing weather in the next 15 days, either. I’m not complaining. While the weather is great for being outside, the Harbor is a little boring during the month of March unless you are into “March Madness” basketball — the finals are projected on the big screen on the Plaza. For a game

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schedule, log on to nationalharbor. com/screen. We don’t officially celebrate St. Patrick’s Day here as yet, other than maybe a few food and beverage specials being served at The Irish Whisper on Fleet Street! It really is a great little place for the locals. There aren’t any festivals or events taking place other than what the conventioneers have going on at the Gaylord Resort and the concerts/ acts taking place at the MGM Grand. This makes it a good time to just put together an impromptu visit and take in the sites. Come check out the sculptures that adorn American Way and the other beautiful artwork that is on display throughout the harbor. Also, many of the restaurants that have outdoor dining may just be set up thanks to the aforementioned weather. The water taxi between Old Town and the Harbor is up and running now as well. This is the perfect way to start your trek. You might want to end your

day by taking a spin on the Capital Wheel and get the “birds eye view” of our Nations river. On a totally unrelated note, I have had many inquiries from those that live on the Old Town Alexandria side of the Potomac River ask me what is happening to the Riverview Terrace at the Gaylord. For those of you unfamiliar with what the terrace is I offer the following: If anyone has taken a drive around the Harbor in the last year (almost) you may have wondered what the construction was all about that covers up the former beautiful Riverview Terrace at the Gaylord. At first, many pontificated that it was going to be a permanent structure for the annual ICE display that takes place during the Christmas holidays. While I hated to see the terrace go away, I can see why the decision was made to convert that space into the Riverview Ballroom. This space will provide a year-round

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venue that has the feel of being outside without the concerns that inclement weather brings to an event. The Ballroom remains on track to open June 2017 at the Resort. The dramatic, freestanding 16,000-squarefoot ballroom is now fully enclosed with 270 degrees of floor-to-ceiling glass. Construction continues on the interior of the building and installation of metal panels for its roof have been being put in place. This will be a spectacular place for a wedding or a corporate event that feels like being outside during a thunderstorm or a heat wave! Keep an eye out in this space for updates as construction progresses. The rendering shown here is pretty impressive but I have a distinct feeling that it doesn’t do justice to what the end result is going to be.

POTBELLY SANDWICH WORKS 146 National Plaza 301-686-1160

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March 2017 | 47


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