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prince william living April 2013

The premiere lifestyle magazine of Prince William and Greater Manassas

Seeking Refuge(s) Along the Potomac PAGE 14

Keeping Prince William Beautiful PAGE 24

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table of contents April 2013 Vol. 3 No. 4

FEATURE STORY Plan Now for Summer Camp Fun ........................4

DEPARTMENTS from the publisher..................................................3 advertiser index......................................................3 on a high note Cabin Branch Quilters: Keeping Tradition Alive........................................10


destinations Seeking Refuge(s) along the Potomac ......................14 taking care of business Ben Rasmussen: Potomac Chocolate Flavor to Savor & Never Forget............................18 family fun Cycling around Prince William ............................20 giving back Keeping Prince William Beautiful ........................24 local flavor e All American Steakhouse: Hand-cut Steaks and Serious Sports Viewing........28

10 Photo courtesy Cabin Branch Quilters

calendar ..............................................................32 tambourines and elephants “I’m Offended” ....................................................35 distribution sites..................................................37

COLUMNS health & wellness ................................................16 home & hearth ....................................................26 your finances ......................................................30 Discover Prince William & Manassas................33

14 Photo courtesy USFWS

prince william living April 2013 | 1

The premiere lifestyle magazine of Prince William and Greater Manassas

Prince William Living Publisher Rebecca Barnes Contributing Writers Lisa Collins-Haynes, DeeDee Corbitt Sauter, Audrey Harman, Luanne Lee, Ann Marie Maher, Kristina Schnack Kotlus, Helena Tavares Kennedy, Jennifer Rader, Denise Smith, Stephanie Tipple, Valerie Wallace Editorial Staff Emily Guerrero, Peter Lineberry, Valerie Wallace Photography Bill Wallen Graphic Design and Production Alison Dixon/Image Prep Studio Advertising Account Executives Michelle Geenty and Jennifer Rader Prince William Living, the premiere lifestyle magazine of Prince William and Greater Manassas, is published monthly by Prince William Living, Inc. e opinions expressed in the magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Prince William Living.

Prince William Living 4491 Cheshire Station Plaza, PMB 55 Dale City, VA 22193 Phone: (703) 232-1758 Efax: (703) 563-9185 Editorial offices: (703) 232-1758, ext. 2 Efax: (703) 563-9185 Advertising offices: (703) 232-1758, ext. 1 Efax: (703) 563-9185 Editorial Have a story you’d like our staff to cover? Contact Prince William Living editorial staff, either by phone at (703) 232-1758, ext. 2, or by email at Advertising Prince William Living accepts display advertising. For complete advertising information, contact Rebecca Barnes, Prince William Living publisher, either by phone at (703) 232-1758, ext. 1, or by email at Social Media

Prince William Living can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

© Copyright 2013 by Prince William Living, Inc. All rights reserved. Materials may not be reproduced or translated without written permission. Visit the Prince William Living website at for reprint permission. Subscription rate is $12 (Continental U.S.) for one year. Change of address notices should be sent to Prince William Living Publisher Rebecca Barnes at Reprints and Back Issues: To order article reprints or request reprint permission, please visit the Prince William Living website: Order back issues by calling Prince William Living Publisher Rebecca Barnes at (703) 232-1758, ext. 1. For further information about Prince William Living, visit, or contact Prince William Living at (703) 232-1758.

2 | April 2013 prince william living

We Welcome Contributors Are you a writer or photographer who would like to be published? Prince William Living is currently looking for contributing writers and photographers. If you live in the Prince William/Manassas area and are interested in seeing your byline or photo credit in this lifestyle magazine, email us at and send two to three samples of your work. College students are encouraged to apply. Are you majoring in English, journalism or communication and interested in developing writing samples and honing your skill? Contact us. We also welcome media and photography majors as contributing photographers. Candidates should possess excellent organizational and communication skills and must be able to work independently. Position is unpaid.

from the publisher T

his issue I invite you to join me on a walk down memory lane. We start with planning for those golden days of summer vacation. While it may seem a long way off, as our feature “Plan Now for Summer Camp” (page 4) reminds us, there is no time like the present to plan for summertime fun. Even if camps didn’t fill up early (which they do!), you’ll need time to choose from the many impressive options available here in Prince William. Kristina Schnack Kotlus’ guide includes information about programs specializing in art, outdoor expeditions, job shadowing, theatre, ice skating and more—so many ways to create lasting memories for your children. During my own childhood, a favorite way to spend those lazy, hazy days of summer was riding around on my bike with friends. While we enjoyed racing down the neighborhood streets of Dale City, families can now enjoy cycling an extensive network of bike trails. In this month’s “Family Fun” feature, “Cycling around Prince William,” learn about these trails along with information on local bike shops and clubs for cycling enthusiasts. Another favorite childhood activity was exploring the woods surrounding our home and in nearby parks. “Seeking Refuge(s)

Advertiser Index ACE Hardware (Pitkin’s)............................................................27 ACTS ..........................................................................................36 Advantage Physical Therapy ....................................................17 Alpha Pets ................................................................................36 Ameriprise Financial ................................................................31 Apple FCU ................................................................................31 Arts Alive!..................................................................................25 AVON/Teresa Giltner ................................................................36 B101.5 ........................................................................................21 Bargain Relo ........................................................................13, 36 Best Western Battlefield Inn ....................................................27 CAP Accounting, LLC................................................................31 CASA..........................................................................................23 Christ Chapel ............................................................................36 City of Manassas Park—Parks & Recreation ..........................12 Confidence Realty ....................................................................30 Cruise Planners ........................................................................36 Dansk Day Spa at Occoquan....................................................36 Discover Prince William & Manassas......................................33 Dominion Eye Care ..................................................................13 Edgemoor Art Studio ..........................................................11, 36 FURR Roofing............................................................................33 GEICO ..........................................................................................9 Golden Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics ............................16 Hard Times Cafe & Cue ............................................................27 Historic Manassas, Inc. ............................................................22 Imagewerks ..............................................................................36 LAC Expos ................................................................................15 Lake Ridge Nursery ..................................................................36 Lavender Retreat ......................................................................17

on the Potomac,” this month's “Destinations,” takes me back to those excursions. Discover how to go on your own outdoor adventure, with information on the Occoquan Bay and Featherstone National Wildlife Refuges in Woodbridge. “On a High Note” by Stephanie Tipple (page 10), also holds a special nostalgia for me. Learn how the Cabin Branch Quilters are keeping the quilting tradition alive for future generations. I warmly recall afternoons spent creating quilts with my mother and grandmother, and am glad our community has people who are dedicated to continuing this artform. And those are just the highlights! In these pages, you can also discover a local award-winning chocolatier, efforts to fight litter in Prince William, how to make your space your own and more. I hope that the April Prince William Living both brings back fond memories for you and gives you ideas for creating new ones. Happy spring!

Sincerely, Rebecca Barnes

Love by Cupcake ......................................................................36 Lustine Automall ........................................................................7 Madison-Crescent ....................................................................22 Magnificent Belly Dance ..........................................................36 Merry Maids ..............................................................................33 Minnieland Academy................................................................29 Nova Music Center ..................................................................27 Options for Senior America ....................................................36 PRTC Transit/OmniRide ............................................................12 Parrish Services ..........................................................................8 Peggy and Bill Burke, Long & Foster Realtors ......................26 Persnickety Cakes ....................................................................36 Potomac Place ............................................................................9 Prince William Academy ..........................................................12 Prince William Chamber of Commerce ..................................17 Prince William County Community Expo..................................7 Prince William Health System ................................................C4 Prince William Ice Center ..........................................................9 Rainbow Therapeutic Riding Center ......................................36 Ready Hands ............................................................................13 Reiki Master ..............................................................................36 Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center ............................C2 Slumber Parties ........................................................................36 Stonewall Gold Club ................................................................13 Tea Time Tea Room ..................................................................36 Tiny Dancers ............................................................................34 Town of Dumfries ......................................................................9 Upscale Resume Services........................................................36 Washington Square Associates ..............................................36 West Rash Charities..................................................................15 Westminster at Lake Ridge ......................................................34 Your College Planning Coach ..................................................31

prince william living April 2013 | 3

Plan Now for Summer Camp Fun By Kristina Schnack Kotlus, Contributing Writer

4 | April 2013 prince william living


on’t let the chilly evenings fool you; now is the time to start planning summer activities for children. Good planning and early registration ensure your children secure a spot in the activity of their choice and can save you money, as many programs offer discounts for early registration. Before beginning the search, there are a few questions to consider: n Do you need nine-to-five coverage, or an option for extended day care to cover working hours? Or will a partial-day program work? n If you will be taking a family vacation, what week(s) will you be traveling? n If you have more than one child, how important is it for you to be able to take them to one location? n Do your children have any special needs that must be considered? Preparing yourself with answers to these questions can save you from paying for a non-refundable week of camp and realizing it’s the same week as the annual beach vacation, or otherwise making the wrong choice for summer activities. Also, when a program is restricted to children in certain grades, be sure to check if the grade referenced is “rising” or “completed.” For instance, a 5-year-old who will start school in the fall could participate in programs that take “rising kindergartners through fifth-graders.” In programs that require grade completion, the same child would be considered a preschooler and would not be eligible. is is particularly important if you are hoping to get all of your children into the same program.

Full-Time Coverage For families seeking full-time coverage, existing child care can be a great place to start. is option offers continuity with familiar teachers and a regular schedule that can help keep children on track academically. Minnieland Academy’s 2013 Summer Camp, “Let’s Set Sail,” begins the first week of school vacation and includes field trips and educational experiences throughout the season. e camp explores the world through games, stories, music, food, art and entertainment, also providing swimming and intramural sports. “During the 11 weeks of summer camp, through field trips, swimming, music, books and games, our campers make new friends, build relationships and create lifelong memories,” said Minnieland Director of Child Care Operations Belinda omas. “Summer camp is important because it provides children with opportunities to engage in exciting enrichment activities, enjoy their own areas of interest and explore new ones.” In addition to “Let’s Set Sail,” Minnieland offers several specialty weeklong mini-camps, where children can explore a variety of subjects, such as culinary skills, robotics and outdoor expeditions.

Select Minnieland locations in the area have also partnered with the Dominion Valley Country Club to provide sports and activities through the club’s Fit Tech Program this summer. Additionally, campers can enjoy field trips to destinations such as Kings Dominion, National Museum of the Marine Corps and even Virginia Beach for dolphin watching. With locations throughout the greater D.C. area, Minnieland schools should be easy to find along any commuter’s route. “My daughter enjoys interacting with her friends, cooking, swimming and the numerous field trips. Each summer they have a well thought out theme that the day’s activities revolve around. She is already talking about reuniting with the new friends she made when visiting other Minnieland locations,” said a parent about her child’s experience at a Minnieland summer camp. Other after-school programs frequently offer full-time camps for students who will need summer coverage. e Boys & Girls Clubs of America have three camp programs: youth, teen and sports. According to camp literature, the teen camp “helps teens to take charge of their future. Our unique programs and special field trips help young people gear up for college and career.” Activities include lessons in financial literacy, job shadowing and the Keystone Leadership Program. Locally, clubs can be found in Dale City, Dumfries and Manassas. For younger children, individual centers offer in-house programs, such as the Chinn Aquatics & Fitness Center’s “Hi-Five” camp exclusively for 5-year-olds. Activities include swimming, crafts and even off-site excursions. Also at Chinn is “Teen Scene,” with plenty to keep children ages 13 to 15 busy.

Part-Time Programs For families who only require part-time coverage, or if you just want to expose your children to fun activities during their school break, there are many options in various price ranges. A possible summer schedule could be one “off” week, a vacation week and then a “camp” week. is keeps everyone from burning out, and lets the kids try something new or indulge existing passions. If you’re looking to get the kids out of the house for a few hours, but don’t want to spend a fortune, a good place to start is Vacation Bible School (VBS). Many local churches offer these fun, and frequently free, half-day programs. Some have evening programs as well, great for working parents who still want their children to experience VBS, or for those seeking five date nights in a row. VBS typically caters to an elementary age group, but some churches offer preschool or middle school programs. All Saints’ Church in Dale City organizes an innovative backyard program where children can attend a small-scale VBS in their own neighborhood. All VBSs tend to fill up quickly. Start monitoring churches near your home early, or check for a “Vacation Bible School Guide.” As featured in the February issue of Prince William Living, outdoor swim teams offer a great bang for your buck at around (continues on page 6) prince william living April 2013 | 5

(continued from page 5) $150 for a two-month season. Many teams also have developmental programs for younger children.

Specialty Programs For an outdoor focus, check out the local recreation centers and parks. One to try from Prince William County Department of Parks & Recreation is Prince William Forest Park’s “Camp Mawavi,” where children age 9 to 15 can try their hand at archery, hiking, canoeing and more. is camp also has optional overnight stays. If your child has been itching to try an activity that you’ve been hesitant to commit to because he changes his mind every week, or because it’s expensive, summer camps can be a great way to indulge his curiosity. For budding Picassos, Edgemoor Art Studio in Lake Ridge has a fantastic half-day summer camp program for various age groups. e Center for the Arts at the Candy Factory in Manassas and the Lorton Workhouse both offer a broad range of artistic experiences, including theatrical, musical and dance programs. If your child already has a passion for a sport, a summer camp can be a great way to up her game, too. Check with recreational sports clubs, such as Prince William Soccer, Inc. (PWSI), to find opportunities for your child to build her skills in soccer, lacrosse, basketball and more. Or, to help them stay cool despite the heat, have your kids hit the ice. Prince William Hockey Club in Woodbridge is offering hockey camps this summer, and both Haymarket IcePlex and Prince William Ice Center in Dale City have summer skating lessons and camps. Gymnastics and martial arts also make for fun summer activities with camp options conveniently located at many Prince William area facilities. “Ice skating provides excellent aerobic exercise as well as critically important core muscle development necessary for balance and agility,” said Prince William Ice Center General Manager Bill Hutzler. “Camps and clinics help build life skills and provide a fun environment for indoor and outdoor exercise, crafts and games.” Older children may also enjoy “going to college” over the summer, taking part in activities that Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) and George Mason University offer. At NVCC’s College for Kids, tweens and teens can take courses, such as Cyber Security and Mad Science. At George Mason, they can explore a variety of topics, including writing, forensics and even comedy.

Special Needs If your child has special needs, there are a variety of local options for summer fun and enrichment. Rainbow erapeutic Riding 6 | April 2013 prince william living

Center offers programs for children with various disabilities, and Swimkids Swim Schools throughout the area have adapted classes and private lessons. Matthew’s Center in Manassas has a full summer camp for children with autism. Rainbow Riding Executive Director Debi Alexander explained that children with special needs respond especially well to experiential learning opportunities, the process of learning through direct experiences. “Horses are large and powerful. is creates an opportunity for our campers to overcome fear and develop selfconfidence. is new found confidence is channeled into other intimidating and challenging situations in life,” she said. No matter what activities you choose for your children this summer, be sure that you give yourself a break, too. ere’s no award for parents who run their kids to the most activities over school break. Have plenty of summer fun, but allow for enjoying some down time as a family, too. Kristina Schnack Kotlus is a local mother of three children and the owner of, a resource for parents and families in Prince William County.

Getting There … Omnilink’s Teen Summer Pass No car? No problem. The OmniLink Teen Summer Pass helps teens get where they need to go. With a Summer Pass, teens ages 13 to 19 get unlimited local bus rides for three months for $30. OmniLink provides easy access to destinations, including Potomac Mills Mall, Manassas Mall, Chinn Aquatics and Fitness Center, the Dale City Recreation Center, Signal Bay Waterpark, Andrew Leitch Park, area libraries and more. “Quite a few teens rely on the OmniLink local bus service to attend a summer camp or get to their summer camp job without having to ask their parents for rides,” said Christine Rodrigo, public relations specialist for the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC), which operates the bus service. “Some of the parks are directly along bus routes, but OmniLink has a solution to reach camps that are farther away. All OmniLink buses have bike racks so teens can take their bike with them at no additional charge.” OmniLink has routes in Dale City, Dumfries, Lake Ridge, Manassas, Manassas Park, Quantico, the Route 1 Corridor and Woodbridge. The Summer Pass is also accepted on Cross County Connector buses, which travel between eastern and western Prince William. The 2013 OmniLink Teen Summer Pass is valid June 3 to Aug. 31, 2013, and will be sold at multiple locations June 3 to Aug. 2. To learn more, call 703-730-6664 or visit

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on a high note

Cabin branCh Quilters

Keeping tradition alive By Stephanie Tipple, Contributing Writer


oday quilts and other home goods are generally mass produced and easily accessible in retail stores and online. is has not always been the case. Originally, crafts such as quilting were a necessity for many families as well as a way to pass on family history and traditions. e mission of the local nonprofit group Cabin Branch Quilters (CBQ) is to keep the tradition of hand quilting alive in Prince William. e guild is 160 people strong and includes members of various quilting experience levels. Founded in 1989 by Paula Golden, the group is named after the Cabin Branch Mining Company, which operated a pyrite mine in the late 1800s and early 1900s in Dumfries, in what is today Prince William Forest Park. According to CBQ President Ginny Rippe, the name is an homage to the American dream, which historically has been built on families working hard and sacrificing to make things better for the next generation. “e [mine] workers sacrificed … through hard work to give their families a chance to see some social and economic success,” said Rippe, adding that the reference is also meant to serve as a reminder of family traditions such as quilting. “Quilting is an art which crosses generations. … Memories are in the stitches, the pattern and the fabric,” said guild member Kathy McLaren. “Quilts offer glimpses to the past, comfort in the present and hope for the future. A quilt holds the love of the quilter, embraces the recipient in that love and keeps on giving love even when it's worn and threadbare.” e CBQ is funded in part through an annual Prince William Arts Council grant. “We use the grant to support quilting in the community and quilting education,” Rippe said. “Members promote, encourage, maintain and exhibit the art of quilt making … [and] sponsor educational activities, including 10 | April 2013 prince william living

Cabin Branch Quilters donated books about quilting to Chinn Park Library, where members of the nonprofit group regularly meet to share their love of this traditional craft.

and regularly donates quilts to the Prince William County Foster Care Program and Benton Middle School in Manassas. In addition, to encourage quilting, the quilters give quilting materials to other organizations, including local Girl Scout troops and the Prince William County Juvenile Detention Center. And CBQ has donated quilting books to Chinn Park Regional Library.

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lectures, workshops and demonstrations pertaining to quilt making.”

Branch Qui lters

To spread awareness of their craft, and to recruit potential club members, the group offers a “Chinn Bees” class every four to six weeks at the Chinn Park Regional Library in Lake Ridge. Classes typically draw groups of 20 to 30 experienced and would-be quilters, Rippe said, adding that these sessions provide beginners with the know-how to begin making their own quilts. Experienced quilters are also able to spend time on their current projects.

To further promote their craft, several CBQ members have published books on the subject, including Shannon Shirley’s “Creating Children’s Artwork Quilts” (published in 2012) and Mary Kerr’s “A Quilt Block Challenge: Vintage Revisited” (released in 2010) and “A Quilted Memory: Ideas and Inspiration for Reusing Vintage Textiles” (published in 2011). Some group members have achieved wider recognition for their skills. e Professional Quilter Magazine named Golden 2001 Teacher of the Year for her work as a quilt artist and teacher. She is also president of the Virginia Quilt Museum’s board of directors. For her quilting-related volunteer work, McLaren received a 2012 Seefeldt Award for Arts Excellence from the Prince William County Arts Council.

One of the group’s biggest events is the annual Quilt Show held at the Prince William County Fairgrounds each March. Last year 665 people attended the show, which showcased more than 200 quilts. “Cabin Branch Quilters offers members a forum to share and promote their love of quilting,” said Rippe.

CBQ offers members a social outlet and an environment to do an activity they enjoy. “We have connected and made lifelong friendships, brought together by the art of quilting,” said CBQ member Jane Miller. “We … escape with friends [who] understand our passion for learning a new technique, finding the perfect fabric or buying something ‘just because we need it.’”

CBQ co-hosts the show with Stone House Quilters, its sister group in Manassas. While the quilts on display are not for sale, the show features a raffle and a silent auction where a number of quilts, patterns and quilting supplies are sold.

To learn more about Cabin Branch Quilters, visit CBQ meetings are at 7 p.m. the fourth Monday of each month at the Lake Ridge Baptist Church.

Funds raised cover the cost of hosting the show, as well as support the quilters’ educational programs, guild operational expenses and supplies for quilts that CBQ members make for local charities. Each year the membership also selects a charity to receive 100 percent of proceeds from the quilt raffle. “is year's charity is the Alzheimer's Association,” Rippe said. “We hope to raise about $3,000. … Last year we gave over $4,000 to the Wounded Warrior Program.”

Stephanie Tipple is a college student, journalist and community leader. She resides in Woodbridge. She can be reached by email at

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CBQ’s charitable efforts don’t stop there. e group also donates quilts to charitable organizations, such as Action in Community rough Service (ACTS), a nonprofit organization serving the greater Prince William area. e quilts go to the ACTS Turning Points Domestic Violence Program, for shelter residents. CBQ donated 125 quilts last year to residents, Rippe said. “e Cabin Branch Quilters have donated hundreds of beautiful quilts for the children who reside in our safe houses. e children are allowed to take the quilts with them when they leave. What a warm and comforting gift,” said ACTS Turning Points Domestic Violence Program Director Dotty Larson. Last year, CBQ also donated last year more than 100 quilts to infants in the intensive care unit at Fairfax and Potomac hospitals

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Seeking Refuge(s) along the Potomac By Lisa Collins-Haynes, Contributing Writer


he hustle and bustle of everyday life can sometimes lead to our being too plugged in and not taking time to enjoy the simple things. At some point we all need to slow down, back away from the computer and enjoy the wonders of the great outdoors.

Photo courtesy Bill Wallen

Luckily, Prince William has a number of close-to-home options for unplugging and immersing yourself in nature. On the eastern end of Prince William, Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and Featherstone NWR are two options that are well worth adding to your list of local getaways. Occoquan Bay and Featherstone, along with Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck NWR in Fairfax County, together became the Potomac River NWR Complex in 1998. is reorganization allowed for better management of administration, resources and funding. Occoquan Bay NWR, previously a military research site, is situated at the confluence of the Potomac and Occoquan rivers and offers an array of activities for nature lovers.

was an environmental activist who was instrumental in protecting the Potomac River refuges. Mason Neck is dedicated to her.

“Visiting the refuges is like going to a magical place,” said Joan Patterson, of the conservation-minded Friends of the Potomac River Refuges ( “You never know what you are going to see. It’s like ‘Where’s Waldo?’ with nature. You use all your senses to see what you can discover. It is a great way to reconnect with nature.”

e trails in Occoquan Bay lead through a variety of animal habitats and are moderately easy to navigate. ey are designed to accommodate any level of endurance, from a quick jaunt to an all-day hike. is “something-for-everyone” accessibility is part of the charm that attracts nearly 20,000 visitors to the refuge each year.

It is rare to find such a large mix of undeveloped grassland and marshland so close to the nation’s capital. Yet at the end of Dawson Beach Road off Route 1 in Woodbridge, Occoquan Bay’s 642 acres contain more than four miles of trails for hiking and biking as well as open waterways for boating. Common wildlife sightings include white-tailed deer, red fox and beavers, as well as various amphibians and reptiles.

Hunting enthusiasts can also participate in wintertime deer hunting at Occoquan Bay. Permits are made available through a lottery system managed by the Federal Wildlife Service. Applications are due by July 31 each year, and can be found at A Novice Youth Deer Hunt and Workshop is also held here, for new hunters aged 12 to 18.

“Sometimes, one can find arrowheads on the shore or see bald eagles soaring overhead. You may also see dozens of rabbits foraging by the drive in the evening or huge turtles digging holes for their eggs in the spring. You can hear the occasional cries of a bobcat at night,” said Rob Hartwell. His late mother Elizabeth

Looking for something a little more secluded? To area nature lovers, Featherstone NWR is known as “the hidden sanctuary” due to its isolation from commercial and residential development. Nestled on a narrow strip of land on the shore of the Potomac, it is only accessible by non-motorized watercraft. It may be one of the best places in Northern Virginia to truly get away from it all.

14 | April 2013 prince william living

December sunset at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Photo courtesy Cindy Kreticos

Photo courtesy Bill Wallen

Surrounded by marsh and wetlands and blocked off by train tracks, Featherstone nearly became a landfill site for the District of Columbia in the late 1960s, but local activists and a lastminute act of Congress saved the day. Since its establishment as a wildlife refuge in 1970, Featherstone has offered a combination of boating, woodland hiking and solitude. Explained Refuge Manager Greg Weiler, “If you have a kayak, you can launch it and have a pleasant paddle into the refuge and see all the wildlife and pretty much have the entire area to yourself.” For birdwatchers, it’s common to see both neotropical (the geographical zone that extends from Central Mexico to the tip of South America) migrants and grassland-dependent species stop here to nest and refuel during their travels. Typical sightings include red-headed woodpeckers, owls, eastern bluebirds, American robins and several species of warblers. At the shoreline, feeding opportunities are plentiful for red-tailed hawks, ospreys and the beloved bald eagle. Featherstone is also a haven for waterfowl, and visitors are likely to see a variety of wood ducks and mallards. Refuge staff offered several tips to help make your visit to either location more enjoyable: n Dress appropriately for the conditions. Summers are hot and humid. Bring insect repellent, sunscreen, bottled water and comfortable walking shoes.

Photo courtesy Bill Wallen

Photo courtesy Bill Wallen

n While hiking, stay on the trails. Poison ivy (a favorite food of deer) and ticks can be prevalent in the grasses and brush. n Bikes are not allowed on hiking trails; cyclists must use the separate, designated roads. n Observation platforms located near the central parking lot at Occoquan Bay are available for viewing and photographing wildlife. n Neither pets nor picnicking are allowed in the refuge. Both Occoquan Bay and Featherstone are open year-round. If you plan to visit Occoquan Bay NWR during hunting season— November through January—call the Potomac River NWR Complex office at 703-490-4979 to make sure the refuge is open to the general public that day. Entrance fees at Occoquan Bay are $1 for those who hike or bike in, or $2 per motorized vehicle. ere is currently no fee to access Featherstone. For more information on these environmental treasures, visit

Lisa Collins-Haynes lives in Woodbridge with her husband and daughter and is a freelance entertainment and travel writer and selfprofessed out-of-control travel spirit (OCTS). She invites everyone to follow her travel blog at She can be reached at

prince william living April 2013 | 15

health & wellness Preventing Child Sexual Abuse By Rebecca Barnes, Prince William Living Publisher eadlines bombard us every day with tragic and sad news. If you follow them, you know many involve some type of sexual abuse. As upsetting and at times overwhelming as this reality is, it is important to remember our role and responsibility in its prevention. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and we need to take a stand to combat child sexual abuse.


In Prince William, sexual abuse of children is on the rise. According to Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Prince William, there were 96 reported cases of sexual abuse last year. More than 124 cases have been reported already in just the first eight months of this fiscal year. When adults support age-appropriate behaviors and speak up to other adults, they are an ally to prevention. It’s our job to respect children, model healthy behaviors and boundaries and confront adults when they act in ways that are not appropriate. Tips for talking with your children: n


n n



Find out what your kids already know. You might find they know more than you think, or have misconceptions you can correct. Teach correct names of body parts. Create an environment where children are not embarrassed to talk (in an appropriate setting) about their bodies. Use simple, accurate information to start, and build on the information you provide as your children get older. Include sexual assault prevention as part of a safety talk, the same way you would about a fire drill, tornado warning or any other general safety discussion. Keep an open dialogue with your children so they understand they can come to you at any time. Teach them the difference between surprises and secrets. Don’t focus solely on “stranger danger.” Most victims are assaulted by someone they know.

By opening up communication, sharing information with children and educating one another, we are taking steps toward a safer community. For more information, visit (the National Sexual Violence Resource Center), (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children) and (Sexual Assault Victims Advocacy Service of Prince William County). Lifelong Prince William resident Rebecca Barnes, when not producing Prince William Living, is the Public Information Officer for the Occoquan-Woodbridge-Lorton Volunteer Fire Department (OWL VFD). You can reach her at 16 | April 2013 prince william living

We have specialists in Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics along with a general dentist to take care of all your family’s dental needs. We have three locations in Prince William county to serve you, including our brand new state of the art facility right off the Prince William Parkway next to BJ’s. We also now have evening and weekend hours to help you find convenient hours for appointments without having to miss work or school. Visit our website for more information.

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taking care of business

BEN RASMUSSEN: POTOMAC CHOCOLATE Flavor to Savor & Never Forget By Jennifer Rader, Contributing Writer


ike a fine wine, quality chocolate can emit a bouquet of flavors. Hints of cherry, raspberry, plum, citrus and even banana fall on the palette when permitted attention and patience in exploring its subtleties. If you are not experiencing this flavor nirvana, you aren’t partaking in true “bean to bar” artisan chocolate. Luckily, Ben Rasmussen, Woodbridge resident and owner of Potomac Chocolate, is bringing that opportunity a little closer to home. Chocolate originates from the cacao (kuh-kah-oh) bean. Bean to bar artisans work the beans through the roasting and conching process to coax layers of flavor rarely, if ever, found in supermarket sweets. Rasmussen, an award-winning chocolatier and Gar-Field High School graduate, is one of these artisans. His entire operation is done by hand, from bean sorting to roasting, taste-testing and wrapping each bar for display and shipment. Potomac Chocolate bars can be found at retailers across the country and through its online store at To learn more about his business, Prince William Living spoke with Rasmussen. PWL: When did Potomac Chocolate begin? Rasmussen: I started talking with a friend about it around March to May 2010. ... e first bars were released in November 2010. PWL: Is this a second job or hobby? Rasmussen: I consider it more of a second job. It did start out as a hobby. PWL: What is the story and inspiration behind your start into artisan chocolate? 18 | April 2013 prince william living

Rasmussen: I was introduced to fine chocolate by my older brother. He came home for Christmas and did a tasting for the family. I had no interest whatsoever in dark chocolate. I said, “I’ll try it; don’t expect anything from me. I don’t like dark chocolate; I like 3 Musketeers bars. I have a terrible palate.” We tried these bars and they just blew my mind. It was unlike anything I’d ever had in my mouth before. I started doing tastings for my friends. One of my friends suggested we should try making this. I thought it was one of the most ridiculous ideas I’d ever heard. We started looking into it and thought maybe it could work; we would just do this on the side. We bought just the very basic pieces of equipment. It became obvious very quickly that it was an unsustainable hobby. [But] the chocolate was pretty good. We could see with work that it could be very good. We worked for five months or so finding the beans we wanted and working the batches with the Upala bean once we decided upon it. We launched the “Upala 70%” bar that November [2010]. PWL: Did you have previous business experience? Rasmussen: I had a small wedding photography business. I stopped that in November of 2011. So for a time, I worked a day job, the photography business and chocolate. PWL: Did you ever think you would become an entrepreneur? Rasmussen: For a long time I thought I was just going to be an IT guy, and that was cool, and I still enjoy the IT stuff I do. e

photography started the same way as the chocolate. I just got real interested in photography and wanted to buy some new gear, but I couldn’t really justify spending that kind of money, and I wanted to do more. at’s very much the way the chocolate has moved, but much quicker. I wanted to really be able to do it and do it right. ... I just love it.

Photos courtesy Potomac Chocolate

PWL: Do you think Potomac Chocolate will ever be produced externally? Rasmussen: I will never allow it to grow too big that I am not involved in at least the flavor development steps. … I don’t foresee a time that I’m not doing the roasting. My artistic interpretation of these beans is what I am selling. But the wrapping or packaging of the orders I’d be happy to pass off. I do want it to grow. Someday I envision it will probably need a separate facility. I have this idea that maybe one day it will be a little shop in the front that has a glass wall where you will be able to see the workshop and [I will] give classes and tours. PWL: What challenges had to be overcome? Rasmussen: A lot of the daily challenge has been space and time. On the business side of things, it’s finances. We did this small Kickstarter program where we raised about $2,000, but other than that, everything has grown organically. It’s a constant issue of what is the next piece of equipment or what improvement in the process can I accomplish to enhance the chocolate without breaking the bank. I’ve had to grow much more organically and slowly. PWL: What differences has Potomac Chocolate brought to you personally? Rasmussen: As far as just starting a business, I love it. I love being the boss. I love being able to make the decisions. is is my vision and I don’t answer to anyone. I’ve traveled more, attending events, meeting people, because of it. I just love the process of making chocolate. So that’s what it’s really enabled me to do. PWL: How have you gotten the distribution you have? Rasmussen: ey find me. I’ve been very lucky. e Academy of Chocolate Awards brought a lot of attention to me in the fine chocolate world. Most stores that carry my bars are fine chocolate shops or small book, gift, wine and coffee shops. ey pay more attention to these things. NPR has done a couple pieces on me. eir posting on [NPR’s food blog] Jan. 15, 2012, started my back orders. So all of that was huge. I also have a distributor in Salt Lake City representing me, mostly in the Western markets. I’ve gotten a lot of good reviews, good press. I’ve won an award or two and, for the most part, people just find me. I’m actually just now at the point where I’m about to start contacting shops to send samples. PWL: How did the Potomac Chocolate logo develop? Rasmussen: We just wanted something to identify ourselves as being local. You’d be surprised [at] the questions I get about the Potomac River, though. I’ve blogged about it on my site. We wanted

Potomac Chocolate owner Ben Rasmussen makes five types of artisan chocolate bars. The “Upala 70%” bar garnered a silver award at the 2011 Academy of Chocolate Awards and was a 2011 Good Food Awards finalist.

something simple, minimalist, and we don’t take ourselves too seriously other than the chocolate. PWL: What is your vision for the future of Potomac Chocolate? Rasmussen: Just what I’m doing but more of it—more beans, more bars, more shops. I love making single origin bean to bar chocolate. I don’t foresee a time that I would make a confection like a truffle and I like truffles—maybe if I had a shop, but my passion is pure, dark chocolate. e bar is the perfect chocolate delivery mechanism. PWL: What is your advice to others considering starting a business? Rasmussen: I wish that I had been more fully prepared with more capital and machinery on hand to handle the growth better. Another tip is to consider a distributor; it’s worked pretty well for me. And there’s probably a lot to be said for figuring out if there is a market for your product. I got very lucky. Artisan chocolate has been on an upswing as people learn about better quality products available. My best advice is that you’ve got to do something you have a passion for. e way the market is going, people are embracing do-ityourself [and] ... artisan foods, local foods. I just can’t foresee a time when people say, “Local just doesn’t make any sense anymore.” If there’s something you are passionate about that has given you a “eureka moment,” just go for it. en don’t let the business side outweigh the joy side of it.

A nonprofit development director for more than 10 years, Jennifer Rader now works as a freelance writer and consultant. She lives with her son and husband in Manassas and can be reached at prince william living April 2013 | 19

family fun

Cycling around Prince William By Audrey Harman, Contributing Writer


hether you are an experienced bicyclist, or just starting out, there are plenty of helpful resources in Prince William to get your wheels moving. e opportunities to ride in the area stretch from on-road cycling, to mountain biking, to a combination of the two called “hybrid” cycling. ese can be enjoyed individually or with a group. Several bike shops in Prince William host group rides, and many cycling groups offer family-friendly rides as well.

Getting Started Bicycle shops are great places to get advice before getting started. ey are typically owned and operated by knowledgeable cyclists who are familiar with the area and can connect you with groups and trails that suit your skill level. Olde Towne Bicycles in Woodbridge, Village Skis & Bikes in Lake Ridge, Bull Run Bicycles in Manassas and Haymarket Bicycles are a few of the local shops with friendly staff and helpful websites. Each posts group rides and biking events on their websites, and Olde Towne Bicycles also has helpful online references covering road rules, cycling safety and FAQ’s. Each also offers a full range of necessary gear as well as on-site bicycle repair and maintenance. 20 | April 2013 prince william living

Places to Ride Prince William Forest Park Prince William Forest Park is a great place for beginners because it is “enclosed and has a designated area that is bicycle-friendly,” said Tyler Smith, manager of Olde Towne Bicycles. e park offers both paved and gravel on-road biking and off-road mountain biking trails at easy, moderate and difficult cycling levels. Each path is rated, so you can gauge your skill level against the ratings to find a perfect fit. e park offers 12 miles of paved riding trails and 9.2 miles of gravel trails. More experienced off-road bicyclists may also ride on the park’s 10 fire roads. In “ings to Do” under the “Plan Your Visit” section of Prince William Forest Park’s website ( there is a bicycling section which describes all 10 of the roads offered for cyclists and the level of difficulty for each. “In areas D and G there is a designated two-way bike lane,” said Robin Antonucci, founder of Prince William Cycling Group and a 32-year county resident. “e grade is modest, about two percent and less than most neighborhood streets. e park is shaded in the (continues on page 22)

prince william living March 2013 | 21

with them, and ride defensively in case they are not expecting you to be there when they switch lanes.

(continued from page 20) summer, which provides for relief from the sun and high temperatures. Additionally, you can see squirrels, bunny rabbits and the occasional deer,” Antonucci said. “For more advanced riders, the park loop provides some challenging climbs and downhills. e fee for the park is nominal and well worth the season pass.” Biking is prohibited on the hiking trails, to prevent “trail degradation” and for the safety of hikers. Cyclists must also wear a helmet at all times and follow road rules as if they were driving a car. Prince William Parkway and Route 234 Paved Trails e Prince William Parkway trail is paved and runs from Old Bridge Road in Lake Ridge all the way to Liberia Avenue in Manassas. e Route 234 paved trail runs along the road from Montclair to the intersection of Hoadly Road and Prince William Parkway. Tom Steele, a Woodbridge resident since 2002 and co-organizer of the Prince William Cycling Group, said there are rolling hills along both cross-county paths. Danny Quirk, owner and operator of Bull Run Bicycles, said he frequently sees parents carting their children along the Route 234 trail in bike trailers and that both trails are family friendly. Conway-Robinson State Forest Park Steele recommends that beginner mountain bikers start at Conway-Robinson State Forest Trail in Gainesville because there are “lots of non-technical single-track” cycling areas. Single-track means the trail is just wide enough for your bike; double-track would be wide enough for four-wheeled off-road vehicles. Located between Gainesville and the Manassas National Battlefield, the park has 6.5 miles of expanding single-and double-track trails.

Bicycling Safety “e most important safety tip is to wear a helmet. ... Make sure that your bicycle and gear are all maintained and in good condition. Have your bike checked by a bicycle mechanic at least once a year,” said Dennis Short, vice president of Prince William Elite Racing. Also eat smart. “Cycling is an endurance sport, so eating 22 | April 2013 prince william living

Family-Friendly Biking Groups

healthy foods is important and eating enough carbohydrates is another important factor.” e law requires children to wear helmets. Parents should wear them as well, for safety and to set a good example, he added.

Another option is Potomac Pedalers (, which provides social and recreational bicycling in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. It is the largest bike club on the East Coast, with hundreds of year-round bike rides for everyone.

Benefits of Cycling Cycling is a great family sport, as it can be adapted to any skill level, just by choosing how and where you ride. It allows you and yours to enjoy the fresh air, be together and improve your overall health. It is also a “green” mode of transportation. “Riding with your kids, even just around your own block, provides a great opportunity to talk and share with them. It combines family time with physical activity,” said Antonucci.

“Family rides with children should be adapted to their ages and level of biking," said Antonucci. He added that parents should always teach children how to brake suddenly, change gears and respect trail etiquette or road rules before taking them out for a ride. Additionally, all cyclists should always wear a helmet and keep water handy. Know your endurance and skill level and don’t push yourself beyond what you know you can handle.

So next time you’re looking for something fun and active to do as a family, go for a ride!

When riding on the road, cyclists must obey all signs and traffic signals. Keep out of blind spots of other vehicles, wear bright reflective clothing and equip your bike with a headlight and tail light—you want drivers to see you riding alongside them. Ride with traffic, share the road

Audrey Harman has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Spanish from Hollins University and is pursuing a Master of Arts degree in publications design at the University of Baltimore. She resides in Woodbridge. Harman can be reached by email at

CHILD ABUSE & NEGLECT IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD? YES â&#x20AC;&#x201D; It is happening right here in our communities and neighborhoods. Right here in Prince William, Fauquier and Rappahannock. This year alone over 600 abused, neglected or abandoned children will come before a Judge in these counties. Outraged yet? Want to know what you can do? SUPPORT Court Appointed Special Advocate Child Intervention Services or CASA CIS for short. Give these children a voice in court by providing them with an advocate. DONATE or JOIN our Blue Ribbon Business and Partner Campaign today!

Call (703) 330-8145 or visit us at


WE NEED YOUR HELP! JOIN THE BLUE RIBBON BUSINESS and PARTNER CAMPAIGN TODAY!! our business or you, by yourself, can help by becoming a Blue Ribbon Business or Partner. Blue Ribbon Partners are people and businesses just like you who are committed to helping the child victims of abuse, neglect and abandonment by encouraging their customers or clients to add a donation for CASA when they pay for their purchase OR pledge to donate a given amount for each service they provide during April. Each business that partners with CASA will receive recognition on social & print media as available and a vinyl decal for their door or window declaring that they are a business who cares about the children of the community and are partners against child abuse. CASA will encourage their supporters to frequent or utilize the services of the partner businesses during April. Every business will have a unique approach to the April Campaign so it is advisable to talk with CASA staff when deciding how your retail or service business will participate. Call the CASA office at 703-330-8145 to discuss your businesses approach.


BION, inc. a Blue Ribbon Business, supports CASA CIS. This ad donated by BION, inc. for CASA CIS.

giving back

Keeping Prince William Beautiful By Helena Tavares Kennedy, Contributing Writer


eep Prince William Beautiful (KPWB) is a small organization with a big task. is nonprofit group works to decrease litter, increase recycling and generally beautify the community. Its volunteers never have a problem finding a shopping center or neighborhood that needs help with trash cleanup.

In addition to year-round community cleanups and educational offerings, KPWB also runs several other programs:

According to Executive Director Kiliaen Anderson, KPWB is “partnering with residents, businesses and government to educate and inspire people to be environmental stewards.”

n Adopt-A-Spot: Volunteers adopt their neighborhood, block or favorite spot and agree to clean it up at least nine times per year.

However, cleaning up litter does not get to the root of the problem. Anderson said that while KPWB started as a litter removal program, it has expanded to include educational programs for homeowner associations (HOAs), neighborhoods and local schools. Formerly known as the Clean Community Council, KPWB underwent a name change in 2012 to reflect a switch in mission from reacting to litter issues to being proactive. For example, the KPWB school program challenges students to look for three items that have recycling symbols and to point them out to their parents. By educating residents in Prince William about recycling and litter, KPWB is trying to change behavior so there is less litter. “Cleaning up is great, but we are trying to change the culture,” said Kelly Easterly, president of KPWB. Easterly said that educating students is especially important because children are often more open than adults to changing their habits. 24 | April 2013 prince william living

n Litter Survey: Volunteers conduct a quarterly survey of area roads using a 1 to 5 rating system to report current litter status. e information is then shared with the Prince William County’s Litter Control Crew for improvements.

n Clean Shopping Center Program: Volunteers use a 32-point survey quarterly to inspect the property, reporting findings to the center’s management. e data is used to help positively impact the environment of shopping centers and to offer encouragement to centers that meet community cleanliness standards.

Community Partnerships KPWB also works with other local conservation and environmental organizations, such as the Master Gardeners and Friends of Occoquan. Easterly said KPWB will often co-host cleanup events with a specific watershed conservation group, for example. is type of teamwork ensures that all the organizations seeking to beautify Prince William are working together and not duplicating efforts.

Photos courtesy Keep Prince William Beautiful

Volunteering for Keep Prince William Beautiful, 120 youths from six local churches picked up 1.86 tons of litter (3,720 lbs.) from the lot adjacent to Woodbridge Square on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013.

Other partners include the Prince William County Police Department, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Prince William County Adult Detention Center and the Board of County Supervisors. Each of these government entities has a representative on KPWB’s board of directors to ensure that the group’s activities and programs work in conjunction with and have the support of the local government. Maria Sinner, VDOT’s transportation and land use director for Prince William County, said this is a "great partnership” and that she appreciates all the hard work KPWB does to keep Prince William beautiful. Longtime KPWB volunteer and president of a local HOA, Allyson Avery first became involved with the organization more than seven years ago after it helped make her community cleanup a success. “eir guidance with our spring and fall community cleanup programs and the Adopt-A-Spot program has helped the residents of our neighborhood give back to the community and to have fun accomplishing things that otherwise would not have occurred,” she said. Avery said she does not think KPWB is like any other

Five Ways You Can Keep Prince William Beautiful

conservation organizations in the area because its staff and volunteers have a “commitment to teach and encourage residents to live a sustainable life to extend Earth’s resources.”

Get Involved With a relatively small staff, KPWB always needs volunteers, Avery said. “[Volunteers] remain our greatest basic necessity.” People who want to help but are short on time can do simple things. Avery suggested spreading the word to friends “interested in helping their community and the environment, or just volunteer your time or services for a specific event.” KPWB posts upcoming volunteer opportunities on its website,

A nonprofit marketing director, Helena Tavares Kennedy was an “Earthling” (a member of her school environmental club) in elementary school, helped implement her college’s first dorm recycling program and now enjoys freelance writing in her spare time. Read her blog at She has lived in Manassas with her husband and two children for 12 years and can be reached at

1. Check your trash. Are there any recyclable items, such as glass or cans? Ask your waste removal company which items can be recycled curbside, and visit to learn which can be recycled at the landfill.


2. Reduce your use of plastic bags. Keep reusable shopping bags in your car so they are on hand when you go to the store. 3. Give kitchen waste a new life. Compost non-meat kitchen scraps and yard waste and use it as free fertilizer for your trees, grass and flowers. 4. Go on a water diet. Water your garden early or late in the day to avoid water evaporation. You can also collect runoff in rain barrels for watering. Inside, fix leaky faucets and install low-flow faucets and shower heads. 5. Go green. Donate to the National Arbor Day Society and it will send you free trees to plant; go to

Prince William County

Arts Council prince william living April 2013 | 25

home & hearth Room Reinvention By Denise Smith of FA Design Build y neighbor has a campsite in his spare bedroom, complete with tent, sleeping bag and glow–in-the-dark stars on the ceiling. On the few occasions when talk of this room has come up among mutual friends, I admit to chuckling about it. While it may seem a bit of an eccentric thing for a grown man to have, part of me says, “Why not?” We have become conditioned to using the rooms in our homes as they were presented to us, rather than in ways more suitable to our own, often unique, lifestyles.


The Key to Meeting Your Real Estate Needs

I encourage my clients to break out of prescribed room configurations and reinvent their homes in ways that work for them. Why waste all that square footage on a formal dining room that’s used three times a year at best? Replace the chandelier with a track light, add a French door, and this space can become a much-needed office. Or valuable real estate can be taken from a dining room to create a dream kitchen with a larger eat-in area that would be just as functional for seating the extended family on holidays. An unused guest bedroom can be remodeled into a laundry room with lots of built-in storage and space for hanging and folding, creating an area used daily rather than yearly. Changes don’t have to come in the form of a major remodel. What was once just an open space with little defined purpose, basement rec rooms are transforming into media centers as families move their entertainment equipment there to take advantage of the darkness. Even closets can morph into gift-wrapping stations or small offices. I am currently working with a woman who is on deployment in Afghanistan. While she is away, her husband is creating a relaxation spa just for her in their second bathroom. Sometimes a simple adjustment is all that is needed to create a haven within the home. The key is to make your home work with your lifestyle, rather than trying to fit your needs into someone else’s vision of how a house should function. Denise Smith is the design and sales consultant of FA Design Build. She believes every person deserves a timelessly beautiful space, regardless of budget or circumstance, and has the unique ability to discern a customer’s inner design concept and break it down into a workable plan. She can be reached at


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local flavor

The All American Steakhouse: Hand-cut Steaks and Serious Sports Viewing


By Val Wallace, Contributing Writer

ots of televisions, some huge, are the second thing patrons notice when they enter any of the three e All American Steakhouse & Sports eater restaurants, located in Woodbridge, Manassas and Ashburn. Near the front entrance is a glass display case with hand-cut beef. e case is located next to a window into the kitchen where cooks can be seen working. It’s the beef and TVs, however, that draw attention. At least eight high-definition projection-screen televisions, each six-by-eight feet or 100 inches diagonal, are mounted high on every steakhouse’s barroom walls. e TVs surround each eatery’s bar in the center of the room, which also includes several dining booths. Additionally, 10 televisions in total are mounted high on every wall of each restaurant’s larger, separate dining room, where the bar’s TVs are also visible through large arched windows in the wall separating the rooms. “Any major sporting events are all on daily,” said owner George Jones, who oversees the franchise, along with co-owner Brock Anderson. Former Washington Redskin Marvcus Patton is also an owner. Mike Weckstein is managing partner of the chain’s Manassas steakhouse, Jones reported. Sports entertainment aside, it’s the food that really attracts people, Jones said. “e biggest thing that separates us from all the other 28 | April 2013 prince william living

casual dining steakhouses … is that we have an in-house butcher [who] cuts all our steaks,” he said. “We also age our beef.” While most restaurants age their beef up to 21 days, e All American Steakhouse ages theirs no less than 35 days. Aging is what gives steaks flavor and tenderness, he explained. “Typically a steak at our restaurants [has aged] anywhere from 40 to 50 days when it hits the table. Most restaurants usually don’t age beef as long because it’s expensive,” Jones explained. “Because we have an in-house butcher we’re able to save money cutting our own steaks, and, therefore, we can also afford to age the meat [longer].” Having a butcher at each restaurant results in better cuts, he added. “eir job is to cut all the steaks to our specifications, which also gives us a lot more control, versus some butcher shop out in Kansas cutting your steaks for you,” he said. “We also cook them on mesquite wood.” While the floor plan, concept and design are essentially the same in both Prince William-area restaurants, there are a few differences. Unlike the Woodbridge eatery, which opened in 2006 at Merchants Plaza in Lake Ridge, the new Manassas restaurant is in a building by itself in a growing development at the intersection of Route 234 and Spriggs Road. “ere are really no restaurants down there,” Jones said. “ere was definitely a need for a restaurant.”

In addition, mothers eat free on Mother’s Day. “We’ve been doing that for seven years,” he said. Since opening in December 2012, the Manassas steakhouse consistently draws a large weekend crowd. “Always call ahead Fridays and Saturdays unless you like to wait,” laughed waitress Quila Ross. Waits those nights can be as long as two and a half hours, but patrons can call ahead to gauge how long the wait is or make same-day reservations, staff said. Reservations are not usually taken much more in advance than that.

Photo courtesy All American Steakhouse

Dining at the restaurant mid-afternoon one Sunday, Matthew and Brenda Cogdell avoided the crowds. e couple lives about a fiveminute drive from the eatery. “It’s good to have a restaurant in the area,” she said. “We come for the bread and the burgers. e rolls are delicious,” said Bonnie Gomez of Lake Ridge, who dined at the Woodbridge steakhouse one afternoon with her family. ey’ve eaten there several times, she said. “e menu has a good variety of items, and it’s all very tasty,” added her husband Jessie Gomez.

at includes the restaurants’ chicken, he said. e franchise defeated five competitors to win first place in the Potomac Nationals’ first annual “Wing Fling” competition last August for the best chicken wings in Prince William County, said Bryan Holland, director of media relations and play-by-play broadcaster for the baseball club. Another “Wing Fling” is planned this summer, said Holland, adding, “I’m sure we’ll have e All American Steakhouse back to defend their crown.” As if award-winning food, hand-cut steaks and ideal sportwatching aren’t enough, e All American Steakhouse also hosts “spirit night” fundraisers for community groups. “We’ve probably raised over the years about $100,000” in donations, said Jones.




Something all three locations share is the same American fare menu—and focus on freshness, Jones said. “We make all of our dressings. … Our soups are homemade,” Jones explained. “We make as many things as we can homemade. … Everything is brought in fresh. Nothing is frozen.”



Additionally, a patio will be completed in early spring at the Manassas steakhouse, he said. “We’ll open it up … when the weather’s nice.”

Manassas Park resident Val Wallace is a freelance writer, editor and proofreader and a new contributor to Prince William Living magazine. She can be emailed at


Another difference is that smoking is permitted after 9 p.m. in the enclosed barroom of the Woodbridge location, staff said. e Manassas eatery is completely nonsmoking at all times. e Woodbridge restaurant also sometimes has musical entertainment and karaoke after 10 p.m. “We don’t do any of that in Manassas, [because that restaurant is] right smack in a neighborhood,” said Jones. For this reason, the Manassas eatery also closes earlier than the Woodbridge steakhouse.

Visit www. for more information about each restaurant.


High-definition projection screen televisions, each six-by-eight feet, surround the bar at all the restaurants of The All American Steakhouse. Along with hand-cut steaks cooked on mesquite wood, the franchise’s menu includes a rich variety of dishes and fun creations.





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your finances Remedies for College Planning Anxiety By Luanne Lee, Your College Planning Coach or most parents, there are few things that rival the anxiety associated with wondering how they are going to pay for their children’s education. This stress is often compounded by the fact that most parents have little to no comprehension of what a college education will cost and procrastinate on saving for college.


Here are steps that can help parents better prepare and, as a result, lessen stress: n




Evaluate your personal financial situation and clearly spell out your financial goals. Before you build a payingfor-college plan, it is imperative to know the resources you have to work with. Calculate the projected costs of college for all children in your family. Most parents need this reality check because they greatly underestimate both the current cost and the rate of inflation, as well as the number of years that it will take their children to complete their degree. Draft a paying-for-college plan. Financial market volatility and escalating college costs have translated into the need for a much more formalized plan. Understand that there are many factors and educate yourself about your options. Possible components of your plan: College selection, financial aid, merit-based aid, modest student loans, athletic aid and parental contributions. Put your plan in writing, where it can be tweaked and modified as needed. Start saving! While each individual situation varies, these guidelines provide a good rule of thumb. If you begin saving when your child is born, put aside $200 per month. This monthly amount increases exponentially the later you start saving: $350 per month for a first-grader, $450 per month for a fifth-grader and so on. If you wait until your child is in high school, you're probably looking at saving $1,000 per month.

Paying for college does not have to be so stressful. Planning now is the remedy.

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calendar Panther Pride 5k Run/Walk April 6, 8 a.m. Bristow Run Elementary School 8990 Worthington Drive | Bristow All proceeds will support global literacy and the revitalization of the school’s newly named Global Garden. Race packets can be picked up Friday, April 5, from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at e Running Store in Gainesville. is is a family-friendly event. For more information, visit

Prince William County Arts Council Arts Alive! 2013 April 13, Noon – 8 p.m. Hylton Performing Arts Center 10960 George Mason Circle | Manassas See, explore and experience a festival celebrating local arts. is is a free day of family fun and entertainment. Visit for more information.

Haymarket Town and Country Garden Club Flower Show


April 9, 1 – 3 p.m. Evergreen Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad 3510 James Madison Hwy. | Haymarket For further information, contact General Flower Show Chairman Ronnie Levay at 703-754-9422.

Asaph Dance Recital Civil War Letters April 20, 7:30 p.m. Hylton Performing Arts Center 10960 George Mason Circle | Manassas Join the Asaph Dance Ensemble for its 2013 spring performance of Civil War Letters, a ballet based on five letters soldiers wrote during the Civil War. Tickets are $20 per adult, $10 per child (age 12 and younger) and $10 per senior citizen. For more information visit

Spring Cleaning Day April 20, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Loy E. Harris Pavilion 9201 Center St. | Manassas In honor of Earth Day, Old Town Manassas announces the 6th Annual Spring Cleaning Day. Recycle those gently used household items or clothes to a worthy cause, visit with the recycling and environmental exhibitors and help the kids make earth-friendly art projects. e day includes exhibitors from nonprofit and civic organizations providing recycling and environmental information. Visit 13327.

Saturday in the Teaching Garden April 20, 9 a.m. – noon St. Benedict Monastery 9535 Linton Hall Road | Bristow Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) Prince William Master Gardener Volunteers teach Saturday in the Garden. All programs are free. Registration is requested. To register, call the VCE at 703-792-4371.

Soroptimist International of Manassas Annual Fundraiser Mystery Dinner

American Red Cross Blood Drive

April 13, 6 – 11 p.m. Four Points by Sheraton 10800 Vandor Lane | Manassas Entrée Acts performs a mystery dinner theater production of “e Trusty Keg,” set in the Western town of Westaunothinville. e audience helps solve the mysterious happenings in Miss Richmond Red’s saloon. Put on your best jeans and cowboy boots and mosey on down for an evening of fun entertainment, dinner, silent auction and raffle. Tickets are $50 per person or $425 to sponsor a reserved table for eight. For more information or to reserve tickets email

April 20, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Visitor Center, Leesylvania State Park 2001 Daniel K. Ludwig Drive Woodbridge e need for blood is constant and only volunteer donors can fulfill that need for patients in the community. Nationwide, someone needs a unit of blood every two to three seconds, and most of us will need blood in our lifetime. One pint of blood can save the lives of up to three people. Support the American Red Cross blood program. To schedule an appointment, visit, click on “Donating Blood” tab

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at top of the page, enter zip code 22191 and look for Leesylvania State Park.

Hangar Dinner and Dance April 20, 7 – 11 p.m. Manassas Regional Airport 10600 Harry J. Parrish Blvd. | Manassas e Freedom Museum will hold a 1940s style dinner and dance, which includes a catered buffet dinner, cash bar and a dance with music provided by “e Swing Machine.” Attendees are encouraged to come in 1940s style dress. ere will also be a silent auction of interesting items. Proceeds from the event will go toward the museum’s building fund. Tickets are $40 per person and can be purchased at the museum, located in the Terminal Building of the airport, and through the museum website For more information, visit the website or call 703-393-0660.

American Red Cross Under the Sea Prom April 26, 7 – 11 p.m. Heritage Hunt Golf & Country Club 6901 Arthur Hills Drive | Gainesville Revisit the best of your high school prom. Join Heritage Hunt for a night of light hors d’oeuvres and desserts, cash bar, silent auction and dancing. Tickets start at $50 per person and sponsorships are still available. For more information, call 703873-7740, email Rebecca Vaughn-King at or visit

CASA’s 14th Annual Retro Party Fundraiser April 27, 7 – 11 p.m. Loy E. Harris Pavilion 9201 Center St. | Manassas Come as you were in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s and dance to tunes of the time with Live Bands and sing in the Krazy Karaoke Kontest that begins at 7 p.m. ere will also be a costume contest with great prizes. e event includes party food from local restaurants and a cash bar. Help Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), a nonprofit organization, provide an advocate to a record number of 600 abused, neglected and abandoned children in our community. Tickets start at $65 per person, and sponsorships are still available. For more information, visit or call 703-330-8145.

Discover Prince William & Manassas

edding season is about to commence. Before your bride walks down the aisle, plan the perfect bridal shower and bachelorette party for her in Prince William and Manassas without breaking the bank.


Begin with a relaxing afternoon at The Winery at La Grange, enjoying picturesque views of the Bull Run Mountains while savoring a dozen Virginia wines. After, experience pure bliss at Tranquility Day Spa & Salon where you can indulge in cupcakes and other treats while being pampered. You can also create your own “dine around” in Old Town Manassas. Start with tapas at City Square Cafe and continue to Monza to savor Italian classics. Finish with a taste of Louisiana and live music at Okra’s Cajun Creole.


For a waterfront getaway, explore Northern Virginia’s Ann Marie Maher hidden gem, Historic Occoquan. Browse more than 70 Executive Director specialty shops and restaurants and arrange an afternoon Discover Prince William & Manassas tea party at the Pink Bicycle Tea Room, where you can select from a variety of menus. After, create a special gift for your bride’s new home at Paint Your Heart Out, a paint-your-own pottery studio.


Or shop til you drop—for less—at Potomac Mills, Virginia’s largest outlet mall, featuring more than 200 name-brand stores. Groups of 10 or more can receive free coupon books and special meal deals. For the adventurous bride, plan a day on the water. Board a Rivershore Charters boat and cruise down the Occoquan River or head to Leesylvania State Park for a kayak ride down the Potomac River. After, enjoy island drinks under the stars at Tim’s Rivershore. For more ideas, visit Ann Marie Maher is the executive director of Discover Prince William & Manassas. For more information about what’s going on in the community, visit

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tambourines and elephants “I’m Offended” By DeeDee Corbitt Sauter, Contributing Writer

We are a highly supportive family and though we often practice sarcasm and indulge in mocking comments, we are committed to supporting and listening to each other seriously. Often. We actually have family meetings where we encourage each other and try to promote a general sense of harmony intertwined with positive feelings. We take daytime talk show advice very seriously. So when my 11-year-old told me that he had been offended, I kept my affect flat and intently stared into his eyes. Could he be serious? Due to a weak grasp of pop psychology, I sensed it was necessary to keep quiet to encourage him to expound on his revelation. The strategy worked. “You said I was lazy.” It was true that I had said that, but he clearly didn’t catch the fact that I was complimenting him. At the very least, I was not actually insulting him. It’s disturbing when words are taken out of context. Obviously, I just needed to remind him of the entire conversation and why these seemingly harsh words were uttered from his doting mother’s mouth. He was in the midst of tween angst and irrational despair on the day of the incident. He was following me incessantly with a whine in his voice. His posture was that of a melting Hershey bar and his heavy sighs could be heard across the house. “I’m so dumb!” The lament was tedious and rang of false self deprecation. It was uttered in a way that invited reassurance, which, by the way, I give almost excessively. I had no confidence as a child so I tend to overly praise my children; it’s the age-old attempt to fix

myself through them. You know how they say that it doesn’t work that way? They’re right. “I’m so dumb!” The stress fell on a different word with each repetition.

“He clearly didn't catch the fact that I was complimenting him. At the very least, I was not actually insulting him.“ This is where my great and reassuring parenting came into play. I believe he may be many things, but he is not dumb. I told him that. He is lazy. I told him that, too. He needed to know that he neither lacked intelligence nor the ability to learn. He was just not doing his work. Obviously, that is a compliment. He has potential. How could he misconstrue that? I looked him square in the eyes. I wanted to make sure he was not using that special sarcasm gift we so cherish in this family. I studied his movements; body language does not lie. He was seriously distraught over the thought that he could be lazy. Apparently he just didn’t like the truth. This whole episode made me recall another recent experience where I was perhaps inadvertently sending another offensive message. When my German mother passed away last spring, her German brother and her German childhood best friend took the first flight from Germany to attend the services. While preparing for their stay, I would post Facebook updates about my progress and discuss my proceedings with friends. I frequently referred to them as “The

Germans.” For example, “The Germans will stay with me.” “The Germans will arrive in a few days.” “I hope the Germans have a safe flight.” It seemed logical, since it was an accurate, but concise, way to describe the pending arrival of both my uncle and a family friend. At this time, another family member told me that I should probably stop referring to them as the Germans because it was offensive. I am apparently very good at offending unintentionally. Naturally, I was horrified. What had I done that was so awful? She explained. I called them German. I felt briefly enlightened before logic took over and I had to furrow my brow to help with contemplation. We began a back-and-forth conversation that left me exhausted with the beginnings of a migraine. Her argument was that they would be upset if they found out they were known as the Germans. I tried to tell her that they were German, thus negating any potential problems. I let her know that if someone referred to me as American, I would have to acknowledge that as fact. She continued to argue the Germans would feel bad to be so classified. After 10 minutes of mind-wrenching dialogue, I just nodded my head and wandered away to make up the beds for the Germans; I mean visitors. I stopped thinking about my previous offensive behavior to focus on my distraught child. My head hurt. I felt I needed to reassure him. Again. “Get over it. Do your work.” DeeDee Corbitt Sauter is a resident of Prince William County. Her column, “Tambourines and Elephants,” appears monthly in Prince William Living. prince william living April 2013 | 35

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distribution sites Pick up a free copy of Prince William Living at one of the following fine locations: Appliance Connection 13851 Telegraph Road, Suite 101, Woodbridge

The Merit School of Prince William 14308 Spriggs Road, Woodbridge

Christ Chapel 13909 Smoketown Road, Woodbridge

Golden Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics 14397 Hereford Road, Dale City 3320 Noble Pond Way, Ste 109, Woodbridge 238 Potomac Avenue, Quantico

Minnieland 5555 Assateague Place, Manassas 12700 Correen Hills Drive, Bristow 10368 Bristow Center, Bristow 10910 Feeder Lane, Woodbridge 3498 Cranmer Mews, Woodbridge 13923 Minnieville Road, Woodbridge 5255 Merchants View Square, Haymarket 8299 Harness Shop Road, Gainesville 15040 Heathcote Boulevard, Gainesville 7101 Heritage Village Plaza, Gainesville 5101 Waterway Drive, Montclair 12908 Occoquan Road, Woodbridge 2100 Rippon Boulevard, Woodbridge 9511 Technology Drive, Manassas 4290 Prince William Parkway, Woodbridge 10249 Hendley Road, Manassas 4300 Prince William Parkway, Woodbridge

Historic Manassas Inc Visitor’s Center at the Train Depot 9431 West Street, Manassas

Northern Virginia Community College Manassas Campus, 6901 Sudley Road Woodbridge Campus, 15200 Neabsco Mills Road

Manassas Christian Academy 8757 Signal Hill Road, Manassas

Pope John Paul the Great Catholic High School 17700 Dominican Drive, Dumfries

Manassas Christian School 9296 West Carondelet Drive, Manassas

Prince William Association of Realtors 4545 Daisy Reid Avenue, Woodbridge

Manassas Park City Schools One Park Center Court, Suite A, Manassas Park

Prince William County Fairgrounds 10624 Dumfries Road, Manassas

Manassas Park – Parks and Recreation 99 Adams Street, Manassas

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Town of Dumfries 17755 Main Street, Dumfries

City of Manassas 9027 Center Street, Manassas Confidence Realty 17201 Wayside Drive, Dumfries Edgemoor Art Studio 12616 Lake Ridge Drive, Woodbridge Edward Kelly Leadership Center 14715 Bristow Road, Manassas GEICO Dave Stinson, Sr. 14694 Lee Highway, Gainesville

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Prince William Public Library System 14418 Bristow Road, Manassas 12964 Harbor Drive, Lake Ridge 12993 Fitzwater Drive, Nokesville 8051 Ashton Avenue, Manassas 8601 Mathis Avenue, Manassas 13065 Chinn Park Drive, Woodbridge 4249 Dale Boulevard, Dale City 18007 Dumfries Shopping Plaza, Dumfries 4603 James Madison Highway, Haymarket 2201 Opitz Boulevard, Woodbridge Prince William County Tourist Information Center 200 Mill Street, Occoquan Safeway 2042 Daniel Stuart Square, Woodbridge 4215 Cheshire Station Plaza, Dale City 4240 Merchant Plaza, Woodbridge 2205 Old Bridge Road, Woodbridge 12821 Braemar Village Plaza, Bristow Shopper’s Food and Pharmacy 9540 Liberia Avenue, Manassas 14000 Shoppers Best Way, Woodbridge 4174 Fortuna Center Plaza, Dumfries 10864 Sudley Manor Drive, Manassas The Sign Shop 2603 Morse Lane, Woodbridge Town of Haymarket 15000 Washington Street, Haymarket

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Prince William Living April 2013  
Prince William Living April 2013  

Prince William Living, the premiere lifestyle magazine of Prince William and Greater Manassas