Prince William Living September 2016

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prince william living September 2016

The premiere lifestyle magazine of Prince William and Greater Manassas

Virginia Wine Country PAGE 4

Skate Hard. Give Back. PAGE 10

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table of contents September 2016 Vol. 6 No. 9

FEATURE STORY Virginia Wine Country: The Coming of Age................................................4

IN EVERY ISSUE from the publisher...................................................3 on a high note Skate Hard. Give Back..........................................10

4 Photo by Kathy Strauss

destinations MurLarkey: Making Whiskey the Family Way......12 giving back The Sweet Julia Grace Foundation: Helping Children Dance in the Rain .................... 16 taking care of business Cook in Tuscany: A Foodie’s Bucket List Vacation.............................................20 family fun Back to School Recipes..........................................22 lifelong learning Pathway to Success................................................27

12 Photo by Mark Gilvey

local flavor Layla’s Lebanese: It’s a Family Affair.....................28 calendar...............................................................32 advertiser index....................................................36

COLUMNS health & wellness.................................................18 home & hearth.....................................................26 your finances........................................................30

28 Photo by Amanda Causey Baity

prince william living September 2016 | 1

The premiere lifestyle magazine of Prince William and Greater Manassas

Prince William Living Publisher Rebecca Barnes Contributing Writers Amanda Causey Baity, Sandra Chaloux, Amy Falkofske, David Gignilliat, Kim Howard, Olivia Overman, Tracy Shevlin, Marianne E. Weaver, Bennett Whitlock Editor in Chief Kim Howard, CAE Copy Editors Apryl Motley, CAE & Peter Lineberry Photo Editor Amanda Causey Baity Photographers Amanda Causey Baity, Mark Gilvey, Rob Jinks & Kathy Strauss Director of Operations Amanda Causey Baity Graphic Design and Production Alison Dixon/Image Prep Studio Online Submission Manager Carole Keily Prince William Living, the premiere lifestyle magazine of Prince William and Greater Manassas, is published monthly by Prince William Living, Inc. The 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. 3 Efax: (703) 563-9185 Editorial Have a story you’d like our staff to cover? Contact Prince William Living editorial staff at (703) 232-1758, ext. 2, or at Advertising Prince William Living accepts display advertising. For complete advertising information, contact our sales staff at (703) 232-1758, ext. 3, or at Social Media

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© Copyright 2016 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 $15 (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 emailing Prince William Living Publisher Rebecca Barnes at For further information about Prince William Living, visit, or contact Prince William Living at (703) 232-1758.

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About the Cover According to the Virginia Wine Board, it wasn’t until the 1820s when wines made from Native American grapes created a good wine. Currently, there are 275 wineries in Virginia. Find out which ones are in Prince William and which ones make for a nice day trip.

from the publisher “Wineing” about the End of Summer


eptember is here, the kids are back in school and soon the leaves will turn. But before we are ready to officially declare summer over, our feature writer Marianne E. Weaver takes us on a virtual tour of Virginia wineries in “Virginia Wine Country: The Coming of Age” (page 4). Learn about Prince William’s latest winery, coming this fall, as well as wineries throughout this region of the Commonwealth. As an online bonus, Marianne interviewed Woodbridge’s Julie Lucas, who as of print has visited 98 Virginia wineries and will share with us her favorite ones. Just because summer is coming to a close doesn’t mean action can’t be found. Marianne worked double time this month to bring you our On A High Note, “Skate Hard. Give Back.”, which follows the adventures of the women of the NOVA Roller Derby. Practicing at least three times a week at Manassas’s SkateNFun Zone, this team focuses on philanthropy, donating a portion of ticket sales to local charities. Read more about them and how to get season passes (page 10).

“9 Tips for a Great Night’s Sleep” by Sandra Chaloux (page 18). She shares what to do, and even what not to do, to get your best night’s sleep. After some proper shut-eye, what is better than waking up to a great breakfast? Amanda Causey Baity shares recipes and ideas in September’s Family Fun, “Back to School Recipes.” Start off your day with Sour Cream Pancakes to put a rise and shine in your morning, and Cheeseburger Quesadillas or Your Way French Bread Pizzas are sure to please your whole family (page 22). Voting starts in September for our annual Giving Back Award. As part of our mission statement, Prince William Living focuses on building a better community by promoting quality-of-life issues. Encouraging volunteerism and support of local nonprofits is one way we do that. Please be sure to visit princewilliamliving. com/givingback and vote for the fine local nonprofits that were nominated! We will announce the winners in our November issue.

If you are like me, sleep can be elusive and fleeting these days. Some nights you have trouble falling asleep, other times you fall asleep and wake up hours too early, or even toss and turn all night! While your first instinct might be to make a big pot of coffee in the morning, check out this month’s Health & Wellness column,

Sincerely, Rebecca Barnes Prince William Living Publisher

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Virginia Wine Country The Coming of Age

By Marianne E. Weaver | Photos by Kathy Strauss


Virginia has a long, and somewhat bumpy, history of winemaking. The Virginia Wine Board marketing office in Richmond traced the origins of the state’s winemaking history back to the Jamestown settlers, who required each male settler to plant and tend to at least 10 grape vines. But unfamiliar diseases and insects attacked the vines, killing the crops. Years later Thomas Jefferson attempted to establish a vineyard – two, actually – importing European grapes to be cultivated at Monticello. However, according to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, “his continual replanting of the vineyards suggests a perennial and losing struggle with grape cultivation.” According to the Virginia Wine Board, it wasn’t until the 1820s when wines made from Native American grapes created a good wine. In 1873, a Virginia Norton wine was named the “best red wine of all nations” at the Vienna World Fair. In 1889, the Norton was awarded a gold medal at the Paris World Fair. The industry began to flourish until shut down by Prohibition in 1920. “From 1920 to the 1970s there were no wineries in Virginia,” said Chris Pearmund, managing partner of Effingham Manor in Nokesville, who has 30 years of experience in the Virginia wine industry. In the ’70s, rules changed, so you could grow grapes and operate a winery. In 1979 there were only six wineries, but by 1995 there were 46 Virginia wineries.” The industry has been growing ever since. Annette Ringwood Boyd, director of the Virginia Wine Board marketing office said, “When we started in 2007, there were 119 Virginia wineries, 4 | September 2016 prince william living

and we are up to 275 today. From 2007 to today, there has been explosive growth. There are 20 to 30 new wineries each year.” Boyd said years of experimentation—trial and error—are paying off. “People started realizing they could making a living doing this,” she said. “And the wines are clearly of better quality than the ones made 10 years ago. From Prince William County, you are within an hour and a half of 60 wineries, and another 25 if you include Charlottesville. They are all unique and special.” The Blockers, a Navy family currently living in Gainesville, toured the local wineries while celebrating Mr. Blocker’s military retirement. “We love the local wineries, such as Pearmund and La Grange, because the wine is top-notch, the location and facilities are beautiful, and the staff make you feel like you just came home from a long trip,” said Marca Blocker. “When my husband recently retired after 22 years in the Navy, we didn’t even consider celebrating somewhere other than our favorite Virginia wineries.”

In Prince William Soon Prince William will be home to two wineries: Effingham Manor Winery and The Winery at La Grange. Managing partner Pearmund is banking on that “special” factor to draw visitors to this new venture: Effingham Manor Winery, which is set amidst a centuries-old home built by William Alexander, a great-grandson of Alexandria, Va.’s, namesake.

“If you are going to open a new winery, you need to have something complex and of high quality and a good location,” he said. “You need people to not only visit, but to come back. Effingham is a 250-year-old manor plantation that is beautiful and unique.” Effingham, located at 14325 Trotters Ridge Place, Nokesville, will open its doors in October. The winery will be open daily from 11 a.m. to dusk. “We expect all of the Effingham wines to be popular,” said Jennifer E. Goldman, director of marketing and events for Effingham Manor and Vint Hill Craft Winery. “We have two very celebrated winemakers crafting our wines, and between the two (Chris Pearmund and J. Ashton Lough) they have about 30 years of industry experience. Guests have been enjoying the fruits of their craft for years at Pearmund Cellars and Vint Hill Craft Winery.” Effingham offers Chardonnay, Traminette, Rosé, Norton, Merlot, Meritage, Sparkling Wine and King’s Ransom Reserve for tastings and purchase. Goldman said 1,100 Chambourcin vines were planted this spring, and Norton will be added to the vineyard in 2017. Most

other grapes used to make Effingham wines are sourced from Virginia with a few grown in California and Washington State. Pearmund said Effingham offers a little something for everyone: Good wine, good customer service and a unique place for families to visit. In addition to the historic manor house, the grounds include an old slave quarters, a blacksmith shop, well house, smokehouse, brick patio and tiered English gardens. “Additionally guests will find the oldest concrete swimming pool in the state of Virginia, which has been converted into a scenic koi pond,” she said. “The property and structures at Effingham are on the National Register of Historic Places.” The manor, which was a private residence for most of its existence, will be available for weddings and private events. As Effingham prepares to open its doors to new visitors, The Winery at La Grange, 4970 Antioch Road, Haymarket, could soon close its doors to the public. Ross Forry, La Grange marketing coordinator, said the current Benoni’s Reserve Wine Club will become private. “Once that membership reaches 2,500, we will close to the public, and all current members will be grandfathered in at their current price,” he said. “We do not like to refer to it as a private club. What we are doing is taking our wine club and making it the best possible club experience that we can. Part of doing that is closing to the public so that our wine club members can enjoy the winery to its fullest extent.” The transition, he said, will include changes and improvements to the property. Until then the 10-year-old winery is open Monday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m., Saturdays from noon to 8 p.m. and Sundays noon to 7 p.m. “The Winery at La Grange is situated on 20 acres with our 18th-century manor house as the centerpiece of the property,” Forry said. The manor house serves as the main tasting room, surrounded by about 5.5 acres of vines, mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with some Petit Verdot and Petit Manseng. “Our winemaking philosophy is to make the highest quality wine possible with the best quality grapes that we can obtain,” Forry said. “To that end we use our estate fruit for high-quality Virginia wines and source other high-quality fruit from out of state to supplement our estate wines.” He said the winery is best known for its reds, including the Meritage, Classic Cabernet Franc and Viognier, and Frenchstyled Chardonnay whites.

Some wineries offer custom tours that educate the wine novice or connoisseur.

“We have a unique wine called the General’s Battlefield Red,” he added. “This wine was first made in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the First Battle of Manassas. It is placed in a special bottle with historical significance and is popular with wine enthusiasts and history buffs alike.” (continues on page 6) prince william living September 2016 | 5

(continued from page 5)

Cana offers many varieties of wine, including reds and whites, as well as apple wines.

Dana Alexy of Gainesville has visited often. “We love the atmosphere here with its large shade trees and historic home,” she said. “It’s always a family- and dog-friendly destination for us.”

“The views here are breathtaking,” Dana Alexy said. “It is one of our favorites for gathering with friends.” For more information visit

Beyond Prince William

Owned by Les, Karen and Annette Bell, Cana Vineyards and Winery of Middleburg, 38600 John Mosby Highway, Middleburg, is truly a family affair.

Dozens of wineries lie within an hour’s drive from any part of Prince William. Although each winery offers visitors a unique experience and selection of wines, some have gained notoriety beyond the immediate region. Barrel Oak Winery, 3623 Grove Lane, Delaplane, opened in 2008, and according to proprietor Brian Roeder, the winery has grown in acreage, offerings and activities. Roeder said the winery has expanded from seven acres to 30 with 12 varietals. “Our house white and red have received numerous medals,” he noted. “We also have Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Viognier, Seyval Blanc and Cabernet Franc, Meritage, Chocolate Lab dessert wine, Norton and the new Madeira style ‘Declaration.’” The winery is family-friendly and features pony rides throughout the fall. Other scheduled activities include: Stomp-n-Chomp, Sept. 24-25 Columbus Day Harvest Events, Oct. 7-10 Fall Harvest Festival, Oct. 15-16 Halloween Dance Party, Oct. 29 6 | September 2016 prince william living

“We were driving down Route 50 around Thanksgiving in 2009. My brother saw the sign first: ‘Dad, land for sale!’” recalled Annette Bell, explaining that her father had a love for land and business development. “He turned his car around immediately and drove up a faint dirt road to the top of the hill. Although it was an overgrown hay field and in the midst of a bleak time of year, he recognized the property’s beauty immediately and declared, ‘This would be perfect for a winery!’” Her parents purchased the land in January 2011, and the winery officially opened on Sept. 22, 2012. Cana offers many varieties of wine, including reds and whites, as well as apple wines. For reds they are selling Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin, Touriga, Merlot, Nebbiolo and their signature red blend Le Mariage as well as a premium red blend, O Casamento Reserve. They also have a Rosé. For whites they offer Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Seyval Blanc, Traminette, Vidal Blanc, Viognier and a sparkling white wine as well as two reserve white wines, which are both vintages of Albariño. They have three varieties of fruit wine: apple, raspberry apple and blueberry apple.

Local wineries are excellent outdoor venues for hosting weddings and parties.

“When my family planned Cana Vineyards, we really wanted it to be a place where people felt welcomed,” Bell said. “When people visit us, we want them to feel like they are our special guests. We also hope they enjoy our wine.” Elizabeth Linehan of Gainesville said she and her family have enjoyed their visits so much that they’ve become members. “We chose to be members because it is very reasonably priced. But more importantly, we get a ‘free’ date night each month with our membership at the wine club parties, and they are far and away the most kid-friendly winery I have ever been to,” she said. “If we want to go without our kids, they have a whole upper level that is child-free.” Cana has planned a fourth anniversary celebration Saturday, Sept. 24, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. In addition to live music, local artists and bakeries, they plan to release their first estate wine, a 2015 Petit Manseng. For more information, visit / Pearmund Cellars, 6190 Georgetown Road, Broad Run, established in 1976, showcases a 7,500-square-foot geothermal winery and a 25-acre vineyard that produces Chardonnay, Viognier, Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Ameritage and other award-winning Virginia wines. “I remember when hearing ‘Virginia wine’ made me cringe a little. Pearmund has won me over, however,” said Allen Blocker of Gainesville. “The wine is wonderful by any standard. The location and facilities at Pearmund provide a perfect backdrop for

enjoying these incredible wines with both friends who came with you as well as friends you just met. Chris Pearmund has started a movement that will put Virginia wine on par with the best in the United States. I fully expect to one day see our state commerce slogan changed to ‘Virginia is for wine lovers.’” Pearmund Cellars offer custom tours (which must be booked in advance) that teach visitors about: • Grapes (planting, trellising, harvesting), • Wine making (from vine to bottle) and • The barrel room (the aging process and barrel stacking systems). For more information, visit Potomac Point Winery, 275 Decatur Road, Stafford has a lot to offer. “Dog Friendly: check! Family Friendly: check! Picnics: check! Food on-site: check!” said Chelsea Sparaco, Potomac Point Winery sales and marketing manager. She said Potomac Point Winery provides visitors with an onsite bistro called “Le Grand Cru,” which serves a lunch, Sunday brunch and dinner, outdoor dining in a courtyard and patio and indoor seating in the D’vine Lounge and Richland Ballroom. “From the moment that you drive over our hill and enter the gates of Potomac Point Winery, you are immediately transferred to another place,” she said. “Our Mediterranean estate will make (continues on page 8) prince william living September 2016 | 7

(continued from page 7) you feel as if you’ve entered Tuscany, only to be up-scaled by our award-winning wines.” Tania Visconi of Fairfax concurred: “I went on an Air Force Officer Spouse Club wine tasting group trip. We had lunch followed by wine tasting. The winery is large and can easily hold larger group parties/weddings. The food and service were very good.” Potomac Point opened in 2007 and at any given time offers between 10 and 15 different varietals of wines. “Our most popular white tends to be La Belle Vie White, which is a great fruity patio wine (not too sweet).” Sparaco said. “Our Coyote Cave Red blend has quickly become a popular choice. The subtle fruit flavors and the story of the coyote mom and pup, which we tell on our winery tours, have become a fan favorite.” Each week features many events, including Wine Lovers Thursday evening happy hour, Friday night music and Sunday brunch. For more information, visit Vint Hill Craft Winery, 7150 Lineweaver Road, Warrenton, is a winery unlike any other. It’s not located in a pastoral setting, but rather in the original dairy barn of the old Vint Hill Farm on a former military installation. “During World War II, the U.S. Army purchased the farm and converted it into a covert military post but persuaded the farmer to continue with his operations here so that they would be less likely to be found out by enemy forces,” said Jennifer E. Goldman, CTA, Vint Hill general manager. “Our history includes stories of farm life mixed with WWII and the Cold War.” Within walking distance of the winery is the Covert Café, Green Maple Market, Old Busthead Brewing Co., the Fauquier Community Theatre, a dog park, a beauty salon and more. “We enjoy visiting the Vint Hill Craft Winery due to its location near our favorite dog park and our favorite craft brewery,” said Kim Strohecker of Gainesville. “We also enjoy picking up a little information on Cold War history that we hadn’t known was in our backyard.” The winery, which opened in 2009, has a small estate vineyard with about 90 vines. Otherwise, said Goldman, all of the grapes come from outside sources, the majority of which are from within Virginia, but also some from California and Washington State. She said the winery offers a large variety of wines, including Viognier, Petit Manseng, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Chambourcin and a port-style dessert wine. “My favorite is a red blend called Enigma,” Goldman said. “It’s named after the equipment used to protect covert military communications, much as our winemaker has protected his secret recipe for this wine. No one knows what’s in it, but we all love it!” For more information, visit 8 | September 2016 prince william living

Some wineries offer live music and Sunday brunch.

The Winery at Bull Run, 15950 Lee Highway, Centreville, was founded at a time most people shied away from real estate purchases. As most Virginians faced the real estate crisis in 2008, Winery at Bull Run owner Jon Hickox and his wife Kim saw opportunity. “With the real estate market in a full downturn, an opportunity to purchase a 21-acre farm at the edge of Fairfax County, perfectly nestled against the Manassas National Battlefield and Bull Run Creek, presented itself,” he said. “My wife Kim and I took a leap of faith and four years later—and with a lot of hard work and determination—we opened the winery in June 2012.” Today, the winery encompasses 51 acres of planted vineyards and produces wines from Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Norton, Malbec, Vidal Blanc, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Traminette, Petit Manseng, Riesling and Chambourcin grapes. Hickox said the most popular wine is Delaney, a white blend named after his oldest daughter. “Our Viognier and Norton wines, both made from grapes native to Virginia, are quite popular with our guests as well,” he added. The winery, he said, has two acres of land designated as family-friendly, including a replica of a Civil War era winter quarters that children can explore. For more information, visit For an interview with a Prince William local who has been to nearly 100 Virginia wineries, visit Marianne Weaver ( is a freelance editor and writer. She earned a B.A. in English from the University of Pittsburgh and an M.J. from Temple University. She lives in Gainesville, Va., with her husband and two children.

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on a high note

Skate Hard. Give Back. By Marianne E. Weaver


hree times a week at 9 p.m., as the skaters from SkateNFun Zone on Sudley Road in Manassas leave the public skate, the women of the NOVA Roller Derby file in to begin their practice. The ladies practice on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and some weekends.

Skate Hard Although all women over the age of 18 are eligible to play (with proof of insurance), the league offers a mandatory 12-week Essential Skills program. According to the league website, www., the programs run throughout the year to provide skaters with no derby experience—or those who need to brush up on their technique—basic derby skills, strategy and a skill assessment. Manassas resident Chelsea “Smalls” Codrick (A.K.A. Killin Em Smalls of the Metro Misfists) recently completed the course. “I went through the essential skills course, and in November I had to pass a test that makes sure we are safe for ourselves and other people, plus a written test,” said Codrick, mother of a twoyear-old. “Once you pass the test, you can be entered into the draft and be drafted by any of the three home teams. I’m on the Metro Misfits.” Her first bout was in July. “Derby is a hobby, but it is a commitment, and it is a really fun enjoyable sport,” Codrick said. “You can get out there and let out all of your aggression.” Bouts are held at the Michael & Son Sportsplex in Sterling. 10 | September 2016 prince william living

Photo provided by Jack Tomlinson

“I’ve been on skates since I could walk,” said Melissa Tomlinson (A.K.A. Bayou City Badazz of the Vineyard Vixens), who moved from Houston to Prince William. “When I found out I could be on skates and play sports, that was amazing. I got some new skates, strapped them on and tried out. That was in October 2011, and I started playing in March 2012.”

The Vineyard Vixens

Doors open at 3:30 p.m., and the bouts begin at 4:30 p.m. “Spectators should expect a fun, family-friendly event that will last about one-and-a-half to two hours,” Tomlinson said. “We have gone more in an athletic direction instead of a spectacle direction. Now you see more athletic girls taking up the sport, and it brings it to a different level.” Tomlinson, a personal trainer in her time off of skates, said players leave it all on the track. “We all practice together, and then we play against each other,” she said. “When it’s over, we all go out and have drink and eat dinner. We are all friends.”

Give Back The league motto is “Skate Hard. Give Back.” For each bout, the league partners with a local nonprofit.

Photo provided by Jack Tomlinson

Spectators can expect a fun, family-friendly event that lasts about two hours.

“The idea of giving back was something that was hugely important to the women who founded this league. It was a group mentality,” said Julia Bergeman (A.K.A. Mary Lou Wreck’em), who tore her ACL and is handling the league’s philanthropic endeavors while on leave. “The sport of roller derby gives so much to its participants—from exercise and camaraderie to competition and self-confidence. It only makes sense to pay it forward!” Each month, she said, the league chooses a charity to support. “The charity is promoted in relation to our monthly bout, and our fans are asked to bring a small item to donate to the charity,” Bergeman said. “We’ve collected everything from clothes to toiletries to canned food. As an added bonus, the charity is invited to host a table trackside to collect donations, pass out literature and mix and mingle with our fans (we usually have between 200 and 500 in attendance).” Last year, one of the charities the league chose to support was Semper K9, a Manassas-based organization that enhances the quality of life for wounded, critically-ill and injured members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families by providing assistance dogs. Using rescued and donated dogs, the organization provides service dogs to wounded service members for psychiatric alert and mobility challenges free of charge. “Our first roller derby experience was with NOVA Roller Derby as one of their benefitting charities for their bout,” said Christopher Baity, Semper K9 executive director. “We enjoyed learning about the rules and talking with patrons there. People were asked to donate items from our wish list, and we received lots of great things that we have used with training our service

dogs. We were also able to educate patrons about service dogs, what service dogs are, how they help people and specifically about our mission. We enjoyed having an engaged audience to speak to about service dog etiquette and laws.” Marianne Weaver ( is a freelance editor and writer. She earned a B.A. in English from the University of Pittsburgh and an M.J. from Temple University. She lives in Gainesville, Va., with her husband and two children.

Season Tickets on Sale Now

NOVA Roller Derby 2016 season passes are on sale at The $60 pass grants admission to all home games during the 2016 season as well as special to-be-announced scrimmages and private events. Bouts are held at the Michael & Son Sportsplex in Sterling. Doors open at 3:30 p.m., and bouts begin an hour later. 2016 Home Team Bout Schedule Saturday, July 16 (Season Opener) Saturday, Aug. 20 Saturday, Sept. 17 Saturday, Oct. 1 Saturday, Oct. 15 Saturday, Nov. 19 Saturday, Dec. 10 (Championship) prince william living September 2016 | 11



Making Whiskey the Family Way By Olivia Overman | Photos by Mark Gilvey


hen second generation Irish-American cousins, Tom Murray and Mike Larkin, put their business expertise and their passion for food and beverages together, they created MurLarkey Distilled Spirits LLC in Bristow. “Starting with a meager 23-gallon copper still and a dream, the cousins, along with a small team of family, friends, and experienced business professionals, set out on a journey to create a legacy,” said Jim Curry, chief marketing officer at MurLarkey. The legacy referred to is that of their grandparents, who immigrated from Athlone (a town in Ireland) to Boston, worked hard to raise their family and, ultimately, passed down the family recipe for whiskey for generations to come. The Kelly grandparents’ recipe had many different forms, including one made from potatoes and others made from grain and corn, but family and friends considered them all to be excellent, so the cousins set about creating their business. “After many months of planning, building of the still works, design and fit up of the tasting room, and developing the brand and messaging, the distillery opened its doors in January 2016,” Curry said. Paying homage to their Irish heritage, Murray and Larkin joined their names with that of their grandparents (Kelly) to create Mur-Lar-Key, a coincidentally close resemblance to the Irish word ‘malarkey,’ meaning fun or foolishness. While the name may be a play on words, the mission of the business is not. “The mission of MurLarkey is a simple one: to produce and deliver the highest quality, all-natural, handcrafted spirits possible. We take great pride in our painstaking process to ensure the quality and consistency of our award-winning, premium spirits,” said Tom Murray, founder and CEO of MurLarkey. 12 | September 2016 prince william living

Tours at MurLarkey last about 45 minutes and include a tasting at the end, which lasts another 20 minutes.

MurLarkey offers five hand-crafted-in-Virginia, all natural, gluten-free spirits.

Sample the Spirits If you are a connoisseur of whiskey or gin, MurLarkey may just be the place for you to visit in Prince William. With five handcrafted-in-Virginia, all natural, gluten-free spirits available, your taste buds may be in for a treat. The menu includes Divine Clarity,® a pure potato vodka, ImaGINation™, a handcrafted gin, Justice,™ a white whiskey made from Virginia corn and barley, Clemoncy,® a whiskey infused with lemon peels while in white oak barrels, and Cincerity,® a whiskey poured over allnatural cinnamon sticks and left to infuse in white oak barrels. Asked what the most popular spirit on the menu is, Curry said “Clemoncy® Lemon Whiskey continues to be the most popular spirit sold through the Distillery Store.” He also noted that “ImaGINation Gin has been received extremely well since its rollout for sale on April 1, and the timing of the popular summer drink, Gin & Tonic, has kept it a close second to Clemoncy.” Of course, if you do not want to drink whiskey and gin on the rocks, MurLarkey has a complete menu of alcoholic concoctions for you to choose from. “My favorite drink is the Aviator,” said Meredith Williams of Woodbridge. Made with ImaGINation, fresh lemon juice, maraschino liqueur and simple syrup, this drink is one of approximately 16 menu offerings at the distillery. Some other recipes include The MurLarkey Mule, Clemonade, and of course The MurLarkey Cinnamon Irish Coffee. Asked what she likes about the distillery, Williams said, “I specifically like the atmosphere of this distillery. It has a modern appeal with an open concept tasting area, perfect lighting, flat screens and more than enough seating to bring friends along. I have checked out most in the area, and this is by far the cleanest and the most comfortable.” Located on Gainsford Court in Bristow, the distillery’s location was chosen for its proximity to Civil War heritage tours, Jiffy Lube

Live music venue, great shopping and golfing as well as dining. “Along with Civil War historic destinations nearby and an up and coming attraction for micro brewery and micro distillery tours, MurLarkey Distilled Spirits LLC is quickly becoming a destination for tourists and locals alike. The Jiffy Lube Live concert venue is only a mile away, and there you can enjoy MurLarkey spirits exclusively in the VIP lounge,” Curry said.

Take a Tour “Our distillery tours are a great way to learn about the distilling process and how we make our 100% all natural spirits,” Curry said. With each tour lasting approximately 30-45 minutes and the tasting lasting another 20 minutes, it is definitely worth the $5 it costs (prices vary based on the spirits or flight you choose). Staff guide people through the distilling process from start to finish, allowing people to look at the equipment close-up and ask any questions along the way. Also offered is an event location where private parties can be held. With an impressive 1,700 square foot rental space and a 36-foot bar overlooking the distillery, the Observation and Tasting Room can accommodate up to 60 people for an event. Cousins Thomas Murray, Michael and James Larkin, along with George “Papi” Zwetkow, Marc Cucchiaro, Ian Purcell, James Curry, Jesse Puckett and Paul Roberts have teamed up to create something truly special, according to the website. You can find out more about MurLarkey at or on Facebook by searching MurLarkey Distilled Spirits.

A graduate of American University’s School of Communication, Olivia Overman ( is a freelance writer for both online and print publications. prince william living September 2016 | 13

From first seeing your baby, to first seeing her beautiful eyes At Novant Health UVA Health System, we provide personalized services for new and soon-to-be mothers throughout the pregnancy journey – from the time you find out you are pregnant to after your family has grown. Deliver your baby with Novant Health UVA Health System and you’ll have a full team of our highly skilled physicians and support staff at your side for every step, from prenatal classes for mothers and other family members to breastfeeding support and pediatric care services. Visit our website at to find an ob-gyn near you.

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Enjoy live performances and exhibits by local artists and ensembles. Participate in activities, demos, and workshops for all ages.

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prince william living September 2016 | 15

giving back

The Sweet Julia Grace Foundation

Helping Children Dance in the Rain By Amy Falkofske


t all started with a little girl in Bristow named Julia, who had a rare genetic disease called I-cell. Sweet Julia Grace, as she’s now known, passed away in 2013 at the age of 12, but left a lasting impression on the hearts of everyone she met. So it seemed only fitting that she leave a big legacy, and that she did.

The Sweet Julia Grace Foundation (SJGF) was started in July 2014 to help “bless, celebrate and love children who are chronically or seriously ill, have special needs, or [are] in the midst of a medical crisis.” When Julia first passed away, her mom, Sara Knight, just needed time for things to settle. She couldn’t even begin to process how to use Julia’s memorial fund to honor her memory. “I never thought of her not being here,” Knight said. Julia also had a very special relationship with her older brother Cameron. Whenever she was having a rough day, he would stay home with her instead of going out with his friends, and he would sometimes sit with her until she fell asleep for her nap. Cameron took Julia’s passing hard, but was ultimately the one who had a revelation that helped his family process Julia’s death and move forward. “He said, you know, Julia spent her whole life being unselfish, and now it’s time for us to be unselfish and let her go because she’s happier now. She’s not suffering anymore, and we cannot be selfish about this,” Knight recalled Cameron saying. “Honestly, that has been my saving grace because I could never imagine what I would do without her…That was my piece of peace,” she said. When it was time, God gave Knight the vision for the Foundation quite suddenly. “Literally, one night the vision for the foundation just came to me like that,” Knight said. Knight knew instantly what the logo for the foundation would look like. It would be a little girl holding an umbrella and going through puddles with her little puppy dog. The puppy dog is Julia’s puppy, Tucker, who is still with the family. And the 16 | September 2016 prince william living

Sara Knight honors the memory ofher daughter, Julia (pictured on the right), through her work with the Sweet Julia Grace Foundation.

Foundation would help other children with struggles similar to Julia’s “dance in the rain,” just like she did. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storms to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” That was Julia’s life quote. And Knight said that’s exactly what Julia did.

Sweet Julia Grace Foundation’s mission is to fill in the gaps, grant wishes, and meet the non-medical needs of children who are seriously ill, have special needs, or are in the midst of a medical crisis.

“No one would come into her world without walking away being completely inspired because no matter what she went through, she always had a smile on her face, and she was always laughing. She definitely did not let what she went through stop her from enjoying the life she had,” Knight said. For kids with challenges similar to Julia’s, daily life is a struggle, and Knight is amazed at how well these children handle what they have to go through. “These kids are so resilient. They enjoy life… They are not waiting to feel good to smile. They’re not waiting for a better day to be happy. They don’t complain. They do what they’ve got to do and then they move on,” she said. “It’s almost like it is what it is, and they’re not caught up in what it should be. So that’s why we call these kids Raindancers, because they’re all dancing in the rain no matter what they’re going through.” The SJGF was also born out of Knight’s desire to share the lives of other families who are going through what she went through with Julia and to help them with their struggles. “When Julia was living, I prayed all the time that God would give me an open door into these families’ lives,” she said. The broader mission of the Foundation is to “grant wishes, meet non-medical needs and fill in the gaps,” according to Knight. And filling in the gaps can mean a lot of different things depending on what a specific family needs. For instance, one family may need meals. Another family may need a special table or special stroller for their child that they can’t get for themselves because it’s too expensive. Currently SJGF is helping the family of a child named John in Manassas build a handicap-accessible bathroom in their house for him. All of these things are examples of how SJGF helps children “dance in the rain.” To date SJGF has helped more than 30 children in Northern Virginia and is now about to start a chapter in West Virginia.

“It’s so hard to even comprehend how far we’ve come and what we do, but I know there’s a need for what we do, and there’s nothing else really like us,” Knight said. SJGF has not only helped the children; it has been a haven for the moms of the Raindancers. Melissa Alexander, whose daughter, Julia, 10, is a Raindancer, spoke about the bond that the moms share with others involved in SJGF. “We have Sara and lots of other friends, the board members and volunteers, that we would have never had, that we’ll have as lifelong friends and family,” Alexander said. “It means so much that Sara is also a Raindancer mama, that she knows every single step, every emotion, everything that we experience as moms when your child is experiencing a medical crisis. That really makes a difference because it’s not just someone sympathizing with you. She is you,” she continued. SJGF has three main fundraisers during the year that help it to fulfill its mission, Family Bingo Night in the winter and a golf tournament in the fall, and for the first time this year, a music festival in the fall. This year’s golf tournament will be on Oct. 3, and the music festival will be on Oct. 15. Both are in Haymarket. If you’d like more information on how you can get involved with SJGF, check out the website at or Facebook page at

Amy Falkofske ( is a freelance writer and the owner/photographer of Beautiful Moments by Amy Photography. She is working on an MA in film-television with a concentration in script writing from Regent University. She lives in Bristow with her husband and two sons. prince william living September 2016 | 17

health & wellness 9 Tips for a Great Night’s Sleep By Sandra Chaloux 1. Reserve your bed for sleep – and sex. Avoid watching TV and using electronics in bed as blue screens disrupt your circadian rhythm and sleep cycle. Unplug at least one hour before your bedtime. 2. Balance your blood sugar. Eat your last meal at least three hours before bedtime to give your blood sugar time to stabilize.

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3. Take a warm bath. Include 1-2 cups of Epsom salts or try adding a few drops of essential oils like lavender. 4. Eat cherries. Tart cherries increase your production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep cycles. Eat some tart cherries or drink about four ounces of cherry juice. 5. Limit caffeine. Limit coffee, black and green tea and other beverages that contain caffeine to mornings. Avoiding caffeine after noon will give your body time to purge remaining caffeine from your system before sleep time. 6. Avoid napping. If you’re struggling with insomnia, naps that are an hour or longer can actually make it harder to fall asleep at night. 7. Practice meditation. Relax every muscle in your body starting with your feet. Take a few deep breaths, and then focus on each inhale and exhale for 10-20 minutes.

3 Acres of Pick Your Own Pumpkins

8. Use essential oils. Add essential oils to a diffuser and place near your bed. The best essential oils for sleep are lavender, vetiver, frankincense, ylang ylang, cedarwood and other calming blends. 9. Try an over-the-counter supplement. Melatonin and chamomile may help some people fall asleep. Be sure to check with your doctor first and buy only U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) verified supplements. Sandra Chaloux ( is the founder of, the premier source for alternative medicine information and consumerrecommended service providers in Northern Virginia. 18 | September 2016 prince william living

Kids Corn Maze

n Cow Train Ride

Fall Fruits and Vegetables • Wide Assortment of Ornamentals for Decorating

No Admission Fee to the Farm

Conveniently Located in Prince William County

(Open Saturdays and Sundays starting September 24)

14220 Rd • Nokesville • Field 1/4 Hill mileRd. south intersection with Vint Hill Road. 13007Owls VintNest Hill Road • Nokesville • OnisVint 1/4of Mile west of Sudley Manor Dr. • LikeFind us on ourFacebook— Fan Page on Facebook—Search Yankey Farms

Aiken Drive Vint Hill, Virginia Free to attend. Rain or shine.

Join us at our 2nd annual street festival! Food & Dessert Trucks • Retail & Craft Vendors Live Music & Entertainment • Children’s Activities and more!



To become a vendor or sponsor, contact:


prince william living VIRGINIA September 2016 19 - |-

taking care of business

eoofi in r5J1J$CalllJ A Foodie's Bucket List Vacation By Tracy Shevlin | Photos by Rob Jinks

aymarket residents George and Linda Meyers combine travel, beauty and history into a food lover’s destination vacation with their Cook in Tuscany business. As transplants to the Haymarket area, they spend approximately six months at home and six months in Tuscany. George is a retired Air Force pilot, and Linda is a former kindergarten teacher for Prince William County schools. Together they enjoy being host and hostess and sharing their love of Tuscany with any who would like to visit. USA Today rated their business, Cook in Tuscany, as one of the “top 15 Foodie Destinations.” Prince William spoke to George to find out more about their unique business. PWL: How did your love of travel turn into the Cook in Tuscany destination vacation? George: Linda and I found this location on one of our many vacations in Europe. We have always enjoyed finding restaurants and sites that were away from typical tourist locations. Over the past 10 years, Linda and I visited as often as we could. Slowly family and friends began to join us, and we enjoyed showing them around. We wanted to eat and shop like the locals, and as we brought family and friends to visit, we began to share these experiences with them. Now we share the experience with clients who become life-long friends.

accommodations and all the food, wine, and tours. Unlike [the hosts of] other all-inclusive vacations, we spend much of our time with our guests. Like family, we cook, drink wine and go on excursions together. We visit wineries and cheese makers and see historic sites.

PWL: Can you tell us more about the program?

Each morning guests learn to cook traditional Italian foods from local women who follow the same recipes that their grandmothers, or Nonnas, have used for generations. Folks don’t have to be chefs to enjoy the experience. Cooking lessons are filled with laughter and fun, and we eat for lunch whatever we make that day.

George: We offer a seven day/six night, all-inclusive vacation experience that includes traditional Italian cooking lessons,

Our guests stay at Hotel La Costa, a medieval farm in the village of Montefollonico. The village is roughly two football

20 | September 2016 prince william living

George and Linda Meyers combined their love of cooking, travel and history into their Cook in Tuscany destination vacation business.

fields long and still has 13th-century walls, castle gates and cobblestone streets. Hotel La Costa has been fully renovated and luxuriously appointed with modern conveniences like Wi-Fi, air conditioning and a wonderful restaurant. The hotel is a family run and owned business. Paolo Masini is the owner and chef along with his wife and brother. His mother-in-law, Isa, teaches some of our classes. There are nine guest rooms in the hotel, and we reserve and fill them for 13 weeks each year. PWL: Which seasons are best to visit Tuscany? Linda: Spring and fall are the best times to visit Tuscany, and we plan our programs during those times. We host guests during May and June and then again in September and October. PWL: How far in advance do clients need to make their reservations? George: We are currently booking for 2018. It seems far away, but many clients don’t mind the waiting period because they can plan for their trips for 18-24 months in advance. This is a bucket list sort of trip for many people. People pay a $500 deposit when they make their reservations with final payment not due until 90 days before their trip. PWL: What has been most important as you’ve grown your business? George: Our relationships are the key to our success. We have strong relationships with the hotel owners and our cooking

instructors. We know all of our cooks and enjoy visiting with them when we aren’t working. These are people that we know and trust to make our guests’ visits as comfortable as possible. We take our guests to places we love! PWL: Do you get tired of entertaining? Linda: No! Sharing in the joy of our guests is very rewarding. Their joy makes each experience new for us, and we develop new friendships with our clients from around the world. When you love what you do, it isn’t work and I get to do it with George! PWL: What do you and Linda do in the off-season? George: Normally, our off-seasons at home are filled with family and friends, but this year we are exploring the possibility of a Cook in Mexico destination vacation. We chose San Miguel in the high desert plains of Mexico as it is another food related destination. It’s very safe with a large population of expatriates. We hope to bring Cook in Mexico to life by February 2017. We will put links up on our website as soon as we have the details worked out. To view pictures of Montefollonico or for additional information on Cook in Tuscany, please visit Tracy Shevlin ( is a native Virginian and long-time Manassas area resident. She is a graduate of George Mason University where she is also an office manager. Follow her on twitter @nvalady1. prince william living September 2016 | 21

family fun

Back to School Recipes Story and Photos By Amanda Causey Baity


his time of year can be pure chaos if you have school-aged children to cook for. Even if you don’t have school-aged children as the fall months start and the last bit of summer is enjoyed, your evenings may be busy! I love cooking wholesome meals for my family but sometimes I just need something quick to cook and easy to clean. Here are some easy recipes that will keep you out of the kitchen for hours and out of the drive-thru lane on your way home. Eating healthy meals at home will help keep your energy high during this busy time and save your money for the fundraising flyers that start pouring in from school!

Sour Cream Pancakes Ingredients 7 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/ 2 teaspoon salt 1 cup sour cream (I swapped some with yogurt when I realized I was short, to no ill-effect.) 22 | September 2016 prince william living

2 large eggs 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract Butter Maple syrup Directions Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-low heat; you want it to slowly get nice and hot. Stir the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together in the bottom of a medium bowl. Dump the sour cream in on top and stir it together very gently; it’s okay to leave the texture a bit uneven. Whisk the eggs and vanilla in a separate bowl and stir them into the sour cream mixture, once again, being careful not to overmix. Melt about a tablespoon of butter in your skillet or griddle and pour the batter in, a scant 1/4 cup at a time. Cook for about 2 minutes on the first side, or until bubbles appear all over the surface, flipping them carefully and cooking for about a minute on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter. (continues on page 24)

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RECIPES (continued from page 22) Cheeseburger Quesadillas • 1 lb. ground beef • Salt and pepper • Ketchup • Mustard • Worcestershire sauce • 4 large flour tortillas • Toppings: tomatoes, onions, chopped pickles/relish, shredded cheddar cheese Directions Add ground beef to a large skillet over medium-high heat and then lightly season with salt and pepper, and cook until no longer pink. Drain, then return to the skillet off the heat and stir in ketchup, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce to taste. A good ratio to follow is 3 parts ketchup, to 2 parts mustard and 1 part Worcestershire sauce. Lay tortillas out and then spread 1/4 of the seasoned ground beef on one half of each tortilla. Top with toppings of choice and then fold over tortilla. Cook in a large skillet over medium heat sprayed with non-stick spray until golden brown on one side, then flip and cook until golden brown on the other side. Remove to a cutting board to cool for 5 minutes, and then slice into wedges with a pizza cutter.

Your Way French Bread Pizzas Ingredients • 6 whole deli rolls or crusty Italian rolls • Marinara sauce or pizza sauce • Pesto • 2 pounds Mozzarella cheese, grated • Grated Parmesan cheese to taste • 2 tablespoons butter • 1 whole onion, sliced 24 | September 2016 prince william living

• 1/2 pound sausage • Pepperoni slices • Canadian bacon slices • Pineapple chunks, fresh or canned • Roma tomatoes, sliced • Sliced black olives • Optional ingredients: sliced bell peppers, various cheeses, pepperoncinis, jalapeno slices, diced red onion, any other pizza topping you’d like! Directions Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Slice rolls in half and lay them, cut side up, on a large baking sheet. Top each half with a generous portion of either marinara or pesto. Next, top with a generous amount of grated mozzarella and Parmesan, if you’d like. Add whatever toppings you’d like on top of the cheese! Once all assembled, put the pan in the oven on the lowest rack for 8 to 10 minutes. Then turn up the heat to 425 degrees and put it on the highest rack until the cheese starts to bubble a bit and turn golden. Remove and serve immediately! You can cut the pizzas in half right across the middle, so there are mini-French Bread Pizzas for everyone.

Amanda Causey Baity ( is Prince William Living’s director of operations and photo editor. You can find her recipes, crafts and more at


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016 10:00am-5:00pm Enjoy Live Music, Great Food and Entertainment including over 75 Amusement Rides and Activities All FREE with Admission!!

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prince william living September 2016 | 25

home & hearth Four Secrets Your Garbage Collector Knows About You By Rebecca Barnes


ost people never give their trash a second thought. Yet your trash reveals so much more about you and your family than you could ever imagine. Here are the top four secrets your garbage collector knows about you!

We have roots, where others have branches.

1. Those Dirty Little Secrets Are you a binge eater or drinker? You can bet that the evidence that you thought was safely tucked away in the bottom of the trash can, is common knowledge to your trash collector. They see those adult diapers or the 20 empty boxes of Oreos. They know what toys you bought your kids, and who didn’t eat grandma’s fruit cake. Your garbage collector knows all, but won’t tell. At least, not unless the police ask for their help. 2. They Work with the Police If they are asked to, your trash collector will work with the police. Trash left out for collection is considered to be abandoned. It’s perfectly legal to take property that is abandoned. Sometimes the police will ask garbage workers to look for certain types of trash such as chemicals or particular containers that might indicate a meth lab. Other times, the police ask for more specific items such as body parts or suitcases large enough to hold bodies. If you thought you were going to get away with a crime by dumping your evidence in the trash, you have another thing coming. Who said working with the trash was boring? 3. They Know Where You Stash the Cash Garbage collectors find money and uncashed checks or gift cards in the trash all the time. Sometimes the money is stuffed inside hollowed out books; other times, gift cards and checks are found in unopened mail. One story says that a woman threw out more than $15,000 because she didn’t know her husband had stored it in an old cooler. People hide their money in strange places, so you would be wise to check things out carefully before you toss anything. 4. Don’t Bother to Flush If you think that flushing something disgusting or incriminating will help to hide your sins, think again. Since water gets treated, all the trash that gets flushed ends up being fished out at the water treatment centers. It is then moved into the trash cans at the treatment centers, where it is collected for disposal. It is true that your local garbage man won’t know which house flushed junior’s goldfish while it was still in the bag and that someone has to pick up your trash, they just have to do it someplace else. American Disposal Services handles the secrets of four states and seven counties each and every week. You can find more information at 26 | September 2016 prince william living


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lifelong learning Pathway to Success By Dan Verner


talking Mattel Barbie doll who lamented in 1992, “Math class is tough!” ignited a firestorm of protest from a women’s rights group, but Barbie didn’t know the half of it. Getting into college—and staying in—is even harder, especially for students who face obstacles outside of school. Thanks to a consortium of 10 educational institutions in Northern Virginia, that is changing for thousands of students. A group of K-12 public school systems, Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) and George Mason University created Pathway to the Baccalaureate to put success within reach of all students, not just girls, who otherwise might not go to college. Kerin A. Hilker-Balkissoon, executive director of college and career pathways at NOVA, became Pathway’s founding director shortly before its launch in 2005. “Pathway allows local students to attend community college who otherwise would be unable to,” Hilker-Balkissoon said. “Many who do enroll find balancing college, work and personal responsibilities difficult, and they struggle to succeed. Without the support of Pathway, these students are at high risk of dropping out of college early.” Pathway students are paired with Pathway counselors during their senior year in high school. The counselors help students plan financially, choose a major, take placement tests and register for classes. Once in NOVA students continue to work closely with Pathway advisors, who are part of a strong, supportive community. Pathway students may then transfer to George Mason University to earn their baccalaureate degrees. The Pathway program is large, serving more than 10,000 students in 60 locations. Finding enough money to maintain and grow the program is difficult, Hilker-Balkissoon noted. “We would love to expand our program to support more schools and students across Prince William County, but right now we are limited to supporting high school seniors across seven high schools.” Working with Pathway students in these schools is very rewarding. “Getting to know our students, helping them to recognize the potential in themselves and watching them blossom, both academically and as leaders, is magical,” Hilker-Balkissoon said. “Seeing our students cross the stage on graduation day, wearing their program medallions and knowing how far they have come to reach that moment, is the greatest joy of all.” “The work we do has a profound impact that extends beyond our students themselves to include their families, peers and communities,” she said.

The program is popular with students, who appreciate the help. “My experience in the Pathway program has given me the needed support to reach my goals,” said student Phanny Bou. “I’ve had great Pathway counselors, who cared about my education and were delighted to help me instead of treating me like another case.” “I was the first in my family to go to college,” said Sandra Pineda, another Pathway student. “The Pathway program not only helped me finish my first two years at NOVA; it also gave me the opportunity to develop my leadership skills.” NOVA took the lessons it learned from Pathway to the Baccalaureate to create a system of “Pathway Initiatives” that together support more than 14,000 individuals in the region. One of those sister initiatives, Adult Career Pathways (ACP), serves adult students with demonstrated barriers to college access and success. That includes veterans, single parents, lower-wage workers and the unemployed and underemployed. ACP helps adult students to earn certificates, degrees or other credentials to help them secure better jobs with a chance of advancement and greater economic security. The future is bright for Pathway, director Hilker-Balkissoon said. “We continue to refine our services to meet the changing needs of our students, their families and the Northern Virginia region. “We also regularly mentor other institutions across the country that are interested in starting similar programs in their regions,” she continued. Barbie became briefly infamous for saying math class was tough, but the even tougher job of getting into and staying in college is becoming easier for the students who need help the most, thanks to Pathway to the Baccalaureate. Dan Verner ( is the author of several books and was named “Best Writer in Prince William County (Virginia) for 2014 and 2015 by readers of Prince William Today newspaper. Find out more about him at prince william living September 2016 | 27

local flavor

Layla’s Lebanese

It’s a Family Affair By David Gignilliat | Photos by Amanda Causey Baity


f you’ve had a chance to visit Layla’s Lebanese at Tackett’s Mill in Lake Ridge, you’ve probably met just about every member of the Chebat family.

They all work there. Owner Michael Chebat runs the floor as a manager, welcoming people to the restaurant and visiting with each table. His wife, Mathil, runs the kitchen, and recreates classic Lebanese dishes with a modern twist. Daughters Christiane, Gabby, Layla, Mary and Radah Chebat are all servers, spread out between their early 20s and 30s. Michael’s younger daughters, Danielle and Samantha Chebat, are hostesses at Layla’s, named after one of his seven daughters. His only son, Jean-Michael, is just 12 years old (“He’s not old enough to work, so he hangs out with me a lot”). “We run the business like a family. We care about this business. It’s not like the waitress is not going to care about the customer because she doesn’t own the business,” said Chebat. “My family, they own the restaurant, and they own their behavior. They always do their best to keep the customers coming back again and again.” Since opening in early March, the restaurant has already established a foothold in Lake Ridge, home to several chain restaurants, but only a handful of family-owned eateries. “The response has been amazing from our customers that we’ve gotten to know the last several months,” said Chebat. “They’ve thanked us for bringing this type of restaurant to Woodbridge, because Woodbridge needs something like this, especially in Lake Ridge. Our food is excellent, our service is amazing, and the place is very nice.” Chebat originally moved from Lebanon to the United States in 1975 with his father, who owned grocery businesses and real estate interests. Eventually, he found his way to Northern Virginia in 1997, and 10 years later, he opened the original Layla’s Lebanese at 907 King Street in Old Town Alexandria. Chebat sold the

28 | September 2016 prince william living

Mixed Grill includes lamb, chicken and kafta with grilled veggies and rice.

successful restaurant business in 2014, wishing to work closer to home to spend more time with his family. After nine months of construction and lease negotiation, he opened Layla’s Lebanese in Lake Ridge in March of this year. The decor is far from what you would expect from a typical suburban mall or town center. The tables are elegantly appointed, but not overdone, with modern-looking design and clean lines. Along the left wall of the restaurant is a column of booths, with long flowing curtains elegantly bundled in the center. For a romantic evening or a private meal, the curtains can be loosened for privacy. On the center and right sides are several small square tables used for smaller parties. The restaurant is uniquely lit, with visually stunning drop lights. Walking in to Layla’s, you’re transported away to somewhere else, somewhere exotic, somewhere new. It is bright, but not too bright. “At first, we were thinking of doing a to-go restaurant, but we decided to make it eat-in, so people could enjoy the atmosphere.

My brother has a friend who is an interior designer. I explained to her what we wanted, and she knew exactly what we were looking for,” he said. “The lighting and ambiance is amazing. Everyone comments about how unique it is, and how we decided to do it.” Michael is the public face of the operation. He personally makes a visit to every table in the restaurant to check on the food, and maybe even make a new friend. He has a winning personality, a wry smile that seems to lights up the room, and a mix of old-world wisdom and new-world panache that makes him a perfect fit for a new restaurant based on one of the oldest culinary traditions in the world. “I welcome people, and I get to know my customers, because I would like my customers to be my friends, and make it a big family at Layla’s,” he said. The restaurant offers a mix of classic Lebanese dishes (shawarmas, souvlakis, and kabobs, served with beef, chicken or lamb) and appetizers. All of the grill items are served with rice or french fries, and a house salad. Layla’s also offers three unique stews—Batenjan Mehshi, an eggplant, beef and tomato stew; Kafta B’atata, a lamb, potato and tomato stew; and Moussaka, a vegetable, onion and tomato stew. There are three types of hummus—a classic version, a hummus with sauteed beef and pine nuts, and a unique black bean hummus with tahini, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. Among the appetizers, the baba ghannouj (a puree of smoked eggplant, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil), tabouleh, grape leaves (stuffed with rice, parsley and lemon juice), and falafel (deep-fried chickpea patties seasoned with cumini and coriander and served with tahini) are the more popular offerings. Layla’s also offers its own Lebanese version of steak tartare, “kibbeh niyye,” with raw lamb, crushed bulgur (a cracked wheat grain known for its light nutty flavor), onion and fresh mint. “I work very hard to make sure that everyone who comes into our restaurant experiences real Lebanese food the way it was intended to be enjoyed,” said Mathil Chebat, the head chef, Michael’s wife, and co-owner. “It’s a source of pride for me, my family and my country.” For those looking to eat light, they can try a side of Lebanese homemade yogurt. Or pop in for an indulgent slice of the homemade baklava (phyllo dough, crushed walnuts, rose water syrup and pistachios) or rice pudding, and sit by the window and enjoy a Lebanese coffee, which is similar to an espresso or a Turkish coffee. It is boiled for a few minutes in a rakweh, a long-handled conical pot (often copper or some other conductive metal), and then allowed to settle for a few minutes to let the grounds settle to the bottom. “Any time we are open for business, everything on the menu is available,” he said. “You can come in and have a Lebanese coffee and a slice of baklava and relax.” Layla’s offers beer and wine, including several Lebanese wines (“they are amazingly good,” he adds) from the Bekaa Valley, home to 90 percent of the wine produced in Lebanon. Specifically, Layla’s offers several vintages of Chateau Ksara wines, the oldest

Layla’s also offers several wines from Lebanon, including several vintages of Chateau Ksara wines, the oldest winery in Lebanon dating back to 1857.

winery in Lebanon dating back to 1857, many of which showcase French grapes (cabernet, merlot, syrah, grenache, among others), and include some indigenous Lebanese grapes (Musar White, for example). At lunch, the restaurant offers many of the same items and a diverse selection of sandwiches, including falafel, and shawarmas, as well as warm spinach and meat pies. In short order the restaurant has expanded its reach beyond Lake Ridge to retail distribution in the local community, including farmer’s markets in Annandale (Thursdays), Lorton (Sundays) and Tackett’s Mill (Tuesdays). Chebat said there are also plans to place some of their unique Lebanese creations (like Layla’s Garlic Whip and Layla’s Special Dressing, both of which are already trademarked) in local grocers like Trader Joe’s, Wegman’s and Whole Foods. “It’s an amazing way of marketing the [restaurant], introducing ourselves to the people and introducing them to our products and our restaurant,” said Michael, who mans the booth at each farmer’s market. “It’s unbelievable —we have customers who have come from Lorton and Annandale because they enjoy the food and they like what they’ve bought from us, and they want to enjoy all of our menu in the restaurant itself.” There is a lot of love that goes into the experience of dining at Layla’s Lebanese, which makes sense, as it truly is a uniquely family affair. “Most of my customers say, ‘Hey Mike, how can you [and your family] work together without fighting? I tell them ‘Everyone has [their] job, and they must do it right. And when you do it right, nobody should yell or fight or anything of that sort,’” said Chebat. “It’s really nice. It’s a joy. It’s keeping the family together. And in the end, we do our best for our customers. And our business.” David Gignilliat ( grew up in Woodbridge. A graduate of the University of Virginia, he currently freelances for several publications. He authors his own blog, Quixotica, waxing semantic about the nuances of modern-day language and slang. prince william living September 2016 | 29

your finances Four Tips for Financial Conversations With Your Adult Children By Bennett Whitlock, CRPC® Private Wealth Advisor


arents nearing retirement should have a conversation with their adult children about their financial situation. It can feel overwhelming and a bit uncomfortable. Consider these four tips to get the conversation started: 1. Communicate your own financial plans. Share any major financial and lifestyle decisions, including if you’re planning to travel or relocate; what arrangements you’ve made for future health care needs and any legacy plans you have in place. If you’re currently providing financial support to your adult children or grandchildren (or plan to in the future), speak honestly and set realistic expectations. Be clear about your ability to contribute funds for their specific financial goals (such as educational expenses) or to provide support if your child has a financial emergency. 2. Let them know what they can expect in the future. If you’ve identified a shortfall or may need financial assistance if certain circumstances arise (such as a long-term care situation), make your children aware of this immediately. Discuss their ability and willingness to help, and if needed explore other options together. If you feel good about your financial situation, offer your children any financial truths you’ve learned. 3. Plan for the unexpected. An unexpected disability or death has the potential to greatly affect your child’s financial situation and may even leave you with unanticipated responsibility. Ask your children if they have life and disability insurance, whether they’ve established a guardianship plan for their children. Also share with them the plans you’ve made. Provide information on where important documents can be found. 4. Listen and understand one another’s values. Whether you and your children usually agree about politics, religion or financial habits, it’s important to respect each other’s plans and wishes. Come to a mutual understanding about when financial conversations are appropriate and what types of financial decisions should be communicated.

Many families find it difficult to have financial discussions. And your kids may not be up for the discussion because they don’t want to think about their parents getting older. Invite your children to join you for a meeting with your financial advisor if you have one. A professional’s objective viewpoint can be especially valuable for financial conversations between generations of family members. Bennett Whitlock, CRPC ®, is a private wealth advisor and managing director with Whitlock Wealth Management, a franchise of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Learn more at or call 703-492-7732. 30 | September 2016 prince william living





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Sponsor of Lunch with the Publisher— Make the Most of Prince William Living

Custom Events Celebrate your next event with us! Private room available for rehearsal dinners, lunch meetings, birthday celebrations, retirement receptions. Many menu options available.

MOVIES ON THE BIG SCREEN Saturday, Sept 3rd — 7pm Karate Kid Saturday, Sept 10th — 7pm Zootopia

SUMMER CONCERTS (in front of Orvis)

Friday Sept 9th — 8pm Gonzo’s Nose Friday, Sept 23rd — 8pm Lloyd Dobler Effect

Fall Festival Saturday, Sept 10th


9110 Center St. | Manassas, VA

You’re invited to the 15th Annual

You’re invited to the 15th Annual

Town of Dumfries Fall Festival Celebration

Town of Dumfries Fall Festival Celebration

Where: Garrison Park (behind Town Hall)

Where: Garrison Park (behind Town Hall)

17755 Main Street

17755 Main Street

When: October 15, 2016

When: October 15, 2016

Time: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Time: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

prince william living September 2016 | 31


calendar Breakfast with an Expert Thurs. Sept. 1 | 8 a.m. PWAR 4545 Daisy Reid Ave., Suite 150, Woodbridge Join us for a cup of coffee, a bagel and information from an expert who will give you actionable advice you can put to work immediately in your business. RSVP breakfastwithanexpert.

First Friday

Fri. Sept. 2 | 6 - 9 p.m. Historic Downtown Manassas Another new month...time to celebrate First Friday! Come out and enjoy the shops and restaurants in Historic Downtown Manassas.

Stonebridge Town Center Fall Festival and Chili Cook-Off

Sat. Sept. 10 | 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center 14900 Potomac Town Pl., Woodbridge Join Prince William Living as we celebrate with Kojam and Stonebridge for its annual fall festival and chili cookoff! Exhibitors, vendors, and top notch entertainment will begin at 11 a.m. Look for lots of interactive activities, and prizes. The event will close with a family friendly movie at 7 p.m. on the Potomac Town center’s Mega Tron with popcorn available compliments of Wegmans! Admission is free.

WWII – Dance the Evening Away at the Rippon Lodge Canteen

Sat. Sept. 10 | 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. Rippon Lodge Historic Site 15520 Blackburn Rd., Woodbridge Dance the night away at Rippon Lodge as it is transformed into a dance hall reminiscent of a USO canteen with live Big Band music, delicious food and beverages. $30.00 per person; active military discount available; reservations required. 703-449-9812

Prince William Living Network – After Hours Tues. Sept. 13 | 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. Monza 9405 Battle St., Manassas Join our Network! Meet the people behind the award-winning magazine, Prince William Living. Enjoy non-alcoholic beverages and light appetizers. Start a tab and make plans to stay for dinner! RSVP

Arts Alive! 2016

Sat. Sept. 17 | 12 p.m. Hylton Performing Arts Center 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas Featuring Arts Council members and other community performers and fine artists, the 5th annual Arts Alive! Festival has something for everyone. Multiple stages of performances indoors and out, plus food and craft vendors with items for sale. Come spend the afternoon enjoying the arts!

4th Annual Brentsville Bluegrass Festival

Sat. Sept, 17 | 1 p.m – 4 p.m. Brentsville Courthouse 12229 Bristow Rd., Bristow Enjoy the lively sounds of local bluegrass bands at Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre! Along with music, local food vendors, antique vehicles, and games will be offered throughout the day for a perfect fall day. $10 per person, children under six are free.

Prince William Living’s Lunch with the Publisher

Wed. Sept. 21 | 11:30 a.m. Prince William Chamber of Commerce 9720 Capital Court #203, Manassas Are you an advertiser with Prince William Living or interested in becoming one? Meet the people behind greater Prince William’s premiere lifestyle magazine, as you learn about: Getting your press releases published, tying into the power of our social media presence, visibility packages that increase your reach to targeted consumers, tips on how to focus on your message. Lunch provided by Okra’s. RSVP at princewilliamliving. com/lunchwiththepublisher

Taste of Prince William Sat. Sept. 24 | 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Manassas Mall 8300 Sudley Rd., Manassas VAStrEats is proud to host a food truck festival where you can come and enjoy over 30 food trucks from all over the region. For more info and details, including what trucks are participating, visit the event website at Entry is free; sampling tickets for purchase.

Occoquan Arts & Crafts Festival Sat. Sept. 24 & Sun. Sept. 25 | 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Historic Occoquan, Mill St., Occoquan Occoquan hosts over 300 contemporary and country crafters and artisans from Occoquan and all around the United States. More than 10,000 people visit Occoquan for fun, food and shopping.

Vint Hill Fall Festival Sat. Sept. 24 | 10 a.m - 4 p.m. 4152 Aiken Drive, Vint Hill Amble through rows of craft vendors, sample good eats from the food trucks, and listening to performances, like folk storytelling and live music from their favorite local bands. Children will marvel at zoo animals, larger- than-life bubbles and even participate in familyfun activities, like Zumba, corn hole and crafts. Free to Attend. Rain or shine. All events listed on Prince William Living’s online and print calendars are subject to change. Check with the venue to verify dates, times and locations.

Have an event? Visit to submit details to our online calendar. 32 | September 2016 prince william living

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Top 5 Reasons to Attend Marketplace: 1. Support the “Buy Local” movement and help funnel essential revenue back into the local economy. 2. Discover exceptional products/services from providers you can trust, located from Bull Run Mountain to the Potomac River and in between. 3. Enjoy free samples from local restaurants and caterers. 4. Be in it to win it, with door prizes ranging from cash to gift baskets, electronics and more. 5. Experience what interests you! There is something for everyone! | 703-368-6600 prince william living September 2016 | 33

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©2016 Tailored Living, LLC. All rights reserved. Each franchise independently owned and operated. Tailored Living featuring *At participating franchises only. Ask for details on local special offers in your area. Some restrictions may apply. ©2015 Tailored LLC.onAll franchise independently owned operated. ©2016 Tailored available. Living, LLC. All rights reserved. Each franchise independently owned a is arights trademark of Tailored Living, LLC and a Home Franchise brand.and Franchise opportunities *At participating franchises only.Living, AskPremierGarage for details local specialreserved. offers in yourEach area. Some restrictions may apply.Concepts is a trademark of Tailored Living, LLC and a Home Franchise Concepts bra Tailored Living featuring PremierGarage is a trademark of Tailored Living, LLC and a Home FranchisePremierGarage Concepts brand.


*At participating franchises only. Ask for details on local special offers in your area. Some restrictions may apply. *At participating franchises only. Ask for details on local special offers in your area. Some restrictions may apply.

©2016 Tailored Living, LLC. All rights reserved. Each franchise independently owned and operated. Tailored Living featuring PremierGarage is a trademark of Tailored Living, LLC and a Home Franchise Concepts brand. Franchise opportunities available. ©2016 Tailored Living, LLC. All rights reserved. Each franchise independently owned and operated. Tailored Living featuring PremierGarage is a trademark of Tailored Living, LLC and a Home Franchise Concepts brand. Franchise opportunities available.

©2015 Tailored Living, LLC. All rights reserved. Each franchise independently owned and operated. Tailored Living featuring PremierGarage a trademark Tailored Living,independently LLC and a Home Concepts brand. ©2015 Tailored Living, LLC. Allisrights reserved.ofEach franchise ownedFranchise and operated. Tailored Living featuring PremierGarage is a trademark of Tailored Living, LLC and a Home Franchise Concepts brand.

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Call 571-408-2100 | Woodbridge | 14555 Potomac Mills Road

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703.392.6260 Advertiser Index ACTS...........................................................................................36 Ameriprise–Whitlock Wealth Management.............................30 Apple FCU..................................................................................30 Artisan Laser Skin Care.............................................................15 Beautiful Moments by Amy......................................................36 Beitzell Fence.............................................................................35 Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute............................................. C2 Brennan’s Heating & Air Conditioning......................................3 CASA...........................................................................................36 Competitive Edge......................................................................18 Dance Etc....................................................................................33 Dansk Day Spa...........................................................................34 East to West Embroidery & Design..........................................18 Everest College..........................................................................35 Furr Roofing...............................................................................33 Giorgio’s Family Restaurant.....................................................34 Give Back Prince William..........................................................36 Greater Prince William Community Health Center.................36 Habitat for Humanity.................................................................33 Hometown Estate Planning......................................................23 Hylton Performing Arts Center.................................................15 Imagewerks................................................................................36 Magnificent Belly Dance...........................................................36 Manassas Chorale.....................................................................35 Mark Gilvey Creative.................................................................36

36 | September 2016 prince william living

Merry Maids.................................................................................9 Novant Health............................................................................14 Occoquan Fall Arts & Crafts Show.............................................9 Okra’s .........................................................................................31 Patriot Scuba..............................................................................34 Peggy and Bill Burke, Virginia Realty Partners, LLC...............26 Potomac Shores Golf Club..........................................................9 Prince William Chamber of Commerce...................................33 Prince William County Office of Elections...............................37 Prince William Courage.............................................................36 Prince William Ice Center............................................................9 Prince William County Library System ...................................34 Rebounderz................................................................................32 Robert Jinks Photography........................................................34 Semper K9..................................................................................36 Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center.....................................31 Tackett’s Mill..............................................................................31 Tailored Living...........................................................................35 Town of Dumfries......................................................................31 Tribute at Heritage Village....................................................... C4 Vint Hill Fall Festival..................................................................19 Vintage Moving & Storage.......................................................36 Westminster at Lake Ridge.......................................................23 Yankey Farms.............................................................................18 Yellow Cab.................................................................................36 Youth for Tomorrow..................................................................25

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Order your subscription today to Prince William Living $ SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TODAY! magazine only $15 per year! 12 issues Order online today at or complete this form and mail it to the address below. Your information: Name: ___________________________________________ Address: __________________________________________

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Are you a commuter? You can vote absentee in advance of Election Day. Pick up a free copy of Prince William Living at one of the following fine locations: Chairman At-Large Appliance Connection Corey A. Stewart 13851 Telegraph Road, Suite 101, Woodbridge McCoart Administration Building City of Manassas 1 County Complex Court, Prince William 9027 Center Street, Manassas Brentsville District City of Manassas Park Jeanine Lawson One Park Center Court 9440 Innovation Drive, Manassas Manassas Park Coles District Discover Prince William & Manassas Martin E. Nohe 10611 Balls Ford Road, Suite 110, Manassas 13476 Dumfries Road, Manassas Edward Kelly Leadership Center Potomac District 14715 Bristow Road, Manassas Maureen S. Caddigan, Vice Chair Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo Building Historic Manassas Inc 15941 Donald Curtis Drive, Suite 145, Woodbridge Visitor’s Center at the Train Depot 9431 West Street, Manassas Gainesville District Pete Candland Manassas Park City Schools 7001 Heritage Village Plaza, Suite 210, Gainesville One Park Center Court, Suite A, Manassas Park

Prince William Parks and Recreation 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 There are 13 more reasons to vote in advance 200 Mill Street, Occoquan Prince William County The Sign Shop Office of Elec ons of Election Day by an absentee ballot. 2603 Morse Lane, Woodbridge Town of Dumfries Main Office 17755 Main Street, Dumfries

of Elec ons:

9250 Lee Avenue, Suite 1 Student away? Long work hours? Town of Haymarket 15000 Washington Street, Haymarket Manassas, VA 20110 Mason Enterprise Illness orCenter Disability? Vacation or travel? Occoquan District 10890 George Mason Cir., Bull Run Hall, Rm 147, Manassas Town of Occoquan Ruth Anderson Town Hall, 314 DMV Mill Street, Occoquan Office of Elec ons: Military Overseas? Pregnant? Northern Virginiaor Community College 2241-K Tackett’s Mill Drive, Woodbridge Manassas Campus, 6901 Sudley Road Town of Quantico 2731 Caton Hill Road District Woodbridge 15200 Neabsco Mills Road Quantico Vote Campus, by absentee ballot inWoodbridge advance of Election Day.337 5th Avenue,Woodbridge, VA 22192 Frank J. Principi Prince William Association of Realtors Virginia Realty Partners Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo Building 4545 Daisy Reid Avenue, Woodbridge 4004 Genessee Place #209, Woodbridge 15941 Donald Curtis Drive, Suite 140, Woodbridge Manassas Park – Parks and Recreation 99 Adams Street, Manassas

Neabsco District John D. Jenkins 4361 Ridgewood Center Drive, Prince William

Prince William County McCoart Administration Building 1 County Complex Court, Prince William

Prince William Ice Center To have an absentee ballot mailed to request yours at 5180you, Dale Boulevard, Dale City before 5pm, Tuesday November 1. Allow extra time for mail!

Or to vote your absentee ballot in person, go to one of Prince William County’s Absentee Vote Centers. See locations and hours at


Text PWCVOTES to 94253 to get Vo ng Updates and princeElec william living April 2016 | 37 on Reminders!

@ PWC Office of Elec ons

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