Day: August 1, 2015

Dining Out

Chadwick’s On the Strand – Still Changing

By Bob Tagert In 1749, when Alexandria was founded, only the fish and the seagulls ate and drank here. Where Chadwicks stands today (203 South Strand street), you would be treading water or riding a shallow-draft scow onto the sandy bank that bordered a high bluff behind you. The first person to leave his mark on this southern part of the waterfront was George Gilpin. Gilpin didn’t just build on this property, as had been required by an early law. Slicing into the cliff and using the excavated clay and rock to grade the slope, he created two new city blocks to the east. The town appointed him its engineer to supervise “banking out” all along the Alexandria shoreline. By 1812, the Strand was a recognized The three-story brick warehouse with its wooden roof stood 50 feet from the river. On the evening of Sept. 24, 1810, a candle left burning in a cooper’s shop toppled onto some shavings, igniting a fire that raged for four hours and destroyed every building on the block from Duke to Prince and Union Street to the river. The following fall a new brick warehouse facing the Strand, three stories high with a smaller brick warehouse attached at the rear, both roofed with slate and boasting iron fittings and stone door-and windowsills. The combined dimensions of 34 by 78 feet created the same footprint as for Chadwick’s kitchen and main dining room today. By 1847 tax ledger lists a “wharf and house on the alley and the Strand” with a value of $15,000. It is this structure that, incorporating perhaps some of the 1811 foundation, left parts of its grand stone and lower brick walls to Chadwicks. In 1861 Federal troops crossed the Potomac and occupied Alexandria. The properties were confiscated by the U.S….

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National Harbor

Get to the Harbor!

Well, we are back from our sojourn to the Wild West and I am getting back into the swing of things here at home. I am, however, having trouble getting inspired about anything earth shattering as subject material for this month’s National Harbor section. I have to admit that I have “ants in my pants” waiting for Succotash to open but it looks like it’s a ways away still. In times like this, I turn to my compadres at the Gaylord for subject matter and they always pull through. We are not in the habit of printing press releases as a general rule since our content is submitted by our writers. However, our Public Relations friend, Rachel, sent me the following press release and we decided it may be just the thing to cool us off during the month of “Dog Day” August! “It may be summer, but winter is coming and bringing with it the return of the Capital Region’s most anticipated holiday celebration – Christmas on the Potomac at Gaylord National Resort. With nearly 500,000 visitors each year, Gaylord National Resort will offer guests both new events and classic holiday favorites – including its award-winning ICE! – during its eighth annual celebration beginning November 21st through January 3rd.   Named one of the top 100 North American events by the American Bus Association, the resort’s world-famous, interactive walk-through ICE! presented by Pepsi®attraction returns with a brand new theme. Learn how Santa Claus started giving toys to good girls and boys in the retelling of the classic television special, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, celebrating its 45th anniversary this year. Artisans from Harbin, China will hand- carve more than two million pounds of colorful ice into larger-than-life ice sculptures and two-story ice slides that illustrate scenes from the Christmas…

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Last Word

Go Set a Watchman

By Miriam R. Kramer When To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee emerged onto the literary scene in 1960, it caused a furor, winning the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. It was also quickly turned into a classic movie starring Gregory Peck as the idealized hero lawyer, Atticus Finch, who battles to set free a black man unfairly accused of rape. Educators placed it in high school English curricula for its magical depiction of the comforts and rude awakenings of childhood as seen through the eyes of Atticus’s young daughter, Scout. She and her brother watch her father battle brutal racism in a 1930s Southern courtroom in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama. Harper Lee, now deaf and almost blind at 89, eschewed publicity and may not have originally intended to publish Go Set a Watchman, unearthed from a bank vault by her agent, lawyer, and publishers and written earlier than To Kill a Mockingbird. Signs point to it being originally a rough draft with a different plot, taking place when Scout is a young woman returning to Maycomb to visit her father, Atticus, and family. Yet Go Set a Watchman as a progenitor has its own moral labyrinths to ponder. Beloved literary heroine, Scout, has become a thoughtful yet still impulsive woman in her twenties: Jean Louise Finch. As Harper Lee’s first book in fifty-five years, Watchman has a heavy burden of expectations to bear from the public and the literary world, and it does not quite meet them. Its concerns are more initially abstract and complex than those that resulted in Mockingbird’s pitch-perfect and deeply affecting account of a Southern childhood with its happinesses, purity, Gothic scares, and angers at the unfairness of life. Yet it is worth reading just the same, to see Scout’s concerns in a 1950s…

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History Column

A Signal for Controversy

By Sarah Becker In June, readers were encouraged to remember Flag Day, a June 14th celebration which officially began in 1949.  In the introduction I wrote: George Washington’s Headquarters Flag, with its 13 stars, stood witness to the most pivotal battles of the American Revolution.  Not all flags are as enduring.  These days the Confederate flag has become…a signal for controversy.   “Alexandria flies the [Confederate] flag [because] it has a special place in the hearts of those who honor their noble, albeit defeated, ancestors,” the Alexandria Gazette wrote in 1970.  Black citizens, who associated the rebel flag with slavery, Jim Crow and the Ku Klux Klan, had ripped the flag to shreds.   Segregationist James M. Thomson, Alexandria’s Democratic majority floor leader of the Virginia House of Delegates, defended “the rights of those who cherish the [Confederate] flag as part of Virginia’s heritage.”   Unexpectedly, on June 17, 2015 Dylann Roof joined Charleston, South Carolina’s Emanuel A.M.E. church members for Bible class.  He listened, for an hour, to Rev. Clementa Pinckney’s religious lesson.  Then, tragically and without warning, Roof drew a semi-automatic gun.  He came to kill African-Americans. Roof murdered nine A.M.E. church members including Rev. Pinckney.  Photos later showed him holding not only a firearm but also a Confederate flag.  Young Roof preached white supremacy.   The Confederate flag did not exist prior to 1861.  On December 20, 1860 South Carolina voted to secede, to dissolve the Union.  Having decided that “no proposition for a compromise with the North…will be entertained,” South Carolina volunteers seized three of Charleston’s four federal forts: Moultrie, Johnson and Castle Pinckney.   President James Buchanan declined South Carolina’s December 28-29 demand to remove all Federal troops from Charleston.  To the contrary Buchanan announced that Fort Sumter would be defended.  President-elect Abraham Lincoln agreed.  …

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Grapevine & Vintner Profile

Greenhill Winery & Vineyards- Extraordinary in Everyway

By Frank Britt Rustic elegance. History. Heritage and serenity. Fine French-influenced wines made from 100% Virginia grapes and a legacy deeply rooted in Virginia soil. And, most certainly, one of the most beautiful winery properties in Virginia. Greenhill Winery & Vineyards is extraordinary! Almost a decade before acquiring the property, David Greenhill had been impressed by the picturesque landscape of Northern Virginia wine country. Wineries, complete with friendly winemakers and staff, beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, lush vineyards, and a sense of simple, earthy lifestyle, made him want to return again and again. An irresistible opportunity presented itself in 2013 when the property, which is in the town of Middleburg, became available. Passionate about the blossoming and “still pure” Virginia Wine Country, David Greenhill fell in love with the 128-acre estate bordered by the Little River. The property includes a natural pond, historic Manor House circa 1762, Tasting Room and 20-plus acres under vine. Current varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Riesling, Seyval Blanc, Viognier and Chardonnay. Greenhill Winery & Vineyards is proud to be part of the Loudoun County Mosby Wine Cluster and the Middleburg American Viticultural Area (AVA).According to well-known wine expert, Sébastien Marquet, Greenhill’s Consulting Winemaker, the experience here demystifies wine to its basic elements of terroir–nature, soil, climate–and the human “savoir faire.” His goal is to deliver the expression of the unique terroir, aroma and flavor, into every glass of Greenhill wine.The Tasting Room, with its earthy ambiance and friendly professional staff, provides the opportunity to try some of Greenhill’s award-winning wines. (The 2012 Bordeaux-style blend “Philosophy” and the 2013 Chardonnay received 89 points and 88 points, respectively, from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.) Greenhill’s signature Blanc de Blancs, made from 100% Chardonnay grapes in the Methode Champenoise style,…

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Go Fish

Graveyard Tourism

By Steve Chaconas Mallows Bay is a really cool spot on the Potomac River. Loaded with the largest collection of historic shipwrecks in the US from the Revolutionary War to the present with over 200 known vessels. It is the final resting places for World War I wooden steamships, and numerous Native American and Civil War archaeological sites! And yes, there’s bass fishing.   A group of 32 participants from 13 different sectors, including: paddlers and paddle outfitters, fishing and hunting guides, recreational and commercial fishers, law enforcement, local government, resource & park managers, tribal experts, historians, and local citizens, shared notes on Potomac River usage. The Mallows Bay-Potomac River Recreational Use Mapping Workshop was held all-day in June at the College of Southern Maryland in La Plata, MD.  Using Participatory Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology mapping, the participants provided detailed locations on how areas on the middle Potomac River, particularly in the vicinity of Mallows Bay, are being used, for what purpose, and times of year. Precise locations along the river from the 301 Bridge north to Marshall Hall were circled with an electronic pen and instantly entered into a GIS system to expedite the data collection. This technology speeds up the post-processing time and allows documentation of more thorough and accurate information since the polygons are exactly what the participants drew.   Central to the exercise was the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) application for Mallows Bay, the first in the Chesapeake Bay region to be nominated as a National Marine Sanctuary (NMS). This would enable NOAA to serve as the trustee for the nation’s system of marine protected areas, to conserve, protect, and enhance their biodiversity, ecological integrity and cultural legacy. The focus was on activities above, below and including Mallows Bay. To be noted, once nominated, a separate public process…

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Gallery Beat


By F. Lennox Campello If you are an artist in the DMV and do not know what Artomatic is, then shame on you – and you’re in for a pleasant surprise! I’m not going to spend a lot of precious newsprint describing this amazing opportunity for visual and performance artists – visit for all the details. But I will touch on some key things to wet your appetite: Artomatic (sometimes called AOM) is the world’s greatest open art show. Artomatic has been around for a couple of decades – each year it gets bigger and bigger! Artomatic is open to anyone, and they mean anyone, who wants to participate. Artomatics of the past have most likely been the world’s largest group art shows – I mean over 1,000 visual arts participating, dozens of theatre groups, dozens of performances, hundreds of parties. Artomatic is open 24 hours a day for whatever period it is staged for; there will be an Artomatic in 2015. Artomatic 2015 will be at 8100 Corporate Drive, Hyattsville, MD 20785. Dead tree media art critics hate Artomatic because it is open and democratic and avoids the curatorial hand – anyone can exhibit work. Artomatic is the best way on the planet for new art collectors to get exposed to thousands of pieces of affordable art. Artomatic is the best way on the planet for experienced art collectors to get exposed to new, undiscovered talent. Because of its sheer size, you cannot “see” Artomatic in just one visit – it takes multiple visits to “see it all” properly. The reason above is the main hidden reason why art critics hate AOM – it overloads their visual circuits when they attempt to see it all at once. There’s a lot of sex going on at Artomatic during the…

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Featured Post, From the Trainer

Pylometrics Part II

By Ryan Unverzagt Welcome back to another edition of “From the Trainer”. Hopefully, you have been staying active throughout the summer and remembering to stay hydrated. This article is the second of a two-part series about Plyometrics. In last month’s issue, I explained what plyometrics are and some important things to consider before trying this type of exercise such as age, strength, body weight, previous injuries, and training experience. Exercise safety is a top priority of mine because if you get hurt, that means you cannot exercise! Where is the benefit in that? Before jumping right into the plyometric exercises, I would like to explain how it works. The body is an extremely complex machine, especially during exercise. There are thousands of chemical reactions going on that allows our bodies to even move. These reactions work in harmony with our nervous system, which essentially dictates how the body responds to stimuli. The nervous system is integrated within our muscles to help detect body position changes. This phenomenon is called proprioception. These proprioceptors are sensitive to tension and stretch of the muscles. Plyometrics work because of the body’s stretch reflex. The stretch reflex is an involuntary response (contraction) to any stretching of the muscle. When the muscle is stretched out quickly, this reflex will kick in to tell the muscle to shorten in order to protect it from ultimately tearing. This leads me to mention the stretch-shortening cycle. The basis of this cycle is that a stretched muscle will store potential energy which contributes to a more powerful muscle contraction when combined with voluntary contraction (in this case, jumping). Now that you know the physiology behind plyometrics, let’s talk about the actual exercises and program design basics. The most common plyometric exercise is jumping rope. You probably have at least tried…

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Are you Drinking Enough? Water, that is!!

by Catherine Varchever Our bodies are made up of over 70% water and it is involved in almost every aspect of keeping our body’s biological processes running efficiently. Not counting perspiration, it is estimated that as adults we lose about 4% of our total body weight per day in water losses. This means, it is important to replace not only this water, but also the water we lose when participating in activities, especially in the summertime. How do you know how much water you should drink? Experts vary in their recommendations and the exact amount depends upon your body weight, where you live, how much exercise you do per day, and the type of environment in which you are living. But as a general rule, one quick way you can estimate how much you should be drinking is to take your body weight in pounds and divide that number by two. The result is the number of ounces that you should be drinking per day in terms of your water consumption. For example, if you are a lady and weigh 125 pounds/2 = 62.5, you should be aiming for at least 62.5 ounces of water per day. Plain water is generally the best for hydration. Avoid caffeine or alcohol as these can dehydrate you further. However, if you are working out in the heat and or perspiring extensively, then it is important to replenish the electrolytes that your body loses with either an electrolyte supplement or sports drink. Hydration and Heat You need to increase the amount of fluids you drink if you are out in the heat. Plan your water intake before you start working out. Because everyone is different it is difficult to state exact fluid requirements, but as a starting point here are some general guidelines you can…

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First Blush

Forget the Spa!

By Kim Putens During the dog days of summer, most of us need a pick me up to our beauty routines.  Forget the spa and save some money by giving yourself an at home facial.   Here are some easy steps on how to get a spa-worthy facial in the privacy of your own home and at a fraction of the cost. Step 1 – Get Your Face Squeaky Clean Use a good facial cleanser to rid your face of make-up and debris from the environment.  Be sure to use the right cleanser for your skin type.  If you are dry or sensitive, avoid cleansers with too many active ingredients, glycolic or alpha hydroxy acids.  If you are oily, be sure to use a cleanser that gets your skin and pores clean without stripping it. Step 2 – Scrub a Dub Dub Get rid of dead skin and rid pores of the gunk.  Find a physical exfoliant – one with some grit to get rid of the ick.  Beware of physical scrubs that use nutty ingredients as their scrubbing agent.  These can superficially scar the skin and cause problems during your not so youthful years.  Look for scrubs that use perfectly round spheres to ensure a safe exfoliating experience.  Examples of such are those with ingredients of diathomous earth or jojoba beads. Some tips on using a scrub: 1. If you use on dry skin, you’ll get a deeper exfoliation 2. For a good scrub, but not too deep, use on damp skin after you cleanse. 3. For a mild exfoliation, mix the exfoliant with your cleanser. Step 3 – Put on a Mask Even Though It isn’t Halloween Now that you’ve cleansed and scrubbed away the dead skin, apply a facial mask.  Masks come in many forms and have…

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