Month: November 2016

Featured Post, Notes from the Publisher

Publishers Notes

By Bob Tagert      Well we barely made it through an election and are coming up on the end of 2016. Lord knows what our world will be like next year this time, but I for one have had enough of political discord. Let us all look forward to the holiday season and time with those we love. If you are out shopping check out some of the offers in the ads in this issue and shop locally. There are a bunch of great stores in Old Town. If you are looking for that gift that keeps on giving, look at the Pearmund Cellars ad on the inside back cover. For $199 you can order the twelve wines of Christmas for the holidays. If you order it for someone else, make sure that they like to share because there are some very good wines in this package. Speaking of wines, Happy 3rd Anniversary to our friends Bill and Caroline Ross and River Bend Restaurant and Wine Bar. For this months Road Trip I stayed in Alexandria as is my habit in December. I like being home for the holidays. This is a beautiful town that is changing rapidly. There is new development on the waterfront while three burger restaurants are within 5 blocks of each other. Speaking of that, think about Old Town when you set out to celebrate the holidays and when hunger strikes or you an adult beverage of your choice there are all kinds of great restaurants and bars to choose from. Our favorites are all advertising in this issue! Many thanks to you all for reading us and to all who support us with advertising dollars. We wouldn’t be where we are if it weren’t for all of you. Have a very Merry Christmas and a…

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Dining Out, Wining & Dining

Fish Market Restaurant and Anchor Bar

By Bob Tagert Fish Market Restaurant and the Anchor Bar Eat Fish, Drink Beer, Live Longer! Established in 1976, this month’s restaurant is one of the original eateries that helped put Old Town Alexandria on the map and, is for me, a trip down memory lane. When I came to Old Town in 1977 the Fish Market became my go-to bar and restaurant. We would gather at the then, Brass Bar, for beers in the afternoon. It was the gathering place for many of the locals back then…businesspersons, shopkeepers and artists from the Torpedo Factory. Back then, the restaurant reached all the way to Union Street at the Raw Bar. There were four bars on the main floor with a few more upstairs. Times have changed and the place has changed but the atmosphere and food quality is just as good as back then and the menu has been upgraded to include very diverse offerings. Then, as now, the Fish Market is still putting Old Town on the map. About 6 years ago, Franco Landini and his son Noe bought the restaurant from the estate of Mr. Ray (Giovannoni) who founded the restaurant. The Landini’s immediately gutted the place, took out a bar, and rebuilt the entire place including a new and modern kitchen. Cory Fey, now the Corporate Executive Chef, was brought in to run the kitchen and he added more items to the list of fried, broiled or steamed fish choices. Today, the restaurant offers a raw bar, soups and chowders, starters and salads, sandwiches, burgers & tacos, grilled platters, fried platters, specialties, nautical pastas, sides and a kid’s menu. The menu is very extensive but many favorites have remained over the years.   First and foremost, the Fish Market has always been noted for its 32-ounce schooner…

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Mosby’s Confederacy

By Doug Coleman MOSBY’S CONFEDERACY Anyone driving around in the Warrenton and Middleburg area has probably seen the signs letting them know they are in the “Mosby Heritage Area.” Once known as “Mosby’s Confederacy” it was made up of Loudoun, Fairfax, Fauquier, Clark, Warren and Prince William County. So, who was Mosby? John Singleton Mosby was born in Powhatan County in 1833. His family moved to Albemarle County in 1840. In 1847 he enrolled in Hampden Sydney College, which did not work out. In 1850 he enrolled in the University of Virginia, where he was expelled for shooting a townie named Turpin in the neck (dueling was considered a violation of the University’s honor code). Mosby was tried for unlawful shooting and given a year in jail. His family had some influence, so he was pardoned by the governor and his substantial fine forgiven by the legislature. His arrest and trial was a turning point for Mosby. He had grown to respect his prosecutor, William Robertson, and expressed an interest in the law. Robertson encouraged him and gave him access to his law library while he was jailed. After his pardon, he studied law under Robertson and joined the Virginia Bar. He married in 1857 and had two children by the time things were heating up in 1860. He opposed secession. Still, when the North invaded, he joined the army as a private and fought at First Manassas. He subsequently scouted for Stuart’s cavalry during the Peninsular Campaign in 1862, where he was captured and imprisoned in Washington’s Old capitol Prison. He was exchanged very quickly and returned to service. Following the battle of Fredericksburg in December, Mosby served with Stuart to disrupt supply and communications behind Yankee lines. Mosby was about to become famous as Lee authorized Mosby to…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

ICE, ICE Baby!

ICE, ICE Baby!   It is officially the holiday season and we are celebrating big time in the Harbor. My very favorite event is here – ICE! If you have been following this column for the last several years you know that this is probably one of the Delmarva (DE, MD, VA) regions most unique holiday happenings. This year’s theme is “Christmas Around the World” and it is a fitting tribute to the many cultures that not only live in our area but visit by the thousands every year. The 9 degree Fahrenheit walk-through exhibit showcases holiday traditions from Germany, the United Kingdom, Mexico and more. Adults and kids alike can enjoy the two-story ice slides (I make at least one slide every year and am probably one of only a handful of 63 year olds that does), the Parade of Toys, a live ice carving by master artisans and several interactive photo opportunities including sitting in Santa’s sleigh – all experienced in the comfort of a provided blue parka (these parkas do not have pockets, however, so bring your gloves).   Due to space constraints in this fun-filled issue, I don’t have much room to pontificate on everything that I wanted to touch on when it comes to this year’s Christmas on the Potomac (COTP) since I want to entice you with some great photos as well. The Gaylord National Resort has been hosting COTP for the past 6 plus years or so and every year it just gets better. This year they have added a Christmas Village complete with a Build-A-Bear section, a Tea Cup ride – think of a mini version of the tea cup ride at Disneyland – in addition to last year’s indoor carousel and my new favorite, the Cookies with Mrs. Claus experience. Kids…

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On the Road, Pets, Places, & Things

On the Road

Our Publisher and our good friends and longtime Old Town Crier readers, Kathleen McMannus and Dan Burns, checking out issues from over the years during a visit to their waterfront home in Noank, Connecticut. After many years away from the area, Kathleen and Dan split their time between Connecticut and National Harbor these days.

Beauty & Health, First Blush

Product of the Month: Farmaesthetics Nourishing Lavender Milk

Farmaesthetics Nourishing Lavender Milk – $39 Available online via and at their Flagship Skincare Boutique in Newport, RI and other high end specialty shops. What It Says It Does: Herbal combination feeds the skin, moisturizing and conditioning the face and body Soy Oil evens skin tone, softens fine lines and is light but emollient Calendula heals and mends skin Free of synthetics and safe for all ages Perfect under makeup Safe for those with nut allergies Full of conditioning and restorative natural ingredients, this clean, fragrant nourishing lotion is perfect for treating delicate tissue, while managing mature, dry or damaged skin. Gentle enough for use on a child, yet powerful enough to be used by the world’s leading spa professionals in facials and body treatments alike. Our Thoughts: This lotion lives up to the hype as far as moisturizing is concerned. The lavender scent is a little too strong at first application but mellows out after a while. We used it both on our faces, necks and arms and it takes a bit more than the “small amount” on the fingertips recommendation by the company. They do indicate that it is best when used on damp skin and that does make a difference. If you are a fan of lavender, this is a good product for you. Ingredients Certified Organic Soy Oil Calendula Witch Hazel Lavender Essential Oil Beeswax Lecithin Borax Xantham gum Farmaesthetics is 100% natural and contains certified organic ingredients, are hypo-allergenic, non-irritating and dermatological tested, with a shelf life of two years from the date of opening.    

Business Profile

The Christmas Attic

By Bob Tagert   The Christmas Attic             Those of you who are new to Old Town Alexandria might be thinking that The Christmas Attic is the second album by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, a rock opera, and the second installment of their Christmas Trilogy. Since the mid-70’s, The Christmas Attic store in Old Town has lived up to the opening line in the TSO’s classic song…       In this room where shadows live And ghosts that fail learn time forgives Welcome friends please stay a while Our story starts with one small child Who spend her nights in attics dark Where dreams are stored like sleeping hearts In the early 1970’s Nita Whitesel opened The Christmas Attic above her husband’s frame shop at 125 South Union Street in Old Town Alexandria. There were a lot of galleries in Old Town back in those days and a frame shop was a good idea…buy a painting and go next door to have it framed. Over time the galleries became fewer and business began to slow but The Christmas Attic was becoming very popular. Nita and her family loved the spirit and joy of the holidays and she had been collecting Christmas ornaments her whole life, a tradition shared with her daughters, so she brought this spirit and excitement to her new enterprise. Her desire was to have a Christmas store that was open year round, and The Christmas Attic would be it. When I came to Old Town in 1977 and eventually started the Old Town Crier, Nita was hard to miss. She was active in almost every committee, as Old Town became one of the most popular destinations in the 80’s. She was a mentor to everyone and a supporter of all. Under her leadership the business began…

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Master's of Cuisine, Wining & Dining

Chef Troy Clayton

By Chester Simpson Chef Troy Clayton Geranio Ristorante 722 King Street Old Town Alexandria 703-548-0088     When did you first become interested in cooking and why did you pursue a culinary career? The first cooking memory is my little boy self, on a stepping stool making cheesecake with my Mother and Grandmother, perhaps six or seven years old. From a little boy who loved cheesecake, fast-forward a decade, to my 17 year old dishwasher self, seeing the Chefs at California Café as the coolest guys on the planet. It took me about a month to get out of the dish sink and onto the stove, and finding my passion, it is where you will find me today at Geranio.   Who/what has been the greatest inspiration in your career? Having worked with many Chef-mentors over many years, each has had a huge influence on my cooking, work ethic, and standards, so it’s a bit of a list. Donaldo Soviero in Umbria, Jilles Marcoullier in Paris, Anthony Worrall Thompson and Marco Pierre White in London, Jean Louis Palladin and Gunter Seeger in America would be the short list of Chefs, but honestly the greatest inspiration in my career are my sons, teaching them by example, the value of high standards and hard work.   What dish on your menu are you most curious to see how it is received by your clientele? Being a Chef/Owner is a lot of fun – creating new dishes while always adapting and refining the tried and true – so the only answer is….the next dish we create at Geranio. The creative process is collaborative with my kitchen team, and we are always curious how a new dish will be received, how many guests will order it, and how we will feel about our…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, To the Blue Ridge

A Christmas Story

By Julie Reardon   Merry Christmas from the Blue Ridge! A friend who lives in the mountains shares this story every holiday season and it’s one of my favorites. I only recently found out the author’s name since various versions have been around for many years, variously titled A Christmas Prayer and The Rifle, and that it’s not actually a true story. The author was a sheep herder and wrote it one freezing night while pondering how to explain the true meaning of Christmas to his children. I think you will enjoy it as much as I do. A Christmas Story By Rian Anderson Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities. But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving. It was Christmas Eve 1881. I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn’t been enough money to buy me the rifle that I’d wanted so bad that year for Christmas. We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible. So, after supper was over, I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible. I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn’t in much of a mood to read scriptures. But Pa didn’t get the Bible, instead he bundled up and went outside. I couldn’t figure it out because we had already done all…

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History, History Column

Red Jacket & Religion

Red Jacket & Religion By Sarah Becker ©2016   In 1754, during the French and Indian War, Benjamin Franklin presented his Plan of the Union to seven colonies at a meeting in Albany, New York. He acknowledged the Iroquois League, its national structure then explained his proposal. His Plan rejected, the Articles of Confederation followed in 1781. “It would be a strange thing if Six Nations of ignorant savages should be capable of forming a scheme for such an union, and be able to execute it in such a manner as that it has subsisted ages and appears indissoluble; and yet that a like union should be impracticable for ten or a dozen English colonies,” Franklin a member of the Pennsylvania Assembly wrote in 1751. The Iroquois League included six nations or tribes: the Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora. Seneca Chief Otetiani was born in 1758. A British ally during the Revolutionary War Otetiani was also known as Red Jacket. In the 1770s the British employed him as a messenger. Red Jacket who could not read, write or speak English became famous not only for his oratory—the Seneca renamed him Sagoyewatha—but also his opposition to Christianity and religious conversion. The United States Constitution, as ratified in 1788, gave Congress the power “To regulate commerce…with the Indian tribes.” In 1790 President George Washington nominated Colonel, and soon-to-be Postmaster General, Timothy Pickering to serve as Indian Commissioner. Pickering’s goals: “peace and gradual civilization of the Indians.” George Washington first met Red Jacket, leader of the Six Nations, in Philadelphia in 1792. “One of the General’s greatest wishes was to make peace with the Native American nations bordering the United States,” Mount Vernon historian Mary Thompson said. “As President he frequently welcomed delegations of Indians to the presidential mansion.” “In managing…

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