Year: 2017

From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Christmas On the Potomac 2017- Better than Ever!

By Lani Gering Christmas On the Potomac 2017 – Better than Ever! I am officially in the holiday spirit now! The tree lighting here in the Harbor took place a little bit early for my taste (November 12th) but I have to admit that it did give me a nudge toward getting psyched up for the season. As I write this I am also making my list for my contributions to Thanksgiving dinner – that will take place tomorrow – and watching one of the many Christmas shows on Hallmark….don’t judge me. It’s going to be a fabulous holiday season. Being the co-publisher of the OTC has a few perks and one of the best is being invited to the Media Preview of ICE! and the opening of Christmas On the Potomac at the Gaylord National Resort. I look forward to this event each year almost as much as I do 4th of July fireworks. Part of the allure is the fact that since this isn’t open to the public, it lends itself to a nice sized crowd and not a “ton” of kids. I know, I know, it should be all about the children but sometimes you just want to enjoy things with “child-like” adults. The 1964 TV classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, is this year’s theme for ICE!. Presented by Pepsi®, the 9-degree walk-through attraction features 13 scenes of more than two million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures. All of everyone’s favorite characters – Rudolph, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice and Santa– come to life. Probably my favorite part of ICE! each year is the thrill of sliding down the two-story tall ice slide. This year the slide is in the Island of Misfit Toys. I am probably one of the oldest, if not…

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Events, National Harbor

December National Harbor Calendar

Ongoing In the Harbor   Saturdays through December 23rd   1 – 2 pm – Live Holiday Entertainment on the Plaza 1 – 3 pm – Street Performers throughout the Harbor 2 – 4 pm – Santa at the Carousel & Capitol Wheel   Holiday Movies on the Big Screen On the Plaza 2 – 4 pm   2nd – How the Grinch Stole Christmas 9th – Elf 16th – A Christmas Story 23rd – Tis the Season to be Smurfy   Christmas On The Potomac Gaylord National Resort   Everything happens within the confines of the Resort making this a great one stop adventure. Below are some highlights of what is taking place. For detailed information log on to   ICE! – Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – Open Daily through January 1st JOY – A Holiday Spectacular – Live Entertainment Every night except Wednesday 6:30, 7:30 & 8:30 Tree Lighting and Laser Light Show – Following JOY. Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Breakfast Experience-Pienza in the Atrium Christmas Village – Ice skating, Cookies with Mrs. Claus, Carousel & Train Rides, Build-A Bear Workshop, Gift Shop and more!  


December Alexandria Calendar

1st-3rd, 8th – 10th, 15th – 17th   Del Ray Artisans’ 22nd Annual Holiday Market Fridays: 6-9 p.m. Saturdays & Sundays: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission: Free to browse Del Ray Artisans 2704 Mount Vernon Avenue 703-838-4827   Del Ray Artisans’ Annual Holiday Market offers unique handmade fine arts and crafts from local artists, including pottery/ceramics, photography, jewelry, fiber, paper crafts and glass. Artists donate a percentage of their sales back to Del Ray Artisans to help support future exhibits and programs. Different artists will be featured each weekend!   Through 16th   The Little Theatre of Alexandria’s “A Christmas Carol” Various times Admission: $17 The Little Theatre of Alexandria 600 Wolfe Street 703-683-0496   The Little Theatre of Alexandria rings in the holiday season with a return of the classic by Charles Dickens. Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly Victorian humbug, travels with ghostly guides through Christmas past, present, and future to find the true meaning of the holidays. Complete with special effects, Victorian carols, and Tiny Tim, “A Christmas Carol” is a must for the entire family.   1st & 2nd, 8th & 9th, 17th   Mount Vernon by Candlelight 5-8 p.m. Admission: $24 for adults; $16 for youth George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate 3200 Mount Vernon Highway 703-780-2000   This holiday season, experience Mount Vernon in the soft glow of candlelight! Come join the estate for candlelit character-guided tours of the first and second floors of the mansion, 18th-century dancing and fireside caroling. Guests will hear about the Washingtons’ holiday cooking and see a reproduction of Martha’s Great Cake. Visit the Slave Quarters, the Blacksmith Shop, and the Greenhouse and participate in 18th-century dancing. Aladdin the Christmas camel will also be on site.   Through the 24th   “Christmas at the Old Bull & Bush” at MetroStage Various times Admission: $60 MetroStage…

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Featured Post, Wining & Dining

Virginia Chestnuts Bring Back a Holiday Classic

Virginia Chestnuts Bring Back a Holiday Classic   By Lauren Evoy Davis   Did you know that a chestnut orchard is thriving in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains? It’s true. Virginia Chestnuts is a family owned and operated orchard that has deep roots in the heart of Nelson County. Although orchards can take many years to establish, their chestnut orchard yielded a robust harvest in 2017, which generated a lot of buzz and interest from local bakers, brewers, and distillers.   A Dream Deferred, Then Fulfilled   The story of the chestnut tree is one of survival. American chestnut trees were once grown in the United States but most trees succumbed to a bark disease, known as blight, in the early 1900′s. Still wanting a seasonal favorite, consumers began buying chestnuts from Asia and Europe. Today, many of the chestnuts consumed in the United States come from Italy, France, and China. Virginia farmers David and Kim Bryant dreamed of bringing the chestnut back to Virginia. David grew up in a cattle ranch family and Kim is a year-long gardener; both love being outside. They have had professional careers in the software development industry and are starting to look at a second career as they enter retirement in the next 10 years. The Bryants, both 53, purchased land in Nelson County, VA in 2003. After clearing the acreage needed for chestnut trees they began buying, planting, and growing 200 test trees to see if the crop was viable in the Virginia soil. Indeed, it was.   They purchased and hand-planted more than 1,600 Dunstan trees, an American-Chinese hybrid. Although blight resistant, they are not weather resistant. Between 2009 and 2014 the orchard experienced a harsh winter and later cicadas that threatened the trees, but in 2015 things began to…

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Pets of the Month, Pets, Places, & Things

Pets Of The Month December

Cupcake – Senior, Spayed Female, Domestic Shorthair Cupcake is a sweet as the most delicious frosting with sprinkles on top! This delightful kitty is currently residing in one of our staff offices at the shelter. Her officemate reports that Cupcake has been an amazing work buddy and is incredibly affectionate! She snoozes in a soft bed on top of the desk next to the keyboard so that her friends can still get work done (if they must…), but also give her chin scratches and ear rubs during their breaks in productivity. Cupcake is a fabulous cat, who doesn’t ask for a lot from her people. She just wants to be with you and keep you company, whether you’re working or playing. If you are looking for a sweet buddy to satisfy your snuggle-tooth, Cupcake is your gal!   *Thanks to a generous donor, my adoption fees have been paid!*   Parkour – Young Spayed Female, American Pit Bull Terrier Our sweet girl, Parkour, just had a quick weekend vacation at a foster home and here’s what they had to say about Parkour in a new home environment. “Parkour still has some puppy playfulness, and relishes long walks followed by long naps. She believes that humans make the best pillows. Parkour will rest her head on your arm or leg and softly snore for hours. If the weather’s cool, she’ll want to snuggle. She might need to hold your hand during a scary movie.”   Parkour can’t hide her sweetness for long. Her smile will spread to everyone she meets. She’s smart and curious. She starts a new experience with a little apprehension and quickly becomes comfortable. WMATA busses changed from “big, loud, scary monsters” to “something to keep an eye on” in a just a few days. Parkour is polite…

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Dining Out, Wining & Dining

Landini Brothers – Setting the Standard in Old Town!

By the Gastronomes   Landini Brothers – Setting the Standard in Old Town! The above moniker for one of Old Town’s most iconic restaurants has graced the pages of the Old Town Crier more than once over the past 29 plus years. Landini Brothers Restaurant opened their doors in 1979 and has been a favorite of the Gastronomes since the beginning. In fact, almost every new eatery that has opened over the course of the years has aspired to enticing the crowd that frequents LB’s. The place has a very loyal following. What has kept these loyal customers coming back for so many years? In our opinion, it boils down to three very simple reasons: A great drink pour, consistently good Tuscan and American cuisine and great service.   The first time I dined at Landini Brothers was about 30 years ago and I ordered Veal Landini for dinner. A few weeks ago I ordered it again as I dined with friends. I remembered how much I enjoyed this meal the first time around, but it seemed to have gotten better. This is the legacy of Franco and Noe Landini and their iconic restaurant…consistency in the kitchen has never wavered.   Landini’s is always a pleasant place to dine or join the locals at the bar. This is where the signature “Landini Pour” adult beverages are concocted. As one would expect, they serve a lot of traditional, upscale cocktails – one would be hard pressed to find another place that serves a better Manhattan, Martini or Old Fashioned. If these “old” standards aren’t your cup of tea, the bar staff are very proficient at those still popular Cosmos and Lemon Drops. Manning the bar for the most part of the week are Susan Hergenrather and Mitch Hughes – they have…

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Notes from the Publisher

Publisher’s Notes

By Bob Tagert As I write this the day before Thanksgiving, it is 57 degrees outside and the sun is shining. I hope this weather holds for a few more weeks so I can sail one more time. Speaking of sailing, if you get this early enough check out the Scottish Christmas Walk and the Holiday Boat Parade of Lights during the first weekend in December in Old Town. While the tree lighting the day after the Thanksgiving might be the “official” kick off to the season, this is the weekend that seriously kicks it off. Check out the calendar of events for details. This is what is in store for you as you peruse this issue…we are bringing it “Home for the Holidays” in Road Trip and decided that it was time to highlight my favorite hometown dining establishment, Landini Brothers, in Dining Out. I have been frequenting Landini’s since the day it opened in 1979. As you begin your holiday shopping you might want to consider Carol Supplee’s Imagine Artwear – featured in this month’s Business Profile. Check out Aladdin the Christmas Camel in the Personality Profile. For those of us who toured Mount Vernon too many years ago, this is a reason to make a return trip. Lori Welch Brown offers some holiday tips to get through the season in Open Space and Jeff McCord updates us on St. John and writes about other storms that bashed the islands over the centuries in Caribbean Connection. Nancy Bauer writes about Christmas shopping for Virginia wine presents in Grapevine. You might want to pick up some bottles for yourself and sample your prospective gift before you buy. We bid a fond farewell to our High Notes contributor, Chris Anderson, with this issue. He has been a big asset for…

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Beauty & Health, Spiritual Renaissance

A Holiday Miracle 52 Years in the Making

By Peggie Arvidson A Holiday Miracle 52 years in the Making Holidays mean family in all their messy, human glory. Holidays don’t always go as planned but this year I’m able to revel in the magic of miracles that happen as we change our perspective on things. For years I thought if I bought enough bling for everyone on my list, then I’d be “winning” the holidays. I knew that in giving I’d receive and I figured that by giving enough, I’d cover up the hole in my heart that adoption left on my psyche. Let me be clear, my family is first rate. My parents are loving and selfless and truly do everything “right” by way of myself and my two siblings. Still adoption leaves its mark on even the well-adjusted and I am no exception. This is the story of how my adoption scar is finally beginning to fade. The adoption debate is one I’m mired in nearly daily as I work with adult adoptees and their families to heal wounds that are hard to understand and even harder to see. I began searching for my biological family when I was 16. In the days before the internet this was even more arduous than it is now. My adoption was closed and I had a hard time tracking down details about my birth and the people who brought me into the world. If you’re not an adoptee, this may seem like a colossal waste of time and energy. If you’re an adoptive parent you may feel that your child’s desire to find their birth family is a negative statement about you. Neither is true. Adoptees are the only people on the planet who are denied their own identity. Understanding and having a connection to our biological identity, for…

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Business Profile

Carol Supplee and Imagine Artwear

By Bob Tagert Carol Supplee and Imagine Artwear   This month’s business profile will be fun to write. Imagine Artwear is one of the great success stories in Old Town Alexandria and owner Carol Supplee has worked tirelessly behind the scenes with the city and business groups. I started the Old Town Crier in January o1988 and when Carol bought her store in 1992 she began advertising with us and has every month since. I love success stories in Old Town, but it takes hard work.   Carol first discovered the American crafts world as she pursued a journalism and history degree at Northwestern University and that is where her interest in hand crafted art emerged. “My Mom loved to sew and she was very good at it. She made all of the clothes for her three daughters and she taught me to sew as well,” says Supplee. Carol’s Grandmother’s last name was Penland as in the name of the Penland School of Crafts established in the early 1920’s in North Carolina and is the largest and oldest professional craft schools in the United States. Carol married and when her husband was transferred to Virginia she came along and transferred to George Washington University to continue her education and graduated with a degree in Art History and a Masters in Museology. In 1976 Carol worked for the American Freedom Train to commemorate the United States Bicentennial. The train itself consisted of 10 display cars each representing a segment of American history. Her job was to select all of the American Art for one of the cars. The train carried more than 500 treasures of Americana throughout the 48 states.   Later Carol moved into the corporate world and worked with many prestigious ad agencies including Williams Whittle of Alexandria in…

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Caribbean Connection, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Hurricanes and the Solace of the Witnesses

Hurricanes and the Solace of the Witnesses By Jeff McCord Last week my wife, accompanied by a knowledgeable friend, left our Blue Ridge cabin refuge to visit St. John and appraise the damage to our home. Ours is fixable. Many aren’t. She aptly described the mood on-island: “There’s so much destruction that one has to be cheerful; it’s all about survival and there’s no room for pessimism.” Optimism is in the air in the islands as trees, flowers, birds and animals recover and return. On St. Thomas, cruise ships again visit Charlotte Amalie. Beautiful Magens Bay beach has reopened. Cruise ships will also soon resume visiting St. Croix where resorts have reopened. And, on St. John, Hawksnest and Honeymoon beaches are open again. Amid recovery, people have some time for reflection. They look for meaning in the catastrophe – or, at least solace. Roman philosopher Livy was correct when he said “the best medicine for a sick mind is the study of history.” So, as a comfort, I looked at eyewitness accounts of previous historic Caribbean hurricanes. The first European witness to such a storm was Christopher Columbus. During his fourth and final voyage of discovery, he commanded a fleet of four ships. He’d just returned to the Caribbean from Spain in June, 1502, when he became worried. From Taino Native Americans, on previous voyages he had learned of the fearsome storms that they called “hurakans.” Early on June 30, he recognized signs of one approaching and sought shelter by anchoring his fleet off the leeward shore of Hispaniola.  He told King and Queen of Spain Ferdinand and Isabella what happened in a letter: “The tempest was terrible throughout the night, all the ships were separated, and each one driven to the last extremity, without hope of anything but death;…

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