Month: August 2018

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

Happy Trails To Neighbors In Orlean, VA

By Julie Reardon Happy Trails To Neighbors In Orlean, VA Long before any of them were acquainted with social networks online, a group of friends and neighbors envisioned opening a series of connected trails in Northwestern Fauquier County near the small village of Orlean. The group, mostly horseback riders and residents of two major roads just north of the village, included hikers, mountain bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts. “It really started as a meet your neighbors sort of thing,” said one of the original founding members, Donn Smith. About that time he’d moved a few miles down the road to a property on acreage that came with a network of trails that had been maintained by the Warrenton Hunt. “We met a lot of our new neighbors on those trails,” he said. Since it was formed over a dozen years ago, the Orlean Community Trail System (OCTS) has grown into an interconnected network of trails that gets larger every year, aided these days by social networking. Although initially communication was by mailed newsletters and invitations, communication is now mainly via email and social media. The group has its own website and Facebook page. “It’s really more about the community than the actual trails,” Smith, who serves as OCTS membership director, explained. “If you have property, at some point you might find yourself wanting to go off that property and so you ask your neighbor if that would be OK, and maybe you offer your land for your neighbor to use in the same manner.” People were immediately receptive to the idea, and the OCTS was born. Rather than knocking on strangers’ doors seeking landowner permission, OCTS hosts community events where neighbors meet each other. The OCTS mission statement reads, in part, that it is “a non-profit community-based organization of members…

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Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

“Brightside Of The Moon” by Hot fUSs

By Ron Powers “Brightside Of The Moon” by Hot fUSs In my quest for the new, exciting, unique and interesting, I recently flew to London to see what its scene was contributing to music. It was there where I ironically discovered, not in a London Club, but on a streaming platform, a London based band released on a US label, Hot fUSs. London based punk rock band Hot fUSs bring us the unique blend of both grit and charm on their debut single “Brightside of the Moon”. If you are or were ever a fan of Iggy Pop, then you will love this raw and exciting rock ‘n’ roll. With rough-edged production juxtaposed against melodic pop sensibility, Hot fUSs’ “Brightside of The Moon” introduces a vibrant and promising new act. “Brightside of the Moon” kicks off with a snarl drenched in delay and fuzz effects accompanied by two scrappy guitar rakes. Then it’s off to the races with Johnny Ramone–esque guitars, drums with just the right amount of stomp and snap, and a subtle synth under the chorus that gives Hot fUSs’ retro vibe a tasteful modern touch. Added to all that are crispy megaphone vocals. The verses delineate the indictment of an enemy. They describe a ruthless sleaze bag, and a victim turned avenger putting his retributive foot down. When the infectious chorus kicks in we hear a male and female lead vocal line sung in unison. The lyrics “I’m gonna get you back, as a matter of fact, sneaky little rat, here comes the cat” are sung with a melodic hook that gets in your head in all the right ways. The members of Hot fUSs are no slouches musically either. What may be confused with simplistic chords and straightforward rhythm in actuality reflects a deep understanding of…

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Let's Eat, Restaurant Guide, Wining & Dining

Brick Wood Fired Bistro Spicy Mussels

Brick Wood Fired Bistro Spicy Mussels Recipe:  (Serves 5-6) 5 lbs PEI Mussels 1 lb Cooked Mexican style chorizo 5 tblsp Chopped garlic 5 tsp Red chile flake 1/2 Cup blended oil Fish Broth (see recipe) 2 Cups diced tomatoes For Garnish (optional) Grated parmesan Fresh chopped parsley & oregano Fresh baguette or other crusty bread for dipping Ingredients for fish broth: 5 Roma tomatoes 1 bunch cilantro 1 clove chopped garlic ½ cup extra virgin olive oil 1/2 cup sherry 1 10 oz can clam juice or fish stock Place the tomatoes, cilantro and garlic on a roasting rack or pan, coat with oil and roast at 450 degrees for 40 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes then add to a blender with clam juice and sherry and puree. For the Mussels: In a medium pot over high heat add oil, garlic, chorizo and tomatoes and saute until garlic is golden brown (about 4 min). Add mussels and fish broth, cover and cook until mussels are fully open. Remove and transfer mussels into a serving bowl and top with hot broth. Garnish with parmesan cheese, parsley and oregano. Serve immediately.

From the Bay, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

A Dinghy Diary

A Dinghy Diary by Molly Winans A few evenings ago, while docking after a sweet sail and sunset, a friend and I were on deck, preparing to retrieve dock lines, discussing nostalgia. I had just told the crew about how our stormy and then overcast trip home from Oxford felt autumnal to me, except for one major detail: I was barefoot. I knew my comfortable barefoot days were numbered. I told my friend that I understood how fall could make him feel yearnings for the past with leaves turning and summer ending. He said, “I don’t just feel nostalgic for summer. It’s more visceral than that. I feel nostalgic for like eighth grade.” Such moments—a guy pushing 40, leaning on a shroud and talking about how smelling leaves makes him miss junior high—are hard for this fallen French literature major to shake. I get how an image, such as one yellow leaf stuck to your windshield or the sight of a flock of geese, can transport you to another time and place, du temps perdu. The next day, I jotted down a list of memories of the summer. The day after a steamy St. Michaels visit, sailing down Eastern Bay in a surprisingly fresh breeze. Before breakfast, diving off a swim platform into a nettle-free Rhode River. At anchor on the Magothy, my teenage niece asking if we could turn the radio off to just listen to the night sounds. While riding in the SpinSheet Protector with Dan Phelps for the Governor’s Cup start, watching him be as excited as a kid with his new camera lens in hand. The list went on, but one vivid memory kept bobbing back to the surface. Some back story: it all started at a dinner party at Rebecca and Chris Neumann’s house. I…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Summertime is Winding Down…Again!

By Lani Gering Summertime is Winding Down…Again! I can’t believe that is has been a year ago that I was writing about this very same subject. Time flies when you are having fun! I have to admit that I am pretty tired of the rain we have had this summer since it seemed it came down only on the weekends so I hope the waning days of the solstice bring on more sunny days! The coming of fall means that some of the events that make this a fun place to live and visit cease only to make way for upcoming holiday happenings. The Thursday “Date Night” and the Sunday “Family Night” movie screenings end this month along with the Friday Night Fun Night activities and the Sunset Concert Series. I celebrated 7 years of living here in the Harbor last month and I have to admit that I probably haven’t taken advantage of as many of the free events that have taken place over the years that I should have, but this summer has been different. My schedule has been such that I have spent several Friday evenings having some fun on the plaza with old friends and making new ones and have watched my fair share of movies on the big screen on both Thursdays and Sundays. I’ve only made it to two Sunset Concerts since they are on Saturday and this year it isn’t because we were sailing but because of the damn rain for the most part and a couple of weekend trip to the mountains. Just like last year I am hoping that this column will get you revved up for joining in on some of the last of the summer fun. Unless you plan to get to the Plaza early to score a seat…

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Arts & Entertainment, Events, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

September National Harbor Events

Harbor Events September 2018 Ongoing through October Fitness on the Potomac On the Plaza Participate in FREE fitness classes on the Plaza. All classes run from 7-8 pm with Saturday morning Yoga that runs from 10-11 am. Mondays – Cardio Blast Tuesdays – Kickboxing Wednesdays – Zumba Saturdays – Yoga Farmers Market Returns American Way Sundays through December 23rd 11am – 3 pm Community Foodworks has pulled together many local vendors for the Market this summer.  Local farmers and food producers will be offering fresh produce—apples, locally-baked breads, humanely-raised meats and dairy products, as well as coffee, eggs and more. Vendors may vary during the season. Ongoing Through September Summer Fridays Coming to An End! On the Plaza 4 pm- 8 pm Start your weekend right with Summer Fridays at National Harbor! Play Corn hole, Connect Four, Giant Jenga, hula hoop, hopscotch, and more with family and friends. Enjoy performances by Bobby McKey’s, giveaways, and listen to the DJ spin your favorite summer jams. And of course, joining us means you get front row seats to the best sunset view in the DMV. Get your cameras ready and your flip flops on! Movies on the Potomac On the Big Screen On the Plaza Nothing says summer like an evening under the stars—and there’s no better way to enjoy the season than movie nights at National Harbor. Pack your chairs, grab food to go from one of our delicious dining establishments, and meet us at the Plaza screen for a free evening of fun! Date Night Movies – 7 pm 6th – Black Panther 13th – Black Panther-2nd showing 20th – Last Call: Perfect Pitch 27th – Marshall Family Night Movies – 6 pm 2nd- A Wrinkle In Time 9th – The Wizard of Oz 16th – The Wiz (1978) 23rd – Moana 30th –…

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Dining Out, Wining & Dining

Augie’s Mussel House

By the Gastronomes Augie’s Mussel House This Dining Out is going to be a little bit different than the norm. Consider it more of a teaser of bigger things to come than a showcase. Augie’s Mussel House recently opened in the old space that we affectionately knew for many years as Le Gaulois at 1106 King Street. It’s most recent occupant was Hunting Terrace Steakhouse that closed after the untimely death of then owner, Jeff Yates. Augie’s is the product of the team of Chad and Justin Sparrow and Larry Walston. These guys are the brainchildren behind Mason Social that opened on North Henry three years or so ago. It appears that they wanted to test the waters with their concept before they took to revamping the entire interior and a good portion of the exterior. The plan is to begin construction sometime in November, however, in the meantime they have the patio – one of the best in Old Town – and the upstairs bar and dining room open for business. We bet many of you didn’t realize that there is a bar upstairs, did you? This means that you will be able to check the concept yourself over the next couple of months as well. According to their website, St. Augustine is the Patron Saint of Brewers and since they are serving all sorts of craft brews – many with Belgian roots – it was only appropriate to name the joint Augie’s. There are 7 draft beers and many in bottles as well as a full bar with 4 signature drinks and a nice wine list. You will not leave this place thirsty. The Belgian influence comes into the picture with the menu. Mussels are a Belgian favorite as are waffles, however, we only saw one entrée that…

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Caribbean Connection, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Visiting the Virgin Islands Year Round!

Caribbean Connection Visiting the Virgin Islands Year Round! The weather in the Virgin Islands, as in most places in the Caribbean, doesn’t vary much from season to season. The difference between average temperatures in the summer and winter is approximately 10 degrees Fahrenheit, so the high season for tourism is dictated more by the weather in other places than in the Virgin Islands. Winter in the Virgin Islands is like the month of May in much of the North American Southeast, with an average temperature hovering around 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius). This makes winter the most popular time to visit, as North Americans escape the freezing temperatures of their home towns. Summer brings hotter weather and humidity to the Virgin Islands, and both summer and fall have a greater chance of rain than other times of year. The hurricane season officially lasts from June 1 to November 30, but that shouldn’t deter a visit. More hurricanes hit the U.S. mainland than the Virgin Islands, and with today’s meteorological technology, there should be more than enough warning to take proper precautions. The crowds are the most obvious difference between visiting during the tourist season versus the off-season, but this difference causes more changes than travelers might initially realize. High Season in the Virgin Islands Visiting the Virgin Islands in the high season of tourism is quite an experience. The islands become a hustling, bustling swirl of vacationers, all reveling in the beautiful weather and the Caribbean experience. Hotels, shops, and restaurants offer their most extensive services with a smile. The crowds can be exciting and exhilarating, but also a little daunting. This is definitely an ideal time for small groups: singles, couples, or groups of friends who can navigate the islands with ease. The dating scene is also more lively in the high season. Accommodations and flights should be booked at least…

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Arts & Entertainment, Events, Events

September Alexandria Events Calendar

1st The Alexandria Black History Museum Presents: Story Time for Little Historians 11 a.m. Free; $3 suggested donation Alexandria Black History Museum, 902 Wythe St., Alexandria, VA 22314 703-746-4356 alexandriava.gov/blackhistory Bring your little learners to the Alexandria Black History Museum for cultural stories and creative craft activities that introduce world history and folklore. Story time will take place every first Saturday of the month at 11 a.m. in the Watson Reading Room (located next door to the museum.) Explore our museum exhibits afterwards to learn about local black history. All ages are welcome, but most suitable for children 3 to 6 years old. 6th First Thursdays Del Ray 6-9 p.m. Free; pets welcome Along Mount Vernon Ave. http://www.visitdelray.com First Thursdays is a series of free outdoor street festivals along Mount Vernon Avenue in the spring and summer. This is the last First Thursday of the season. The Del Ray Business Association features businesses along Mount Vernon Avenue, special events, food and music. Each month has a different theme with activities for children, live music and a festive atmosphere. 9th George Washington Patriot Run 8 a.m. Admission George Washington’s Mount Vernon http://www.MountVernon.org Dash through history during the George Washington Patriot Run. The 10K and 5K course takes runners up and down the scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway and traces Washington’s footsteps through the historic area at Mount Vernon. Cross the finish line with the beautiful mansion in view! A free Kids Run will be held near the finish line at Mount Vernon (registration required). All 10K and 5K runners will receive a T-shirt and a finisher medal. All Kids Fun Run participants will receive a kids medal. Apothecary Museum Geek Tours: American Sign Language 11 a.m. to noon Admission: $15 Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum 105 S. Fairfax St. 703-746-3852 http://www.alexandriava.gov Learn about the muggle botanical science that inspired the potions…

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Personality Profile

Wendy Rieger – One of a Kind

By Lani Gering Wendy Rieger – One of a Kind From the Bay to the Blue Ridge Most of you who live in the local area will recognize this name as one of NBC Channel 4’s most popular news anchors. In fact, she celebrates 30 years with the affiliate this year – hard to believe isn’t it? Sort of like it’s hard to believe the Old Town Crier celebrates its 30th year as well. She also shares the love of the Chesapeake Bay and the Blue Ridge Mountains that we do. I guess one would say it was kismet that we met in one of our favorite drinking and dining places in Washington, VA – Tula’s. Tula’s is owned by our longtime friends, and Alexandrian’s, John McCaslin and Mark Allen. Small world. I’m not going to make this profile a biography of her life. You all can get that information via the wonders of the world wide web. I will tell you that she is a native Virginian from Norfolk but has been in the DC area since she was 22 and the story of how she got to where she is today is well worth the surfing – actress, Emmy Award winner, environmental activist, etc. (Get it…surfing the web). I want to concentrate on some of the things that make her tick and what she sees for her future. Our first encounter at Tula’s was a chance meeting on a cold night in January. We were sitting at the bar chatting with locals that we have befriended over the years when she came in and joined us at the bar. I don’t think that there is a pretentious bone in this woman’s body. She is truly a “what you see is what you get” kind of person. Obviously, we…

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