Day: January 1, 2019


Alexandria Events January 2019

6th A Special Anniversary 4 – 6 pm George Washington’s Mount Vernon 3200 Mount Vernon Highway 703-780-2000 Join George and Martha Washington for an exclusive celebration of their wedding anniversary on Twelfth Night. This special evening tour of the Mansion includes a rare visit to the third floor and greeting the Washington’s in the New Room. After your tour, enjoy a reception with cake, music, and champagne at the Interpretive Center and take your picture with the couple. Athenaum Events 201 Prince Street 703-548-0035 3rd – 7 – 9 pm – Hidden History of Alexandria This groundbreaking history uncovers a long-forgotten period in the 19th century when Alexandria left the commonwealth of Virginia and became incorporated into the fledgling District of Columbia. It was an experiment that failed after half a century of neglect and a growing animosity between North and South. However, it was a fascinating time when cannons were dragged onto city streets for political rallies, candidates plied their voters with liquor and devastating fires ravaged the city. Please join us for this exhilarating talk! 6th – 2 – 4 pm – Artist Talk: Elizabeth Casqueiro – Re:Vision Exhibition 13th – 4 – 6 pm – Opening Reception for FAX Ayres/Photography Exhibition 11th ASO Presents: Bach, Brandenburgers & Brews 7:30 – 10:30 pm St. Paul’s Episcopal Church 228 S. Pitt Street 703-548-0885 Members of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, led by Music Director James Ross, present this special evening of Brandenburg Concertos in the intimate setting of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.  Hear the ASO’s rendition of concertos No. 2, 4 and 5 with principals from the ASO featured as soloists.  Stay after for a reception in Norton Hall to mingle with the musicians and enjoy delectable German food and beer. Food generously provided by Port City Brewery, the…

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From the Bay, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

What Cool People Do

What Cool People Do by Molly Winans, SpinSheet Magazine Editor According to the NOAA website’s Thomas Point Light Station, the air temperature is 41 degrees Fahrenheit. The Bay, 42.6 degrees. It’s blowing 12 knots out of the northwest and gusting up to 14 knots. The sky is clear and expected to remain so. Would you like to go sailing right now on a one-man, 14-foot sailboat? Two dozen Laser sailors from Annapolis say “yes.” The most obvious first two questions would be, “Why?” and, “Are you crazy?” We tend to ask those questions of anyone at the extremes of a sport. This is not professional sailing here. We’re talking about recreational, Sunday afternoon sailing. Whether we—meaning the non-dinghy-frostbite-racing majority—are racing sailors or cruisers, who prefer “reasonable” weather, we shouldn’t just dismiss these hardcore frostbite sailors as crazy. They have something to teach us. There have been best-selling books on how to be happy; here’s the free, one-page cliff notes version for sailors. Do things you love, and you will make friends who share your passion. “I frostbite because the fleet is so gung-ho about it,” says Dorian Haldeman, Severn SA’s former Laser fleet captain and regular competitor. Charlie Pugh says, “We love to sail. We love to race. I think most of us agree that a day racing Lasers on the water will beat a day in the office no matter how bad the weather gets.” “The camaraderie is amazing,” says Ashley Love. “Of course, there is a lot of camaraderie,” adds Bob Tan. Funny how many times these one-man dinghy racers mention camaraderie. What drives these sailors from a racing perspective are the power and learning experience of relying on their own skills and wits to steer, trim, and navigate their own boats effectively around a race course. That…

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

And They’re Off…..Let The Races Begin!

By Julie Reardon And They’re Off…..Let The Races Begin! Colonial Downs Thoroughbred Race Track is reopening in stages later this year in New Kent County. Since colonial times, Virginia has always been known as horse country. Over the years, some world famous race horses were foaled at some of the best nurseries in the racing business right here in Virginia, including Secretariat. However, the state lacked its own venue for live Thoroughbred racing on the flat, even though it hosted the two biggest steeplechase meets in the country – the Virginia Gold Cup in the spring and the International Gold Cup in the fall at Great Meadow in The Plains. That changed in 1997 when Colonial Downs first opened in New Kent and racing finally returned to the Commonwealth. Colonial Downs proved popular with Virginia horsemen, as well as those from nearby states for its state of the art dirt and turf tracks and modern facility. With off track wagering eventually being held at 10 locations statewide, purses were increased and money was put back into breeding and training farms. These farms, and the attendant jobs, had been steadily abandoning Virginia for greener pastures where purse incentives awarded breeders money for winners born in that state. An acrimonious disagreement between the wagering parlors – the Virginia Horsemen and Jacobs Entertainment, the owner of Colonial Downs – eventually caused the track to close in 2013. The horsemen, united under the umbrella group Virginia Equine Alliance, nevertheless, worked on rebuilding the off track wagering network and sought a venue that could host live Thoroughbred racing in the state. Since the track closed, they held a handful of Virginia-bred and Virginia-sired races in Maryland and at Great Meadow. Part of what had kept the track dark the past five years was the difficulty…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

What Am I Going to Do??

By Lani Gering What Am I Going To Do? As I write this column it is once again RAINING and is forecast to keep it up for another 36 hours. I cannot express how depressing the weather has been for me for the last two months and the fact that it rained primarily on the weekends really added insult to injury!  Some of my saving grace has been being able to head over to The Belvedere Lounge at the Gaylord and take in the nightly holiday happenings in the Atrium, checking out the Harbor tree lightings above the Plaza and the holiday themed light show on the Capital Wheel from the party room balcony of my condo and the fireworks that have been happening every Saturday up to Christmas regardless of the rain. What am I going to do now? The holidays are over and the lights are gone and no more fireworks through the pouring rain. I am definitely not a candidate for MAGfest at the Gaylord but I guess there isn’t really any reason I can’t still seek solace at The Belvedere and the people watching while it’s going on – there are definitely some characters that attend this gathering. Check them out via the link in the calendar listing in this section. I wrote about it in depth last January. Restaurant Week starts at the end of the month so that is something to look forward to. Will give me a chance to check out some places I don’t usually frequent and save some cash at the same time. It follows on the heels of Restaurant Week in Old Town Alexandria so you all might want to check out the great food across the river. There is always the option of making a commitment to sticking closer…

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Personality Profile

Sailor turned Beer Man

Casey Jones Sailor turned Beer Man One of the great things about the Old Town Crier over the past 31 years is the fascinating people we meet and then get to write about. Casey Jones is no exception. We ran into Casey sitting at the bar at Cedar Knoll Restaurant. We struck up an easy conversation and I told him about the Crier and he handed me his business card. Casey Jones is the CEO and founder of Fair Winds Brewing Company in Lorton, Virginia. I have been sailing for 30 years and am accustomed to the phrase “Fair Winds and Following Seas”. Curiosity got to me and I asked him if he was a sailor to which he replied, “Yes, and I used to teach sailing at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT.” The next phrase was, “Can I buy you a drink,” and the conversation took off. Casey Jones grew up in north Philadelphia and upon graduation from high school enrolled in the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. He graduated in 1991 from the Academy and shipped out to Panama City, Florida where he worked in counter drugs. From there he was transferred to Coos Bay, Oregon. His job in the Coast Guard was a ship driver, or a black shoe…terms that I had never heard.  “I went from white sandy beaches and spring break to lumber jacks and fishing trawlers,” he says. After Oregon, Jones returned to Washington, D.C. to serve at headquarters. From there he worked on his graduate degree in finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and then back to the Academy to teach. While attending the Academy, Jones also took up the game of rugby, which I also played. “It was a great time,” he says. “After I left…

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Notes from the Publisher

Publisher’s Notes January 2019

By Bob Tagert As we begin our 32nd year of bring you the Old Town Crier Regional Magazine we have many things to be thankful for over the years. Most significantly our advertisers and the great people who have worked with us, for without either, we would have failed. We also owe a great amount of debt to those of you who read us and make us one of the most widely read publications in the region. It is our readers who our advertisers want to reach so……we appreciate you for picking us up each month. As in years past, our Road Trip column this month is a recap of our treks in 2018. Amazing to reflect on the miles we have traveled. As you think of places to visit in the new year, please keep our winery friends in your minds and hearts as they have just come through the rainiest year on record making it one of the worst years in history. Show them some love and buy some wine for those chilly winter nights. This past month we picked up a new advertiser and made a new friend…Casey Jones of Fair Winds Brewery in Lorton Virginia. A very interesting guy that you can read about in the Personality Profile column. Welcome aboard Casey! In Business Profile meet Lisa Katic, “Chief Wine Taster” at Wine Gallery 108. Check out the Grateful Kitchen Company for a change of pace and experience in Dining Out. On how to be happy, read the “one-page cliff notes” version in Molly Winan’s column in the From the Bay section. As I write this on December 23rd the sun is bright, there was a full moon last night and the sky was clear, and temps will hit 50 degrees today. This is a wonderful…

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Dining Out, Wining & Dining

Grateful Kitchen Company – Here’s To Your Health!

By the Gastronomes Grateful Kitchen Company – Here’s To Your Health! Well…..I’m going to have to confess that neither of us has frequented many eateries that cater totally to healthy cuisine. This is obvious if you ever see us in person. This year, however, one of us has decided to “try” to take a healthier approach to what we eat. I am, however, a fan of all of the parts of healthy eats – kale, avocado, tahini, granola, leafy greens, etc. – so I have an advantage there. My problem is that I don’t seek out these foods on a regular basis. Grateful Kitchen is a mecca of healthy food and drink options. Grateful is the brainchild of Kimberly Sickmen of Zweet Sport Hot Yoga fame, Stephen Hardy and Ashley Ott.  Sickman – who launched her now popular Grateful Juice brand a couple of years ago – told me that she had always wanted to add a healthy food and fitness component to her business and was fortunate to come upon the space on Henry and Madison last year. It is the perfect size for both the eatery and Zweet Sport Total Fitness and compliments the Yoga location just up the block. Hardy is the resident Chef while Ott takes on the managerial duties and puts together their popular house-made Chai tea. Kimberly told me that a passion for organic and healthy food is what brought the three of them together in the first place. They all three subscribe to the same types of food created at the restaurant in their homes. Guess one could say “they practice what they preach”. We all know that food trends are still leaning toward “organic and locally sourced” and Grateful Kitchen certainly does its part. It is one of the few DMV locations…

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Gallery Beat

“The Big Dance” Art Basel Miami and Beyond

By F. Lennox Campello As I’ve done for the last decade and a half, I spent the first week of Miami at the art world’s “big dance” or the Art Basel Miami week of art fairs – about 26 of them by my count – and just as I did last year, since I was confined to working at the fair that Alida Anderson Art Projects has done for the last seven years (Context Art Miami), I asked Texas ubercollector Ardis Bartle, who is a major art collector and also a VIP at all the fairs, to report her observations of the key things that her trained eye caught during her visits to multiple art fairs.   But before I hand it off to Ardis, a couple of quick observations on the fair that I was working my buns off to place art by multiple artists in as many collections as possible (Context Art Miami).   Context Art Miami: At Gallery Henoch, I loved Eric Zener’s Cradle – one can feel the power of this dive, and the spectacular blue punches the solar plexus of the mind as much as the diver’s punch of the water surface. By the way, this gallery was full of talented artists.   At Art Spoke, Scott Scheidly steals the booth with his portrait work – I’ve admired his work for a long time now… and he really delivered some brilliant new paintings to this fair – with really good price points. Note: As it has been the case for the last couple of years, the Trumpinator is all over the fair, the subject of many artists… but no one does DJT better than Scheidly.   Scheidly also has a portrait of the Galician mass murderer and suffocater of the Cuban people once known as Fidel Castro,…

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Behind the Bar, Wining & Dining

Behind the Bar: Tara Hopkins

Tara Hopkins Fish Market Restaurant Anchor Bar 105 King Street Old Town Alexandria 703-836-5676 Tara serves up the Copper Schooner – 32 ounces of Habanero Moonshine, Owens Craft Ginger Beer & Lome’! How did you get started in the bartending business? I was a server at the time and the day bartender needed some of her shifts picked up, so I volunteered.  I had to beg management to give me a chance, and they did. A few months later one of the night bartenders came to work drunk, he was fired, and I took all his night shifts! What is your biggest bartender pet peeve? Oh boy, that is a tough one! My biggest pet peeve would be when a customer yells at me to “turn the game on” and it is already on but has gone to commercial. What is the cleverest line anyone has ever used to get you to give them a free drink? Ha! I already paid my tab “T”, can you hook me up with a shot? What is the best/worst pickup line you have overheard at the bar? Can I be your Uber tonight?! Tell us about an interesting encounter you have had with a customer(s). I am from Maryland and I take pride in my obsession with picking crabs. I always make it a priority to invite my dearest customers to join me at my favorite crab house.  I pick them all up, load them in my truck and off we go for a field trip to eat some crabs and drink some beer! If you could sit down and have a drink with anyone in the world, past or present, who would that be? Judge Judy, hehehehehe! I just love that woman, straight to the point and gives it to you straight!…

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Featured Post, Pets, Places, & Things

A Few Reasons to Consider Downsizing in 2019

A Few Reasons to Consider Downsizing in 2019 By Marty Basher In case you haven’t noticed, there is a real emphasis lately on the value of acquiring experiences instead of things. The point is to have the money to be able to travel or attend events, go back to school or play more sports. None of these things can be accomplished if your only focus in life is the acquisition of more and more stuff. With that in mind, if you want to embrace a lifestyle that has you looking to experiences, rather than things, for your fulfillment, a big step in that direction is to consider downsizing your living space. Before you move forward, think about your decision Do your homework and really evaluate your lifestyle before just jumping into selling off the family home. It might seem idyllic to live all together in a smaller space but somewhere in the middle of a February snow storm, will you regret your decision? Consider the size of your family: if you’re not done having kids, you might not want to be so quick to sell the three bedroom home in favor of a smaller condo unit. True downsizing means getting rid of years of stuff. Furniture, piles and piles of kid’s art and school work, holiday decorations that have been in the attic for years and all kinds of stuff that many years of living have acquired. Big houses have bigger storage places. Make sure that you are ready to part with the stuff or otherwise your “downsizing” is really just “re-distributing”. Condos and apartments don’t have much storage so if you’re not prepared to part with your stuff, are you willing to pay for separate storage units and have your “stuff” across town in a different location? That’s an…

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