Day: November 1, 2019

Personality Profile

Scott Shaw-A Man on the Go!

By Bob Tagert Scott Shaw – A Man On the Go! You may have seen him walking around Old Town going from his office in Founders Hall to one of his restaurants, or attending a media briefing along the waterfront regarding the new Tall Ship Providence. He is not flamboyant, but is always on the go. Today Scott Shaw is a principle in Alexandria Restaurant Partners (ARP) which own and operate seven restaurants in Alexandria and Shirlington as well as one in Orlando, Florida. Shaw was also the motivating force in bringing the city government and the private sector together to bring the Providence to the Old Town waterfront. All this, however, was years in the making. Originally from Coconut Grove, Florida, Shaw moved here in 1994 to reconnect with Rob Wilder, a college roommate who had recently opened the South Austin Grill at 801 King Street. Wilder and Shaw had met in Austin, Texas in the early 80’s and opened a homemade ice cream shop. The Austin Grill was an immediate hit and Shaw helped grow the business to eight locations around the DC metro area. In 2000, Shaw left the Austin Grills and started another Alexandria based company called Fishbowl, which is comprised of marketing software and analytics for restaurants. In 2016 he sold Fishbowl and went back to his first love of running restaurants. Some friends who then owned Virtue Feed & Grain restaurant and were struggling were looking for someone to help. Shaw contacted two friends he used to work with in Florida and they came up to do a “restaurant rescue”. They were only planning to stay for about 90 days but both men fell in love with the building and the city and eventually signed a long term management contract with the restaurant owners….

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Arts & Entertainment, Special Feature

History of Veterans Day

History of Veterans Day World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…” The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m. The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926. An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest…

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Caribbean Connection, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

The Big Boats Are Back!

By Jenn Manes The Big Boats Are Back! ‘Tis the season my friends! We just had our first megayacht visit St. John marking the beginning of season for some. So, I happened to be out and about on a News of St. John Island Tour on a sunny late October afternoon when I passed Round Bay out on the East End. The bay was quiet and still with not a boat in site. We cruised to the end of the island, took a few pics at Privateer Bay, and then we headed back toward Round Bay. To my surprise, a huge megayacht had arrived in the bay in just that short time! It was quite large and very pretty, you know, if you’re into yachts that cost $275 million. Pocket change for many of you, I’m sure – haha. Wanting to know more, I opened up my Marine Traffic app on my phone and learned that the yacht was named Ulysses. (Check out this app if you want to get info on the boats you’re seeing on the water.) Motor Vessel Ulysses, I quickly learned, is 380 feet long, it can accommodate 30 guests and has 48 crew members. The yacht was completed last year for New Zealand’s wealthiest resident, billionaire businessman Graeme Hart. However, Hart didn’t keep the yacht long according to Earlier this year, he sold the yacht to Russia’s most influential tech investor, billionaire Yuri Milner. Milner was an early backer of Facebook and Twitter. This isn’t the first time we have had a Russian megayacht visit St. John. Back in April, the world’s 9th largest yacht spent some time in the waters around the island. It was extremely impressive to see in person. Sailing Yacht A is 468 feet in length and owned by Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko, who is number 90 on the Forbes billionaire…

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Let's Eat, Wining & Dining

Turkey and Smoked Sausage Gumbo

Let’s Eat by Charles Oppman Turkey and Smoked Sausage Gumbo With Thanksgiving arriving in a few weeks, we ought to consider a recipe that is a bit more interesting than the worn out leftover turkey and veggie soup. Most Americans know that gumbo is a classic soup made famous by Louisiana chefs, but it is also rooted in African and American Indian cuisines. Okra is commonly used as a thickening agent and for flavor. The slaves brought okra with them from Africa and the Choctaw Indians of Louisiana introduced filé (a spice essential to gumbo) to early American chefs.  Gumbo came out of bayous of southwest Louisiana. There is not a single recipe for gumbo, every family and every restaurant has its own. Here’s one that I learned from a veteran New Orleans’ chef who passed away during Katrina. Try this soup, you’ll love it. Serves: 6-8 Time: 1½ hours Ingredients 2 pounds smoked sausage, cut into ¼’’ slices 4 pounds turkey parts, thighs and legs (chicken, duck or pork is optional) 1 cup each parsley, bell pepper, celery and onion; chopped ¼ cup fresh garlic, chopped 6 bay leaves 4 tablespoons tomato paste 2 tablespoons thyme leaves 3 tablespoons Worstershire sauce ½ cup vegetable oil or butter ½ cup flour Hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste Instructions In a stockpot, just cover the turkey parts with water or chicken stock. Simmer uncovered until tender, approximately 1 hour. When cooled, de-bone the turkey reserving the meat and stock. In a large, heavy pot combine the oil and flour and make a roux. Cook over medium heat and stir continuously with a whisk until the color of peanut butter. DO NOT burn the roux as this will impart a burnt flavor to the soup. If burnt, discard and begin again….

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Featured Post, Take Photos Leave Footprints

The Wilds of Africa

The Wilds of Africa By Scott Dicken Debunking the Common Myths of African Travel As a result of my love for all things Africa, I often get readers of the Take Photos Leave Footprints website asking me questions as they decide whether Africa is the right vacation destination for them. Some of the most common misperceptions prevent would be holiday makers from enjoying the enormous diversity of cultures, wildlife, history, climates and scenery the African continent has to offer. So, put on your boots and roll out your map – we’re going myth-busting! The Only Reason to Go to Africa is for the Wildlife, Right?   “Exploring Botswana’s Okavango Delta” African wildlife is undoubtedly a massive attraction; especially if you’re a first-time visitor, but Africa is about so much more than just its wildlife. For one, the diversity of cultures spanning 54 countries and over 2,000 languages. A trip to Africa could have you exploring everything from North Africa’s souks and spice markets to the Maasai tribal villages of Kenya and the fishermen of the Okavango Delta in Botswana. If you’re planning a trip to West Africa, then you can look forward to an exciting introduction to Voodoo tradition, while in South Africa you’ll get to enjoy the country’s renowned viniculture. Still not enough? Africa is also packed full of sites of historical significance. The little-known El Jem Roman amphitheater in Tunisia rivals Rome’s Colosseum. Giza’s Great Pyramid in Egypt is the only one of the seven wonders of the ancient world still standing. The subterranean rock-hewn churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia are a historic site of pilgrimage for Coptic Christians. The list of reasons to visit this great continent are endless! Wildlife Viewing in Africa is all About the Big-5! “Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda” The Big-5 (Lion, Leopard, Rhino,…

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From the Bay, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

The Pre-Loved Vessel

The Pre-Loved Vessel by Molly Winans To shop for used boats, you have to have an active imagination. If it’s wintertime, a particularly vivid one. The April boat shopper may walk down a dock under sunny skies, to the tune of chirping birds, to look at a 38-foot sloop with freshly washed decks. Even if it were 60 degrees, imagining the freedom of throwing off the lines, while wearing shorts and a wide-brimmed hat, is not a big mental leap. Now back up six or so months and subtract 30 degrees. Under gray skies and layered wool, you carefully trudge down the dock, while eyeing the ice on the creek. Boarding that 38-footer may be treacherous due to ice or slush. Hoping the deck would look nice if hosed down, you go below thinking it may be warmer down there. It’s not. You open and close drawers and lockers, as boat shoppers do, and pause to blow on your fingertips for warmth. When you can see your breath, those shirt-sleeve, straw hat, mix-me-a-margarita sailing day images take more creativity to muster. A few winters ago, I captured a glimpse of this tough process, as a friend searched for a used, cost-effective, 35- to 40-foot sailboat to live aboard. Liveaboard sailors on the Chesapeake Bay lead interesting, surprisingly normal lives that are not as ruled by winter heating issues as much as we dirt dwellers may believe. My soon-to-be liveaboard friend shared his Excel spreadsheet of specifications he sought in a pre-owned vessel. Electric heat was number 18 on the list, preceded by draft, beam, sail inventory, roller furling, engine, and other sailing and docking considerations. Cockpit size and exterior canvas were also priorities as added living space, especially with a bimini and dodger setup fit to be wrapped in eisinglass…

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Arts & Entertainment, Events, Events

December Alexandria Calendar of Events

Through December 31st “The Journey to be Free: Self-Emancipation and Alexandria’s Contraband Heritage” 10 am to 4 pm Admission: $3 Alexandria Black History Museum 902 Wythe Street 703-746-4356 Alexandria’s Black History Museum’s newest exhibition, The Journey to be Free: Self-Emancipation and Alexandria’s Contraband Heritage, highlights the history of Alexandria’s contraband population (those who escaped slavery) during the Civil War. This 2014 exhibit returns in honor of the 5th anniversary of Alexandria’s Contrabands & Freedmen Cemetery Memorial dedication. 9th George Washington Whiskey Festival 6 pm to 9 pm Admission: $85 general admission; $225 VIP experience George Washington’s Mount Vernon 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway 703-780-2000 Join George Washington’s Mount Vernon for its new George Washington Whiskey Festival. Enjoy some of the finest spirits from Virginia craft distillers and other famous whiskey producers. Meet celebrated distillers and learn more about George Washington’s whiskey operations at Mount Vernon. Fall Harvest Ball at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum 8 pm to 11 pm Admission: $45 per person Gadsby’s Tavern Museum 134 N. Royal Street 703-746-4242 As the leaves changed and planting time came to a close, the social season in 18th-century Alexandria commenced with a ball. Experience this 1770s-style ball with live music, English country dancing, cash bar and seasonal dessert collation. 1770s attire or cocktail attire welcome. Not familiar with English country dancing? Gadbsy’s Tavern Museum will be offering Fall Harvest Ball dance classes leading up to the event. Tickets are available online at 16th Torpedo Factory Art Center Anniversary Ball 7 pm to 10 pm Admission: $60 through October 31; $75 beginning November 1 Torpedo Factory Art Center 105 N. Union Street 703-746-4570 At Torpedo Factory Art Center’s Anniversary Ball, enjoy light fare and drinks, a retrospective showcase, guest presenters and live music. The night will feature the opening of 45: An Anniversary Exhibition in Target Gallery, honoring…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

The Shenandoah Valley and Muse Vineyards and Winery

By Bob Tagert The Shenandoah Valley and Muse Vineyards and Winery This month we decided to return to the Shenandoah Valley and make the beautiful Muse Vineyard and Winery as our goal. For the past two years we have written about our friends, The Eastport Oysters Boys, a band of locals from Annapolis and Eastport, Maryland. Once again, the Boys performed at the Woodstock Cafe the last weekend of September and we were there. If you want to learn more about the Eastport Oyster Boys and the Maritime Republic of Eastport, google MRE. The wives of the Boys spent their Saturday at Muse Winery and we heard a lot of good things about it so we decided to make it our destination. If you have read our previous Shenandoah road trips you remember that we like to take as many back roads as possible, especially this time of year. On this particular Sunday it was raining for the first time this month, so we chose to take Interstate 66 west to I-81 and south to Woodstock, Virginia. It made the trip quicker, but at a price of leaf watching, especially for the driver. We did notice that the leaves were beginning to show color and by the first few weeks in November, the colors should be reaching their peak. When you take exit 283 off of I-81 you can follow the signs to Muse Vineyards which is only about 2 miles out of town. The winery lies in a hidden corner of the Shenandoah Valley along the scenic North Fork of the Shenandoah River and at the foot of the mountains. The river snakes its way through the bottomland as it journeys to join up with the Shenandoah River. A low concrete bridge takes you across the water to the…

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On the Road, Pets, Places, & Things

On the Road

On the Road with Ron Cunningham Local Alexandrian, Ron Cunningham, took the OTC on his trip to Canada for his nephew’s wedding and took some time out to get this snapshot at the Cape Spear Lighthouse in St. John’s Newfoundland. This lighthouse was erected in 1836 and is the eastern most point in North America. If you would like to see your photo in this space, take a high resolution shot and email it with a description for the caption to

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

Give Thanks

Give Thanks  by Julie Reardon      It’s not winter yet, but the chilly nights and early sunsets remind us it’s just around the corner. Fortunately even this close to winter there are plenty of mild days, fall colors and time to enjoy yourself before the rush of the holiday season and the shortest day of the year arrive next month. So, take a mini vacation or a Sunday afternoon (who cares about the Redskins these days?) and take in any or all of these adventures. Saddle up cowgirls and cowboys and take a scenic tour of the countryside on one of the well trained trail horses at the Rocking S Ranch near Winchester, 540-678-8501. Starting at $50 an hour, you can ride on trails once used by Union and Confederate cavalry during the Civil War in the northern Shenandoah Valley. With our warm fall and lack of rain, leaf peeping has been delayed and prime color should last well into November. Marriott Ranch in Hume also offers leisurely trail rides suitable for beginners on quiet, well trained trail horses with experienced trail guides on the ranch’s 4,200 acres in the Blue Ridge starting at $55 per person for guided rides. Faster-paced rides are also available for more experienced riders. For both, advance reservations are required; check the website for details. Deer hunting is perhaps the single most important tool for management of Virginia’s exploding white tail deer population; and venison is the quintessential organic meat: lean and tasty. Virginia’s firearms deer season in our area is Nov. 14 – Jan. 2. Locally, the Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries maintains several good wildlife management areas open to public hunting, including Merrimac Farm, 300 acres in Prince William county; C.F. Phelps, 4,540 acres on the Rappahannock in…

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