Month: June 2020

Arts & Entertainment, Events, Events

Alexandria Farmers Market Listings

Alexandria Farmers Market Listings Old Town Farmers Market Market Square 301 King Street Saturdays, 7 am – 12 Noon Year Round The Old Town Market is thought to be the one of nation’s oldest continuing markets operating since 1753. It is said that George Washington sent his products from Mount Vernon to be sold here. Today the plaza is a mecca for farmers and artists to sell their wares. The Market is a primary source for meats, dairy, fish, fruits, vegetables and flowers for all those who visit. Del Ray Farmers Market Corner of Mt. Vernon and Oxford Avenues Saturdays, 8 am to Noon Year Round This market is strictly a producer grown market.  Lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, fish and salmon, fresh mushrooms, baked goods, hard cider.  Farmers are within a 150 mile radius of Alexandria.  A non-profit is featured each weekend. Old Town North Farmers & Artisans Market Montgomery Park 901 North Royal Street Thursdays, 3 pm – 7 pm Year Round Alexandria’s favorite dog friendly market! The Old Town North Thursday Market is a growers only market with a focus on produce from small family farms and local artisans. Products sold at the market include fresh fruits and veggies from Virginia’s Northern Neck, Micro Greens from an urban farm, Empanadas, Fresh baked pastries with a European flair and much more. Four Mile Run Farmers & Artisans Market 4109 Mount Vernon Avenue Sundays, 9 am – 1 pm Year Round This market offers fresh, nutritious food to people of all income levels and strives to reflect the diversity of Alexandria’s community. Local artisans display their arts and crafts as well West End Farmers Market 4800 Ben Brenaman Park Sundays, 8:30 am – 1 pm We love our market, our vendors and our customers in the community. Please come…

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Arts & Entertainment, Events, Special Feature

What Do You Know About Flag Day?

By Kathryn deBros What Do You Know About Flag Day? You may not know it, but June 14th is National Flag Day this year. Make this the year you can impress some of your friends with these little-known facts about this important day. Although this holiday doesn’t get a lot of attention, once you’ve given these Flag Day facts a read, you’ll hopefully want to fire up your grill to celebrate. Flag Day was invented by a teacher. Nineteen-year-old Bernard J. CiGrand walked into his one-room schoolhouse in Wisconsin in 1885, stuck a 10-inch flag in an inkwell, and asked his students to write an essay on its meaning. CiGrand spent the next 50-ish years writing in support of making Flag Day a national holiday. He died of a heart attack 17 years before congress sealed the deal in 1949. However, parts of the U.S. celebrated Flag Day prior to congress making it an official holiday. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson recognized Flag Day in a statement. The Flag Day inventor was destined for greatness. Bernard’s parents were from Luxembourg, a tiny European country between France, Germany, and Belgium. The name “CiGrand” comes from a variation of the French for “so grand.” It only makes sense that he would be the one to champion our “Grand Ol’ Flag!” Flag Day is the birthday of our Stars and Stripes. Flag Day is celebrated on June 14th, because that was the day that Congress officially recognized it as the flag of the United States in 1777. Apparently, it wasn’t such a big deal at the time — the flag discussion was the fifth order of business that day. I wonder what was so important about the first four items? It’s not just the flag’s birthday. June 14th, 1775 is the date that congress formally…

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On the Road, Pets, Places, & Things

On the Road

Former Old Town Alexandria residents, Charlie and Sandi Collum send you all “Cheers from Kitty Hawk” on the beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina as they enjoy the latest edition of the OTC while sheltering in place in their cozy home. Charlie served as Chairman and CEO at Burke and Herbert Bank and Trust and later served as an Executive Officer at John Marshall Bank in Old Town . He and Sandi retired to Kitty Hawk a few years ago and are loving life.

Dining Out, Wining & Dining

Al Fresco Dining Is Back…What do we do now?

By the Gastronomes Al Fresco Dining Is Back…What do we do now? This whole pandemic has put a whole new twist on “Dining Out” but it looks like we are headed in the right direction as far as restaurants being able to open is concerned. There have been so many rumors about what has to take place by both the establishment and their diners in order to comply with CDC and the DMV orders it’s hard to decipher what we can and cannot do and when we can do it. Not all areas in the DMV, including ours, had been given the go-ahead for outside dining due to the high numbers of COVID-19 cases at the time of this writing. IF the numbers are “good” by the time this issue goes to print, outside dining will have been available for three days. Since the Old Town Crier is a regional publication we have readers in parts of the Commonwealth and Maryland who have been enjoying al fresco dining since May 15th and it has been met with mixed reviews. After spending way too much time reading posts on a local “Foody” Facebook page related to the question “How is everyone feeling about outdoor dining starting?”, it appears that the sentiment is that it is too early for the majority of the 195 Alexandrians who responded. Most are very happy with curbside and takeout and said even though they have the option to dine al fresco, they are sticking with it. Many have concerns about people being too close, not everyone wearing a mask (hard to eat and drink with your mask on) and the potential for “crowds”. I was going cross-eyed reading the posts – some of them had very “Karen” and “Chad” tones that were entertaining – but it…

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From the Bay, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Fewer work visas, coronavirus deliver one-two punch to Bay’s blue crab industry

Fewer work visas, coronavirus deliver one-two punch to Bay’s blue crab industry Timothy B. Wheeler, Bay Journal News Crab season is off to a slow and foreboding start around the Chesapeake Bay, with many crabmeat processors crippled by an inability to import seasonal workers and by watermen worried they’ll be unable to sell all they can catch as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Chilly, windy weather limited commercial harvests of blue crabs through much of April, the first full month of the season. Warming spring weather usually brings better fortunes, but those in the business of catching or picking crabs say they fear for their livelihoods amid the double whammy that’s hit the Bay’s most valuable fishery. “It’s kind of a really scary situation,” said Bill Sieling, executive vice president of the Chesapeake Bay Seafood Industries Association, which represents Maryland companies. “It just doesn’t look good.” Many of the crabmeat processing businesses around the Bay are short-handed because they failed to get federal approval to bring in as many foreign workers as they have in previous years. The Department of Homeland Security held a lottery in January to distribute a reduced pool of 33,000 H-2B visas nationwide to all of the landscaping, construction and other businesses seeking to bring in seasonal labor, mainly from Mexico and Central America. Under pressure, the department announced in March it would hand out another 35,000 visas, but shelved that in early April amid the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, only three of Maryland’s nine “picking houses,” as the crab processors are known, received any visas in the initial drawing. After missing out on the lottery, Lindy’s Seafood on Hoopers Island was looking at limping along with a half-dozen local workers. “We could sell more product, we just can’t produce it,” said sales manager Aubrey Vincent. Then, in late April,…

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Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

Binging in the Time of Coronavirus

Last Word Binging in the Time of Coronavirus By Miriam R. Kramer As many of us happily imagine some of the old normal returning, we still need entertainment to ease us through the next weeks. This past month, what with endless depressing news, my furlough from work, and multiple restrictions on my activity, I have had a difficult time concentrating on reading for the first time in many moons. I know I am not alone. When not attending to practical concerns, I have been running a television and movie marathon. Luckily we do live in the Golden Age of Television, in which quality series abound and all we have to do is push a few buttons to become absorbed in fully rounded characters and plots enhanced by great acting and writing. I was very unhappy to see the series Homeland on Showtime depart after eight seasons. Homeland has been the most accurate and best spy series I have seen. It captures the nature of climbing the political ladder in Washington, DC; its atmosphere is nerve-jangling and its acting superb. This world characterized by intelligence-gathering encapsulates a dizzying sense of paranoia. I have watched it since it premiered in 2011 and recently rewatched it before the eighth series premiered this spring. The lead of the show, Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes), starts out as an intense, driven CIA officer with a fiercely protective mentor, Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), then Middle East Division Chief at the CIA. When she suspects that a newly returned prisoner of war, Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis), has been turned by his Iraqi captors, she relentlessly seeks the truth. This scenario sets the stage for Season 1. Carrie is intellectually brilliant, nervous, reckless, and diagnosed as Bipolar I. When unmanaged by medication, her mental illness helps her see patterns…

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Arts & Entertainment, Featured Post, Gallery Beat

Covidian? …Covidism? …Covidnineteenism?…Coronaism?

By F. Lennox Campello Covidian? …Covidism? …Covidnineteenism?…Coronaism? A couple of months ago I wrote about some help lines for artists as the Coronavirulization of the art world, another victim of the planetary infection in what I now call The Covidian Age, was in full attack. It is now June, and like everything else in the DMV, anything related to the virus (responses, tactics, techniques, even those “models” that are always and inexplicably waaaay wrong) has become political. As such, it won’t be long before more and more Covidian Age art gets dubbed Covidism? Or less likely Covidnineteenism? Coronaism? I’m meandering, In the nation, the pandemic has had an interesting, if not unexpected American twist: it has become a political issue of sorts. The angry left blames the President – just the President – for everything, and the angry right mirrors it right back to whoever is/are the leaders of the Democrat party these days. Leave it to artists to actually do something positive not only with these two political interpretations of a disease, but also with a myriad of interpretations of the Covidian Age and Covidism – and I suspect that a millennia from now, when perhaps even more dark events have been survived by the human race, it is the First Covidian Age artwork which will truly tell the story and mark the crowning spot (pun intended) of the Coronavirulization of art. There is no artist on planet Earth more qualified and sensitized to creating artwork about COVID-19 than Michele Banks. For years if not decades now, Banks has been creating terrifyingly beautiful works of art based on viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other such disturbing subject matter. In her talented hands, these co-inhabitants of our planet and often our bodies are depicted with ethereal splendor and become permanent works…

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Caribbean Connection, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

From the Bahamas to St. Lucia – The Islands Plan Their Reopening

By Caribbean Journal Staff From the Bahamas to St. Lucia – The Islands Plan Their Reopening For the last few months, we’ve been featuring Caribbean beaches to visit digitally; for the first time, we’re now able to include a handful of beaches you will soon be able to visit in person, as destinations like Aruba and Saint Lucia have already announced planned tourism re-openings. Aruba has signaled its intent to reopen its borders for tourism as early as June 15, and now the destination has unveiled a stringent new health and safety program called the “Aruba Health and Happiness Code.” The cleaning and hygiene program will be mandatory for all tourism-related businesses across the country, according to a statement from the Aruba Tourism Authority. “As we prepare to reopen our borders, it is critical to evolve and innovate as a tourism destination to protect our local community and future travelers once they reach our shores,” said Danguillaume Oduber, Aruba’s Minister of Tourism, Public Health and Sport. “We want all visitors to feel reassured in traveling to our one happy island, knowing we worked together as a nation to implement the highest health and safety protocols through every step of their journey.” The certification will include a seal of approval “displayed prominently on all tourism-related businesses.” The program will begin at the airport, where the Aruba Airport Authority has been working to adapt its own practices for the return of tourists. That will include new measures like screening, temperature checks, on-site medical professionals, social distance markers, mandatory PPE training for staff and other safeguards at the airport. It’s not yet clear what specific requirements Aruba will have for inbound travelers; the first Caribbean destination to announce such a plan was Saint Lucia, which will require, among other conditions, a certificate of a negative…

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Business Profile

Maria and George Christou At the Helm of RT’s Restaurant

By Bob Tagert Maria and George Christou At the Helm of RT’s Restaurant Last October, after spending many years at her father’s restaurant, Taverna Cretekou in Old Town Alexandria, Maria and her husband George Christou decided to strike out on their own. The word in town was that owner Ralph Davis was considering retiring from his very successful restaurant career and sell his last remaining property…RT’s Restaurant on Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray. They began negotiations and eventually closed the deal. “It was what we were looking for,” says George. “It reminded us of Taverna, a family owned and run business that has been around for 30-40 years,” he continued. Maria started working for her parents, Chris and Denise Papaloizou at the popular Taverna in 2005 as their bookkeeper and also worked the kitchen for 2 to 3 years and worked the floor as well, from hosting to waiting tables. She has experienced every aspect of running a restaurant from a hands-on point of view. George, on the other hand, got into the food hospitality business by accident. “I was in the Greek Army and they needed help in the kitchen, so I volunteered. I liked it,” he tells me. “I was cooking for 1000 people, three times a day.” When George came to America to study, he took a job at Angelo’s Italian Restaurant in Virginia Beach. While attending classes he would cook part time and then cook full time in the summer for the next five years. After school George worked in the IT field but still had a passion for the restaurant business. He eventually joined his wife at Taverna and worked on the floor and managed. “In the last 6 or 7 years I really got into it, and now we have our own place.”…

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Notes from the Publisher

Publisher’s Notes June 2020

We have been through two months of quarantine and now restrictions are being relaxed. Some of our shops are reopening with limited customers and the restaurants are beginning to seat a percentage of customers. I, for one, will do what I can to protect myself and others within reason. I hope you do the same. The wineries, distilleries and breweries in Virginia are now allowed to use their outdoor facilities while practicing social distancing. Check out your favorite wineries and make a trip to Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville and enjoy a whiskey alongside the Thornton River. Our Dining Out column has changed with the times. See what the new rules are and what some others think. In Gallery Beat Lenny Campello tells how “The Covidian Age” has affected the art scene. In From the Bay we learn how the crab fishery will fare during this pandemic. With all of this isolation, Miriam Kramer stepped outside of her normal Last Word book reviews and offers her take on a couple of binge worthy cable series. In Take Photos and LeaveFootprints Scott Dicken takes us trekking for gorillas. With all of this staying at home, come and take a Road Trip with us and visit the spectacular Annmarie Sculpture Garden in Solomons, Maryland as well as the businesses that are reopening there. This is a great family trip – they opened up the Garden in mid-May. In Caribbean Connection read how the island beaches are planning to reopen and welcome tourists back. Check out our special feature on Father’s Day this month and embrace all of the good dads out there. We also celebrate Flag Day on Sunday, June 12th and welcome summer on the 20th. I am hoping that when I write Publishers Notes next month that we have not…

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