Month: November 2020

Dining Out, Wining & Dining

Thanksgiving Dinner – To Stay or To Go

By The Gastronomes Thanksgiving Dinner – To Stay or To Go This holiday season is going to be one for the books for sure with the pandemic still in what seems to be full force. Who would have thought it would be this serious for this long? A huge part of the holidays is food and gathering with friends at our favorite places to enjoy said food. The “rona” protocols also put a damper on gatherings at home but we will just have to continue to make the best of a bad situation. We continue to patronize our favorite places and encourage you all to do the same. The Old Town Crier has been receiving several inquiries as to what the dining options in Old Town are on Thanksgiving Day so we decided to do our part and update you with what our advertisers have up their sleeves for the big day. In alphabetical order: Bastille Brasserie & Bar will be offering a three course menu Thanksgiving Dinner To-Go or to Dine In. The menu includes a choice of a Caesar salad or pumpkin-maple bisque starter, a choice of turkey, gravy and cranberries or beef rib roast and mushroom jus all accompanied by mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables and your choice of pumpkin pie with crème Chantilly or apple pie with browned butter streusel. Pricing is dependent on quantity orders. Orders may be placed through November 22nd at 3 pm and are available for pick up on the 26th from 12 noon-3 pm. Dine in hours are 12 noon to 6 pm. We suggest you make your reservations early either by calling 703-519-3776 or online at Tempo Restaurant will also be serving a three course Thanksgiving Dinner both To-Go and Dine In. They are offering your choice of Starters…

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Business Profile

Cottage Curator Art Gallery – The “Sweet Spot” in Sperryville, VA

By Lani Gering Cottage Curator Art Gallery – The “Sweet Spot” in Sperryville, VA The Cottage Curator isn’t your run of the mill art gallery. It is not only a combination of a very eclectic exhibit of art in all mediums, it’s proprietor, Jackie Bailey Labovitz, is an experienced curator who offers her expertise organizing personal collections. Jackie brings her expertise of over 30 years of curating collections for embassies and corporations – as well as public spaces – all over the world to your home or office. Bailey Labovitz is also a very accomplished, award winning photographer whose works have been on exhibit in the Smithsonian and published world-wide. She is probably most well known for her collection of flora and fauna images titled “UNDERstory” and her images of animals, birds and insects featured in her “Simple Gifts” collection. Each one of her photographs is a piece of art. She is a true example of “small town girl makes it in the big city”. Her works currently reside in permanent collections of the National Academy of Sciences, the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, and Johns Hopkins Medicine, Wilmer Eye Institute. She has a very interesting story of her own that we will reserve for a profile down the road. In addition to Bailey Labowitz’ work, several pieces on exhibit at any given time at Cottage Curator are also museum quality and have spent some time on exhibit in the Smithsonian and other well-known museums. She has a very discerning eye and doesn’t hang or exhibit anything that she doesn’t love herself. Local, regional and nationally recognized artists and artisans are and have been featured in this little gallery.  At the time of my interview, I was particularly taken with the works of James Carter that…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Heading Into the Holidays with the Rona

By Lani Gering Heading Into the Holidays with the Rona I have been trying to pull a silver lining out of the consequences of the pandemic almost every day but I keep coming up with a Newton’s Law scenario – For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. I am pretty sure I am not alone in this. This time of year is usually my favorite. I love fall weather, I love the anticipation of the holidays and maybe some snow in the future and I love getting together with friends. The weather so far has been stellar and I have gotten together with a few friends off and on and I have frequented my favorite watering holes adhering to the “Rona Restrictions” but going into the holidays here in the Harbor this year has me feeling sad. I would normally be hyping up “Christmas on the Potomac” and ICE at the Gaylord and all of the other holiday happenings in the Harbor in this column. We do, however, have a little bit of Harbor Holiday tradition happening with the lighting of the tree at the foot of American Way on the 14th. It is a bit early in my estimation but this year I’m not going to let it bug me. I love this 54’ tree with its trick playing lights accompanied by a holiday sound track. The light show begins at dusk and runs on the half hour until 9:30 every night through January 3rd. There are rumors of free hot chocolate at select retailers and a free gift with purchase offer in the mill but I don’t have any specifics for you as I write this. (It is only October 28th after all.) We will be updating information on our Facebook page throughout the season…

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Arts & Entertainment, Events, Events

Alexandria November 2020 Events

November 21st  Tree Lighting Ceremony 2020 Market Square Corner of King and Fairfax Streets Old Town Alexandria On King Street in the heart of Old Town, the City of Alexandria’s 40-foot tree rises tall on Market Square in front of City Hall featuring nearly 40,000 twinkling white lights. With the absence of the Scottish Christmas Walk and Boat Parade, this year’s tree lighting takes on a special meaning. It is something familiar to look forward to going into this holiday season. November 28th Small Business Saturday Torpedo Factory Art Center 105 N Union Street Support local artists businesses and join us for in-person shopping over all 3 floors of the Art Center. Find additional specials online by browsing artist pages via the Torpedo Factory Art Center web site. At the time of this writing there was no additional information about other activities highlighting Small Business Saturday but please check the Visit Alexandria site at for updated information.

Notes from the Publisher

Publishers Notes November 2020

Publishers Notes As I write this I look out the window and realize that I need to get the leaf blower out and clean the sidewalk out front from the leaves that have fallen since I last blew the leaves away two days ago. Change is in the air. Elections are this month and the pandemic rages on. I think that I am actually looking forward to the first snowfall…something that will change the landscape with soft quiet. Speaking of quiet, this month’s Road Trip brought us back to the quiet town of Berryville in the northern Shenandoah Valley. Our Personality Profile is about Jack Sharp and his Country Store. For this month’s Business Profile we visited Jackie Baily Labovitz in Sperryville, Virginia. In Take Photos/Leave Footprints Scott Dicken pairs personalities with travel destinations. Speaking of pairings, Matt Fitzsimmons teaches us about pairing Virginia wines with the correct dishes in Grapvine. With cooler weather approaching here it could be a good time to head to the Caribbean. In Caribbean Connection learn about some of the islands travel restrictions. In From the Bay learn about the role the beavers play in the Chesapeake watershed. If you are worried about putting on the pounds during this holiday season, check out From the Trainer for portion control. I hope that everyone takes the opportunity to vote this year and more importantly, that your vote was counted. I do believe Virginia’s early voting eased the stress factor. By the time many of you may be reading this we will know what direction we are going. Let’s just hope is the right one. We celebrate Veteran’s Day every November 11th. Please take the time to thank those who serve and protect us on a daily basis. I also wish all of you all a very…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

Return to Berryville & Beyond

By Bob Tagert Return to Berryville & Beyond   As the leaves began to turn color this past October we thought we would take a final drive west to the Virginia countryside before the yellow and red leaves turned to brown and started to fall. To be honest, we weren’t impressed with any of the vistas. Maybe we were a little too early. It was worth the drive in any case. In addition to taking a drive through Virginia horse and wine country, we were on a mission to repay a debt. About five years ago we visited the beautiful Waypoint House Bed and Breakfast owned by Rachel and Jonathan Worsley. During our stay the four of us consumed a bottle of their Bones Virgin Island Rum. It was great and we promised to return with a bottle of one of our favorite whiskeys…Copper Fox Original Rye. We accomplished our mission and had a beautiful drive along the way. There are three options to get to Berryville and two involve dealing with road construction. The first is I-66 and the second is Route 7, Leesburg Pike. The third is the Dulles Access road to the Greenway, to Route 7. We opted for I-66 on the way out and Route 7 for the return trip. The construction along I-66 is progressing nicely and except for a couple of early merges, the traffic is not too terribly bad, except during rush hour. After a couple of slowdowns, we picked up Route 50 west and set our sights on the mountains in the distance. Soon three lanes became two and then one lane. After crossing Route 15 we came to the charming town of Aldie. Here you will find the historic Aldie Mill. I remember driving my dad’s 1965 Chevy Impala to Aldie…and…

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Personality Profile

Jack Sharp – Right Around the Bend

By Bob Tagert Jack Sharp – Right Around the Bend I have travelled Route 522 between Front Royal and the wineries of Rappahannock and Fauquier Counties from the late 60’s on my motorcycle up until today as I deliver the Old Town Crier to this area each month. In all that time, I have never stopped at the Blue Ridge Grocery & Country Store. I really don’t have a good reason except that it is on a sweeping bend in the road and I was usually going downhill. No time to react. When we were out there in September I passed the store again and Lani said that we should stop…”It looks pretty cool.” Luckily I was going uphill this time and slowing down was easier as I pulled off the road to turn around. This turned out to be one of the better moves in my life. Sitting on the small front porch on a two person bench was the proprietor, Jack Sharp. If Route 522 had been a country dirt road, I could have been transported back to my youth visiting the small town of Nevils, Georgia, home of my grandparents. This store is certainly a throwback and the man is a perfect match. It was almost like sitting there and reminiscing with my grandfather, but that won’t work this time around…Jack is 75 and I am 73. On the afternoon we went back to write this interview Jack brought out his 1950, Red Chevy pickup truck. He told me had been wanting an older pickup truck. “My wife told me I could get one, but it had to be red”, he tells me. “So I looked on the internet and found this one…showed it to her and she said, ‘What are you waiting for?” A country store…

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From the Bay, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

The Beavers Are Back!

By Tom Horton The Beavers Are Back! Behold the concrete road culvert: straight and narrow and lifeless, having whisked the previous day’s rains from oceans of hard-baked asphalt with ruthless efficiency,  swelling quickly to 6 feet deep with storm water, then receding to less than an inch of water hours later. Now follow Erik Michelsen across the road, which is Maryland Route 2, a busy four-lane traffic artery connecting Annapolis to Baltimore. Duck behind a seniors’ apartment complex and enter lush expanses of ponds, wetlands and forested creek bottoms that sponsor natural diversity, slow storm water runoff so it can soak into underground aquifers, allow natural processes time to cleanse and clarify the discharge, and reduce downstream flooding. One side of the road represents the worst of human engineering, maximizing one thing, water removal, to the ruin of all else. The other maximizes nothing, except life, in all of its buzzy, croaky, splashy, winged wonder — water as resource. The latter represents a most hopeful collaboration between humans and beavers, the animals that once engineered the Chesapeake watershed with a thoroughness unmatched even by today’s 18 million people. Before the mid-1700s, when they were virtually trapped out, millions of beavers and their dams and ponds were key to a Chesapeake that was clean and clear almost beyond imagining. Scientific analyses of deep Bay sediments deposited through the centuries have provided us with insights into that astounding ecosystem. Beavers are coming back, even to the inimical conurbation that is most of northern Anne Arundel County. Michelsen, acting deputy director of the county’s Bureau of Watershed Protection and Restoration, is my guide to what is no less than a demonstration project, with beavers themselves doing much of the construction. For Michelsen, it was good news around 2015 when beavers started showing up…

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Beauty & Health, From the Trainer

Staying on the Fitness Track

By Ryan Unverzagt Staying on the Fitness Track November can be a difficult month to control our eating habits with Thanksgiving being in the way. We seem to let our eyes and stomach get the best of us and give into temptation. So what advice can I give you to stay on the fitness track this month? Put down the fork and back away from the table! Just kidding, but we could all use a little bit of will-power when it comes to eating food. I think the biggest issue to address first is portion control. Eating the correct amount of food can save you a ton of calories. Sounds easy enough, right? Let’s review how much a serving size actually is: 1 fruit serving = 1 small to medium fresh fruit, ½ cup canned or fresh fruit or fruit juice, ¼ cup dried fruit 1 vegetable serving = ½ cup cooked veggies or vegetable juice, 1 cup raw veggies 1 starch serving (carbohydrate) = ½ cup cereal, grain, pasta, or starchy vegetable such as corn, potatoes, beans; 1 slice bread, ¾ to 1 ounce snack food 1 dairy serving = 1 cup milk, ¾ cup yogurt, 1 ounce cheese (about the size of 4 dice), ½ cup ice cream or pudding, 1 medium egg 1 meat serving = 3 ounces chicken, turkey, shellfish, beef 1 serving pumpkin pie = 1/8 pie and 1 serving fruit pie = 1/6 pie As you can see, it doesn’t take much to constitute a serving. If you truly took the serving sizes listed above, a normal Thanksgiving Day plate and glass would hardly be full. Therefore, choose to grab a smaller plate and glass to “trick” your mind into thinking you have larger portions. Obviously, smaller plates will limit the amount of food…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Working out Through the Holidays

With the cold weather rolling in and the days getting shorter it seems like we all have less time on our hands. With an already jam-packed schedule we tend to skip out on workouts (or stop exercising entirely) and by the time we get to the New Year we all feel compelled to get back to that pre-holiday shape. This year let’s try to do things a little different. Instead of slowing down on the exercise routine and abandoning your diet completely, keep up the good work and by the time the New Year gets here you will be starting off on a positive foot.  Pay attention to what you eat during the holidays and keep your butt moving through the last leg of the holiday season. Here are just a few tips to keep you looking and feeling your best! Keep Moving: Without realizing it we sometimes slow down on our exercise routines.  This time make a steadfast commitment to workout.  Just like you make your work schedule, take time to pencil in a workout.  If you end up missing a workout make it up as soon as possible. Remember it is easier to stick to a fitness program than it is to start one after months of inactivity. Take your workout outdoors: Most people will bring their workouts inside when the weather starts to get chilly.  Instead, take advantage of what the weather has to offer.  Bundle up a bit and take a walk, you’ll have to walk a bit faster to keep yourself warm while also burning more calories. Travel Smart: Don’t abandon your workout because of traveling for work or family holiday visits.  If you are on a business trip try staying at a hotel that has a gym.  You don’t need a whole room full…

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