Day: March 1, 2021

Arts & Entertainment, Events, Special Feature

The History of the Holiday

The History of the Holiday St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17, his religious feast day and the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over a thousand years. On St. Patrick’s Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent, Irish families would traditionally attend church in the morning and celebrate in the afternoon. Lenten prohibitions against the consumption of meat were waived and people would dance, drink, and feast—on the traditional meal of Irish bacon and cabbage. The First Parade The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place not in Ireland, but in the United States. Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City on March 17, 1762. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers to reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as fellow Irishmen serving in the English army. Over the next thirty-five years, Irish patriotism among American immigrants flourished, prompting the rise of so-called “Irish Aid” societies, like the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick and the Hibernian Society. Each group would hold annual parades featuring bagpipes (which actually first became popular in the Scottish and British armies) and drums. In 1848, several New York Irish aid societies decided to unite their parades to form one New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Today, that parade is the world ‘s oldest civilian parade and the largest in the United States, with over 150,000 participants. Each year, nearly three million people line the one-and-a-half mile parade route to watch the procession, which takes more than five hours. Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Savannah also celebrate the day with parades including between 10,000 to 20,000 participants. No Irish Need Apply Up until the mid-nineteenth century, most Irish immigrants in America…

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Arts & Entertainment, Special Feature

More Than Just St. Patrick’s Day – March Holidays and Observances

More Than Just St. Patrick’s Day – March Holidays and Observances By Carol Bainbridge March is the month when spring officially begins and Daylight Savings takes root typically the second Sunday in the month. It can be a dramatic month with sometimes wild and shifting weather as Mother Nature tries to shed her winter coat. But as the seasons change from winter to spring, it’s the perfect time to review the special days, holidays, awareness weeks, and observances for March. You and your family can use March as an inspiration for learning more about health challenges and healthy habits. This is also a great month of the year to explore historical facts, interesting people, new concepts, hobbies, and all the things that make teenagers so awesome. And, of course, Easter and Passover sometimes occur in March and other times they don’t. 31 Reasons to Celebrate in March Here are all the special days and observances you can celebrate in March, from silly to serious and everything in between. March 1: National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, Fun Facts About Names Day March 2: Dr. Seuss’s Birthday, National Read Across America Day March 3: World Wildlife Day March 4: National Hug a G.I. Day, National Grammar Day, World Obesity Day, World Book Day March 5: Employee Appreciation Day, National Day of Unplugging* (first Friday of every March) March 6: National Dentist’s Day March 7: National Cereal Day March 8: International Women’s Day March 10: National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, National Oreo Cookie Day March 11: Johnny Appleseed Day March 12: Plant a Flower Day March 13: National K-9 Veterans Day, Genealogy Day March 14: National Pi Day, Learn About Butterflies Day, National Potato Chip Day March 15: The Ides of March March 16: Freedom of Information Day, National Artichoke Day, National Panda Day March 17: St. Patrick’s Day March 18: Supreme Sacrifice Day, National Biodiesel Day, Absolutely Incredible Kid…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Cherry Blossoms, Day Trips & Marriage Proposals

National Harbor By Lani Gering Cherry Blossoms, Day Trips & Marriage Proposals Springtime is just around the corner and you know what this means? Cherry Blossom Time! With tourism being at a virtual standstill due to the pandemic, not nearly as many warm bodies will be clamoring and crowding into the area to witness the annual blooming of these coveted blossoms and to attend the annual festival. The sad part is that the major celebrations are going to be “virtual” and there are millions of tourist dollars that aren’t going to be generated into the economy but the happy part is that we won’t be fighting to find a place to sit on the metro and won’t have to walk shoulder to shoulder on the bike paths and sidewalks in order to take in the beauty of the trees. The traffic in the city will be less congested than in past years as well.   The Tidal Basin isn’t the only place to “blossom watch”. Three years ago, the Harbor added more than 100 Okame cherry trees to its existing collection bringing the number of trees it has to more than 200, many of which line the Potomac River. The trees were planted en mass along the Harbor waterfront so that you are able to see them from the bridge as you drive over the Woody Bridge from Old Town. The Okame species of cherry trees are early bloomers and should be ready for prime time before their famous counterparts that line the Tidal Basin. This means that you can schedule a day trip to the Harbor to see them and then take a day trip into the city to see those along the Basin. No peak bloom forecasts had been made at the time of this writing (2-24) but…

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Notes from the Publisher

Publisher’s Notes March 2021

By Bob Tagert Although February wasn’t brutal this winter we did have snowy and rainy weather for a good part of the month. As I write these notes it is 53 degrees and sunny outside with a high today of 61. Feels like spring. I hope this is a precursor to the entire month. Cherry Blossom time is just around the corner so we want to be sure the weather holds for them. While there won’t be all of the “normal” Cherry Blossom Festival activities this year, a drive around the tidal basin is always a welcome treat. If you are tired of being stuck at home, this month would be a good time to take a drive to Historic Ellicott City near Baltimore, MD. Read more about it in this month’s Road Trip. If Ellicott City isn’t far enough away, check out Scott Dicken’s Take Photos, Leave Footprints column, where he highlights five less travelled destinations. In Gallery Beat, Lenny Campello gives us another online art review, although he would rather be there in person. This month we returned to one of our favorite destinations, Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville to interview Sean McCaskey for the Personality Profile – whiskey with a melody. In her The Last Word column, Miriam Kramer gives us some insight into skin tones in The Vanishing Half. In Grapevine, Matt Fitzsimmons reveals the important role of the Vineyard Manager. Lori Welch Brown gives us some tips on how to “Quiet Our Worrying Machine in her Open Space column. In Business Profile read about Old Town’s one-stop-shop at the corner of King and Alfred Streets. If you plan to stay in on St. Patrick’s Day, check out the recipe for Irish Stew in Dining Out. The beer is your choice. We encourage you to patronize…

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Business Profile

The Corner of King and Alfred – Your One Stop Shop Old Town Shoe & Luggage – Old Town Pack & Ship – Old Town Mini-Mart

By Lani Gering The Corner of King and Alfred – Your One Stop Shop Old Town Shoe & Luggage – Old Town Pack & Ship – Old Town Mini-Mart Rodrigo and Jenny Restrepo opened the doors to Old Town Shoe and Luggage in 1996 at their original location at 726 King Street. A few years went by and they decided that Old Town could probably use a place for its residents to take items to be packed and shipped and a place for mailing services so Old Town Pack & Ship AKA TOP Services opened its doors in 1999 at 615 King Street. Fast forward to 2006 when they incorporated both businesses into the current space on the corner of King and South Alfred Streets – 822 & 824 King. One would think that owning and managing two successful businesses would be enough to keep them busy but Rodrigo felt that there was a need for a place for locals to pick up food items and staples in Old Town without having to go to the mainstream grocery store. Hence, Old Town Mini-Mart opened its doors in January of this year. The Mart and TOP Services now operate out of the same space at 822 King. The Shoe & Luggage “division” of the Restrepo Enterprise have maintained 4-5 star ratings for years. The quality of the shoe and luggage repair is stellar and they take great pride in their work. They pride themselves not only on their work but on their customer service. I have had them repair several pairs of shoes and purses over the years and I can vouch for both. The store also has a large inventory of luggage and travel accessories with every size you can imagine. They also carry a nice line of shoe maintenance…

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Dining Out, Wining & Dining

Erin Go Braugh!

By the Gastronomes Erin Go Braugh! This month’s column is going to take on a little different vent. March is the month of all things Irish in the USA and Old Town used to do their part with one of the best St. Patrick’s Day parades along the east coast. Alas, the “Rona” has put the squelch on this year’s parade and all of the fun activities that went along with it. However, this won’t prevent our local dining establishments from celebrating with corned beef and cabbage specials and maybe a green beer or two. You can bet the farm that O’Connell’s and Murphy’s will be taking the lead in celebrating the wearing of the green on the 17th and a good portion of our other eateries in the area will follow suit. We encourage you all to partake in the celebration by patronizing our local establishments any way you can. They are bending over backwards to follow pandemic protocol to make sure your experience is “safe” and satisfying. In the meantime, we also realize that there are many of you who have still opted to shy away from dining out and may be a little tired of carry-out so we decided to share Charles Oppman’s Irish Stew recipe for you to make at home. Looking forward to next year when things should be back to “normal” if we all get our vaccines, keep masked up and remember to wash those hands.   Irish Stew There isn’t just one recipe for Irish stew (Irish: stobhach or stobhach Gaelach). Recipes can vary from home to home or region to region, but all are agreed that the meat must be lamb―mutton can be used, but this is meat from an older sheep and is less tender, fattier and has a stronger flavor….

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Arts & Entertainment, Events

Alexandria Events March 2021

Alexandria Events March 2021   March 13th – April 3rd   11th Annual March150: Special Exhibition and Art Sale Torpedo Factory Art Center Studio 2 – Target Gallery 703-746-4590   March150, Target Gallery’s annual special exhibition and art sale, returns with a VIP viewing on Saturday, March 13! All proceeds will support new exhibitions and programs at Target Gallery and Torpedo Factory Art Center. These timed-entry VIP tickets will provide an exclusive opportunity to collectors and art lovers to get first pick of the work on sale in the exhibition this year. Tickets are timed in 30 minute increments, with 5 people permitted in the gallery at a time for safe and private viewing. We will be having a sneak peek viewing on Friday, March 12, for patrons to view the available work first. Art sales exclusively start for VIPs on Saturday, March13, and then open to the general public on Sunday, March 14. Masks are required in the Torpedo Factory Art Center and in the Target Gallery for the duration of your visit.     Alexandria Drive-in Theater Movie Series 2021 Returns 5001 Eisenhower Avenue Tickets Purchased Online   The very successful Alexandria Drive-In Theatre Movie series returns this month.  Proceeds from the movie series will benefit local Alexandria charity, ATHENA Rapid Response Innovation Lab. Because of the 2020 season, ATHENA has been able to help build desks for hundreds of students in need in the DMV, and help provide custom made PPE for our local healthcare workers. In addition, ATHENA has been working with The Scholarship Fund of Alexandria in order to provide financial assistance for local students to attend college.   For all Movies: $40 Entry Fee per vehicle Gates will open exactly one hour before show time. Gates will close exactly 10 minutes before show time.   March Lineup:   5th…

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Featured Post, Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

Historic Ellicott City – A Pleasant Surprise!

By Bob Tagert Historic Ellicott City – A Pleasant Surprise! This month’s Road Trip took us to Ellicott City, Maryland. Unfortunately, over the last five years the biggest publicity that Historic Ellicott City has gotten has been the devastating news of the floods of 2016 and 2018 but one would never know it was so severely affected by the looks of this quaint little town today. Ellicott City was founded in 1772 and built along the Patapsco River. It is located 10 miles west of Baltimore and at the site of the Tiber River, along with other connected tributaries, causing it to be vulnerable to severe flooding. Before the 2018 flood, Ellicott City was pretty much submerged during the 2016 Maryland flood on July 30th. That flooding was considered an oddity, likely only occurring once every 1,000 years. When we recently drove to Ellicott City we did not notice any residual problems from the floods. The town is nestled in a small valley that lies along the Patapsco River. It is what you could call a “vertical” town. Walking is the best form of transportation as street parking is minimal but the town does have large free parking lots. This quaint city is a picture perfect little place with many shops, restaurants, galleries, salons and museums. Most of the shops are situated on Main Street which runs through the center of town. There are also many shops, etc. located on the side streets that intersect Main Street and they are walkable as well. On the snow covered day that we were there the town had a vibe of a ski resort nestled at the bottom of the mountain. Indeed, on snowy days the 150 foot elevation from the town can make for a nice short ski run. The city is…

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Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

The Vanishing Half

The Vanishing Half by Miriam R. Kramer President Barack Obama put Brit Bennett’s thoughtful, complex novel about identity, The Vanishing Half, on his list of favorite books from 2020. Her book follows the lives of Stella and Desiree Vignes, identical light-skinned African-American twins growing up in a small, self-segregating Louisiana community, from the 1950s to the 1980s. One chooses to retain her heritage, while the other decides to pass for white and leave her roots behind. After the past summer’s “Black Lives Matter” movement exploded, The Vanishing Half came out at the right time to become an instant bestseller. Its most prevalent theme is the ridiculous yet constant impact of racial identity on our lives, and how it defines us and limits or expands our futures in America. Mallard, an insular, close-knit hamlet not labeled on any map, discriminates against those with darker complexions. As an African-American community, it was founded by the twins’ ancestor, a freed slave with a white father. As the creator he desired it to become whiter and whiter over time as light-skinned people married and had children, even if it was never known as being white by the outside world. It would become as white, and therefore as acceptable within America and a Black community that cherished lighter skin, as possible. Within the book, it feels symbolically as though the town cannot be identified on a map because it has become pale enough to disappear amidst the melting pot of Louisiana. Both twins are scarred indelibly by the lynching death of their father, a man seen by those outside their community as Black regardless of his light coloring. At sixteen they secretly leave home one day for New Orleans, looking for a better future outside the strictures of a small town, leaving behind the memories…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

Covid Casualties Continue

By F. Lennox Campello Covid Casualties Continue One of the art casualties of the Covidian Age has been a good and proper art review.  After all, reviewing an art show strictly online, while saving gas and also apparently saving the planet, is just not the same. But as of the writing of this article, the Covidian monster is still killing people, the Communist dictators who brutalize the Chinese people are still saying “nuthin’ to see here folks…”, the President is now wearing two masks at once, and art galleries are still mostly online… thus here we go… again. Beginningless Endless: Works by Shanthi Chandrasekar (at the McLean Project for the Arts) is the title of the show by this wildly talented artist, and Chandrasekar scores points right away with perhaps the best title ever to describe her work! She writes about her work: “Ever since I can remember, curiosity has been my driving force, leading me to ask questions about everything around me. This has led to my constant explorations and experimentation of ideas and thoughts based on scientific and philosophical inquiry. Combining scientific fact and theories with my wild imagination has been fruitful in creating artwork that questions our known reality and seeking to learn more about the unknown.” I struggled over the years in finding words to describe her immensely unique work – but perhaps because online you get to see them all at once in an elongated, scroll-down mode, it came to me: they are timeless. And I don’t mean that in the egghead interpretation of that description. I mean that in the sense that if someone dropped those spectacular works of art into a time-traveling ship and dropped them into an art gallery of the year 50,000… no one would blink an eye. And yes… painting…

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