Day: April 1, 2021

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Streaming into Normalcy

Streaming into Normalcy Ashley Rosson             Now that we are slowly and hopefully coming out of this Pandemic and where we can get out of our houses more often, let’s talk about something that was there for us while we were hunkered down in our homes – streaming services. More and more people are switching out their cable subscriptions in favor of streaming service subscriptions including, Netflix, Hulu, and Disney +.              There are countless pros to streaming services, including getting to choose what to watch, the convenience of watching “on the go,” and being able to pause or cancel your subscription at any time. Another pro of streaming services is that with a more accessible catalog, you are sure to find something that you like. It’s also more convenient than ever to explore the different categories of streaming services and discover something new. For example, Netflix has algorithms that are designed to give you recommendations based on what you have previously watched. Since services like Netflix are so closely tied with social media and are made up by the majority of a younger viewership, they are ideal for creating a lot of exposure for shows and movies. Shows specifically made for streaming services, such as Netflix’s original series Bridgerton, has garnered massive viewership. As noted by Elaine Low in Variety, Bridgerton had the most significant debut to date “with viewership from 82 million households in its first 28 days online.” These large audiences are not only bringing new and exciting stories into the spotlight, but they’re creating a sense of community, where these 82 million households have something in common. It’s an opportunity to engage in discussion and make new connections, all in the name of entertainment. Streaming services and the content on them create a sense of community, something…

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Notes from the Publisher

Publishers Notes April 2021

Publishers Notes April 2021 March has been a busy month for me. After two aborted attempts I finally had my right knee replaced on the 16th of March. My knee finally went bone-on-bone after I shattered my right femur in 1968. I have never had 100 percent flexibility in my right leg but now we will try to activate muscles I haven’t used in 50 years. My 9 week recovery is happening in Calvert County which means getting this issue out has had its challenges. Distribution is in my wheel house but I am fortunate enough to be partnered with someone who can pick up the ball – magazine bundles in this case – and run with it. Many thanks to Lani for keeping it all on track. Thanks to Meg Mullery and Nancy D’Agostino for their assistance as well. The weather this week has been beautiful except for an enormous amount of rain this past Wednesday. No worries, we needed the rain. Looking forward to many sunny days in April even though the saying is “April Showers Bring May Flowers”! As you can tell by the image on the cover, the April issue celebrates Earth Day with an “Interview with Mother Nature” and some insight to the origins of this annual observance. I remember seeing John Denver perform at one of the first Earth Days on the Mall in D.C. Billy Phibbs gets us off to a good start on April Fools’ Day with his tongue-in-cheek “St. John is Sinking” Caribbean Connection column. In Exploring VA Wines, Doug Fabbioli shows us why it is important to “Get out of the Cab Once in Awhile.” Lenny Campello’s Gallery Beat column echo’s what many of you may be feeling with “I Wanna Go to an Art Fair!” A Bit of History…

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Dining Out, Wining & Dining

Kingfishers Seafood, Bar & Grill

By the Gastronomes Kingfishers Seafood, Bar & Grill Solomons Island, Maryland This month’s Dining Out took us to one of our favorite places in the DMV – Solomons Island, Maryland – and our favorite drinking and dining establishment on the island, Kingfishers Seafood, Bar and Grill.  It was nice to have a bit of a sense of “normalcy” as our friends in the hospitality business are emerging from the restrictions due to the pandemic in the last year.  It has been a rough ride for sure. It was nice to be able to sit (no standing) at the bar – socially distanced – and have an adult beverage and a meal. Many of you readers know that the Gastronomes are fans of sitting at the bar to dine. We are very social people and the banter at the bar is part of the experience and we think the service is usually a bit faster/better since your server can’t really escape you. We have been dining at Kingfisher since it opened in 2003. The inviting décor has remained the same with the waterfront murals and wood carvings of Chesapeake Bay creatures and the large windows offering a waterfront view from the entire length of the dining room. They added fire pit tables on the deck to provide for more seating this winter and they will stay in place for those cool spring days and evenings. The menu has changed over the years but the ever popular 5 ounce original Stoney’s Crab Cake is still available for you “crab cake aficionados” and the popular Rockfish Bites and Crab Dip are prepared “just right” here! A few other things that stand out on the menu as far as we are concerned include the Steamed Dinner for Two, the Chicken Sandwich and the Diablo…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

Bikes, Mannequins, Music and More in Steel City

By Vanessa Orr Bikes, Mannequins, Music and More in Steel City When you think of a museum, what first comes to mind? Priceless art? Imposing dinosaur skeletons and “taxidermized” beasts? Civil War relics or Revolutionary War cannons? While Pittsburgh has all of those and more, it is also home to some odder—but still just as intriguing—museums that cater to more specific interests. Bicycle Heaven Shop & Museum, for example, has more than 6,000 different types of bicycles on display; Johnny Angel’s Ginchy Stuff is filled to the brim with rock-n-roll history and collectibles from the 1950s. And Randyland pretty much defies description—part art museum, part Pittsburgh social hub and one of the happiest places in the ‘burgh, it’s main attraction is its owner and artist-in-residence Randy Gilson. While all of these museums are well worth a visit simply for their cool factor alone, the fact that they are all free, and located on the Northside of Pittsburgh, makes them a must-visit when stopping in the Golden Triangle. Bicycle Heaven Bicycle Heaven is what happens when a guy likes to collect things…and then he rides that passion right into Trip Advisor’s #1 spot of things to do in Pittsburgh. Back in 1991, Craig Morrow found a bike in the trash that he decided to repair; flash forward three decades, and Morrow is now the curator and owner of the world’s largest bicycle museum. You’d think that if you’ve seen one bike you’ve seen them all, but nothing could be further from the truth. Two floors of a massive warehouse are filled with everything from Howdy Doody and Donald Duck kids’ bikes to the red-and-white striped racer that Pee-Wee Herman rode in his big adventure. And while you may consider bikes playthings, they are serious investments, too. Bicycle Heaven is the only…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Skip the Beach and Hit the Harbor

By Debbie Evans Skip the Beach and Hit the Harbor Take a Ride on The Capital Wheel, the Carousel, Water Taxi or Floatboat 360 at National Harbor!   National Harbor is the perfect destination for a safe Spring Break. Fun seekers can skip the beach and enjoy a safe Spring Break at National Harbor with plenty of open-air fun, room to roam, waterfront attractions and cherry trees in bloom. Keeping health and safety top of mind, visitors will discover numerous dining options including outdoor seating, COVID-19 friendly attractions that allow families to social distance together, and plenty of free things to do.   The Capital Wheel  Take in the beautiful day and nighttime views from 180-feet above the Potomac River. Each gondola is sanitized after every ride and guests always get their own private, climate-controlled gondola. Value-priced packages including tickets, beverages to take on board your ride, and souvenir cups are available. Open 365 days a year.   Flight Deck at The Capital Wheel  The waterfront, outdoor lounge will be open daily during Spring Break offering soda, beer, wine and amazing sunsets. Cozy up to a fire pit, enjoy the fresh air and celebrate spring with plenty of room for social distancing. VIP reserved seating available.  The Carousel  Classic, waterfront enjoyment for kids of all ages. Adults ride free with a paying child.  Open daily beginning through April 11th and then weekends until Memorial Day weekend when The Carousel will once again be open daily. Hours vary.   Water Taxi – Alexandria to National Harbor  Enjoy a short cruise from Alexandria VA to National Harbor. Water Taxi service began for the season on March 19th.  Floatboat 360  Unique round float boats offer a fun and memorable way to experience the Potomac River. Boats seat up to 9 passengers plus a guide….

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Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

Klara and the Sun

Klara and the Sun by Miriam R. Kramer Whether ancient Greeks who believed in Helios riding his chariot across the sky, or Egyptians worshipping Ra, king of the Egyptian gods, humans have drawn inspiration and attempted to increase the fertility of crops and animals by venerating different gods of the sun since our beginning as sentient creatures.  Spring has arrived in the northern hemisphere, and with it the earth’s eternal renaissance of blooming flowers and riotous fauna emerging after a fallow, frozen period. From now on we live the lengthening days until our sun-drenched summer solstice. The writer Kazuo Ishiguro, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017, recently released the novel Klara and the Sun, a subtle, beautiful science fiction novel about a complex robot of delicate understanding whose love for the sun helps her find ways to bridge the uneasy gap between our tendencies to cross ethical boundaries in our quest to advance science and the marvels we can achieve through testing those boundaries. Klara is a Girl AF (Artificial Friend), on sale in a store in an unnamed city at an unnamed time. Boy and Girl AFs are available for purchase to children of higher social status with wealthy parents to monitor the children’s health, keep them from being lonely by offering their children companionship, while encouraging them to succeed in their studies. In Klara’s store, she tries to recognize not only visual patterns and engage in simple conversations with other AFs and “Manager,” but also move closer to the window, where she can examine human behavior. While AFs are droids, they are also made to be unique and therefore more like humans than early robots. They are even individual to some extent within their particular models. Unusually perceptive and observant, Klara distinguishes herself to “Manager”…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Points on Pets

A Special Hug of Thanks

By Ken Byrer A Special Hug of Thanks As we passed the one year anniversary of Covid-19 lockdowns and the disruptions to our lives, I took a moment to reflect on how pets have helped us get through these difficult times. They deserve an extra tasty treat and an extra-long hug for the services they have provided. The virus took two main paths among the population. Many of us hunkered down as public health officials advised, while others simply lacked that option. People working in retail, construction, and similar areas couldn’t do their jobs from home while the first group adjusted to video meetings and finally getting that home office operational. All of us adapted to a new world of masks, limited occupancy in grocery stores, the practical end of going to movies or live music, and other fundamental disruptions to how we live our lives. Through it all, our pets were there to help. In a changed world, they forced us to keep some parts of our routines intact as at least an echo of normalcy. We served their dinners on schedule as woofs and meows demanded. We took walks forcing us to leave the house on some kind of regular basis. We played fetch or with the flippy toy. The responsibility for the happiness and welfare of other living beings kept us both focused on a meaningful task and provided a welcome distraction from a constant flood of bad news. No longer just wishful thinking, researchers suggest our pets can indeed sense our moods. National Geographic noted research suggests dogs use visual and auditory cues to determine when a human is angry or sad and change behavior based on their determination. Less obvious, cats too likely understand human emotion and react to what they sense, according to an…

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


By Julie Reardon HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAINS? While we Virginians fondly like to claim them as our own, what’s called the Blue Ridge is the extremely long mountain crest that runs from just north of the Potomac River on the Virginia-Maryland border south all the way to northern Georgia. The Blue Ridge Mountain complex can be thought of as the Blue Ridge, with two main additions: its low continuations north of the Potomac into Maryland and Pennsylvania and the whole series of high mountains centered on western North Carolina and extending west into Tennessee and south into Georgia. These high ranges include the Great Smokies and many others, and contain all of the 6,000-foot peaks except New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington. The entire huge complex of the Blue Ridge Mountains has clear natural boundaries. On the east, the mountains rise up distinctly from the flatter, rolling hills of the Piedmont. On the west, the Blue Ridge drops to the extraordinary Appalachian Valley, a continuous trough running from Alabama to Montreal.           The Blue Ridge and its associated ranges are almost entirely thickly forested, gentle, rounded mountains. Way too far south to even approach having a timberline, even the summits of Mt. Mitchell (6,684 feet) and Clingmans Dome (6,636 feet) are in the middle of deep forest and would have no views whatsoever if lookout towers hadn’t been built. No other large mountain range in the country has as many good, paved roads meandering through the high country and up to important summits. But pointed, craggy summits are as rare in the Blue Ridge as low, rounded ones are in the Tetons. However, as with any huge area, generalizations are never totally true. There may not be any timberline, but the summits of many “Balds” in the…

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Business Profile

The Pearmund Farm Store – It’s All That and a Bag of Chips!

By Lani Gering The Pearmund Farm Store – It’s All That and a Bag of Chips! Many of our faithful readers and Facebook followers are probably familiar with Pearmund Cellars for more than a few reasons. The winery has been featured in the VA Wine section of the publication many times over the years, they are good advertisers and their winery and tasting room are the setting for many a Facebook page post. On top of that….they have very good wine! And….now they have a very happening Farm Store on the property. The brain child of owner, operator and winemaker Chris Pearmund, this converted farm house is now home to a very eclectic assemblage of everything from pillows to party games, crackers to crafts, soups to nuts and….yes, those bag of chips! (Route 11 to be exact). The inventory is comprised of 90 % Virginia made food stuffs and products with the majority being produced in Fauquier County. There isn’t enough room to describe everything so I am hoping the images on these pages give you an idea of what awaits. In addition to the retail, the Farm Store is a nice place to sample a flight of Pearmund Cellar wines accompanied by a baguette, a cheese plate and the soup of the day. There is a nice enclosed sun porch on one side as well as seating on the front porch of the house complete with a porch swing! If being totally in the out of doors is more to your liking, there are several seating areas around the yard and a nice fire pit setting. Another nice feature of the Farm Store is that the upstairs “bedrooms” have been transformed into intimate meeting/party spaces. The caveat to securing the space is the purchase of a $100 gift certificate…

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Caribbean Connection, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

“The Last Days of St. John: Easter Sunday Sinking Feeling?”

By Billy Phibbs “The Last Days of St. John: Easter Sunday Sinking Feeling?” The Virgin Islands has survived for hundreds of years on a solid foundation of community based ethics, cultural beliefs and strength amidst a myriad of past disasters and a storied history of social indecencies and difficult times. More recently, Hurricanes Irma and Maria left a scar that many still bear, an emotional trauma that caused some to leave but made others grow stronger, further supplanting their roots deep into the same soil their families and ancestors built, suffered and eventually thrived upon. This past year brought many new hurdles. Invisible airborne enemies laid waste to the economy and left a society built on neighborly interactions trapped inside their homes for many months. The advent of the vaccine has given everyone that calls the islands home a bit of “Hope”. Unfortunately, as we all know, “Hope” can sometimes bring further degrees of disappointing expectations. Last month a picture was posted that caused quite a bit of turmoil amongst many readers. The unknown location was a picturesque stock photo of a shoreline, pulled from recent archives to highlight the editorial Spring Break with a Vengeance. After an onslaught of opinions and arguing, people began to ask where in fact this alleged imaginary location was on St.John? Truth is, no one knew where it was taken… That is, until now, and the result has caused widespread panic. This deliberation of the unknown location hit social media with a thunderclap of responses. It was not until members of the geological sciences world stepped in that the fateful detailing of this conundrum was unmasked. Yes the photo was in fact taken on St. John and the reason why this area was unable to be verified was mind blowing… St. John is sinking….

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