Month: July 2021

Arts & Entertainment, Last Word

Somewhere in Time

Somewhere in Time By Miriam R. Kramer The popular TV series, Outlander, was released on the network Starz a short time before I wrote the following review about Diana Gabaldon’s novel by the same name. I followed the series eagerly and was pleasantly surprised by its high-quality first season. The series, starring the well-cast Sam Heughan as Jamie Fraser and Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall, has gone beyond the three books I reviewed below in 2015 by continuing to adapt her subsequent novels about the pair, their friends, and relations. I highly recommend taking some time to binge the books before binging the series, but either method of story-telling will make fans of time-travel historical romance happy this summer. These are not Harlequin novels. They have much to offer strong, independent women and the men who love them. From the Vault: In 1980, the movie Somewhere in Time became one of the classic romantic films of its era, with a timeless theme and gorgeous musical score. Christopher Reeve plays a young Chicago playwright intrigued by an elegant older lady who comes up to him at a party, asking him to return in time to her. Upon finding pictures of her as a beautiful young woman at a hotel in Michigan, he finds a way to go back in time to meet her, played by Jane Seymour, in 1912. Author Diana Gabaldon uses a different technique with her first historical novel, Outlander, and the many sequels she has written to continue the adventures of her main characters, Claire and Jamie. They also meet, as if by fate, somewhere in time. She expands on this idea in multifaceted ways with these sequels, using it to create a series worth any reader’s time. While Gabaldon’s atmosphere and methods are not the full-blown romance…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

Blue Ridge Whiskey Wine Loop – It’s a Trip

By Bob Tagert Blue Ridge Whiskey Wine Loop – It’s a Trip With the warm weather and summer upon us, we decided to retrace our steps over the years in the Blue Ridge and follow the Blue Ridge Whiskey Wine Loop. The “Loop” is the brain child of Karen Riddle, who along with her husband Ralph own Shadow Mountain Escape, an adults only getaway. More about that when we cross the mountain. The Loop actually runs along the east and west sides of the mountains and Skyline Drive. Coming from the D.C. area along Route 66, the jumping off point for the loop will be Front Royal. Taking Route 522 south the first stop will be Chester Gap Cellars. The winery site is over 1,000 feet in elevation. The views are fantastic while you taste estate grown Viognier, Roussanne, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and other fine wines. The site provides high elevation with an eastern exposure and well-drained rocky soils. Perfect growing conditions. The next stop on Route 522 is Dida’s Distillery and Rappahannock Cellars. This sprawling estate is one of Virginia’s most popular wineries and in the past four years, one of the most unique distilleries. Twenty five years ago John Delmare left his winery in the Santa Clara Valley and moved his family to the Blue Ridge and started his next life with Rappahannock Cellars. Four years ago John’s son Allan spearheaded the founding of Dida’s Distillery. Living the mantra “Pressed not Mashed” Allan took what they already had and started making small batches of Brandy, Vodka and Gin. With the necessary ingredients readily at hand, Allan began to use their award winning grapes to make his new product. After four years, This “Hidden Gem” has found a life of its own and attracts folks from all over the…

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Notes from the Publisher

Publishers Notes July 2021

Publishers Notes July 2021 Here we are halfway through 2021 and the masks are beginning to disappear. It is amazing how many people I have met this past year that didn’t know I had a goatee. I guess these masks hid a lot of our personality. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Lots of good content again this month. As more and more shops and restaurants return to full capacity we visited one of our favorite dining establishments…Bastille Brassiere & Wine Bar for the R&D on Dining Out. Bastille Day is this month after all. In A Bit of History Sarah Becker introduces us to Washington, D.C.’s newest memorial, the National World War I Memorial and President Woodrow Wilson. Lori Welch Brown welcomes us to the summer of 2021 in her Open Space column! In Personality Profile, Kathy Weiser introduces us to Uncle Sam. The Road Trip trek took us on a three day adventure as we explored the Blue Ridge Whiskey Wine Loop. There is a lot to see and do and staying overnight at either Shadow Mountain Escape or the Mimslyn Inn in Luray is a real treat. Scott Dickens takes us on a visual tour of Meteora, Greece in Take Photos/Leave Footprints while Matt Fitzsimmons keeps it local in his Grapevine column as he introduces us to Virginia’s newest wineries…all in Northern Virginia. As a special to Fitness/Health Section we explore the need to get vaccinated. Some good advice in this piece. On Wednesday, June 23, we attended the retirement party for Lorraine Lloyd. Lorraine is longtime friend and was a dedicated employee of 20 years with VisitAlexandria aka the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association. A true Old Town Alexandria gal, Lorraine knew the town well and put that knowledge to good…

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Personality Profile

Uncle Sam Wants You!

By Kathy Weiser Uncle Sam Wants You! Although Uncle Sam (initials U.S.) is the most popular personification of the United States, many Americans have little or no concept of his origins. If pressed, the average American might point to the early 20th century and Sam’s frequent appearance on army recruitment posters. In reality, however, the figure of Uncle Sam dates back much further. Portraying the tradition of representative male icons in America, which can be traced well back into colonial times, the actual figure of Uncle Sam, dates from the War of 1812. At that point, most American icons had been geographically specific, centering most often on the New England area. However, the War of 1812 sparked a renewed interest in national identity which had faded since the American Revolution. The term Uncle Sam is said to have been derived from a man named Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York, who supplied rations for the soldiers during the War of 1812. Samuel Wilson, who served in the American Revolution at the age of 15, was born in Massachusetts. After the war, he settled in the town of Troy, New York, where he and his brother, Ebenezer, began the firm of E. & S. Wilson, a meat packing facility. Samuel was a man of great fairness, reliability, and honesty, who was devoted to his country. Well liked, local residents began to refer to him as “Uncle Sam.” During the War of 1812, the demand for meat supply for the troops was badly needed. Secretary of War, William Eustis, made a contract with Elbert Anderson, Jr. of New York City to supply and issue all rations necessary for the United States forces in New York and New Jersey for one year. Anderson ran an advertisement on October 6, 1813…

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Arts & Entertainment, Gallery Beat

Summertime Gallery Action

By F. Lennox Campello Summertime Gallery Action Historically, summer has been the “slow” time of the year for the DMV art scene, as galleries and museums crank up the AC and gallery visitors head out on vacation. Maybe not this summer, as the Covidian monster appears to be somewhat tamed, China says “not me”, area swim superstars Katie Ledecky and Phoebe Bacon head to the 2020 Olympics of 2021, and galleries begin to open up their doors. In Bethesda, Waverly Street Gallery (which is somewhat open Thursdays and Saturdays, 1 – 4 pm.), welcomes new members Bruce Paul Gaber and Polina Miller. Gaber “makes one-of-a-kind functional pewter objects offering a strong visual and tactile experience. The aesthetic is one of clean elegance with a gentle nod to the tradition of wabi sabi, rather than to industrial perfection. He wants the user to know there was a maker.” Miller “grew up in Saint Petersburg, Russia, where she formed a deep appreciation for the importance of art in everyday life. She discovered clay while getting over the culture shock of moving to the United States to join her husband. She learned to speak clay and to speak English at the same time. She creates forms that evoke nature’s shapes and colors, and that offer utility and inspiration when brought into a home. Her pots seem pleasant, though simple at first sight, but the longer you look, the more you are intrigued by their beauty and complexity of colors and textures.” In the DC, the District’s iconic Zenith Gallery presents Weight of the World featuring new works by Kristine Mays. The show opens July 13 and runs through September 3, 2021. Zenith’s legendary gallerist Margery Goldberg has scheduled two Opening Receptions: Wednesday July 14, 4:00 – 8:00 PM and Saturday July 17, 2:00…

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Dining Out, Wining & Dining

Vive La Bastille Brasserie & Bar

By The Gastronomes Vive La Bastille Brasserie & Bar The month of June brought us some long lost freedoms. The wearing of face masks due to the pandemic were lightened. We began to see what people really looked like and finally saw the smiles that had been missing for over a year. Businesses began to increase their capacity for customers and restaurants began to return to normal even though it is a “new” normal. We didn’t feature a specific restaurant in this section for over a year and our first was River Bend Bistro in the June issue. With the celebration of Bastille Day coming up in July, we decided to return to one of our favorite restaurants for this month’s Dining Out column – Bastille Brasserie & Bar. Though not in the heart of Old Town, this casual, classy place is the perfect spot for a nice dinner for two, an intimate party or just dining all by yourself. Before the pandemic, owners Michelle and Christophe Poteaux, had just up-ticked the entire restaurant into an even more charming contemporary establishment – the best part being the new seats at the bar. The interior is very welcoming and you can watch the kitchen staff do their thing via a window in the main dining room. In addition to the main room there is another dining room at the rear of the restaurant, a very attractive outdoor patio and a small dining section in the Bar area. The food and drink at Bastille has never disappointed and we dine there often. Their use of seasonal, locally sourced and farm fresh ingredients is part of the key. They have a huge wine list from around the world, draught and bottled beer and several popular creative specialty/craft cocktails – many of which are…

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Business Profile

Welcome to Market Place 2021!

By Lani Gering Welcome to Market Place 2021! This time last year we were feverishly trying to figure out how to navigate our local farmers markets. How is pre-ordering from our favorite vendors going to work? Which way do I enter the market since it is a “one-way” in and out situation? How do I know the produce is good if I can’t look at it up close? And on…and on. We are so happy to say that this summer we can shop like we did in the summer of 2019! The month of July in our area can be pretty brutal between the heat and the excess humidity but it sure makes for some good produce. The sweet corn is in season, the tomatoes are actually ripening on the vine and the glut of yellow squash and zucchini is on the way! In addition to the produce and flower vendors, the diversity of the other vendors at the markets is pretty impressive. From food stuffs (eggs, bacon, beef, fish, cheese, etc.) to high end jewelry; from products to pamper yourself and your pets; from high end art to note cards, the markets cover the gamut. While not all of our area markets require vendors to peddle their “own” wares, the Del Ray and Old Town North Markets are adamant about this. This is an important component to me. I want to support the local guy who spends his/her money in his/her community in order to produce his/her products. While the listing accompanying this piece may not be all inclusive since there are markets popping up all over the area, they are some of the most prominent in Alexandria. No matter where you are, we encourage you to support your local farmers and vendors and enjoy the bounty of your…

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Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

 FROSTY by Kunzite 

High Notes by Ron Powers  FROSTY by Kunzite  Kunzite refers to its self as “a multi-dimensional sound system broadcasting from inner Earth, while simultaneously emanating from the heart of the Milky Way Galaxy.” Judging by that description you may assume Kunzite is different than most bands… and you’d be right. They go on to describe themselves stating “It requires at least two human interfaces to disseminate the sounds, those being producers/multi-instrumentalists Mike Stroud (from the band RATATAT) and Agustin White (from the band WHITE FLIGHT).” This kind of creativity is felt in every corner of Kunzite’s music. They are a band playing by their own rules and their latest single “FROSTY” is a particularly enjoyable example. The artwork for the single was the first thing that caught my attention. It reminds me of a 1980s videogame mixed with occult and mystical imagery. Not only was the artwork enough to draw me in, but it also enhances the music. The textures, colors, and images used for the cover match perfectly with the song itself. If the music was an image it would be the artwork used for the single. I’m impressed when bands find a way to create this kind of cohesion between the various elements of a song’s presentation. It reflects a measure of care and love for the art that is hard to find. The authenticity, with which Kunzite creates, is easily recognized from the first notes of “FROSTY”. The intro begins with a massive chord that sounds like a combination of vintage organ, fuzz guitar, and synth. As the chord fades, a tight and head-bobbing beat mixes with a rolling bassline and a cheerful lead guitar part. In the background, we also hear the sounds of birds chirping along with other jungle sounds. Just before the intro transitions…

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

Not In My Backyard….

By Julie Reardon Not In My Backyard…. A pandemic-led renewed interest in outdoor spaces and gardening, telecommuting for work and social distancing have, not surprisingly, fed a boom in purchase of rural properties in both Fauquier and western Loudoun County.  People are moving to rural areas faster than the housing stock can keep up. Inventory is at historic lows as listings are gobbled up, some at above asking price, as soon as they hit the market. While some come from other states, people moving further out from the crowded suburbs in Northern Virginia are fueling this boom market. Once they’ve settled in, most of these former urban residents circle the wagons and become anti-development activists. Now that they have their own slice of heaven, they think no one else should be allowed to move out to the hunt country and they become among the most vociferous activists against any proposed or future development—even those permitted by the county they live in. “I’ll move!” fumed one new owner near a proposed subdivision, even though she had just moved to Fauquier herself a year ago from Fairfax. Two proposed subdivisions for new homes near the village of Middleburg had new as well as longtime residents organizing protests and activism on social media. One subdivision was the development of a 600 acre farm east of town into 38 luxury homes. This subdivision proposed to take advantage of existing Loudoun County zoning by putting up the maximum number of allowed houses but clustered together on smaller lots with the rest placed in open space easement. It caused a furor among the residents, specifically the horsey set. They’d grown accustomed to fox hunting and trail riding over the land. Even though the number of lots was a by-right division, Loudoun allows for “bonus density” (more…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

The Slug… Your Adversary

The Slug… Your Adversary Slugs may be a very serious problem to you if you live in moisture-laden areas of the country. A single “lawn prawn” can successfully remove an entire row of seedlings from your garden in no time at all. He can turn a perfect plant into Swiss cheese over night and return to the safety of his hideaway, leaving you to wonder what happened. As slugs wander about, doing their evil little slug deeds, they leave behind them a trail of slime that amounts to nothing less than a road sign for themselves and every other slug to follow to the grand feast. To make the situation even worse, slugs are hermaphrodites, they all have male and female reproductive systems. Yes, they can mate with themselves, and in the privacy of their own abode, each slug will produce two to three dozen eggs several times a year. The egg clusters look like little piles of whitish jelly BB sized balls. They will hatch in anywhere from 10 days to three weeks or longer, and these “sluglings” can mature to adulthood in as little as six weeks. Destroy the eggs… wherever you find them. Slugs may live for several years, getting larger with proportionately larger appetites each year. Now, do you really want to go out to your garden some morning and find an 18-inch Banana Slug waiting for you? The Battles and the War Although you may never win the war against snails and slugs entirely, you owe it to your plants to fight them with every weapon at your disposal. You can control slug populations with several different methods. With each battle that you win, you have prevented hundreds of new slugs from hatching. The Battlefield As with any battle plan, it is to your advantage…

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