Day: September 1, 2021

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


To the Blue Ridge By Julie Reardon FROM COW PATTIES TO HORSE APPLES Virginia Tech studies the ins and outs of pasture grazing at research farm in Middleburg From cow nutrition to diapered horses, Virginia Tech has quietly been conducting agricultural experiments in Middleburg for almost 75 years. Surrounded by some of the highest priced real estate in the area, the Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension Center lies one mile south of the quaint town of Middleburg. It’s one of 13 agricultural research farms maintained by the cooperative extension program throughout the state. In 1949, the late local landowner and philantropist. Paul Mellon of Upperville, VA, made a gift of 420 acres of farmland to the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University along with financial support to help establish the Virginia Forage Research Station. Mr. Mellon envisioned forage systems that would promote animal productivity and, at the same time, maintain the integrity and fertility of the soils and the livestock they supported. Research activities began in July 1949. For the first 40 years, research at the Virginia Forage Research Station focused on cattle nutrition derived from grazing Virginia pastures. Part of the charter of Virginia’s land grant universities Virginia Tech and Virginia State University tasks them with educating Virginians and helping them improve their lives by providing research based educational resources through a network of campuses, research farms and educators at county offices. Virginia Cooperative Extension is a product of cooperation among local, state, and federal governments in partnership with tens of thousands of citizens. Throughout the first 40 years of the Virginia Forage Research Station, the number of cattle farms decreased while the number of horses and horse farms in Northern Virginia steadily increased.  Mellon, a horseman as well as philanthropist, began discussions with a panel of distinguished scientists…

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On the Road, Pets, Places, & Things

On The Road

One of the many Old Town Crier favorite traveling couples, Jeffrey and Joanne Fisher took their OTC on their latest trek through France. Jeffrey and Joanne in front of and about to ride the Giant Mechanical Elephant in Nantes and checking out the OTC while waiting in line. “You can ride an elephant in Nantes. Not a real one, mind. The forty-foot-high, moving, mechanical beast can carry forty-nine people, and is one of the city’s most famous attractions. The Grand Elephant, as it’s known, is one of several robotic animals who roam at the Machines De L’Île, a project founded by French artists François Delarozière and Pierre Orefice, which opened in 2007 and occupies old shipyards. It has been significant in building Nantes’s contemporary cultural image. France’s sixth-largest city lacks Paris’s sophistication and Marseille’s edginess, but since the 1990s, a campaign for cultural regeneration has reimagined it as the seat of surrealism, proudly embracing the words of André Breton who famously declared the city a place “where I have the impression that something worthwhile may happen to me””   Jeffrey in their hotel room in Sete’, a maritime town in Southern France on the Mediterranean. “The town has a strong cultural identity. It has been the seat of Provencal jousting using boats for over 500 years. Each boat has 8 or 10 oarsmen, a couple of musicians aft, a a few jousters on the prow, waiting to take turns. On each pass of the boats past each other, the jouster on the prow tries to knock the other jouster into the water. You root for the red team or the blue team.  Over years the town has had to reinvent itself economically. Now, there are oyster beds and deep sea commercial fishing mostly for tuna.” Many thanks to Jeffrey for providing such informative captions….

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Rethink Your Exercise

Rethink Your Exercise We all have mental hurdles that we need to jump before getting into workout mode. For some of us it’s just getting up and out of bed and making it to the gym first thing in the morning. Sometimes it’s the end of the day exhaustion that you have to convince yourself will go away once you get on the elliptical. Whichever problem you may be having here are a few ways to rethink a pre-workout hesitation. Don’t think: “The scale doesn’t budge, why bother working out” Do think: “Keep up the good work and it will pay off” Stick with the scale: Love it and you’ll probably lose pounds. In a study at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, of 3,026 adults who were watching their waistlines, those who weighed themselves more frequently lost more weight over two years or regained fewer pounds. Plateaus are part of the process, Stay motivated in the meantime by giving yourself credit for how much better your clothes fit and for improving your overall health. Fix the problem by changing up your routine. As your metabolism changes to accommodate your smaller size, you are going to have to change what you’re doing to keep your body responding and shedding fat.  If you’re eating light already (around 1,500 calories a day), don’t cut back more; turn up the intensity and/or increase the length of your workout session a smidge. This will not only burn more calories but also increase your cardio capacity, meaning that everything feels easier to do, so you can keep exercising. Crank the resistance on your stationary bike, push the pace of your walk or run for one-minute intervals, or add step-ups or jumping jacks between sets of toning moves: The cardio-strength mix of circuit training burns 512…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

Summit Lodge at Riverbend Farm

By Bob Tagert Summit Lodge at Riverbend Farm This month’s Road Trip was a first….we invited guests to join us for a two night stay at The Summit Lodge at Riverbend Farm in Bentonville, Virginia. The Todhunter’s and the Condon’s were the perfect pals to extend the invitation to. Lots of good eats, drinks and laughs! Bentonville is halfway between Luray and Front Royal along the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. The Lodge is a magnificent five-story escape nestled on 64-acres along a bend in the river. There is more to this property than a getaway, it was formerly the home of Tom and Bettina, a couple who started out in the cabin up the hill where their love story began and the concept for the Lodge was born. As I write about our adventure I will write some excerpts from a book we found at the property called The River Oak Suite by Tom and Bettina’s friend, Tony Baker. The excerpts will tell the story from the beginning. “For years and years, in the minds of those who were privileged to visit there, River Oak was the small hunting cabin, which sits high on a hill above a wide turn in the Shenandoah and the lovely river meadow that runs alongside it. But always the plan had been to build a big fine house, just down the hill from the cabin. In May 2010, we few friends met at River Oak to celebrate the opening of this new house. On the river side of the house rises a fifth-story enclosed tower, which Tom and Bettina dubbed the Skybox. It would be, for the short time left him, the place where Tom would take Bettina and the dogs of an evening to drink wine, watch families of deer emerge…

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Caribbean Connection, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

4th Annual Caribbean Rum Awards

4th Annual Caribbean Rum Awards When: November 2nd through 7th Where: Rhum Room in St. Barth Contact Info: Presented in conjunction with the St. Barth Rum Festival, this competition of a blind-tasting of the most elite field of rums of any festival on the planet is sponsored by WIMCO Villas, Tradewind Aviation and Accutron. “We’re so excited to be back for another edition of the Caribbean Rum Awards, following what was one of the world’s only in-person rum events last year,” said Alexander Britell, editor and publisher of Caribbean Journal and co-founder of the Caribbean Rum Awards. “This year’s event has an exciting lineup of some of the world’s leading rum producers. If you love fine rum, this is an event not to be missed.”

Beauty & Health, From the Trainer

Back to Exercise Reality!

From the Trainer By Ryan Unverzagt Back to Exercise Reality! Today’s lifestyle seems busier than it was this time last year now that we are able to return to work, are taking our kids to school and headed to many activities we couldn’t participate in last year due to the pandemic. You might find yourself saying, “I don’t have enough time to exercise.” But the reality is everyone has 24 hours in a day, and it’s just a matter of prioritizing your schedule to fit in some daily exercise. I know that getting to the health club is half the battle, but wouldn’t it be nice to know what to do when you finally get there? As a result, you need to find ways to help maximize your time at the gym. There are a few ideas I would like to share to help get you going. Develop a plan of action: Your individual goals will determine a plan of action. Since the majority of us are seeking to lose weight, try to burn at least 500 calories per day through cardiovascular exercise (i.e. treadmill, bike, rower, or elliptical machine) at least five days a week. Two of those days, you should add 10 to 12 resistance training exercises that work the entire body. Perform two sets of 15 to 20 repetitions for each exercise. This will help increase your total energy expenditure. Superset your exercises: Pair up two exercises that work opposing muscle groups. Perform these back-to-back without rest in between. For example, the bench press could be followed by lat pull-down. By doing this, your chest and triceps (bench press) will be getting a break while you’re working your back and biceps (lat pull-down). This will eliminate the time spent resting between sets that work the same muscle…

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Caribbean Connection, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Wanna Go to the Caribbean Without the Hassle? Get Vaccinated!

By Alexander Britel Wanna Go to the Caribbean Without the Hassle? Get Vaccinated! One of the Caribbean’s leading resort companies has announced a significant update to its travel rules: all guests over the age of 12 will be required to show proof of Covid vaccination upon arrival. Elite Island Resorts has a broad portfolio of some the most popular all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, with nine hotels across destinations including Antigua, Saint Lucia, The Grenadines, Barbados and Panama. The new rule will take effect Sept. 1, according to a statement from the company. “With hospitality at the core of what we do, compassion lives deep within our souls, so it has always been our duty to protect the health and safety of our guests and our employees, first and foremost. Further, we have a commitment to our communities and the destinations in which we operate,” said Elite Island Resorts Founder and CEO Robert A. Barrett. “Current science tells us that if you’re vaccinated, you are less likely to become seriously ill, or end up taking up a hospital bed in a fragile medical environment such as the Caribbean where local resources cannot afford to be overburdened. It’s imperative for us to protect the hospitals of these smaller island nations, and while they have had a good track record so far with COVID-19, we must remain vigilant, and all do our part to become part of the solution.” It’s the first move by a major resort company to add the protocol. “While we understand that news of our vaccine mandate may be disappointing to select travelers, it will be uplifting and encouraging to others. Travel breeds tolerance and with this decision, we don’t seek to divide, because as hoteliers, we bring cultures and people together. Yet, in today’s world, we must consider so many more variables to do that,…

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From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

It’s Time for Summer to Go!

By Lani Gering It’s Time for Summer to Go! The heat and the rain that we have had in this area during the last part of August has me over the edge! I can’t wait until fall rolls in. I can only hope that it is a true fall with a little bit of Indian Summer at the onset and then consistent cooler weather all the way up to the holidays. I know I am probably asking for pie in the sky but it doesn’t hurt to dream. As in years past, September marks the last month of the Salute to Sunset Concerts, the free fitness classes and the other live entertainment that has been taking place during the summer. I guess September in the Harbor is sort of like a dining establishment closing between lunch and dinner so they can clean up from one shift and gear up for the next. The break in September allows the Harbor retailers to push those summer styles and goods out the door to make room for Halloween promotions, Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Restaurants get rid of their summer menus and bring out their fall offerings. Gone is the Froze’ and in comes the spiced cider! Something that does stay consistent during September is the Capital Wheel, The Flight Deck and the Carousel. These guys have all sorts of promotions going on at any given time. Check them out at for the latest. The impressive statuary along American Way remains year round and one of my favorite things to do at the Harbor is starting at the bottom of American Way with the Awakening and walking up to Fleet Street and seeing tourists reactions to all of fantastic sculptures. My two favs are Marilyn Monroe and Rosie the Riviter and they both…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

A Campaign for September

By Rosemary Verey A Campaign for September Autumn is approaching – here are some tips to ease the gardener into that time of mists and mellow fruitfulness. September is the start of autumn, when nature is having a final fling of beauty before quieting down for winter. And it is helpful to prepare a program or campaign for your autumn activity. We will be taking cuttings of our doubtfully hardy and tender favourites – verbenas, diascias, felicias, argyranthemums and pelargoniums. Do not forget the violas, rock roses, dianthus and fuchsias that are useful for infilling after the tulips are over. Most of our cuttings go on the mist bench, carefully noted with the name, number and date. If you don’t have the facilities to create a mist, put these cuttings in pots with a polythene bag over the top to conserve moisture. Hardwood cuttings are easy. We have a well-drained shady bed where cuttings 10-12 inches long are lined out, with half their length buried. For an extra shrub or two put these round the parent plant. By late spring they will have enough roots to move them to their permanent home. Try ribes, spiraea, privet, rue, honeysuckle, philadelphus, weigela, hebes and willows. Seed gathering continues into the September program. Gather seeds in paper bags, then transfer them into sealed envelopes and store them in your fridge. Sow some now in drills and watch out for slugs eating the young growth. We order new bulbs every August, many of you may have done the same. Some crocuses, both species and Dutch, scillas and puschkinias and others ring the changes, and keep up a selection each year. Plant the prepared hyacinths in September so they are in flower at Christmas. Paper white narcissus are wonderful for forcing. Put them on the…

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Pets of the Month, Pets, Places, & Things


PETS OF THE MONTH “The AWLA has a lot of amazing adoptables at the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter and even more in foster care throughout the community.  Meet some of our foster favorites and schedule time to meet them by emailing” Bootsie 6-year-old Bootsie is loving life in his foster home.  He’s made friends with children, adults and even other cats.  He’s mastered the art of cuddling and perfected his napping skills; he can nap anywhere, anytime, even in the sink.  While Bootsie can be a bit shy at first, give him some time in his new environment and he thrives.  Is this handsome house panther the guy for you?  Email to schedule time to meet him in his foster home!   Rey If a picture tells a thousand words, 102-pound Rey might need a few pictures…and they’ll all be handsome!  This 8-year-old American bulldog will steal your heart – and a lot of your couch – but you won’t mind at all.  His foster “mom” says that he’s a cuddler, a drooler, the absolute star of her virtual morning staff meeting and an instant conversation starter, who goes out of his way to meet everyone on their regular walks.  What’s not to love?  Learn more about Rey by emailing   Acadia Striking Acadia got all the best bunny genes.  Her vibrant white fur stands out in startling contrast to her beautiful eyes.  In her foster home, she’s working on her decorating skills, making sure her foster “mom” arranges all of her toys just so…or she’ll have to redo it herself.  She’s also an avid news follower, consuming several newspapers a day – by chewing them up.  She has some visual limitations, but she is not letting them stop her from living her best bunny life.  Find out how to meet Acadia…

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