Month: March 2022

From the Bay, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Annual Annapolis Oyster Roast & Sock Burning

By Timothy Wheeler “Say goodbye to winter, only deck shoes we wear! Though the socks we burn leave a stink in the air!” So reads the poem recited each year as hundreds of Annapolitans and visitors gather around a waterfront bonfire at the Annapolis Maritime Museum to burn their smelliest, winter-worn socks. After a hiatus during the pandemic, the Annapolis Oyster Roast & Sock Burning is back to celebrate the maritime culture of the Annapolis community and all things Chesapeake Bay. Join us on Saturday, March 19th from 12:00-4:00 PM as we burn our socks during the spring equinox. Tickets are now sold out for both General Admission and People’s Choice. Participants will enjoy all-you-can-eat oysters, oyster shucking contests, family activities, and live music by the Eastport Oyster Boys and Naptown Brass Band. Beverages and other food will be available onsite for purchase.  All of this takes place on the Museum’s waterfront campus overlooking the Chesapeake Bay, including complimentary boat rides and skipjack tours. The sock burning tradition was started in the late 1970’s by local Eastport shipwrights who were fed-up with the winter weather. After an exceptionally cold, snowy season, a small group gathered to celebrate the coming of spring by burning their old socks and promising to forgo sock wearing until the cold weather returned. Today, this quirky Annapolis tradition lives on at the Annapolis Maritime Museum at the Annual Oyster Roast & Sock Burning, where guests can take part in this decades-long tradition that welcomes both the spring and the Annapolis boating season. “There is nothing more authentic and unique to Annapolis than the ritual of burning socks, started right here in Annapolis,” said Alice Estrada, President/CEO of the Museum. “This beloved event brings the community together and raises funds for our important environmental education programs, which…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

Leonardtown, Maryland – ReDiscover a most exceptional place!

By Bob Tagert With spring right around the corner, we thought we would take a road trip to Leonardtown, Maryland, which is in and is the county seat of St. Mary’s County. For many years, Leonardtown has been famous for sponsoring the annual oyster-shucking championships that are held annually at the St. Mary’s County fairgrounds. Although most of Southern Maryland is surrounded by water, the only water access to Leonardtown is Breton Bay which leads to the Potomac River. In 1708 Phillip Lynes, then Mayor of St. Mary’s City, Maryland’s colonial capital, designated fifty acres of land at the head of “Brittons Bay” to be divided into 100 lots. He further ordered that one lot be set aside for a courthouse to be built at an expense not to exceed 12,000 pounds of tobacco. Maryland’s history of the tobacco trade is preserved today with the preservation of many tobacco barns that dot the countryside. Twenty years later this plot of land was named Leonard Town in honor of Benedict Leonard Calvert, who was Maryland’s governor during this period. In the decades that followed, Leonard Town became the place where local residents conducted their official business with the colony. Farm products were regularly shipped through the port at Breton Bay. Today, Historic Leonardtown (the names were combined during the Civil War) remains the only incorporated municipality in St. Mary’s County with its own elected mayor and town council. The town is experiencing a renaissance of its downtown as witnessed by the recent openings of several new restaurants and businesses, some which are located in historic buildings. Keeping it traditional, there is an order Mennonite farming community located a few miles to the northwest, where community members sell furniture, crafts, produce, and other homemade/homegrown products. The ever changing Leonardtown Wharf is open…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Points on Pets

Saying Goodbye: Reflections on the Loss of a Pet

By Cheryl Burns It wasn’t all that long ago that I was writing an article for this very column. It was a piece about pet adoption featuring stories about how our two cats joined our family. As I sent it off, I hoped it captured some of the love and joy that pets can bring. Between the time I wrote the article and when it ran, our world had shifted dramatically. It was an otherwise unremarkable day in May when my husband noticed some swelling in Smoky Tiggs Burns’s neck. After checking to make sure that it wasn’t something normal (we later thanked Sweet Potato Bailey Burns for serving as the “control group kitty”), we called the vet. She saw us that day. After examining our sweet grey girl, she uttered the words we all hope we’ll never hear from a doctor, whether they’re caring for a beloved person or a pet: “it’s cancer.” The next week was a whirlwind. Smoky deteriorated quickly. She needed her lungs drained. Twice. Just seeing her shaved coat was enough to start our tears. The initial test confirmed cancer, but we had to wait a few days for the details. Was it bad, or was it worse? It was worse. Large cell lymphoma, especially when it affects the T-cells, can be rapidly fatal for cats. It can kill in a matter of days. I remember telling the vet who’d diagnosed Smoky that we’d made an appointment to see a feline oncologist. Our appointment was less than a week away, which seemed pretty fast for such specialized care. She told us to get in sooner. In some ways, we were quite lucky. We were able to make decisions based more on our hearts than on our wallets. We knew from the start that we could…

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Caribbean Connection, From the Bay to the Blue Ridge

Twenty Two of the Best Islands to Visit in 2022

By Alexander Britell and the Caribbean Journal Staff Hiking a volcano. Walking the cane fields of an organic rum distillery. Eating lionfish burgers at an oceanfront food truck; savoring a twilight mento concert; kayaking across a secret mangrove forest; riding a flats boat to an undiscovered sandbar. They’re the reasons we come to the Caribbean, those once-in-a-lifetime experiences in which the Caribbean abounds, those chances to explore the communities and the natural beauty of the world’s most extraordinary place. (And yes, the beaches, too). Our editors’ annual edition of the Best Caribbean Islands to Visit takes you on a layered journey across the far corners of the region, from the electric-turquoise waters of The Bahamas to hidden-away islands in the Eastern Caribbean and everywhere in between. Think of it as an inspiration, as a guide, for an exciting year of traveling to the Caribbean — hopefully multiple times (for our regular readers that goes without saying). Here are our favorites (in no particular order) for 2022 with highlights of those favorites of the Old Town Crier. St John, US Virgin Islands St John is hotter than ever, and it’s not a surprise; the island, nearly two-thirds of which is covered by National Parkland, is a natural wonder; while there are some lovely little boutique hotels like Estate Lindholm and the Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel, here the villas are the story, with stunning vistas and dramatic settings; and when you combine that with a deliciously quirky, creative and warm community, you get an instantly intoxicating little island. Bimini, The Bahamas It’s the closest of any island in the region to the US, just about 50 miles from Florida. And Bimini, the adventure island that was once a treasured haunt of Hemingway (and even a favorite retreat of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr),…

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Business Profile

Kings Jewelry – All In the Family

The Old Town Crier is in our 35th year of business in Alexandria. I have seen a lot of changes over those years but the one thing that has remained constant is King’s Jewelry on King Street which is celebrating their 67th year in business. With two years of covid disrupting all businesses, Norman “Brad” Bradford has remained solid in providing excellent service to clients. Brad is an original to Alexandria by growing up and attending school here. A young Brad held down a job after school at the old Cannon Shoe Store on King Street. It was in the course of selling shoes and working with people that he discovered not only what he enjoyed, but also that he was a natural born salesman. Recognizing Bradford’s unique talents, Moritz Bier, then owner of King’s Jewelry, made an offer of ten dollars more a week to the 19-year-old in June of 1962 and Brad made the move. His initial training was “on the job”. Bier took Bradford under his wing and taught him – hands on – about the jewelry business. “I was always doing it under his guidance,” Bradford said. “He was kind of grooming me to take over someday.” As time passed, Bradford took on more of the everyday operations and in 1978, when Bier and his family wanted to retire, they sold the business to Bradford. That early-on family environment is the cornerstone to the family run King’s Jewelry of today. Ten years after Bradford started at King’s his sister Helen joined him at the store working for Bier. After he bought the business, his daughter Tari joined the growing business in 1983. “Wow, how time flies,” Tari tells me; I have been working at King’s Jewelry for more than 39 years. Working with family and co-workers…

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Dining Out, Wining & Dining

Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub – Erin Go Braugh

By The Gastronomes With March being the month to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and all things Irish we were very disappointed to find out that the St. Patrick’s Day parade will not take place this year. So…in the spirit of the holiday we thought it pertinent to feature Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub in this space. Tom and Melinda Mooney wanted to open a pub celebrating their Irish heritage, and chose Old Town Alexandria for this traditional Irish pub and opened their doors at 713 King Street in 1978. For anyone who has been in Old Town for any length of time, if someone says, “Meet me at Murphy’s”, you know exactly what they mean. I have been going to Murphy’s since they opened. It has been the go to place for a good time and a good meal not to mention the perfectly poured Guinness for many patrons ever since. Fittingly, Murphy’s has one of the longest bars in Old Town to serve their many customers. As soon as you walk in the door you can feel the energy generated by the clientele. The dining area downstairs has two and four top tables with the option to put tables together for larger groups. In the middle of the dining area there is a huge fireplace that is a great feature on a cold winter day. The second floor has its own bar as well and more tables to accommodate private parties or their regular customers on very busy nights. As to be expected, the menu is chock full of hearty choices at a very reasonable price. Murphy’s offers thirteen appetizers including the standard chicken wings to Shrimp Killarney, Irish smoked salmon, Irish egg rolls and steamed shrimp. All appetizers are under $10.25. Their Irish Specialties and Entrees range from Beer…

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Beauty & Health, First Blush

It’s Time to Go Green

By Genevieve LeFranc After frigid winter temperatures, bulky wool sweaters, and the occasional snowfall, Spring can’t come soon enough. Temperatures are fluctuating and warmer weather is right around the corner, along with the arrival of bright, happy colors to incorporate into your dressing and grooming regime. From neons on the runway to bold prints and patterns, it’s time to ditch your neutrals and trusty makeup standbys for a punched up, colorful new look. Emerald is a very harmonious hue on the cosmetic color wheel, and is therefore a universal color for all makeup lovers. The exotic hue dramatizes all eye colors—enhancing green eyes, compatible with blue eyes, emphasizing green undertones in hazel eyes, and richly intensifying brown eyes to make them appear deeper. Surprisingly enough, Emerald also works great as a cosmetic color trend because it complements peach, pink, ruby, and even deep eggplant purple, so your lipstick and blush options are just as versatile. And how chic is an unexpected little pop of green on your nails for Spring? This deep, rich jewel tone is incredibly versatile because—believe it or not—it looks wonderful on nearly every complexion and is the perfect transition shade to take you into Spring. Many see this as a trendy hue and shy away from its boldness, but fear not! If you are hesitant, make this beautiful, saturated color a subtle accent instead of an in-your-face statement. If you’re bored with your look, take a walk on the wild side and add a sultry flair to eyes, nails, and even your beauty tools. For an updated, modern look that will add a healthy dose of color to your makeup regime, try these glittering Emerald-inspired products. Sephora’s 3-In-1 Sharpener This sleek, colorful sharpener is a must-have not only for its vibrant emerald color, but for its…

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Financial Focus, Pets, Places, & Things

It’s Time to Create, or Update, Estate Plans

By Carl Trevison and Stephen Bearce If you haven’t created an estate plan or have one but the documents may be outdated, you might be putting yourself and your family at risk if the unthinkable, such as becoming incapacitated or passing away, should happen to you. To assist you with getting started on creating or updating your plan, it helps to understand these five important documents that are part of many estate plans: Will A will provides instructions for when you die. You appoint a personal representative (or “executor”) to pay final expenses and taxes and distribute your assets. Remember that beneficiary designations on 401(k) plans, IRAs, insurance policies, etc., supersede what you have in your will. If you have minor children, a will is the only way to designate a guardian for them. Durable power of attorney A power of attorney lets you name an agent, or attorney-in-fact, to act on your behalf. You can give this individual broad or limited management powers. Choose them carefully because they will generally be able to sell, invest, and spend your assets. A traditional power of attorney terminates upon your disability or death. However, a durable power of attorney will continue during incapacity to provide a financial management safety net. A durable power of attorney terminates upon your death. Health care power of attorney A durable power of attorney for health care, also called a health care proxy, authorizes someone to make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to do so yourself. This document and a living will can be invaluable for avoiding family conflicts and possible court intervention if you’re unable to make your own health care decisions. Remember to review this document regularly to ensure the right person is designated to make any necessary medical decisions….

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Re-do Your Routine

By Nicole Flanagan Spring is on its way. The days are getting longer and warmer and everything is waking up from winter. With springtime comes a new energy to evaluate and recommit to fitness plans. It is almost like a second shot at a New Year’s resolution. Maybe you need to set some new goals, or even start over completely. Here are a few ways to tweak your workout and keep your fitness moving in the right direction. Train Smarter. If you are looking for an all-in-one training tool, check out the TRX Suspension System. It is portable, versatile and makes the most out of a bodyweight workout. Because of the suspension, you must use your core to stabilize and therefore work more than one muscle group at a time. With the TRX system you can get a workout done in as little as twenty minutes. The TRX system is designed for all fitness levels from novice to elite. It comes with a workout guide and there are many ways to modify the exercises whether you are just starting out, or are looking to bring your workout to a new level. It really is an all-in-one workout. Staying with the idea of a portable workout, another great piece of equipment is an exercise band. They are inexpensive, compact, and you can carry them almost anywhere.  Try this; from either a seated or standing position, pull a band up around your thighs, slowly pull your legs apart at the knees. This works both inner and outer thigh muscles. Start with three sets of ten. Back up your workout. You know how to train your abs, but what many forget is how important it is to strengthen your entire back. By adding a few exercises that work to improve back strength and…

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Beauty & Health, From the Trainer

Take a Dip!

By Ryan Unverzagt Welcome to another edition of From the Trainer! This month’s exercise is the Parallel Bar Dip. As I have mentioned in previous columns, body weight training can be just as effective as using dumbbells and weight plates for resistance. The dip is as “old school” as jumping jacks, sit-ups, pushups, and chin-ups. Several versions of the dips exercise include seated on a machine, triceps dips off the edge of a bench or chair, or utilizing weight plates for added resistance by either using a belt with a chain or on the lap using two flat benches. With the parallel bar dips, the bars should be about shoulder-width apart. This width will target the lower chest, front of the shoulders, and the triceps. The narrower the width, the more triceps and shoulders are involved. Ideally, the bar height will allow you to lower your body so that the elbows are at 90 degrees without your feet touching the floor. If not, just bend the knees so that your feet are behind you. I like to cross the lower legs, but this is not necessary. Most parallel bars are part of a station that you can perform multiple body-weight exercises that include parallel “steps” that help you get set for the start without having to jump up into position. At the top, your arms are straight supporting your body weight through the hands. As you lower yourself, lean forward to make the chest muscles perform most of the work. The shoulder blades should come together as the elbows reaches 90 degrees. Push yourself back to the top without pausing at the bottom. Going down should be a little slower pace than pushing up. Try two sets of 10 reps initially, and then add either another set or more reps….

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