Day: April 1, 2022

Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

Rehoboth Beach and the Boardwalk Plaza – It’s Good to be Back!

By Bob Tagert In an uncertain world where everything seems to change daily, we decided to take a road trip to a true constant…Rehoboth Beach and the ever constant Atlantic Ocean. I can remember the years of going to Ocean City, Maryland and then Rehoboth Beach to enjoy the sunshine and the beach activities. Today I have grown into more of a spectator than participant but the consistency of the ocean rushing onto the beach and then receding has not changed while the world around us seems to be falling apart at times. The sun and the moon still rise every 24 hours over the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. That magic and romance we felt back then is still there today although a bit more jaded. In time measured it is clear that we change much quicker than the world around us and that is why a return trip to mother ocean is necessary. Our weather window of March 16-18 looked to cover all the bases. 70 degrees and sunny on the 16th, 50 degrees and rainy on St. Patrick’s Day and another 70+ degree day for the return drive on the 18th. After a late morning start we took a pleasant window-down drive from Old Town and arrived at our destination just in time to check into the beautiful Boardwalk Plaza Hotel. This was not our first trip to the Plaza as we have visited before and there seems to be no reason to look for any other accommodations. The Plaza Hotel is perfectly located on the boardwalk and only two blocks from Rehoboth Avenue…the main drag. With the aforementioned spectator mentality, we find mid-March to the end of April to be a perfect time to go. Prices are reduced, accommodations are plentiful and street parking is free. Another bonus…

Continue Reading

From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Who Says You Can’t Go Home

By Lani Gering As many of you regular readers of this column know, I had to move out of the condo that I occupied in One National Harbor for over 11 years almost 2 years ago due to the monetary strains caused by the pandemic. It was one of the saddest days of my life. I know it may sound ridiculous to some of you but I truly did love living in the Harbor. I had my routine and liked to go on a walk about to check out new businesses and see what other action was up at my favorite places. I vowed to make it the 4 whole miles back across the bridge from Old Town on a regular basis and I did for the first year, however, it has been less frequent – other than doing the monthly distribution – in these last 9 months. I was struggling with what to write about since about the only notable happening in the Harbor in April is the continuing Cherry Blossom activities that I wrote about in the March column and the springtime and Easter happenings at the Gaylord. So….I decided to take the drive across the Woody Bridge with Bob in tow to spend the afternoon in the Harbor. Wouldn’t you know that the day we picked ended up with the wind blowing a gale and rain pelting down so the walk about didn’t happen. Not to be discouraged, we went ahead and parked the truck in the Fleet Street garage and made the trek through the elements to my all time favorite place in the Harbor – Bond 45. Bond was like my “Cheers” bar when I lived there. I could walk out one of the many ‘secret’ exits from the ONH building and across the street…

Continue Reading

On the Road, Pets, Places, & Things

On the Road

Always so much fun to see good friends taking the Old Town Crier on their adventures. Kathy and Bob Condon do a lot of traveling and have been very faithful about having the OTC in their luggage. This photo was taken on one of their treks ‘from the beach to the mountains’ in North Carolina. What started in Hilton Head ended up near Sparta. Not ones to pass up an opportunity to stop at a good winery, they chose Jones von Drehle Vineyards and Winery located on the rising slope of the Blue Ridge just northwest of Elkin.  Pictured here from left to right are Kathy, their good friends Malinda and Keith Sink and Bob. If you would like to see you photo in this space, just take a hard copy with you on your next adventure and snap a few pics with the OTC in hand. Send them to with some good information for the caption. Your photo will appear both in print and online.

Pets, Places, & Things, Single Space

What Goes with Grief?  Hope and a Cold Miller Lite

By Lori Welch Brown I’m writing this column on the tenth anniversary of her death which seems appropriate as April showers bring May flowers.  That’s a bit what grief feels like, right?  Things feels gloomy and dark for a time, and then a bit of sunlight peaks through just enough to allow something beautiful to break through the soil, a sprout of hope. She died in March, on the 16th to be exact, just one day after her youngest daughter’s tenth birthday.  Since 2012, the term March Madness has taken on a whole different meaning for those of us who knew Holly. Holly loved March.  She was actually born in January, but somehow March feels like her month.  She was a St. Patty’s day girl with her fiery red hair and vibrant personality.  She never met a stranger, and she had more ideas than there are four-leaf clovers. This year’s anniversary of her passing felt like a kick in the gut.  She should be here.  Her youngest just got accepted to VCU.  Her oldest—who is the spitting image of her—is set to graduate in May. I could go on and on about what a life force she was—one of my best friends since I was 15—but you didn’t know her.  I could ramble on for hours about what you missed out on, and it would all be true.  Her laugh and penchant for Miller Lites.  Her zany ideas and master plans that she sucked us all into because we couldn’t stand to be left out of anything she was involved in. One such idea had me standing in the freezing rain at a St. Patrick’s Day parade in D.C. trying to sell green glitter shamrock head bopper thingys.  “C’mon, Lor—it’ll be fun,” she said.  She had purchased 5,000 of them…

Continue Reading

Go Fish, Pets, Places, & Things

Catching Technology

By Steven Chaconas In early competitive bass fishing, the playing field was level. Fishing gear, lures and boats were evolving. Tournament destinations were undisclosed until arrival. Tackle boxes were limited by weight, and horsepower was restricted, lifted in the late 90s. The early 150 hp standard went to 175, to 200, to 225 and has mostly settled on a Goldilocks 250 hp. Boats can only be so big and remain good fishing platforms. Hooks got sharper, lines stronger and lures more lifelike. Rods are so sensitive you can feel the price tag with them.  Reels cast a mile and retrieve at lightning speeds. Trolling motors put boats on a spot and keep them there. In shallow waters, Power Poles deploy anchors to keep boats perfectly still to target shallow bass. Electronics evolved as well.  Simple flasher units were effective, sending sonar beams to be interpreted by anglers. Bottom hardness, vegetation, trees, rocks, or mud could be discerned by color brightness. Humminbird’s early liquid crystal diode screens advancements interpreted sonar signals into more easily read 2-dimensional images. Then came GPS and contour maps. The big 3, Humminbird, Lowrance and Garmin fought over the bass fishing market. Humminbird’s side imaging set the bar, followed by 360 degree sonar. Recently, Garmin achieved dominance in forward scanning units. Seeing fish swimming around caught the eye of tournament anglers who rose to the top with their mastery of this technology. Pros and weekend anglers found the huge advantage of locating and targeting previously unnoticed bass. These unpressured fish could be identified and hunted down, identified by size, and followed until caught. This game-changing technology is also changing angler attitudes. There’s skill in catching fish, but also in maximizing the effectiveness of these units. Fishing is morphing from Opie and his dad Sheriff Taylor walking down…

Continue Reading

Beauty & Health, First Blush

Fragrance: What to Wear and How to Wear It

By Kim Putens The smell of spring is in the air. With the smell of spring brings about the desire to try a new fragrance. Switching to a new fragrance in the warmer months is like shedding our heavy winter clothes. I’ve even heard of fragrance referred to as woman’s clothing.  And, the type of fragrance notes chosen are referred to anything from a spring dress to a fur coat. Since we are all ready to put our fur coats away after this historic winter, allow me to guide you toward your “spring dress” and teach you how best to wear it. What to Wear Warmer months call for lighter fragrance notes – floral, citrus, and clean are most common. Floral is by far the most popular fragrance category. It becomes even more popular when the temperatures rise. Consider floral notes such as gardenia, orange blossom, lily, rose and peony. These are most often found in fragrances. In fact, Casablanca lily is the most popular fragrance note sought out by customers. Citrus Notes – Orange is too fruity, grapefruit too ordinary.  But, bergamot, bitter orange, and mandarin are just right. For a greener smell, look for fragrances that pair citrus notes with green leafy notes. Some examples of common combinations are verbena, lemon and cedar or lemon, basil and oak. Because citrus notes tend to evaporate quickly, pairing them with woody notes will make them last longer. Ozonic (or clean) Notes – When sniffed, these fragrances are reminiscent of the seashore or fresh water.  Most often people will refer to them as clean and fresh. The scent will remind them of a breeze coming off the ocean or the way we expect a summer breeze to smell. When mixed with floral notes, these ozonic fragrances gain more depth, last longer…

Continue Reading

Beauty & Health, Fitness

Saving Your Workout for Daylight

By Nicole Flanagan If you ever make it to the gym before the sun comes up you will notice that there are just as many, if not more, people working out at 5am as there are at 5pm. For some people, working out in the morning is like having a cup of coffee, for others the thought of getting out of bed any earlier than sun-up, well, isn’t a thought at all. For others it is simply timing and lifestyle fit that designate a workout time. I have wondered if there really is a better time to work out, as I have always thought that morning workouts were the best.  For me getting up and getting my workout done early means that I have the rest of the day and don’t have the workout hanging in the back of my mind. Not like chasing a toddler is a sedentary job but sometimes come the end of the day I am just too exhausted to go for a run. I choose to work out early in the morning because it is convenient, I have the time to myself and it gives me a little bit of peace in my mind before everyone else in my house gets up. I did a little bit of research on the best time to work out and what I found was interesting. Dr. Phyllis Zee of Northwestern University has a different opinion about when the ideal time to exercise is. She claims that the best time to work out is in the late afternoon. The reason for that is your muscle strength is at its peak. She also states that someone would be less likely to have an injury because it’s also a time when people are most awake and alert. The science behind Zee’s…

Continue Reading

Beauty & Health, From the Trainer

Spring Is In The Air!

By Ryan Unverzagt April is one of my favorite months because the weather is making a turn for the better (my birthday is in April too!) and if you like the warmer weather, chances are you will be spending much more time outside, which means less time at the health club; but don’t let your fitness routine melt away like the winter snow! If you are a weekend warrior who loves to compete in various sports throughout the year, or just an “Ordinary Joe” who’s looking for something new, you should consider adding plyometrics to your exercise program. Plyometrics is a form of jump training that has been proven to increase the muscle’s ability to produce power. Why is this important? An increase in power results in an increase in speed, strength, or a combo of the two, which means you will have an advantage over your competition and be lighter on your feet. Another benefit of plyometric training is it can be performed outside with minimal equipment needed. There are a few things to remember before even trying plyometric exercises – age, strength, body weight, previous injuries and training experience. Because of the intense nature of plyometrics, the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) recommends a lower-body strength prerequisite before starting any jump training. A person must be strong enough to free-weight squat at least 1.5 times their own body weight. For example, a 180 lb person must be able to squat a minimum of 270 lbs! Don’t worry; you will need about six months of progressive resistance training to reach this strength guideline. The minimum age requirement depends on the physical and mental maturity level of the adolescent. Please check with your family physician to help determine if your child is physically ready to start with basic plyometric…

Continue Reading

Exploring VA Wines, Wining & Dining

Cooperage Is Space and Spice

By Doug Fabbioli When I worked in the wine cellars of Sonoma, California a few decades ago, much of my time was spent with the barrels. I was purchasing over 2000 barrels each year, both new and used, for our wines at Buena Vista Winery. I got to know the coopers, the other winemakers, and the wines they aged in those barrels. I learned about the oaks used, the toasting and charring, and more. I don’t buy nearly as many barrels these days but that experience has not left me. With the expansion of the craft beverage industry, many folks have reached out to me about getting some used barrels for their projects which means there are a handful of uses other than wine that I have had a hand in lately. There are a number of good reasons to re-use wine barrels for other spirits. The barrel will impart the flavor of what was in it before, especially if I do not wash out the barrel. This is the preferred method for these folks, as the wine characteristics left in the barrel are what they are looking for. The wood of the barrel will add its own set of flavor notes, and these can be different based on where the barrel wood was grown, the aging of the wood before being made into a barrel, the toasting process used and the level of that toast, and how many times the barrel has been used. Another aspect of barrel-aging a product is the slow, low-level oxygen that is imparted into the wine through the pores of the wood. The barrel does not leak, but it does breathe. As the barrels sit, the air slowly goes in and a touch of wine evaporates out giving the barrel room a unique and…

Continue Reading

Grapevine & Vintner Profile, Wining & Dining

Virginia’s 2022 Governor’s Cup Winner – Cana Vineyards 2019 Unité Reserve

By Matthew Fitzsimmons On March 24th, Governor Glenn Youngkin announced Cana Vineyards & Winery as the winner of the 2022 Virginia Governor’s Cup for its 2019 Unité Reserve, a Petit Verdot-heavy red blend. Winemaker Melanie Natoli accepted the Cup at a packed gala, held at Richmond’s Main Street Station. This year’s Governor’s Cup was the first time the Gala was open to the public. Melanie made history as the first time a woman has ever received the Governor’s Cup. The competition also set a record with three women winemakers – Melanie, Maggie Malick of Maggie Malick Wine Caves, and Rachel Stinson Vrooman of Stinson Vineyards – behind four of the competition’s 12 top-scoring wines, which will form the Governor’s Case. The remaining Case wines, representing Charlottesville, Northern Virginia, and the Shenandoah Valley, were also revealed. Albemarle Ciderworks won Best in Show for its 2019 Virginia Hewes Crab cider. 127 gold medal winners were announced earlier in the month. The Governor’s Cup is Virginia’s premiere wine competition, featuring wines that are entirely grown and made in the state. Competition Director and Master of Wine Jay Youmans changed the format and strengthened judging standards in 2012, turning the Cup into a world-class competition. Cases of these top-scoring wines are sent to wine critics around the world, promoting the Virginia wine industry to a national and international audience. The 2022 Virginia’s Governor’s Case 1.     Cana Vineyards & Winery 2019 Unité Reserve 2.     50 West Vineyards 2019 Ashby Gap 3.     Barboursville Vineyards 2020 Vermentino Reserve 4.     Cana Vineyards & Winery 2019 LeMariage 5.     Maggie Malick Wine Caves 2020 Albariño 6.     Michael Shaps Wineworks 2019 Chardonnay 7.     Pollak Vineyards 2017 Meritage 8.     Rockbridge Vineyard 2018 V d’Or 9.     Shenandoah Vineyards 2019 Reserve 10.  Stinson Vineyards 2017 Meritage 11.  Trump Winery 2015 Brut Reserve 12.  Wisdom…

Continue Reading

View More