Day: July 1, 2022

Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

July In the Garden

Thanks to our friends at, here are a few gardening tasks and projects that you can do to help keep your garden looking it’s best for the rest of this season as well as what you can do to make sure your garden comes back in full force next spring. We have been utilizing the “expertise” of these “experts” off and on for several years. Watering The amount of water that your garden will need is going to depend on the weather conditions in your area. The primary rule of summer watering is to water thoroughly and deeply each time and to allow the soil dry out between waterings. Deep watering will allow the plant’s roots to grow deeper, where they are less likely to dry out, as well as the added benefit of anchoring the plant into the ground better. Light, surface watering actually wastes water, because the water never actually reaches the root zone of the plant, and the moisture rapidly evaporates from the top inch of soil. The best way to tell if your plants are receiving enough water is to take a trowel or shovel and dig down a few inches. The soil should be moist at least 3 or 4 inches deep to insure that the water is reaching the root zone of the plants. Of course, if you planted drought resistant plants in your garden, you won’t have to water as often, but the principal of deep watering still applies. As the weather dries out, your container plants may need daily watering, especially if the pots are exposed to the drying sunlight. Push your finger into the soil in your container plantings at least once a day (more often on hot, dry days) to feel for moisture and be certain that plants are…

Continue Reading

Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

Fells Point – Our Favorite Part of Charm City

By Bob Tagert With gas prices still high, we decided to take a road trip closer to home. About 55 miles north-east of Alexandria you can find Fells Point along the Patapsco River near Baltimore, Maryland. In 1726, English Quaker, William Fell bought land he named Fell’s Prospect. This eventually became Fells Point and it appears that you can spell it Fell’s or Fells. I’m going with use Fells. My relationship with Fells Point began over 30 years ago when I crewed on the Patricia Divine, a two-masted schooner, in the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race. The race actually starts in Annapolis and ends along the waterfront at the Norfolk Mall in Norfolk, Virginia. The boats gather in the Patapsco River around Fells Point a day or two before the race to prep for the great race. This is how I first discovered Fells Point. Looking ahead to a few days on the water racing we all took a little liberty and visited the town of small shops, restaurants and an array of really cool bars. We spent the majority of the night at the Cat’s Eye Pub, truly a sailor’s kind of place. Back then the area was undergoing a revitalization period and the results show today. The main attraction is still the selection of watering holes and restaurants along Thames Street, the main drag. Like Old Town Alexandria, they have all adjusted to the additional outdoor dining space (result of the pandemic protocols) that takes up former parking spots. There are also a number of fine establishments a block or two off of Thames Street. One of these popular places is Bertha’s Mussels. Bertha’s was established in 1972 when the area was run down and trying to find its way…similar to the situation in Old Town Alexandria around…

Continue Reading

Notes from the Publisher

Publishers Notes July 2022

By Bob Tagert Summer has arrived and the 4th of July is just around the corner. Time to fire up the grill, throw on some burgers and dogs and relax with the cold one as we say Happy Birthday to the USA and our very own Alexandria! Our fair city turns 273 years old this month – see the calendar for information on the celebration taking place on the 9th. The fireworks are not to be missed. They do a great job every year. I plan on spending some quality time on my sailboat this month. I see some fun cruises up the Patuxent River on the horizon. I hope you all have some summertime adventures planned in your future. Speaking of which, you might want to put a trek to one of our very favorite parts of “Charm City” aka Baltimore on your calendar. Our Road Trip took us to the cool little enclave of Fells Point on the southeast corner of the city. There is a lot of fun to be had in this little waterfront neighborhood. We also want to thank David Sites for the image of the Pride of Baltimore that graces the cover. She is a must see in the Inner Harbor. If the waterside isn’t to your liking, head into the mountains to Rappahannock County and check out Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville, pick up a bottle of their award winning spirits and head over Thornton Gap into the Shenandoah’s and stay at the Mimslyn Inn in Luray – see their ad in the Blue Ridge Section. Also in this issue, Doug Fabbioli explains the secrets of growing good grapevines in Exploring VA Wines while Matt Fitzsimmons reveals the future of Spain’s signature grape – Albarino – in the Commonwealth in his Grapevine column….

Continue Reading

Pets, Places, & Things, Points on Pets

Is It Time to End Cat Declawing??

By Ken Byrer Recently, Maryland joined New York in outlawing cat declawing, a procedure also known as Onychectomy. In addition to those two States, several localities have also said “no more” to this operation. Should Virginia and Alexandria consider similar laws? For most our centuries with cats, we wanted them fully armed and operational to eliminate vermin and varmints. A declawed cat made as much sense as a dog that couldn’t bark or herd, or a horse that couldn’t bear a rider or pull a wagon. But when cats moved from mainly coworkers to mainly companions, humans established procedures to reflect that change. Some of these practices, like spaying and neutering, remain valued by experts, while declawing has come to be increasingly seen as harmful. People only developed declawing sometime around 1948, and possibly as part of dogfighting as much as keeping the family wing chair intact. As spaying and neutering countered natural cat behaviors of yowling and spraying, declawing addressed the natural cat behavior to scratch – now inside, in homes with stuffed sofas and lacquered wooden chair legs. A joke in the declawing ban discussion holds that upholsterers, at least, support cats having claws. The American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AMVA) brief on declawing thoroughly discusses the issue. The strongest pro-declaw argument holds that human guardians who cannot get their cat’s scratching under control may relinquish them, although a study in British Columbia from 2021 found no significant increase in owners giving up their cats after that province’s ban. Despite its appraisal that the issue needs more hard scientific evidence to reach a definitive conclusion, the AVMA “recommends that the procedure only be performed after exhausting other methods of controlling scratching behavior or if it has been determined that the cat’s claws present a human health risk” and also…

Continue Reading

From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, Take Photos Leave Footprints

10 Steps to Planning your Next African Vacation

By Scott Dicken Planning a trip to Africa without professional assistance, particularly if it’s your first time, is an intimidating prospect. Fifty-four countries, thousands of hotels and lodges, hundreds of safari destinations, and prices that can reach eyewatering heights. It can be a lot to take in. To alleviate some of that stress, in this month’s Take Photos Leave Footprints article I’ll highlight an easy ten step process that’ll have you spotting the “Big 5”, or relaxing on an Indian Ocean beach, in no time. Step 1: Pick a Destination With fifty-four countries to choose from, picking a vacation destination in Africa is a daunting task. Be it a classic safari or a beach destination, I’ve created a cheat sheet that highlights some of the most popular African vacation countries and the activities possible in each. The table also provides three of the more popular sights in each of those countries to whet your appetite. INSERT TABLE Step 2: Choose a Time of Year and Length of Trip Choosing a time of year and length of trip is a crucial decision. Two full weeks (14-16 days) is the minimum amount of time id’ advise considering. Any less will feel rushed, particularly because of the long journeys involved. Additional considerations: Weather: As with all vacations, weather is always going to be key. Weather conditions vary across the continent, so you’ll want to check the weather for your chosen destination. One thing worth considering, if you’re partaking in safari activities, is that wildlife is more easily visible during the dry season when the foliage provides wildlife with less cover. Special Events or Seasons: The most obvious of these for East African safari goers is timing your trip to coincide with the location of the great wildebeest migration. However, you might also want…

Continue Reading

Pets of the Month, Pets, Places, & Things

Pets of the Month

By Gina Hardter Brown 14–year-old Brown is always chill, no matter the temperatures.  This laid-back mastiff mix prefers to take it easy when the mercury soars, with a lot of time snoozing in bed – though he’s happy to join his human friends for a bout of snuggling.  Schedule time to meet Brown from his foster home by emailing Honey How does Honey stay cool?  By letting the summer breeze flap through her ears and keeping her smile bigger than the sun.  At 6 years old, this terrier mix keeps her brain busy learning new tricks in the cool of the A/C; she doesn’t need long walks in the sun.  Learn more about Honey by emailing or calling 703.746.4774. Carlie Carlie’s got it made in the shade this summer.  Now all she needs is a family to call her own!  Carlie’s Summer Tips: When you get warm chasing all the toys, a nice roll on the grass is the best way to cool down.  Thanks for the advice, Carlie!  Meet Carlie by calling 703.746.4774 or emailing

Arts & Entertainment, Special Feature

Happy 273rd Birthday Alexandria!

Alexandria, founded in 1749, has a fascinating history, and many of its historic buildings are still preserved today. During its long history, Alexandria was a tobacco trading post, one of the ten busiest ports in America, a part of the District of Columbia, home to both the largest slave-trading firm in the country and a large free-black community, a Civil War supply center for Union troops, and a street-car suburb for Federal workers. Alexandria was also the hometown of George Washington, Robert E. Lee, Jim Morrison and Mama Cass. Much of present-day Alexandria was included in a 6,000-acre land grant from Sir William Berkeley, Governor of Virginia, which was awarded to Robert Howson, an English ship captain, on October 21, 1669. This land overlapped a 700-acre patent that had previously been issued to Dame Margaret Brent in 1654. The Howson tract extended along the Potomac River, from Hunting Creek on the south to the Little Falls on the north. The grant was made by authority of King Charles II in recognition of Captain Howson’s bringing 120 people to live in Virginia. Less than a month later, Howson sold the land to John Alexander for 6,000 pounds of tobacco. During the late 17th and early 18th centuries, plantations were established along both sides of the Potomac River and settlement began to spread further into northern Virginia. When Fredericksburg was founded in 1728, it was the northernmost town in Virginia but was still located in the tidewater, where tobacco production was profitable. By 1732, Hugh West had established a tobacco warehouse on high bluffs overlooking a small but deep bay, at what is today the foot of Oronoco Street in Alexandria. Philip and John Alexander farmed much of the surrounding land and Hugh West oversaw the warehouse along with a ferry and…

Continue Reading

Pets, Places, & Things, Single Space

Freedom Found and Squandered (or Streamed)

By Lori Welch Brown It’s July, and what’s the first thing that comes to mind?  Freedom.  Which, to be honest, I often take for granted because I’m an entitled American, and thanks to a lot of brave people whom I tip my hat to a couple of times a year, I get to say and do what I want. I’m joking, but also not.  I do take my freedom for granted.  I’m guessing that many of us do.  When I think about it, I enjoy a treasure trove of freedoms every single day.  I am free to get up when I choose, free to eat and drink what I choose.  Free to purchase what I choose from whomever I choose.  Free to read and/or write whatever suits me.  Free to leave my house when I want and make decisions of my own will. Many human beings do not share these same luxuries I afford every day.  There are many sick people who are not free to leave their bed, many forced to work two jobs to keep themselves afloat, and many who are trapped under a cycle of domestic abuse—which is my segue-way to talk about what we all really want to talk about:  The Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard trial. For the record, *domestic abuse is no joking matter, and in no way do I want to make light of it.  Although I agree with the jury’s findings, whether you agree with me or not, I’m sure we can all agree that domestic violence is never okay—towards men or women.  Whatever my thoughts are about the trial, I do think that shedding light on the fact that men can be abused and not just abusers was a good thing. In case you have been living in a cave, the…

Continue Reading

On the Road, Pets, Places, & Things

On the Road

The OTC traveled to Eaton, Colorado last month. Pictured here are Tracy Hall-Unverzagt and her daughter Tremson Adlee sitting on their front porch catching up on the happenings in the DMV. Looks like they are getting a jump on celebrating our Nation’s birthday as well. If you would like to have your photo featured in this space, grab a copy of the Old Town Crier and take it with you on your next adventure, snap a photo or three of you having some fun with it in hand and email it to Don’t forget to include information for the caption and your mailing address so we can send you a hard copy. Your photo will be featured on our site/blog as well as on our Instagram and Facebook pages.

From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

Hot Times in the Harbor

By Susan Bounds “A bawdy, boozy night of revelry that goes down easy.” -Joe Dziemianowicz, New York Theatre Guide The National Harbor’s Waterfront District premiere restaurant, Bond 45 and New York Producer Holly-Anne Devlin are happy to announce that Speakeasy At The Sunset Room – an all-in-one immersive mixology experience that combines the worlds of cirque, illusion, burlesque and musical theatre with an upscale cocktail flight – will open at the Sunset Room in National Harbor for a limited engagement this summer following a sold out run in New York City.  Hailed as “deliciously decadent” (Newsbreak), and “dazzling, splashy, sexy, intoxicating” (NY Theatre Guide). Enjoy the delectable delicacies of Bond 45, while being tantalized by the world’s hottest stage, cirque and burlesque stars.  Each ticket for this magical mixology experience includes a flight of five cocktails and a delicious appetizer from Bond 45’s world class culinary team. Dinner and a Show packages which include a delicious three course meal at Bond 45 are also on offer.  This is the perfect celebratory night for friends, couples, bachelorette parties, Girls Night’s Out and more! Speakeasy is directed by Holly-Anne Devlin whose Broadway and Touring credits include Jersey Boys, Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays and Bring It On The Musical, choreographed by Broadway’s Michael Fatica (Beetlejuice, Hello Dolly, Frozen) and features the top cirque, burlesque, and theatrical performers in the world including Broadway’s Annelise Baker (Jagged Little Pill) as Imogen; Madison O’Connor (The Radio City Rockette’s) as Amour; Nichelle Lewis (Hairspray) as Bessie Bourbon, Lauren Mary Moore  as Fleur De Lis; international burlesque and opera singing sensation, Opera Gaga; star of Legendary on HBO Max Karma Stylez; Golden Clown of Monaco, international cirque star, Chen Lei,  tap dancing sensation, Brian Davis (After Midnight); and Oscar at the Crown star, Jada Temple as the mistress of ceremonies, Madam Lulu; along with internationally acclaimed burlesque and variety artists, Tansy Burlesque, Audrey Love, MisSa Blue, Chrishon Jerome, Hayley Lampart (Kinky Boots), Barnaby Llewellyn and Peekaboo Pointe; “America’s Got Talent” contortionist, Aryn; All Star Cheerleader Charlee Shae, world renowned cirque artist Allison Schieler and special guest stars from Broadway will also make appearances throughout the run….

Continue Reading

View More