Author: oldtowncrier

From the Bay to the Blue Ridge, National Harbor

The Season Has Begun – Finally

By Lani Gering It sure seems like it has taken forever for the Harbor to shake off the wintertime dust! Sure there were some fun events for the Cherry Blossoms in March and April but the real fun starts May 1st. This day marks the beginning of the fun summertime season at the Harbor. The Salute the Sunset concerts are back on, Movies on the Potomac are up and running, the free weekly Fitness Classes are taking place, Friday Summer Sounds is on the schedule and Kids Day starts on Thursdays beginning in June. The Salute the Sunset concert series continues entertaining us with patriotic performances on Saturdays and select Wednesday evenings. This year there will be a Drill at Dusk performance by the US Air Force Honor Guard on select evenings as well. The concerts and the drills are performed by various US Military bands and begin at 7 pm. Bring your chairs and grab some eats to go from one of the many eateries on the Plaza. FREE! May Schedule Drill at Dusk – 4th, 7th, 11th, 18th, 25th Army Band – 14th Navy Band – 21st & 28th Movies on the Potomac A full roster of some of our favorite family classics and date night movies hit the big screen on the Plaza throughout the season. Family Nights on Sundays at 6 pm and Date Nights on Thursdays at 7 pm. The theme for this month is Animals. Pack up some portable seating and join in the fun. FREE! Family Night 1st – Sing 2 8th – Babe 15th – 101 Dalmatians circa 1996 22nd – The Secret Life of Pets 29th – Lion King circa 1994 Date Night 5th – Best In Show 12th – Dream Horse 19th – Jaws 26th – Must Love Dogs Get…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Single Space

May Days

By Lori Welch Brown May is for moms, and I sure am missing mine.  My inbox is being bombarded with Mother’s Day gift ideas, and my heart feels heavy wishing Mom was here so I could buy her a bouquet of brightly colored peonies, gerbera daisies, and sunflowers. Moms aside, for me, May needs to be about movement which I sorely need.  Someone else already writes the fitness column so don’t worry, I won’t be doling out exercise advice.  But, I will tell you that since COVID arrived back in 2020, my food sensibilities departed along with my gym card. It’s also going to be about making memories as we are headed out for a long overdue trip with friends.  I can’t wait to get on a plane and embark on a new adventure.  Keeping my fingers crossed that circumstances don’t change in a way that prevents us from traveling.  I’m fine with wearing a mask and/or taking a COVID test as long as I can land in a foreign land and immerse myself in a different culture.  Buon giorno.  Come sta? Molto bene! But enough about me. What about you?  How will you be kicking off your summer?  Road trips are always great, and if you’re an ardent reader of the Old Town Crier, you probably have taken this mag along as your guide to some awesome Delmarva destinations.  Day tripping is one of my fave things to do, riding along with the windows rolled down, and the radio cranked up.  Wine country, anyone? Perhaps for some of you, marriage is in the plans this month.  COVID put a halt to many a bride’s plans so now hopefully they are back on the books.  I know I’ve seen a lot of bachelor/bachelorette events over on social media.  So fun…

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Arts & Entertainment, Special Feature

A Brief History of the Artificial Poppy

By Lani Gering Each year around Memorial Day, Veterans of Foreign Wars members and American Legion Auxiliary volunteers distribute millions of bright red poppies in exchange for contributions to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans. The program provides multiple benefits to the veterans and to the community. The hospitalized veterans who make the flowers are able to earn a small wage, which helps to supplement their incomes and makes them feel more self-sufficient. The physical and mental activity provides many therapeutic benefits as well. Donations are used exclusively to assist and support veterans and their families. The poppy also reminds the community of the past sacrifices and continuing needs of our veterans. The poppy has become a nationally known and recognized symbol of sacrifice and is worn to honor the men and women who served and died for their country in all wars. In the World War I battlefields of Belgium, poppies grew wild amid the ravaged landscape. How could such a pretty little flower grow wild while surrounded by death and destruction? The overturned soils of battle enabled the poppy seeds to be covered, thus allowing them to grow and to forever serve as a reminder of the bloodshed during that and future wars. Madam Guerin, who was recognized as “the poppy lady from France”, sought and received the cooperation of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. early in 1922, after the Franco-American Children’s League was dissolved. The VFW conducted a poppy sale prior to Memorial Day, 1922, using only poppies that were made in France. In the 1923 poppy sale, due to the difficulty and delay in getting poppies from France, the VFW made use of a surplus of French poppies that were on hand and the balance was provided by a firm in New York City…

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Go Fish, Pets, Places, & Things

Fishing on Empty

By Steve Chaconas “Gas prices are so high, a guy tried to siphon gas out of a Tesla, NASCAR cut laps to semi-circles, and hitchhikers are giving lessons.” High gas prices are no joke to bass fishermen. The sudden gas price jump might sink their tournament season. Bass fishing tournaments draw regional anglers competing for bragging rights to a few thousand dollars. The top local tournament trail, Potomac River Battle Series, hosts 10 events annually. There’s been chatter about some not fishing due to expensive gas.  Tournament Director Ed Dustin says his trail, is mostly a working man’s league comprised of self-employed or small business owners. He says they have the flexibility to schedule fishing, but also can raise rates to account for rising gas prices. Anglers working for someone else, like government employees, are taking a hit.  He thinks participants are cutting practice days. Overall, if gas keeps going up, he expects a lot of boats up for sale. Traveling pro angler, Frank Arthur is on the road a lot. Sponsored by Comprehensive Nursing Services Inc., he began his season shortly before the big spike in fuel prices. His first stop, the TBF Nationals on Lake Conroe Texas, cost $500 to drive from Maryland. Leaving his truck in Texas, he caught a flight home for a few days. Returning to Texas he fished his event and drove home at an increased cost of $650. Fuel sticker shock has Frank contemplating fuel savings, like driving his boat slower during practice days and the truck slower on the highway. He looks for the cheapest gas and fills the truck and boat. He’s aware many are putting off tournament fishing for a while as added costs broke already thin budgets. Some boaters are ready to take a seat as a back of the boat angler due…

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Beauty & Health, First Blush

Five Steps to Fabulous Summer Feet

By Kim Putens Spring hits and we immediately toss off our boots and pull out our flip-flops.  Undoubtedly we do this out of relief that warm air has arrived and because our feet need a break from winter’s confining shoes.  But, most of the time, we really do not take note of the condition of our neglected winter feet.  For many of us, it simply means a trip to the local spa for a pedicure followed by weekly or bi-weekly visits to keep them looking good.  For me, the idea of a $60 pedicure makes me cringe.  Multiply that by several trips a month … I have better things to spend my money on.   It really is not that hard to take care of your feet and keep them looking fabulous – all at a fraction of the cost. Uncover and Observe.  Slip off your shoes and take note of the condition of your feet from the winter.  I mean really take a look at them.  I most notice my feet while doing Yoga.  For some reason, this is when I get up close and personal with my feet and take notice of their condition.  I notice all the calluses that have built up, the rough skin on my heels, and the un-groomed toenails Peel Back the Layers.  Now it is time to get rid of the rough build up from winter.  Invest in a good foot file.  Most foot files dull out over time; most notably pumice stones wear out very quickly.  While you might have to spend a little more money for a really good one, it should last forever if taken care of properly.  The best are those made of crushed diamonds.  Sounds decadent, but if you think about it, diamonds do not wear out and they…

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Beauty & Health, From the Trainer

Let’s Turn That Keg Into A Six Pack

By Ryan Unverzagt Welcome back to another edition of From the Trainer. It’s that time of year when we need to start trimming down before swimsuit season hits and focus on transforming that keg into the six-pack we always dreamed of! This month’s exercise is a Sit-Up with a twist using a decline bench. It targets the abdominal muscles (rectus abdominis, internal/external obliques, and transverse abdominis) and also works the hip flexor muscles including the rectus femoris of the quadriceps. This is another great body-weight exercise that you can add to your abdominal repertoire. The advantages of using a bench is the ability to adjust the decline angle to your fitness level and securing your lower legs and feet for a more effective sit-up. A flat bench is for the beginners and an increased angle is for the seasoned vets. Before you begin, adjust the bench to your comfort level. After that, climb on and secure your lower legs and feet into the position shown in figure 1. Notice how my hips and knees are bent while my feet are anchored behind the top pad. Ab benches will vary in design, but the better ones will allow you to secure the feet and lower legs and position the knees above hip level (as in these pictures). This position will help protect the lower back and spine from extreme shear forces during the sit-up. When the hips are flexed, the less your hip flexors are involved, which means the abs do the grunt work. For the start, place your hands on the back of your head with the elbows bent, but avoid interlocking the fingers. You do not want to pull on the back of the head during this exercise because your neck will not appreciate the strain. Contract those abdominal…

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Beauty & Health, Fitness

Fit Mom

By Nicole Flannigan As a personal trainer and a mother, I can appreciate being able to have an hour to myself to get in a good workout. This event rarely happens. It seems that by the time I actually have some time to spend on myself there is still a million things to get done. Exercise is always on my list of things to do for the day and I have found that the best way to fit it in is by doing a 15-20 minute workout at least twice a day. Fitting in a workout can be easier if you make it a part of your daily routine. I know this is easier said than done, but it is possible. Make your workout fun for you and for your kids. Try doing a workout video in the living room while your kids play. If they are old enough to move around have fun with them, you get your workout in and the kids get worn out too! When babies are too young to move on their own, it’s the best time to strap them in a stroller and go for a walk. If you are a runner, I highly recommend investing in a jogging stroller – it will make exercising fun and the jogging strollers fold up so you can take them just about everywhere. Exercising increases your metabolism, increases energy and will help you sleep better (even if you are only getting a few hours at a time).  You can complete an entire strength training routine in just under 20 minutes using only your body weight.  The best part about body weight training is that you can do it anywhere! Total Body Strength Workout: Warm-up: jumping jacks, walk in place for 1 minute Squat Jump -Stand with your…

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Grapevine & Vintner Profile, Wining & Dining

Women Take Top Honors in Maryland and Virginia

By Matthew Fitzsimmons For the first time ever, both Maryland and Virginia recognize women as the top winemakers in their most recent wine awards. In October 2021, Lauren Zimmerman of Port of Leonardtown Winery won her second Maryland Governor’s Cup for her 2019 Chambourcin Reserve. This March, Melanie Natoli of Cana Vineyard & Winery won the Virginia Governor’s Cup for her 2019 Unité Reserve red blend, the first time Virginia awarded this prize to a female. These honors highlight not just their own accomplishments, but those of women across the entire wine industry. When Melanie received the Cup from Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, she spoke to how last year’s award stage was entirely occupied by men. She then said of her fellow women winemakers, “We are fewer in number but we are mighty in passion and skill.” Both of Melanie’s statements are accurate. Today only roughly 12% of Virginia wineries and 20% of Maryland wineries have a female head winemaker. Even those numbers are an improvement from a decade ago. Yet these numbers are hardly surprising. Nationwide, women in the wine industry face additional barriers to advancement, often due to the lack of apprenticeships or funding for education. As wineries are often family-owned, opportunities for promotion to senior positions are slim. Both Lauren and Melanie observed that women need to work extra hard to prove themselves. That said, both Maryland and Virginia are still emerging wine regions, with room for growth and the flexibility to experiment with new styles of winemaking. This helps level the playing field as the local winemaking culture hasn’t yet had time to develop an entrenched ‘old boy’s network’, set in its ways. Melanie Natoli – Cana Vineyards & Winery of Middleburg When Melanie started, the number of women in the Virginia wine industry was even…

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Exploring VA Wines, Wining & Dining

Mentoring Leads to Success

By Doug Fabboli Each of us has been mentored in one way or another. Whether it is a parent, a teacher, a coach, a scout leader, a supervisor, a camp counselor, an older sibling, a religious leader, or any other person who has been a little further down the road of life and is willing to lend a hand to the next person coming along, everyone can point to someone who has influenced and taught them. I have been fortunate enough to learn my craft from some solid mentors who helped me along the way. Some were seasoned cellar workers that taught me the operations of wine, while others were well regarded consultants that knew the right words to say to me at the right time, giving me the boost or lesson that I needed in order to move forward. The more I find myself mentoring others, the more I look back to those who taught me. And after all these years in the business, I try to keep my humility and continue learning from others I admire, even if from afar. That, by the way, is the biggest lesson: keep humble and keep learning. Over the decades, I have taught many people the process of grape growing, winemaking, and building a business in this industry. Some took a few classes from me, some paid me as a consultant to teach them and their team, and others worked for me gaining the experience here at Fabbioli Cellars. Back in 2008, Melanie Natoli had been working part time in a tasting room, but wanted to learn the process of winemaking. She asked me which university she should choose if she wanted to pursue this career. As she already had a master’s degree in Physical Therapy and a full time job in…

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Let's Get Crafty, Wining & Dining

Spring Is Here, Let’s Have a Beer!

By Timothy Long Spring has sprung!! As I begin work on this article, I pause to look out the window. It’s not really a pause, I’m contemplating just what the hell I am going to write about this month. I notice that the trees are starting to bud. Tiny bursts of green that will soon fill the branches as they grow. I can hear birds outside in the courtyard. They’re squawking and squabbling over nesting spots. I’d prefer singing and chirping.  But still, it’s a sign of Spring, La Primavera. I start to dream of sunny days, baseball, relaxing at the pool, the beach, women in bikinis, women in bikinis playing volleyball. Tim stop it! You’re supposed to be writing an article! OK, it’s Spring. So, it’s time to change what beers we are drinking, right? Wrong!! Spring cleaning does not have to include dispensing with some of your favorite malted beverages. Yes, our dietary trends start to change as the days grow longer and warmer. But that is mostly due to the seasonality of food. Much of the cuisine we enjoy is seasonal. As seasons change, we wait to enjoy certain items that either become available or greatly improve in quality. Spring makes us anticipate tomatoes, avocados, blue crabs, ramps, etc. None of this has anything to do with beer. Beer is a year-round delight. Yes, your local craft brewery may stop producing some beer styles due to lack of demand. Plus, they enjoy putting out a Spring collection of beers, most of which will be of the lighter variety. This does not mean that you must give up your stout or IPA. The brewer’s thought process is this: As Spring comes and Summer looms, everyone wants a lighter beer. It’s the same way chefs approach food. They know…

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