Notes from the Publisher

Notes from the Publisher

Publisher’s Notes – October 2022

By Bob Tagert As I write this on September 21st the temperature today is 86 degrees and beautiful. A cold front comes through tomorrow and the high for the 23rd is to be 69. By the time you read this we will be in the comfortable 70’s every day. Fall is here. October is Virginia Wine Month so take a drive to one of over 300 wineries in the state. Have a glass or a bottle and take a case home with you. Check out how to Celebrate Virginia Wine Month in our Virginia Wine section. In this month’s History column Sarah Becker takes a break from her hard hitting articles and explores Whiskey, Wine & Beer. Dining Out found us remembering when and living young at The Light Horse Restaurant & Bar. In Grapevine, Matthew Fitzsimmons will give you a chill with Haunted Wineries and Ghost Tours. In Take Photographs, Leave Footprints Scott Dicken visits the Temples of Taipei. In Get Crafty, Tim Long goes down the path of IPA. With fall upon us and leaves changing color, join us on the Potomac Eagle in Road Trip. After going back in time with his reviews, Ron Powers brings us up to date with Alchemy of Earth in High Notes. Sailing is a passion and in From the Bay it is “Show Time”. In Go Fish, local angler Steve Chaconas teaches us that “Fishing is Better with Kids”. Lori Welch Brown laments about her childhood home in Open Space. This has been a brutal summer and hopes are for a pleasant fall. Chances are good that winter may be tolerable as well because global warming is real. I can remember ice skating on the Potomac River in the early 60’s. In recent memory I can think of a thin sheet…

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Notes from the Publisher

Publishers Notes

Thank the Lord that the month of August spared us the intense heat that July did. As I write this at 11 a.m. on August 23 it is a very nice 81 degrees outside. Might just be able to get a day of sailing in this weekend before September distribution starts on the 30th. Let’s see what’s in store for you in this issue. With Virginia Wine Month on the horizon (October), in Exploring VA Wines, Doug Fabbioli talks about the fine balance between the wineries and the many vineyards that count on the wineries buying their fruit every year. In Grapevine Matthew Fitzsimmons writes a great article about Greenhill Winery (formerly Swedenburg) and mentions how my late friend Juanita Swedenburg went to the Supreme Court to secure out of state shipping for Virginia wineries. He goes on to explore the quality of the present day Greenhill. In History Sarah Becker reveals the gauze that lawmakers use to protect us from military style guns and the damage they do. On a lighter note in Take Photos/Leave Footprints, Scott Dicken takes us on a tour of the Piedmont Region in Northern Italy. In From the Trainer, Ryan Unverzagt reminds us of the value of Bodyweight Training and Open Space’s Lori Welch Brown, not just a pretty face, reminisces about XXL on her birthday/anniversary month. Our Road Trip this month took us to Spacious Skies Campground in the Shenandoah’s near Luray, Virginia for a “Glamping” experience. A bit of a drive but with a stop at Pearmund Cellars on the way out and a stop at Barrel Oak Winery on the way back, it made the drive very pleasant. In and Out of Town: if you are hanging in Old Town make sure you check out the balcony at Chadwicks. Great craft…

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Notes from the Publisher

Publisher’s Notes

By Bob Tagert The Dog Days of Summer arrived in full force. As we close out July and move into August the weather has been brutal with very high temps and thunder storms popping up almost every afternoon. My sailing adventures over the years in the lower Potomac River and Solomons, Maryland has shown that July is always the hot month with August offering more pleasant temperatures. I hope that trend holds true. Our Road Trip this month took us to Mountain Lake Lodge and the New River in southwestern Virginia. The cover photo features just a small portion of the beauty of the river. Read the column and learn more about the river, the lodge, the lake and the home of the iconic movie, Dirty Dancing’s filming location. In Let’s Get Crafty, Tim Long reminds us of one of summer’s treats…the Shandy. He also takes a taste of SelvaRey Rum, one of the hottest new rums on the market as well as a great cigar recommendation to compliment it. Grapevine author Matthew Fitzsimmons introduces us to a few of Virginia’s assistant winemakers, how they got there and their mentors. In Exploring VA Wines Doug Fabbioli laments on training and retraining after a pandemic. Miriam Kramer does the research for the best in Beach Books 2022 in Last Word. In High Notes, Ron Powers continues his Flashback series and shines a light on Chuck Berry. Sarah Becker’s Bit of History column takes a look at Roe v. Wade and the Law of Coverture. There is some eye-opening information in this piece. In Caribbean Connection Bob Curley introduces us to a few of the Best Caribbean Rainforest Accommodations. It is a tradition to leave our area in the winter and head to the islands. With constant mid to upper 90’s this…

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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….

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Notes from the Publisher

Publishers Notes June 2022

By Bob Tagert First of all I want to apologize to our readers and advertisers. You all may have noticed that the paper quality on the May issue is inferior. Our printer took it upon themselves to print us on a lower grade paper without discussing it with us. Two months in a row they have been out of the paper we normally use so we are forced to accept a lesser grade. The pandemic made us move from a glossy cover to a 50 pound bright and now this. My apologies for the paper but be assured that the content is the same “quality” content that you have come to depend on. A recap of said content is below. As Old Town Alexandria ponders about the future of the emerging pedestrian walk in the 100 block of King Street, we took a Road Trip to check out the Loudoun Walking Mall in Winchester, Virginia. Let’s hope that the results of our endeavor on lower King Street ends up like this Walking Mall. Sarah Becker takes us back to the Democratic Convention of 1924 in her History column. The Business Profile takes on a different vent with a piece about the Murals of Del Ray. The mural on the cover is no longer and wasn’t in Del Ray. Does anyone remember this one? Watch for info about an upcoming contest on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Meg Mullery introduces you to “Sophia” the Little Yellow Sofa in this month’s Personality Profile column. Sophia gets around and is very special to those in the Blue Ridge area. Doug Fabbioli discusses “Agritourism” in his Exploring Virginia Wines column while Matt Fitzsimmons highlights one of the Virginia’s “Forgotten Wineries” in Grapevine. In Let’s Get Crafty Tim Long checks out St. Barths, Rhum, Ti’…

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Notes from the Publisher

Publishers Notes May 2022

As we move into the month of May the Democracy of America still seems up for grabs, there is a potential nuclear war threatened by Russia in Ukraine, gas prices are high and Elon Musk bought Twitter for a paltry 44 billion dollars. The good news is that the May issue of the Old Town Crier is in your hands and we will attempt to take you away to a calmer world. To get this off on the right foot, Tim Long takes a look at whether you should change your preference in beer in Let’s Get Crafty as summer approaches. Side note: as I write this Tim and his wife are in St. Barth exploring some of the island nectar. Can you spell Rhum? Along with that Caribbean theme, Alexander Britell takes us to the Bahamas and the Goombay Smash in the Caribbean Connection. See, you are already feeling better. If wine, women and song are more to your taste, check out the women of wine in Grapevine and read about The Love Songs of W.E.B Dubois in The Last Word. Our Road Trip took us down to Solomons, Maryland and Annmarie Sculpture Gardens and the Calvert Marine Museum to a visit to the Fairies, Gnomes, Otters and Rays. In To the Blue Ridge, Julie Reardon takes a new twist on Older Women, Younger Whiskey…Faster Horses (then check out the ad on the inside back cover). For those Java lovers out there, we explored the allure of coffee and mentioned the independents in Old Town in Dining Out. In Personality Profile we introduce you to Rick Boyd, a true Old Town man about town. On May 22nd the Old Town Festival of Speed & Style returns to Old Town. This is a chance to enjoy vintage automobiles and explore…

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Notes from the Publisher

Publishers Notes

By Bob Tagert “It’s a Strange, Strange World We Live In, Master Jack” This song was performed by Four Jacks and a Jill and released in 1967. There are a lot of us baby boomers walking around silently singing this song these days. Google it and listen along. Great lyrics. Last month I was writing about the change in weather and as I write this, I will be damned if it isn’t going to be in the well below freezing over the next two days and now we are over 30 days into a war in Europe, gas prices are still high, and everyone on Facebook has become a war strategy expert with a minor in petroleum cost. It is truly a strange world! While keeping one eye on Ukraine, we managed to get another Old Town Crier to the printer. The only thing about the weather that concerns me as I write this is the massive storm on the horizon – however, in the meantime we will focus on this month’s issue. This month our trek took us to a constant in our lives…the Atlantic Ocean and the beautiful Boardwalk Plaza Hotel in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Read about this peaceful spring destination in Road Trip. We stopped in at Mae’s Market & Cafe at 277 South Washington Street to get material for this months Business Profile. Our Dining Out destination returned us to Landini Brothers Restaurant, an Old Town original going back over 40 years. Winemaker Doug Fabbioli explains the art of barrel making in Exploring Virginia Wines. In From the Bay we get a look at one of the largest in-water sailboat show in America. Music aficionado Ron Powers writes of an enigma…G.H. Hat in his High Notes column. April brings us Earth Day and History, Sarah Becker…

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Notes from the Publisher

Publishers Notes

By Bob Tagert The weather sure has been strange these past few months. I am writing this on February 23 and the temperature is 75 degrees and sunny. Tomorrow it will be a high of 37 and rain. No rhyme or reason. Kinda like a lot of things that happen these days. With March being the month we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and the fact that Old Town won’t have the parade again this year, we added a touch of Irish in this issue with Dining Out at Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub and an interview with one of Old Towns favorite Irish lassies, Niamh O’Donovan in the Personality Profile. The folks at the Caribbean Journal write about their favorite Caribbean islands in the Caribbean Connection while Doug Fabbioli explains “If it goes wrong, at least I will get caught trying” in his Exploring VA Wines column.Spring arrives this month and so does the annual sock burning in Eastport, MD. Check it out along with information about the Annapolis Oyster Festival in From the Bay. Let’s Get Crafty Timothy Long explains the difference between a Stout and a Porter in his column. Matthew Fitzsimmons enlightens us on the vermouth being produced in the Commonwealth and how it’s made. In her To the Blue Ridge column, Julie Reardon examines the virtue of a Party of One. Lori Welch Brown takes a look back at two years of covid in Open Space. In Take Photos, Leave Footprints Scott Dicken tells us about the wildlife experience in Costa Rica. Sarah Becker celebrates Women’s History Month while writing about Virginia Fitzhugh Wheat Thomas, a former Alexandrian, in A Bit of History. I hope that you enjoy reading this issue of the Old Town Crier as we transition from winter to spring this month. In another…

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Notes from the Publisher

Publishers Notes February 2022

Well, here it is February. As I write this the last week of January, we are once again anticipating another winter storm this weekend. Guesses of accumulation range from a couple inches to possibly half a foot or more. January will give us more snow than we have seen for years. If you are not out skiing or enjoying the snow, it is a good time to build a fire, grab a glass of Virginia wine and enjoy our February issue. Speaking of snow, our February Road Trip took us to Harrisonburg, Virginia close to Massanutten Ski Resort. While we were there they were making snow and have had natural snow the past couple of weeks. February also brings us Mardi Gras with Fat Tuesday falling on March first. With this in mind, we ventured into Del Ray to write about RT’s Restaurant for Dining Out. RT’s is Alexandria’s closest thing to New Orleans-style food. In Exploring VA Wines, Doug Fabbioli gives us some insight into the mind of a wine maker when it comes to planning for the future. If this cold weather has got you down and you want to get away, read about the new luxury eco-friendly resort on the southern coast of Dominica in Caribbean Connection. Timothy Wheeler gives us hope of oysters helping to clean up polluted rivers and the Bay in From the Bay. Grapevine columnist Matt Fitzsimmons takes us to Sweet Vines Winery and introduces us to Seidah Armstrong (Sadie to her friends), Virginia’s first Black female vineyard owner. Meg Mullery interviews one of Middleburg’s iconic residents, Vicky Moon, about her book Sylvia Rideout Bishop Had a Way With Horses! in Personality Profile. In Let’s Get Crafty, Timothy Long describes the Fish Market’s rise from a one beer pub to a craft beer…

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Notes from the Publisher

Publisher’s Notes

By Bob Tagert Publisher’s Notes This month begins another milestone for us. We begin our 35th year of producing the Old Town Crier. With this issue that makes 409 issues. Back in January 1988 our Old Town friends never thought we would complete 9 – issues that is. We are proud of the service that we have provided to not only Alexandria but also the connection of the Bay to the Blue Ridge. It always was our intention to make Old Town and Alexandria the centerpiece of the magazine while including the Chesapeake Bay area around southern Maryland and the Blue Ridge mountains, the Shenandoah Valley and the Virginia wineries. We have accomplished that while others have tried to copy our plan. When we started, the heart of Old Town was only eight blocks long with a few shops on Cameron Street. Now Old Town stretches from the Potomac River to the Metro station and more shops and restaurants have filled the side streets. Reaching this milestone would not have been possible without a number of folks who have made our trip easier. I will not attempt to name them for fear of leaving out someone, but you know who you are! In addition to those who gave a helping hand, we also could not have done it without those who supported us with their advertising dollars…and you know who you are! Please take a look through this issue and make it a purpose of the New Year to patronize those businesses in this publication. They are truly our partners. We started the publication when I was 40 years old. I turn 75 this year. I have seen a lot, but nothing like January 6th of last year. Say a prayer for our country or better yet, get active. I…

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