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Free Fares on New OmniRide Haymarket – Rosslyn/Ballston Express Route

For the first time, residents in western Prince William County and communities further west along I-66 have direct bus service to popular locations in Rosslyn and Ballston! And believe it or not, fares are free through February 15, 2019!

OmniRide’s new Haymarket Express bus service started in December 2018, providing I-66 drivers who travel inside the Beltway with a faster commute and an alternative to paying tolls.

“This new Express bus route is a game-changer for residents who don’t want to deal with traffic or tolls on I-66,” said Prince William County Supervisor Ruth Anderson. Anderson also serves as Chair of the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC), which oversees OmniRide. “Instead of stressing out about their commute or paying tolls to arrive at work on time, riders can relax in a comfortable seat and read or get a few extra minutes of sleep, knowing they’ll have a reliable trip.”

The Haymarket – Rosslyn/Ballston Express bus route operates on weekdays and serves five stops along Heathcote Boulevard, including a new 230-space parking lot that was built by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Major destinations served in Rosslyn and Ballston include stops along North Fairfax Drive, Clarendon Boulevard and Wilson Boulevard.

To celebrate the addition of a route in Haymarket to OmniRide’s commuter bus services, passengers ride for free through February 15, 2019! But the bargain doesn’t end there! 

As an incentive to reduce traffic, all OmniRide buses that travel on I-66 are offering half-fares while Express Lanes construction is under way! The half-fare promotion, which is expected to last until 2021, is funded by VDOT and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation. As a result, after February 15, 2019, the one-way SmarTrip fare on the Haymarket route will be $3.45 instead of $6.90. 

“OmniRide has wanted to offer additional bus services in western Prince William for years, but a lack of commuter parking in the area has been a major obstacle,” said Prince William County Supervisor Jeanine Lawson, who represents the Brentsville District and also serves on the PRTC Board. “The construction of this new lot and others that VDOT will open in future years will enable OmniRide to offer some greatly-needed commuting options in the I-66 corridor.” 

The new Haymarket route is funded by gas tax revenues and by tolls collected on the I-66 Express Lanes. 

Additional information about OmniRide’s services is available at 703-730-6664 and at


METRO Skating Glide your way through winter car free!

In need of some outdoor exercise that doesn’t require driving your car to the location?  Why not try taking METRO to one of these six outdoor ice skating rinks conveniently located near a variety of METRO stations.  Hours of operation and fees vary from site to site, particularly during some warm, or extremely cold weather situations.  Best to call in advance.  So, get off the couch, grab your blades and jump on a METRO train to the nearest rink and have some great winter fun!

National Gallery of Art Ice Rink (Blue/Orange Lines Smithsonian Mall Exit, or Yellow/Green Lines Archives 7th Street Exit)

The 2018–2019 ice-skating season begins November 19 and continues through March 10, weather permitting. Experience ice-skating in the Sculpture Garden while surrounded by large-scale sculptures by contemporary artists, including Louise Bourgeois, Sol LeWitt, Tony Smith, Roy Lichtenstein, Roxy Paine, and others.  Rental skates are available for a fee.


Monday–Thursday – 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.

Friday – 10:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m.

Saturday – 11:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m.

Sunday – 11:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.

Please note the ice rink will be closed when it rains or when the temperature dips below 20°F. For the current status, please call (202) 216-9397.  Admission fee required.  The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden is located on the National Mall at 7th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, is bounded by Constitution Avenue and Madison Drive and by 7th and 9th Streets NW.  During the evening, when the Gallery and Sculpture Garden are closed to the public, access to the ice rink is restricted to the entrances at Constitution Avenue near 7th Street and Madison Drive near 9th Street.

Canal Park Ice Rink (Green Line Navy Yard/Ballpark New Jersey Ave. Exit; Circulator Bus as well)

Canal Park is a stunning public park on the site of the historic Washington Canal in the heart of DC’s Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. With its dancing fountains in summer, vibrant ice rink in winter, and LEED Gold-certified water reuse systems, Canal Park is a sustainable and green neighborhood gathering place, and a destination for the entire city.

Canal Park is located in the vibrant Capitol Riverfront neighborhood at 2nd & M St. SE, one block from the Navy Yard/Ballpark Metro (New Jersey Ave. Exit).  Street address is: 202 M Street, SE Washington, DC 20003.  Fee for admission.  


Monday through Thursday: 12pm-10pm
Friday: 12pm-11pm
Saturday: 10am-11pm
Sunday: 10am-10pm

Pentagon Row Ice Rink (Blue and Yellow Line Pentagon City Exit)

The plaza at Pentagon Row underwent major renovations to create a year-round experience for guests, and now boasts an ice rink that is 50% larger with an outdoor dual-sided stone fireplace for lounging during skating breaks. Pentagon Row’s 6,840 square foot ice rink is now the largest outdoor rink in Northern Virginia, and the second largest in the state.  Open late October to mid-March.

Located at Pentagon Row Fashion Mall at 1201 Joyce Street, Arlington, VA.  Phone: 703-418-6666.  Fee for admission.


Sunday: 10am – 7pm or 10pm*

Monday:  Noon – 10pm

Tuesday:  Noon – 10pm

Wednesday:  Noon – 10pm

Thursday:  Noon – 7pm or 10pm*

Friday:  Noon – 11pm

Saturday:  10am – 11pm

*If there are Ice Rentals we will close at 7pm and re open at 9pm

Reston Town Center Ice Rink (Silver Line Wiehle Avenue/Reston Exit)

Reston Town Center Ice Skating Pavilion is open seasonally from early November-mid-March, offering public skating every day and extended hours for all holidays. The skate shop is stocked with over 500 pairs of skates ranging from size 8 toddler through men’s size 13, in both Figure and Hockey styles. For the beginner skaters, try the double bladed, flat edge skates to walk across the ice until you’re ready to glide into a single bladed skate, available in size Youth 8-13.

Located in the heart of Reston Town Center at 1818 Discovery Street, Reston, VA.  Phone: 703-709-6300.  Fee for admission.


Monday: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm 

Tuesday: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm

Wednesday: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm 

Thursday: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm

Friday: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm 

Saturday: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm

Sunday: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm

Rockville Town Square Ice Rink (Red Line Rockville Exit)

The ice rink at Rockville Town Square is the largest outdoor ice skating rink between Baltimore and Washington DC.  It is the largest in all of Montgomery County.  The rink is 7,200 square feet. 

Located in the heart of Rockville, MD at the Rockville Town Square. 131 Gibbs Street, Rockville, MD. Phone: 301-545-1999.  Fee for admission.


Monday: Thursday: Noon – 10 pm

Friday: Noon – 11pm

Saturday: 10am – 11pm

Sunday: 10am -10pm

Extended hours on Holidays


Metro Introduces New Features for MetroAlerts and Real-time Parking Availability

Metro introduced a new, improved MetroAlerts system to make it easier for customers to get information when and where they want it. The new features allow Metrorail and Metrobus riders to customize the alerts they receive by day and time, and allow multiple email addresses or phone numbers on one account.

“These improvements will help customers eliminate unwanted alerts that don’t affect them and better tailor text and email alerts to their travel patterns,” said Metro Assistant General Manager Lynn Bowersox. “We are mindful of the fact that our customers receive hundreds of emails and text messages through the course of the day, and this is about giving customers better control of when and how they receive information from us.”

MetroAlerts provide riders with text or email alerts about disruptions or delays that may affect their trip on specific bus or rail lines. Riders will no longer receive automatic alerts all day — only when they want, for the times of day they choose based on their travel patterns.

Among the new enhancements for Metrorail and Metrobus customers include the ability to:

  • Add multiple email addresses or phone numbers to one account
  • Select any number rail lines, bus routes or stations to receive alerts
  • Select specific days of the week to receive alerts
  • Select parts of the day to receive alerts – morning, afternoon, evening or night
  • Temporarily suspend alerts while on vacation
  • View your MetroAlerts history

MetroAlerts subscribers who wish to take advantage of these new MetroAlerts options can log in to their account at to review and update their settings. No changes are necessary for customers who wish to maintain their current MetroAlerts settings, as all current settings have been transferred to the new system.

Real-time parking status now shown on

In a separate improvement, Metro customers can now see which parking lots and garages have space before leaving home. Metro launched a new feature on the parking page at that provides real-time parking availability. Simply check the parking details by station for the real-time parking status.

Customers will see one of three color-coded status updates:

  • Available (Green)– Ample parking spaces are available.
  • Limited (Yellow) – A limited number of parking spaces are
  • Full (Red) – The lot/garage is full. No parking spaces are available.

The system provides an estimate of spaces available, rather than an exact number and does not differentiate where cars are parked (i.e. reserved, paid or handicap space).

Metro plans to provide the API data for real-time parking status in
the future.


George Washington Birthday Celebration!

Northern Virginia is fortunate to be home to George Washington, Revolutionary War hero and the first President of the United States, among so many other noteworthy accomplishments.  The City of Alexandria and Fairfax County host annual events throughout the month of February celebrating George Washington’s birthday.  Every year the events change and new activities are added.  The schedule of events for 2019 is below.

Alexandria Celebrates Washington’s Birthday throughout February!

 “Cherry Challenge”:  A competition among the finer restaurants in Alexandria. Each restaurant develops its own cherry cocktail, appetizer, entrée, and/or dessert, in honor of our distinguished native son, of course! The competing restaurants and their entries will be listed on the website and the winners will be announced on Parade Day.
Dates: January 27 through February 10, 2019.  For more information, go to:

“Walking with Washington”:  Did you know that there are over 140 places in Alexandria that are associated with George Washington? This tour is designed to show you some of them and expand your knowledge of Washington and Alexandria, his home town. Date: Every Sunday in February (3, 10, 17, 24).  Ticket Price: Free! Advance reservations not required. Time: 2 p.m. (tour lasts about ninety minutes).   Location: Meet at the Ramsay House Visitors Center, 221 King St, Alexandria 22314.  Status: For status information go to or call (703) 829-6640.

Birthnight Banquet & Ball:  You are invited to the re-creation of this famous celebration of Washington’s Birthday set in the year 1799. The evening includes an 18th-century banquet, English country dancing, dessert collation, character re-enactors, and General and Mrs. George Washington. Period costume optional; “after-five” attire encouraged.  To attend the Ball only, please arrive
at 9 p.m.

Date: Saturday, February 16, 2019.  Time: 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.   Location: Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 N. Royal St.  Ticket Price: Tiered pricing for this event. Advance reservations required.  To purchase tickets, go to:  Site Contact: Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, telephone (703) 746-4242.  Status: For status information go to or call (703) 829-6640.

Alexandria George Washington Birthday Celebration Schedule
for 2019

Revolutionary War Reenactment at Fort Ward Park.  Historic camp and tactical demonstrations throughout the day including a Revolutionary War skirmish between the Redcoats and the Colonial Army at 2 p.m.  Date: Sunday, February 17, 2019; Time: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Location: Fort Ward Park, 4301 W. Braddock Road.  Ticket Price: Free. Registration is not required.  Site Contact: Fort Ward Museum; telephone (703) 838-4848.  For more information, go to:  Status: For status information go to or call (703) 829-6640.

Parade Day!

Monday February 18, 2019

Breakfast & Meeting of the Friendship Veterans Fire Engine Association  

Meet special guests and enjoy a hearty breakfast with members of this historic association.  Time: 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.  Ticket Price: $40.  For more information and to purchase tickets, go to:  Speaker: To be Announced.  Location: the Alexandrian Hotel (formerly the Hotel Monaco) 480 King Street, Alexandria 22314.  Status: For status go to or call (703) 829-6640.

Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the Revolution.  Organized by the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Sons of the American Revolution. Colonial military and civilians honor the soldiers of the Revolution.  Time: 11:00 a.m. to Noon. Ticket Price: Free.  Location: Old Presbyterian Meeting House, 321 So. Fairfax Street, Alexandria.  Status: For status go to or call (703) 829-6640.

Armed Forces Community Covenant Ceremony.  Join us as we honor our Nation’s Veterans, Active Military, and their families with music, games and activities for children, military vehicles, demonstrations, informational booths and displays.  Time: 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Ticket Price: Free.  Location: Parade Reviewing Stand at Market Square (King & Royal Streets).  Status: For status information go to or call (703) 829-6640.  For information go to

George Washington Birthday Parade

The largest parade in the USA that celebrates Washington’s Birthday – in his chosen hometown! Time: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Location: Old Town Alexandria.  Grand Marshal: To be announced.  Status: For status go to or call (703) 829-6640.

On PARADE DAY, PARKING is FREE at the parking lots adjacent to the Eisenhower Avenue Metro Station.  From there, a FREE DASH shuttle bus will take you downtown and back from 11 A.M. TO 4 P.M. The free KING STREET TROLLEY service will also be in operation all day until 11 p.m. from King Street Metro Station going east and west along King Street. For DASH service to other events, call (703) 746-3274 or go to

Alexandria George Washington Birthday Celebration Schedule
for 2019

Historic Alexandria sites “Open Houses”:  Admission is free to these sites on Parade Day in honor of the birthday of George Washington. For more information, please contact each individual site.

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum.  134 North Royal Street, Alexandria. Time: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Contact: Gadsby’s Tavern Museum –
phone 703) 746-4242.

Friendship Firehouse Museum.  107 S. Alfred St., Alexandria. Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Contact: Friendship Firehouse Museum – (phone (703) 838-3891

The Lyceum.  201 S. Washington St.; Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Contact: The Lyceum, Alexandria’s History Museum – phone (703) 838-4994

Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum.  105-107 S. Fairfax St.; Time: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Contact: Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum, telephone (703) 746-3852.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Events Organized by the George Washington Masonic National Memorial.  For information about the following events, please go to or contact Shawn Eyer, Director of Communications, via e-mail at

Annual George Washington Symposium at 1:00 p.m., George Washington Symposium in the North Lodge Room. Speakers and program to be announced. Free.

Annual George Washington Birthday Gala. Attire: Formal (White Tie Optional.) Tickets $150, reservations required. Reception at 5:30 p.m., entertainment in the Memorial Theater at 6:45 p.m., Banquet in the Memorial’s Grand Masonic Hall at 7:30 p.m. The Presentation of the George Washington Memorial Award will take place during the banquet. Tickets for the Gala are $150, and may be purchased at website,


The committee maintains a 24-hour phone line that will report any change of status or the cancellation of any event (in case of inclement weather, for instance). Call the EVENTS HOTLINE (703) 829-6640 at any time.


Gettysburg National Military Park, Traveling Back in Time

Story and photo By Jim Schlett

Since its inception, Dulles Airport has been a pipeline to numerous business possibilities.  With the expansion of the Washington Metro system those opportunities have been growing at a steady rate.  This area is also a gateway to many educational, historical and recreational areas, including many of our National Park sites.  Within a very short distance of the Dulles corridor, a large number of those sites can be visited and enjoyed.   

One of the most historical, hallowed and significant locations is Gettysburg National Military Park, an easy 90-minute drive up Route 15 out of Leesburg to the Park’s Visitor Center.  This park and town are still centered around a battle that occurred back on July 1-3, 1863 in a great Civil War over 150 years ago.

In 2018, I was fortunate enough to be selected as the Artist-In-Residence at several National Parks, including Gettysburg.  Being an avid Civil War buff, this was a bonus of combining all of the historical aspects of an epic battle located within the beautiful landscape of the area.  This is a program that a small number of National Parks sponsor each year.  At Gettysburg, the Gettysburg Foundation and the National Parks Art Foundation are part of the AIR.  The program allows selected artists to create works and present at least one workshop or talk while in a specific park for a 2 – 4 week period of time.  The park generally provides housing to the artist.   We arrived in August in the middle of a hot and humid summer day and settled into our housing at the Klingel Farm, directly in the middle of the battlefield where Picketts’ Charge occurred.  The farm house dates back to before the Civil War, and we had the sense of being a guest in another time and place.  While walking the fields of battle in search of photographs, I could often sense the presence of some of the soldiers and “hear” voices that affected me in a profound way. 

As a photographer, being right in the middle of the battlefield allowed me to rise very early to make sure I was at specific locations for that special light of the “magic” hour.   Some of the views in the early morning, with a fog creeping across the ridges, fields and orchards were truly incredible.  An added bonus at that time of day is that the battlefield is generally devoid of tourists.  Many of the sunsets views were equally as stunning as those at daybreak.

It is very ironic that this battlefield – witness to so much carnage on those 3 days – now is often looked on as a peaceful and scenic location by many visitors.  Having been to Gettysburg on numerous instances over the past 40 years, I decided to pick the collective knowledge of the park’s employees and volunteers as well as the staff of the Gettysburg Foundation.  To put this park in perspective, Gettysburg was the largest battle ever in North America, with an estimated 150,000 soldiers, over 50,000 casualties and over 400 cannons. The Park is quite large, encompassing approximately 4,000 acres and one could easily spend several days there.  Some of the names of the Generals have become part of the lore of American history, like Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet, George Pickett, George Meade, George Custer, Winfield Hancock and John Buford.  Each played a significant role in the final outcome of the battle.  This Union victory at Gettysburg, coupled with the surrender of Vicksburg, truly was the major turning point of the Civil War.    

Almost every day, after my sunrise photos were finished, I would head over to the Visitors Center, check in at the desk and ask the rangers and volunteers for lesser known or photographed areas of the battlefield they would recommend for new images.   I received an incredible number of suggestions for sites throughout the battlefield, so many that I was unable to fit them all into my schedule during my
time there!  

 Those suggestions led to daily hikes both with ranger-led walks/talks and on my own to famed sites such as Culp’s Hill, the Wheatfield, Coster Avenue mural, the Wills House, the Peach Orchard and Devils Den to name just a few.  The hikes and tours with the rangers provide an interesting perspective, with each ranger crafting a unique story about the individual tours such as the Round Top, so that on each day the program would be different.  On an interesting note, one day while at the National Cemetery, the ranger spoke of a “poem” written by a soldier that had striking similarities to the Gettysburg Address long before the Address was given.  The ranger talks are extremely informative, interesting and moving.  On more than one instance, I would see visitors tear up while listening to a ranger about action that took place back in 1863.  

I would also mention that adjacent to Gettysburg National Military Park is the Eisenhower National Historic Site, the home and farm of our 34th President of the United States.  Dwight D. Eisenhower was also the Supreme Allied Commander of the Armed Forces in Europe in World Was II and had a keen interest in the battle and this area.  The home and farm also offered some great photographic opportunities and is worth a visit with the many facets of the Eisenhower’s later years.  

The Artist-In-Residency Program continues the tradition of artists and writers creating new works that capture the essence of the parks and spark the interest of new visitors.  I am hopeful that people will respond to my work in ways that will benefit the parks, such as recruiting new volunteers.  I will also be exhibiting some of my photographs from this and other AIR experiences at the ArtSpace Gallery in Herndon, Virginia in the near future.  

More of my photographic images in individual galleries by subject matter can be found at