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Dec
21

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: www.washingtonbirthday.net

“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 www.washingtonbirthday.net 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: www.alexandriava.gov/shop.  Site Contact: Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, telephone (703) 746-4242.  Status: For status information go to www.washingtonbirthday.net 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: www.washingtonbirthday.net.  Status: For status information go to www.washingtonbirthday.net 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: http://www.friendshipfireco.org.  Speaker: To be Announced.  Location: the Alexandrian Hotel (formerly the Hotel Monaco) 480 King Street, Alexandria 22314.  Status: For status go to www.washingtonbirthday.net 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
www.washingtonbirthday.net/status 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 www.washingtonbirthday.net or call (703) 829-6640.  For information go to www.washingtonbirthday.net

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 www.washingtonbirthday.net 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 www.dashbus.com.

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 gwmemorial.org or contact Shawn Eyer, Director of Communications, via e-mail at seyer@gwmemorial.org.

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, http://gwmemorial.org.

THE MOST UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION ABOUT ANY CELEBRATION EVENT IS PUBLISHED ON www.washingtonbirthday.net by the George Washington Birthday Celebration Committee.

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.

Dec
21

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 photomanva.zenfolio.com. 

Dec
21

Winter Driving Tips

Commuters, Car and Van Poolers Should Focus on Your Safety

Adapted from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

When the chilly temperatures of winter set in, will your vehicle be ready for the cold? We live in a part of the country that experiences inclement weather, such as heavy rain, snow and ice.  And we have a large number of car-and-vanpoolers in our region.  Inclement weather can have a paralyzing effect on your daily commute. Are you prepared to drive in those conditions? Planning and preventative maintenance are important year-round—but especially when it comes to winter driving. 

BEFORE YOU GO 

Get Your Car Serviced – No one wants their car to break down in any season, but especially not in cold, icy or snowy winter weather. Start the season off right by ensuring your vehicle is in optimal condition. 

Know Your Car – Every vehicle handles differently; this is particularly true when driving on wet, icy, or snowy roads. Take time now to learn how your vehicle handles under winter weather driving conditions. 

Before driving your vehicle, clean snow, ice or dirt from the windows, the forward sensors, headlights, tail lights, backup camera and other sensors around the vehicle.

For electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, minimize the drain on the battery. If the vehicle has a thermal heating pack for the battery, plug your vehicle in whenever it’s not in use. Pre-heat the passenger compartment before you unplug your vehicle in the morning. 

VEHICLE SAFETY CHECKLIST  

Stock Your Vehicle 

Carry items in your vehicle to handle common winter driving-related tasks, such as cleaning off your windshield, as well as any supplies you might need in an emergency. Keep the following in your vehicle: 

Snow shovel, broom, and ice scraper; abrasive material such as sand or kitty litter, in case your vehicle gets stuck in the snow; jumper cables, flashlight, and warning devices such as flares and emergency markers; blankets for protection from the cold; and a cell phone with charger, water, food, and any necessary medicine (for longer trips or when driving in lightly populated areas). 

Plan Your Travel and Route 

Keep yourself and others safe by planning ahead before you venture out into bad weather. Check the weather, road conditions, and traffic. Don’t rush! Allow plenty of time to get to your destination safely. Plan to leave early if necessary. Familiarize yourself with directions and maps before you go, even if you use a GPS system, and let others know your route and anticipated arrival time. 

ON THE ROAD 

Keep your gas tank close to full, even with a hybrid-electric vehicle. If you get stuck in a traffic jam or in snow, you might need more fuel than you anticipated to get home or to keep warm. If road conditions are hazardous, avoid driving if possible. Wait until road and weather conditions improve before venturing out in your vehicle. 

On longer trips, plan enough time to stop to stretch, get something to eat ,return calls or text messages, and change drivers or rest if you feel drowsy. 

Avoid Risky Driving Behaviors 

Do not text or engage in any activities that may distract you while driving. Obey all posted speed limits, but drive even slower if necessary for weather conditions. 

Driving in Winter Conditions 

Drive slowly. It’s harder to control or stop your vehicle on a slick or snow-covered surface. On the road, increase your following distance enough so that you’ll have plenty of time to stop for vehicles ahead of you. Know whether your vehicle has an antilock brake system and learn how to use it properly. Antilock brake systems prevent your wheels from locking up during braking. If you have antilock brakes, apply firm, continuous pressure to the brake pedal. If you don’t have antilock brakes, you may need to pump your brakes if you feel your wheels starting to lock up. 

Navigating Around Snow Plows 

Don’t crowd a snow plow or travel beside it. Snow plows travel slowly, make wide turns, stop often, overlap lanes, and exit the road frequently. The road behind an active snow plow is safer to drive on. If you find yourself behind a snow plow, stay behind it or use caution when passing. When you are driving behind a snow plow, don’t follow or stop too closely. A snow plow operator’s field-of-vision is limited; if you can’t see the mirrors, the driver can’t see you. Also, materials used to de-ice the road could hit your vehicle. Snow plows can throw up a cloud of snow that can reduce your visibility to zero in less time than you can react. Never drive into a snow cloud – it can conceal vehicles or hazards. 

What To Do in a Winter Emergency 

If you are stopped or stalled in wintry weather, follow these safety rules: Stay with your car and don’t over exert yourself; Put bright markers on the antenna or windows and keep the interior dome light turned on. To avoid asphyxiation from carbon monoxide poisoning, don’t run your car for long periods of time with the windows up or in an enclosed space. If you must run your vehicle, clear the exhaust pipe of any snow and run it only sporadically — just long enough to stay warm. 

Dec
21

New Air Service Coming in 2019 to Dulles International

By Athena Hernandez

Following another year of growth at Dulles International Airport, with nearly 24 million passengers traveling through the National Capital Region’s international gateway over the past 12 months, exciting new domestic and international service is coming to the airport.

United Airlines is projecting a 6-percent seat capacity growth at Dulles International for 2018, with additional growth in 2019. This means 12 new domestic routes, including: Elmira, Ithaca and Plattsburgh, New York; Manchester, New Hampshire; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Greenbrier, West Virginia; Lexington, Kentucky; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Asheville and Wilmington, North Carolina; Hilton Head, South Carolina and Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. These new routes mean greater connectivity up and down the east coast, and beyond. In addition, United will be adding three-times-a-week service to Tel Aviv, Israel beginning in May 2019—a new route offering unparalleled access to the Middle East.

Dulles International also welcomed two new airlines this year—Cathay Pacific’s non-stop service to Hong Kong and Volaris’ low-cost service to San Salvador and San Jose, Costa Rica—with more exciting growth to come in 2019. Alitalia will begin offering five times weekly, year-round service to Rome in May, and TAP Air Portugal will begin offering five times weekly, year-round service to Lisbon, Portugal beginning in June. 

Wishing you a happy holidays and happy travels in 2019!

Dec
21

A Concerted Call To Action

The Greater Washington Partnerships Advocates for Transportation Improvements

The Greater Washington Partnership, a group of CEOs from some of the largest corporations in the world, recently released a report titled Capital Region Blueprint for Regional Mobility.  Recognizing that the Baltimore/Washington/Richmond economic market is “the third largest in the United States and the seventh largest in the world,” concerted effort must be focused on keeping our transportation network up to date, and thus the region’s workers and resident mobile.  

The Report recognizes the importance of improving mobility throughout the greater Washington region and investing more resources in doing so because “With currently planned investments, by 2040 the region’s consumers are projected to see congestion grow by more than 150 percent from 2015 levels.  In other words, by 2040 the region’s consumers will go from sitting in congestion 30 percent of each trip to nearly 50 percent.”  Needless to say, those are daunting numbers.

The Blueprint for Regional Mobility relies on what it refers to as a “performance-based transportation agenda” that advocates for a “range of solutions around four priorities:
(1) connecting the super-region; (2) improving consumer experience; (3) ensuring equitable access; and
(4) integrating innovation.”

More specifically, the Blueprint for Regional Mobility is a call to improve and expand our public transportation systems (Metrorail, bus and bus rapid transit), integrating more technology and expanding the existing toll highway network.  The report also calls for expanding our network of trails and pedestrian/bike facilities, expanding the American Legion Bridge and improving the “Long Bridge” for rail traffic across the Potomac River.  

The estimated cost of these recommendations?  $7 billion a year on top of the already planned $12.3 billion to be spent between now and 2045!  However, with the recent announcement of Amazon choosing the region for its next headquarters based on the quality of future workers, the Partnership sees this investment as making up for years of under investing.  The consensus from the business community is simple – either invest in our future infrastructure, or lose our competitive edge that brought Amazon here in the first place.