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Feb
26

Historic Garden Week in Virginia Celebrates 85 Years – April 21-28

Photo by Louise Kraft.

For the past 85 years residences and public gardens throughout Virginia open their doors to the public to celebrate Garden Week. “Virginia is especially beautiful during Historic Garden Week,” notes Nina Mustard, President of the Garden Club of Virginia, the sponsoring organization of the country’s oldest statewide house and garden tour. For one week in April, nearly 25,000 visitors tour beautiful homes and gardens across Virginia and enjoy all the Commonwealth has to offer. The 2018 event encompasses 29 tours organized and hosted by 47 member clubs.

Nearly 250 private homes, gardens and historical sites will be open especially for Historic Garden Week. Every year the properties opened and the tours offered are different, making each year a unique experience.

A beloved spring tradition, Historic Garden Week in Virginia gained important recognition when the Garden Club of Virginia reported the results of its first economic impact study of this successful fundraiser. “The Garden Club of Virginia was able to provide reliable figures estimating the cumulative impact over almost fifty years to be over $425 million,” states Mustard.

“It’s the largest ongoing volunteer effort in Virginia that promotes so many of its communities, both large and small,” says Stephie Broadwater, State Chairman of Historic Garden Week. “We felt that an economic impact study would help validate that work.”

The inspiration for Historic Garden Week dates to 1927 when a flower show organized by Garden Club of Virginia volunteers raised $7,000 to save trees planted by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. The first tours took place two years later, and proceeds from tours have continued to fund the restoration and preservation of the Commonwealth’s significant historic public gardens ever since. “Historic Garden Week has raised millions of dollars to keep Virginia beautiful,” notes Lynn McCashin, GCV Executive Director. “The grounds of Virginia’s most cherished landmarks including Mount Vernon and Stratford Hall have been restored with tour proceeds. As the Garden Club of Virginia approaches her Centennial in 2020, we are also supporting Virginia State Parks with a portion of
HGW proceeds.”

“It’s hard to conceive of the scope of Historic Garden Week, so we like to share some surprising numbers,” Karen Cauthen Ellsworth, State HGW Director and Editor of the Guidebook (a 240-page publication produced annually in support of Historic Garden Week) adds. “In addition to the amazing interiors and gardens on display, Garden Club of Virginia volunteers will design over 2,000 spectacular floral arrangements to decorate rooms open to the public. Most of the plant materials will come from their very own gardens.”

The 2018 marketing materials will feature the Kwanzan cherry blossom and a historic Gloucester property on the water. “The Kwanzan cherry is the star of the Cherry Blossom Festival in D.C. and such a lovely symbol of the beginning of springtime,” explains Ellsworth. She emphasizes, “Historic Garden Week would not be possible without the hard work of our 3,300 Garden Club of Virginia members across the Commonwealth.”

The Garden Club of Virginia celebrates the beauty of the land, conserves the gifts of nature and challenges future generations to build on this heritage. The 3,300-member organization presents educational programs and makes awards to encourage community conservation and beautification projects. Most notably, the Garden Club of Virginia is recognized for its Historic Garden Week, a statewide tour of gardens and homes. Tour proceeds fund the restoration and preservation of Virginia’s historic gardens, landscapes and state parks. 

Dec
28

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 2017–2018 ice-skating season begins November 18 and continues through March 11, 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.

Hours

Monday–Thursday:
10 a.m.–9 p.m.

Friday: 10 a.m.–11p.m.

Saturday: 11 a.m.–11 p.m.

Sunday: 11 a.m.–9 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.

Hours

Monday & Tuesday:
12pm-10pm
Wednesday, Thursday & Friday: 12pm-10pm
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.

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

Hours

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 the rink will close at 7pm and re open at 9pm

Tysons Corner Ice Rink (Silver Line Tysons Corner Exit)

Glide your way into Winter on the beautiful Tyson’s Corner Center Ice Rink! Open daily, with extended holiday hours,  it offers not only public skating, but learn-to-skate lessons, birthday parties, weekly cartoon skates and Saturday Night Rock ‘n Skate.  Just over 6,000 square feet, the rink is also perfect for private parties and corporate outings.  The Skate Shop (2nd floor, next to Lord & Taylor) has over 500 pairs of skates in stock, from Toddler size 8 to a Men’s size 14, with figure, hockey and double-bladed skates available.

The Tysons Corner Center Ice Rink is located on the plaza between Lord & Taylor and Hyatt Regency. The Skate Shop is located inside, 2nd floor next to Lord & Taylor. Address for the Tysons Corner Center Ice Rink; 1961 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean, VA 22102.  Phone: 703-356-1240.  Fee for admission.

Hours

Monday-Tuesday: 3pm-7pm
Wednesday-Thursday: 3pm-9pm
Friday: 1pm-11pm
Saturday: 11am-11pm
Sunday: 11am-7pm

Reston Town Center Ice Rink (Silver Line Whiele 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.

Hours

Monday: 11am – 7pm

Tuesday: 11am – 7pm

Wednesday: 11am – 10pm

Thursday: 11am – 10pm

Friday: 11am – 11pm

Saturday: 11am – 11pm

Sunday: 11am – 7pm

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.  This year, Rockville Town Square has partnered with the City of Rockville, Tri-State Ice Management, and VisArts to engage local artist, Emily Eisinger, to create artwork on our rink. The colorful, abstract artwork spans the length of the rink.

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

Hours

Monday: Thursday: Noon – 10 pm

Friday: Noon – 11pm

Saturday: 10am – 11pm

Sunday: 10am -10pm

Extended hours on Holidays

Dec
28

Winter Driving Tips

Commuters, Carpoolers, and Vanpoolers 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 carpoolers 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
28

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, just some of 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 2018 is below.

Alexandria Celebrates Washington’s Birthday throughout February!

The “Cherry Challenge”

The “Cherry Challenge” is 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 below and the winners will be announced on Parade Day.  Dates: January 28 through February 11, 2018.  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. Dates: Every Sunday in February (4th, 11th, 18th, & 25th, 2018).  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.

18th Century Dance Classes

In preparation for the Birthnight Ball, learn 18th-century English country dancing from expert dance instructors. Dates: Dates & Times to be determined. Location: Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 N. Royal St.; phone: (703) 746-4242.   To register, go to:  www.alexandriava.gov/GadsbysTavern

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 17, 2018 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 2018

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 18, 2018; 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 19, 2018

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: $35.  For more information and to purchase tickets, go to:
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 here, 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 2018

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

George Washington’s Birthday – Thursday, February 22, 2018

“I Cannot Tell A Lie: Myths about George Washington that Should be Discarded”

Abigail Adams said that truth was George Washington’s best eulogy. Professor Peter Henriques examines a number of the various myths that have developed and which keep us from better understanding the remarkable individual who was our first and greatest president.  Doors open at 7 p.m., lecture begins at 7:30.

Tickets: $12 per person or $10 for Society members and volunteers. Location: Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 N. Royal St.; phone: (703) 746-4242

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Events Organized by the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. For information about the following events, please go to http://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 $125, 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 $125, and may be purchased at website, http://gwmemorial.org.

Visit  washingtonbirthday.net for the most up to date information 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
28

Dulles Matters: New Road Rules in the Dulles Corridor

By Rob Yingling

Dulles Airport passengers should take note of new rules affecting roadway travel between the airport and downtown Washington, D.C. Prior to December, drivers on airport business could use I-66 east of the Capital Beltway at all times without restriction. But new rules introduced by the Virginia Department of Transportation now require E-ZPass in vehicles on I-66 eastbound during the morning rush (5:30 – 9:30 a.m.) and westbound during the evening rush (3 – 7 p.m.).

All drivers on I-66, including Dulles Airport passengers, are subject to the posted tolls unless they have at least two people in the car and an E-ZPass Flex set to “HOV” mode. Most taxis and rideshares are equipped with a flex transponder, avoiding the tolls for their riders. Rental car customers should check with their rental agency to learn which toll payment options are offered with their vehicle. During non-rush periods, I-66 is open to traffic, free of charge or the need for E-ZPass. More information is available at  66expresslanes.org.

One rule that hasn’t changed involves the Dulles Airport Access Highway between the beltway and Dulles Airport. The highway remains toll-free and is for airport passengers and business only.