By Mary LePore
Who would ever think that a painted rock could change a person’s day, or dare I say, a person’s life !
I can’t explain it, but there is something about sitting at a table surrounded by your friends or family painting rocks. It’s magical! It’s relaxing. You become softer and sweeter. Your shoulders relax and your mind clears. It brings out a talent you didn’t know you had.
You’re spending quality time with your family around the table. You’re smiling at one another. You’re laughing together.
Painting rocks you say? Painting rocks does all that? Like I said, I can’t explain it!
I just know when my friend Michelle from Lakeland, Florida told me about their rock painting group and how it helped bring people together, I felt something stir within my heart. I knew I had to bring this idea home to
Maryland. June 30 is Del-Mar Rocks 1st birthday. To get it started, I painted hundreds of rocks and drove around by myself from town to town on the Eastern Shore dropping rocks with a note explaining Del-Mar Rocks. It caught on quick and the stories began to unfold and come in.
There were stories of love, inspiration, friendships formed, of a new-found purpose in life. How can I explain all of this? Does painting rocks, leaving them out for someone to find with no expectation other than that it might bring a smile to someone’s face or that it might help someone…somehow bring out the good in us? I would like to think so. It is a very unselfish act…purely for the other person.
But, you know what they say…when you go out of your way to put a smile on someone’s face, the smile finds you!
Before long it seemed like ice cream shops, police departments, schools, fire departments, pizza shops, and even campgrounds were having rock
One of my favorite stories is about a woman who had lost her mother and was mired in her grief. One day while she and her husband were going for a ride, she told him about a song her mother would sing to her with an elephant in it. She talked about her mother acting like an elephant.
Arriving back they pulled into their driveway and “it” caught their eye.
A strange object. She got out of her car and rushed to see it. She couldn’t believe her eyes. She wondered, “Is this some kind of joke. Is this real?”
For there was a painted rock with an elephant glued to it!
She had never heard of painted rocks. While she was gone, a member had dropped the rock not having an inkling about what it would mean. Our grieving daughter followed the instructions on the back of her special rock and contacted me. After I approved her member request, she shared her story. She received hundreds of messages of encouragement and notes of love and sympathy from Del-Mar Rocks members. Everyone told her to keep the rock and treasure it as a memento of her time spent with her mother.
Today this beautiful lady is paying it forward by painting rocks and dropping them for people to find. No expectation, just that it would put a smile on someone’s…anyone’s…face.
Findings reveal public transit riders are motivated first and foremost by convenience and are optimistic about their local agencies
New York – May 8th, 2018 – Masabi, the global leader in mobile ticketing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based fare collection, today published its Mass Transit Rider Research Report: Key Factors Influencing Ridership in North America. The report, based on a survey of over 1000 US residents with access to public transit services, sheds light on some of the behaviors impacting public transit ridership across the nation and explores the effect new technologies and new urban mobility services, such as ridesharing, are having on the mobility ecosystem.
The survey reveals that riders are combining shared private and public transit options and taking multimodal journeys in greater numbers than expected. It also shows that their primary driver for using public transit is convenience and as such technologies such as mobile ticketing and vehicle location tracking are having a positive effect on ridership numbers.
Key findings include:
Public transit remains underutilized
70% of Americans drive themselves on at least a weekly basis, while 40% never use public transit despite having access.
19% of respondents are using public transportation every week, with 9% now using ridesharing every week.
Citizens feel mostly optimistic about their public transit services
32% report that their local transit options are improving and 49% believe they are remaining the same.
Only 19% say the quality of their local transit is declining.
Convenience is the top priority for passengers when choosing to ride public transit
More than price (24%), travel time (8%), and even necessity (17%), convenience is the number one motivator, with 33% of respondents selecting it as their primary reason for riding.
Ridesharing is connecting public transit for many facilitating multimodal journeys
More than one third of our respondents (35%) are now combining ridesharing with public transit to reach a destination on at least an occasional basis, while 7% are combining ridesharing with public transit on at least a weekly basis.
Convenience enablers attract riders
Up to a quarter of potential riders report that convenience features such as combining modes of transit through an app, mobile ticketing and location tracking would cause, or already have caused them, to use public transit more often.
Shared mobility use increases likelihood of public transit ridership
80% of weekly drivers never use public transit, while 95.5% of weekly rideshare riders use public transit, pointing to a future of reduced car ownership in favor of public/private urban mobility options.
“This report paints a picture of the future of public transit and how it can both learn from and operate in partnership with new mobility options, to the benefit of all,” said Brian Zanghi, CEO of Masabi. “By implementing the types of convenience features found in ridesharing and other transportation alternatives and integrating multiple transit modes to deliver full first-last mile mobility, the emerging mobility ecosystem is set to provide a viable alternative to car ownership. Getting there, however, will require public/private partnerships between the agencies and mobility services that Americans already depend on every day.”
In Q4 2017 Masabi polled 1010 Americans who have access to, but do not necessarily ride, public transit. The full report contains a breakdown of the complete survey findings as well as recommendations for public transit agencies and officials based on the results. Masabi’s report shows that the frequency with which riders are combining services is much higher than others have shown and points to the potential for more interconnected transit systems.
Masabi is the global leader in mobile ticketing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based fare collection for transit. Masabi’s Justride is a cloud-based mobility platform unifying account-based and pre-pay ticketing into a single configurable solution. Justride’s SaaS architecture, ‘Mobile First‘ approach and BYOT philosophy, allow transport providers of all sizes around the globe to deliver innovation quickly, delighting passengers and reducing costs, while increasing efficiency and data insights.
The company’s Justride SDK, the world’s first and only mobile ticketing SDK for public transport, allows partners such as Uber, Kisio, Chalo and Transit App to request fare types, make payments, and deliver visual and barcode mobile tickets to a passenger within their applications.
Masabi works in partnership with more than thirty leading transit agencies and operators in North America, Europe, Australia and around the globe, including; New York MTA, Arriva, National Express, Keolis, Thames Clippers, Boston MBTA, LA Metrolink, The Hague and Las Vegas RTC. It has offices in London, New York, Boston and Cluj and investors include Mastercard and Keolis.
We’re living in a world that is increasingly driven by technology, and for many, that begins with a smartphone or digital tablet. No longer just a device for making phone calls or sending text messages, electronic devices serve as a hub of daily living for many Americans. With more than two million mobile Apps on the market, many of us are living in a mobile first world.
In recognition of the importance of easily accessible information for travelers, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority recently launched the official DC Airports App, now available for download through iTunes and Google Play. If your travel plans include Dulles International Airport or Reagan National Airport, this App gives you quick access to information right from your mobile device to plan ahead and make your trip smooth and easy. It’s complete with intuitive features, including the ability to:
- Search for flights and receive push notifications to your mobile phone and smart watch on your flight status
- Save flight details and your preferences for your future travel
- Book hotels, rental cars and flights
- Book package travel bundles for hotel discounts
- Find information on shopping and dining options at the airport
- Access U.S. embassy contacts around the world while on travel
And while the DC Airports App is a useful tool for travelers through DC’s airports, the story behind the App is equally as compelling: the App found its start in the Airports Authority’s innovation lab run by the Authority’s IT organization and staffed solely with in-house developers. The Authority’s IT team brought to bear their significant expertise to develop a product that enhances the passengers’ experience.
The accolades for the region just keep coming. Seems like our area continues to rank very high in a lot of quality of life ratings these days. A recent survey by the Trust for Public Lands (TPL) ranked the District and Arlington (third and fourth, respectively) in the top five localities with the best park systems in the
The TPL survey, called ParkScore®, examines what percent of a locality’s land mass is in public parks, the proximity of the parks to the residents, how much the locality spends on parks and the amenities within the park system. TPL’s analysis concluded that an incredible 98% of Arlington and District residents are within a 10 minute walk of a public park!
Both Arlington and the District moved up the rankings scale this year, overtaking such park- friendly cities as San Francisco and Portland, Oregon.
The top 10 park systems include:
2. St. Paul, Minn.
5. San Francisco
6. Portland, Ore.
9. New York
10. Irvine, Calif.
The public investment in our local park systems has created a great quality-of-life benefit for our residents. These parks are there to be used, so this summer turn off the TV, get off the couch and go explore a nearby park. As we like to remind our readers, “live more, commute less” and perhaps “park more”!
A variety of public swimming pools and waterparks is at your doorstep
The Fairfax County Park Authority and NOVA Parks, our regional park authority, operate a wide variety of indoor and outdoor swimming venues. Almost all of them are accessible by either walking or riding a bike to visit. Both season and day passes are available.
Some of these local venues, such as the Water Mine and Wave pool, offer very unique experiences for the whole family to enjoy. Waterslides, tube rides and body surfing are virtually at your doorstep! Check out the list of locations below and stroll or pedal on over to cool off this summer. And remember to swim more and commute less! It’s good for the body ant the mind!
Fairfax County Park Authority Swimming Venues
Outdoor Swimming Facilities
The Water Mine
1400 Lake Fairfax Drive
Reston, VA 20190
This family water park captures the excitement of the Old West’s Gold Rush with attractions tailored for all ages. The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole offers more than an acre of slides, flumes, sprays, showers, floatables, and an interactive water playground. Careen off covered wagons, float on wild animals and dash through showers tipped from water-filled ore carts. The activity pool is encircled by Rattlesnake River, a 725-foot lazy river; you can enjoy a relaxing float as the current gently nudges you along.
The centerpiece is Pete’s Peak, a craggy mountain dotted with boarded-up mine shafts and tunnels. Several slides of various size and intensity jut from the mountain, giving a variety of thrills you’ll return to again and again. Enjoy a slide down Big Pete and Little Pete, or experience the thrills of Prospectors’ Plummet, with one of three 3-story waterslides!
The mountain and slides are named for Pete the Prospector. According to Lake Fairfax legend, he staked his claim there in 1849, searching for gold. Sadly for Pete, his years of digging found only water. But now, with The Water Mine, the Park Authority is turning Pete’s worthless old strike into the golden fun of summer.
There’s something here for everyone. Tenderfoot Pond, with its pint-sized slide and gentle bubblers, gives toddlers a perfect place for water play. Children will delight at the never-ending bubblers and spray fountains in Boomtown, a multi-level water playground, along with the interactive slides and additional interactive features in the tot spray pad area! The more adventurous can test their skills on Box Canyon Crossing, the log walk obstacle course. Teenagers can join a game of water volleyball or enjoy the thrill of Prospectors” Plummet, and everyone will enjoy going with the flow in a tube on Rattlesnake River.
Our Special Harbor Spray Park at Lee District
Lee District Park,
At the intersection of Rose Hill and Telegraph Roads
If you like running through the sprinkler, you’ll love Our Special Harbor “spray ground” at Lee District Park in Franconia. The fully accessible complex features Chesapeake Bay-themed attractions including a spraying osprey nest, Chessie the sea serpent, misting sunflowers and a lighthouse. The beach area is quieter with softer bubblers and interactive water tables. The computerized water maze and dumping crab basket provide more lively activity.
Children will also enjoy the fully accessible tree house and the Tiki Village playground in the nearby Family Recreation Area.
Children (15 years and younger) on the spray pad must wear aquatic shoes or sandals at all times with an enclosed heel or strap on back to keep secured to the feet. Non-standing/non-mobile babies are exempt. Adults/parents/guardians, including employees, may wear flip-flops in lieu of the above. Street shoes are not permitted on the spray pad. For more information call 703-922-9841.
General Admission is free; however there is a daily fee for each participant and chaperone for commercial or nonprofit groups (including day care centers, martial arts camps, YMCA, church groups, etc.). $5 for Fairfax County residents, $10 for Non-County residents. This fee does not apply to families. Space is limited for commercial/nonprofit groups. Reservations can be faxed to 703-719-0987 or in-person through the Manager on Duty at Lee District RECenter prior to the visit.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Pool
Martin Luther King, Jr. Park
8115 Fordson Road
Near Richmond Highway (Route 1)
The MLK pool features two slides and a children’s wading pool – and admission is free for individuals! The pool will open on Memorial Day weekend and be open each Saturday and Sunday until Fairfax County Public Schools dismiss for the summer. The pool will be closed Tuesdays. Check the website for a complete schedule.
There is a daily fee of $3 for each participant and chaperone for commercial or nonprofit groups, including day care centers, martial arts camps, church groups and others. Space is limited for groups and must be coordinated in advance with the aquatic supervisor or assistant at Mt. Vernon RECenter at 703-768-3224. The fee does not apply to families picnicking in the park. The park features a playground, an open field and a picnic area, which can be reserved for a fee online. The facility has a maximum capacity of 140 patrons so be advised that on busy days when capacity is reached, there will be a wait.
Indoor Pool Facilities
Cub Run Recreation Center
4630 Stonecroft Blvd.
Chantilly, VA 20151
Cub Run RECenter is a 65,000 square foot facility that includes a 4,860 square foot leisure entertainment pool featuring two water slides and a water playground, a 25-yard by 25-meter swimming pool, a 9,600 square foot fitness center and two multipurpose rooms – one a 3,000 square foot room that can be divided in half, the other a 1,700 square foot room, and a 270 square foot party room.
The natatorium leisure pool includes a 30-foot-high slide that exits the building in an enclosed tube, a 20-foot-high slide with an open tube, a spa, a vortex, a current channel, an open shallow water area and a water playground with interactive play features, a tiny-tot slide and a zero depth entry. The 25-yard by 25-meter competition pool includes two 1-meter diving boards and a seating capacity of 175.
And These Nine Additional Fairfax County Recreation Centers:
Audrey Moore RECenter
8100 Braddock Road
Audrey Moore RECenter at Wakefield Park is approximately 76,000 square feet in size and houses a 50-meter pool with one 3-meter and two 1-meter diving boards. The natatorium also contains spectator seating, doors that lead to a spacious outdoor sundeck, and locker rooms containing saunas and showers. In addition to the various racquetball/wallyball and squash courts, the center has a large gymnasium with six basketball hoops, and volleyball nets. The center also contains a cycle studio, a dance room, a pottery lab and kiln, an arts and crafts room, three multi-purpose activity rooms, and a senior center.
8426 Old Mt. Vernon Road
Alexandria, VA 22309
George Washington RECenter has a heated indoor 25-meter pool with a poolside spa, beach and wading area, saunas, showers and fully equipped locker rooms.
The fitness area includes two treadmills, and recumbent and stationary bicycles. This completely accessible facility (curb cuts, dressing stalls, pool ramp) also features newly resurfaced lighted tennis courts and a picnic area.
Lee District RECenter
6601 Telegraph Road
Lee District RECenter, approximately 83,600 square feet, is comprised of three major areas; Natatorium, Gymnasium and Fitness Center.
In addition to these main features, the RECenter also contains racquetball/
wallyball courts, two mirrored dance/fitness rooms, three multi-purpose rooms, a mezzanine, and preschool.
The surrounding 193-acre park has one soccer field with two overlay T-Ball fields, two football fields with two overlay softball fields, four basketball courts, an amphitheater, a playground and tot lot, four lighted tennis courts, a tennis practice wall, and walking trails.
The Natatorium includes a heated, indoor 50-meter by 25-yard pool, two 1-meter and two 3-meter diving boards, spa, spectator seating, locker rooms, family changing room, saunas, and showers and an outdoor sun deck and grassed sunbathing area.
Mt. Vernon RECenter
2017 Belle View Blvd.
Mount Vernon RECenter has a 25-meter x 25-yard pool with a one-meter Duraflex springboard, a beach area with aquatic toys, an outdoor sundeck, poolside spa, and locker rooms with saunas and showers. Comprehensive programs promote safety, skill development, fitness, social interaction and fun.
Various user groups share pool space. Swim teams and Aquatic Adventures Scuba Diving rent space for practice and meets. FCPA and Fairfax County Public Schools share the commitment for hosting the high school swim and dive teams for practice and meets November through February.
Oak Marr RECenter
3200 Jermantown Road
Oak Marr RECenter has an Olympic-size heated indoor pool with 1-meter and 3-meter springboards, 3- meter and 5-meter platforms, a 2,300 sq. ft. beach and wading area, a 3,300 sq. ft. outdoor sundeck, saunas, locker rooms with private showers, and a family changing room.
Fairfax County Park Authority RECenter pools have comprehensive programs that promote safety, skill development, fitness, social interaction and fun.
7525 Marc Drive
Falls Church, Virginia
Providence RECenter has a 25-yard x 25-meter heated indoor pool with wading area, springboard, outdoor sundeck, 2 spas, saunas, locker rooms, family changing room, and bleacher seating. There is a wheelchair ramp built in to the main pool.
Various user groups share pool space. Nationally ranked swimming teams rent space for practice and meets. FCPA and Fairfax County Public Schools share the commitment for hosting the high school swim and dive teams for practice and meets
November through February.
South Run RECenter
7550 Reservation Drive
The South Run RECenter has a 25 x 25-yard pool with two one-meter Duraflex springboards, an outdoor sundeck, poolside spa, and locker rooms with saunas and showers. Their comprehensive programs promote safety, skill development, fitness, social interaction and fun.
Spring Hill RECenter
1239 Spring Hill Road
The Spring Hill RECenter has a 25-yard x 25-meter heated indoor pool with two one-meter Duraflex springboards, outdoor sundeck, saunas, locker rooms with showers, and poolside spa.
Three or more lap swimming lanes are always open for customers during operating hours. Shallow (3 1/2 ft.) play space is available after 12 Noon on most days.
NOVA Parks ñ Northern Virginia Regional
Atlantis Waterpark at Bull Run Regional Park
Bull Run Regional Park
7700 Bull Run Drive
Centreville, VA 20121
Get ready for a full day of sliding, splashing and playing at Atlantis Waterpark, located just outside Centreville, at Bull Run Regional Park. From two huge, adrenaline-inducing waterslides and a 500-gallon dumping bucket, to relaxing open pools and dedicated play areas for the little ones, Atlantis offers a thousand ways to stay cool between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Rely on shade areas, sundeck and snack bar to relax and stay cool between slides. Atlantis’ daily rates are always reasonable, or buy an Annual Waterpark Pass to visit all five NOVA Parks waterparks all summer long.
Great Waves Waterpark at Cameron Run Regional Park
4001 Eisenhower Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22304
Bring the family for a full day of summer adventures at Great Waves Waterpark, located at Cameron Run Regional Park in Alexandria, Virginia. Thrill seekers love the speed slides and waterslides, while little ones play in the interactive splash pad and wading pool. Take the adventure further and body surf in the 17,500 square foot wave pool, or watch the kids climb, slide and bounce in the Paradise Play area. Naturally, there are also comfy shaded areas where visitors can order food and take a well-deserved rest. Daily rates are always reasonable, or buy an Annual Waterpark Pass to visit all five NOVA Parks waterparks all summer long.
Ocean Dunes Waterpark at Upton Hill Regional Park
6060 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22205
Make it a beach day — with waterslides — at the beach-themed Ocean Dunes Waterpark in Arlington’s Upton Hill Regional Park. Find excitement on the 230-foot open slide, or 170-foot covered waterslide, or set the kids free in the play area to splash, slide and play in the water jets. The 500-gallon dumping bucket is a favorite hangout during the hottest days of the year. Sliding is hard work! Take a break under the shade umbrellas and order a meal at the snack shack. Daily rates are always reasonable, or buy an Annual Waterpark Pass to visit all five NOVA waterparks all summer long.
Pirate’s Cove Waterpark at Pohick Bay Regional Park
6501 Pohick Bay Drive
Lorton, VA 22079
Arrgh matey! Bring the family for a swashbuckling ride at Pirate’s Cove Waterpark, located at Pohick Bay Regional Park in Lorton, Virginia. Set the kids free on Buccaneer Beach or let them frolic in the water jets and on the pirate-themed play area. Adrenaline fiends will find their way to two thrilling waterslides or cool down beneath the 500-gallon dumping bucket. Make a day of it and stop for a snack or meal at the Captain’s Galley Café. Pirate’s Cove daily rates are always reasonable, or buy an Annual Waterpark Pass to visit all five NOVA waterparks all summer long.
Volcano Island Waterpark at Algonkian Regional Park
20015 Volcano Island Drive
Sterling, VA 20165
It may be the most fun anyone can have while staying cool. Bring the kids to the island-themed Volcano Island Waterpark at Algonkian Regional Park in Sterling, Virginia. Get an adrenaline rush on two waterslides, feel the cool rush of a 500-gallon dumping bucket, and set the kids loose in the giant wading pool and water play structure. Relax underneath palm trees and tiki canopies, then enjoy a meal from the Paradise Café. Daily rates are always reasonable, or buy an Annual Waterpark Pass to visit all five NOVA waterparks all
Reston Association Aquatic Facilities
Below are brief descriptions of each of the Reston Association’s 15 aquatic facilities. They may include1-meter spring boards, 50- and 25-meter lap lanes, a 2-story winding slide, interactive fountain play area, full sun decks, extra shaded decks, and even outdoor hot tubs. All pools are situated close to other great Reston Association amenities and many are accessible by walking or riding a bike on Reston Association’s pathways. More information on hours and fees can be found at:
11950 Walnut Branch Road.Wading pool with fountain, covered picnic area, grass area, tennis courts and playground. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3.5 to 5.5 feet deep).
2460 Green Range Road.
Diving well, diving board, wading pool, picnic tables, large grass beach area.
(Lap lanes: 20 meters, 3.5 to 5.5 feet deep).
11550 Glade Drive.
20-foot slide with slide well, 1-meter diving board, spa, wading pool, tennis courts and playground. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3.5 to 12.5 feet deep).
Golf Course Island:
11301 Links Drive.
Diving board, two grass beach areas, wading pool, playground and pavilion. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3 to 12 feet deep).
2501 Reston Parkway.
Separate water basketball and volleyball areas, diving board, children’s splash area, large spa, ADA ramp into main pool, playground and pavilion. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3.5 to 8.5 feet deep).
2070 Twin Branches Road.
Diving well, diving board, grass beach area, wading pool, boat ramp to Lake Audubon nearby. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3 to 5 feet deep).
11601 Lake Newport Road.
Diving well, two 1-meter diving boards, wading pool, covered picnic area with grills, sand volleyball area, large grass area, playground, softball field and basketball court. (Lap lanes: 50 meters, 3.5 to 5.5 feet deep).
2040 Upper Lake Drive.
Diving well, diving board, spa, wading pool, grass beach area, picnic tables. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3 to 5 feet deep).
11768 Golf Course Square
Diving well, diving board, wading pool, picnic tables, tennis courts and playground. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3.5 to 12 feet deep).
North Hills: 703-435-6769
1325 North Village Road.
Two shallow play areas (one with fountain), spa, picnic tables, grass beach area, picnic pavilion with grills, tennis courts in walking distance. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3 to 5 feet deep).
North Shore: 703-689-4091
11515 North Shore Drive.
Parking available only on North Shore Drive. Spa, wading pool, ADA ramp to pool deck, ADA hydrolift chair into main pool, shaded upper deck with picnic tables, Lake Anne Plaza and tennis courts. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3 to 11 feet deep).
11400 Ridge Heights Road.
Diving well, diving board, wading pool, two large grass beach areas. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3 to 5 feet deep).
2201 Springwood Drive.
Small slide, wading pool, small grass beach area with picnic tables. (20-meter length, 3 to 5 feet deep, no lap lanes).
Tall Oaks: 703-435-1072
12025 North Shore Drive.
1-meter diving board, wading pool, picnic tables, Tall Oaks Shopping Center nearby. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3 to 12 feet deep).
11032 Ring Road.
Upper lap pool with in-water benches, lower splash pool with zero-depth entry and in-water benches, large interactive fountain features and fenced splash pad play area on deck. (Lap lanes: 25 meters, 3.5 to 8.5