Live More, Commute LessLive More, Commute Less


My Health Matters: Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce to Host 5K & 1 Mile Walk Event on May 20

My Health Matters and the Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce are co-hosting a 5K & 1 mile Walk Event and health information fair in Herndon on Saturday, May 20, 2017.

Anchoring the day is the 5K/1mile Run/Walk. Health and wellness professionals with a wide circle of expertise will offer short, incisive clinics on optimizing fitness. Vendors catering to a healthy living experience will be on hand to introduce their products and services. Live music at the event will be provided by local schools and artists.

My Health Matters is an organization dedicated to inspire and empower people to create a healthy lifestyle and prevent obesity. With a goal to move, all runners and walkers are encouraged to participate. Bring your entire family, this is a stroller friendly event. The event will be held at 505 Huntmar Park Drive, Herndon. The 5K will begin at 8 AM and the 1 mile walk at 9 AM.

Registration fees for the 5K are $30 through April 20, $35 through May 19, and $40 on race day. Fees for the 1 mile walk are $15 through April 20, $20 through May 19, and $25 on race day. Participants will receive a commemorative My Health Matters T-shirt.   All racers will receive
a finisher’s medal.

Awards ($150-100-50) will be given to the top overall male and female finishers in each of the following age groups: 14 & under, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+.

Everyone is invited to join in at the post race party with refreshments, music, awards and health initiatives booths.  For more information on My Health Matters, including volunteer opportunities, please visit: Registration information is available at:


Beat the Heat at 3500 Feet

Enjoy a Blue Ridge Mountain Getaway to Chateau Morrisette in Beautiful Floyd, Virginia

By Keith Toler

Chateau Morrisette is located along the Crest of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains at milepost 171.5 of the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway.  Just an hour off I-81 (exit 114), Chateau Morrisette Winery is open daily for cellar tours, wine tastings and shopping.  Wine educators will entertain and educate you about the diverse selection of Chateau Morrisette wines, from dry varietals to sweet blends, along with four very popular fruit wines.  Tastings last about 20 minutes and cost $10 per adult. Cellar tours are offered at specific times throughout the day.

Guests visiting Wednesday through Sunday can enjoy locally sourced, contemporary Appalachian cuisine at the Chateau Morrisette Restaurant, located adjacent to the winery.  Ranked by Open Table as having one of the top 100 restaurant views in America, the Chateau Restaurant offers casual fine dining in a rustically elegant setting.  Terrace dining is available when weather permits, and during the cooler months, there are three wood-burning fireplaces for an even more romantic dining experience.  Executive Chef Mitchell Sheppard changes the menu seasonally to take advantage of the fresh produce grown on the estate and by a local network of farmers.  The current menu consists of grass fed beef, Virginia and North Carolina seafood, poultry, pork and dairy from nearby farms; each course comes with a suggested wine pairing.

Looking for special events and exciting adventures?  Chateau Morrisette is well known for its wine dinners, summer music festivals, outdoor recreation events, and more.  From June through October, there are free concerts every Sunday on the winery courtyard, with a featured jazz band every first Sunday.  Over Memorial Day Weekend, a limited number of guests will enjoy dinner with the winemaker, along with a special menu designed by Chef to showcase the very best Chateau

Morrisette wines.  In July, the Black Dog Summer Music Festival features Americana Music.  Beth McKee delivers fiery-sweet, deep southern grooves, and Austin soul ensemble Mingo Fishtrap heats up the dance field with horn-driven rhythm.  Beach Music comes to the mountains in August for the Black Dog Beach Music Festival.  Steve Owens and Summertime open the festival, with the Dancing Chicken Band at mid-day, and an afternoon performance from Carolina Beach Music legends the Entertainers.    In September, guests have an opportunity to work in the vineyard and make some wine for a half day, spend some time with plein aire painters, or have an early Oktoberfest with the Wine, Beer and Brats festival.  There is always a good time to be had at Chateau Morrisette.

When the summer humidity along the Potomac becomes oppressive, a visit to Chateau Morrisette and Floyd County, Virginia is just the ticket to beat the heat.  While in the area, don’t miss the world famous Friday night Jamboree at the Floyd Country Store, or stop by and sample some moonshine at Five Mile Mountain Distillery, craft beer at Buffalo Mountain Brewing, cider at Foggy Ridge, or even meade at Black Snake Meadery, all located within minutes of Chateau Morrisette.  Hiking, rafting and other outdoor adventures are available nearby.  Lodging packages are available on the website and include mountain cabins, quaint bed and breakfast inns, hotels, and cottages.  For more information, visit


Who Is the Chillest Of Them All?

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who might be the coolest of them all?  “Oh little geek one, let me check my Expedia Ball and tell you that you are!”  My political wonk friends, defense contractor nerds, and otherwise DC geeks, do not despair; if you move to Arlington, you are in cool nirvana, according to Expedia.  In fact, you are guaranteed hipness, because Arlington ranked 3rd, yes 3rd, in the U S of A as the most hip place to live!

This is probably earth shattering news to anyone who doesn’t live in Arlington.  In fact, this news may factor into future housing and professional decisions for scores of peeps who are on a continual search for hipdum.  Even a visit or nine to check out the hippies in Arlington might be in store?

Astoundingly, but perhaps not unexpectedly by Arlingtonians (now this is NOT a hip name), the Rosslyn – Ballston corridor has been “hip” for about two decades and is now just getting its cred.  Perhaps.

But, before this, there were other hip, local places.  Like Old Town – NOT!  Ok, DC’s Georgetown, Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle, Logan Circle, etc.  What, they never ranked?  Ok, big kudos to Arlington as Tysons, Springfield, Kingstowne, Reston and all of our other “hip” suburbs sit in envy.  Ok, quit laughing.

Arlington gets its due, and do you want to know why?  METRO!  The Orange Line brought hipness to communities that would be no different today than dozens of neighborhoods right outside of DC that have little or no public transit access.  METRO brought hipness to Arlington and the leaders in Arlington were astute enough to recognize what they had and to build on transit oriented development that blends retail, office and residential uses, which create vibrant, sought after places for people to live.  Hip on Arlington, you are the envy of NOVA right now.  But Tysons, Reston and Herndon are fast on your hip tails!  Hip More and Commute Less Arlington – kudos!


Dr. Gridlock Retires

Robert Thomson, best known as the Washington Post’s Dr. Gridlock, retired as of April 1.  The Doctor has been an integral figure for commuters in the greater Washington, D.C. region since 2006, when he first began reporting on transportation issues for the Post.  In his last column for the Post, Thomson reminisced on how he was anointed the “Doctor Gridlock” persona:

 “At first, I sought to maintain the title as just an alter ego. While Dan Tangherlini was in charge of Metro, he took me along on a tour of the Brentwood rail yard. He introduced me to workers there as “Dr. Gridlock,” and each time he did, I would shake hands with the employee and say, “Robert Thomson,” to indicate that I retained a separate personality.

These days, when I meet someone in a professional capacity, I say, “I’m Dr. Gridlock.” The response is either a smile of acceptance about the persona or the wide-eyed stare that says, “Does security know you’re here?”

Over the years Dr. Gridlock has served our region as a wise sage, exploring the intricacies of commuting, finding answers to our most absurd questions, and generally keeping his finger on the pulse of what the heck is going on with all this traffic in our region.

You can only imagine what a challenge Mr. Thomson took on when he morphed into the guru of transportation in this region.  Frankly, we are surprised he lasted as long as he did.  Most of us “live” our commutes 1-3 hours a day, Thomson lived ALL our commutes 24/7/365!  Can you imagine?  In his last article he noted:

Dr. Gridlock is like the chairman who presides over Kitchen Stadium on “Iron Chef.” You know he’s not really the chairman of anything, but it’s such a neat idea, you sort of want it to be real.

You should see me at cocktail parties. It’s like the old cartoons where people realize that a guest is a medical doctor and start divulging their symptoms. In my case, people who were strangers a moment before begin to share their deepest concerns — about their commutes.

I love that. I’m a slug at parties until someone starts talking about why something is the way it is on a commute. Then you can’t shut me up.

Some people take the idea a little too far. I’ve gotten “Dear Dr. Gridlock” letters expressing outrage over my response on topics such as right turns on red, or whether a driver absolutely must move into an intersection when waiting to make a left turn.

The letter-writers would blame me for regionwide traffic congestion on the day after my column appeared.

Over the years, Thomson has always been a big supporter of the Dulles Area
Transportation Association, speaking before our audiences and attending most of the public events and award ceremonies.

DATA wishes the Doctor all the best in his retirement.  He will be sorely missed, but we also wonder if there is a Resident or RN who will fill the gap in the coming years.  After all, you cannot Live More and Commute Less without a good Doctor in the house!

In closing the Doctor’s chapter, we reiterate his final advice – “My wish for the future is that people stop dividing themselves into categories based on how they get around and just look out for each other. We’re all in this together.” So true.


Celebration of Heritage and Culture – Folklife Festival Turns 50!

From the Smithsonian’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage Website.

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is an international exposition of living cultural heritage annually produced outdoors on the National Mall of the United States in Washington, D.C., by the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

The Festival takes place for two weeks every summer overlapping the Fourth of July holiday. It is an educational presentation that features community-based cultural exemplars. Free to the public, like other Smithsonian museums, each Festival typically draws hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Initiated in 1967, the Festival has become a national and international model of a research-based presentation of contemporary living cultural traditions. Over the years, it has brought more than 2,300 musicians, artists, performers, craftspeople, workers, cooks, storytellers, and others to the National Mall to demonstrate the skills, knowledge, and aesthetics that embody the creative vitality of community-based traditions.

Arranged by geographic or cultural themes, the Festival has featured exemplary tradition bearers from more than 90 nations, every region of the United States, scores of ethnic communities, more than a hundred American Indian groups, and some 70 different occupations.

The Festival generally includes daily and evening programs of music, song, dance, celebratory performance, crafts and cooking demonstrations, storytelling, illustrations of workers’ culture, and narrative sessions for discussing cultural issues.

The Festival is an exercise in cultural democracy, in which cultural practitioners speak for themselves, with each other, and to the public. The Festival encourages visitors to participate—to learn, sing, dance, eat traditional foods, and converse with people presented in the Festival program.

Like other Smithsonian museums, the Festival includes exhibition-quality signs, photo-text panels, a program book/catalog, learning centers, a marketplace, and food concessions. In recreating physical
settings for the traditions represented, the Festival has built a horse racetrack (from the Washington Monument to the U.S. Capitol Building), an Indian village with forty-foot-high bamboo and paper statues, a Japanese rice paddy, and a New Mexican adobe plaza.

The Festival is a complex production, over the years drawing on the research and presentational skills of more than a thousand folklorists, cultural anthropologists, ethnomusicologists, and numerous other academic and lay scholars. Its production involves the expertise of hundreds of technical staff, the efforts of volunteers, and the backing of sponsors and supporters.

The Festival has strong impacts on policies, scholarship, and folks “back home.” Many states and several nations have remounted Festival programs locally and used them to generate laws, institutions, educational programs, books, documentary films, recordings, and museum and traveling exhibitions. In many cases, the Festival has energized local and regional tradition bearers and their communities and, thus, helped to conserve and create cultural resources. Festival practice served as both the backdrop and inspiration for the consideration and ultimately the development of UNESCO’s 2003 International Convention on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The Festival was a centerpiece of the U.S. Bicentennial, lasting for three months in 1976; it has provided models for numerous Presidential Inaugural programs, the Black Family Reunion, the Los Angeles Festival, Southern Crossroads for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, the Smithsonian’s 150th Birthday Party on the Mall, the National World War II Reunion, the First Americans Festival celebrating the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian, and Freedom Sounds: A Community Celebration in honor of the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

As the largest annual cultural event in the U.S. capital, the Festival receives considerable publicity, typically reaching forty million readers and viewers through print and electronic media. In the past, the Festival was named the Top Event in the U.S. by the American Bus Association as a result of a survey of regional tourist bureaus—thus joining previous winners that include the Olympics and the World Expo. The Festival has also been the subject of numerous books, documentary films, scholarly articles, and debate.

Circus Arts

June 29-July 4 and July 6-9, 2017

Since President George Washington attended John Bill Ricketts’ circus in Philadelphia in 1793, circus arts have intrigued generations of audiences throughout the United States. For many Americans in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the circus brought glimpses of a wider world through dazzling sights, sounds, and stunts. Now with new grassroots initiatives and innovations, the country is seeing a revival of interest and creativity in circus arts.

Circus arts have evolved over time to reflect changing social tastes and values, technological innovations, and performance styles. Immigrants from all over the world continue to contribute their creativity and skills, foods, languages, rituals, and other customs that enrich the circus arts.  Across the country, emerging youth and social circuses and schools provide new opportunities for artistic expression.

Marking its fiftieth anniversary in 2017, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival will bring the rich history, mystique and diversity of circus arts to life on the National Mall. But visitors will see more than just a performance—we’ll take you behind the scenes to learn from generations of American circus families and contemporary visionaries who are keeping the circus arts alive and engaging.

Meet artists and coaches, costume designers, makeup artists, musicians, lighting and sound technicians, prop and tent designers, riggers, poster artists, wagon builders, cooks, and many others whose collective creative work brings the circus to life. Along with new students and celebrated masters, experience the many dimensions of circus arts through performances, demonstrations, and workshops under a big top tent and other colorful venues.

Aerialists and acrobats will demonstrate their gravity-defying disciplines, combining strength and skill with grace and daring. Equilibrists and object manipulators will share their tricks that date from ancient times. Clowns will demonstrate mesmerizing transformations, tapping into the human heart and spirit.

The 2017 Folklife Festival program will provide many opportunities for experiential exploration of the life and work of circus people in America today. Join us in Washington, D.C., June 29 through July 4 and July 6 through 9 on the National Mall between Seventh and Twelfth streets, adjacent to the Smithsonian Castle.