Maryland Blue Crabs: A Delmarva Summer Send-Off

July 26, 2011

Whether you’re eating out or going down to the Wharf to pick up your catch alive and fresh, here are the best places in town to get some quintessential crab.

Fall 2010 Visual Arts Preview

Addison/Ripley Fine Art

Addison/Ripley will present “The 2nd Element: Stratus Series”, new works by Nancy Sansom Reynolds from September 10 to October 23. In her third exhibition at the gallery, Reynolds brings a large body of new sculpture in a broad range of new materials, creating sinuous, striated, elegant shapes, often suspended on walls. Much of the artist’s inspiration for this show comes from her three recent years in the Southwest desert. Reynolds has suggested that her forms reflect the “big sky” of the American Southwest.


Arlington County plans to open the Artisphere, an expansive cultural center, on October 10. Formerly the Newseum, the center is located on Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn and will include three art galleries, two theaters and a 4,000-square-foot ballroom. Norma Kaplan, chief of the county’s cultural affairs division, promises something new in the use of the space and in the clientele the Artisphere hopes to attract. “We have a large younger demographic in the region,” Kaplan said. “They want to be participants, not be passive, and they want a place to go. We’ll be open 12 hours a day, seven days a week. People can come and hang out without much planning.”

A 4,000-square-foot Terrace Gallery will have room for exhibitions, seating with drinks and snacks, as well as an overlook into the ballroom. According to Kaplan, built into all Artisphere programming will be opportunities for interaction with the artists. “We are trying to attract audiences that normally don’t come into a cultural center,” she said. One idea is to have late-night dances with regional bands on the weekends. In Artisphere’s first exhibit, opening with the center on October 10, is the group show “Skateboarding Side Effects,” where artists capture the form, shape, line and gestural movements of skateboarding through photography, drawing, painting, film and sculpture.

Cross/Mackenzie Gallery

Cross/Mackenzie Gallery, Georgetown’s premier gallery for contemporary ceramic and applied arts, has an array of upcoming shows for art collectors and enthusiasts with an eye for the dimensional and functional. From September 17 to October 20, the gallery will feature Kathy Erteman’s work in the show “Architectural Ceramics – Tiles & Vessels.”

Opening October 22, Sarah Lindley’s “Poppenhuizen” will feature the artist’s full-sized ceramic cabinet houses, inspired by the extravagant and exquisite 17th century Dutch fine art furniture. The gallery will then close their fall season with a group exhibition, “Serve if Forth,” a platter and plate show featuring the area’s premiere wheel throwers and ceramic artists, opening November 19.

Foundry Gallery

In paintings inspired by the natural beauty of the earth, artist Ron Riley portrays images that evoke a sense of internal peace, tranquility, serenity and power, uniting us with the majestic forces we find within ourselves and in our natural environment. In his recent works, Riley’s tactile palette ranges from the soft and pastel to deep and intense, the varying hues engendering visions of some of nature’s more ominous forces. Riley is a member of the Foundry Gallery as well as Mid City Artists. The show, “Land, Air and Sea,” will be on view at the Foundry Gallery from September 29 through October 31. The opening reception is Friday, October 1, 6-8pm.

Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC

The Four Seasons hotel in Georgetown has unveiled a completely new art collection selected exclusively for the hotel. The collection has more than 1,650 pieces and is heavily representative of American artists, of which 400 are premier, blue chip and commissioned pieces for the public spaces and corridors. Among the more prominent pieces, on display in conspicuous public areas, are works by Helen Frankenthaler, Andy Warhol, Robert Mangold, Ron Richmond, Andrea Rosenberg and Andrei Petrov. These were purchased from private collections and exclusive galleries throughout the United States.

Guests walking into the Hotel’s recently redesigned lobby will immediately encounter the largest installation along the lobby gallery wall. A commissioned series by Roni Stretch, an English artist residing in Los Angeles, evokes the essential composition of America featuring five ethnic faces, each with a unique appearance: Julia the American Indian, Sara the all-American, Gary the English/Irish, Tiffany the French/Russian, and Fabiana the Mexican. This compilation was selected specifically for Four Seasons Hotel Washington due to its international clientele. These human faces were painted in black and white and then layered with selective colors to create the subtly realistic, yet abstract work. If you have any guests coming into town, yearning for the vibrant DC art scene, you now know where to put them up.

Fraser Gallery

Acclaimed DC-based photographer Maxwell MacKenzie has long sought to capture the wild or pastoral terrain around the country, in exploration of his family’s history. A new series of MacKenzie’s aerial photographs of Vermont, Virginia and Minnesota will open to the public on September 10, from 6-9pm at the Fraser Gallery.

MacKenzie captured all of his images from his self-piloted powered parachute, an ultra-light aircraft where the bird’s eye expanses of trees and wilderness get broken up into a vibrant, organic geometry of color and texture. The show opening will be held in conjunction with the Bethesda Art Walk, which features downtown Bethesda galleries. The studios open their doors to the public from 6-9pm on the second Friday of every month. This is a wonderful opportunity to take in all the Bethesda art scene has to offer.

Irvine Contemporary

Irvine Contemporary will be running two shows simultaneously, from September 11 through October 30. Phil Nesmith’s exhibition “Flow,” a series of wet collodion photographs on black glass plate, was documented on the Gulf coast in Louisiana and Mississippi throughout June 2010. Using his box cameras and a portable darkroom, Nesmith created striking images of the environment and local communities encountering the worst oil disaster in US history. He was able to gain access to areas largely unseen by the public – such as taking a helicopter to a relief well rig at the BP Deepwater Horizon site. Looking damaged and washed out, much like the Gulf coast, Nesmith’s images have a devastating beauty about them, finding peace among the chaos and destruction.

In conjunction with Nesmith’s show, Irvine Contemporary will be presenting a new exhibition of work by Brooklyn-based artist Bruno Perillo, in his second show with the gallery. With a new series of oil paintings, the artist will present his continuing reinterpretations of historical and contemporary realist styles. Bruno Perillo appropriates the realist styles of painters from many eras – from Caravaggio to Degas – for composing masterful images that are at once classical, post-modern, and contemporary. The show, titled “Uniform,” will present male and female characters in narrative scenes with culturally encoded clothing styles and genre cues.

Parish Gallery

Long since established in the Georgetown community, the Parish Gallery is well known for featuring primarily, but not exclusively, artists from Africa and of the African Diaspora. From October 15 through November 16, the gallery will feature the works of husband and wife, Gwendolyn and Bernard Brooks, in an exhibition entitled, “A Marriage of Colors”. The show will open with a reception from 6:00 – 8:00 pm that Friday.

A native Washingtonian, Gwendolyn has been in the art world for over thirty years as a painter, contemporary quilt-maker and doll designer. Her mixed media works can best be described as Afro-Caribbean, having traveled to Africa, Trinidad, Brazil, and Tobago to research and find influences. Bernard is a second-generation artist, his uncle being the first black instructor at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Bernard retired as Howard University’s chief medical illustrator, relinquishing his post after 26 years. This exhibition will be showing his watercolors, many of which are fleeting scenes of an American countryside that we long for even as we observe it.

The Ralls Collection

This fall, the Ralls Collection will premier “Trojan War Years,” the first of three series of paintings by local artist David Richardson, from October 6 through December 31. There will be a private reception with the artist on Wednesday, October 6, from 6 – 8 pm at the gallery.

The paintings featured in “Trojan War Years” will display Richardson’s ability to convey a strong narrative of Homer’s epic tale in conjunction with his unique flair for color and exceptional conviction for abstract forms.
In the last decade, Richardson has painted three important series of works. The first, Trojan War Years, not only precedes the others, but it also continues to manifest. The impetus for the series came while Richardson lived in Japan. Wandering around Tokyo, Richardson noticed the Kanji inscriptions that the Japanese used to mark temples, civic buildings, and businesses. Fueled by his interest in the way Kanji weaved into the architecture of Tokyo in addition to his passion for Homer’s recollection of the Trojan War, Richardson began incorporating the symbols into his own art, eventually securing the foundation for Trojan War Years series.

Studio Gallery

September 29 through October 23 will find Studio Gallery featuring two very different artists, brought together by an uncontainable energy and strong personal voice. Chris Chernow, whose figural paintings consist of numerous layers of oils applied over many months, find edges where the figure and ground can be merged in order to create a sense of submission and solitude. The layers add to the richness of the paint and a reduction in detail, achieving an elegant, haunting simplicity. The figures become shadows before our eyes.

The other featured artist, Carolee Jakes, works primarily in screen-printing, etching and oil painting, and has recently been experimenting with combining these media to focus her works’ prevailing and intertwining themes of identity and music. Her most recent work focuses on the interconnectedness of musicians and their instruments. “There is a level of interaction that gives the instrument a life of its own,” says Jakes. “I see each instrument as a piece of art, and I refer to structural characteristics of the instruments in abstract drawings that are incorporated into the prints.” A reception for the artists will be held on October 16, from 6 to 8pm.

Susan Calloway Fine Arts

Opening September 24 and running through the end of October, Susan Calloway Fine Arts will host an exhibition of artist David Ivan Clark. Born and raised on the plains of Western Canada, Clark returns to them as the inspiration for his work. In his landscape series, Clark blurs the line between abstraction and representation with a haunting minimalism, allowing viewers to find sanctuary from the frenetic rigors of the mechanized world.

The results of his unique painting techniques – fine layers of oil on stainless steel with a glossy, reflective finishing coat – is seductive, serene and luminous, recalling the vast expanses of nature within an unyieldingly industrial framework. “My work braids reference to nature with reference to industry,” Clark says. “Screws may frame a vast sky. Paint may be pitted and scoured as if the depicted terrain has issued from dire industrial processes. Suggesting both Arcadian idyll and post-apocalyptic barren, these paintings dwell, as I am forced to myself, in limbo, yearning for one yet unable to deny the other.” The exhibition, titled “Presence/Absence,” will have an opening reception Friday, September 24, from 6-8pm. This is sure to be one of the highlights of the gallery scene this season, and it should not be missed.

Washington Printmakers Gallery

The Washington Printmakers Gallery will host “New Faces – New Prints II,” an exhibition introducing the five artists that have joined WPG in the past year. These diverse printmakers come from all over the country and are presenting a variety of new work and techniques. New artists include Trisha Gupta, who commemorates natural disasters, such as flooding in India, through personal relations. Trisha says her work “brings me in dialogue with events that have affected me personally, and allows me to give personal experiences the commemoration I know they deserve.”

Zenith Gallery

From September 15 through November 28, the Zenith gallery will be hosting an expansive group exhibition at the Chevy Chase Pavilion, featuring a wide array of Zenith’s art community. A “Meet the Artists” reception will be held September 15 from 6-8 pm, in Zenith’s space on the second level of the Pavilion.

Among the longstanding Zenith artists will be sculptor Carol Newmyer, who creates interactive, figurative bronze sculptures inspired by dance, yoga, balance and meditation. Along with her sculptures, she has a line of dramatic and unique sterling silver and high polished bronze wearable art sold in limited editions. New artists include the vivacious Joyce Wellman. Wellman uses vibrant colors, cryptic marks, and symbols referencing mathematics, anthropomorphic forms, and her personal experiences growing up in a household where “numbers” were played.


National Gallery of Art

“Arcimboldo, 1526–1593: Nature and Fantasy” will run from September 19, 2010 – January 9, 2011. Sixteen examples of the fantastic composite heads painted by Giuseppe Arcimboldo will be featured in this exhibition, their first appearance in the United States. Bizarre yet scientifically accurate, the unusual heads are composed of plants, animals, and objects. Additional works, including drawings by Leonardo da Vinci and Albrecht Dürer, small bronzes, illustrated books and manuscripts, and ceramics will provide a context for Arcimboldo’s inventions, revealing his debt to established traditions of physiognomic and nature studies.

Opening October 31 is “The Pre-Raphaelite Lens: British Photography and Painting, 1848–1875.” In the first survey of British art photography, focusing on the 1850s and 1860s, some 100 photographs and 20 paintings and watercolors chronicle the roles photography and Pre-Raphaelite art played in changing concepts of vision and truth in representation. The exhibition illuminates the mutual struggle of photographers and painters of the era, wrestling with the question of how to observe and represent the natural world and the human face and figure. This rich dialogue between photography and painting is examined in the exhibition’s thematic sections on landscape, portraiture, literary and historical narratives, and modern-life subjects.

Corcoran Gallery of Art

“NOW at the Corcoran,” running from September 11 until January 23, 2011, is a series of one- and two-artist exhibitions that presents new work addressing issues central to the local, national, and global communities of Washington, D.C. and that responds to the collection, history, and architecture of the Corcoran.

The first feature will be “Spencer Finch: My Business, with the Cloud,” an exhibition of new work by the Brooklyn-based artist that includes a site-specific sculpture installed in the Corcoran’s Rotunda. Finch’s sculptural installations, photographs, and drawings seek to capture the elusive space between perception and the outside world, probing the intersections of science, nature, and memory. Drawing from the history and environment of Washington, D.C., his project explores the poetic, physical, and meteorological aspects of these natural phenomena.

The Phillips Collection

“Side by Side: Oberlin’s Masterworks at the Phillips,” opens September 11, 2010, and runs through January 16, 2011. Illustrating its unconventional approach to displaying art, The Phillips Collection will present loosely themed groupings of some of its own masterworks with 25 masterpieces from Oberlin College’s Allen Memorial Art Museum. Half of the 24 paintings and one sculpture on loan from the Allen are old masters, dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries. They include rare works by painters of the British, Dutch, Flemish, French, German, Italian, and Spanish schools. The other Allen pieces are important modern works of the 19th and 20th centuries. Oberlin extended the opportunity to display some of its treasures to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and to the Phillips while the Allen is closed for renovations. Highlights include unique pairings in works ranging from Francisco Goya to El Greco, Rubens to Turner, Cézanne to Ernst Ludwig Kirchner.

Hirshhorn Museum

“Guillermo Kuitca: Everything—Paintings and Works on Paper, 1980–2008” will run from October 21, 2010 to January 16, 2011. Since his first exhibition at the age of thirteen, Guillermo Kuitca has forged a distinctive path as an artist, creating visually compelling works that reflect his intense and often ambivalent relationship to his primary medium: painting. “Guillermo Kuitca: Everything” is the first comprehensive survey of the artist’s work in the United States in more than ten years, examining the artist’s continuing development between 1980 and 2008. The show presents the spectrum of Kuitca’s thirty-five year career, from early pieces inspired by his experience in theater, with titles often drawn from music, to recent complex abstractions that evoke the history of modern painting.

Since the early 1980s, the artist’s work has been characterized by recurring imagery, most notably spatial and mapping motifs. Central among these are images of theater sets and seating charts, architectural plans, road maps, beds, numerical sequences, and baggage-claim carousels, through which Kuitca explores universal themes of migration and disappearance, the intersection of private and public space, and the importance of memory.

National Portrait Gallery

Newspaper publisher Katharine Graham (1917–2001) led an extraordinary life in extraordinary times. Born into privilege, she was catapulted onto the international stage as publisher of The Washington Post during the Watergate scandal. “One Life: Katharine Graham,” running from October 1 through May 30, 2011, includes several photographs to narrate key moments in her life, including a portrait by Richard Avedon, drawings, original newspapers from the time of the Watergate scandal, the Pulitzer Prize for her memoir, “Personal History” and video of a “Living Self-Portrait” interview of Graham by former Portrait Gallery director Marc Pachter.

National Museum of the American Indian

“Vantage Point: The Contemporary Native Art Collection” runs from September 25 until August 7, 2011. The show highlights the National Museum of the American Indian’s young but vital collection of contemporary art, with significant works by 25 artists in media ranging from paintings, drawings, and photography to video projection and mixed-media installation. These complex and richly layered works speak to the concerns and experiences of Native people today, addressing memory, history, the significance of place for Native communities, and the continuing relevance of cultural traditions.

Smithsonian Craft2Wear Show and Sale

The Smithsonian “Craft2Wear” show and sale will be held the weekend of October 23 and 24 at the National Building Museum, featuring 36 premier exhibitors of wearable art, jewelry and clothing. All exhibitors have been previously juried into the Smithsonian Craft Show, so you can be sure that the show is filled with items of lasting artistic value as well as fashionable appeal. [gallery ids="99194,103349,103344,103339,103358,103362,103334,103366,103370,103329,103354" nav="thumbs"]

Pickling with Ris

June 10, 2011

“This is an article about looking back and thinking ahead,” says Ris Lacoste, owner and executive chef of RIS in Foggy Bottom. “Pickling is such a great year-round practice, and now is the perfect time to start thinking about it. Think about everything that’s going to be coming your way—cucumbers, beans, okra, tomatoes, peppers, squash. You need to prep for it.”

Pickling, Ris explains, is something of a lost art. It wasn’t until around the time of WWII that processed and fast foods came about, and the practice of pickling, canning and preserving your own food became a peripheral afterthought of American home kitchens. “You used to just live on what was there,” she says. “You grew tomatoes and processed them for the winter in a root cellar. Canned food barely even existed at the market. But fast food and processing happened along with the expansion of the railroad system in the first third of the 20th century, and this age-old, wonderful art, born out of necessity, just dwindled.”

But as our food culture moves back toward tradition, and with consumers increasing demand for fresh ingredients, she sees hope for the future. “Everyone is trying to go back to what our grandmothers would recognized as real food,” she says. “And that is fabulous. But we’ve lost a little of the know-how, so we need to find our footing again.”

For those wanting to really get their hands dirty, Ris recommends the book “Putting Food By,” an old-world volume on canning, pickling, drying, curing, and preserving all types of foods, from vegetables and meats to jams and jellies.

But her personal go-to recipe for pickling is a quick process with simple ingredients, and it doesn’t take long. She brings to a boil equal parts cider vinegar, water and sugar, with some red pepper flakes, a bunch of tarragon and whole cloves of garlic for taste. After the mixture boils, she pours it over the vegetables (cucumbers and carrots are her favorites), adds a little salt and pepper, tightens the lid to the jar and puts it away.

“It’s ready in a few hours and lasts for months,” she says. In fact, it’s safe to say that pickling in general is quick and simple. And on top of everything else, it’s a great way to snack healthy.

You can preserve almost any vegetable or fruit, she says: cauliflower, radishes, beets, carrots, zucchinis, peppers and chilies, cucumbers, pearl onions, okra, mushrooms, asparagus, green tomatoes, corn, beans, and every sort of berry and crisp fruit—her kitchen has even pickled watermelon rind to use for dressing crab cakes, and it was delicious. And so many of these offerings are already here or approaching in the months ahead.

“There are going to be more pickles, beans, okra and tomatoes then you’ll know what to do with,” she says. “And if you can’t eat them today, think about how to process and store them for later.”

But pickling and jarring isn’t the only way to store food. Ris also recommends freezing, as long as it’s done right. If you freeze vegetables at its peak ripeness, for instance, they maintain their nutrients. “You can freeze tomatoes whole, you know. Or make a pasta sauce and freeze it for later. Dice peppers and freeze those. For berries, make sure to lay them flat and let them solidify separately in the freezer before you bag them together. It’s so great to be able to toss a handful of fresh, frozen raspberries in the microwave and mix them with yogurt for breakfast.”

Sarah Biglan, the head chef at RIS, walked me through the making of the kitchen’s signature pickled medley of cucumbers, red peppers and onions, which they serve on their burgers, sandwiches and chopped up in their Thousand Island dressing. The cucumbers are sliced thin, the red peppers and onions are julienned, and they’re put into a bath of ice water. “This hydrates them and helps them hold their crispness when you pour the hot liquid over them,” Sarah explains. It also neutralizes the pungency of the onions, which are by nature very sweet, and get their sharpness from oxidation. Hydrating them brings out their innate sweetness.

There are varying techniques for pickling different things, Sarah says. White onions and lighter colored vegetables should be pickled with champagne vinegar, a similarly colored liquid, while things like beets and red pearl onions go with red wine vinegar. With heartier vegetables like okra, carrots and string beans, a quick blanching would soften the vegetables and help them absorb the pickling liquid. Beets might even benefit from a light roasting in the oven, and mushrooms do well by a quick, light stir fry to bring out their flavors.

Removing the oxygen from the jar—called pressurizing—will prolong the shelf life whatever you pickle. Once you’ve added the pickles and the liquid to the jar, loosely tighten the lid and place it in a pot of shallow water on the stove. Turn the burner on and as the liquid heats up, the “button” on the top of the lid will be suctioned down.

The other great thing about pickling, says Ris, is that there’s no wrong way to flavor them. Boil up the mixture with rosemary, oregano or thyme, fennel seeds, cumin, mustard, anise or dill. Odds are, if you like the flavors, they’re going to taste great pickled.

“We’re just touching on a Pandora’s box of possibilities,” says Ris. “Ours is just one pickling method, but it’s absolutely something to think about as you approach the bounty of the season.”

That said, the house pickles at RIS are awfully good. I was eating them with a fork, and threw fresh cucumber slices into the leftover liquid for round two. Try this recipe to get you started.

Pickled Red Pearl Onion

1 bag (12-10 oz packs) of peeled Pearl Onions, red

Pickling Solution
2 qt water
2 qt red wine vinegar
2 qt sugar
½ cup Mustard Seed
2 Tbsp Coriander, whole
2 Tbsp Black peppercorn
6 whole cloves

Peel pearl onions and place in a large 2-gallon, plastic container. Combine all pickling ingredients in a large saucepot and bring to a boil, stirring frequently to dissolve all sugar. Remove from heat when mixture boils and immediately place pearl onions in hot liquid. Let simmer for five minutes, or until onions are tender. Refrigerate at least 24 hours before using.

RIS Bread and Butter Pickles

Pickling Solution
3 cups Champagne vinegar
3 cups water
5 cups sugar
1 ½ tsp turmeric
1 ½ tsp celery seed
2 tTbsp mustard seed
1 ½ Tbsp salt

Pickled Vegetable
6 thin slices Cucumbers
1 julienned Red Bell Pepper
1 julienned White Onion

Slice and soak all vegetables to be pickled in ice water for at least 1 hour.
Strain vegetables and remove all ice (any ice will melt and weaken the pickling solution). Before straining vegetables, combine all solution ingredients in a pot and whisk to dissolve sugar. When simmering, and once all the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and pour over vegetables. Weight down pickles with 2 or 3 plates cover in plastic wrap so that they stay submerged in the pickling liquid, cool in the fridge. Once cool, distribute pickles into a jar or container.

Substitute thinly sliced watermelon rind for cucumber. Use on summer dishes like fish and crab cakes.

The Business of Being in Business

May 23, 2011

The financial recession of the late 2000s found the stock market plummeting to near-record lows and real estate frozen. Housing foreclosures and a disturbing rise in small business failures pockmarked the economic landscape. Businesses that had comfortably kept their doors open for decades were going under. Entrepreneurs were suffering the full brunt of financial strife. It has been said that this recession was just short of a depression, that no industry was spared. It is now March 2010. Many economists still consider the country well in the midst of this great recession.

Now is a great time to start a business.

So submits Jack Garson, author of “How To Build A Business And Sell It For Millions.” Founder and head of business and real estate practice for Garson & Claxton LLC, a member of the Washington Airports Authority board of directors and with a veritable laundry list of professional accomplishments, Mr. Garson has credentials that dwarf most in his field. For all his success, his office is nonetheless unimposing — if spacious — and welcomes guests comfortably, without a looming intimidation. The first thing he does after shaking my hand is to offer me an espresso. Whirling clockwise in his chair, he gets to work. The espresso machine is closer to his desk than his computer.

“I’ve only been to Europe once,” he says. “We went to Paris. And my favorite thing was stopping for espresso. Everywhere. I was drinking them all day.”

Mr. Garson, an outed workaholic, is someone who has clearly made his quirks work in his favor. As he hands me the ambrosial caffeine bomb, he proudly exclaims that he knew he was going to be a lawyer since he was 13 years old. By the time he graduated law school, he had already worked as a law clerk for 2 years and found himself supervising men years above him. He knows how to take the bull by the horns, and according to him, now is the time to do it.

Given the recent economic climate, there has been a shortage of investment capital, resulting in few sales of businesses. Those that have been selling are going for exceedingly low prices. However, private equity firms, those in the business-buying profession, are starting to gear up again.

Equity firms buy a business, add to the executive team, beef up sales and revenue, and resell. Then they do it again.

“They want to build up the profitability,” says Garson, “and then flip them. They’re gonna start selling the businesses they’re buying today in three years, and they’re gonna make a ton of money, because they’re buying dirt cheap right now. And they’re gonna tell all of the world how much money they made, because they want to attract more investors.” This in turn will attract a flood of investment into the industry. Because money rotates.

In the last decade, money has bounced from stocks, to real estate, to cash and treasury bonds. “And one of the next places money is going to migrate to is businesses,” says Mr. Garson. “It’s like gold prices tripling, and everyone starts buying gold. People are going to make a fortune buying businesses, and that will attract a lot of money to this asset class. And all those people out there with funds of money are gonna pour their money into it. So, today is a great time to start a business if you have an eye towards converging with selling it in three to five years.”

However, Mr. Garson’s book does not just deal with building and selling a business in today’s financial market. Far more universal, the book is a guideline of advisory self-assessments, insider tips and premeditated judgment calls that any business owner will have to make throughout his career, in good times and bad. It shows a business owner how to keep an eye on the ball at all times, even while juggling prospective buyers and developing human resources. All of Mr. Garson’s advice is punctuated with stories from the field. Whereas many books of this genre tend to be academically formulated, Mr. Garson’s book is sharp, frank, and to the point — not to mention quite readable. This book has been written from the trenches.

“I’ve been in the room when a business has gone out of business because someone has ignored good advice,” says Mr. Garson. “I’ve been in the room when someone has gotten a hundred million dollar check. And I was also in the room for three years before that, and I saw every decision that led to both of those outcomes. I’m writing about real life successes and failures.”

Chapters discuss a variety of succinct topics from common business pitfalls and financial forecasting to government relations — a vital chapter for the Washington entrepreneur. Every one of these points is accented with hard-boiled, true-life anecdotes. “I have made mental notes of all these things for 25 years. There are lessons I learned 25 years ago that are in this book. And I couldn’t keep it in. I had to share it.”

The advantage of the Washington area is not lost on Mr. Garson, a Maryland native. The local economy is vibrant. Where D.C. has always had an anchor in the federal government, “we’re really seeing a lot more of the financial world shift down here,” he says. “A lot of the U.S. is shifting down here”

As a board member of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Mr. Garson has witnessed international flights that previously flew exclusively to New York now landing at National or Dulles. The national news has also been relocating a significant portion of their daily filming to the area. “We’ve always been the political capital of the country,” he says, “but we’re starting to have dibs on a portion of the financial capital. And that’s a tremendous benefit that we have.”

Mr. Garson understands the start-up business. He knows where the mistakes lie, and he is weary of the sore spots. “There’s a lot of rigorous analysis clashing with a lot of dreams,” he says. Mr. Garson balances a tender sympathy for the dreamer with the cold, hard pragmatism of profitability. He should know. He’s among the sect. This book is his dream.

“I always wanted to write. But I wanted to write fiction, I wanted to write the great American novel. I didn’t want to write a business book. But this is what I knew. You have to write from what you know.” And Mr. Garson certainly knows the business of being in business.

Wintry Weekends

May 5, 2011

Every year around late February, the air begins to swell with a certain potential. As the mornings go by, the accumulating whistles of tree sparrows echo like a symphony reaching a familiar crescendo. The slog of post-Christmas drudgery lies vaster in our wake than in our precession. Legs begin to twitch inadvertently beneath office desks. We have done our time cooped up in our beds, fighting the cold, not knowing when we will escape again. Winter is on its last leg. It’s time to get out.

This year, unfortunately, there is still two feet of snow on the ground.

With this surplus of residual snow, however, comes a unique opportunity for those itching for a relaxing weekend getaway. Pastoral bed and breakfasts and luxury hotels surround the D.C. area. The landscapes of these mountain and riverside resorts are still in a rare, delicate state of wintry serenity, while the weather has become warm enough to enjoy nearby attractions. With the leftover snow keeping most people at home, it is an ideal time to take advantage of countryside luxuries with extraordinary intimacy.

The Shenandoah and Charlottesville

Just a stone’s throw from Monticello proper, The Inn at Monticello is a five-acre bed and breakfast, and a convenient base of operations while exploring all that nearby Charlottesville has to offer. Just far enough outside the city to enjoy the rolling landscapes from your private porch or cottage, and down the street from a handful of vineyards, the inn is still only a 10-minute drive from the center of town.

Once in Charlottesville, across the street from the UVA campus, visit the Corner. A stretch of coffee shops, restaurants, bookstores and nightspots frequented by the academic and local community, the Corner is a local watering hole, and a perfect place to enjoy a simple cup of coffee with a good book, grab dinner, or have a few drinks. Among the scenery, UVA’s historic chapel and the “Academical Village” are noteworthy sites that have been temporarily beautified by the snow.

For a more inclusive package, the Boar’s Head Inn offers enough amenities and activities to help you recharge your batteries for a weekend without having to leave the premise. With four restaurants and an in-room dining option, guests can dine as casually as they please. A sports club and spa, complete with a dozen indoor tennis courts, allows guests to strap on sneakers and shorts despite the snow.

Restaurants to check out around Charlottesville include The Ivy Inn Restaurant and Hamilton’s at First and Main. Producing cuisine inspired by seasonal and locally grown ingredients, The Ivy Inn offers classic American fare with modern twists, such as pumpkin ravioli or veal osso buco with sautéed local bok choy. At Hamilton’s at First and Main, inventive pairings such as roasted halibut stuffed with chèvre or crab cakes with lemon-basil aioli are the highlights of the menu.

The Middle Piedmont Region

When discussing luxury dining and accommodations in Virginia, The Inn at Little Washington garners the same reactions that one gets if mentioning Disney World to a four-year-old. The love child of renowned restaurateur Patrick O’Connell, a self-taught chef often accused of having “perfect taste” and a pioneer of the local, organic movement, The Inn at Little Washington is one of the most highly decorated restaurants and hotels in the country — and just about the only nationally lauded two-for-one.

This time of year, O’Connell’s celebrated kitchen is honoring the tail end of black truffle season, one of O’Connell’s favorite occasions to have a bit of elegant fun. Expect such menu items as Maine Diver Scallops with leek purée, caramelized onions, and black truffle. As an additional, limited-time treat that comes out with the meal if you behave: black truffle popcorn with truffle oil, Parmesan, parsley, and a sprinkling of black truffle. “It sounds ridiculous,” says Rachel Hayden, marketing director for the inn, “but it’s insanely addictive.”

The Middleton Inn, an award winning bed and breakfast just down the street from The Inn At Little Washington, sits on a knoll of a country estate with unparalleled views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Enjoy a four-course breakfast or a wine and cheese hour surrounded by bucolic landscapes and the crisp mountain air. Art galleries and quaint boutiques such as the Middle Street Gallery and R.H. Ballard make for great day shopping.

While rusticating the winter weekends away, vineyards are ideal day trips. Linden Vineyards is a seamless compliment to low-key winter months, maintaining a philosophy of “quiet and calm.” A vineyard of considerable acclaim and prestige, the small-scale producer has earned a reputation as one of Virginia’s finest wineries — and likewise has had a large hand in opening the world’s eyes to the viticultural possibilities of Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. Their chardonnays are regularly compared with California’s, while the variety of reds all have considerable aroma and full, rich flavors. Perfect to drink on the vineyard’s premise or in front of the fireplace later in the evening.

The Narmada Winery is quite new to the area, and already creating quite a stir. Among a full offering of different varieties, their dessert wine was voted the best in Virginia in 2009. This time of year, while visitors are sparse, visitors have a chance for intimate tours with an up and coming vineyard.

With the mountains still blanketed by a layer of soft, white snow, and streets clear enough for walking around town, now is a unique time to experience rare beauty in the Shenandoahs.

Hot Springs

Let’s be honest with each other. There might not be all that much in Hot Springs, Virginia (although George Washington National Forest is rather pretty). And, yes, it might be a little out of the way. But what Hot Springs does have is The Homestead. This is what matters, and it is worth the trip.

Resting on 3,000 acres of Allegheny Mountain terrain, The Homestead is a luxury mountain resort that has been spoiling their guests since before the American Revolution. This National Historic Landmark of a retreat is ranked among the world’s finest spa destinations, and has enough activities to keep someone busy through the entirety of winter.

There are a variety of suite accommodations from which to choose, including pet friendly rooms. Their world-class spa alone would nearly be worth the trip — even more so in these dragging winter months when skin begins to crave an escape from the dry, cold atmosphere. Revitalize the mind, body and spirit with a hydrotherapy treatment, and then, if the mood is right, go see a movie at the in-house theater or swim in the naturally heated indoor pool, play tennis on the indoor courts, go skiing, ice skating, bowling, snow tubing. To say the least, The Homestead understands how to make the most out of winter.

With nine restaurants to choose from, guests can dine in almost any manner they please. Put on a your evening’s best to enjoy French American cuisine at 1766 Grille, or enjoy a poolside lunch wrapped in a beach towel with a view of the snowcapped mountains just outside the window.

Spring is coming, and, as we stagger around slush puddles at intersections and flip up our collars to deflect renegade snow clumps falling from waning rooftops, most of us agree that it couldn’t get here sooner. Even still, life should be enjoyed in the here and now. With so many unique opportunities just hours away, there are plenty of reasons to enjoy the intimacy and the solitude of the last weeks of winter.
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The Raw Food Revolution: Green Yourself

May 4, 2011

Elizabeth Petty was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2009. Determined to overcome the disease, she underwent radiation and chemotherapy, but ventured further out into alternative healing methods. Choosing an integrative approach to medicine, Petty immersed herself into the extraordinary lives of those who healed themselves naturally through diet and exercise. She began eating a raw food diet. Now cancer free, she has merged her career with her lifestyle, creating a platform to raise awareness of this remarkable, beneficial approach to health. Her restaurant and catering service, Elizabeth’s Gone Raw, is a celebration of organic, fresh ingredients, which brings the bright and ebullient flavors of nature, as well as its unparalleled health benefits, to Washington. She spoke to us about her journey, the benefits of raw and vegan diets, and shared recipes and secrets of integrating this health approach into a regular lifestyle.

Georgetowner: So…a raw food diet seems fairly daunting. But is it worth the effort?

Elizabeth Petty: Eating a raw and vegan diet is absolutely worth the effort on many levels— spiritually and emotionally as well as physiologically. A plant-based diet offers an abundance of protein. It is rejuvenating, it offers mental clarity, and it provides a rich source of enzymes which act as catalyst in the cells and assist in oxygenating your body by separating red blood cells. Oxygen can then move freely through the blood stream, allowing the white blood cells to fight disease.

A raw and vegan diet helps prevent heart disease, cancer and diabetes, too. It is especially important to eat organic and locally grown raw fruits and vegetables free of pesticides, which further increases your sense of wellbeing. From an emotional perspective, a diet free of preservatives, meat, dairy, caffeine, alcohol and processed sugar helps calm your central nervous system, creating a balance of energy and emotional stability. With this stability comes the opportunity to pursue spiritual awareness and personal harmony with greater focus.

GT: Many worry about the gastronomic monotony and restrictions of a diet as stringent as this. Does your palate ever get bored? How does the food taste?

EP: I don’t find it at all boring or monotonous. It requires thoughtful effort put into the preparation of food using a wide variety of ingredients, including all vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, seeds and sea vegetables.

A dinner at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw can include: hemp and flax cracker topped with olive tapenade, shaved fennel slaw and chive oil; baby arugula with Royal Trumpet Mushrooms and truffle vinaigrette; cantaloupe-basil sorbet; and thinly sliced sheets of zucchini layered with pine nut ricotta, pesto and pear tomatoes with parsley salad

GT: Is it a difficult diet to maintain?

EP: It is difficult to maintain at first because you have to change the way you think about food. You also have to find the right sources for organic foods, which requires a bit of research. When I started drinking green juice three times a day, my initial feeling was one of concern in fear that I would not be able to keep up the pace of juicing so frequently. Now, almost two years later, I find that I crave raw vegetables and will plan my day around finding the opportunity to juice. I just recently traveled overseas for ten days and took my juicer with me. I was welcomed in every hotel kitchen and shared with the staff daily shots of wheatgrass and green juice. It is healing to share with others such nutritious, healthful foods that promote wellbeing. It is a small way to give back to the universe.

What we choose to put into our bodies becomes a reflection of how we choose to live with respect to our planet. Eating becomes a philosophy of life, a ritual by which food nourishes and heals our bodies. It is less about consumption and more about fulfillment and awareness. Raw, living cuisine heightens the senses. It is sexy, alive and clean!

GT: What propelled you into the culinary subculture of raw foods?

EP: My breast cancer diagnosis allowed me the opportunity to choose a different lifestyle. There is so much information available about natural healing in regards to cancer. I am most grateful to Kris Carr who wrote “Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips” and to Dr. Brian Clement, the director of Hippocrates Health Institute, both of whom had a profound influence on the choices I have made in regards to treatment. Although I chose to have surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation, my raw diet in conjunction with treatment gave me the strength to endure such a rigorous medical schedule.

GT: Had you any real experience with raw foods before your breast cancer diagnosis?

EP: Quite honestly, I had read an article in Atlantic Monthly about ten years ago about a raw diet, at which point I thought sounded a bit odd and not at all appealing. Life is wonderfully circular that way.

GT: Do you remember your first culinary experience with the cuisine of a raw food diet?

EP: My first experience with beautifully prepare raw cuisine was at Hippocrates Health Institute, which I attended for three weeks after I completed my chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Every cell in my body responded positively to the nutritious food I was given to eat, and by the end of the stay I felt as though I had been reborn. I felt encouraged about eating raw and recognized that my path had been chosen. During this period or recuperation and healing, it became clear to me that I wanted to offer to DC an alternative cuisine, raw, living and organic high end cuisine.

GT: Are you cancer free now?

EP: I am presumably cancer free. More importantly, though, I feel grateful to have had cancer. I can honestly say that I feel more fulfilled now in life than prior to my diagnosis.

Life is full of challenges. Enlightenment comes from the way in which we choose to deal with disparity. I have truly been blessed and intend to share with others these alternative ways of healing.

GT: Why did you choose to steer your newfound lifestyle into a career?

EP: My life and my career have always been intertwined. It is so important to me to educate people about the health benefits and wonderful taste of raw cuisine. It is yet another form of art in the culinary world, one with compassion and thoughtfulness.

GT: Who is in charge of creating your menu?

EP: The raw cuisine at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw is prepared by my executive chef Tom Berry and my pastry chef Calvin Lee, both of whom have taken on the challenge with much enthusiasm. Because I am still in the early stages of healing, I eat very simply prepared salads with plenty of sprouts, avocados, sea vegetables, lemon and organic virgin olive oil. I will occasionally eat a cooked yam or quinoa and when dining out, and I opt for anything vegan on the menu as long as it is a grain.

If you’re not familiar with raw cuisine, I would recommend dining at Elizabeth’s Gone Raw before you start preparing or eating raw. It will hopefully dispel any myths you have heard about raw food and encourage you to embrace the lifestyle so that the rewards are profound. Our spicy kale chips have been getting quite a bit of press and are easy to prepare.

Krispy Kale Chips

These chips are not only a wonderful healthy alternative to traditional snack chips, they are fun to make! This is recipe allows for a lot of experimentation, feel free to try spicier chips or chips with more lemon. There are many ways to make your unique kale chip.

Equipment: Food Processor, Dehydrator


3 heads kale
5 red peppers
1 pound cashews
2/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 cups water
2 tablespooons sea salt
2/3 cup lemon juice
1 jalapeno
1/2 tablespoon cayenne

Soak the cashews at least two hours. De-stem the kale, dice the red peppers and jalapeno and juice the lemon. Combine all ingredients, except for the kale, in a food processor and mix until desired creamy consistency. Massage the mixture into the kale. Flatten the kale pieces and place into dehydrator at 115 degrees overnight or until desired crispiness is achieved. [gallery ids="99656,105341,105338" nav="thumbs"]

Acupuncture: A Tradition of Wellbeing

April 25, 2011

“You might bend down to pick up a pen and hurt your back, but that’s not why you hurt your back,” says Sung Up Hong. “There is a history and a reason behind that problem with deeper roots than what you see and feel on the outside.”

That is the goal of acupuncture, says Hong, a third-generation licensed acupuncturist, who practices at Hela Spa in Chevy Chase: to find the root cause of the problem and treat the patient holistically.

At the spa, trying to nap with a few dozen needles stuck into various regions your body may not seem like the most effective means of fortifying your health and spirits. But as anyone who has received acupuncture will tell you, there are few more refreshing steps toward repose and well-being.

Acupuncture, a 2,000-year-old oriental medical practice, has its origins in China and Korea and has long been acknowledged as a versatile and beneficial alternative medicine technique to supplement treatment of a wide range of illnesses, pain and bodily stress. When incorporated with traditional herbal remedies, each with their own unique actions and health benefits, acupuncture is well worth exploring as a therapeutic health treatment.

A great deal of over-the-counter medicine available today is designed as a quick-fix treatment. Headaches, digestive problems, respiratory issues and congestion, as well as a wide range of recurring bodily problems are too often treated with temporary solutions. Advil, for instance, numbs the problem when you have a headache, but it does not get rid of the habit of headaches or a chronic headache.

Acupuncture is effectively performed to increase flow and release pressure along the body’s network of blood circulation, its Acupuncture Meridian, according to standards of oriental medicine. There are 12 major meridian lines that run vertically on both sides of your body. “Acupuncture along the meridian lines helps our body’s energy to circulate,” Hong says.

Pain—be it cramps in your shoulders, waist, headaches and so on—is a result of bad circulation, he says. “Something is blocking the flow of energy and blood circulation, which we unblock with acupuncture and herbal supplements.”

Acupuncture is diverse and multifaceted. It can help treat arthritis, allergies, congestion, insomnia, headaches, menstruation problems, digestion problems, pain-related systems (shoulders, back, knees, etc.) and more, with overall focus on strengthening the immune system and internal energy.

This internal energy and blood circulation, called Chi, is what Hong refers to as life force energy. “It is what makes us move,” he says with a poetic lilt. “It circulates our blood, makes our organs function properly. It keeps our bodies balanced and strengthens our immune system.”

Hong has a certain intuitive way of speaking about acupuncture and a harmonious body in the manner a 17th-century sailor talked about the stars and the sea. His entire life has intimately involved Hong with oriental medicines — his family has practiced acupuncture for over 100 years — and beyond his professional training, the practice and application of it is noticeably engrained within him. “I was raised with oriental medicine,” he says, “and I learned how effective it is from a personal standpoint.”

His understanding of health and well-being is very much of his own time and place. Far from being dated, Hong encourages acupuncture medical research in the here-and-now. His goal is to conduct research and studies to prove scientific benefits of acupuncture and blood flow. He holds a master’s degree of science from Samra University of Oriental Medicine in Los Angeles and has learned to appreciate both traditional and integrative medicine to enhance treatment effects in patients. He has treated sports injuries and worked on spine rehabilitation as well as pain control and infertility issues.

As for the Washington area, “All my patients are stress-related,” Hong says.

“Everyone comes here for being stressed out,” he says. That’s no surprise, given the competitive nature of politics and the cut-throat pace of this mile-a-minute city.

Of course, there are always skeptics when it comes to alternative medicine. Most people I have spoken with have admitted skepticism toward the efficacy of acupuncture.

It is necessary to point out that one should only go to a well-trained practitioner with proper accreditation to receive acupuncture, but I highly suggest going in for a consultation. After measuring my pulse and examining the color of my tongue, Hong was able to ascertain accurate and specific idiosyncrasies of my own health that no doctor had ever diagnosed. Like someone reading secrets buried deep in my mind, he could tell the general scope of my diet and pinpoint factors of my own bodily stress, which he then treated with acupuncture, explaining to me where he had decided to place the needles via a model of the Acupuncture Meridian.

And while I haven’t been floating on daffodils or singing to bluebirds on my shoulder, I really have felt remarkably refreshed in the week following my acupuncture appointment.

But, as Hong explains, the result of acupuncture is not to walk out after your first appointment cured of all ailments and maladies. The nature of acupuncture is similar to that of exercise or a healthy diet: Your body benefits over time with recurrence and conditioning, supplemented with a healthy lifestyle.

In conjunction with acupuncture, there are also plenty of little changes you can make in your day-to-day life to improve your well-being, Hong says. Sometimes we don’t even know that what we are doing is bad for us until we make a change.

Consider Hong’s tips for a better tomorrow:


Everyone is looking down, slouched at computers. Even using iPhones, we look down. As we look down, the weight of our head goes to the muscles of our necks and they tighten up. People also cross their legs a lot, which twists the pelvis and throws the back off balance, which is often the beginning of back issues. So always do your best to correct your posture: Open up your shoulders and try your best to sit up straight, and look straight at your computer screen.

Move Around

Make sure to get up every 30 minutes at least and really move. Take a stretch, walk around the office, maybe down the block. Make sure to get your blood circulating and breath deep.

Drink less soda, more water. Water filters your liver, reducing the risk of cramps and refreshing your system.

Eat more slowly, chew longer and control the amount of your eating. We sometimes eat so quickly that we have eaten too much before our brain realizes we are full. So, chew 20 or 30 times before swallowing. It also helps with digestion and the processing of foods, as it is more thoroughly broken down once it enters our digestive system. [gallery ids="99649,105304,105308" nav="thumbs"]

The Romance and Wonder of Keswick Hall

February 23, 2011

Coming up the winding driveway, just across the railroad track and beyond a horse pasture, I was greeted by a small vineyard and a grand, three-story resort house. The sun was setting just over the Spanish tile roof and the Southwest Mountains lay stoically in the distance along an endless, green golf course. I walked into the front doors of Keswick Hall and was greeted by the hum of intimate conversations, the crackling of a wood fire and the clinking of glasses in a wide, open parlor. The parlor was warmly lit, elegant and modest, with a tin of warm cider sitting on heated bricks by the entrance. In front of the fire, couples were reading, talking, playing chess, enjoying drinks. It was just before dinnertime. This was the definition of a romantic retreat.

Sitting on 600 acres, this sprawling country estate in the lush foothills of Keswick, Virginia is perhaps one of the best-kept secrets on the East Coast. With the very best of comfort and accommodations, couples spa treatments, exceptional wines both local and international, and world-class cuisine, Keswick Hall brings together all the luxuries of the world’s finest resorts with the distinct character of the Virginia region. Thomas Jefferson called this area of country the “Eden of the United States,” and Keswick Hall holds true to this claim, offering the most sinfully delicious experiences you and your better half will have this side of the Atlantic.

The accommodations are worth the trip itself. The rooms are bright and thoughtfully furnished, the wide, soft beds entice even the well rested, and a pouch of aromatic bath salts sit by the tub. The windows open to pastoral vistas on all sides. A plate of gourmet cheeses and a bottle of house wine await new visitors with a personal note from the staff. These are perhaps small details, but the intricate cares taken by the resort add up. It is this very attention to detail, this individualizing of each guest that makes Keswick stand out. You are not just another guest at Keswick, but a valued member of the family for the duration of your stay.

“There’s a very comfortable beauty about Keswick,” says Patricia Castelli, Keswick Hall’s resident historian. “There’s an incredible sense of elegance, and it’s also so comfortable. It strikes the right balance, which is what makes people so astounded by it.” And Keswick has surely astounded plenty of guests— Condé Nast deemed them the number one small resort in the country in 2010.

Keswick feels so intimate because it’s a very real part of its surrounding community. “The estate has been here for 100 years,” says Castelli, “and its history ads weight to its authenticity. You’re discovering an area rather than just coming to a hotel—and it’s such an outstanding place to discover. A lot of people don’t know we exist, and after they visit they wonder why they didn’t know about us before.”

The grounds offer a wide range of activities, from exploring the vineyards to fishing, to even archery. But the highlight is the Arnold Palmer Signature 18-hole golf course, which compliments the landscape as if it is a natural part of the mountain range.

The course is an Autobon certified sanctuary, maintaining strict standards of resources and limiting pesticides. Keswick wants the course and the estate to be as agreeable to wildlife as possible, and they go well out of their way to make the range as environmentally friendly as it is beautiful.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen of Keswick’s Fossett’s Restaurant, Executive Chef Dean Maupin brings together the bounty of the local farmland with effusive vision and international inspiration to create frighteningly delicious cuisine. The food is delicate and elegant without being fussy. During the harvest months, most of the produce comes from the estate’s garden, run by the Chef himself.

The menu is seasonal and changes frequently, but during the winter months you can expect such offerings as smoked trout with avocado and apple, beet salad with citrus vinaigrette and olives, pear and pecorino ravioli, pappardelle with braised lamb shoulder and tapenade, duck breast with truffle risotto and Madeira jus, or parsnip quiche with sage, fontina and thick, fresh bacon. The food is, quite simply, as good as food gets. Each ingredient is played to its absolute perfection, each dish is perfectly balanced, and the kitchen keeps in touch with its environment, seasonally and locally.

While Keswick certainly offers the best of all general amenities—a fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, billiards, a library, golf, tennis, horseback riding, personal and couples massage sessions, a world class wine cellar—this is all only the surface of Keswick’s allure.

Keswick Hall shines not because it allows you to escape from the surrounding area, but because it engrosses you in it, reminding you of the beauty and richness of the Virginia homeland. It invites guests to fall in love with its character, through the landscape, the food, the activities, and the memories you will surely create. There is a gentle, serene beauty about the Virginia countryside, one that is perfectly tailored for a couple looking for a quiet and intimate experience. Keswick Hall is a quiet pinnacle of romance and relaxation, and now is the perfect time of year to fall into its warm, generous arms.

For more information, visit [gallery ids="99595,105014,105021,105018" nav="thumbs"]