Archaeology: a Favorite Georgetown Subject

April 11, 2016

The Georgetown Public Library hosted Ruth Trocotolli, archaeologist for D.C.’s Historic Preservation Office Feb. 22 for a lecture in its Peabody Room.

Despite the beautiful weather, which Washingtonians were enjoying outside, the afternoon lecture had an impressive turn-out of 50 persons. This is no surprise, however, as the history and preservation of Washington, D.C, especially Georgetown, is so fascinating. The diversity of the audience was especially notable as well. Sprightly young students and much older grey-haired men and women scattered throughout the room. The age range within the room presented its own historical narrative, just as the historical excavations and discoveries in the area.

In her presentation Trocotolli raised an interesting observation: “People don’t realize the history that’s below their feet.” She went on to add what distinguishes archaeology: “It’s not biased the same way as written history is.”

The Historic Preservation Office works to encourage the protection of D.C.’s historic and cultural resources through the 3 p’s: planning, protection and public education. Trocotolli reiterated these principles and emphasizing the focus on reviewing project plans. Oftentimes, this process involves looking at properties throughout time and determining what beneficial resources would be there. Emphasis is also put on the effort of protection. Artifact Rescue Projects are frequent, especially in as historical place as Georgetown.

Trocotolli mentioned several historical buildings in Georgetown, which have undergone such rescue projects. For instance, the Forrest-Marbury building, now the Embassy of Ukraine, dates to 1788, and another nearby one, Halcyon House dates to 1787.

Both the history of Georgetown and the keen interest of its community are equally impressive. Tricotolli’s work within the community as well as the audience’s participation and interest in the area reflect Georgetown’s authentic collision of the past and the present.

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Country Dream Homes for Any Lifestyle

January 16, 2015

Whether you are looking for easy-going year-round living or a vacation home to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, country homes can complement any lifestyle. Resting on 30 acres of beautiful Virginia countryside, Windrush Farm is nothing short of a dream country home. Named after a river in England near which current owners Timothy Dunn and Ellen Stofan previously owned a cottage, views of the countryside, including endless mountain ranges and rich green pastures make this a beautiful home in the heart of Virginia’s horse and wine country. In a sea of emerald, the home sits perched on a slope, overlooking acres of verdant rolling hills.

First built in 1850 as a manor house, Windrush Farm is located in the historic district of Rectortown, Va., just minutes from Middleburg.

Known for its Civil War history, with historic battle and grave sites, many of its residences date back to the 18th century.
“The home sits right on the edge of Rectortown where there are little hamlets people aspire to live in because it’s very quaint with very historical homes,” said Dunn.

The home is extremely versatile. With seven bedrooms and three stories it is perfect for an extended family vacation. The guest rooms have beautiful wood floors. Wood burning fireplaces are located in the den, library, living room and master bedroom making it a cozy home for the winter months.

It is also perfect for the warmer months with most main levels opening to the outdoors. The breathtakingly beautiful views can be taken in from the comfortable smooth stone foundation of the terraces. Meals can be enjoyed half outside half inside with a dining table surrounded on three sides by the house walls, and the fourth wall a screen door. A large outdoor patio is ideal for barbeques or cocktail parties on warm summer nights. Unlatch a door and you can easily step into a lush paradise in the garden.
With an attached two-car garage and an additional three-car garage as apart of the barn complex, parking is no problem for grander events.

Aspects of the historic home still resemble the Manor style with its traditional floor plan, front entrance foyer, and the butler’s pantry. Updates to the home were made by Bill Turnure, an architect from Middleburg, who did the redesign and renovations for both the current and previous owners.

Turnure’s expansions over the years have included a 40-by-18-foot indoor pool with a Jacuzzi; tennis courts; pavilions with an outdoor kitchen and lounge area; a green house with a gardener’s room; an extensive garden; a barn used as an office-studio; and an exercise room with access to the pool deck.

Dunn and Stofan have also consulted interior designer Beth O’Quinn, owner of O’Quinn designs in Middleburg, to refurbish aspects of the estate. They’ve also added many of their own pieces bought during their time in England.

The couple bought the home in 2000 from Michael Sullivan and his late wife Beverly Biffle, both prominent socialites in Georgetown.

The home is a sanctuary sitting off the main road. Driving down the private lane of the estate you feel as though you are entering a secret oasis. Drive slowly as you’ll want to take in the beautiful views of the countryside. “The most compelling thing besides the house itself are its views and privacy,” Dunn said.

Dunn retired in 2009 as senior vice president and portfolio manager of Capital Research Global Investors.

For more information visit

The Pelham property is a traditional brick home with forest green painted shutters and roof.

Built in 1878, this home is a historically significant brick home, recognized officially by the Preservation Society of Loudoun County in 1992 for its authentic preservation. This home is praised as an “exceptional example” of a Virginian manor home. Known for its magnificent scale with its high ceilings, nine-foot tall doorways, and floor-to-ceiling windows, the home serves for both easy living and entertaining.

For more information visit www.thomasandtalbot

The exquisite Oakfield estate sits an hour away from D.C. in Upperville, Va. With 86 acres of land, this estate is surrounded by natural beauty with stone walkways and terraces winding through the perennial gardens. The home is built in a traditional style combining the classic details of an older home with up-to-date features.

On the first floor, the foyer opens up to a breathtaking circular staircase winding all the way to the third floor, where more stairs lead to a finished attic.

Other features of the home include a solarium to take in the stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and surrounding countryside.

For more information, visit [ [gallery ids="101632,146087,146091" nav="thumbs"]

Artisanal Foods and Products Await in Virginia

May 9, 2014

With its sprawling countryside and 46,000 farms, Virginia is home to dozens of shops filled with local and organic products. These country stores are tucked away on the quaint main streets of small-town Virginia, offering fresh, homegrown foods to those in the know. Here are a few shops in Northern Virginia offering artisanal cheeses, meats and sweets:

Back Creek Farms has been making pure maple syrup in Monterey since 1838. The family-owned farm got its name from its traditional production process of collecting sugar water from the trees that line the surrounding creeks. Buckets and open pans are used to make syrup, along with modern pumps. Back Creek’s products are sold throughout Virginia at stores such as the Little House Green Grocery in Richmond and the Monticello Gift Shop and Virginia Made Shop in the Shenandoah Valley.

Considered a go-to in Middleburg, The Home Farm Store is Ayrshire Farm’s butcher shop and grocery store, selling a variety of products made by Virginia artisans and others. Among the store’s many weekend events are “Sips and Snacks” on Friday evenings and cooking demonstrations on Saturday afternoons.

Down the road, The Whole Ox is an artisanal butcher located in The Plains. Derek and Amanda Luhowiak opened the shop, housed in an old trading depot, in 2011. Prior to opening The Whole Ox, the couple owned and operated Local 647, a food truck that traveled all over Northern Virginia. The truck was famous for its half-pound grass-fed burger, featured on the Today Show.

Today, The Whole Ox sells ethically produced products, the majority of which are sourced from Virginia. The shop’s mulberry vinegar comes from Lindera Farms in Linden. Ol’ Red Eye hot sauce is made from smoked habanero peppers aged in oak barrels from Marshall.

One of the all-homemade sausages is the “Sammy Davis,” made with juniper, coriander, bay leaf and pork.

Heading southwest, The Market at Grelen in Somerset boasts a full community calendar, complete with lunch series, dinner and concert combos and workshops. Grelen has a seasonal farm market, garden shop and café offering a variety of treats made from local ingredients. Favorites include molasses cookies, Grelen ice cream and sorbet made with Grelen fruit and local cream and local cheeses from Caromont Farm in Esmont.

Just outside of Charlottesville in Free Union, farmers (and couple) Erica Hellen and Joel Slezak started Free Union Grass Farm on Slezak’s family land in 2010. According to their farming philosophy, “Free Union Grass Farm is a holistic livestock operation that utilizes modern techniques as well as pre-industrial, timeless ecological principles to produce nourishing food for our community.” The farm’s products are sold mainly in Charlottesville and Richmond, but there are plans to expand. “Having a presence in D.C. is definitely a goal for the near future,” Slezak said.

Out west, Polyface Farms is another pasture-based meat and dairy producer in Swoope. Since 1961, this multi-generational business has provided top-quality non-industrial foods, including beef, pork, poultry, and rabbits. The farm’s objective is to heal unethical practices and thoughts surrounding food. Their products can be found in a number of shops across the state, including Rebecca’s Natural Foods in Charlottesville, Ellwood Thompson’s in Richmond, Off the Vine in Williamsburg and The Organic Butcher in McLean. As you venture out this spring, enjoy the artisanal foods found in our own bountiful “backyard.” [gallery ids="101694,143938,143936,143932" nav="thumbs"]

Reasons to Hang in Georgetown This Weekend

Why stay in Georgetown this weekend? It’s going to be another beautiful weekend, and there is no place you’ll rather be than Georgetown with great deals and events happening all weekend.

11th Annual French Market

The 11th annual French Market “one of the most anticipated shopping weekends of the year” goes on from Friday, April 25, to Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Organized by the Georgetown Business Improvement District, the market is in the Book Hill Neighborhood of Georgetown, which constitutes upper Wisconsin Avenue between P Street and Reservoir Road, and evokes a Parisian “open air market and sidewalk sale.”
For the market, vendors come from all over the Book Hill Neighborhood offering a variety of goods. With shopping deals of up to 75 percent off, a large showcasing of antique and art galleries, and plenty of delicious treats, the market has something for everyone. In addition, the market features entertainment such as live music, mimes and face painting, making it a perfect place to hangout with the family. With an assortment of over 30 vendors, some of the vendors featured include Macaron Bee, Ella Rue, Egg by Susan Lazar, and the Robert Brown Gallery.

83rd Georgetown House Tour

Want to see some Georgetown home chic? Looking for design ideas or just love houses and history? Saturday is your day. Now in its 83rd year, the Georgetown House Tour is one of the oldest house tours in the nation. Nine properties will be shown Saturday, April 26. It benefits the social programs of St. John’s Church. The tour will run 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. — along with a Parish Tea in Blake Hall at the church on Saturday between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Ticket prices are $50 or $55. Visit for details, or call 202-338-2287.

Pandora Opening Party

Starting off a weekend of great shopping, on Thursday from noon to eight, jewelry maker Pandora is holding a daylong in-store event to celebrate its opening with the help of Lucky accessories editor Meilissa Lum and local blogger Lacey Maffettone of “A Lacey Perspective.” The event will also feature treats courtesy of Olivia Macaron, and starting at 6 p.m. you can sip Champagne, while mingling with style experts. Swing by 3213 M St., NW for the fun.

Shop House Benefits for Dog Tag Bakery

Stick around Georgetown for part of Sunday afternoon and evening for another great deal benefitting both your bank account and community. Dog Tag Bakery, a non-profit and bakery business opening on Grace Street later this summer, will partner with Shop House for a deal you should not pass up. If you come to the Shop House in Georgetown at 2805 M St., NW, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and mention “Dog Tag” receive 50 percent off your purchase with all of the proceeds donated to Dog Tag.

Get Ready for Easter Celebrations

May 1, 2014

A time of year in Washington unlike any other, Easter Sunday is upon us. With the cherry blossoms past full bloom and the sound of birds chirping, the stage is set. With its rich history, D.C. has an abundance of churches, thus making the decision of which church to attend for Easter Sunday Mass or service a difficult one. For downtown, the first is Easter mass at St. Matthews Cathedral, which was founded in 1840, and resembles a Renaissance and Romanesque design.

How about a very special Washington tradition? At 6:30 a.m., Easter morning, more than 6,000 people gather annually at the Lincoln Memorial to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The event is coordinated by Capital Church of Vienna, Va., whose host and Pastor Amos Dodge writes: “As the sun rises over the Capitol dome, the mall rings with sounds of joyful celebration as we proclaim together that Christ is risen!”?The pastor has this additional advice: “Dress comfortably. We suggest a coat or blanket for the often brisk morning. Directed parking provided.  Service happens rain or shine.”

For Georgetown, one stand-out is Holy Trinity Catholic Church on 36th Street. Founded in 1794, Holy Trinity is the oldest Catholic parish in Washington and is frequented by many notables, such as Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. It was John F. Kennedy’s church, when he lived in Georgetown.

St. John’s Episcopal Church on O Street is also a classic for Easter. Among its historical churchgoers are Thomas Jefferson and Francis Scott Key, who also attended another Episcopal church: Christ Church, also on O Street on Georgetown’s east side.

Georgetown Lutheran Church at Wisconsin Avenue and Volta Place is celebrating its 245th anniversary. Between services, there will be an Easter egg hunt at 9:15 a.m. At Rose Park on Dumbarton Street sits the First Baptist Church of Georgetown. Its congregation celebrated 150 years last year. Farther west on the street near Wisconsin Avenue is Dumbarton United Methodist Church, the oldest Methodist church in D.C. Besides its 11 a.m. Sunday service, the church will have an open house on April 26, the same day as the Georgetown House Tour.

For some, Easter isn’t complete without a brunch get-together. D.C. offers a wide choice. For some at the Georgetowner, the list includes – but is an exclusive to – 1789 Restaurant, Billy Martin’ Tavern, Brasserie Beck, Fiola Mare, Teddy & the Bully Bar, Tony & Joe’s Seafood Place and Malmaison. Call right now, if you want to go.

For those staying at home, Dean & Deluca and Whole Foods offer several Easter meals to go. Order online, if you wish.

The day after Easter Sunday, Washington also hosts one of the quintessential Easter events in our country, hosted at the most recognizable house in our country, the White House. The 136th White House Easter Egg Roll will occur Monday, April 21. The event will feature live music, sports courts, storytelling and, most importantly, Easter Egg Rolling on the south lawn of the White House. It is one of the hardest tickets in town to get.

Hosted by the first family, the event’s theme this year “Hop into Healthy, Swing into Shape” reflects first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative, which promotes healthy eating in hopes of solving the epidemic of childhood obesity. As the inspiration for most of the events NBC Washington reported on Monday, April 14, that there will be an “Eggtivity Zone Obstacle Course,” yoga garden, basketball and tennis on the presidential courts and Hop to It! — an instructional dance party. This year’s special guests include Jim Carrey, Ariana Grande, Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri and the Cookie Monster, according to the first lady’s Let’s Move blog. It is a wonderful, all-American way to take part in Easter joy.

FBI Seeks Info on Bank Robber

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is asking for the public’s assistance in finding the man wanted for a series of bank robberies in Washington, D.C., and suburban Maryland. The three incidents occurred on Jan. 29, Jan. 13, and March 28 at the following banks: the Bank of America in Chevy Chase, Md., Capital One Bank on Connecticut Avenue in D.C. and Bank of America in D.C.’s Mt. Pleasant neighborhood.

The FBI’s Wanted Poster announced: “In each of the robberies the subject entered the bank, approached the counter and handed the victim teller a note that demanded money and implied that he had a weapon. After receiving the money, the subject fled the bank on foot.”

In addition to providing information on the location and date of the incidents, a short description of the robber is provided in the FBI’s wanted poster. He is a black male, who is estimated to be between 5’7” and 5’9”, medium build and between 25 to 30 years old.

If you see or hear of any information that can lead to the identification, arrest and conviction of this individual, contact the FBI — which is offering a reward of $5,000.
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Nike Women’s Half Marathon Saturday

April 25, 2014

Back for its second year and including 15,000 participants, the Nike Women’s Half Marathon runs through D.C. Saturday, April 26. Several Metro stations will be opening at 5 a.m. in preparation for the 7 a.m. start time.

In Georgetown, traffic cops are at major intersections for the race and racers – and other weekend events.

In preparation for the race, the Georgetown Nike Store on M street posted the names of runners on a painted banner outside the store. Down the street, the Nike Women’s Half Marathon D.C. Expotique – and rack packet pick-up spot — is open in front of Washington Harbour at 3050 K St., NW, Friday, April 25, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.,?and Saturday, April 26, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

If you want to cheer on runners the most popular places for fans include the Lincoln Memorial, along Independence Avenue, the Jefferson Memorial and Pennsylvania Avenue. Keep in mind that as an out-and-back race the start and the finish line are the same.

Not only has Nike produced the event, but it has also made training easy with apps like Nike+ Running App and the Nike Women’s Marathon Event App. Both apps help runners map their routes, track progress and keep the motivation needed during training. The Nike+ app tracks distance, pace, time and calories burned with GPS, giving audio feedback during your run.
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Who Is Making a Small Fortune Off Medicare?

April 17, 2014

Are doctors making a small fortune off Medicare?

On April 9, the Washington Post reported that, according to new data, Medicare, the government insurance program for elderly people, has paid nearly 4,000 physicians more than $1 million each in 2012.

These findings reveal the possibility of corruption in our government and its programs. “The release of the information gives the public access for the first time to the billing practices of individual doctors nationwide,” reported the Post. The highest billing totals could reflect for some physician’s extreme efficiency or an unusually high number of patients. However, it could also signal fraudulent behavior among doctors, as has been previously found by government inspectors.

The Washington Business Journal reported on April 9 that before the leak of this information, “The American Medical Association and other physician groups had resisted the data release, arguing the information violates doctor privacy and the public may misconstrue details about individual doctors.” The doctors who profited the most were those who specialize in procedures that require costly operations.

“The specialists most common at the top ranks of the Medicare payments were ophthalmologists, oncologists, and pathologists,” according to the Washington Post. Many of these doctors understandably worry this data released to the public could be misleading. For instance, the Post quoted Minh Nguyen, “a hematologist-oncologist at Orange Coast Oncology in Newport Beach, Calif.,” who said, “It looks like I’m getting paid $9 million .?.?. but it’s a pass-through,” he said. “The majority of the billing goes to pay the drug companies.”

It’s Also the Season of Potholes

With the beautiful weather and cherry blossoms in full bloom, it is easy to forget that “Potholepalooza” season is here.

For those unfamiliar, “Potholepalooza” is a month of the year, when the District Department of Transportation is totally dedicated to reporting and restoring potholes. While this is helpful and beneficial as it makes the road much more vehicle-friendly, it also infamously creates traffic jams and delays.

Due to the weather conditions, the start of “Potholepalooza, “which in past years begins at the end of March, was announced April 9. “The unusually cold winter coupled with the snow and temperature fluctuations have all taken a toll on our roads,” said Mayor Vincent Gray in a press release.

It has already been a very productive year for DDOT. The department has patched more than 9,000 potholes this winter alone — with crews patching up more than twice as many potholes this January and February as they did last year. DDOT has decided to step up its game in other ways as well. For instance, it added more patching crews and increased the goal for fixing potholes from 72 hours to 48 hours.

During “Potholepalooza,” Washingtonians are encouraged to report potholes to get in touch with the city through a number of avenues. For instance, one could call 311, tweet @DDOTDC, or email

For more information, such as a map of the potholes that are closed, open, and pending is found on this website: [](

Police: Missing Relisha Rudd Feared Dead

April 11, 2014

Now in its second week, the case of missing eight-year-old girl Relisha Rudd is proving more perplexing, as more details surface. She was last seen on March 1, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

During a March 27 press conference near Kenilworth Park, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said, “We cannot ignore the possibility that he may have killed her.” Lanier was referring to janitor Kahlil Malik Tatum, who worked at the shelter, where Rudd and her mother lived.

Last week, D.C. Police issued a regional alert for Rudd, believed by police to be with Tatum. Later that day, police issued an alert about the missing 1976 GMC white truck, which they had been looking for in search of Rudd in Hyattsville, Md.

Relisha Rudd’s mother – Shamika Young — currently resides at a homeless shelter at the former D.C. General Hospital. A month ago, police reported, Young had allowed her daughter to be cared for by Tatum.

In its eighth day, the search has revealed interesting information about Rudd’s difficult past, making the case more convoluted. Records at the Daniel A. Payne Elementary School show Rudd has missed up to 30 days of school before going missing. Despite these attention-grabbing records, the city agency didn’t take action before Rudd had gone missing. School officials said they were confused about her absences from the excuses given by her relatives, who said Relisha was safely in the care of “Dr. Tatum.” Echoing this reassurance, Relisha’s mother Shamika Young, said Relisha was in a “safe place.”

The Washington Post reported that leading up to Rudd going missing there have been many miscalculations made by the city and institutions, such as the school and the shelter. For instance, city records reveal instances of physical abuse, lack of food, and unsanitary living conditions were present in the home of Relisha and her siblings. The D.C. Child and Family Service Agency has been involved with the family for years, however records do not show children being removed from various residences.

Another miscalculation was made on the part of the shelter, which failed to notice or report Tatum’s fireable offenses, such as offering gifts to children and spending time alone with Relisha. Both of these actions violate several shelter rules. “This is an unusual case,” said D.C. Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Beatriz Otero, according to the Washington Post. “The parent didn’t file the missing child report. There were various workers within DHS and the school system that became concerned. It was their call that alerted us.”

Look for updates on this article as more information about the investigation is disclosed.
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