The Color of Autism Foundation

November 6, 2012

April is National Autism Awareness Month, a chance to celebrate these afflicted but remarkable members of our community and better educate the public on the nature of autism. And The Color of Autism Foundation, an organization devoted to raising awareness about African Americans living with autism, will mark the occasion on April 2, kicking off fundraising events and donation drives.

Autism, or autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of neurological and developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communicational and behavioral challenges among those who have it. A surprising statistic by the Center for Disease Control even points out that about one in 88 children are living with it in America today. The disease is most prevalent among among African American and Hispanic males, who have a rate of one in 54.

Founded in 2009, The Color of Autism, a nonprofit organization, works to educate and assist African American families with Autistic children, who are frequently confronted with late diagnoses or misdiagnoses due to insufficient health care plans. The foundation’s goal is to help families identify the warning signs of autism early on, explains founder Camille Proctor. “We can start to overturn these disparities by helping African Americans with autism reach their full potential and empowering families with information on autism that they can use to advocate services for their child.”

“We are committed to raising public awareness about ASD,” she continues, “empowering families and lessening their isolation. We are dedicated to ensuring that all people with autism receive appropriate and effective services to maximize their growth potential.”

The foundation is currently working on a documentary film, offering a new perspective on the Autism epidemic. “Screaming in Silence: Autism” is a documentary about the affects of Autism on African American families, which has a resonating impact on the school systems, health and human services, judicial system, medical, mental health, therapeutic industry and caregivers in African American communities.

This film follows the daily lives of several families across the United States who have children, both young and old, who suffer from autism. What the film hopes to make clear is, though autistic individuals are as unique and land full of life as anyone, their caregivers and loved ones share one ubiquitous goal: to fight to ensure their children have the best quality of life.

For more information on how to take action or donate to this organization during the month of April, please contact or visit Click here to see trailer for “Screaming in Silence: Autism.”

Newport, Rhode Island: A Fresh Sense of History

The city is known on the whole as a New England summer resort. It integrates the most desirable qualities of any leisure travel destination, with enough options and activities to accommodate any budget. While only a half-day’s drive or aerial puddle jump away from the Washington area, Newport, Rhode Island has a spirit all its own. Founded in 1638, it is enveloped in a rich and much-beloved history—and as our Georgetown House Tour approaches, it might be worth noting that Newport also has one of the highest concentrations of colonial homes in the nation. Further similar to Georgetown, Newport is very much a contemporary urban haven, proud of its history but residing in the cultural here-and-now.

Not too crowded, not too hot, and as friendly as a summer evening is long, Newport, Rhode Island is just the ticket for a Washingtonian weekend getaway or an enriching weeklong stay. On top of the usual, year-round attractions the city has to offer, there is an array of summer events and activities on the horizon, far enough away to plan ahead but close enough to start getting excited.

Newport Mainstays

Sailing and Boating

There are myriad choices when it comes to enjoying the famed waters off Newport. From canoes and kayak rentals, to charters, excursions, harbor tours, and even sailing school for the adventurous at heart, you can enjoy the rippling tide of Narragansett Bay in nearly any capacity.

Kayaking and canoeing offers visitors the opportunity to pursue the waters, coastlines and hidden waterways of Newport intimately and at their own pace. Explore the islands and wildlife of Bluebell Cove, watch ospreys dive for fish along the Westport River, take in the waterfront homes of historic Bristol, or see the yachts of Newport Harbor.

If you want to rent a boat or charter, the horizons open even further. Dozens of destinations are easy cruises in the Bay’s protected waters—only a couple of gallons of fuel if you’re motoring, and gentle breezes if you’re hoisting the main and fore. Want to be where all the urban action is? Stay in Newport Harbor. Itching for a day of fun boutiques? Sail west over to Wickford Village. Need some peace and quiet? Drop anchor for a day or two off Jamestown. Want to visit the America’s Cup Hall of Fame? Tie a bowline to the docks in Bristol Harbor.

International Tennis Hall of Fame

If you revere the racket, this is the place for you. The Tennis Hall of Fame, at the Newport Casino, was founded in 1954 by tennis innovator James Van Alen (among other major contributions to the game, Alen invented the standard tiebreaker system used in regulation tennis matches today). It was host the first U.S. National Championships in 1881. In 1997, the complex and museum were restored to their original splendor with the completion of a five-year, $7.5 million renovation and endowment project.

The Museum’s galleries chronicle the rich history of tennis through interactive exhibits and videos, as well as showcasing popular memorabilia from historic champions and the superstars of today. Dramatically set in the original clubrooms of the Casino, the style, class and good nature of this gentleman’s sport comes vibrantly to life at the museum.

Rosecliff Mansion: the “Great Gatsby” House

There are endless mansion and historic home tours to take on in your visit to Newport. A standout among them, however, is Rosecliff Mansion. Commissioned by Nevada silver heiress Theresa Fair Oelrichs in 1899, architect Stanford White modeled Rosecliff after the Grand Trianon, the garden retreat at Versailles. After the house was completed in 1902, at a reported cost of $2.5 million, Mrs. Oelrichs hosted extravagant parties in its grand and cavernous hall, including a fairy tale dinner and a party featuring famed magician Harry Houdini.

Rosecliff is now preserved through the generosity of its last private owners, who gave the house, its furnishings, and an endowment in 1971 to the Preservation Society of Newport County, who maintains many of the areas tour-friendly historic mansion properties. The house has something of a Hollywood resume, having played the lavish home to Robert Redford’s Jay Gatsby in the 1974 film, as well as “True Lies,” Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad” and most recently “27 Dresses” starring Katherine Heigl.

The mansion is also a host to the annual Newport Mansions Food & Wine Festival, where guests can eat and drink like true 1920s flappers. For more information on that, keep reading!

Upcoming Festivals and Events

The Great Chowder Cook-Off
June 2

On Saturday, June 2, 2012, the Great Chowder Cook-Off kicks off summer in New England. Be a part of the original, largest, and longest running chowder championship in America, and try a wide spread from national to regional competitors. Festival-goers will taste-test a myriad of traditional and exotic chowders from kitchens across the country, then vote for the best in three categories: clam, seafood and creative. For more information visit

Newport Antiques Show
July 27 – 29

Celebrating its sixth year, the Newport Antiques Show has become a seminal event for antique lovers across the country. Over forty of the industry’s finest dealers will showcase the best antiques the world has to offer to over 2,500 visitors at the Stephen P. Cabot and Archer Harman Ice Center at St. George’s School in Middletown. The show’s 2012 Loan Exhibit will highlight fine and decorative arts from the New Bedford Whaling Museum. The exhibit will include New Bedford art such as scrimshaw and Pairpoint Glass along with work from artists such as William Bradford. For more information visit

Newport Jazz Festival
Aug. 3 – 5

Founded in 1954, the Newport Jazz Festival was the first annual jazz festival in America. It has been host to numerous legendary performances and historic moments since its inception, including performances by Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane Miles Davis, and a career-reviving performance by Duke Ellington in 1958. Referred to as the grandfather of all jazz festivals, the event draws thousands of people from all over the world. Highlight performances this year include Bill Frisell playing the John Lennon songbook, vocalist Diane Reeves, and legendary drummer Jack DeJohnette’s 70th birthday performance. For more information visit

Newport International Boat Show
Sept. 13 – 16

The 42nd Annual Newport International Boat Show will feature new sailboats and powerboats, and thousands of products and services from exhibitors worldwide, showcasing the latest innovations and trends in seafaring technology. Boating has never been more exciting; whether it’s an evening harbor cruise, a fun-filled day of fishing or an extended cruise on a yacht with all the luxuries you can imagine. Come discover the many new products, programs and opportunities on the oceanic horizon. For more information visit

Newport Mansions Food & Wine Festival
Sept. 21 – 23

This festival, devoted to the joys of gastronomy, has quickly become one of the most anticipated food and wine events in the country. Rosecliff mansion and Marble House will host more than 100 of the world’s finest vintners and more than two dozen of New England’s finest restaurants and caterers for a three-day epicurean adventure. This year, world-renowned French chef Jacques Pépin, along with his daughter, Claudine—who has partnered with him on three of his James Beard Award-winning public television programs—will host a cooking demonstration and book signing. Form more information visit

2012 Summer Camp Guide

As the season changes into beautiful spring, it’s time to start thinking about where you want to send your kids when school closes for the summer and you still have long days at the office ahead of you. The Washington area offers a wide selection of camps that can give your child a memorable summer adventure. Whether they’re into sports, camping, music, technology, art or academic learning, there are options to suit almost any interest. Camps are filling up quickly, so make sure to check out what Washington has to offer before your kid’s dream camp is full!

TIC Summer Camp 571-765-0329
Where: Georgetown Day School, 4200 Davenport Street, Washington, D.C. 20016
When: June 18- August 10
How much: $820 per two-week session, $50 off for each session after the first one.
TIC is a technology/sports day camp for kids between 7 and 16 years old, celebrating 30 years in 2012. It has a 4:1 learning ratio, where kids learn through fun techonology and athletic activities. Technology activities include programming, digital art, animation, film making and web design. Sports activities include basketball, gymnastics, street hockey, dance and capture the flag. ”TIC is unique because we offer the perfect body/mind balance. The most popular activity at TIC is programming, kids as young as 7 and as old as 16 create video games based on their favorite things,” says Executive Director, Emily Riedel. Program runs from 8.30 a.m – 3 p.m., extended day is offered until 6 p.m.

Beauvoir Summer Camps 202-537-6485
Where: The campus at the Washington National Cathedral, 3500 Woodley Road NW, Washinton, D.C. 20016
When: June 18- August 3
How much: $250-$425 per week
Beauvoir offers a range of different programs for children, 3 to 11, and a Counselor in Training program for tweens and teens between 12 and 16 years old. The programs are also offered as a combination of academic learning and general fun and adventurous summer camp experiences, such as art, swimming, cooking, science and outdoor activities. ”The component that both parents and children seem to be most excited about is the swimming. We have our own pool on the premises, and all the camps except the primarily academic ones offer swimming with instructors. We also offer swimming lessons before and after the camps, for children to become more safe in the pool,” says Camp Director, Hugh Squire. Beauvoir camp days usually run from 8.30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Before and after camp care is also offered, from 7.30-8.30 a.m. and 3-6 p.m.

Georgetown University Summer Camps at Yates Field House
Where: The Yates Field House, Kehoe Field, and McCarthy Pool, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. 20057
When: June 25 and consist of 6 separate one-week sessions.
How much: $380 per week, $280 per week for current Yates Field House members.
The Day Camp is a day-long activity camp for kids aged 6 to 10 years old. Days usually run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. After care is offered until 4:30 p.m. Activities include indoor and outdoor team-based games, creative projects, swimming, bingo and talent shows.

Audubon Naturalist Societey’s Summer Nature Camps 301-652-9188 x15 (Karen Vernon)
Where: Woodend Sanctuary in Chevy Chase, and Lathrop E. Smith Center in Rockville.
When: June 18- August 17.
How much: From $128-$710 per week.
Audubon Naturalist Society Summer Camps offer both day and overnight camps with outdoor fun and discovery for kids and teenagers from 4 to 17 years old. Activities include games, hikes, songs, great camping traditions and environmental education in a natural setting. Camp days usually start at 8:45 a.m. and end 3 or 4 p.m. The camp also offers aftercare, from 4 to 6 p.m.

Corcoran Gallery of Art’s Camp Creativity (202) 639-1770
Where: Corcoran Gallery locations in Georgetown, Downtown and near Capitol Hill.
When: June 18- August 1
How much: $170-$590 per week (morning, afternoon or full day sessions)
Corcoran Gallery of Art offers different art summer camps for kids aged 5 to 16. The schedule for each camp group is age-appropriate and activities include sculpture making, painting, ceramics, jewelry making, photography, cartooning and so much more.

Other camps worth checking out:
Levine School of Music’s Summer Camps,
School of Rock Summer Camps,
Georgetown University Summer Programs,
Visitation Preparatory School’s Sports Summer Camps,
Camp Rim Rock,
Camp Arena Stage,
Georgetown Day School’s Summer Camps,

Amazing Getaways: Bali, Barcelona & Belize


It’s an experience like no other. Exclusive, and luxurious, Viceroy Bali is a unique resort poised on a ridge overlooking the verdant Valley of the Kings in central Bali. Located seven minutes from central Ubud, this tropical paradise feels like another world, with 25 Bali-styled luxury pool villas and other amenities, including a complete gymnasium and wellness-centered spa, award winning restaurant, peerless service, and stunning surroundings. It’s the perfect place for the discerning traveler to relax and renew in tranquility, for celebrants to gather for a wedding or reunion, or for executives to retreat to plan for the future.

Every aspect of the Viceroy Bali experience is infused with the unique and exotic. First there are the accommodations. Surrounded by the sights and sounds of the flora and fauna of Bali, each has its own open-air living area, complete with private pool, gorgeous decorating, and amenities galore. There are even two villas that can be connected to form one large one. Included in the resort’s rates are the á la carte breakfast, Wireless Internet connection, daily restocking of the mini bar with free non-alcoholic drinks, complimentary Illy coffee for the espresso machine, 24-hour room service, evening turn down service, and all the other luxurious touches one would expect at an exceptional destination resort.

The amenities are very special as well. For those guests who choose to venture forth from their private tropical paradises, relaxing under the thatched roof of Viceroy Bar and dining at award-winning CasCades Restaurant are unforgettable experiences. The views of the Petanu River Gorge and the serenity of the reflection ponds are spectacular, matched in their excellence only by the restaurant’s delightful Asian-influenced French cuisine, superior wine offerings, and attentive service. Such decadence may be offset, should a guest so choose, by a visit to the air-conditioned gymnasium. Private yoga and Balinese dance classes are offered too, and the infinity-edge pool is well sized for serious swimmers, while the romantic balé overlooking it provides a resting place for the less ambitious. Lembah Spa combines western and Balinese techniques to provide wellness treatments in a tranquil setting that reflects the spa’s therapeutic focus. Many a guest has been known never to leave the grounds of Viceroy Bali, but the dedicated Guest Service Manager stands ready to assist those who wish an adventure small or large. Indeed, he will design the ideal itinerary to suit the inclinations of groups large or small; honeymooners or families; groups of friends or business associates. Guests appreciate the guidance, with so many magical forays on offer, from a trip to quirky and artistic Ubud on the free shuttle for some shopping or museum-going, to a bicycle ride through the rice paddies to one of the many nearby temples. Birders, cyclists, golfers, culture-lovers, botanists, and armchair anthropologists will all find something to love with Viceroy Bali as their base camp, and executives will appreciate the resort’s helicopter pad and its air conditioned, fully equipped conference room.



Like a woman of timeless beauty, Barcelona’s Hotel España is many things at once, chic yet historic, stylish but quirky, private yet accessible, sophisticated while still fun and exclusive yet offering great value. A full-service, superior four-star hotel situated in the heart of Barcelona’s historic district, Hotel España offers something for everyone, from lovers to families to executives. With 82 rooms, an award-winning chef, luxurious accommodations, a fascinating architectural heritage, and welcoming management and staff, this elegant urban retreat charms all who visit.

Featuring the latest in technology, including soundproofing, the guestrooms are luxurious, comfortable and stylish. Fifty standard rooms have views of the city or a landscaped courtyard and feature a free mini-bar. The 28 deluxe rooms are comfortable and filled with light. The three executive rooms are located on the top floor and feature a private terrace overlooking the Ciutat Vella. The suite is yet larger, with a large living area and a spacious bathroom with a rain-effect and chromatherapy shower cubicle and a hydro massage bath. This hotel is complete with three dining venues. Fonda España, supervised by award-winning chef Martín Berasategui, serves simple, balanced and mouth-watering updated traditional cuisine in a Modernist dining room, originally designed and decorated by Domènech i Montaner. Bar Arnau, named after the celebrated sculptor Eusebi Arnau whose splendid alabaster fireplace is the centerpiece of the modernist-contemporary bar, serves aperitifs, cocktails, sandwiches and tapas in a relaxed setting. Alaire Ramblas Terrace-Bar, a chic, romantic destination located on the top floor of the hotel, serves cocktails and barbecue against the backdrop of city lights and great music.

Function and banqueting options abound, and there is a rooftop swimming pool, sunning terrace and business corner. For those who seek to explore or revisit their favorite Barcelona spots, the old city awaits, just beyond the threshold: the Gran Teatro del Liceo, the Gothic Quarter, and las Ramblas and el Paseo de Gracia, two of the city’s main thoroughfares. Hotel España is a delightful base camp from which to explore the “City of Counts.” Natural wonders abound as well, from the 68 municipal parks to the seven beaches. Barcelona Beach was named best urban beach in the world by National Geographic, and Discovery Channel listed it as the third best beach in the world.



Just imagine it. Warm azure waters stretching as far as the eye can see, palm fronds rustling in a gentle Caribbean breeze, meals prepared by a personal chef, the gentle glow of the sun rising over the reef, warm but discreet personal attention from staff overseen by a personal concierge and not another soul in sight, because this island is dedicated to one guest party at a time. Impossible, you say? Not anymore. Travelers can find it all at Royal Belize, a personal vacation hideaway. Royal Belize opened in spring 2010 and occupies an entire islet located nine miles off the coast of Belize. It is a completely private tropical island with luxurious lodgings, excellent service, great food and entertaining activities.

The pampering starts before guests even arrive, when the concierge makes arrangements for a personal chef and activities, both on and off the island, in advance. There’s the helicopter flight and the welcome cocktail. Royal Belize offers three luxurious and comfortable villa residences with spectacular views and all the extras one could desire: a number of lounging and dining areas such as the Big Palapa; custom-prepared meals and complimentary beverages; lots on on-island activities like swimming, riding the WaveRunner, and paddling a kayak; and a wide range of off-site activities which can be accessed by either boat or helicopter. Examples: a hop to the Mayan ruins at Xunantunich, a visit to Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary & Jaguar Preserve, and a cruise down nearby Sittee River past low-hanging coconuts on the way to Butterflies Spa on the beach. And the diving is to die for.

Royal Belize: a unique and unforgettable private vacation experience.


Murphy?s Love: Advice on Intimacy and RelationshipsNovember 1, 2012

November 1, 2012


I am a fit, healthy, 29-year-old woman and I hate dating in DC. It seems like in any other city, I would be considered desirable, but here I?m completely ignored. Guys my own age are only interested in one-night stands. Older men are only interested in women who are younger than I am. The bar scene is the worst, and the judgments are so fast and based on nothing realistic (I actually have seen women padding their bras in the bathrooms ? are we in 8th grade?). The few real dates I?ve been on since the spring (when I ended a long-term relation- ship) have been less about the guy getting to know me, and more about him getting to know whether I would go home with him later that night (answer: no). I have heard that there are real men who like real women in the Midwest. I cannot believe I?m actually thinking about moving for the possibility that I will find love.

?About Done with D.C.


You?re right, DC is a tough dating market. Men and women alike have made similar com- plaints in my office, each with their own inter- pretations: men aren?t interested in real women, women in DC won?t date men who aren?t rich, men are superficial and sex-driven, women are
superficial and change the rules too much, and on and on. While I can?t advise you against finding a good Midwestern boy (I?d be a hypo- crite if I said that), I will say that you may not have to pack up your things and head to Indiana just yet.

The bar scene can be a tough place to meet that special someone. First, we need to do a thorough inventory of your approach and, ahem, require that you stay out of the bars if you truly are looking for love (Looking for a fun girls night? Bars are ok). Regard dating as you might consider a job search in a tough economy. and the Sunday employment section can only get you so far. Network with your girlfriends, coworkers, volunteer mates (you should be volunteering, btw). Let everyone know you are open to meet- ing a Good Guy, but don?t make that your entire pitch. You want to meet a Good Guy who will {fill in with some specific, fun activity} with you. In other words, you want to create a picture of the life you want, and make sure that those around you have that image as well. That way, when they come across someone who might fit into that scenario, they already have the idea that you could be the right match. ?

*Stacy Notaras Murphy is a licensed professional counselor and certified Imago Relationship therapist practicing in Georgetown. Her website is www.stacy- This column is meant for entertain- ment only and should not be considered a substitute for professional counseling. Send your confidential question to*

Murphy?s Love: Advice on Intimacy and RelationshipsOctober 17, 2012

October 17, 2012

My husband promised to get a vasectomy once we were done having children. Baby no. 3 just turned 2, and still, nothing has happened. We do not want a fourth. He has all the excuses in the book ? no time to schedule an appointment, changed jobs so health insurance changed, forgot to follow up with a referral. I?m sure that on some level he?s afraid of the procedure, even though he hasn?t said that. But I?ve had three C-sections, so I have a hard time not seeing him as a very lazy, selfish person. We have a great marriage otherwise, but this unspoken thing between us is taking a toll on me.


Try to be supportive and understanding if a partner is nervous about going under the knife.
I am sorry you are feeling this way and appreciate your situation. Your frustration is completely valid. You thought you had an agree- ment and Husband has been using passive meth- ods to avoid following through. At the same time, I think there is more you could be doing ? particularly in terms of finding out more about his concerns. Sure, he could be afraid of the surgery, but we are just speculating until we get some real data.

You describe this situation as an ?unspoken thing? between you two ? let?s push in on that
key phrase. To get what you want, you are going to have to speak about it, again. But this time I am going to encourage you to be calm (breathe), gentle (use a soft voice), and curious (pause and be intrigued by what he says). Use the therapist?s trick of mirroring what he says, asking him to tell you more about how he feels. Do not inter- rupt and say something angry or judgmental. Ignore the urge to pepper the conversation with ?you should? and ?you promised? ? that route will lead to an argument or, worse, another delay tactic on his part. You need to know the real story behind his behavior, and he?s not going to feel safe telling you unless you make it safe for him to be honest. ?
Stacy Notaras Murphy is a licensed profession- al counselor and certified Imago Relationship therapist practicing in Georgetown. Her website is This column is meant for entertainment only and should not be considered a substitute for professional counsel- ing. Send your confidential question to stacy@

Polo Benefit Promises ‘Sporting’ Good Time

September 21, 2012

The National Sporting Library’s annual Polo Weekend will be held on Sept. 22 and 23. Following Saturday’s Symposium, the Benefit Polo Match and Luncheon will be held at the Virginia International Polo Club in Upperville, Va.

Sunday’s event will begin with the gates opening at 12:30 p.m., followed by lunch at 1 p.m.; the polo match will commence at 2:30 p.m. Other entertainment will include a performance by the Washington Scottish Pipes Band and a presentation of the Piedmont Foxhounds.

For ticket and sponsorship inquiries, contact Holly Johnson at or 202-741-1294.

Founded in 1954, the NSL’s mission is to preserve, share and promote the literature, art and culture of horse and field sports. It does this through programs offered to the public that include exhibits, lectures and special events, most of which are free.

If you cannot attend the weekend, the Sporting Library will be hosting other upcoming events, such as the “Evening at the NSLM,” an open house on Oct. 18, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. For a complete list of all events and more information, visit
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Murphy?s Love: Advice on Intimacy and RelationshipsSeptember 6, 2012

September 6, 2012

*Dear Stacy,
Well, here we are again ? another unceremonious breakup. This time I really thought things were going well, and even that I had overlooked quite a few issues (like his overbearing mother, his reluctance to actually plan a date) so as to make our relationship work for the last six months. But no, he now says he?s taken stock and realized that I?m just not ?the one.? I have lots of friends to take me out and listen to me complain about his insensitivity. They remind me what a great girlfriend I am, and tell me there are other fish in the sea. What I want from you is a clich?-free explanation for why this failed again, even as I tried my hardest to withhold my criticism and just make it work. What is going on with me that after 22 years of dating (I?m 37), I?m still getting dumped.
?Not the One*

Dear Not the One,
I?m so sorry you are struggling with this, but I do know one thing about your question: You aren?t the one, and neither is he. Hear me on this one, he is not ?the one? for you. Take heart in that. He wasn?t your match, and here?s why: When we meet our match, we don?t ?overlook issues,? we have the security and patience to work them through.

It is unfortunate that he realized you weren?t the Tami for his Eric Taylor before you did. But it sounds to me like you actually knew something wasn?t right, but you had already been convinced that your own judgment was not to be trusted. Perhaps you have bought into the suggestions of well-meaning friends or relatives who, when faced with the end of one of your relationships, asked whether you were being too critical about this or that. Over time ? and through 22 years of dating ? a message is sent that ?I must be doing something wrong here. So I will stop doing anything, and see what happens.?

But what happens when we don?t do anything (when try our hardest to ?withhold criticism and just make it work?), is that we aren?t being real in the relationship. This results in a pervasive fakeness, built on false expectations and interactions. Usually, the other party realizes he?s dating an automaton, and exits with one excuse or another.

So here?s my clich?-free advice: take solace in your girlfriends? positive cheerleading, and then stop taking anyone else?s advice. Set aside some time to think about who you are in a relationship ? maybe you don?t know? That?s a great jumping off point with a therapist or relationship coach. When you get clear about your needs and wants, realizing they are valid needs and wants, you will be in a better position to find a partner capable of meeting those needs and wants.

*Stacy Notaras Murphy is a licensed professional counselor and certified Imago Relationship therapist practicing in Georgetown. Her website is [](, and you can follow her on twitter @StacyMurphyLPC. This column is meant for entertainment only and should not be considered a substitute for professional counseling. Send your confidential question to [](*

Murphy?s Love: Advice on Intimacy and RelationshipsAugust 22, 2012

August 22, 2012

**Dear Stacy: **
*My boyfriend and I have been together 4 years. We have had some major downs where his drinking is concerned. I love this man with my whole heart and can see all the good in the world in him, but the fact is that he has an addiction to pain killers and booze. Though he isn?t drinking everyday, when he binges, it?s bad. Recently, he passed out at a bar and did not come home. Another time, he spent the whole night out partying with a friend. At that point, I had had it, and I packed his things. It was over. But now, I miss him so much it is making me crazy. I do love him, and I know he loves me. But is it worth it to try counseling? Or do I cut my losses and keep it moving without him? I truly have no idea how to deal with an addict. Everyone else has given up on him, and in a sense, I guess I did too by sending him away. But he is a good person, a good father to my kids when he is sober, and a good mate when he gets out of his own way.*
*?On My Own Again*

**Dear On My Own,**
Thank you for sending this and giving me the chance to use this space to walk you through this very common situation.

It is my opinion that a person can be an active, non-sober, addict and still be a good person. It is also my opinion that a person cannot be an active addict and still be a good partner/father/friend.
That distinction is really tough, because we can see the good and the potential in Boyfriend, but we cannot trust him with anything of value. I always think counseling is useful, and a session or two with him and an objective third party might help him see some of the impact of his behavior. But that?s not going to be an effective, long-term option while he?s an active addict. Whenever I work with a couple with an active addiction in the process, I require that the addict be in a 12-step program and have his/her own counselor on the side. It won?t work without such rules.

The hard part about addiction is that you cannot make him change. All the conversation and love and begging in the world will not make it stick. Boyfriend has to want to do it himself, and typically that does not happen until, as you note, everyone has given up on a person. ?Rock bottom? is defined differently for every person. For some, that only happens when the one person they love the most ? ?the one who never will give up? on them ? finally says, ?I can?t take it anymore.? Having him move out could be part of what gets him moving toward actual recovery. I know it?s an unbelievably difficult choice to make.

So if I?m giving advice, I?d say that you should pat yourself on your back for reaching the end of your own rope and making a decision based on the health and welfare of your heart and your kids. We can only control our own actions, so I?d say focus your energy on staying healthy, modeling good boundaries for those kids (who right at this moment are watching every move you make, and building their own foundations for what they will and will not accept in relationships for the rest of their lives).

Meanwhile, also please be gentle with yourself when it gets hard. When you miss him. When you are nostalgic. We all want to be in connection with another person ? that?s what we?re on earth to do. So please do not beat yourself up for grieving the loss of that in this person right now. That is what this is: grief. There are steps, there are stages, but at the core, the most effective healer is time and distance. Stop telling yourself this is something/someone to get over. This is more about just getting through.

We have no idea if Boyfriend will figure out his own side of this and develop into someone capable of being all you know he can be for you and your family. All we know is that you have reached a limit and that?s sacred. You have to trust that instinct and find support where you can.Take advantage of that extended family. Alanon is also a great community to help loved ones get free peer support around this exact situation. Let me know if I can help you find a chapter. Use those resources and it will get easier.

**Dear Stacy:**
*I want to get engaged to my girlfriend of three years, but I just don?t have enough money to pay for a good enough engagement ring. I know she wants something spectacular. Right now I can only afford something small. I will be so embarrassed if she doesn?t like the ring, and I know that will start us out on the wrong foot for our marriage. I want us to have a good marriage and I think that a good ring will help start us out right. I?ve looked at fake diamonds ? some of them actually look pretty good, I don?t think she would really know the difference. What do you think I should do? BTW, we are both 23 years old.*
*? Blingfree in D.C.*

**Dear Blingfree,**
Deep breath (for me). So many things are going on here that give me pause, I need bullet points:

? Ring size has nothing to do with the quality of someone?s marriage. If you believe it does, you are not ready to get engaged.

? Have you talked to Girlfriend about getting engaged? The days of shocking a girl with a ring in her champagne glass are over ? no one should be totally caught off guard when they are asked to make such a monumental decision. Therefore, no one should be afraid to talk about a ring budget before making a purchase. If you are afraid of this conversation, you are not ready to get engaged.

? Are you asking me if you should give Girlfriend a fake diamond and not tell her it?s a fake diamond? Are you also seeking advice about not starting the marriage out on the wrong foot? Can you see the dilemma here? If not, you are not ready to get engaged.

? Again for good measure: ring size has nothing to do with the quality of someone?s marriage. If you still think so, you are not ready to get engaged.

*Stacy Notaras Murphy is a licensed professional counselor and certified Imago Relationship therapist practicing in Georgetown. Her website is, and you can follow her on twitter @StacyMurphyLPC. This column is meant for entertainment only and should not be considered a substitute for professional counseling. Send your confidential question to [](*

Taste, Tour and Explore the Eastern Shore

August 10, 2012

With summer upon us, many District dwellers will participate in their annual early summer excursions. On long weekends—such as our gone-too-soon Memorial Day—Washington area residents retreat to their preferred fair-weather getaways. Resorts and B&Bs throughout Maryland and Virginia play host to those reveling in the year’s most vibrant and blooming weather.

When making plans, finding less conventional avenues and avoiding throngs of tourists is a recurring trend. The Eastern Shore is less than a two-hour drive from DC and promises some of the season’s best activities. Spending the weekend on the Eastern Shore is an unconventional yet unparalleled experience, one sure to enliven your season.

Talbot County, Maryland is a great escape—a world apart on less than one gas tank’s distance. The setting is rich with history and offers some of the best cuisine, family activities and outdoor activities to be found. What’s more, Talbot County presents visitors with several distinctive towns to choose from, each with a personality all its own. Guests to the area may choose to intimately explore one or town-hop for a taste of the entire area.

Founded in 1683, Oxford is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Few towns have endured the marked phases of change that Oxford has. The landscape, once dominated by tobacco plantations and home to famous figures of the Revolution, later gave rise to oyster harvesting and packing industries. Despite the increase in tourism to the area, Oxford retains its small-town feel. It is a town that lets you feel at home almost as soon as you arrive.

Perhaps the biggest draw to Oxford is the world-class cuisine. Those looking to dine in town would do right to give Pope’s Tavern, or else the Robert Morris Inn, a try. Both restaurants provide impeccable service and dining ambiance while affording incredible views of the water.

At the Robert Morris Inn, Chef Proprietor and British Master Chef Mark Salter, brings a modern British sensibility to the kitchen combined with classical feeling. A Bay resident since 1993, Salter has immersed himself in the region’s cooking and seafood bounty. A friend to local farmers, artisan producers and the seasons, Salter turns to sustainability and the richness of Maryland’s local bounty of herbs, fruit and vegetables at every opportunity. His signature dishes go well with the wide array of vintages the inn has stocked. Dine in Salter’s Tap Room & Tavern or one of two 1710 dining rooms, a few feet from Oxford’s ferry dock.

As an after dinner treat, The Scottish Highland Creamery is a choice find, offering premium handmade icecreams—some of the best and freshest you’ll ever taste. The creamery sources local ingredients, fresh milk, cream and flavorings imported from Italy. And with over 600 flavors to choose from, there’s sure to be one that suits everyone’s fancy. The Mexican vanilla, double Belgian chocolate, fresh crushed strawberry and pumpkin pie are all must-haves.

Perhaps no other event captures the spirit of Oxford like the annual Cardboard Boat Races staged each June since 1988. Launched from the shore of the Tred Avon River, the festive and colorful event begins at 11 a.m. and continues until all five races are complete. Boats are intended to be inexpensive and biodegradable, and contestants are strongly encouraged to be creative in their designs.

The Oxford Picket Fence Project is another annual treat. Begun in 2009, the process begins with 18 unpainted red cedar wood picket fence segments. Local artists decorate the posts, reconfiguring and reinventing the fence in the process. Completed fences are then placed on display from Memorial Day to mid-September., scattered throughout town in fun and surprising locations, the locations designed around a town-wide treasure hunt. This is a unique event that showcases local artists, town history, charm and beauty.

St. Michael’s
St. Michaels rests along the “Bay Hundred” stretch that runs to Tilghman Island. In its heyday, St. Michaels was a major shipbuilding center that produced such models as the Baltimore Clipper, which served as privateers during the Revolutionary War and War of 1812. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is one of its premier attractions.

Founded in 1965, the Maritime Museum occupies 35 buildings across 18 waterfront acres and features 10 exhibits that explore the geological, social, and economic history of the Chesapeake Bay. The museum also houses the largest collection of indigenous Chesapeake Bay watercrafts in existence.
Ava’s Pizzeria & Wine Bar and The Crab Claw Restaurant are two popular local eateries. Ava’s is complemented by its diverse selection of beer and wine. The Crab Claw has served steamed Maryland blue crabs since 1965. Also worth a look is Bistro St. Michael’s, which rounds out the town’s wide range of restaurants.

Not far off is the Inn at Perry Cabin. An elite escape, the Inn’s waterfront property offers a gorgeous panorama of the Shore at its finest. Though the inn has lost some of its exclusivity with an expansion to 78 rooms, the lavish accommodations and amenities make this less noticeable. In addition, the inn’s convenient location makes it the perfect place to stay if you plan on seeing the sights around “The Town that Fooled the British.”

The most urban of Eastern Shore towns, Easton just celebrated its 300-year anniversary, adding historic flavor to the vibrant atmosphere. But nestled just outside the town are family-owned farms, such as Chapel’s Country Creamery. Dairy cows graze its sprawling fields, attesting to Easton’s pastoral grandeur. The farm itself sells its all-natural produce on site. Additionally, many of the Shore’s best chefs use local creamers and farmers as their purveyors, strengthening Easton’s communal bonds.

One such chef is Jordan Lloyd, whose Bartlett Pear Inn recently received the second highest Zagat rating in all categories for the East Coast. Lloyd owns the inn with his wife Alice, his fourth grade sweetheart reunited by fate 10 years later. The two embarked on a journey that led from Mason’s, another local favorite, to Michel Richard’s Citronelle here in DC, New York, Atlanta, Miami, and back again. Along the way, Lloyd apprenticed with four-star chefs at five-diamond and five-star enterprises, including DC’s Four Seasons Hotel. The end result is his upscale American bistro, where classic French techniques meet contemporary plate design, in an impressive 220-year-old establishment. You can easily spend a long weekend in the warm embrace of the Bartlett Pear Inn.

Poplar Island
Known as “the island that almost vanished,” Poplar Island amounted to around 1,000 acres in the 1800s. By 1990, erosion had cut the island into three separate chunks of land and squeezed it to less than 10 acres. Today, thanks to a successful restoration effort led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, it has returned to 1,140 acres and may grow by another 570 acres before the project is finished.

For now, it’s a unique destination for eco-tourism, where visitors can charter boats around the premises, viewing wildlife and a burgeoning ecosystem in its infancy. The island is already drawing scads of wildlife—almost too much for biologists to keep track of. Ospreys, egrets, terns, herons, eagles, double-breasted cormorants, black ducks and other wild fowl have already been discovered on the island, unfazed by workers and heavy equipment that move and shape the dredge material that is bulldozed onto the island from barges. Diamondback terrapins are nesting in large numbers on the island, predominantly along the sandy beaches of the southeast.

The Eastern Shore is an often overlooked and underutilized travel alternative. Add to this its breathtaking vistas and insulated townships, and the Shore might just be among the most well-guarded vacation secret in the country—for now. Now is a great chance to see it before it inevitably catapults into the national tourism limelight.