The children of American politicians — especially those politicians who loom large in the public imagination and history books — are always bathed in a kind of reflective light that lasts longer than perhaps it should and is more intense than it might be for the children of less famous parents. When those children pass away unexpectedly and too soon, memories are recalled. When we lose two in the space of a weekend, the memories are larger and thicker. The deaths of Kara Kennedy, oldest child of Sen. Ted Kennedy, and Eleanor Mondale, daughter of former vice president and presidential aspirant Walter Mondale, both at the age of 51, come as a shock and invoke memories of their families, historical and political times, and most of all each of the women’s singular spirits. Kara Kennedy, who had apparently beaten back the threat of lung cancer with tough, draining treatments, reportedly died after working out at a health club. Her brother, Patrick, acting as the family’s spokesman, was quoted as saying “her heart gave out.” She was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2003. Kara Kennedy was a filmmaker, a video and television producer, a board member of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, and a director and national trustee of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. She is survived by her brothers Patrick and Edward Kennedy, Jr., her mother Joan Kennedy, her husband Michael Allen and two teenage children, Grace and Max, and the rest of the extended Kennedy family. There is no escaping that part of her story — she was born in 1960 when her father was campaigning for his brother John F. Kennedy in his heated race against Richard Nixon for the U.S. Presidency, and not too long thereafter her father won a tough Senate race. She was born to a life where politics and history were only a breath away. She and her brother Edward helped run her father’s senate campaign in 1988. Her battle with illness and her deep interest in Very Special Arts, which was founded by her aunt Jean Kennedy Smith, speak to the Kennedy name and its triumphs, tragedies and compassionate efforts. Ted Kennedy, who had a failed presidential run but was deemed the “Lion of the Senate,” was the last of the four great brothers – Joe, John, and Robert. Joe was killed in World War II, and John and Robert were assassinated while Ted died of a brain tumor. Kara Kennedy accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her father in 2009, shortly before he passed away. Those facts don’t begin to tell the Kennedy saga: They’re like its sharpened, jagged outline. It seems every time we lose a Kennedy, we mourn them all again and reflect on their achievements and lives as individuals and as part of the family. Eleanor Mondale was in her twenties, vivid and as sparkling as a glass of champagne when her father, a huge political figure in Minnesota and former vice president under Jimmy Carter, decided to challenge Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1984. Mondale won the nomination and made Geraldine Ferraro his running mate, the first time a woman had been so picked. The choice was a ground breaking event, and enlivened what sometimes seemed like a doomed result, which was a crushing defeat for Mondale. Eleanor Mondale, blonde, smart, charming and lively, gamely campaigned for her father and in the aftermath carved out her own career in the media as a radio show host and entertainment writer. She also did some acting including small parts in “Dynasty” and “Three’s Company” as well as being a constant focus for paparazzi. She was one of those people who seemed to attract the light without trying too hard — she was witty and photogenic, and more than one media type had dubbed her a “wild child.” That may have had something to do with her personal life. She was married three times and tended to be attracted to athletes and rock stars, marrying Chicago Bears lineman Keith Van Horne, DJ Greg Thunder and Chan Poling of the rock group The Suburbs. She and Poling, whom she married in 2005, lived on a farm in Prior Lake, Minn. Eleanor Mondale was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in 2005.
Tomorrow is the last day to view the Ida B. Wells mural. Live and in person: a Haggadah program at the Museum of the Bible, storytelling and cemetery tours at Lincoln’s Cottage and comedy at the Birchmere.
As The Georgetowner newspaper closes in on its 60th Anniversary, it seems fitting that your town crier will be relocating to new digs, of course, in Georgetown. Unlike other newspapers that call Georgetown theirs, this is the only newspaper that makes its home in Georgetown -- and has for six decades, albeit at 14 different locations in the community. The Georgetowner newspaper was the brainchild of Ami C. Stewart, who at the age of 66, began publishing it on Oct. 7, 1954. She knew the newspaper business; she was a longtime advertising representative for the Washington Evening Star. Her sales territory was Georgetown and its surrounding environs. She dreamed of starting a newspaper for Georgetown for several years when, with great encouragement from the Randolph sisters, owners of Little Caledonia, a small department store of delightful surprises at 1419 Wisconsin Ave., N.W. It was on the second floor in Little Caledonia, where Ami Stewart created Volume 1, Number 1, of the newspaper. It was The Georgetowner’s first address. Some of us still cannot get used to the idea that there is no Little Caledonia in Georgetown. Then again, most of the shops that existed here in 1954 are long gone: Neam’s Market, Dorcas Hardin, Dorothy Stead, Baylor Furniture, Little Flower Shop, Doc Dalinsky’s Georgetown Pharmacy, Chez Odette, Rive Gauche, the French Market, the Food Mart, Magruder’s, Muriel Mafrige, the Georgetown University Shop and on and on. All have left us. But The Georgetowner marches on. Soon after its founding, Stewart moved into 1204 Wisconsin Ave., NW. The building was headquarters for the National Bank of Washington. The Georgetowner occupied a small room in the back, one desk, two chairs, one window. Riggs Farmers & Mechanics Bank was across the street. Both banks are long gone. Our third location was 3019 M St., NW. We were next to a funeral home. We, however, lived on. Stewart finally found an office more to her liking. It was situated at 1610 Wisconsin Ave., NW. Ami and her right-hand gal Sue Buffalo ran the newspaper from these premises for close to eight years. The staff also included Carol Watson, a wonderful artist; Marilyn Houston, who wrote many articles of historic interest; and a young man, fresh out of the army, Randy Roffman, my older brother. It was he who drew me into the wonderful world of Ami C. Stewart. I never would have guessed at the time that I would spend the next 42 years with the newspaper, but it happened. In the early 1970s, with Ami’s health failing, we moved to 1201 28th St., N.W. The lone brick building at that corner was our home for the next 8 years. From our second floor windows, we watched the construction of the Four Seasons Hotel across M Street. We also witnessed the mass arrest of the yippees who tried to shut down the government in May 1971, protesting the Vietnam War. They marched en masse down M Street from Key Bridge. They were arrested and put in huge detaining trucks right below our windows. I remember a National Guardsman yelling at us to get away from our window and quit taking photographs. Protestors who were rounded up were transported to RFK Stadium where they were held for processing. (The May Day 1971 protests in Washington, D.C., provoked the largest-ever mass arrest in American history with more 12,000 individuals detained.) Our sixth location was on the third floor above Crumpet’s, a pastry shop in the 1200 block of Wisconsin Avenue. John and Carol Wright were the owners. This was when writer Gary Tischler joined the staff. Britches of Georgetown was a few doors away. Billy Martin’s Tavern was across the street, as was Swensen’s Ice Cream Parlor. (There was formerly Stohlman’s Ice Cream Parlor, now memorialized at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History.) Climbing those three flights of stairs was rough, especially when balancing two cups of coffee and four Danish. We survived. A few years later, we moved across the street to 1254 Wisconsin Ave., NW, to the third floor above Swensen’s. It was the final years of disco, and Michael O’Harro’s Tramp’s Discotheque was closing. The Key Theatre, next to Roy Rogers at the corner of Prospect and Wisconsin, had them lined up around the block each weekend night for “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” After several years high atop Swensen’s, we had to move again. You might be asking yourself at this point, why did you move so often? Usually, it had to do with the landlord renting out the entire building to a new tenant. Because we were second- or third-floor occupants on short leases, well, we had to go. Our next location was Hamilton Court, the beautiful courtyard developed by Al Voorhees. The courtyard was fronted by a row of new storefronts which included the Old Print Gallery, Cliff and Michelle Kranick’s gallery, an antiquarian book store, and Ann Brinkley’s antiques store. Behind it was a series of spacious offices, of which we occupied one at the rear of the courtyard. We enjoyed our stay here, the setting was in the heart of Georgetown across the street from our beloved, landmark post office. But we had to leave when the architectural firm above us had to expand ... into our space. We next occupied the top floor of the Georgetown Electric shop on M Street, next to Old Glory restaurant. Spacious quarters indeed, and once again we climbed a lot of stairs every day. But we were close to Harold’s Deli, the Food Mart and Nathans. What more could we ask for? While running the newspaper from these quarters, we also founded and ran the Georgetown Visitor’s Center in Georgetown Court off Prospect Street. Robert Elliott, owner and landlord of the courtyard, gave us the space rent free, the merchants chipped in and afforded us the opportunity to publish brochures and pamphlets. Robert Devaney joined our staff at this point in the early 1990s. When Duke Rohr closed the GE shop, we moved once again. This time we returned to familiar digs at 1610 Wisconsin Ave., NW, way up the hill. We felt so removed from everything. The block had changed drastically. There was a 7-Eleven at the corner of Que and Wisconsin, the legendary French Market was gone and Appalachian Spring crafts had moved down the street. We felt like strangers up there. We moved after five years, down to 1410 Wisconsin, another empty upper floor spacious room, with no wiring. It dawned on us that we had probably wired half the second and third floor buildings on M or Wisconsin by this time. Thank goodness for Randy Reed Electric. While at 1410, Sonya Bernhardt joined the staff at The Georgetowner. In 1998, Sonya became the third publisher and owner of The Georgetowner. Many offices, few publishers: Ami C. Stewart, David Roffman and Sonya Bernhardt. The Georgetowner moved to its 13th location in 2001. The building at 1054 Potomac St., NW, had once been the home of Georgetown’s first mayor. Now it housed “the newspaper whose influence far exceeds its size” – as well as the Georgetown Media Group, which publishes The Georgetowner and The Downtowner newspapers and their websites. From late 2001 until this week, the offices were at this address. Now, as we near our 60th anniversary, we are in the process of moving once again, to the northwest corner of 28th and M, the building which once housed American Needlework and then Schrader Sound -- not to mention the Bryn Mawr Bookshop and the office of Captain Peter Belin, famed president of the Citizens Association of Georgetown. Lots of history here. We hope to see you there and all around town when we set up our business office in February. Find us at our new address: Georgetown Media Group, Inc. 2801 M Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20007 202-338-4833 202-338-4834 (fax) [www.georgetowner.com](http://www.georgetowner.com) [firstname.lastname@example.org](mailto:email@example.com) [firstname.lastname@example.org](mailto:email@example.com) [gallery ids="117064,117059" nav="thumbs"]
More Smithsonian museums reopen tomorrow. From the comfort of your couch, stream Japanese films, hear from Helen Hunt and view treasures from sunken cities of ancient Egypt.
Once upon a time in America, a boy left Georgia to become a Virginia Military Institute cadet, then a soldier, and later an aluminum siding salesman. He turned to selling real estate in Washington’s booming suburbs in the 1960s and now commands the largest privately owned residential real estate company in the United States. The story of P. Wesley Foster, Jr., is the story of 20th-century American success. Foster is the chairman and CEO of Long & Foster Companies, headquartered in Chantilly, Va. His easy manner tells a tale of an American life we hope can still happen today. Georgetowner editors got a chance to sit down with the real estate legend. As his executive assistant offered us coffee, Foster greeted us in his modest—at least by Donald Trump’s standards—office. The space immediately telegraphs his main loves -- real estate, VMI, America, football, art, his family and especially his wife, Betty. Feeling casual with Foster’s disarming charm, one of us flippantly began, referring to Long & Foster. “I know all about you guys.” Foster shot back, “I doubt it.” No doubt, Foster has built a real estate and financial services empire step-by-step, agent-by-agent and office-by-office for longer than four decades. Who has not seen a Long & Foster sign somewhere during a daily drive? Such effort to build the top independent real estate company in America is not for the faint of heart, short of time or low of aim. These days, however, Foster can take it a little easier: “I get up around 7 a.m. and read the paper,” he said. He doesn’t arrive at the office until just before 9 a.m. Foster and his wife—a sculptor who taught at the Corcoran and was on its board—moved to a townhouse in Old Town, Alexandria, after spending 32 years in their McLean, Va., home with almost four acres. “I go for a walk with my wife when the weather is good in the afternoons,” he continued. “So, I leave the office around 3:30 or 4 p.m. … I’ll be 80 in November. I don’t work as hard as I used to.” Fair enough. He deserves that, although he still visits the branch offices and sales meetings as often as he can. In Foster’s early years, the opposite surely was the case. His long hours involved a six-day work week. It’s this sort of discipline that Foster needed to build his company, but he has had some vices along the way. The first of which has been a sweet tooth. He manages his love for chocolate, and even turned to candy while he quit smoking when he was 30. “I was dating my wife and carried around a little bag of chewing gum and lifesavers,” he said. As to the impact of the recent economic recession on the housing industry, Foster is clear. “We went through about five years of challenges in the market. Our production went down from 2005 to – I don’t know where the low point was, 2008 or 2009 . . . and now we are fortunate to see growth once again. As tough as it was to do, we continued investing in our company and our people. That’s what makes us so optimistic going forward.” Not that Long & Foster itself was immune from such miscalculations. Its huge Chantilly headquarters building is an unexpectedly imposing Williamsburg-style building that has a similarly styled garage with more than 1,000 parking spaces, which Foster has dubbed “the best-looking parking garage in Washington.” He is pleased that the company has just negotiated a lease for 50,000 square feet and looks forward to welcoming new tenants to the building. “It’s a beautiful building and we are quite proud of it,” he said. “I think our headquarters represents the stability and confidence of our company and our agents.” Still, the economy appears in recovery—with the stock market hitting an all-time high and unemployment numbers lowering March 8—but Foster remains cautious: “I’m not sure that it’s going to be that great [a recovery] because the Federal government has to get its house in order. The good news is that our company is well positioned to succeed in any scenario. I learned early on that if we lead our team to focus on the basics – really taking great care of every single client, one transaction at a time – then together as a team, we can weather any kind of market and emerge even stronger.” Regarding the economy, Foster added: “We still have some work to do.” And as far as a true recovery in real estate? “We are working our way through and are beginning to see a real shift in the market.” For Foster, such an approach illuminates his life. At VMI, he was on the football team. “My playing wasn’t that great,” he said. “But I played, played all four years. I was a slow, small guard.” Working his way through, even then. Foster has never truly left his beloved VMI. “I’m on the board there,” he said. “I go down there three or four times a year …” In 2006, VMI’s football stadium complex was dedicated as the P. Wesley Foster, Jr., Stadium. So, what brought Foster to Washington, D.C., and specifically, its suburbs? “When I graduated from VMI, I took a job,” Foster said. “I didn’t go directly into the military. You could take a year off and work in those days. So, I delayed my military duty for one year, and worked for Kaiser Aluminum. They put me in the Chicago office. When I got there I hated it. I mean, it was a place a little southern boy didn’t want to go to. But, by the time I left the next spring, I nearly left with tears in my eyes. I had a great time.” Foster served his military duty as many young American men do and served for two years in West Germany. He was in the 8th Infantry Division—“Pathfinder”—and served as a special weapons liaison officer to the German III Corps. (Begun in World War I, this army division was inactivated in 1992.) When his time was up, Foster said he toured Europe, thus igniting his love of travel. “They’d let you get out of the army over there and for up to a year, they would send your car and you home for free,” Foster recalled with a smile. “You could get out and travel if you wanted to. . . . Well, I got out, and a buddy and I … drove my Volkswagen to Moscow. The United States had an American exhibition that year and [Vice President Richard] Nixon was over there speaking. Got tears in my eyes watching him speak.” (This was the famous “kitchen debate” between Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in July 1959.) Soon enough, our American GI returned home, with no money to his name. Foster got his old job back at Kaiser Aluminum and sold aluminum building products to homebuilders in 15 cities across the United States. Foster ran the program for a year. “Boy, did I get tired of that. I’d get up in the morning and have to think for a while about which city I was in that day.” Nevertheless, one thing does lead to another. “All the guys I had been working with at Kaiser Aluminum got interested in the real estate business because we were working with builders, and I thought I’d become a builder,” he said. This English major seemed still to be undecided on his career path. “I thought about law school,” Foster said. “My two brothers were lawyers, and had I never made it in real estate. . . . I would have probably gone onto law school and become a mediocre lawyer.” So, why think that way and why the success in real estate? We asked. “The guys that really tear it up are very bright. … I think I have a knack for this [real estate] business and see things that other people don’t see. In college, I graduated in the middle of my class. I may not have graduated at the top of my class, but I think I was the most persistent and worked the hardest – that’s what, after all of these years, has driven the growth and success of Long & Foster.” Foster admitted that he sees “opportunities that other people don’t pick up,” and said a large part of his success was due to the “companies we acquire, and the people we hire and team up with. We choose to associate with people that share our values – teamwork, integrity and a drive for results. A team like this can be magical.” Before that powerful recognition was a beginning: “I happened to meet a young fellow by the name of Minchew, who was also from Georgia and was a good builder here in Northern Virginia,” Foster recalled. “I went to work for him selling his homes. Worked for him for three years.” Foster lived in Annandale, “sold a lot of new houses . . . and met my wife here,” he said. “I had a roommate at VMI who was a Navy SEAL doctor and had come to Washington to do his deep sea diving training, if you can believe it, at Andrews Air Force Base,” Foster said. “He went skiing one weekend and rode up the ski lift with a pretty girl who became my wife. He introduced me to her and said, ‘Man, I’m leaving town, call her.’ ” From Connecticut, Foster’s future wife moved to Virginia to be near her brother, an Episcopal priest. “We raised our family right here in Virginia,” Foster said. He is a father to three, and now a grandfather to six, ranging in age from teenagers to a four-year-old, all boys, and all of whom he takes delight, especially the youngest. Today, of course, some of the family is involved in the business: son Paul Foster looks after offices in Montgomery County and D.C.; son-in-law Terry Spahr runs the New Jersey and Delaware offices; and nephew Boomer (Larry) Foster oversees offices in Northern Virginia and West Virginia. “Even as a large company, it’s important that we remain a family company. That way, our commitment to our agents and their success is unwavering,” Foster said. Before all these company positions were possible, Foster had to meet Long. While working in Annandale on a new development, called “Camelot,” a name which Foster still dislikes to this day, he met Henry Long, an Air Force bomber pilot. The two worked together in a firm and then decided to start their own. And what of those good-looking homes in “Camelot”? They sold very well despite that name. “We both went to military schools,” he said of Long. “He went to VPI [Virginia Tech]. I’d gone to VMI. He had flown B-47s. I shot rockets. He was commercial, and I was residential. We’d start a company, and we flipped a coin. He won and got his name first. I got to be president. We took off. We were partners for 11 years until 1979. Merrill Lynch came along and wanted to buy us, and he wanted to sell and basically do what he was doing and that was being a developer. So, I bought him out of the company.” Foster has been asked the question again and again. We asked again, too, if he would sell the company. He folded his arms, leaned back and said: “I don’t want to sell . . . We have brought together some of the best business minds from inside and outside real estate to take our firm to the next level, and that gives us a solid succession plan as a family-owned company. Not many firms like ours can say that.” “Family members play an instrumental role in the company,” Foster said. “I’ll be a large part of this as long as I can, but my three children own practically all of the company now. So, that’s all set. They will keep the family company spirit and leverage our management team to make sure we are on the right path.” Things may be set internally, but elsewhere, competition remains for Long & Foster. In one of the nation’s hottest residential markets, that’s a given. “Good competitors drive us to better ourselves every single day,” Foster said. “It’s a great incentive to stay on top of your game and advance your business.” “For example, luxury real estate, particularly in the D.C. area, is huge. Everyone out there today is vying for luxury business – and while we do sell more million-dollar-plus homes than anyone, our competitors keep us on our toes. That’s why we leverage our affiliation with Christie’s International Real Estate for our agents and their clients. The Christie’s brand really matters – it’s immediately recognizable as ‘high end,’ and it gets us in front of the most exclusive buyers and sellers from around the globe. Only our agents can market with the Christie’s brand.” Indeed, the biggest D.C. sale in 2011—the Evermay estate in Georgetown – was sold by Long & Foster. How do you deal with all the egos? We asked. “The best you can,” Foster wryly replied. “We give them all of the tools and the backing of a great brand – and they do what they do best – work with buyers and sellers.” “I will tell you this,” he said. “What we look for, especially in managers, is good empathy and a drive for results. When we achieve this, it is a winning combination for our company, and most importantly, for our agents and their clients. That is the key.” From start to finish, Foster can easily detect that. “I grew up fairly poor and went to college on a scholarship, and my brothers also went to college on scholarships,” he said. “We’ve had a fair amount of drive. Two were lawyers and one is a developer now in Atlanta. I am truly humbled by the success of the company and my team. It is an honor that so many clients put their trust in Long & Foster and our team of agents.” At a Glance: Long & Foster is the largest independent residential real estate company in the United States. Long & Foster represents more than 10,000 agents at approximately 170 offices across seven Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern states, plus the District of Columbia. For 2012, Long & Foster’s sales volume exceeded $24.8 billion and with more than 74,000 transactions; this is up from $22 billion and 69,000 transactions in 2011. 2012 marked a year of significant growth for Long & Foster, seeing an increase in volume of 14 percent and a 9-percent increase in unit sales. While Long & Foster was founded as a real estate company, today its family of companies offers everything customers need as it relates to buying selling, or owning real estate – including mortgage, insurance, settlement, property management and corporate relocation services. Long & Foster Companies’ combined sales volume and equivalents for 2012 were $48.7 billion, a $6-billion increase from 2011 figures. [gallery ids="101194,143745,143730,143740,143737" nav="thumbs"]
In-town suggestion: the weekend wine garden at the Kennedy Center’s River Pavilion. Out-of-town suggestion: George Mason’s Gunston Hall, south of Alexandria, Virginia.
This weekend, the National Symphony Orchestra will play along with clips from “Frozen” and other Disney Animation favorites.
In this week's Round Up: The Washington Ballet Takes Center Stage Virtual Gala, a Wright Brothers-themed Zoom-around and a mammal surveillance opportunity.
` Tucked away between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the nation’s capital, along dirt roads and country curving streets, lies a secret garden of green pastures growing local produce, freshly painted farms with white picket fences and acres of vineyards with large succulent grapes and tasting rooms filling visitors’ glasses with the latest and greatest new wines. Hidden in these foothills are also lists of wedding venues, vendors and anxious brides hoping to secure their spot in peak season at the pavilions located here. Say goodbye to the destination weddings on sugar white sandy beaches in the Caribbean and hello to the horses and historical lands in the country side of Virginia. There is something to be said when a small town stubborn girl from the rocky coast of southern Maine who doesn’t think anything is more pristine and precious than her local beach town in New England begins to have second thoughts when driving along Loudoun County. This area may lack the sound of crashing waves, but it is smothered with kindness, tranquility and nature that could de-stress any city slicker. This area is truly the spot where fairy tale weddings come alive and bride’s dreams come true. Allow yourself to explore the opportunities each season will bring to your special day in a handful of options ranging from bed and breakfasts and farms to vineyards and mansions. The Goodstone Inn & Estate ------ Location: Middleburg, Va. Cost: $23,935- $30,174 Contact: Emily Tabachka 540 687 3092 Emily@Goodstone.com Goodstone.com This bed and breakfast is more than a place to rest your head, but an inn where you will be swept away. With 265 acres of open fields and cottages with rooms filled with original antique furniture and four post beds, a bride can live like a princess for a weekend with up to 150 friends and family members. Elegant weddings over the meadows on this estate are hosted poolside by the façade of an old mansion with overgrown ivy and gardens. Rehearsal dinners and receptions can be held outdoors or inside at the Carriage House, where guests can enjoy local food and wine designed by executive chef William Walden. Wherever you choose to say your vows, a picturesque view of the country side is sure to be in sight. Why we love it here: The Goodstone Inn & Estate offers in-house catering and planners to help make your event exclusive and as easy to plan as possible. The Fox Den at Briar Patch ------ Location: Middleburg, Va. Cost: $10,000 + tax Contact: Charlotte John 703 327 5911 Info@BriarPatchBandB.com BriarPatchBandB.com This historical bed and breakfast has unlimited possibilities for today’s bride. On 47 acres of property dating back to 1805, the guests stay the weekend to enjoy family, friends, Virginia wines and mountain views. Rehearsal dinners, receptions and ceremonies can all be accommodated for groups up to 200 people (and your pets are welcome, too). Whether you choose to say “I do” outside or in, Briar Patch has several options to choose from. Dance the night away in the Fox Den, a spacious hall filled with white linen tables, floor to ceiling windows and plenty of room to mingle. Have your first kiss by the shaded trees along the property or choose to have your event poolside in the warmer season. Why we love it here: When you book your wedding here, you’re given access to it all and have the option of getting married at just about any spot on the property. The Pavilion at The Farm at Broad Run ------ Location: Broad Run, Va. Cost: $1,750 Contact: Michelle DeWitt 703 753 3548 ShellyD96@aol.com TheFarmAtBroadRun.com Greenhouses, vegetable patches, fresh fruits and animals graze this 72-acre family-owned farm located just a short trip down a classic gravel driveway. At first glance, this may look like an unexpected place for a grandiose affair, but look again. The family recently opened “The Pavilion” to host events including weddings, which owner Michelle DeWitt said have often been over the top. The contrast between the relaxed and comfortable atmosphere of the farm mixed with an elegant white gown has been simply majestic here and word is spreading. Events are booking frequently and we’re not surprised. The Farm at Broad Run offers a solely outdoor wedding with a covered pavilion protecting a large, outdoor, artisan stonework kitchen with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and a grill to allow your chosen caterers to complete a fantastic meal for your guests (and the option of eating produce right from the farm). Why we love it here: A newly built two-bed, two-bath farmhouse with a wrap-around porch and exquisite decor has been placed on the property for the convenience of the wedding party to relax and prepare before the main event. Whitehall Manor ------ Location: Bluemont, Va. Cost: $4,500 - $8,000 Contact: Douglas Armstrong (703) 948- 2999 HistoricWhitehall.com Stepping in to Whitehall Manor is like stepping back in time. This mansion, built in 1790, was once occupied by our first president’s brother, John Augustine Washington, and survived the Civil War’s Battle of Snickersville. A catering company later purchased the property from dairy farmers in the 1990s and has since turned the home in to the ultimate wedding venue (and offering, of course, a gourmet meal for your guests). Brides are given access to the entire first floor of the mansion to prepare prior to the ceremony and to unwind during and after the reception, which takes place in the newly added pavilion built in 2005. This space holds 225 guests comfortably and boasts a large dance floor for those who choose to kick off their shoes and let their hair down after a bit of bubbly. Why we love it here: Your wedding photos will never fail with the mix of historical and modern architecture, green grassy pastures, large trees and views of nearby farms and mountains. The Stable at Bluemont Vineyard ------ Location: Bluemont, Va. Cost: $3,000 - $6,000 Contact: Debbie Zurschmeide Schoeb 540 554 2073 Debbie@BluemontVineyard.com BluemontVineyard.com Off the beaten path and beyond the hustle and bustle you’ll find a vineyard hidden on top a hill with breathtaking panoramic views spanning as far as the Washington Monument. Event planners and coordinators specialize in making your day special and allow you to work with other vendors to perfect your dream wedding. The Stable is one of the largest event facilities in the county holding more than 200 people in a climate-controlled space with stamped cement floors, natural light and original wooden beams from when it was first built decades ago. Step outside the country doors to say your vows and step back in for cocktails on the patio and back in to The Stable for dinner and dancing wherever you choose. Why we love it here: Since I can’t mention the view again (or can I?), I must say the next best thing is that having a wedding on a vineyard means having a wedding with fresh and locally produced wines as well as farm fresh ingredients in all menu items. [gallery ids="100485,117295,117285,117277,117267,117258,117250,117241,117309,117233,117315,117225,117321,117217,117326,117303" nav="thumbs"]
The National Gallery of Art has reopened the ground floor of its West Building and the Athenaeum Gallery in Alexandria, Virginia, is presenting "Elzbieta Sikorska: Everything is Double."