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Robinson Park

robinson park

Looking back, now – I’m glad it wasn’t what most people would’ve considered a nice day; I don’t know about you, but I’ve had my share of hot and sunny to last me for at least a generation (especially since my ‘office’ is right out in the street where you may live). No – the morning of my last visit to Robinson Park in Northeast Leesburg, the conditions were memorably cool, cloudy, and even a little windy. The day hadn’t really gotten started yet (you would’ve been hard-pressed to say just exactly where the sun was – somewhere behind all those greyish masses marching across a dark sky), and I recall moving with a definite purpose of generating a little personal warmth out of the situation. Now, all this may serve as evidence to keep most of us safe at home under similar weather; for me – I’ve long preferred the sort of day that comes right up and introduces itself (even working outside – as long as I survive the experience, I look back at elemental inclemency as at least stimulating – if not always ‘fun’ at the time).

Now – a walk around Robinson Park isn’t exactly a remote, wilderness excursion, is it? The small, scattered stands of trees and the culverted little part-time brook serve as about the only outstanding natural features, with the ballfields and manicured grass looking pretty tame; so, a little challenge from the climactic conditions came as a welcome distraction from the surrounding domesticity.

But I was still outside, after all – exposed to whatever the skies chose to throw my way. So, the antemeridian perambulation left its indelible mark on me: Literally – I had goosebumps and raised hairs from the low temperatures, and figuratively – my sense memory being more accurate than that of the mere intellect – I can still ‘feel’ my way back there in time and enjoy it all over again– like, right now. And, if the human race retains any of the herd and flock instincts of the ‘lower’ creatures (Ever wonder how a swarm of blackbirds can all change direction in the same instant?) you can get an inkling of the experience for yourself. And, I just may possess a better mental picture of Robinson Park’s 10 acres, athletic fields, walking trail, gentle sloping hill, picnic tables, nearby Leesburg Elementary School and surrounding Exeter neighborhood because of Mother Nature’s participation in the event.

And – who knows? Maybe next time it’ll even be raining; one can only hope. So, if you should see a strange character out there walking the perimeter some early – wet – possibly cold – morning, it could be yours truly – out for a stroll when any ‘sensible person’ would be safely tucked in at home. Not that I would disagree – much of the time – with those instincts, but I really do feel like that local walking path makes up a portion of what I consider my enlarged ‘home.’ OK, Robinson stands a bit more out of the way for me than Brandon Park or Olde Izaak Walton – and it’s certainly far under the radar of the more popular Ida Lee – but I will keep it filed away under my list of places to stop and enjoy the atmospheric rewards of whatever moments find me in that part of town. And if it’s inclement enough, I may even leave my electronic device in the car – truly ‘roughing it,’ as Mark Twain might have said. And, as I pull my hat brim down a bit to shield my face from whatever’s falling from the clouds, I just may be thinking, “My, what a nice day!”

I’d like to think that the perfect Robinson Park experience still lies out there – somewhere – in my future; the same holds true for the rest of my favored – and, even undiscovered – local places. The dawn is on the horizon; we may as well strap on our boots and go out to greet it.

Aren’t you gonna come? We’re just about there, now…

Dulles Air and Space Museum

September 7, 2016 Columns, Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth Comments Off on Dulles Air and Space Museum
airplane Dulles

You ever have those dreams, that (back – probably when you were a kid) you could fly? Not in any kind of man-made craft, mind you – I mean possessing the ability to levitate and travel the skies at will. It’s an exhilarating, empowering feeling. I guess about the closest I’ve come to enjoying that sensation during waking hours is whenever I visit the Air and Space Museum at Dulles – the Smithsonian’s Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center. … Continue Reading

Potoma Wayside

June 1, 2016 Columns, Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth Comments Off on Potoma Wayside
potoma wayside

My advice is: Don’t look straight down; the combination of rushing highway traffic a couple of feet away and, what’s – to me, anyway – a dizzying height, can produce some unsettling sensations. I came to this conclusion after walking back and forth across the river bridge on Route 340 between Virginia and Maryland from one of my newest discoveries in our local treasure chest: Potoma Wayside. Yeah, that’s Potoma, not Potomac – I checked and double-checked the sign. Oddly enough, I’d been just about a hundred yards away countless times – delivering mail at the gas station right at the intersection with Route 671 – Harpers Ferry Road – and had never noticed this little roadside access point nestled in the greenery. … Continue Reading

Foxridge Park

May 4, 2016 Columns, Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth Comments Off on Foxridge Park
Just Like Nothing (Else) On Earth- Foxridge Park-1

You know, I can still taste those sausages: The first early-spring bratwurst cooked over an open flame in a beautiful setting among good friends; nothing so surprising, really, in recalling a good meal in classic context. The thing is, though – I was propelled back more decades than I care to admit – and transported roughly a thousand miles across our nation – back to the banks of the Mississippi River. Good grilling can do that to you. … Continue Reading

Temple Hall Farm

April 6, 2016 Columns, Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth Comments Off on Temple Hall Farm

I only met the late AV (Val) Symington once; it was a Sunday evening in my first year or two at Wage Radio (this would be the late ‘90’s) and I was putting things in order for the next morning’s news broadcast, when the doorbell rang. Now, it could have been just about anyone: A fellow employee who forgot his key, a local resident wanting help with a lost dog, a commercial client dropping off a check, a high school student seeking an internship, or someone with a potential news tip. But, in this case, I opened the door to find a charming little lady in an old work coat, glasses and a pair of rubber boots, driving an older model station wagon; she introduced herself as a former part-owner of the long-time, local radio station in Leesburg. We probably chatted for 20 minutes or so during our short tour of the building; we discovered a mutual love of hometown charm and character, I think she mentioned her enjoyment of Stokes Tomlin’s Classics in the Morning Show – and then we said our goodbyes, and AV drove off in her ‘clunker.’ … Continue Reading

Georgetown Park

March 2, 2016 Columns, Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth Comments Off on Georgetown Park
Georgetown park

The thing I first noticed upon making an actual visit to this place was: It actually has a babbling brook. If you walk along the path toward the western end of Georgetown Park, I found that the level of water complemented the scattered rocks strewn in its bed so as to maintain a constant ‘chatter.’ Pretty cool, I thought. The usually humble Town Branch pretty much parallels the W and OD Trail in this section of the community; maybe the ‘running water’ encourages the small army of joggers, bikers and walkers out here to keep moving along.
The Park seemed larger to me than just its official half-acre, maybe due to its elongated configuration – stretching east and west, with those lines of liquid, grass, brick and blacktop emphasizing its length. Now, I’m not sure if there really is a traffic-free time of day along this part of King Street, so you need to look both ways if you decide to cross over to the other side of the bridge; I was drawn to the more ‘non-vehicular’ sections of the location, with some mature trees, landscaped flower beds, walking trails and benches. The natural amenities here offer a bit more of a sense of seclusion the further you get from the ‘main drag’ out near the little bridge. If I had to get any serious reading done out here, I’d opt for one of the benches along South Street, rather than the more exposed specimens: Even Herman Melville wouldn’t stand much of a chance against all the distracting movement out on the road. But, on the other hand, if one wanted to select a prime viewing point for one of the local events which pass this way every several months – the annual Halloween, Fourth of July and Christmas Parades – well, then – give me one of those vantage points as close as possible to King Street – to be able to look the participants in the eye and cheer them on in their progress. Having participated in many of these marches – on foot and by motor – I always found it a refreshing bit of the journey to pass over the Town Branch at this spot. Even the daily motorists throughout the rest of the year may find it just a wee bit of a respite in their commute – sliding past this slip of a Park in a brief moment – then returning to the rigors of other traffic along the way. … Continue Reading

Second Bull Run

Bull Run Creek

It may not have been a battle, but – seeing as how it was my second attempt at getting a good look at Bull Run Creek – coupled with the fact that I’m a native Northerner – I felt a bit skittish as I headed down that little dirt road to encounter the unknown. See – I’d looked as closely as I could at my computer mapping for the end of the line on Peach Tree Lane – way down on the Southern border of Loudoun County – and it looked as if the narrow gravel corridor just sort of dead-ended at the water line; driving to the spot that day, as I recognized some of the landmarks that signaled I was getting close, I slowed down to a crawl, and, as I rounded the last corner, my suspicions were confirmed: I’d found Bull Run Creek, alright – and I’d also found another location in our gnarly little locality where a roadway travels underwater. … Continue Reading

Just Like Nothing (Else) On Earth: Rotary Park

January 7, 2016 Columns, Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth Comments Off on Just Like Nothing (Else) On Earth: Rotary Park
Rotary Park

I couldn’t help thinking, as I strolled around this little green space – with a basketball court on one end – that if Robin Hood and his band had wanted to do some hoopin’ out in Sherwood Forest, the setting may not have looked too much different than these immediate surroundings. Sure, they wouldn’t have had a paved street 10 yards from their playing area, and their wooded greenery – understandably – would have been much thicker and infinitely more expansive – but I don’t think I could find a ‘greener’ place for an impromptu game of buckets around these parts. … Continue Reading

Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: Lovettsville

December 2, 2015 Columns, Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth Comments Off on Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: Lovettsville

Historically quaint architecture, quiet side streets, grown-over vacant lots, views of the Blue Ridge – and entire neighborhoods of new homes planted into the mix; if Loudoun County is rapidly changing, the little Town of Lovettsville is experiencing its own building boom up in the northern section of the locality. The modest population level – approaching, at best estimate, the 2,000 mark – fails to rival that of Sterling or Broadlands or South Riding, but you get the feeling that it’s no longer a ‘sleepy little place,’ tucked far away from the rapid development in the busier South and East.

And, I guess that’s a large part of the attraction to live in this unique place: It’s still a very small Town by 21st Century Northern Virginia standards, it is far and away from the traffic on Route Seven or 28 or the Greenway – or the Leesburg Bypass – and that long line of mountains offers a constant – and consistent – visual backdrop as a geographic reminder of your place in the world. On these merits alone, I can understand why folks would choose Lovettsville as a place to raise a family. … Continue Reading

Just Like Nothing (Else) On Earth: Phil Bolen Memorial Park


I never knew Phil Bolen as the Loudoun County Government Administrator; I never even got to know him as Director of Parks and Recreation, and I certainly never knew Phil Bolen the teacher and coach at Loudoun Valley High School. No – the summer I moved to Loudoun County – July of 1997 – Phil Bolen was the beloved sportscaster at Wage Radio – formerly at 1200 on your AM dial. It was as if – to me – Phil had had only one occupation his entire life: that of scholastic sports announcing on our little, local radio station; if you ever heard one of his sportscasts, I’m gauging you know what I’m talking about. … Continue Reading

Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: Willisville

September 30, 2015 Columns, Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth Comments Off on Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: Willisville

You may never feel the urge to travel to this little, unincorporated community; it’s not exactly a conduit for commuter traffic, and there aren’t really any places to shop, or gas up, or procure much of anything else from a consumer standpoint. Nestled in that No-Man’s Land between Round Hill, Middleburg and the Blue Ridge, Willisville is sort of tucked away in an area pretty much forgotten by time – and most of the rest of the county. And, I’m sure many of the folks who live down there will get along just fine if things continue this way for the foreseeable future; they’ve gotten this far without being on the cover of Rolling Stone, they’ll probably be OK on their own – and I don’t think they have a village press agent or anything to lure us out to the coming attractions. … Continue Reading

Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: Suzanne Kane Nature Preserve

September 2, 2015 Columns, Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth Comments Off on Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: Suzanne Kane Nature Preserve
suzanne kayne nature

This innocuous little area lay smoldering in my semi-consciousness for several years – and after thousands of passings-by – I finally woke up one morning and just had to find out what was to be found out there. See – for the last half-dozen years or so, I’ve had to drive by the Suzanne Kane Nature Preserve and Chapman DeMary Trail signs on my way to earning the daily bread at the Purcellville Postal Facility. Some mornings – not to mention late afternoons or early (or even late) evenings those formally-worded placards left no noticeable impression on my senses; I may have been on overload from the rigors and concerns of rural mail (and parcel) delivery. But I had made mental notes to check out this local resource at some point: I’d noticed the ‘cool-looking,’ shaded little picnic area behind the Inova Medical Offices off Hirst Road, I’d watched some of the ‘developments’ unfold on the other end of the Park and Trail off 21st Street, and I’d even seen a red fox high-tailing it into the brush a time or two along the South Fork of Catoctin Creek as it crosses Hatcher Avenue on the north side of town. … Continue Reading

Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: Morven Park

August 7, 2015 Columns, Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth Comments Off on Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: Morven Park

I think what strikes me most about this place – as over the top as it is in many ways – is how understated it really is; I know that’ll take some explaining.

I’ve been to Morven Park hundreds of times (for radio interviews and news stories, and I even directed a couple of Shakespeare productions on the grounds), so it’s hard to approach the site without some (or a lot of) preconceptions; that said, a quiet, overcast, weekday morning visit allowed me to walk through the gardens and grounds in complete solitude – as if I were sole owner and proprietor of the castle-like mansion and the surrounding thousand-plus acres. … Continue Reading









2016 Energy Summit – George Washington University


On Friday evening, October 28, George Washington University, Virginia Campus in Ashburn will host the 10th annual Don Sandros Energy Summit in cooperation with local businesses and non-profits. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for a reception with wine donated by …

Attributing Disaster


“Humans are likely to create a catastrophe, and possibly an associated disaster, that vastly exceeds our own ability to recover from it. In the face of all our efforts, it will persist.” – Richard Guthrie [1] “Here we show that …

Concerned Parent


By Michael Oberschenider Psy.D. Dr. Mike, We recently signed our four-year-old daughter up for gymnastics. It wasn’t cheap, but her friends from the neighborhood do it, and she has been begging us to go. It turned out to be a …

Invisible Illnesses

Lunde new

By Mary Rose Lunde It is general knowledge that when people think about illnesses, they don’t think about illnesses that aren’t physically apparent. Sure, people know about conditions such as multiple sclerosis and other diseases with visible symptoms, but many …

Robinson Park

robinson park

Looking back, now – I’m glad it wasn’t what most people would’ve considered a nice day; I don’t know about you, but I’ve had my share of hot and sunny to last me for at least a generation (especially since …

Are Your Estate and Financial Plans Shock-Proof?


Don’t wait until “what if?” becomes “what is.” Where will you live as you age? Think about your housing options now, so you have choices and won’t have to make a hasty decision should an unexpected health event force you …

In Defense of ‘Adulting’


By Samuel Moore-Sobel Most friends transitioning from college to the workforce long for the days of college, wishing to be back in class and participating in campus life. To be honest, I may be in the minority, but I have …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016


Woodgrove High School’s Class Of 2016 Graduation – By Amanda Clark On June 16, Woodgrove’s Class of 2016 was the 5th graduating class to walk the stage and accept their diploma. The ceremony was filled with anticipation as the chorus, …

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Buckland Earns Degree In Medicine

6 Jul 2016


Molly Buckland, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine on May 28. While at WVSOM, Dr. Buckland received the Dr. Roland P. Sharp President’s Award and the James R. …

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Adams Promoted To Lieutenant

6 Jul 2016


Lt. James Adams, from Sterling and a Potomac Falls Halls Graduate, earned the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. Adams is a Navy Week and Executive Outreach Planner for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tennessee. U.S. Navy …

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October 2016
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
September 26, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 27, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 28, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 29, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 30, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

October 1, 2016

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

October 2, 2016
October 3, 2016 October 4, 2016 October 5, 2016 October 6, 2016 October 7, 2016 October 8, 2016

Virginia Outdoors Foundation 50 years of Conservation Celebration

October 9, 2016
October 10, 2016 October 11, 2016 October 12, 2016

Barefoot Puppets: Dreamtime, Tales From Down Under

October 13, 2016 October 14, 2016 October 15, 2016

Loudoun Centre Theatre: The Scamps Of Scapin!

October 16, 2016

Harvest Celebration & Fall Farm Tour


October 17, 2016 October 18, 2016 October 19, 2016 October 20, 2016 October 21, 2016

Anthony Semiao Live at North Gate Vineyard


October 22, 2016 October 23, 2016

Come Paint with us at Breaux Vineyards

October 24, 2016 October 25, 2016 October 26, 2016 October 27, 2016 October 28, 2016

October Fourth Friday

October 29, 2016

2 Pound Sterling Live at North Gate VIneyard

October 30, 2016

Music With A Cause - Music of Colonial America

October 31, 2016 November 1, 2016 November 2, 2016 November 3, 2016 November 4, 2016 November 5, 2016

OysterFest at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

November 6, 2016
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Steady and NoBull


Veteran’s Day 10k Raises Funds for Veteran Causes

13 Oct 2016


On November 6, the Loudoun County Road Runners Club will again conduct the annual Loudoun 10K Trail Race in order to raise funds for veteran causes. Since it’s origin in 2011, the trail race has generated more than $90,000 with 100 percent of proceeds going directly to veteran’s charities, specifically Boulder Crest Retreat and Pets for Vets.

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FBRM Clean-Up Day at Blue Ridge Regional Park

6 Oct 2016


Join Friends of the Blue Ridge Mountains for an Autumn clean-up to remove invasive vegetation from Blue Ridge Regional Park on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Some tools and equipment will be provided, but please bring your clippers, pruning shears, or saws if you can. Directions: From Leesburg, drive west on Route 7 past the turnoff …

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Painted Barrel Auction Saturday, October 8

6 Oct 2016


The Auction for The Painted Barrels around Purcellville will be held on Saturday, October 8 at 7:00 p.m at the Bush Tabernacle – 250 S. Nursery Ave. Purcellville. Thirty-Five local Loudoun County artists were given an oak wine barrel to create a Purcellville / Loudoun theme on it. Each barrel was sponsored by a local business and was displayed throughout …

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Grief and Greed


By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …


Opinion: Terrorism, Debt, and China: Oh My!


– By Nick Reid world can be a very dangerous place sometimes, especially for a nation state such as the United States. Although danger is always present, the number and …

Metro Money Mess Pushing West


– By Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33rd) A local paper recently quoted Loudoun Board Chair Phyllis Randall as saying that in her observation “some of the concerns raised by the people …

Dear Editor

New Proposed Uses for Western Loudoun

Loudoun County Seal Color

If you live in the middle or western part of Loudoun where you enjoy a parcel of open space near your property (which probably was put into an open space …

Bennett Knows How To Make Economy Work for All


In the election for the 10th District House seat, only one candidate has a more than three decades of success growing a local business. As the owner of a successful …

View From the Ridge

Broken Promises, Hidden by a Six-Foot Berm


By Andrea Gaines On August 9, 1825 at the age of 69, French military officer the Marquis de Lafayette was honored in Leesburg by former President James Monroe. The French-born …

Around Virginia

History’s Holy Places: Four Local Sites Worth Exploring This Fall


The Journey through Hallowed Ground is a 180-mile long, 75-mile wide trek from Gettysburg to Monticello, encompassing nine presidential homes and places, 18 national and state parks, and thousands of small and large historical sites. Dozens and dozens of these sites and related museums are short ride from just about …

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Land Trust Receives Large Donation

land trust

On August 22, The Land Trust of Virginia received a $10,000 gift from the Sharon D. Virts Foundation, based in Herndon. The presentation of this grant was part of the Foundation’s official launch event, held at Selma Plantation in Leesburg. Notable speakers included Sharon D. Virts, FCiFederal Founder and Chair, …

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Farmers Urged To Be On The Lookout For Marijuana


Farmers in Southwest Virginia are being urged to check their property for marijuana planted by trespassers. Within the past year, hundreds of marijuana plants have been discovered between rows of hay bales on farms in and around Pulaski County, according to the Claytor Lake Regional Drug Task Force. “Unfortunately this …

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Hunter’s First Professional Race

7 Sep 2016


Drew Hunter and Loudoun Valley classmates at his first professional race, Sir Walter Miler in Raleigh, NC in early August , l to r:  Marcos Pierce, Matt Slook, Drew Hunter, Max McNerney. Hunter finished with a time of 3:57.15. Hunter turned professional and signed with Adidas.

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Let’s Make Some Memories

3 Aug 2016


American Legion Baseball At Fireman’s Field, August 3 – 7 By Andrea Gaines American Legion Baseball is here at Fireman’s Field in a big way, featuring five consecutive blockbuster Mid-Atlantic Tournament games – August 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Our local Leesburg Post 34 Rangers had some nice wins …

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