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Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: George Marshall Center

George Marshall Center

I used to wonder why – after an assignment to visit the interior of this place, I’d return feeling exhausted – both mentally and physically worn out – as if I’d been carrying an extra couple hundred pounds or so – and gone sleepless for days – for the duration of my stop. Now – jokes about my waistline aside (I’m no Tarzan, but I’m not that rotund!) – and having studied the enormity of responsibilities placed on the former occupant at this address – I no longer marvel at whether my imagination weighed me down – so to speak – or if I actually absorbed some of the former Secretary of State’s energy while touring his house; either way it makes perfect sense to me that I’d feel a bit like Atlas in trying to identify with the late George C. Marshall at Dodona Manor in Leesburg. I’d notice – upon returning from these trips to the quaint little Newsroom at Wage Radio – that my usually bright, peppy energy level (in those days, anyway) had settled into a more contemplative, ‘grandfather-ish,’ and almost dreamy state after communing with the modern-day stewards at the five-star General’s home. … Continue Reading

Freedom Park

January 4, 2017 Columns, Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth Comments Off on Freedom Park
freedom park

A great name for a great place, this public space shows us – in my opinion – what’s best about Leesburg, Loudoun County and our country. Freedom Park – just off the Dulles Greenway on the South side of Town – represents – to me – much more than just its 20 acres of land, with a series of athletic fields and support facilities. And this goes back to its very beginning. I remember getting a lump in my throat as Council Members – well over a decade ago now – came up with the idea for this site as the location for the Town’s 911 Memorial – and what better title for the spot than Freedom Park? … Continue Reading

South Riding

November 30, 2016 Columns, Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth Comments Off on South Riding
South Riding

I should have known that this one would take me far from my contemplative, Zen-inspired comfort zone; after I’d traversed more construction projects than I wanted to tally, competed with hurried, coffee-driven commuters with no time for mere existence, and kept a respectable distance from a fleet of school buses which would have made General Patton proud, I tried to enjoy a few moments of near peace at the South Riding Town Hall and pavilion – way down there in the corner of the County – smack dab in the center of a busy universe of activity. Now – having negotiated the pinball-like series of traffic circles on Route 50 – and successfully avoided all the heavy equipment entering and exiting my route – I felt entitled to just a bit of solace and deep breathing before heading back on the road for my return trip. I needed to hear some of those Tibetan monks, or something. Well, this is South Riding, I thought. … Continue Reading

Oatlands Plantation

November 2, 2016 Columns, Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth Comments Off on Oatlands Plantation
timjon

It was one of those warm evenings in mid to late July – when the air feels almost as thick as honey, but you don’t even mind, because you’re in a beautiful place, enjoying a unique cultural event in about the coolest setting in the world. My first visit to Oatlands – in the summer of 1997 – I checked out a performance of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream by one of the local theatre troupes; they used the front of the Greek Revival mansion for the opening sequence- appropriately set at the Athenian Capitol, and some of the later forest scenes utilized the surrounding greenery. If there were a better way to charm a famous local landmark into one’s heart, I’m unaware of it; Oatlands Plantation became – and has since remained, for me – synonymous with grace, character – and maybe even a little magic and fantasy thrown in for good measure. … Continue Reading

Robinson Park

October 5, 2016 Columns, Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth Comments Off on 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
timjon

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
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


 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

2016 in the Books

noerpel_new

(Presented to the Board of Supervisors February, 2017) “The last three years have demonstrated abundantly clearly that there is no change in the long-term trends since 1998. A prediction from 1997 merely continuing the linear trends would significantly under-predict the …

A Rainy Romance

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By Samuel Moore-Sobel “If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all” – a simple phrase uttered in an acclaimed musical that helped birth a star. The movie’s Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) catches his attention so completely that Don Lockwood (Gene …

Concerned Parents

drmikenewpic

By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Dr. Mike, Our 15-year-old son is out of control and we don’t know what to do anymore. He smokes pot and drinks, disobeys us left and right, is truant from school often, comes home whenever he …

It’s Time To Review Your Estate Planning Basics

Smith0035

Beginners and billionaires alike should refresh their knowledge of these basic estate planning terms and concepts. The word “estate” tends to conjure up images of billionaires and aristocrats, but estate planning is not just for the wealthy. It’s widely believed …

Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: George Marshall Center

George Marshall Center

I used to wonder why – after an assignment to visit the interior of this place, I’d return feeling exhausted – both mentally and physically worn out – as if I’d been carrying an extra couple hundred pounds or so …

Meeting the “Other America”

blueridge2

By Nicholas Reid Ever since the presidential election last November, there has been a lot of talk about the “two Americas”: coastal and continental America. The many differences between these two sections of the United States are numerous and oftentimes …

The Trump Effect

noerpel_new

“Corals are marine magicians. As colonies of the tiny ocean organisms grow, they transform the calcium that circulates in seawater into enormous limestone reefs. These reefs—which can extend for more than 1,000 miles and provide homes for crabs, eels, sea …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016

grads_woodgrove

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

buckland

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

adamspromoted

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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Calendar

February 2017
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
January 30, 2017 January 31, 2017 February 1, 2017 February 2, 2017

Chair Yoga

Yoga for Men

February 3, 2017 February 4, 2017

CHINESE NEW YEAR EVENT

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Readers Theater

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

February 5, 2017
February 6, 2017 February 7, 2017 February 8, 2017 February 9, 2017

Chair Yoga

Yoga for Men

February 10, 2017 February 11, 2017

Valentine's Pizza & Champagne

Sweetheart’s Soirée- A Night of Dinner & Dancing

February 12, 2017

Candlelight Concert Fundraiser

GALLERY COFFEEHOUSE: Writers’ Night Out

February 13, 2017 February 14, 2017 February 15, 2017

Bob Brown Puppets: Dragon Feathers

February 16, 2017 February 17, 2017

ARTSPOWER: RAINBOW FISH

February 18, 2017

Wine & Chili Weekend

BALLET THEATRE OF ASHBURN AND EDGE PERFORMANCE COMPANY: MALONE BENEFIT CONCERT

Comedy Night feat. Tyrone Davis

February 19, 2017
February 20, 2017 February 21, 2017 February 22, 2017 February 23, 2017 February 24, 2017

February Fourth Friday

February 25, 2017

Samedi Gras Celebration

February 26, 2017
February 27, 2017 February 28, 2017 March 1, 2017 March 2, 2017 March 3, 2017

LAST HAM STANDING COMEDY IMPROV

March 4, 2017

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

March 5, 2017
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Lifestyle

Hillsboro Plans Mardi Gras Celebration on February 25

20 Feb 2017

nothing else main in hillsboro grey

Mardi Gras celebration will be held in Hillsboro on Saturday, February 25 as a benefit for the Old Stone Schoolhouse. The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. Hurricanes and New Orleans drinks, as well as Old 690 beer and local wines will be served in the Garden District Bar. The Cajun Cafe will feature New Orleans cuisine, including King Cakes. …

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Four Young Historians Discuss Civil War Turning Points

2 Feb 2017

younghistorians

The Mosby Heritage Area Association will hold a talk featuring a panel of four young historians who will discuss turning points in the Civil War. The talk will be held at Unison Methodist Church, 21148 Unison Road, Middleburg, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 12. Tickets will be sold at the door or online at www.mosbyheritagearea.org/events for $15 …

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Love In All of Its Forms … Ain’t It Grand

2 Feb 2017

valentinesday

Americans exchange hundreds of millions of cards on Valentine’s Day, February 14. The National Retail Federation estimates that we will spend some $20 billion to mark the day and demonstrate to friends and family how much we love them – on what marketers call “Love’s Holiday.” Love. It’s a big deal.

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Editorial

Priscilla Nabs Plum Planning Commission Post

Loudoun County Seal Color

Appointment Shocks Many On January 3 Supervisor Tony R. Buffington Jr. (R-Blue Ridge) nominated Tom Priscilla for the Loudoun County Planning Commission to represent the Blue Ridge District. Priscilla was …

Op-ed

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

blueridge2.jpg

– 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

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– 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

Why Williams Gap Road Should Not Be Paved

blueridge2

Today, most residents of Loudoun County know nothing about Williams Gap, even those living on Williams Gap Road (Route 711). Knowing who “Williams” was, why a gap in the Blue …

Vote No To the Minor Special Exception

catesbyproposal

We are a group of Loudoun County citizens who will be adversely affected if the board grants a special exception for the Catesby Farm property at your upcoming meeting. You …

View From the Ridge

Broken Promises, Hidden by a Six-Foot Berm

blueridge2

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

Walbridge To Run for State Delegate in the 33rd District

Tia walbridge

Tia Walbridge announces her run for the District 33 seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. Walbridge is a wife and mother of two daughters and an active member of the Round Hill community. “Like many people in our district, my family has found its prosperity in a Virginia-based small …

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Office Building on Capitol Square To Be Named After Civil Rights Pioneer Barbara Johns

image002

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that the newly renovated state building located at 202 N. 9th Street on Capitol Square in Richmond (currently known as the 9th Street Office Building) will bear the name of civil rights pioneer Barbara Johns. The building, which reopened last year, houses the Virginia Attorney General’s …

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Rep. Comstock’s Key Top Priority Legislation Initiatives

barbaracomstock

Signed into Law in Her First Term Rep. Barbara Comstock, who serves the 10th congressional district in Virginia, recently reviewed the achievements of her first term in office, identifying 17 legislative initiatives that she supported that were adopted. She said: “My staff and I have met with stakeholders, local elected …

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Sports

Woodgrove Gymnasts Advance To States

15 Feb 2017

gymnastics Snare

Two Woodgrove High School gymnasts have qualified to advance to the Virginia State Championships Saturday, February 18, at Patriot High School in Nokesville. Sophomore River Stone placed fourth in the all-around competition at the 1A-5A North Regional Gymnastics Championships at Park View High School on Wednesday, February 8, which earns …

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Woodgrove Gymnastics Team Places First

1 Feb 2017

woodgrove

The Woodgrove High School Gymnastics team for placed first at their home meet. The team competed against squads from Loudoun Valley, Park View and Riverside high schools. Seniors Kaycee Delitta and Sarah Snare were honored at the event for their contributions to the team. The Wolverines excelled in individual competition …

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