Posts Tagged ‘McLean’

Best Places for a Kid’s Tea Party in Northern Virginia

By Micaela Williamson

Looking to take your kids out for a civilized weekend of tea, crumpets and conversation? Check out these locations.

7 Kids Tea Parties in Northern Virginia

Photo courtesy of Maryna Kulchytska/


American Girl Doll Store

Children can bring their beloved American Girl dolls to dine for lunch or dessert. Special birthday party packages are available that include private dining, crafts, games, a tasty meal, cake and ice cream and party favors.  See website for details.

8090L Tysons Corner Center
McLean, 22102


Cherry Hill Farmhouse

Groups of 12 or more can book an exclusive “Victorian Tea and Manners for Children.” The event features demonstrations of proper tea etiquette and an exclusive tour or the 19th century farmhouse.  Other special teas events occur throughout the year on holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Mothers’ Day, and Christmas.  Special tea programs for scouts are available.

312 Park Avenue
Falls Church, 22046
703 248-5171


Gadsby’s Tavern

Kids can celebrate their birthday in the same space that George Washington celebrated his! A costumed guide will lead the tea party and teach the customs of 18th century tea drinking, give a tour of the museum, lead games and a craft.  The celebration with cake takes place in the famous ballroom.  Dolls and stuffed animals are invited too.

134 N. Royal St.
Alexandria, 22314


Oatlands Plantation

An age-old tradition, Afternoon Tea at the Oatlands Plantation is a great experience for all ages.  Afternoon Tea occurs many times throughout the year and includes sandwiches, scones with cream, and other luxurious treats. The tea takes place in the historical Carriage House, and reservations are highly recommended.  Afterwards, mansion tours are offered to tea guests at a discounted rate.  Check the website for upcoming tea events.

20850 Oatlands Plantation Lane
Leesburg, 20175


Pink Bicycle Tea Room

This eclectic and beautiful tearoom in the cute town of Occoquan is a perfect place for a quaint tea party. Children under 10 can book a “Princess Tea,” which is filled with tea sandwiches, scones, goodies and lemonade.  Little ones don’t have to miss out on the fun. The Pink Bicycle also offers a “Lady Bug” tea option that is perfect for preschoolers.

303 Commerce Street
Occoquan, 22125

Tea with Mrs. B

Mrs. B is the local maven of manners and does great teas for children at her Falls Church storefront as well runs monthly themed teas at the lovely Morrison House in Old Town Alexandria. The teas always include dress up, crafts, stories, and of course fun manners! Special birthday party packages are also available.

136 W. Jefferson Street
Falls Church, 22046

Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner

On Thursdays through Sundays, children can enjoy a decedent “Peter Rabbit Tea” inside the luxury hotel. Children and adults alike come dressed in their best.  Reservations are recommended on the weekends. 

1700 Tysons Blvd.
McLean, 22102


Courtesy of Tiffany Brown, Mamaratzy Photography

Micaela Williamson is a co-author of local travel guide, Kid Trips Northern Virginia, an extraordinary resource that provides descriptions, useful information and insider tips for hundreds of local destinations. Micaela is also an award winning blogger who enjoys supporting area businesses and scouting out family-friendly venues with her two young sons.








Brunches, Feasts and Desserts for Easter Eats

Posted by Editorial / Monday, April 14th, 2014

Robin’s Egg Milkshake / Photo Courtesy of Ted's Bulletin

By Natalie Manitius

Celebrate the end of Lenten abstention by indulging in buffets and multiple course brunches.

Sunday Brunch

Bastille Restaurant: Choose from entrees such as eggs benedict with biscuits and caviar and a three-cheese macaroni gratin for this three-course brunch. Adults eat for $49 apiece and kids under 12 are half-price. Brunch runs from 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.  Call 703-519-3776 for reservations. / 1201 N. Royal St., Alexandria;

Evo Bistro: A three-course brunch menu runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with both savory and sweet options for $32 per person. Call 703-288-4422 for reservations. /1313 Old Chain Bridge Road, McLean; 

Grandale Restaurant: From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Grandale presents seared grouper, omelet provencal and Maryland crab cake Benedict as brunch offerings, with duck breast and beef rib eye for dinner. Cal 540-668-6000 for more information. / 14001 Harpers Ferry Road, Purcellville; 

Magnolias at the Mill: Enjoy a brunch buffet at Magnolia’s at the Mill replete with  baked salmon, Belgian waffles, butterscotch bread pudding and berry tarts. Adults eat for $42 each, children $19.95, and under 5 free. Call 540-338-9800 for reservations. /198 N. 21st St., Purcellville;

J. Gilbert’s: Reward your moderation with J. Gilbert’s brunch buffet. Breakfast devotees will have waffles and quiche at their disposal, and seafood fans can indulge in maple glazed salmon and mac n’ cheese made with lobster cream. Leave room for dessert: A chocolate fountain awaits. Brunch runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. $32 per adult, $15 for children ages 5-12./ 6930 Old Dominion Drive, McLean;

Salamander Resort and Spa: Head to Middleburg Easter Sunday for a family-friendly event replete with egg hunts, crafts for the kids and a brunch buffet. The egg hunt and roll will be at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 3 p.m., along with brunch seatings at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Sunday Brunch costs $85 per adult and includes sparkling wine, while children cost $34 each. View the menu here. Reservations can be made by calling  540-326-4161. / 500 N. Pendleton St., Middleburg;

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3 simple preventative tips for your dog’s health

By Anjelica Michael



Photo courtesy of Javier Brosch/


When our dog gets sick, owners tend to wonder if they could have done something to prevent the problem. This could help avoid inconvenient vet visits, and trying get your reluctant pooch to take the pills prescribed.

We caught up with Dr. Catherine McDaniel of the Old Dominion Animal Hospital in McLean to ask what simple things owners can do for their dog ahead of time to side-step illness or other health-related issues. 


1. It’s all about the food

McDaniel stressed was feeding your dog a good quality diet, “Not the store brand,” which may be cost effective, but does not compare to other brands. She recommended Science Diet and said that the food quality can really make a difference in your dog’s skin and coat. McDaniel also advises owners to brush your dog’s teeth daily, even though it may be difficult. Bad dental health in dogs can later lead to a multitude of health problems that people don’t realize including heart, liver, and kidney issues. 


2. Pooch Pedicure

With the rush of cold weather, McDaniel said it is extremely important to keep the fur around your dogs feet trimmed at all times, “to prevent slipping and sliding.”

“We’ve had a lot of dogs coming in who have slipped on ice,” she said. With excess fur in the way (especially between the pads on their feet,) the dogs feet cannot grip the ground well, which can lead to serious injury through a fall. Along the same lines, McDaniel says that daily brushing can save your dog from later discomfort. If not brushed frequently, she says that “the dog’s fur can become matted, and this can lead to skin sores from irritation.”


3. Always Watch behind the ears

Lastly, McDaniel pointed out that a lot of people don’t check their dog’s ears, but should once a week.

“Dogs are more prone to ear infections than cats,” she said. Moisture can become trapped in a dogs ear, leading to an infection. So when rubbing your furry friend behind the ear, peek inside to see if there is any redness, irritation or if something just doesn’t look right.

These easy tasks done by owners can keep your best friend happy and healthy, while also looking their best. But it is important to remember to keep up with your dog’s yearly veterinary check-ups, McDaniel says that along with yearly heartworm and flea/tick preventative medicines will be essential in warding off health problems in your dog. 



Slopes in the Backyard

Posted by Editorial / Thursday, January 9th, 2014

The Farmer’s Almanac has projected that Virginia will experience a particularly snowy winter this year. It’s about time.

One of our favorite past times during the winter months is enjoying the simple pleasure of gently gliding down a hill of powder on a comfy sleigh. Or nestling with the family on a Toboggan and holding on a long stretch down the slopes. Or speeding like a bullet down the steepest plunges around. Whatever your speed, sledding is a must this winter. Be prepared. —Robert Cameron Fowler


Photo courtesy of L.L. Bean.

Sonic Snow Tube
When you climb into a tube and tilt yourself over the precipice, you’ve given yourself over to fate, blasting down the slope without any control. Which is why you want something sturdy and insulated, like L.L. Bean’s Sonic Snow Tube, built to last for years and able to zip along any type of snow, be it packed or powdery. Speed: Whoa! Control: It’s in God’s hands now.



Photo courtesy of Lucky Bums.

Lucky Bums Wooden Toboggan – 48 in.
Get the entire family on the happiest of road trips—straight down a wintry slope. Toboggans are the most beautiful of sleigh rides, and the Lucky Bums Wooden Toboggan has all the features you want: built from smoothed wood, front curl to the leader of your pack to slot their feet into, and a comfy sled pad your family to sit back and enjoy the fun. Speed: Whoa! Control: Make sure you have a clear path.



Photo courtesy of Cabela’s.

PT Blaster Sled
Some slopes require the deft touch. When you are gliding past trees and jutting rocks, maneuverability is essential. The PT Blaster Sled, constructed from high-impact plastic and complete with steering, is a great way to navigate the more treacherous hills. Speed: Moderate Control: Easy to pilot.



Photo courtesy of Pelican International.

Pelican Kinder Sleigh
Plastic is efficient, but it lacks winter magic and polish. This nostalgically crafted sleigh by Pelican Sports is perfect for your children, a safe and durable little sleigh that recalls the wooden sleds of yesteryear to mind. Speed: Moderate Control: Make sure you have a clear path.



Photo courtesy of MH Sleds.

Snow Sled Saucer Heavy Duty
If you are the straight-forward kind of rider and just want to zip down the slope at awesome speeds, go with a saucer. The Snow Sled Saucer Heavy Duty by MH Sleds is an incredibly sturdy and affordable dish for you to surf the snow on. Speed: Whoa! Control: Surrender to fate on this one.



Sledding Locations

Enjoy the winter wonderland of the best local hills for a sleigh ride.

Mt. Reston
A cherished favorite amongst Reston and Herndon residents, this broad and expansive hill beside the Unitarian Church provides enough open space for people of all ages
to glide down the packed-in snow at thrilling speeds. 1625 Wiehle Ave., Reston.

The Big Hill at Wolftrap
A quintessential sledding destination, this big ol’ hill will accommodate an army of sleigh-riders. Expect a smooth, long ride down the slope, which is not to steep and makes for a great time for the entire family. 1551 Trap Road, Vienna.

Suicide Hill
Do not take the name lightly. This short-but-steep slope will have you jetted off into high speeds—into a condo resting at the bottom of the hill if you’re not careful. Only true thrill seekers should take on this gnarly hill—and make sure to be riding on a sled that is very, very sturdy. Martha Custis Drive and Preston Road, Alexandria

Westgate Park
While not as perilous as Suicide Hill, this hill is not a good idea for beginners. Popular and packed, it’s a great destination for more seasoned sledding families to go and enjoy some great powder. 7550 Magarity Road, McLean.

Stone House
Wintry sledding locales don’t get much cooler than a Civil War monument. Head over the Stone House in Manassas Battlefield Park and you’ll find a hill between 300-400 feet of smooth riding. Speeding down the snow with cannons overlooking on the precipice of the hill is an exciting way to spend your winter holiday. Intersection of Sudley Road and Lee Highway.

(January 2014)

Notes on Northern Virginia Magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants Issue, 2013 – Now Online

Posted by Stefanie Gans, Dining Editor / Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

“Am I an optimist or a pessimist?” I asked Warren Rojas, the former Northern Virginia Magazine dining editor, at dinner last night. Over fried calamari (with a wasabi aioli at a Chinese restaurant; I’ll get to that in the February issue), we were talking about hope. I want every restaurant meal to be wonderful. Glorious. To flush me with enough fodder to create taste memories forever. But sometimes they don’t. And then I’m heartbroken.

“You have to manage your expectations,” Warren tells me, as I’m about to finish my second year as a restaurant critic. 

“So, if I always want the best, but then am disappointed, does this make me a deluded optimist? Or a perpetual pessimist?” We didn’t figure it out. 

Eating for the 50 Best Restaurants issue is a balance in presumptions and, after the swallow, reality. Will my favorite restaurants from last year continue producing thoughtful food? Will a new restaurant fail to fulfill its promise? Will an established restaurant suddenly feel more vibrant than ever? 

It takes a lot of meals, money and miles to put together a list of upstanding restaurants from Arlington to The Plains, from Lovettsville to Fredericksburg. It also requires some intuition. When the Loudoun County chef shuffle placed some of the area’s top chefs in new restaurants—just before our deadline to close the list—we had to decide how to handle the switches. The magazine’s policy would normally allow the chefs to gain comfort in their new kitchens before formally reviewing the food. But we didn’t have the editorial time in bizarre magazine world where we work on Christmas stories when it’s still jacket-less weather. My editor and I decided to judge them immediately because they were established chefs at established restaurants. It was a time I hoped for the best and a time when these newly rearranged talents rewarded me with lovely dishes. Maybe I am an optimist.

The 2013 Best Restaurants list was compiled differently than last year: Only the top 10 restaurants are ranked and the remainder of the restaurants are compared to other restaurants in that same county, which should help you find a great place to eat, much closer to home. 

Northern Virginia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2013


After the jump: Updates on the list, as the chef shuffles continue.

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Homeless Man Killed Near Ft. Belvoir; McLean Schools Get Mobile

Va. same-sex arguments were heard Wednesday in Harrisonburg.
(Loudoun Times, NBC 29)

WUSA examines a push for young blue voters in 2013.

Senate hears case for stricter security clearances after Navy Yard.

Prince George crime continues to fall.

Homeless man killed by police near Ft. Belvoir.

McLean schools are getting mobile.

Alden Pianist Brings Caligari to Life

Posted by Editorial / Thursday, October 24th, 2013

From the Collection of Bruce Lawton

Roger Ebert is quoted as saying that “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” might be the first true horror film, “a subjective psychological fantasy.” The silent German expressionist film, directed by Robert Wiene in 1920, first shocked audiences with a very present danger—that of a somnambulist, or a sleep walker with the ability to use his or her motor skills. You know where this is going.

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The Breakdown: Put Your Best Foot Forward

Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

It’s time to ditch the treadmills and hit the trails. Embrace the cool, fall air and take your workout routine outdoors. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned runner, we’ve got all your running needs covered. Take your position, and brace yourself for that first place finish.

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Identifying and confronting breast cancer risks

By Lexi Gray Steacy

Thanks in part to government projects such as the Women’s Health Initiative and outreach by celebrities like Angelina Jolie, the risks associated with breast cancer are commonly discussed in the national media. Still, many women may wonder where to begin after determining the need to assess their own risk of developing breast cancer.

Photo courtesy of The Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine

Lisa Lilienfield, M.D., of the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine in McLean, says that many good things have resulted from the increased focus on breast cancer over the past few decades, yet there is still a need for more discussion regarding individual symptoms and preventive lifestyle changes for those battling breast cancer.

A great starting point for those investigating their own risk for breast cancer is to first take stock of the family medical history. “Talk to a primary care physician or nurse practitioner about your concerns. It’s important to choose a healthcare provider who will block off a significant amount of time to listen to their patients—30 minutes or more is ideal. The patient should not feel rushed,” Lilienfield says. 

Several tests are used to determine a person’s risk of developing breast cancer, provide an assessment of estrogen levels and how the hormones are being metabolized. Lifestyle changes may help to metabolize hormones in a way that minimizes the risk of developing breast cancer.

“Various dietary and lifestyle habits may affect the way your body is metabolizing the estrogen, so people who are overweight, do not exercise, or are diagnosed with endocrine disorders like hypothyroidism may have an increased risk.” Lilienfield suggests eating a number of foods that may improve the way estrogen is metabolized in a person’s body: broccoli, cauliflower and flax seed.

Women living in Northern Virginia are at an advantage when it comes to seeking advice and treatment for breast cancer and other health concerns, Lilienfield says. “I do believe that women in this area have access to quality screening facilities and health education. This area is known for having a fairly well education population, which means many people are aware of many risk factors associated with breast cancer.”

As with any medical condition, being able to identify common misconceptions is also important. When it comes to breast cancer, a common misconception is that hormone replacement therapy should always be avoided in menopause, due to an associated risk of developing breast cancer. Lilienfield says that while certain hormone replacement therapies do in fact carry an increased risk for breast cancer, there are others on the market that have a much lower risk, as they closely mimic the body’s own estrogen. It is important for patients to explore these concerns with health care providers, in order to find safe solutions that will also improve quality of life.

Trending: McLean Youth Lacrosse 1, Government shutdown 0

By Carten Cordell

James A Boardman/

While Congress can’t end the government shutdown, a McLean youth sports league has whipped the gridlock in federal court.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that McLean Youth Lacrosse had, for the moment, won its lawsuit to reopen Langley Fork Park in McLean for its competition fields.

A federal judge ruled that because the park sits on federal land, but is managed by the Fairfax County Park Authority, that the federal government could not restrict McLean Youth Lacrosse’s access to the park. According to McLean Youth Lacrosse’s lawsuit, the group paid Fairfax County Park Authority $5,000 to use the fields this fall, not the federal government.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady is temporary though, as both parties will head back to court in Alexandria Oct. 18 to negotiate a permanent resolution. Until then, play on children.


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