Ultimate Summer Guide: 32 Degrees of Fun

Summertime in Northern Virginia is so hot and humid, it can make you want to dip yourself in a bucket of ice.

By Susan Anspach, Chase Johnson, Natalie Lescroart, Katherine Neubert and Lynn Norusis

Summertime in Northern Virginia is so hot and humid, it can make you want to dip yourself in a bucket of ice.

 

01 | Ice Wine
Ice wine is produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. While Canada and Germany are the world’s largest producers of this very sweet and highly concentrated dessert wine, Virginia is lucky enough to have a few vineyards that have mastered the art. Stop in at Rockbridge Vineyard or James River Cellars for daily ice wine tastings, or make a day of it at one of their summer tasting events.—NL

Summer Breeze Fete
July 10 @ noon
Rockbridge Vineyard is famous for its V d’Or ice wine, which blends estate-grown vidal blanc, riesling, vignoles and traminette, to create a drink with a sweet mandarin and honey flavor. Join winemaker and vineyard owner Shepherd Rouse for tastings of the V d’Or and other wines. Local musicians will play, and food will be available for purchase. The tasting includes wine and a souvenir glass. Rockbridge Vineyard, 35 Hill View Lane, Raphine; 888-511-9463; www.rockbridgevineyard.com; $5.

Sundays in the Shade
July 18 @ 1 p.m.
Winemakers at James River Cellars use vidal blanc and traminette grapes in an ice wine style to create their fruity and floral Divino wine. Amid relaxing live acoustic music on the patio, pair wine samples with cheeses, cheesecake and other desserts for a savory Sunday treat. James River Cellars, 11008 Washington Highway, Glen Allen; 804-550-7516; www.jamesrivercellars.com; $5.

 


 

Blue Ridge Hot Air Balloons
Courtesy of Blue Ridge Hot Air Balloons

02 | Hot Air Ballooning
Weather permitting, Blue Ridge Hot Air Balloons offers the opportunity to gently waft across the Shenandoah Valley Monday through Sunday, any time of year. For $200 per person, balloons depart in early morning or late afternoon from six different launch locations in Front Royal, Winchester, Berryville and Strasburg, and reach heights of 500 to 5,000 feet over the course of an hour-long flight. The company recommends calling a few weeks in advance of your intended flight day. 540-622-6325; www.rideair.com—SA

 


 

03 | Rooftop Dining
When the sun dips down, NoVA’s rooftop establishments heat up. Enjoy the view from any of these culinary vantage points.—SA

Courtesy of Iron Bridge Wine Company
Courtesy of Iron Bridge Wine Company

Iron Bridge Wine Company
A hardwood rooftop deck hovering above Warrenton’s Main Street offers ample seating and a unique outlook from which to enjoy more than 30 by-the-glass varietals, plus the gourmet kitchen’s signature strip steak, pan-seared foie gras and mac ‘n’ cheese studded with deep-fried chicken and tender lobster. 29 Main St., Warrenton; 540-349-9339; www.ironbridgewines.com

Daniel O’Connell’s
Daniel O’Connell’s rustic indoor setting—complete with dark-wood polished bars, fireplaces and dim yellow lighting—gives way to a second-floor patio primed for King Street people-watching. Chef Colin Abernethy’s food holds fast to its Irish roots, with a menu featuring lamb platters, rashers and game hen. 112 King St., Alexandria; 703-739-1124; www.danieloconnells.com

John’s Place
While its collection of vintage pinball machines is enough to keep a parade of regulars trickling through, John’s Place wears its dive-bar label with pride, and its rooftop is no exception. Perched atop an aging strip mall, the deck’s only way up is via a rickety metal staircase. 11104 Lee Highway, Fairfax; 703-352-7222

Eventide
Split between a first come, first served dining area and bar, Eventide’s rooftop is the only one of its kind in Arlington. A special open-air menu brings forth foods all intentionally served chilled, including light seafood, cheese plates and cool soups; while the bar places a heavy accent on such outdoor drinks as seasonal beers and white wine. 3165 N. Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-276-3165; www.eventiderestaurant.com

 


 

04 | Establishments with Cooling Names
If the burden of the sun seems physically inescapable, channel chilly thoughts at these restaurants with cool monikers.—KN

Caribbean Breeze
Sip on a refreshing mango daiquiri or pomegranate margarita. 4100 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington; 703-812-7997; www.caribbeanbreezeva.com

Willow
Imagine the tranquility of sitting under a murmuring willow tree as a cool breeze blows by. 4301 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington; 703-465-8800; www.willowva.com

SeaPearl
Drink in various shades of blue and white reminiscent of the ocean while you partake in chef/owner Sly Liao’s seasonally inspired menu. 8191 Strawberry Lane, #2, Falls Church; 703-372-5161; www.seapearlrestaurant.com

Clare and Don’s Beach Shack
Walls plastered in flip-flops and an outdoor beach bar are enough to make you think you’ve slipped off to the Keys. 130 N. Washington St., Falls Church; 703-532-9283; www.clareanddons.com

Frozen Dairy Bar and Boardwalk Pizza
Make a pit stop at Frozen Dairy Bar for some frozen custard that’ll bring you back to neutral. 6649 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church; 703-534-4200; www.fdbandbwp.com

 


 

05 | Lightning Bugs
Mother Nature’s natural fireworks have been in decline due to the loss and decreased quality of their habitat, as well as light pollution, says Steve Living, biologist with the state’s Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. But if you take to dark areas—say, in a regional park, or a wooded part of your community—you can still sneak a peak at the glowing creatures. Bring a picnic and a blanket, and let the little ones run after the little bugs. (The fireflies, not their siblings!)—LN

 


 

06 | Swimming Holes
Leave the chlorine behind in favor of fresh-water pools nestled in the wilderness.—LN

Lake Anna (Courtesy of Department of Conservation and Recreation)
Lake Anna (Courtesy of Department of Conservation and Recreation)

The Ponds in Overall Run
Shenandoah National Park

Cedar Run Falls
Shenandoah National Park (see Natural Waterslides)

Mountain Run
New Market

Passage Creek
Front Royal

Rappahannock River
Falmouth

Lake Anna
Spotsylvania

Jones Run/Doyles River
Shenandoah National Park

 


 

Comfort & Joy Wellness Spa (Photographs by Jonathan Timmes)
Comfort & Joy Wellness Spa (Photographs by Jonathan Timmes)

07 | Cooling Spa Treatments
Don’t let the beating sun get the best of you. Head to a local spa to enjoy refreshing and hydrating treatments, designed to revitalize your body, mind, skin and hair.—KN

Start off with a Body Polish and Sugar Body Scrub at Comfort & Joy Wellness Spa. Aromatic oils combined with sugar are used to exfoliate the skin. “A nice scrub to use in the summer is our Orange Ginger scrub,” says Comfort & Joy owner Julie Smalfelt. She suggests following the scrub with a one-hour Calming Aromatherapy Aloe Wrap, meant to soothe dry and flaky skin, or skin that has been overly exposed to the sun. $65 for 30 min. Body Scrub | $125 for 60 min. Aloe Wrap | $185 for 90 min. for both. 9514-A Main St., Fairfax; 703-425-8800; www.comfortjoy.com

Washing your face after a day out in the sun is a quick way to cool off from the summer heat. Raise the bar a notch when you head to Sugar House Day Spa & Salon and try their Organic Facial. $110. 111 N. Alfred St., Alexandria; 703-549-9940; www.sugarhousedayspa.com

Bare, or nearly bare, feet can take a lot of punishment pounding the pavement in flip-flops all summer. Treat them to a refreshing peppermint foot wrap, part of Amenity Day Spa’s Spa Pedicure. $55 for 50 min. 44365 Premier Plaza, Suite 120, Ashburn; 703-726-8100; www.amenitydayspa.com

Every woman knows what sticky humidity can do to hair. Put your mind and curls at ease with Elle et Lui’s Keratin Complex, a soothing therapy by Coppola that treats frizzy, curly and dry hair, making it no problem to blow dry. 2539 Chain Bridge Road, Vienna; 703-938-6888; www.elleetluisalon.com

 


 

08 | Cold-Blooded Animals

Reptiles Alive! (Courtesy of Jennifer Pennington)
Reptiles Alive! (Courtesy of Jennifer Pennington)

Reptiles Alive!
This live animal show is the most popular of its kind. Since 1996, the traveling wildlife education organization has performed thousands of animal shows throughout Virginia and Washington, D.C. Book Reptiles Alive! for a private party, or head to one of several public event shows in NoVA this month, and you’ll come face to face with their rotating cast of cold-blooded creatures. 703-560-0257; www.reptilesalive.com—NL

 


 

09 | Water Parks
Pick up a Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority Bounce Pass ($85 for residents), and enjoy NVRPA water parks all summer long.—KN

Courtesy of Cameron Run
Courtesy of Cameron Run

Cameron Run Regional Park
Great Waves Waterpark features a four-story waterslide with three flumes that send you flying down curves, dips and undulations. 4001 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria; 703-960-0767; www.nvrpa.org/parks/cameronrun

Algonkian Regional Park
Get a massive downpour of water at the newly renovated Volcano Island. 47001 Fairway Drive, Sterling; 703-450-4655; www.nvrpa.org/parks/downpour

Bull Run Regional Park
Features the new Atlantis Waterpark, full of mermaids, dolphins, a water cannon and 230 feet of open-slide fun. 7700 Bull Run Drive, Centreville; 703-631-0550; www.nvrpa.org/parks/bullrun

Upton Hill Regional Park
Features a large swimming area with lap pool, play pool, pool with a slide and a surrounding wooded park. 6060 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-534-3437; www.nvrpa.org/parks/uptonhill

Splashdown Waterpark
Features 13 acres of park adventures; including a 770-foot lazy river, a Big Kahuna Beach with 250 pounds of sand, two four-story waterslides, four children’s slides and a 25-meter lap pool. Prices are $14.95 for those 48 inches and above, $10.95 for those under 48 inches and free for ages 2 and under. After 3 p.m. anyone 2 and up is $9. 7500 Ben Lomond Park Drive, Manassas; 703-361-4451; www.splashdownwaterpark.com

 


 

10 | Ice Sculpture
There’s a certain quality of tone—fleeting, sophisticated, expensive—only an objet d’ice can set. Manassas-based sculpting company Ice Kristals carves from 300-pound blocks of frozen water that they can shape into a figure of your choosing—be it soaring eagle, ice luge, caviar station or iguana. For a sizable centerpiece appropriate to an elegant summer fete, expect to pay between $300 and $600 (cost includes delivery and setup; backlight options extra). The sculptures last between five and six indoor hours. 8512 Bucyrus Court, Suite 101, Manassas; 703-369-7374; www.icekristals.com—SA

 


 

11 | Make-Your-Own-Ice Cream
Toby’s Strawberry Ice Cream
Toby’s tips: “I recommend strawberries that are completely red (no white tips), a little on the smaller side (because they have more flavor; the bigger ones have too much water), and even just very slightly overripe. You’ll need an ice-cream machine for churning/freezing.”—LN

Ice-Cream Base
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup half-n-half
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. (few drops)
vanilla extract

1 In a medium-sized mixing bowl, pour the cream and vanilla extract.
2 Whisk the cream and very slowly add the sugar, whisking until completely blended. Slowly pour in the half-n-half, and whisk until completely incorporated.

Strawberry Puree
1 pint fresh strawberries (hulled)
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 Put strawberries in a small mixing bowl, and mash with fork or potato masher into a slightly chunky puree. (If you have kids, you can even ask them to squish the strawberries by hand.)
2 Add sugar and lemon juice, and stir together.

To freeze and churn: Add about 2/3 of Strawberry Puree into Ice-Cream Base, and stir together. Pour mixture into ice-cream machine, and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Toward the end of freezing, add remaining Strawberry Puree (this adds some bigger strawberry pieces into the ice cream).

Of course, if you don’t have time or are too lazy to make this delicious recipe, stop in Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream, and you can enjoy it by the scoop.

Toby’s Homemade Ice Cream 5849 A Washington Blvd., Arlington; 703-536-7000; www.tobysicecream.com

 


 

12 | Underground Cellars and Basements
It seems Loudoun County has uncovered the secret to staying comfortable in the summer: staying out of the sun. You’ll find cool refuge in any of these underground hotspots in Middleburg.—NL

Red Fox Inn (Photograph by JD Cantu)
Red Fox Inn (Photograph by JD Cantu)

Cuppa Giddy Up
Duck down to squeeze into this hole-in-the-wall coffee shop. In the cool and quaint basement venue, baristas serve up hot drinks and small snacks. 8 E. Washington St., Middleburg; 540-687-8122

Mello Out
Submerge into a world of sweets and java. This charming, labyrinth-like shop is open for breakfast, lunch and most hours of sugar craving. Try a handmade marshmallow, or choose from a number of light sandwiches. 2 E. Federal St., Middleburg; 540-687-8635; www.marshmellos.com

Red Fox Inn
Enjoy a candlelit dinner in the original Hunt County inn’s rustic and cozy dining room. With stone fireplaces and hand-hewn ceiling beams, the room exudes old elegance. 2 E. Washington St., Middleburg; 540-687-6301; www.redfox.com

 


 

13 | Indoor Ice Rinks
Lace up and chill out at any one of these year-round ice rinks. Offering a number of summer camps and group skates, the rinks listed below will allow you to stay cool, active and out of the sun.—NL

Ashburn Ice House
21595 Smiths Switch Road, Ashburn; 703-858-0300; www.ashburnice.com

Fairfax Ice Arena
3779 Pickett Road, Fairfax; 703-323-1132; www.fairfaxicearena.com

Kettler Capitals Iceplex
627 N. Glebe Road, Arlington; 571-224-0555; www.kettlercapitalsiceplex.com

Mount Vernon Ice Arena
2017 Belle View Blvd., Alexandria; 703-768-3224

SkateQuest
1800 Michael Faraday Court, Reston; 703-709-1010; www.skatequest.com

 


 

14 | Summer Recipes
We reached out to area chefs to share with you some of their favorite summer staples. Follow these simple recipes to refresh and replenish with a light and tasty treat.—NL

(Photograph by Jonathan Timmes)
(Photograph by Jonathan Timmes)

Crab-Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
“Light, simple and good for a party”

Serves: 5
50 cherry tomatoes
1 pound picked cooked
Jumbo-lump Eastern Shore blue crab meat
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. whole grain mustard
1 1/2 tbsp. mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. Tabasco
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. fresh chives, cut finely
1 tsp. of Old Bay
Salt and pepper (to taste)

1 Sift through the crab meat for any missed shells, trying not to break up the lumps.
2 In a separate mixing bowl, place mayonnaise, mustard, chopped chives, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, Old Bay and egg yolk. Mix until thoroughly incorporated.
3 Fold mixture together gently with a rubber spatula, or gently with your hands until mixture is consistent throughout. Season with salt and pepper.
4 Scoop out tomatoes. Season if desired, and fill each tomato with one tsp. of the crab mixture.
5 Garnish with chives.

Recipe provided by Shannon Overmiller, chef at The Majestic
911 King St., Alexandria; 703-837-9117; www.majesticcafe.com

 


 

Watermelon Granita-Topped Sno-Balls
“A kind of granita sno-ball sundae”

Serves: 4
6 cups diced seedless red watermelon
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. sugar
1 pint vanilla ice cream

1 Puree the watermelon, lemon juice and sugar in a blender until liquefied.
2 Pour the mixture into a 9-inch glass baking dish, and place it on a flat surface in the freezer for 1 hour.
3 Remove the pan from the freezer, and use a fork to stir and break it up. Place the pan back in the freezer for at least another 2 hours.
4 Portion the ice cream into four bowls.
5 Remove the granita blend from the freezer, and rake it from one side of the pan to the other with a fork.
6 Cover each serving of ice cream with 1/4 of the granita. Serve immediately. While the granita can keep in the freezer for weeks, it has the sweetest, juiciest flavor within 12 hours of making.

Recipe provided by David Guas, pastry chef and author of “DamGoodSweet: Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth New Orleans Style”
Taunton Press, 2009; www.damgoodsweet.com

 


 

(Photograph by Jonathan Timmes)
(Photograph by Jonathan Timmes)

Green Bean-and-Tomato Chutney Salad
“Season to taste”

Serves: 8
2 pounds green beans, trimmed
4 medium tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup chopped Vidalia onion
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
1 large garlic clove, chopped
1 tbsp. chopped, peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp. fresh black pepper
1/2 tsp. sweet paprika

1 Cook beans in a large pot of boiling, salted water for about 6 minutes—or until crisp and tender.
2 Drain the water, and rinse the green beans with cold water before draining again. Pat the beans dry.
3 Chop tomatoes in a food processor; and add in the onion, brown sugar garlic, ginger, oil, pepper and paprika. Process until almost smooth.
4 Pour the tomato mixture over the green beans, and toss to coat them in the chutney.
5 Cover and refrigerate for about four hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe provided by Rock Harper, chef and instructor at Stratford University; www.chefrockinc.com

 


 

15 | Boat Rentals
Sprinkled through Northern Virginia, there’s any number of places that rent out to those interested in paddling, sailing or sputtering the day away.—KN

Burke Lake Park
For rent: rowboats and electric motors
7315 Ox Road, Fairfax Station; 703-323-6600; www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/burkelake

Crockett Park
For rent: jon boats, canoes, pedal boats, sailboats
10066 Rogues Road, Midland; 540-788-4867; www.fauquiercounty.gov

Locust Shade Park
For rent: pedal boats (weekends only)
4701 Locust Shade Drive, Triangle; 703-221-8579; www.pwcparks.org/locust/index.html

Fountainhead
For rent: canoes, kayaks, jon boats
10875 Hampton Road, Fairfax Station; 703-250-9124; www.nvrpa.org/parks/fountainhead

Pohick Bay Regional Park
For rent: pedal boats, kayaks, sailboats, jon boats, canoes
6501 Pohick Bay Drive, Lorton; 703-339-6104; www.nvrpa.org/parks/pohickbay/index.php

 


 

16 | Cool Technology
12v Cooling Car Summer Seat
Beat the heat inside your vehicle with a cooling car-seat cover. The cover’s adjustable cooling control system will make the otherwise stifling ride to work or from the beach infinitely more pleasant. www.smarthome.com; $59.99—NL

SwiMP3.1G
This SwiMP3 player brings the beats down under. Now you can swim laps while keeping pace with all of your favorite tunes. www.finisinc.com; $149.99—NL

Cooling Dog Bed
A fur coat is far from practical in the scorching summer heat, but many of our four-legged friends find themselves trapped. This water-filled bed gives pooches a comfortable and healthy place to coolly pass the dog days of summer—inside or out. www.orvis.com; starting at $59—NL

Cordless Phone with Submersible Waterproof Handset and Caller ID
Imagine the luxury of not having to scramble from the patio to answer a phone ringing urgently within the house. With this cordless and waterproof phone model, chat all day from the chill of the pool. www.unidendirect.com; $49.99 —NL

Windsor Self Watering Window Planters
Whether you’re going out of town for the weekend, or you just can’t bring yourself to leave the air-conditioning of your living room, these self-watering planter boxes will ensure that thirsty plants and flowers will stay properly hydrated. www.brookstone.com; starting at $99.95—NL

 


 

17 | Dog Parks
Summer is for the dogs. Treat your furry friend to a dog’s day out at one of these local parks.—KN

Alexandria
– Del Ray Dog Park at Simpson Stadium, at the intersection of Route 1 and Monroe Avenue
– 5000 block of Duke Street, east of the Charles E. Beatley Jr. Library
– Dog Run Park at Carlyle, 450 Andrew’s Lane
– Founders Park at Oronoco and Union Streets (off-leash areas marked with bollards)
– Southeast corner of Braddock Road and Commonwealth
– Monticello Park, Northanna Drive, area east of entrance (off-leash areas marked with bollards)
– Median at E. Timberbranch Parkway and Timberbranch Drive (off-leash areas marked with bollards)
– Chambliss Street (off-leash areas marked with bollards)
– Brenman Park, Brenman Park Drive, by Backlick Creek

Arlington County dog exercise areas
– Glencarlyn Park, 301 S. Harrison St.
– Shirlington Park, 2601 S. Arlington Mill Drive
– Benjamin Banneker Park, 1701 N. Van Buren St.
– Fort Barnard, at the corner of S. Polland Street and S. Walter Reed Drive
– Utah Park, 3191 S. Utah St.
– 1299 Herndon and 13th Street, Clarendon

Fairfax County off-leash dog areas
– Baron Cameron, 11300 Baron Cameron Ave., Reston
– Blake Lane, 10033 Blake Lane, Oakton
– Chandon, 900 Palmer Drive, Herndon
– Grist Mill, 4710 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Alexandria
– Quinn Farm, 15150 Old Lee Road, Chantilly
– Mason District, intersection of Alpine Drive and Pinecrest Parkway, Annandale
– South Run, 7550 Reservation Drive, Springfield
– Vienna Dog Park at Moorefield Park, 700 Courthouse Road, adjacent to Nottoway Park, Vienna

Prince William
– In the parking lot of the Merrifield Garden Center on Wellington Road*

Fredericksburg
– At the corner of Kenmore Avenue and Mary Ball Street

Loudoun
– 22025 Evergreen Mills Road, Leesburg; 703-720-BARK; members only

 

 

 

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