Archive for the ‘Virginia Home’ Category

Twice a year, Mount Vernon Estates (the home of George Washington) becomes the site of the Wine Festival and Sunset Tours. It’s become a tradition for John and I to go whenever we’re in town. It’s a great was to spend a relaxing evening on the lawn overlooking the beautiful Potomac and listening to the jazz band.  And, better yet, we go with friends ~ makes for wonderful

Mount Vernon Estate

Friday night was our 4th visit. We’ve got it down to a science now: Get there early, stake out a good spot on the lawn (not too close to the band) and then hit the wine tasting as soon as possible. Elbowing people out of the way is essential ~ some set up station and continue drinking without a thought about the people behind them waiting for a sip. Once we find the wine we like, we buy a bottle (or three) and head back to the chairs to relax.  The Dixie Power Trio (there are really 4 members) played toe-tapping New Orleans-style jazz, zydeco, Cajun sounds. Loved their rendition of  “When The Saints Come Marching In” as festival-goers formed a conga line and danced around the lawn. 

Mount Vernon Estates is located in Alexandria, Virginia on the banks of the Potomac River.  It’s one of the country’s most popular historic estate and welcomes over 1 million visitors every year.  There’s the plantation house, many out-buildings and gorgeous grounds which include flower and vegetable gardens. I visit Mount Vernon as often as I can but the wine festival is definitely a highlight.

Wine Festival II

This year there were 16 Virginia Wineries represented. I enjoyed “Dog and Oyster” and “Sunset Hills” wines but we ended up choosing “Trump Winery” as our bottle(s) of choice (a tasty Merlot).

Wine Festival Glass Collection

If you decide to go, purchasing your tickets in advance is essential. The festival usually sells out on Friday and Saturday nights. They’ve added Sunday evening due to the popularity of the event. I’m tempted to go back tonight just to listen to the band. The fall Wine Festival is scheduled for October 3,4 and 5, 2014. Tickets go on sale August 25, 2014.

Helpful Hints:

  • Bring a folding chair and blanket for the lawn
  • Have valid photo identification
  • Outside food & beverage not allowed. There are concessions under the tasting tent.
  • There’s Wine Valet services if you decide to buy several bottles/case. The wine will be waiting for you at the exit.
  • The festival goes on rain or shine so be prepared if there are any clouds in the sky
  • There are plenty of cabs waiting outside in case you’ve imbibed too much.

Click here for more information about Mount Vernon Estates and the Wine Festival.

Don’t forget to get a photo with George and Martha Washington:

Wine Festival with George and Martha Washington at Mount Vernon
Spring Wine Festival 2011

Mount Vernon with Geroge and Martha Washington
Fall Wine Festival 2012

Wine Festivalwith George and Martha
Spring Wine Festival 2014

I realize there’s a photo missing ~ seems we neglected to take photos at one of the festivals. Guess we were too busy enjoying the evening! At least that’s the story I’m sticking with…

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House Updates

If you’re interested in seeing recent renovations to our house ~ head over to The House that Could.

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Grist Mill Dog Park

Ever since our beloved dog, Sport passed away, Maya has been a lonely dog. Since she has socialization problems dating back to her shelter days, I’ve decided to take her to the dog park as often as possible. I’ve been curious about the Grist Mill Dog Park every time I drive to Fort Belvoir but yesterday was my first visit.  It was a “D-” for Maya’s socialization test.  When we first arrived, there was a standard poodle mix there who wouldn’t leave her alone and slobbered all over her. The next dog that came in was even more “afraid” than Maya which caused the other dog owner to panic every time Maya went near her dog. 

Today was much better: three dogs at the park and Maya only growled at the French Bulldog trying to hump her.  The big difference was the calm attitude of the owners ~ proving the Dog Whisperer correct once again.

If you’re looking for a dog park in Southern Alexandria and one which is very close to Fort Belvoir, I recommend the Grist Mill Dog Park.  Pros: 1 acre fenced area with bluestone dust (gravel), a baby pool for those dogs who need to cool down, a water pump and water dishes, plastic bags, lots of trash bins, benches and a fenced entrance to leash and unleash your dog.   Cons: Not all the dog owners pick up after their dog so watch your step.  Also, a Fairfax County dog license is required for your dog.

Walkway to the Park:

Maya at the park:

Clean up bags:

Leash/Unleash entrance:

Lots of space:

For more information about Grist Mill Dog Park (4710 Mount Vernon Memorial Hwy ~ between Ft Belvoir and Mount Vernon Estate) and for other Dog Parks in Fairfax County, click here.

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Spring in DC is a wonderful time of year. The blooming cherry blossoms, dogwoods, azaleas are all gorgeous and I’m looking forward to a warm fun summer. Living in a old well-established neighborhood has its advantages when landscaping.  For us, it’s more a matter of cutting back, rather than adding plants. Here’s the backyard:

And the gorgeous Dogwood tree:



We’ve settled nicely into our “new ” old home. So much to do with the house but we’re taking our time and doing one project at a time. After a year and a couple of months, I’m finally having an estate sale on Saturday for my mom’s furniture and household goods.  My sister, Jo, came into town to help out and we’ve been working diligently emptying boxes but pause frequently when a memory is triggered.  We’ll keep the items which make us smile and reminds us of many good times with both my mom and dad.

Update: Estate sale went well except none of the furniture sold. Time to get reacquainted with Craigslist.

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