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Poll: Are You Traveling for Thanksgiving or Christmas?

The day is here — the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, one of the busiest car travel days of the year.

More on just how bad traffic will be from AAA Mid-Atlantic:

Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. is virtually “Zero Hour” if you are traveling clockwise on the Capital Beltway when traffic speeds will be down to about 7 miles per hour (mph), as you crawl toward your Thanksgiving destination, according to projections by INRIX, in collaboration with AAA. Tuesday, the eve of Thanksgiving Eve, is also the absolute worst time to be caught on the Outer Loop of the Capital Beltway, especially during the evening rush hour at 6:15 p.m. Here, travel delays will increase nearly 100 percent and travel speeds will drop to 23 miles per hour, as holiday travelers and commuters co-mingle and converge at one of the biggest bottlenecks in the Washington metro area.

Thanksgiving Eve, Wednesday November 21, is the worst day and time to travel for holiday travelers taking Interstate 95 North, Interstate 270 North, and U.S. 50 East, according to data from INRIX. There are 15 freeway segments to eschew. Knowing when and where congestion will build can help drivers avoid the stress of sitting in traffic. Then there are the hotspots to circumvent and circumnavigate during the getaway period. […]

“With 1.2 million Washington area residents hitting the highways for the holiday, travel delays will become a contagion on area freeways and highways on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and on Thanksgiving Eve, as virtually everyone experiences a significant increase in travel times and traffic congestion,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “Holiday traffic, and any poor soul caught up in it, will creep, crawl and slither along. Given this, holiday travelers will be forced to add ‘extra buffer time’ to their trips to reach their Thanksgiving destinations on time.”

That brings us to our poll question: we’re wondering if Tysons Reporter readers will be heading out of town for holiday, despite the big traffic rush, or staying here. Also, while we’re at it, what about Christmas travel?

Regardless of whether you’re driving, flying or otherwise, let us know if you’re heading out of town for the holidays.

Table via AAA Mid-Atlantic

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Morning Notes

‘Fish Taco’ Coming to Boro in Tysons — “Fish Taco, a fast-casual Mexican restaurant with three locations in Maryland, plans to open its first Virginia store at the Boro development in Tysons… by June next year. A rep for Fish Taco tells Eater the new location in the mixed-use development will have space for 60 customers to consume taco platters, salads, rice bowls, burritos, and quesadillas — all utilizing local and seasonal ingredients.” [Eater]

Mall Hours for Black Friday — “Tysons Corner Center… will be open for 28 hours straight. This year, the mall opens at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 22 and will remain open Friday, Nov. 23 from midnight-10 p.m. Across Chain Bridge Road, Tysons Galleria will be closed on Thanksgiving. On Black Friday, hours will be 8 a.m.-9 p.m.” [Patch]

Dulles Toll Road Rates Going Up — “The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority board of directors voted Nov. 14 to increase rates on the toll road again, starting this coming January. Drivers of two-axle vehicles, who now pay $2.50 at the main toll plaza, will see that rate jump to $3.25, and those entering or exiting tolled ramps will pay $1.50, up  from the current $1.” [InsideNova]

Herndon Site Still in the Running for Apple — Though Apple is “seriously” looking at a site in Tysons for a large new East Coast office, the company is also eyeing some other locations, like the 26-acre, state-owned Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon and sites in Raleigh, N.C. and Atlanta, Georgia. [Washington Business Journal]

McLean Blood Drive Was a Success — “With the holiday season quickly approaching, hospitals are continuously using blood products faster than donations are replacing them. With an urgent blood drive, sponsored by McLean Dermatology and Skin Care Center, volunteers and staff aimed to reach a goal of getting 40 donors during this Sunday’s drive — in which the goal was met.” [WJLA]

Parks Dept. Riffs on Facebook Outage — A tweet this morning from Fairfax County Parks: “Facebook and Instagram are down. Seems like a great excuse to take a walk and enjoy some face-to-face conversation in a park.” [Twitter]

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Photos: Pop-Up Retail Hub Opens in Tysons Corner Center

(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) Local flower delivery startup UrbanStems and other digital-native retail brands, in addition to long-time mall staple DKNY, opened this weekend at a new physical location in Tysons Corner Center mall.

BrandBox, a project launched by mall operator Macerich, adds physical foot traffic to the mostly digital companies. Tysons Corner Center was the first location for the retail experiment, which opened this past Saturday (Nov. 17).

The first group of startups in the location will be:

  • Naadam — a Mongolian cashmere apparel company.
  • Winky Lux — a cruelty-free facial cosmetics retailer.
  • Interior Define — a home furniture store specializing in custom-built pieces.
  • Nectar — a memory-foam mattress retailer.
  • UrbanStems — a same-day flower delivery service in Washington, D.C. and New York City.

For some startups, like Nectar, the Tysons Corner Center location is their first physical storefront. The company is offering $125 off mattresses and two free pillows starting today.

“Nectar’s space features an installation with hands-on components and a beautiful visual tour through a year of sleep to celebrate the brand’s one-of-a-kind 365 Night Trial with a vignette for each season,” said a PR rep.

DKNY, the New York-based fashion house, will use its BrandBox location to try new limited edition products and designs.

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Region’s 117 Offers Take-Home Thanksgiving Dinners for a Farm-to-Your-Table Experience

For the first time, the restaurant is allowing patrons to enjoy its flavorful offerings at home

LAKE FREDERICK, VA. – The team behind Region’s 117, one of Northern Virginia’s hottest farm-to-table restaurants, will be offering pick-up Thanksgiving dinners for the first time this year, allowing patrons to enjoy its farm-fresh meals from the comfort of their own home.

“Everyone loves Thanksgiving, but not everyone loves cooking for it,” said Executive Chef Scott Bilstad, who runs Region’s 117, not only preparing the food, but also managing the menu and vendors–a unique characteristic found at all Trilogy properties nationwide where executive chefs manage onsite restaurants. “Our take-home meals allow you to have the freshest and most flavorful offerings from our network of Virginia farmers without working yourself too hard.”

During the “Giving Thanks” event, customers will be able to pick up a full meal including roast turkey breast, maple sage sausage stuffing, green beans almandine, mashed potatoes, cranberry relish and pumpkin or pecan pie to eat at home.

Located inside the Shenandoah Lodge & Athletic Club at Trilogy® at Lake Frederick, an exclusive and upscale 55+ lifestyle resort community, Region’s has views of the picturesque 117-acre Lake Frederick and the surrounding Shenandoah Valley.

The restaurant has earned accolades since opening. It’s been named one of the 100 best brunch spots and the 100 most scenic restaurants in America based on customer reviews from Open Table and recently won three awards in the Northern Virginia Daily annual reader poll in the categories for best dinner, best fine dining and best restaurant overall in Winchester and Frederick County.

Region’s 117’s menu includes fruits, vegetables and meats from Virginia farmers as well as a selection of white and red wines from wineries ranging from Front Royal to Charlottesville, many within a 117-mile radius, from which its name comes from. Some ingredients also come from a small chef’s garden on site.

The take-home dinners cost $21.95 per person, but there are options for a $100 package that feeds four to six people and a $199 option that feeds eight to ten. Orders can be made through 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16, by calling 540-699-3244. Pick-ups can be made at The Market Place inside the Shenandoah Lodge from noon to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 21, and 9 to 11 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 22.

“Thanksgiving should be a time for connecting with family and friends, not toiling away in the kitchen,” added Bilstad. “And if our customers want to enjoy our food from home or at a friend or relative’s house, this is a great option.”

Top Stories on Tysons Reporter Last Week

Last week was a banner week for Tysons Reporter — our biggest readership week by far, with more than 26,500 new users stopping by. Their main reason for that: our report (#1 on the list) that Apple is “seriously” considering a Fairfax County location for its new East Coast output.

Below are the top stories on the site last week. You can also check out previous top stories here.

  1. Apple Eyes Fairfax County As Arlington Lands Amazon
  2. A Look at Scotts Run, the Tysons Development That Apple Has Its Eye On
  3. UPDATED: Police Investigating Great Falls Bank Robbery
  4. Great Falls Man Arrested for Bank Robbery
  5. New Bus Line Running Cheap Trips from Tysons to NYC
  6. HQ2 Bringing New Jobs, Traffic and Housing Costs to Tysons
  7. Theft Suspects Arrested After Foot Chase at Tysons Corner Center
  8. Vienna Man Dies Crossing Street to Help His Wife
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Local Restaurants That Serve Thanksgiving Dinner

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

As I sat here this weekend trying to come up with a traditional Thanksgiving meal for my vegetarian in-laws, a 4-year old who will only eat the rolls with butter and a small gathering of 2 families, the fantasy of going out for Thanksgiving slowly become a loud battle cry.

Did you know that nearly 20 million people dine out or cater their holiday meal? You’re not alone!

So if this weekend of meal prepping stressed you out or the idea of fighting your way through Whole Foods is giving you shingles, here’s a list of my favorite local places who might still have reservations or who might still take orders for take out:

Vienna

McLean

  • Assaggi — Special Thanksgiving day menu
  • Barrel & Bushel
  • Eddie V’s — Thanksgiving day menu
  • J’Gilberts — Prix-fixe 3-course menu, regular dinner and prix-fixe menus too
  • Wildfire — Full family style meal plus carryout, also a portion of each meal goes to Food for Others
  • Ritz Carlton — To-go meals (orders due Monday 11/19 at 5 p.m.) or brunch available

Looking for Catering?

Other Local Favorites

Whether you’re eating out, cooking at home, traveling or avoiding your mother-in-law, may you be surrounded by loved ones, laughter and happiness on your Thanksgiving day. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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MacMillan Whisky Room Coming to Mosaic District

(Updated at 12:50 p.m.) If you’re looking to chase your Mosaic District shopping with a stiff drink, the MacMillan Whisky Room — opening early next year at 2920 District Ave — could be your style.

The bar and restaurant is part of a series of new venues scheduled to move into the Mosaic District, according to the Washington Business Journal. New stores include Robert Redford-helmed Sundance and a new Barnes & Noble.

According to Derek Anderson, co-owner of the bar along with his wife Emma Hand, MacMillan Whisky Room will be a high-end neighborhood bar offering a variety of international whiskies and local beers.

“We like the whisky bar scene in Washington, D.C.” said Anderson. “My wife and I live nearby. Mosaic is a great location. There’s a built-in customer base here in the Mosaic District and they really need a high-end neighborhood bar.”

This is Anderson’s first restaurant, but helping out with the opening is his brother, Keith Anderson, who Derek says has worked as a chef at several restaurants and will be the head chef at MacMillan Whisky Room. The MacMillan Whisky Room will serve burgers along with classic British bar fare like scotch eggs, fish and chips and other dishes

Derek Anderson said is all of the permitting goes well, the restaurant will likely be opening by the end of January 2019.

Whisky photo via FacebookExterior photo via Google Maps.

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Tysons Agenda: November 19-25

Tysons Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in the Tysons area.

We’ve scoured the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield and McLean. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Monday, Nov. 19

Pet Photos with Santa
Tysons Galleria (2001 International Drive)
Time: 5-9 p.m.

Bring your pets to the Santa’s Workshop to get pictures of them with Santa. Pets with Santa is one of several Santa photoshoots planned this holiday season.

Direct from Ireland: Séamus Begley Trio
Jammin’ Java (227 Maple Ave E)
Time: 7:30 p.m.

The Irish music trio will be performing tonight, with $18 for all tickets. The music blends jigs and polkas with traditional Irish music and storytelling. The doors open at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov 20

Cider & Mead Brewery Buzz
Barrel and Bushel (7901 Tysons One Pl)
Time: 5-7 p.m.

The Brewery Buzz event features Bold Rock Hard Cider and Charm City Meadworks. The two breweries will be showcasing the popular beer alternatives distilled apples and honey respectively.

Muslim Contributions During the Civil War
ICNA Council for Social Justice (1952 Gallows Rd)
Time: 6-7 p.m.

A free webinar in Tysons tomorrow, hosted by educator Nazie Pater-Rov, will look at the relevance of Islam during the Civil War, from the contributions of Muslim slaves to the founding of the U.S. Camel Corps.

Wednesday, Nov. 21

Thanksgiving Holiday Camp
Coder Kids (6647-A Old Dominion Drive)
Time: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Coder Kids Holiday Camps are offered on school holidays and teacher professional days to teach kids about coding and robotics projects. Tickets are $89 and open to anyone grades K-8. Campers should bring lunch, two snacks, water and headphones.

Amoo’s Thanksgiving Eve Dinner
Amoo’s Restaurant (6271 Old Dominion Dr)
Time: 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Amoo’s family restaurant will be celebrating the holiday season with a Thanksgiving menu fusing traditional American dishes with some Persian flavors. The event is reservation only due to limited space and can be booked by calling 703-448-8500.

Thursday, Nov. 22

Thanksgiving Brunch
Härth (7920 Jones Branch Dr)
Time: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Carving stations, house-made bread, salads and more will be available at this Thanksgiving Day brunch. Reservations can be made online.

Saturday, Nov. 24

Beer, Wine & Cider Festival
Tysons Biergarten (8346 Leesburg Pike)
Time: 3-7 p.m.

The festival features over 40 beers and wines from local breweries and wineries. Tickets are $20 online, which includes 10 tasting tickets and the ability to purchase $1 tasting tickets, or $30 at the door with a color changing souvenir cup.

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Morning Notes

Toys for Tots Campaign Begins Today — “The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department is accepting donations for the Toys for Tots campaign from Nov. 19 to Dec. 12. Individuals can drop off new, unwrapped toys at any county fire station during the period. Last year, the initiative resulted in the collection of more than 14,000 toys.” [InsideNova, Fairfax County Fire & Rescue]

Dancing Stars Gala Raises >$250K — “On Nov. 10, the fifth annual DC’s Dancing Stars Gala netted more than $250,000 for local charities, bringing the event’s 5-year total to $1.3 million. The event was hosted by co-founders and co-chairs Maria Coakley David and Jim David at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner and featured seven local Celebrities, four Corporate Challenge Dancers and one Alumni Dancer who have spent the past several months training for Saturday night’s performance.” [Fairfax Times]

Vienna Planners Urge Developer to Save Cabin — “It’s not technically a certified historic structure, but the log cabin at 307 Cabin Road, S.E., in Vienna gave the street its name and was built by an African-American. The Vienna Planning Commission on Nov. 14 unanimously recommended the Vienna Town Council approve plans by Signature Properties to build a two-house subdivision on the 0.52-acre property, but urged the developer to work with local history advocates to save the cabin, if possible.” [InsideNova]

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Turkish Bazaar Coming to Tysons Corner Mall Tomorrow

For the past year, the Turkish Coffee Lady has been the one-stop-shop for Turkish coffee and other delicacies inside the Tysons Corner Center mall. Tomorrow, for their anniversary celebration, the store will be hosting a Turkish holiday bazaar.

The event will run from noon-6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 at the store on the ground level of the mall near the Lord and Taylor. The bazaar, styled after the marketplaces of Istanbul, will feature a variety of holiday gift items for sale.

Beyond just selling coffee, the Turkish Coffee Lady also offers group coffee and Turkish cuisine tastings and complimentary fortune readings, a tradition of Turkish coffee drinking.

Similarly, the bazaar activities are scheduled to highlight a variety of Turkish cultural activities. These will include a Turkish folk dance, calligraphy, face painting and more.

The Turkish Coffee Lady is a woman-owned business. A portion of the sales will be donated to the Washington Turkish Women Association, which aids Turkish children and schools.

Photo via Facebook

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Photos: Maple Avenue in Vienna Past and Present

Maple Avenue can be famously slow to change, and it’s left Vienna with rampant vacancies in the middle of a region seeing a surge of new development.

But aerial photography shows this hasn’t always been the case. Throughout the last 65 years, Maple Avenue has undergone a radical transformation.

Critics of a new four-story Maple Avenue development said too much was changing in Vienna too quickly, but at least from the air, the only 20-year period where there’s been very little change along Maple Avenue was between 1997 and 2017.

The Maple Avenue of 1953 looked quite different than the Maple Avenue of 1976. Maple Avenue transformed from a handful of small properties surrounded by farmland into islands of commercial property surrounded by residential streets.

Between 1976 and 1997, the gaps between those islands of commercial property had become filled in with smaller stores.

But the 1997 Maple Avenue is virtually identical to the 2017 Maple Avenue.

One of the most high-profile developments in downtown Vienna’s recent history was the establishment of the Town Green and redevelopment along Church Street, which runs parallel to Maple Street. The changes made there were cited by Vienna Town Council members during hearings for the controversial development — which was ultimately approved — as examples of ways development can still fit with a small town feeling.

Past and Present is a Tysons Reporter series looking at locations in our area as they’ve changed over the last century. Check out our articles for Tysons Corner Mall and Tysons Galleria/Leesburg Pike

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