Newsletter

Live Fairfax is a bi-weekly column exploring Fairfax County. This recurring column is sponsored and written by Sharmane Medaris of McEnearney Associates. Questions? Reach Sharmane at 813-504-4479.

The fun only picks up as summer turns to fall in our area. Maybe you are new to the area or just need some fresh ideas of how to fully experience fall in Fairfax County and the surrounding areas!

As a Florida girl, I still marvel at the fall foliage at the numerous parks and trails, and I love running as the weather cools down. (Check out my previous trail video!)

And fall festivals are definitely one-stop opportunities to honestly embrace all things FALL. If you are like me with 3 kids in tow, I am all about efficiency in creating memories. Here are few of our favorites!

Photo via Cox Farms
  • Cox Farm Fall Festival: September 17-November 7
    Cox Farms has hayrides, the corny Cornundrum mazes, giant slides, pumpkin smashing and of course yummy apple cider doughnuts — there is something for every age!
  • 46th Annual Falls Church Fall Festival: September 17
    This family-fun event features The Taste of Falls Church, a beer garden, live music, children’s entertainment, and booths from local crafters, businesses and civic organizations.
  • Oktoberfest at The Boro: September 17
    Enjoy a Polka concert, playing games in Boro Park, and crafts there is something fun for all ages.
  • Reston Farm Garden Festival: September 24-October 30
    This Reston tradition will guarantee a day of games, activities, pumpkins and more.

  • Mosaic Fall Festival: September 24-25
    Live entertainment, FRESHFARM Farmers Market, URBNmarket, Caboose Brewing Beer Garden, Wine Garden and so much more. NOVA Fall Music Festival is September 24.
  • Vienna Oktoberfest: October 1
    A day full of fun with a Beer/Wine Garden, food court, live music (including a German band), free children’s activities, children’s entertainment stage, acoustic stage and a festival marketplace
  • City of Fairfax Fall Festival: October 8
    City of Fairfax Fall Festival will have more than 400 arts, crafts, information, food and gourmet food vendors, children’s activities and three stages of music and entertainment for all ages.
  • Clifton Day Festival: October 9
    Marketplace with around 150 artisans, antique dealers, vintage sellers and other vendors. Live music, children’s activities, pony rides, a beer and wine garden, and other delicious food and beverage choices add to the fun.

Explore Fairfax with Sharmane Medaris of McEnearney.

Sharmane Medaris | Live Fairfax | www.soldbysharmane.com | [email protected] | @soldbysharmane | 813-504-4479 | 374 Maple Avenue Suite 202, Vienna, VA 22180

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

Swimming regularly offers a wealth of cognitive benefits.

This biweekly column is sponsored by The Mather in Tysons, Virginia, a forward-thinking Life Plan Community for those 62 and better.

Swimming laps is a terrific, low-impact exercise option and a pleasant way to work out… But there’s another reason to consider jumping in a pool: a growing body of research is finding that swimming in particular holds multiple, unique benefits for our brain health.

“These recent studies are fascinating, and the findings are increasingly positive,” says William Wesley Myers, director of wellness at Mather. Mather is the owner operator of The Mather, a Life Plan Community that is coming to Tysons in 2024. “We’re learning that science shows that swimming regularly can improve one’s cognitive function as well as short- and long-term memory, and may help repair damage caused by stress.”

Cynthia Sitcov of Arlington is a lifelong swimmer who is looking forward to moving to The Mather and enjoying the on-site indoor pool there. “I swim five days a week — it’s addictive for me,” she says. “If I go a day or two without swimming, my body craves it.”

A Proven Pool of Benefits

One study of older adults found that those who swam had improved attention and mental speed compared to a group that didn’t swim. And swimming can offer a cognitive boost to younger people: a study of younger athletes (including swimmers and land-based athletes) found that 20 minutes of moderate-intensity breaststroke swimming improved cognitive function. Children have been found to learn better after swimming than after anaerobic exercise or a resting activity like coloring.

“It’s exciting to see this scientific data supporting the benefits of such an accessible activity,” says William. “Swimming and aquatics classes are gentle on joints and don’t require great mobility. Anyone can use aquatic exercise to improve muscle endurance as well as core strength and endurance, while burning an estimated 400 to 500 calories in an hour of exercise.”

More specifically, research shows that aquatic exercise can help with the following:

  • Strengthen the cardiovascular and respiratory systems
  • Improve bone density — particularly in post-menopausal women
  • Boost pulmonary function and blood pressure
  • Increase muscular strength and stamina
  • Improve range of motion
  • Increase circulation
  • Reduce body fat and tone the body

Japanese researchers found that women age 60 to 75 who participated in regular aquatic exercise for 12 weeks demonstrated more strength, flexibility and agility, and had better total cholesterol levels, than a control group.

Swimming and aquatic exercise can also have a powerful effect on mood. Research has also shown that exercising in water is a natural mood-booster, enhancing self-esteem while reducing stress, anxiety and depression.

“Swimming for me is like meditation in motion; I count my laps and don’t think about anything else,” says Cynthia. “Even when I’m having a bad day, I’ll feel better after I swim. I never get out of the pool feeling lousy; I feel like my body was just plugged into an energy source.”

It can also be a social experience: “I’ve been swimming with the same people for 25 years,” says Cynthia. “We’ve solved the world’s problems, talking 10 minutes at a time in the locker room.”

All of the above seem like great reasons for everyone to give swimming and aquatic exercise a try. In other words, everyone in the pool!

The Mather, projected to open in Tysons, VA, in 2024 for those 62 and better, is a forward-thinking Life Plan Community that defies expectations of what senior living is supposed to be. The community’s comprehensive fitness center will include an indoor swimming pool.

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

I would really love for these 85 degree humid days to subside already!

I’m so happy football has started, now I’m ready for sweatshirts, fire pits and more fall things, including apple picking! Make sure you’re checking their social media and/or websites to verify when they’re open.

Some orchards/farms close down if it’s raining, or if they’ve been over picked to allow more fruit to ripen. Many will also have fall festivals if you check websites to make a whole day of it.

Photo via Natalie Grainger/Unsplash

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

This summer I have fallen in love with the peaches at the Vienna Farmers Market from Kuhn Orchards, paired with these low acid yellow/orange tomatoes and burrata with a balsamic drizzle. It’s pure summer heaven on a plate.

With only a few weeks to go in both the Vienna Farmers Market and peach season, I wanted a resource of where to get late fall produce when the season changes.

Below I’ve highlighted some local farmers markets, where they’re located and when they’re open. Go early if you can. As the morning goes on, the lines get longer.

This weekend I tried to get empanadas at the Mosaic market and the line was 30 people deep so I gave up.

Local Farmers Market

Lucky Fairfax City! El Pollo Rico is here. You’ve heard about it, now try it yourself.

It’s the marinade.

That was celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain’s conclusion after inhaling half of roasted chicken, skin and all, at El Pollo Rico’s legendary location at Virginia Square in Arlington. He took his camera crew behind the scenes of the always-spinning rotisserie and engaged employees in conversation but none of them would offer what the secret ingredients were to the marinade, which Bourdain said he had never had before.

And now great news: Chicken aficionados in and around Fairfax City are getting their own El Pollo Rico. And as if the regular prices are not reasonable enough — they are! — the new rotisserie restaurant is now open to coincide with the start of Fairfax City Restaurant Week (August 29-September 4).

Fairfax City is the fourth of the independent Peruvian chain’s storefronts since opening the Arlington location in 1984. The fast-casual counter served setting provides convenient inside dining or rapid pick-up, the better to consume in front of drooling co-workers back at the office. (Delivery is available too, via Uber Eats.)

The menu? Chicken, of course with a selection of sides, sodas and deserts.

The tender chicken is grilled over charcoal and served in fractions of a quarter or a half or a whole of dark or white meat. The seasoned skin is roasted to a soft crackle, and even health nuts who ordinarily wouldn’t touch the skin can’t help themselves and devour everything on the plate but the bones.

Insider tip: Dip the chicken meat into one of the two sauces available. Those sauces are called, no kidding, green sauce and yellow sauce.

An extra insider tip: Mix the green and yellow sauces. No idea what’s in them, but ask for extras!

Of course, there the are sides — you get a choice of beans, slaw, rice, fried plantains, fried yuca and fries. There is an assortment of Latin American-style soft drinks — including Rio Grande “Champagne,” coconut juice and the number one soda, Inca Kola — in addition to more familiar brands.

And that’s it! Easy.

Best advice of the day? Get some El Pollo Rico soon!

El Pollo Rico is located at 10801 Fairfax Blvd., in Fairfax City. It’s now open for Fairfax Restaurant Week (August 29-September 4) from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. El Pollo Rico will be open for regular hours starting September 5, open 5 days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Wednesday-Sunday.

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

Regular breathwork, or the intentional manipulation of your breathing, offers many benefits to your physical and emotional health.

This biweekly column is sponsored by The Mather in Tysons, Virginia, a forward-thinking Life Plan Community for those 62 and better.

If you’re looking for an easy way to improve your physical health and mood, just breathe. The practice of breathwork, or the intentional manipulation of your breathing has been gaining attention thanks to the widespread popularity of yoga and meditation. However, researchers have been studying the benefits of breathwork for years.

“Breathing is not new — it’s the most essential thing we do for our bodies — but breathwork is a new approach to wellness,” says William Wesley Myers, assistant vice president of wellness strategies for Mather. Mather is the owner operator of The Mather, a Life Plan Community that is coming to Tysons in 2024.

Renee West knows the power of breathwork. “Breathwork is extremely important in yoga. They call it the intelligence of the body,” she says. When Renee, who plans to move into The Mather, retired from her corporate sales career, she pursued certification as a yoga instructor. Today, with an additional teaching certificate in Yin Yoga, she leads classes in a local yoga studio and has her own practice.

“Breathwork has many health benefits,” Renee explains. “You can use it to increase or decrease your energy, to calm your mind and to help you focus, among many things. There are so many techniques.”

Breathwork Benefits

Physical benefits from deep breathing are often instantaneous. There is a direct relationship between breath rate, mood and systems that activate our fight-or-flight or rest-and-restore responses, which directly affect heart rate, respiration and digestion. Deep, mindful breathing carries benefits to these systems and more.

Emotional Health: One study showed that manipulating the breath can cause up to a 40% variance in emotions. Evoke joy by breathing and exhaling slowly and deeply through the nose. Other research shows breathwork can help to treat anxiety, PTSD and severe depression, even in those who don’t respond well to antidepressants.

Blood Pressure: A regular practice of slow, deep breathing is an effective way to reduce blood pressure. 

Stamina: An Italian study found that the lungs of mountain-climbers who practiced slow breathing an hour a day for two years maximized oxygen better, allowing the climbers to forego supplemental oxygen needed by others to summit Mount Everest. 

Focus: Breath-focused yoga can sharpen participants’ attention spans and focus by changing brain chemistry.

Pain Management: Multiple studies have shown that slow, deep breathing can reduce perception of chronic pain or help people cope with discomfort. Breathwork can be especially effective with back pain.

Longevity: Research has shown that breathwork improves metabolism and reduces inflammation — both of which contribute to longer life.

“People can all benefit from doing a little breathwork,” says Renee. “You can do some simple breathing exercises sitting on the edge of a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Even five minutes of breathwork offers benefits!”

The Mather, projected to open in Tysons, VA, in 2024 for those 62 and better, is a forward-thinking Life Plan Community that defies expectations of what senior living is supposed to be. The community is located in the center of a vibrant urban location just two blocks from the Metro and within walking distance to restaurants, retail, and parks.

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

If you’re trying to hold onto the last few days of summer and make the most of your 4 day weekend, here are some great weekend trips to look at if you’re looking for an escape.

Outdoor Getaways:

  • Aquia Landing Park, Stafford, Virginia: About an hour from Tysons, this is a popular fishing spot and beach for swimming. Note there’s a fee for parking.
  • Colonial Beach, Virginia: Colonial Beach is about 90 minutes away from Tysons. It has easy parking, is on the Potomac River (so very few waves), has shallow water and there’s a fishing pier. You’ll find a cute snow cone and ice cream spot, too. (Try the chocolate éclair ice cream!)
  • Mason Neck State Park, Lorton, Virginia: This small hidden gem is located under an hour from Tysons and offers fishing plus canoe and kayak rentals. Be sure to call ahead for a reservation. You’ll also find spots for swimming and walking trails.
  • Lake Anna State Park, Spotsylvania, Virginia: About two hours away, you’ll find lots of sand and water for swimming and playing, camping grounds for overnight stays and walking trails. Tents are not allowed on the beach.
  • Sandy Point State Park, Annapolis, Maryland: An hour from Tysons, Sandy Point is a popular beach before the Chesapeake Bay Bridge with lots of space for distancing. This is a great spot if you just want to escape for a day.
  • Calvert Cliffs State Park, Lusby, Maryland: Located about 90 minutes from Tysons, Calvert Cliffs is a Maryland state park featuring fishing, swimming and walking trails. It’s $7 per car for day use if you’ve got Virginia state plates.
Photo via S’well/Unsplash

Noteworthy Stays:

  • Salamander Resort & Spa, Middleburg, Virginia: Here you’ll find a spa, restaurants, wineries, an infinity pool, hiking trails, zip lining and, for golf fans, access to the club at Creighton Farms.
  • The Inn at Little Washington, Washington, Virginia: Find a top-rated restaurant at The Inn and the quaint town of Washington is perfect for exploring.
  • Inn at Perry Cabin, St. Michaels, Maryland: On the beautiful Chesapeake, Inn at Perry Cabin has a spa, restaurants, pool, fitness center, golf and tennis.
  • The Inn at Vaucluse Spring, Stephens City, Virginia: This is a romantic bed and breakfast perched along the Shenandoah Valley.
  • Nemacolin Resort, Farmington, Pennsylvania: Nemacolin has many types of lodging, a spa, golf, ax throwing, zip lining and tons of restaurant choices.
  • The Omni Homestead, Hot Springs, Virginia: Filled with historic charm, this huge spa features hot springs, a water park, golf and lots of other family-friendly activities.
  • The Tides Inn, Irvington, Virginia: Find a spa, wine trail, sailing school, golf and newly redesigned rooms!
  • The Greenbrier Resort, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia: This resort contains a spa, a casino, pool, arcade, bowling and so many other activities to keep you busy!
  • Lansdowne Resort, Leesburg, Virginia: Located in historic Leesburg, Lansdowne Resort has a spa, golf course and more.
  • Tidewater Inn, Easton, Maryland: Explore the spa, luxury accommodations, historic Easton and Hunters’ Tavern.

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

If you need furniture NOW at Labor Day Sale prices, Herndon’s Furniture Max is waiting for you.

Great news for Labor Day shoppers: Furniture Max in Herndon is reducing prices like never before. The store-wide Labor Day Sale Event continues through the month with reduced prices and special deals that will appeal to anyone in need of furniture or fixtures for any room in the house.

This announcement comes with a warning: While everything is in stock and ready for delivery tomorrow, quantities at Furniture Max are limited.

While inventory lasts:

  • Buy a leather sofa and receive a matching loveseat — free!
  • Buy any recliner — get the second half off!
  • Buy a five-piece bedroom set, get a Serta mattress — free!

Speaking of Serta mattresses, they are starting at just $599 — while inventory lasts!

Did we make it clear? These sale prices will reduce inventory quickly during the Labor Day Sale event — what are you waiting for?

Herndon’s family owned Furniture Max is the one-stop superstore for all-things furniture, for every room of the house. The store’s collection of living room, bedroom, dining room, entertainment room, and home office furniture is in stock and ready for delivery — at Labor Day Sale event pricing.

Financing is available, even online!

Furniture Max is at 2441 Centreville Road in Herndon. Call 571-459-2333 or email [email protected].

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

At Synergy Design & Construction, we take pride in helping our home remodeling clients repurpose or recycle whenever possible.

Salvaging items that can be reused keeps them out of landfills and it always makes our day if we can put unwanted items to good use. It might not be the first thing on your mind when planning a remodel, but we were wondering how important it is to local residents in general. Let’s find out with a poll.

Community Forklift is a non-profit reuse center for home improvement supplies. They take donated materials and make them available at low cost to the public as well as providing vintage materials for old homes.

Habitat for Humanity’s Habitat ReStores are home improvement stores that accept small and large donations of new or gently used furniture, appliances, housewares, building materials and more.

Homes Not Borders provides required furnishings and household items for newly arriving refugee families. Their moving teams do item pick up 2-3 times a week throughout the DC metro area.

GreenDrop will even come to your door to pick up donations to support a number of different non-profits. They accept small electrical appliances, tools, kitchenware and some electronics in addition to clothes and bedding

Lastly, you might think 123 Junk is just a removal service, but they also partner with a number of non-profits in the DC area to put donated furniture, appliances, clothing and other items to good use.

Next time you are thinking about a home remodel, ask your prospective remodeler if they participate in recycling and repurposing.

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

The summer went by so fast! I am thrilled to get my kids off to the first day of school and they were both thrilled to be going back.

I’m a creature of habit and routine and I’m taking the day to clear out, clean up and get everyone into a new routine. If you’re anything like me and can’t wait to dig into their stuff while they’re gone, please consider some of these places to donate your items.

Of course there’s always the option to sell items as well, but if you want to just drop it all off, here’s a list of places:

Women Giving Back — Sterling, Virginia
They’re accepting women and children’s casual, professional and formal attire, shoes (like new), maternity apparel and winter gear. They don’t accept books, toys or car seats. Check their calendar for drop off times as the days and times can vary.

Second Story — Vienna, Virginia
Donations of items like food, clothing, personal hygiene supplies, and household items help teen mothers and homeless teens.

CHO – Vienna, Virginia
Accepting donations of food (PBJ, small canned hams, oil, canned fruit), boys and men’s clothing, bath towels, and furniture.

Children’s Hospital — Washington, D.C.
Don’t forget about Dr. Bear’s Closet. It’s looking for brand new, in-original packing, non-toxic and no latex items with tags. For infection reasons, they do not accept anything used.

Buy Nothing (3 different Vienna Facebook groups based on location) — You can give away items to people in your community

Hope everyone has a great first day!

The preceding sponsored post was also published on FFXnow.com

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