Tysons, VA

People will have the chance to take a sneak peek at historic and luxurious homes around McLean in a few days.

The Woman’s Club of McLean is hosting its annual Holiday Home Tour with several properties near Ballantrae Farm this Thursday (Dec. 5). Tours will take place from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., starting at the Trinity United Methodist Church (1205 Dolley Madison Blvd).

This year’s event will highlight a roughly six-acre estate, along with two nearby homes.

The main estate was built in 1925 and has been renovated since. The surrounding grounds feature tennis courts, a swimming pool, a soccer field and a treehouse, according to a press release, which added that guests will also be able to see the Little Ballantrae farmhouse located on the property.

The two other homes included with the tour sit on Benjamin Street and were built around 2010.

The homes provide an example of “casual elegance with a nod to traditional southern living,” the owner said.

The yard attached to the properties also qualifies as a National Wildlife Sanctuary, according to a press release.

After guests tour the homes, they can return to the church to shop from a selection of local holiday vendors featuring crafts, freshly baked goods and holiday decorations.

Tickets cost $30 online and in advance or $35 a the door. If people want to purchase tickets in person beforehand, they can visit Mesmeralda’s (1339 Chain Bridge Road), Karin’s Florist (527 E. Maple Ave) or Great Dogs of Great Falls (9859 Old Georgetown Pike). All proceeds will benefit local charities and the Woman’s Club of McLean.

A shuttle to the homes is included in the ticket price for admission.

Photos via Woman’s Club of McLean

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Now that Thanksgiving is over, many people are beginning to put up holiday decorations — including Christmas trees.

There are several places around the Tysons area that carry a variety of tree types to fit the needs of decorators.

McLean

Saint John’s Academy is hosting a Christmas tree sale for people who want their purchase to benefit a good cause. Until Dec. 22, Saint John the Beloved Catholic Church (6420 Linway Terrace) will be selling trees Wednesday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

Tree prices start at $50. Garland and wreaths will also be available.  All proceeds will benefit students at the church’s school, according to the website.

The Trinity United Methodist Church (1205 Dolley Madison Blvd) will also be selling trees. Hours of operation are Thursdays and Fridays from 5 to 7:30 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Sundays from 12 until 6 p.m. Proceeds from this sale will benefit the church’s youth group and Boy Scout Troop 869.

Merrifield 

The Merrifield Garden Center (8132 Lee Hwy) offers shoppers eight different types of Christmas trees, including Scotch Pine, White Pine, Blue Spruce, Douglas Fir, Nobile Spruce, Turkish Fir and Fraiser Fir as well as artificial trees.

The center is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. The store also has locations in Fair Oaks and Gainsville, according to the website.

The Home Depot in Merrifield (2815 Merrilee Drive) has a selection of fake trees that customers can pick up at the store or order online for home delivery. Though they do not have live trees available at individual stores, they will ship them for free from a storage warehouse for free, according to the website.

Photo via Annie Spratt/Unsplash

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

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

Tysons Reporter also complied a list of the upcoming holiday events, for those seeking festivities.

Tuesday (Nov. 26)

  • LGBTQIA+ Night — at 6:30 p.m. at Victory Comics (586 S. Washington Street) — This gives people a chance to gather and talk about LGBTQIA+ characters in comics and hear from illustrator Melanie Gillman.
  • Salsa Classes — 7 p.m. until 2 a.m. at The Palladium (1524 Spring Hill Road) — This free event allows people to come by and take a free salsa lesson from Cecilia Villalobos at 8 p.m. before the opportunity for social dance.

Wednesday (Nov. 27)

  • Trivia Night — 7 to 9 p.m. at City Works Eatery and Pour House (1640 N. Capital One Drive) — Community members are invited to stop by for an evening of trivia. Prizes will be awarded to winners and topics vary. This event is free.
  • Comedy Cornucopia — 7:30 p.m. at Jammin Java (227 E. Maple Avenue) — This comedy event invites people to gather and enjoy some humor while raising money for Food for Others. Tickets range from $10-15. Comedy content may contain adult material and anyone 17 or under should be accompanied by an adult.

Thursday (Nov. 28)

  • Live Music with Nick Tierra — 6 to 8 p.m. at Settle Down Easy Brewing (2822 Fairfax Drive) — This event will allow people to gather and enjoy a drink while listening to live music from Nick Tierra. There is no admission fee for this event.

Saturday (Nov. 30)

  • Beer, Wine and Cider Festival — 1 until 6 p.m. at the Tysons Biergarten (8346 Leesburg Pike) — This event offers guests a chance to try over 50 different drinks before the Biergarten closes and relocates. Tickets are $10 online or $20 at the event.

Photo via Tysons Biergarten/Facebook

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The Pennywise Thrift Shop found a new home in Vienna — just around the corner from its previous location.

The shop originally resided nearf the corner of Church and Mill streets, but was forced to move after a fire ravaged the 100-year old building in January. The new location (214 Dominion Road NE) has been open for roughly a month and offers slightly more retail space, Mary Coulombe, a shop spokesperson said.

The shop sells a variety of everyday items including clothes, kitchen items, books, shoes, glassware and small furniture.

The shop is run by the Church of the Holy Comforter, and all of the proceeds go to charities, Coulombe said, adding, “We are here as a mission.”

This year marks the thrift shop’s 57th anniversary, Coulombe said. Another staff member told Tysons Reporter that the new location will be the thrift shop’s home for at least the next couple of years.

The shop plans to celebrate its new spot with a grand re-opening ceremony on Saturday (Nov. 23) from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Pennywise Thrift Shop is open from Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. The shop is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

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

Tuesday (Nov. 12)

  • Mayor @ Your Service — 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall (127 S. Center Street) — Mayor Laurie DiRocco is set to chat with Victor Hoskins, the president of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, tonight about the future of Fairfax County economic development.

Wednesday (Nov. 13)

Thursday (Nov. 14)

  • Women in Technology Job Fair — 4 to 7 p.m. at Sheraton Tysons Hotel (8661 Leesburg Pike) — Women in the STEM industry are invited to attend this free event if they are currently seeking a job. Registration is still open for applicants and hiring companies.
  • Professional Networking Night — 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tea with Mrs. B (136 W Jefferson Street) — This event allows people across the community to network and meet new people. Tickets are $10 and include drinks and appetizers.
  • Trace Bundy — 6:30 p.m. at Wolf Trap (1635 Trap Road) — Folk singer and guitarist Trace Bundy will take the stage for a performance. He is known for his harmonics, looping and multiple caps, according to the event website. Tickets start at $27.

Friday (Nov. 15)

  • Tree Lighting — 6 to 9 p.m. at The Plaza (1961 Chain Bridge Road) — The public is welcome to watch as the Christmas tree at Tysons Corner Center be decorated with lights. There will be live music from Kris Allen at this free event.
  • Bright Lights in the Little City Community Celebration — 7 to 10:30 p.m. at The State Theatre (220 N. Washington Street) —  The Falls Church event will include food and dessert, live music by The Grandsons and an online auction. Tickets are $85.
  • Improvicon — 7:30 p.m. at 1st Stage  Tysons (1524 Spring Hill Road) — This event will feature several improv groups throughout Northern Virginia. General admission tickets can be purchased for $15.

Sunday (Nov.17)

  • 5K Turkey Trot — 8 a.m. Central Park (Tysons Blvd and Galleria Drive) — This 5K, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Tysons Corner, invites community members to participate to raise money for local charities. Until Nov. 15, tickets are $35 and will go up to $40 after that. Tickets include food and swag. The first three women and men to place will receive cash prizes.

Photo via Tysons Corner Center/Facebook

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A Vienna family is raising a furry friend before he moves to New York — in search of a larger purpose.

Jennifer and Ellie Butler, a mother and daughter pair, volunteered to foster a dog under Guiding Eyes, a New York-based organization that pairs guide dogs with people who need them.

Percy, a black labrador, arrived at their doorstep in May when he was just a little over 12-weeks-old and now is in the midst of by-weekly general training, the Butlers said.

The family decided to participate in the program after a suggestion from 18-year-old Ellie, who offered to take on the primary responsibility for Percy. Ellie was inspired by the documentary “Pick of the Litter,” Jennifer said.

Jennifer said the pair splits up the work. Jennifer brings Percy to work and Ellie takes care of him after she gets off from Flint Hill High School at 3 p.m.

Once a week, Percy will attend doggie school and has the chance to play with about a dozen other local guide dogs in training, Jennifer said. Percy is a “very good boy” because he listens to commands, stays in his crate at night, doesn’t eat before he is given permission and doesn’t bark, she added.

“You could tell people already worked with him by the time we got him,” Jennifer said.

Guiding Eyes provides guide dogs to those in need — free of charge, according to their website. They also cover all of the costs for foster families except for the food, Jennifer said.

Going forward, Percy will move to New York sometime this summer for specialized training.

He will take an aptitude test to determine what his path will be, Jennifer said, adding that she could see him helping law enforcement because of his strong nose or assisting children because of his calm personality.

“I think he’d do well with just about anyone as long as they love him,” Ellie said.

The love given to Percy from the Butlers has been reciprocal, the family said.

“I’ve always been a little shy until I got this dog. You have to speak out for the dog since they don’t have a voice,” Ellie said. “I learned to speak up and be more outgoing.”

Ellie hopes to foster another Guiding Eyes dog in the future, she said.

“With Percy leaving, I thought at the beginning, ‘Oh it’s going to be fine,'” Jennifer said.  “But we’ve grown to love him.”

Photo courtesy Guiding Eyes

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People in McLean and Tysons have the chance to help others through a series of upcoming donation drives.

With the holiday season approaching, Toys for Tots has set up a drop-off area for toy donations in Tysons, while Soles4Souls will collect gently used shoes in McLean.

Toys for Tots is organized through the United States Marine Corps to help struggling families afford Christmas gifts for their children. Around 97% of proceeds go to families in need, according to the website. The remaining 3% covers administrative costs.

Anyone wishing to donate toys can bring them to Meineke Car Care Center (1524 Spring Hill Road). The last day for donations to Toys for Tots is Dec. 12.

Soles4Souls is a non-profit based in Nashville that fights poverty, according to its website.

Shoes will be accepted at the Joy Deevy Relator Office (6849 Old Dominion Drive, Suite 400) until Dec. 1.

Photo via Toys4Tots/Facebook

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Next week, listeners can tune into another season of the Second Story podcast about homelessness.

The new season will premiere on Tuesday (Oct. 22), featuring stories of young adults and teens who overcame struggles of homelessness and abuse.

In the first episode, listeners will hear from a young woman named Bree who managed to escape an abusive relationship, Abigail Brougher, the podcast’s producer, said.

Second Story is a non-profit organization based out of Vienna that assists young people struggling with issues like homelessness, poverty or domestic issues.

The podcast was started to spread the organization’s message and educate the public on these issues within the community, Brougher said.

Bree’s story was chosen for the season premiere because Brougher said it set the tone for the rest of the season.

Bree took shelter with Second Story as a young mother and was later recruited to speak out about domestic violence on the podcast. Brougher said that Bree was “especially vulnerable” during this time in her life, and hearing her story will help people to acknowledge the issue of domestic violence.

Bree was forced to decide between homelessness or the constant threat of abuse, Brougher said. “It’s fairly common for young mothers to feel like they have to choose.”

Domestic Violence Awareness Month also happens to fall in October and calls attention to the issue that affects everyone, regardless of gender, race or socioeconomic status.

One in four women and one in nine men will be victims of domestic violence in their lives, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

The podcasts tend to be around 30 minutes long, and new episodes will be available for free every Tuesday on Second Story’s website, as well as Spotify and Stitcher.

This season will consist of roughly nine episodes and feature various themes like domestic violence, PTSD and family trauma, Brougher said.

“Giving voice to this issue changes the narrative,” Brougher said.

Photo via Facebook

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

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

Thursday (Oct. 10)

  • Design Lab: Drawing Treehouses — noon-1:30 p.m. at the Apple Store (1961 Chain Bridge Road) — This event will teach attendees how to design a treehouse on an iPad while keeping sustainability and the environment in mind. This is event is free and open to the public; iPads will be provided.
  • Stars & Stripes Benefit for the Troops — 7-11 p.m. at The Ritz-Carlton (1700 Tysons Blvd) — This prohibition themed networking gala will benefit the troops. Tickets start at $95 and include food, drink, raffles and activities. Attendees are encouraged to dress in 1920s attire.
  • Power of Pink Tysons — 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Equinox (8065 Leesburg Pike) — Join Equinox for a lunch and workout fundraiser to benefit the Arlington Free Clinic and Breast Care for Washington DC, which helps local women fight breast cancer. This event is donation-based, and all of the proceeds will go towards the cause.

Saturday (Oct. 12)

  • Farm Day — 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Cherry Hill Farmhouse (312 Park Avenue) — The Cherry Hill Farmhouse will host the community and have activities including horse-drawn hayrides, a petting farm, pony rides, pumpkin painting, scarecrow making, live music, tours of the farmhouse and barn, blacksmith demonstrations and food. Admission is free but there may be fees for specific activities.
  • Halloween Window Painting Festival — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Mr. Brown’s Park (223 Little Falls Street) —  The community is invited to pitch ideas for window painting. The event is free but those wishing to participate must email Marty Behr at [email protected] with a design idea for approval.
  • NAACP Candidates Forum — 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Vienna (450 Orchard Street NW) — This event allows the public to hear from Commonwealth’s Attorney and School Board At-Large candidates representing the NAACP. There will also be voter registration opportunities.

Sunday (Oct. 13)

  • Free Koren Language Lesson — 3:30-5:30 p.m. at Shilla Bakery (1961 Chain Bridge Road) — Anyone who speaks Korean or is interested in learning can join this free event to practice their language skills and get to know others curious about Korean language and culture.

Photo via Cherry Hill Historic Farm

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A refugee chef is planning to serve up traditional Afghan cuisine at Harth as part of a pop-up event series later this month in Tysons.

Hilton McLean Tysons Corner (7920 Jones Branch Drive) teamed up with Tables Without Borders on the limited dinner series featuring dishes by Chef Nejat Ahmadollah, which diners can experience with the tasting menu or a la carte, the Hilton press release said.

Some of the menu items will include:

  • Kabuli — braised rice with lamb topped with raisins and slivered carrots
  • Kadoo — baked pumpkin with yogurt sauce, garlic and mint
  • Chicken kabob with an Afghan spice blend and cilantro chutney

Ahmadollah, an asylum-seeker from Afghanistan, came to the U.S. with his wife and kids in 2015.

“I’m looking forward to sharing my passion and love for cooking and Afghan cuisine with guests at Hilton McLean,” Ahmadollah said in a press release.

To prepare for the pop-up event, Ahmadollah plans to work with Harth’s Executive Chef Philip Thompson to create a menu that will focus on locally-sourced and traditional Afghan ingredients, the press release said.

Hilton is promoting the event as part of its “Travel with Purpose 2030 Goals” — the hotel chain’s strategy of encouraging sustainable, global travel.

“By 2030, we plan to double our social impact investment and cut our environmental footprint by half,” the press release said. “We track, analyze and report our environmental and social impact at each of Hilton’s nearly 5,900 hotels.”

The dinners will take place from 5-10 p.m. on three Fridays — Oct. 18, Oct. 25 and Nov. 1.

Part of the proceeds from the dinners will benefit HIAS, a nonprofit focused on refugee resettlement and advocacy.

“Tables Without Borders enables me to showcase authentic dishes representative of my country’s history and timeless traditions while adding a modern twist,” Ahmadollah said.

Photo courtesy Hilton McLean Tysons Corner

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