Tysons, VA

(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) In one month, the public will get its first taste of The Perch, a 1.2-acre sky park expected to open at the Capital One Center development in Tysons this summer.

Capital One Center opened registration this morning (Tuesday) for its upcoming “Pups & Pints” event, which will transform the McLean Metro station parking lot into a pop-up dog park with a beer garden, food trucks, and live music — amenities that will all be included in the sky park.

Pups & Pints will take place from noon to 7 p.m. on May 1, 2, 8, and 9. While the event is free, attendees are required to register in advance for two-hour time slots so organizers can control the site’s capacity, which will be limited based on Virginia’s COVID-19 public health guidelines.

Capital One Center Manager of Marketing and Community Affairs Meghan Trossen says the development decided to bring another pop-up event to the McLean Metro parking lot, which it owns, after the success of the drive-in movie series that it hosted last summer to support the nonprofit Second Story.

“I think a lot of people are looking at pop-ups or repurposing of parking lots as different ways to elevate and build a sense of place,” Trossen told Tysons Reporter. “I think Tysons has struggled with creating a brand and identity…and we really want to help with that mission and ensure that Tysons develops in a way that has a sense of community.”

According to Trossen, about 5,000 people attended the 12 drive-in movie screenings at Capital One Center. The development is expecting over 1,000 attendees over the four planned Pups & Pints days in May.

Capital One Center used the McLean Metro station parking lot to host drive-in movie nights last summer (Photo courtesy Capital One Center)

Like it did with the drive-in movies, Capital One Center is encouraging Pups & Pints visitors to donate to a nonprofit that it has partnered with for the event. In this case, proceeds will go to Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, a nonprofit based in Arlington that rescues abandoned and neglected pets and helps them find new homes.

The event will also showcase local businesses that offer dog-related products or services, such as training schools, dog daycares, and stores that make dog treats or toys. There will be between four and six vendors each day, Trossen says.

“We’re really trying to focus on local small businesses or local nonprofits to try to elevate those,” Capital One Center Managing Director Jonathan Griffith said.

The emphasis on the local community will extend to the three food trucks that will change each day as well as the musical acts, which will all come from the D.C. area.

Pups & Pints will also feature a “Mutt Strutt” contest where dogs will compete on stage in front of a panel of judges. The first panel will consist of Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay, former Chairman Sharon Bulova, and Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik.

“I am honored and excited to serve as one of the “Mutt Strutt” Judges for Capital One Center’s Pups & Pints Program,” Palchik said by email. “…This is a perfect opportunity to bring our community together safely, to create active spaces, and to highlight the work of a non-profit in the greater Tysons community.”

As for the “pints” aspect of the event, the beer garden will be run by the same brewery that will operate The Perch Biergarten when it opens in July, though Griffith told Tysons Reporter last week that Capital One Center is not yet ready to announce who that tenant will be.

While Pups & Pints was designed as a sneak peek of The Perch, Griffith says Capital One Center sees events like this and last summer’s drive-in movies as essential to Fairfax County’s long-term goal of turning Tysons into “America’s Next Great City,” a place where people will want to live, not just work or shop.

“The event alone won’t stand on its own and radically transform Tysons overnight,” Griffith said. “But it’s through these types of events, these types of activations that we can show that Tysons is a community, that there is more than those two definitions of the mall and of the office that have historically been defining Tysons.”

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

Monday (Mar. 22)

  • Cherry Blossoms at The Boro — The cherry blossom installation is opening at The Boro (8350 Broad St). The vignettes will be up from Mar. 22 through Apr. 18. Sit and enjoy the spring weather, and snap a picture to join their social media campaign and a chance to win a gift card.

Wednesday (Mar. 24)

  • (The) Unruly Theatre Project’s Virtual Improv Show (Online) — 7 p.m. — The McLean Community Center’s teen improv group is putting on its latest virtual performance. Registration is open up to two hours before the show. The Zoom link and password will be emailed to those who register. For more information, contact [email protected].
  • Conversation with Tyler Cowen (Online) — 7-8 p.m. — The Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library hosts a virtual talk with economist Tyler Cowen, who will discuss “the insane stock market, future of jobs, arts going global, favorite books, local ethnic food and more.” Register in advance to receive a Zoom link to the event.
  • Mystery Book Club (Online) — 7-8 p.m. — The Mary Riley Styles Public Library’s monthly mystery book club is meeting to discuss “Mystery in the Channel” by Freeman Wills Crofts. To get the Zoom link for this event email [email protected]
  • Student Town Hall (Online) — 6:30-7:30 p.m. — Fairfax County School Board member Melanie Meren is hosting a town hall for students to ask her questions. Meren represents the Hunter Mill District, but the Q & A is open to all FCPS students. The theme of the town hall is “What can FCPS do to help you during these times?” Students are required to register ahead of the event to receive the Zoom link, and questions can be submitted through the registration form.

Thursday (Mar. 25)

  • Ask Chair McKay (Online) — 10-11 a.m. — Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay will answer questions about everything from the COVID-19 vaccine rollout to the county budget and Metro during a Twitter town hall. Questions can be submitted by using the hashtag #askChairMcKay.
  • Falls Church Writers Group (Online) — 7-8 p.m. — This online group is for writers to share their work and receive constructive criticism. For more information or to request the Zoom link, email Pete Sullivan at [email protected]

Friday (Mar. 26)

  • Family Fun Trivia Night (Online) — 7-9 p.m. — The McLean Community Center is hosting a family-friendly, virtual trivia night. Registration is required, and the price is $5 per team. There will be prizes for the winning teams.
  • Vienna Theatre Company Production: Dear Elizabeth (Online) — 7:30 p.m. — Dear Elizabeth is the story of the famed correspondence between two of the 20th century’s top poets, Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. Live, virtual performances will also be available to view on Saturday (March 27) and April 2 and 3, with matinees at 2 p.m. on Sunday (March 28) and April 3.  Tickets are on sale now for $15. Questions call Lily Widman at 703-255-5738 or email [email protected]
  • Mayor’s Walk — 9:30 a.m. at Vienna Town Hall (127 Center St S) — Meet Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert in front of Town Hall and take a walk through town. This is an opportunity to chat with Mayor Colbert or voice questions and concerns.

Saturday (Mar. 27)

  • Doggie Playdate at The Boro — 11 a.m.-noon at The Boro Park (8350 Broad Street) — A pop-up springtime doggie playdate is happening at The Boro Park. Register for your pet to receive a floral bandana, doggie biscuits, and cherry blossom treats. If there is rain, the make-up day is March 28.

Photo via The Boro/Twitter

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A house fire on Baton Drive in Vienna yesterday afternoon (Monday) might have turned into a tragedy, if not for the intervention of a few quick-thinking, canine-loving neighbors.

The blaze occurred between 4:30 and 5 p.m. on the 1900 block of Baton Drive, according to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Vienna Volunteer Fire Department Chief John Morrison confirmed to Tysons Reporter that units from his department also responded to the incident.

James Madison High School student Peyton Van Stone had just returned home from walking his family’s dog and was chatting outside with Ann Haines, a neighbor from across the street, when they noticed smoke issuing from a house a few doors down the road.

From there, Peyton says he stopped thinking and just acted.

“Me and [Haines] just ran up to the house to check it out and see what was happening, because it looked like there was a fire, or at least there was a lot of black smoke coming out,” he told Tysons Reporter this morning during a break in his online classes.

After another passerby called 9-1-1, Haines called the house’s resident, who is a friend since they often take their dogs on walks around the same time. She learned that no people were home, but their dog — a Rottweiler named Daisy — was inside in a crate.

Upon finding that the front door was locked, Peyton asked the next-door neighbors if they had a key before going around the back of the house and finding a way inside.

The fire had started outside the house near a detached garage, but it was spreading to the main structure by the time Peyton and Haines dashed upstairs to let Daisy out of her crate. Haines had a leash and was able to lead the dog outside, a feat made easier by Daisy’s familiarity with her.

After that, Peyton says fire trucks arrived to put out the blaze, and they later reunited Daisy with her owners.

“I’m glad everyone was okay,” Peyton said. “…I mean, I would hope someone would do the same for my dog, so I was just looking out for another neighbor, because that’s man’s best friend, a dog.”

While Peyton says he was too caught up in the moment to feel scared, his mother, Rebecca Van Stone, describes the ordeal as “surreal” and “very scary” to watch unfold. She recalls that the fire initially looked small, like smoke from a fire pit, before rapidly growing to the point where she worried it would spread to nearby trees and other houses.

“I just had thoughts of California, of these whole neighborhoods going up in smoke, and you could hear the crackling of fire,” Van Stone said.

Van Stone added that she’s proud of her son and Haines for acting quickly to help their neighbors. She was also impressed by the fire department’s response.

“They were very quick and efficient, I have to say, to save this woman’s house,” she said. “If it wasn’t for how quick they responded, the whole house would’ve been up in flames.”

According to Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department spokesperson Ashley Hildebrandt, investigators determined that the fire was accidental in nature, sparked by spontaneous combustion from recently added mulch.

After starting in a mulch bed, the fire spread to the detached garage and the main house but was largely confined to the exterior of the building. It caused $25,000 in damages, but people and animals all got through the incident unscathed.

“We all made sure the owners weren’t home. To know they were safe was the biggest thing,” Haines said. “Then, we knew we could focus on Daisy.”

Photos by Rebecca Van Stone

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The Fairfax County Park Authority is one step closer to planning for more dog parks in the county due to an increase in demand and the authority’s currently limited offerings.

The county recently completed a draft report of a dog park study that was initiated in 2019 and conducted by the FCPA and Fairfax County Park Foundation. A survey soliciting feedback for the study attracted more than 4,600 respondents.

“The purpose of the study was to assess needs and priorities for dog parks throughout the county, and to adopt strategies for long-term planning, development and management of dog parks,” FCPA wrote in a statement.

The report calls on FCPA to construct at least one dog park by 2025 to meet service needs in the area and to implement revised guidelines and standards for future dog parks. Survey respondents most sought a new dog park in the planning districts of Upper Potomac and Bull Run.

The county currently has 13 public dog parks, 11 of which are owned and operated by FCPA.

The study recommends creating future parks based on geographic distribution and the overall goal of 20-minute drive access throughout the county and 10-minute walking access in densely populated areas. The density of licensed dogs in a given area would also be considered.

The study does not recommend any changes to existing dog park rules or operating hours.

Volunteering could also become a stronger component of managing dog parks. The report suggests using volunteers to manage existing and future programs more efficiently.

A virtual meeting on the draft report is set for Tuesday, March 23 at 7 p.m. A staff presentation on the findings and recommendations of the report will be followed by a public comment period.

Other recommendations related to operations and maintenance. While the county found that maintenance standards and practices are consistent with other jurisdictions, there is a need for more regular maintenance, particularly waste management.

The report also cites a need for more water sources, rule enforcement, and shade.

Comments will be accepted through April 23. They can be submitted by email to [email protected] or through the dog park study website.

Photo via DC Bulldog Meetup/Facebook, map via Fairfax County Park Authority

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The winter holiday season is approaching, and while the usual fun festivities will likely be altered to protect humans during the COVID-19 pandemic, dog owners should also be aware of hazards that may threaten their furry friends as the temperature drops and house decor increases. 

Luckily for Falls Church residents, the local Dogtopia has seen major success since its opening at the end of the summer. The store sold higher than average pre-sales, hitting about 25% above the company’s threshold to determine success, according to Dogtopia Falls Church owner Jim Hannesschlager. 

“We’re really, really excited and a little bit bullish on the potential here for this location, but also the brand in Northern Virginia,” Hannesschlager said. The store is one of two new businesses that have opened in Falls Church since the pandemic. 

Hannesschlegar explained that, during the cold winter months, dogs are especially in need of extra exercise and socialization to compensate for the extra food at Thanksgiving dinner, weather that inspires a slower pace of life, and the general feelings of excitement from the holidays. 

“It heightens our senses,” Hannesschlegar said. “When a dog has heightened senses…just like a human, those heightened senses and that potential anxiety and energy needs to be let out.” 

Luckily, socialization and exercise are two top services that Dogtopia provides to dogs, with education close behind. The dog daycare provider has resources for dogs who need a space for open play during the cold seasons.

When taking dogs on walks outside in the cold weather, however, owners should be cognizant of their dogs’ fur, Hannesschlegar says. Dogs with thicker hides like huskies should be fine to go on cold-weather walks, while dogs with thinner hides, such as greyhounds, may need a coat to wear. 

Hannesschlegar also advised buying dog-friendly snow-melting agents for driveways and sidewalks once it starts snowing.

“First thing a dog does, just like a baby, anything that’s weird, new, or painful goes right into their mouth,” Hannesschlegar said. 

When it comes to hazards around the house, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) recommends keeping wires and ornaments out of reach, making sure candles are never left unattended, and avoiding mistletoe and holly as well as noisy toys such as poppers. Even creating a quiet room or space for pets can ease their anxiety in high-energy settings.

Photo via Jim Kalligas/Unsplash

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This October, beer fans and animal lovers can head over to Lost Dog Cafe to sip Solace Brewing Company’s Rescue Ale and support rescue efforts for dogs and cats.

The charity brew, which benefits the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation, will hit shelves at Solace Brewery on Oct. 8 and will start being poured at all Lost Dog Cafe locations on Oct. 9. A portion of all sales of Rescue Ale will be donated to LDCRF.

There are five Lost Dog Cafe locations, with one in Dunn Loring (2729A Merrilee Drive) and one in McLean (1690A Anderson Road).

The brewery will host a distanced adoption event, and an online auction will offer winners a tour of the brewery as well as  pooch and beer-themed merchandise.

Lost Dog Cafe is a long-time supporter of the rescue and donates a portion of its revenue to support the care of animals rescued by LDCRF. Local breweries have brewed a Rescue Ale in support of LDCRF for the last four years, and this is Solace’s second year making the charity beer. Read More

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(Updated 9/9) 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 (Sept. 8)

  • 2020 Tuesday Night 5k –6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Caboose Tavern (520 NE Mill Street)– Runners and walkers can take part in this multi-part series held on the W&OD Trai. Registration is $10 and people should arrive 45 minutes early for registration, the page said.

Wednesday (Sept. 9)

Thursday (Sept. 10)

  • Pets for Vets –4 to 8 p.m. at Settle Down Brewing (2822 Fallfax Drive)– This event invites people to take place in a fundraiser for Pets for Vets, which provides service animals that used to be shelter animals to military veterans. People can enjoy drink specials and free bingo, the Facebook event page said. 
  • The Boro Farmers Market –3 to 7 p.m. at the Boro Tysons(8301 Greensboro Drive)– This local market will feature fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats and pastured eggs and baked goods, the event page said.

Sunday (Sept. 13)

  • Adoption Event –12 to 3 p.m. at Chico’s Natural Pet Market (6349 A Columbia Pike)– Anyone looking for their next furry friend can check out this dog adoption event. This event will allow attendees to meet pups up for adoption and learn about foster opportunities, the event listing said.
  • Intro to Traditional Climbing –9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Seneca Rocks Mountain Guides East (9200 Old Dominion Drive)– For $125 people can try out this all-day experience which will teach them safe practices for outdoor climbing. Top rope climbing and belay experience is required, the page said. 
  • Music In the Gardens –3 to 4 p.m. at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens (9750 Meadowlark Gardens Ct)– This series will feature live music from the Virginia Chamber Orchestra. Guests are welcome to bring a blanket or fold-up chairs to sit on. The concert is free with admission to the gardens.

Photo via Meadowlark Botanical Gardens/Facebook

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Dogs in Falls Church will soon have a new daycare destination with the upcoming arrival of Dogtopia

The daycare, boarding and spa service for dogs plans to open soon at 108 W. Jefferson Street in Falls Church. The business has more than 90 locations across the U.S. and Canada, including one in Tysons near the Spring Hill Metro station.

The business initially planned to open earlier this summer, but pushed the opening due to construction and economic factors. Now, they hope to finish construction by the end of September and open in early October. 

Not only does the business work to care for dogs, but they also want to make an impact on the community.

“We have this awesome foundation that we work with and we do truly believe in always giving back to our community,” Cat Michael, the general manager of Dogtopia of Falls Church, said.

First, they are raising money to provide a service dog to local veterans. Second, they are looking to set up employment opportunities for adults with autism. Lastly, they want to raise funds to help the youth literacy programs across the country. 

They are currently pairing up with Settle Down Easy Brewing Co. in Falls Church every Thursday night of September to raise money toward their first goal of providing a service dog to local veterans.

“We are currently fundraising to hopefully train to place one dog by the time we open in a veteran’s home in the Falls Church community,” Dogtopia of Falls Church’s Owner Jim Hannesschlager said.

The upcoming location also wants to keep the community safe. To combat COVID-19, Dogtopia Falls Church installed an HVAC air filtering system. They plan to deep clean and sanitize every room with pet-friendly sanitizer to maintain cleanliness while keeping pets safe from harsh chemicals.

The location will also offer contactless pet drop-off and aim to eliminate possibilities of cross-contamination of pet belongings. 

Dogtopia is offering a Founders Program for two weeks leading up to the opening. People who sign up will receive two weeks of unlimited daycare prior to the grand opening, according to their website. This offer is available for the first 50 dogs registered.

Photos by Michelle Goldchain, image by Katie Runnerstrom

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As Northern Virginia reopens under phase one, people are beginning to visit public places like restaurants and shops again.

While Gov. Ralph Northam and health directors in Northern Virginia say that COVID-19 trends are going in the right direction, the Centers for Disease Control and the Virginia Department of Public Health warn that there is still a risk for community transmission of the virus.

For animals, though, the CDC issued a statement saying that the likelihood of catching the disease from a pet is very low. Still, people may feel hesitant to interact with other people or pets.

Currently, county-run dog parks are closed, according to the Fairfax County Park Authority. Several apartment buildings have their own dog parks in the Tysons area, along with ones in the Mosaic District and Vienna.

As COVID-19 restrictions get rolled back, Tysons Reporter would like to know how our readers feel about bringing fido to the local dog park. Let us know in the poll below and feel free to leave a comment.

Photo by Jonathan Slater on Unsplash

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Many people getting bored self-isolating due to the coronavirus have turned to art reconstructions — including a local art teacher and her greyhound.

Nicole Walter, an art teacher at Marshall High School, has been photographing her retired racing greyhound named Neirin in poses similar to famous pieces of art, according to Fairfax County Public Schools.

Walter, who has taught at Marshall for 17 years, is using her 4-year-old pooch from West Virginia to create art that can engage her students while distance learning is in place, according to FCPS.

So far, they have recreated two dozen famous artworks, including “Girl with a Pearl Earring” by Johannes Vermeer, “American Gothic” by Grant Wood and “Creation of Adam” by Michelangelo.

More from FCPS:

“I saw the challenges being posted by various art museums to recreate master works and to share on social media,” explains Walter. “I was just in the middle of an instructional unit on appropriation in art with my Art 2 students, so I thought this would be a great way for them to make art without the need for special art supplies.”

Students enthusiastically responded to Walter’s project… Neirin is a four-year-old retired racing greyhound from West Virginia who raced for three years…

“Since I teach art, and my goal is to help students connect with their own unique form of creative expression, I try to learn about and appreciate a broad range of art styles,” she states.

People who want to see the greyhound art can head to the Instagram for Neirin.

Photo via Neirinthegrey/Instagram

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