Newsletter

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 (Nov. 23)

  • Monday Game Challenge (Online) — 3:30-6:30 p.m. — During this event hosted by the McLean Community Center, participants will play Call of Duty: Warzone. To register, use this link.

Tuesday (Nov. 24)

  • #WhereIsSanta Scavenger Hunt — 12 p.m. in Vienna — The Town of Vienna launches a weekly scavenger hunt today. Clues to Santa’s location will be posted to the Town’s Facebook page at noon every Tuesday until Dec. 22. Participants will be entered into a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card if they take a photo with Santa and share it on social media, tagging @TownofViennaVa and #WhereisSanta.

Wednesday (Nov. 25)

  • Thanksgiving Wine Tasting — 12-4 p.m. at The Wine Outlet of McLean (6727 Curran St.) — Taste Thanksgiving wines while supporting the Rotary Club of Tysons Corner, the website said. The cost is $15 per person. Each 30-minute session is limited to 10 people. To register for one of the 30-minute time slots, use this link.

Friday (Nov. 27)

  • Mary Chapin Carpenter: One Night Lonely (Online) — 8-11 p.m. — Wolf Trap will stream a recording of the singer performing solo with no audience at the Filene Center. You can buy tickets, which start at $20, through Wolf Trap’s website.
  • The Grinch’s Grotto — 12-8 p.m. at Tysons Corner Center — Starting today through Dec. 31, families can reserve private meet-and-greet sessions with the Grinch at Tysons Corner Center. Tickets cost $50 for general admission or $200 for the VIP experience. One ticket covers admission for up to five people, and visitors are asked to arrive 15 minutes ahead of their scheduled time due to COVID-19 guidelines.

Saturday (Nov. 28)

  • Christmas Tree Sales — 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on weekends, 4-8 p.m. on weekdays at the corner of Maple Avenue and Branch Road — The Optimist Club of Greater Vienna will start selling Christmas trees, wreaths, tree stands, and roping this weekend. Sales fund awards, scholarships, and other honors for local students.

Photo via Wine Outlet/Facebook

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With Thanksgiving around the corner, a number of local restaurants are preparing an array of possible feasts that can be taken home, as the COVID-19 pandemic forces families to rethink the usual communal celebrations.

Vienna’s Clarity (442 Maple Ave. E.) will have ThanksgivingToGo, the website said. For $45, diners can enjoy a turkey, sweet potatoes, french beans, gravy, and cranberry sauce.

Clarity chef and owner Jon Krinn says he is happy to be able to provide this carryout service during this holiday season.

“We are thankful that we are in a position to provide for ourselves and our guests, and we want everyone to stay safe so we can all get through this,” Krinn said. “Nothing can take away the relationships and bonds we have built and strengthened this year.”

Other local Vienna restaurants offering Thanksgiving to-go specials include:

In McLean, J. Gilbert’s will serve its guests a three-course turkey dinner and assemble Thanksgiving carryout kits for those who choose to eat at home.

The restaurant’s general manager, Jim Hetrick, says the health and safety of his customers during this holiday season will be the restaurant’s top priority.

“Thanksgiving dinner will be the same great feast that our guests have travelled miles to enjoy in previous years,” Hetrick said. “…This year we have adapted additional measures so our guests can be confident when they dine with us.”

J. Gilbert’s safety measures include socially distancing its tables, performing continuous sanitizing throughout the restaurant, requiring all employees to wear masks, and monitoring the team on a daily basis.

Kazan Restaurant (6813 Redmond Drive) is among the other McLean restaurants that will offer takeout Thanksgiving meals to-go.

Urban Plates in Tysons will serve Thanksgiving Dinner for both dine-in and take out. Chief Marketing Officer Steve Greer says its customers can expect the holiday dinner to be healthy with all offerings made from scratch, including organic produce and cage-free turkeys with no hormones or antibiotics.

“Thanksgiving this year may look different, but at Urban Plates, we’re committed to offering healthy, wholesome meals at affordable prices throughout the holiday season,” Greer said. “…We want to take the stress out of cooking a Thanksgiving meal so that you can enjoy meaningful time with those you’re with, rather than with your kitchen.”

A few other restaurants in Tysons that will provide Thanksgiving to-go includes:

Local restaurants in Merrifield that will serve traditional and non-traditional Thanksgiving meals include:

Falls Church also have a few restaurants that will serve customers on Thanksgiving Day:

Photo via Clarity Restaurant 

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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 can’t believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner.

I find it incomprehensible we’ve been battling COVID-19 for nine months! I am also coming to grips with our own personal reality that my family will be (lucky enough) to spend Thanksgiving as a foursome instead of with our usual extended family.

Looking at the silver linings, that also means that I’m trying to take advantage of that and do things unconventionally. I tried to persuade my boys to do a seafood main, but that didn’t go over like I had expected, so we’re doing a small-scale turkey dinner. We’ve also contributed dinners to two families who needed help, so don’t forget about the different options to help others this year.

But let’s talk dessert. Maybe you’re a pumpkin or pecan pie kind of person, or maybe you go for an apple crisp like me. Or maybe this year you want to go crazy and get an ice cream cake. Whatever you’re looking forward to indulging in, I’ve got some ideas for you below.

Lots of local restaurants are also doing Thanksgiving dinners to go, so check with them if you’re looking for the whole shebang.

  • My favorite apple crisp is from The Fresh Market. Hands down.
  • Pie Gourmet — Try their chocolate cream pie, but they want orders by tomorrow, November 17. They also do savory pies if sweet isn’t your thing!
  • S’mores Pie from Amphora Bakery
  • Custard from Kiln and Co
  • Chocolates from Cocoa Vienna
  • Flourless chocolate cake (gluten free!) from Bazins
  • Hot Chocolate Bombs by Whisked by Mukta. These are so fun for kids, and my husband declared this the best hot chocolate.
  • Pastries from Sweetbites in McLean
  • Anything from Best Buns! They have a few specials for Thanksgiving that require 48-hour notice, including white chocolate cheesecake, pumpkin pie and chocolate bourbon pecan pie.
  • Chocolate Chip Espresso Cookie Dough Pie from Northside Social. (Pro tip: Try their quiche or pastries for breakfast as well)
  • Vienna Farmer’s Market local Savagely Good — they have gluten-free chocolate torte and key lime pie, but my kids love their cinnamon rolls.
  • A little treat just for the kids? Try a cake pop from Vienna local Delicioso Decor.
  • Another unexpected treat: 100 percent vegan, gluten- and soy-free custom cakes from plant-based Viva Sol.

One more thing — if you know anyone over the age of 70 spending the holiday alone, Medium Rare is delivering free meals to them.

No matter how you choose to spend your Thanksgiving, from my family to yours, wishing you a healthy and happy holiday.

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In anticipation of the upcoming holiday season, the Fairfax County Health Department released a set of guidelines with information on how to celebrate Thanksgiving safely. 

The county emphasized that it’s still vital to work to slow the spread of COVID-19 and that, despite the cold months and inevitable pandemic fatigue, community members should not let their guards down now. 

According to the guidelines, high-risk activities include:

  • Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving
  • Participating in or watching a crowded race
  • Attending crowded parades
  • Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside your household 

Moderate-risk activities include:

  • Having a small outdoor dinner with family and friends in your community
  • Visiting pumpkin patches or orchards where people use hand sanitizer before touching produce, wearing masks is encouraged or enforced, and people can maintain social distancing
  • Attending small outdoor sports events with safety precautions in place

Lower risk activities include:

  • Having a small dinner with people who live in your household
  • Having virtual dinner and sharing recipes with friends and family
  • Preparing recipes for family and neighbors and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve contact with others
  • Shopping online the day after Thanksgiving, as opposed to in-person
  • Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home

The county advised against participating in any in-person activities if you or anyone in your household has, or are showing, symptoms of COVID-19 and reiterated that traveling increases the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.

The health department suggests following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations on holiday gatherings to further lower risk. 

Photo via Fairfax County Emergency Information

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Thanksgiving is tomorrow (Thursday). For people in the Tysons area, some government facilities will be closed and public transit options will be operating on modified schedules.

Here’s a list of public services that will be affected by Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

County-wide

  • Fairfax County government offices will be closed Thanksgiving and Friday.
  • Public libraries run by Fairfax County will be closed Thanksgiving and Friday.
  • Fairfax County Public Schools are on break from today (Wednesday, Nov. 27) to Friday.
  • The Metrobus and Metrorail will run on holiday schedules for Thanksgiving and resume typical service on Friday.
  • The Fairfax Connector will operate Sunday service on Thanksgiving Day and holiday weekday service on Friday.
  • United States Postal Service offices will be closed on Thanksgiving.

Vienna

  • The Vienna Community Center will be open on Friday (Nov. 29) from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m.
  • The Town of Vienna’s government offices will be closed Thanksgiving and Friday.

McLean

Falls Church

  • The City of Falls Church’s government offices and buildings, the community center and the Mary Riley Styles Public Library will be closed Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
  • Falls Church Community Center will be closed Thanksgiving and open from 8:30 a.m.-11 p.m. on Friday.

Speaking of closed offices, Tysons Reporter will be on a break as well on Thursday and Friday.

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With Thanksgiving nearing, are you planning on staying in the area or going away for the holiday?

According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, nearly 1.35 million people living in the D.C. area are expected to travel during the upcoming holiday period around 50 miles or more away from home.

About 91% of all D.C. area travelers will travel by car, compared to 7% traveling by air, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

For people staying — or coming — here, forecasters predict the weather will be partly cloudy.

Let Tysons Reporter know what your travel plans are for the holiday weekend.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

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

So begins the holiday season of 2019.

I’m thankful for the year I’ve had both personally and professionally. I’ve gotten to meet some great new people thanks to this column on Tyson’s Reporter as well as helping 34 families move this year. I am headed to the blistering cold of upstate New York for Thanksgiving, but when we return, I can’t wait to take my kids to some of my favorite events every December.

Here’s a roundup for you to enjoy:

Reston Thanksgiving Parade — Friday, November 29, 11 a.m.
Floats, dancers, antique cars, characters, Santa and Mrs Claus — they hand out bells to everyone before the parade begins, so make sure to get one!

McLean Winterfest Parade — Sunday, December 1, 3:30 p.m.
Food trucks, parade stage and includes Santa on his firetruck.

Church Street Holiday Stroll — Monday, December 2, 6 p.m.
Santa arrives at 6:15 p.m. on his fire truck to help light the Holiday tree on Church Street. Live music, marshmallow roasting and more.

James Madison Tiny Tots Holiday Concert — Thursday, December 5, 7 p.m.
Showtimes also available for 10 a.m. on December 5 and 6. This is a great, family fun activity with carols, characters, the JMHS band and surprise flurry ending. PJs are encouraged on Thursday night!

Merry Mosaic Tree Lighting — Friday, December 6, 5 p.m.
Festive celebration on the green including a Tree lighting ceremony.

Wolf Trap Holiday Sing-A-Long — Saturday, December 7, 4 p.m.
Free concert along with the US Marine Band, local choirs and vocal groups lead a sing-along of Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs. Please bring a donation for Toys for Tots.

The Polar Express – PJ Party — Sunday, December 8, 10 a.m.
Tickets are very limited, so if you can’t get them this year, mark your calendars for next year. There’s one at Mosaic and there’s another at the Tyson’s AMC.

Channukah Celebration — Friday, December 29, 4:30 p.m.
Menorah lighting on the green with the JCC of NoVA, including a sing a long, entertainment, jelly doughnuts and dreidel games.

If you’re new to Vienna or McLean, you may not know that sometime in December you’ll have a rockin’ party in your street with Santa riding on his antique fire truck and the volunteer firefighters from both stations. They break it up by neighborhood, so make sure you check the schedules so you’re not caught off guard like we were the first year we lived in Vienna (I ended up ripping my son from his bath and running like a mad woman outside so he could see it and he has loved it every year since then).

Check the McLean Schedule or the Vienna Schedule.

Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving and Holiday season!

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Hozier Gives Shout Out to Local Shelter — Irish musician Hozier, who is known for the song “Take Me to Church,” gave the Wolf Trap Animal Rescue a mention on Twitter, along with a video of an adorable puppy. [Twitter]

A Look Inside a Tysons Software Engineer’s Wallet — As part of Refinery 29’s money series, a software engineer in Tysons gave readers a glimpse into how she spends her $100K salary. [Refinery 29]

Staying Home for Thanksgiving? — Here’s where to find local restaurants that will be open. [Patch, Our Community Now]

Vienna Residents Mad About Chopped Down Trees — “Neighbors are furious Wawa cut down three 100+ year-old maple trees that were not on the company’s property.” [WJLA]

Local Tech Company Growing — “McLean-based AppTek, which makes speech apps for enterprises, on Tuesday announced its acquisition of Ignite-Tek… The merger adds to a significant growth streak for AppTek, which says it has doubled its team in 2019.” [DC Inno]

Church and Retirement Center Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner — “Lewinsville Presbyterian Church and the Lewinsville Retirement Residence are teaming up for a community Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, Nov. 28 at noon at the retirement facility, 1515 Great Falls St. in McLean.” [Inside NoVa]

Part of Dominion Square Sold — “Capital Automotive Real Estate Services Inc. has sold part of its 18-acre Dominion Square development site near Spring Hill Metro station in Tysons for $60.2 million after taking the larger 3.6 million-square-foot mixed-use project through Fairfax County’s entitlement process.” [Washington Business Journal]

Another Raccoon with Rabies Found in Falls Church — Earlier this month, a raccoon with rabies was euthanized by police — the second one found in the city in recent months. “While there were no human exposures to the animal in this case either, the community should be cognizant of the rabies threat at all times.” [City of Falls Church]

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

With Thanksgiving upon us next week followed closely by the December holidays, it’s important to know that due to the high cost of living in Northern Virginia, there are many families in need this holiday season.

Whether you’re looking for an in-person volunteer opportunity to do as an adult or with the family, or if you’d prefer to work behind the scenes and donate something, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in our community at the local level.

Please check out some of the organizations and their needs at this time of year:

SHARE of McLean 

Share has a Holiday Celebration which is their biggest event of the year. They need volunteers, as well as donations. You can also sign up to host a food drive to help stock their pantry which they use to give food and gift cards to families in need. They have in person volunteer hours which may include moving furniture, sorting clothing, or restocking the shelves. If you want a more hands-on interaction, you can also greet and register the clients.

Committee for Helping Others (CHO) of Vienna 

CHO hosts a Christmas Store on December 7 for families in need in the Vienna and Oakton areas. They’re looking for new toys, gently used clothing and gift cards. Gift cards can be dropped off to the church office on the 2nd floor (Vienna Presbyterian Church — 124 Park Street NE ,Vienna). All other physical items can be dropped off by December 1 to the bins outside of the the VPC Narthex. You can find a list of their needs on their website.

Women Giving Back (Sterling, Virginia)

WGB is an organization that supports women and children with the basics to get back on their feet. They are collecting new, unwrapped toys for their children to be donated by December 13. You can drop them off locally at First Excel Title just outside of Oakton at 3201 Jermantown Road Suite 350, Fairfax, VA 22030. The store throughout the rest of the year needs clothing, accessories, shoes and kids clothes. Learn more.

You can also search more volunteer opportunities throughout Fairfax at Volunteer Fairfax.

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Vienna Turkey Trot Tips

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

The annual Vienna Turkey Trot is the Sunday before Thanksgiving on November 24.

The race starts at the Fire House on Cherry Street SE across from Waters Field. Here’s a brief overview of the event and some tips below.

The race begins with everyone lining up in the street by the Fire House. There’s music playing, everyone talking, and cheering. There’s a very enthusiastic man dressed in a Turkey Suit that will lead the race. There is a group stretch before the race, then they have the fun run line up to kick it off!

  • Register early! You can pick up your packet before the race to make the morning easy the day of. The registration packets often include some fun things like a sweet treat, tattoos, jelly bands and if you registered early a t-shirt. They do have day of registration starting at 7 a.m. if you decide to jump into the race that day.
  • The Kids Fun Run starts first at 8 a.m. The 5k/10k starts when that’s over at 8:30 a.m.
  • Plan to park in one of the approved lots: The Community Center, Vienna Elementary, Patrick Henry Library, The lot BEHIND the Vienna shopping center, Town Green lot or Caboose Parking Lot.
  • Strollers are welcome! But dogs are not. Leave Fido at home.
  • My family and I always love to watch the other runners after we do the Fun Run and we stay to cheer them on. Stay to cheer people on! You can line up on Center Street or Cottage to cheer them on. I think most of them appreciate the cheering.

For more information on prices, age groups and course information visit the website.

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