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Just a few days before Valentine’s Day, about 650 volunteers in the Tysons area and Fairfax County made medical workers at Inova Hospital their valentine.

The nonprofit organization Volunteer Fairfax distributed about 7,000 handmade pink and red cards yesterday (Tuesday) to Inova nurses outside the Inova Heart and Vascular Institute and throughout the Inova Children’s Hospital in Falls Church.

“This many cards, from this many people, shows that the community acknowledges what we’re going through,” nurse Sabeena Jamali said.

Volunteer Fairfax has been delivering handmade Valentine’s Day cards for 10 years now, but this year, volunteers crafted 10,000 cards — more than ever before, according to Volunteer Fairfax Communications Director Lorna Clarke.

3,000 cards are earmarked for children who are in or graduating from the foster care system.

Before the novel coronavirus, the organization would take over a fire station during Martin Luther King Jr. weekend — as an homage to his legacy of service — and people would come to make cards in person, Clarke said. This typically yielded 3,000 to 5,000 cards.

She attributed the huge influx of cards this year to a practical reason — volunteers were able to do this from home — as well as a sentimental one, as appreciation has deepened in the community for healthcare workers and the sacrifices they make.

Inova is one of the largest employers in the region, but it is easy to take it for granted when driving past the campus on the way to work, Volunteer Fairfax CEO Stephen Mutty said.

“We wanted to raise awareness and say thank you,” he said, crediting Tysons for its “demographic of caring, socially engaged people.”

For Inova President Steve Narang, Valentine’s Day is a special holiday because it gives people a chance to reflect on what it means to have a connection to another person. The cards establish and reinforce a connection between a hospital worker and someone in the community.

“You could see it in their eyes, the recognition that ‘I’m still being seen,'” Narang said.

Case manager Ruth Mahat said she is going to put her Valentine up in the break room to cheer her up whenever she rushes in to grab something or has to step away because she feels overwhelmed.

“Seeing the card brings your morale up,” Mahat said. “Someone in the community is thinking about you and appreciates what you do.”

Image via Volunteer Fairfax

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A number of restaurants and shops in the Tysons area are offering specials this weekend leading up to Valentine’s Day on Sunday.

From sweet treats to savory meals, here are some options for celebrating the holiday:

  • Andy’s Pizza in Tysons Galleria has a Valentine’s Day Love Package from Friday through Sunday. The package includes a choice of any signature pizzas that are also offered by the slice, a bottle of wine and a tiramisu for dessert. The wine options are a sparkling brut, merlot or sauvignon blanc. The package is $38. Andy’s Pizza is also offering an anti-Valentine’s Day package for $38 that includes a choice of any signature pizza, an order of Old Bay fries, and a four-pack of Radeberger tall boy pilsners.
  • Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar at Tysons Corner is offering a variety of specials to mark the holiday. From Friday through Monday, a Valentine’s Day three-course prime surf and turf menu is available for $225. Starting at $60 per guest, a three-course family menu is also available for curbside pickup or delivery and will feature individual entrees paired with family-style salad, sides, and desserts.
  • Wildfire McLean in Tysons Galleria will offer its dinner menu all day for dine-in, carryout, and delivery. A Valentine’s menu for two will be available for dine-in and carryout from Friday through Sunday. With a price tag of $120, plus tax, per couple, the Valentine’s menu will include shrimp cocktail, Wildfire chopped salad, and a selection of main courses, sides, and desserts.
  • Founding Farmers in Tysons and Reston is offering a Valentine’s Day and Weekend at Home package, along with a variety of Valentine’s Day specials that can be picked up Saturday or Sunday. Valentine’s Day orders must be placed by 11 a.m. Friday (Feb. 12). Options include a heat-and-eat dinner for two, Valentine’s bottled cocktails, heat-and-eat breakfast, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and more.
  • Urban Plates at Tysons Galleria is offering a Valentine’s Day at-home, three-course dinner for two for $49. The dinner includes a choice of two starters, two entrées with grilled artisan bread, and two desserts. The holiday menu is available for takeout only from Friday through Sunday but must be preordered by Thursday (Feb. 11).
  • In addition to its regular menu, Vienna’s Blend 111 will have a special “Día de San Valentín” menu for indoor and outdoor dining on Friday and Saturday. Sunday dining will be limited to the special menu, with a limited number of reservations available. A special carryout menu for Sunday can be preordered until 5 p.m. on Thursday or the restaurant sells out. Pick-up for carryout dinners will be from 5-8 p.m. on Sunday.
  • If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, Lolli & Pops in the Tysons Corner Center is offering a variety of Valentine’s Day gift boxes featuring various candies and chocolate confections.
  • Cocoa Vienna has a variety of Valentine’s Day gift boxes, chocolate confections and personalized gift baskets available.

Additional ideas for chocolate fans can be found through Visit Fairfax’s “Chocolate Safari” campaign, which lets restaurants from around the county advertise their chocolate-based menu items.

“All of our communities are made better by the hard work and passion that drives local small businesses,” Visit Fairfax President and CEO Barry Biggar said. “The people behind these businesses…continually work to bring joy and happiness to our lives day after day, even through a worldwide pandemic. If there’s ever a time to share the love back with them, Valentine’s Day is an exceptional reason to start!”

Photo courtesy Andy’s Pizza

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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!

Tuesday (Feb. 9)

  • Second Draw PPP (Online) — 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. — The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority is holding a free webinar on the second round of the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which is providing loans to help businesses keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 pandemic. A program schedule and link to register can be found through Eventbrite.
  • On Deck with Mercury — 5-7 p.m. at Vienna Town Hall (127 Center St.) — Vienna Town Manager Payton Mercury holds his monthly community forum for residents to learn about town projects and ask questions. The February forum will focus on planned celebrations for Liberty Amendments Month, which commemorates the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 19th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
  • Virtual Meet and Greet with Melanie Meren (Online) — 7-8 p.m. — Vienna’s Club Phoenix Teen Center and Thoreau Middle School are hosting a discussion with Hunter Mill District School Board Representative Melanie Meren, who will talk about her first year in office, give an update on Return to School plans, and answer questions. Registration closes at 5 p.m. Email Natalie Duncan at [email protected] for more information.
  • Great Books Discussion (Online) — 7-8 p.m. — The Mary Riley Styles Public Library’s bi-monthly Great Books Discussion group will talk about the short story “Tell Me a Riddle” by Tillie Olsen. Get the Zoom link by emailing Marshall Webster at [email protected]

Thursday (Feb. 11)

  • Culinaria Cooking Class (Online) — 7-8:30 p.m. — Chefs from Vienna’s Culinaria Cooking School will demonstrate how to prepare “a special Valentine’s Day meal” with dishes like chicken satay with peanut sauce and molten chocolate cake. A Zoom invite, recipes, and a shopping list will be provided prior to the class, so participants must register by Feb. 8. The $40 fee goes to support the Shepherd’s Center, a nonprofit that serves Vienna, Oakton, Reston, and Herndon.

Friday (Feb. 12)

  • VBA State of the Union (Online) — 11:30-1 p.m. — The Vienna Business Association will hold its annual State of the Union meeting. The speech will be presented by VBA 2020-2021 chairman and School of Rock Vienna owner Jeff Bollettino, and Vienna Mayor Linda Colbert will officiate an installation ceremony for the organization’s 2021 board. RSVP through the VBA website to receive a Zoom link.
  • Virtual Valentine Bingo and Games (Online) — 1:30-3 p.m. — The Town of Vienna and Fairfax City parks and recreation departments are offering a free afternoon of bingo, online games, prizes, and sweet treats to usher in Valentine’s Day. The event is intended for adults 55 and older. Register by calling 703-255-7801 or emailing Kathy Blevins at [email protected] The deadline to sign up is 5 p.m. on Thursday (Feb. 11).
  • Abbey Lincoln Tribute (Online) — 7:30 p.m. — Creative Cauldron continues its 2021 “Passport to the World” series with a concert celebrating the music of American jazz singer Abbey Lincoln. There will also be a performance on Saturday (Feb. 13) by the D.C.-based band RAYMI, which plays traditional music from the Andes. All concerts are live-streamed at 7:30 p.m., and tickets cost $15.
  • Judy Collins: A Return (Online) — 8 p.m. — Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is streaming a live performance by singer Judy Collins, who will recreate her 1964 concert hall debut at New York City’s The Town Hall. The program will feature music by Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, and Billy Ed Wheeler. Tickets start at $40, and the stream will be available for rewatch for 48 hours until 8 p.m. on Feb. 14.
  • Valentine’s Day Drive-In Movies — 8 p.m. at The Boro (1640 Boro Place) — The Boro is hosting three drive-in movie screenings, starting with “Crazy Rich Asians” today and concluding with “Valentine’s Day” on the eponymous holiday. While all three films are now sold out, you can join the waitlist through Eventbrite in case additional tickets become available.

Saturday (Feb. 13)

  • Art for a Cause (Online) — 6-8 p.m. — The Junior League of Northern Virginia is hosting a “Monte Carlo Night” with crafts, Valentine-themed games, and two raffles. Materials for the craft activities, which involve painting a glass vase or heart-shaped cutting board, can be picked up at Best Buns Bakery (8051 Leesburg Pike) in Vienna. Tickets to the event cost $40 and can be purchased from JLNV.

Photo via Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

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The nonprofit Falls Church Arts is offering a free, online Valentine’s card-making workshop for anyone looking for some artistic inspiration.

The class is scheduled to place on Saturday (Feb. 6) from 10 a.m. to noon. It will be run by Arlington artist Molly McCracken, who works primarily with collage, assemblage, and acrylic painting, according to her official website.

“This will be lots of fun and perfect for all ages,” the event posting says.

Event organizers say participants should use whatever materials they have on hand, but suggestions include:

  • a variety of solid and patterned papers, including card stock or heavyweight papers
  • scissors
  • glue stick or adhesive
  • blank note cards
  • pens, markers, colored pencils, crayons
  • ribbons
  • hole punch
  • embellishments such as stickers, glitter, sequins, and doilies

Registration is required to receive a link to the Zoom event, and the workshop size is limited. Questions can be sent to [email protected]

Photo via CraftFancy/Flickr

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The Boro is giving away free tickets this week to its upcoming Valentine’s Drive-In Movie Series.

The series will run from Feb. 12-14, and in order of their screening date, the featured films will be “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Crazy, Stupid, Love,” and “Valentine’s Day.”

Details for entering the contest for free tickets can be found on The Boro’s Facebook and Instagram pages. Winners will be selected randomly and contacted by The Boro later this week.

The Boro decided to offer a Valentine’s Day-oriented film series after finding success with drive-in movie screenings last summer and on Halloween.

“We witnessed a huge demand for this type of activation when we quickly sold out our summer drive-in series,” The Boro Director of Marketing Tanya Graves said. “We’re excited to bring it back in this new capacity, helping people celebrate Valentine’s Day in a safe, but still romantic way.”

Gates for the screenings, which will be held behind The Loft at the intersection of Broad Street and Silver Hill Drive, will open at 6:30 p.m. The movies will begin at 8 p.m.

Paris Baguette will provide complimentary hot chocolate and sweet treats for the event. The Boro is also encouraging visitors to stop by its restaurants and retailers before the screenings.

“The last few months have been tough on everyone so The Boro wanted to offer the community a safe and fun outdoor activity to enjoy together,” Graves said. “We also want to support our retailers by inviting guests to grab dinner beforehand at one of our many dining options like North Italia, Santouka Ramen, and Poki DC.”

Tickets are now on sale through Eventbrite. They cost $25 per vehicle, and parking spots will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Limited spaces are available to promote social distancing,” The Boro says on the event page.

The Boro is asking that people remain in their vehicles for the duration of each screening, except to use the bathroom or visit Boro Place retailers. Vehicles will also not be able to arrive late or leave early unless there is an emergency.

Audio for the movies will be available through a dedicated FM radio channel.

Like The Boro’s previous drive-in movie screenings, the Valentine’s Day series is being produced by DC Fray and District Fray Magazine.

Photo via The Boro Tysons/Facebook

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Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. Whether you’re single, in a relationship or something else, there are plenty of opportunities in the Tysons area.

Tysons Reporter recently rounded up a list of events this week that are Cupid-themed.

Forecasters predict that the weather will be sunny but cold. For people who want to bundle up for some free outdoor activities, the Wolftrap Stream Valley Park will be open until 8 p.m., while the Scott’s Run Nature Preserve will be open until 4:30 p.m.

Let Tysons Reporter know what your plans are for Valentine’s Day.

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Valentine’s Day is coming up on Friday (Feb. 14). To celebrate, several restaurants, stores and places in the Tysons area are offering themed events this week.

Here’s where to find restaurant deals, parties and even a Valentine’s Day Zumba class.

Tysons 

Several restaurants in Tysons are offering Valentine’s Day meals and specials.

From 5-10 p.m. on Friday, La Sandia (7852 Tysons Corner Center) will have a three-course menu for two ($35) with dishes like chunky tuna guacamole, carne tampiquena and espresso tres leches.

Turkish Coffee Lady Café, a woman-owned small business in Tysons Corner Center, will have “coffee readings” on Friday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

“The promotion is inspired by the Turkish tradition of reading your fortune in the coffee grounds found at the bottom of the cup after enjoying a delicious brew: Turkish coffee dregs known as ‘telve’ allows fortune readers to see your future in the most scrumptious way,” according to a Facebook post.

Looking for a unique dining experience? Greenhouse Bistro (2070 Chainbridge Road) will have “Dining in the Dark” from 7:30-9:30 p.m. on Friday, where diners eat a four course prix-fixe meal while blindfolded.

Looking to break a sweat instead? Sport & Health McLean (1800 Old Meadow Road) will have a Valentine’s Day Zumba Party from 6-7:30 p.m. on Friday.

Merrifield and Vienna 

The “All You Need is Love” party for people ages 55+ at the Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street SE) will provide attendees with a meal from The Davis Center.

The party, which is being hosted in partnership with the Shepherd’s Center of Oakton-Vienna, is set to run from noon-2 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 11. Tickets are $18 per person.

In the Mosaic District, several stores are offering Valentine’s Day-themed events, including Kendra Scott on Thursday (Feb. 13) and Kaleidos with NIB Studio on Friday.

True Food Kitchen (2910 District Avenue) is offering a pre-fixe menu on Valentine’s Day weekend from Feb. 14-16.

On Saturday (Feb. 15), Undeniable Boutique will have “Certified Lipsologist” Ariana Lightningstorm give a palm reading for people’s lips.

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

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Here are the latest stories about the Tysons area that the Tysons Reporter team has been reading:

Where to Eat Out for Valentine’s Day — “Reservations are starting to fill up for Friday, Feb. 14. We’ve got a few suggestions for restaurants around Vienna and Tysons, including those taking reservations on OpenTable.” [Patch]

No Cases of Novel Coronavirus Locally — “The Virginia Department of Health has received test results for the first of two Patients Under Investigation for Novel Coronavirus in the Northern Region of Virginia. The results from testing performed at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were negative.” [Fairfax County]

Fairfax Prosecutor Examines Park Police Shooting — “The new prosecutor for Fairfax County is looking into the fatal Park Police shooting of Bijan Ghaisar, a 25-year-old accountant from McLean.” [Patch]

Health Officials Warn of Possible Measles Exposure — “The Virginia Department of Health is working to identify people who may have been exposed to measles beginning Jan. 26 at Dulles International Airport.” [Inside NoVa]

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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.

Valentine’s Day is just about 3 weeks away and on a Friday this year!

Sometimes we can forget to book early, so here’s your reminder to book a restaurant reservation early this year! Some of these may even have a special menu for Valentine’s Day.

Vienna

  • Clarity
  • The Palm
  • Bazins
  • Maple Ave
  • Randy’s
  • Café Renaissance
  • Blend 111
  • Zenola

Falls Church

  • 2941
  • Thompson’s Italian
  • Dominion Beer & Wine

McLean

  • Assaggi Osteria
  • J Gilbert’s
  • Eddie V’s
  • Wildfire
  • Lebanese Taverna
  • Nostos
  • Founding Farmers

Looking for ladies night out ideas instead? Check out this post from last year!

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It’s Valentine’s Day and there’s plenty of options around the area for romantic gestures, from a singing quartet to a wide array of restaurant specials.

But if you’re looking for something a little more low-key, Stomping Ground in Tysons Galleria’s Taste of Urbanspace has a few special treats for today only.

In addition to the usual biscuits, the location will be offering strawberry scones with a pink strawberry glaze for $3. The scones — of course — have been cut into heart shapes.

In keeping with the pink theme, Stomping Ground will also have fresh strawberry milk with whipped cream for $4.

The last special is something of an inexplicable Valentine’s Day specialty: Mexican Hot Chocolate. The drink has cocoa powder, cayenne, cinnamon, grapefruit and black pepper marshmallows in a house hot chocolate for $5.25.

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