Commentary: Cozy Christmas Haunts
Christmas has arrived in a heaving rush and I’m plotting a means to get my Christmas on proper before it vanishes in a few weeks. This is not my first time getting surprised by the holiday season. That said, kindly allow me a couple minutes to share a trade secret to jump start your way back into the spirit of the season. First off, you must get off your fourth point of contact – as the paratroopers call it – and set about soaking up a bit of KrisKringleness.
The cool thing about living in Northwestern Virginia is it feels like Christmas here – not like further south – where flip flops and a sweatshirt comprises the local Christmas attire. A cozy fireplace with a hot toddy is a good way of getting started. Of course, you don’t need to leave home for that, but suffice it to say, you need to step out and feel Christmas and see the lights. Those are the times you’ll remember.
I’ll not belabor the options. Essentially there are 2 cool places that are within reach that will do the trick. As luck would have it, they are on the same highway: The Hunters Head Tavern in Upperville, and the Red Fox Tavern in Middleburg. Both are within an hour of Front Royal. Let’s start with my favorite – The Red Fox Tavern in Middleburg. For the historian in the family – you’ll be interested to know that this is the longest running Tavern in the United States. Meaning the tavern has always been a tavern and not a residence or other type venue dating back to 1728. It served as a frequent stop and halfway tavern between Washington D.C. and Winchester in the early 18th and 19th centuries. Since it worked for the old, I’ve used it as a suitable meeting location too. One of my British friends is a commander of the Royal Fusiliers from London. He visits the states often and wanted to see something other than the capital region. I prescribed the Red Fox Inn and after researching it a bit online – he went a step further and booked a room at the Inn. Envious.
The Inn is very much mid-Atlantic twang and Colonial (by way of Boston) cool. The Fox resides along Hwy 50 in the cradle of Mosby’s Confederacy – adrift in equestrian country. A couple of Confederate cavaliers, JEB Stuart, and the celebrated Gray Ghost Mosby – once planned strategy there. Prior to that, George Washington was said to have stopped by in the early 1700s, as did First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy during her husband’s tenure in the White House, circa early 1960s.
Middleburg is the perfect little town and rendezvous location for link ups with your Washington friends and it celebrates Christmas in a big way. The first weekend of December was the annual Christmas parade this year. But I digress.
At three in the afternoon, we met up at the Red Horse Tavern in Middleburg to have a shorty and reacquaint. We needed to kill a couple hours before our 5:30 reservation. Subsequently, we sought refuge in my vehicle and I regaled him with the play by play of the local Civil War battles. Being a military man, he was the proper captured audience. So, as we road around, I spouted forth all I knew about Colonel John Mosby’s exploits. As darkness set in, we retreated to the Christmas Shop to shop a little bit for our wives. I located a really cool ‘Rauchermann’ or ‘German smoker man.’ In this case it was a Smoking Santa.’ The Smoking Santa is a German Christmas ornament that few Americans know about. It is quite the cool little addition to your Christmas motif and guaranteed to garner more than passive attention from your guests. After a short venture past the many decorated shops, we moved across the street for our dinner reservations at the Red Fox.
I had previously alerted the hosts that we desired a table beside the fireplace. They did not disappoint. We both ordered the three-course meal option with roasted duck and wine by the fire. Three hours later and all talked out, we bid farewell and I departed back to the Shenandoah Valley. My friend enjoyed a couple more tonics with the barkeeps. I’m sure his rich English accent and storytelling prowess kept them entertained till he turned in that night. An evening in Middleburg during the Christmas season topped by dinner at the Red Fox is tough to beat. Next story entails a Christmas evening at the Hunters Head Tavern.
My wife likes the Hunters Head Tavern in Upperville – principally because she comes from Penarth, Wales – in the Vale of Glamorgan by the sea. As I soon discovered, this quaint little tavern reminds her of home. And why not, Hunter’s Head is a colorful English pub with a variety of authentic meals in a nice little historic hamlet.
Restaurant critics are supposed to be impartial, but I can’t help feeling some kindred spirit in this tavern. You may detect an extra cup or two of enthusiasm in my voice when she mentioned getting an uber for the trip out. Translation – another round please. This English pub is tucked in an old house in Northern Virginia, and focuses on humanely raised, locally sourced classic dishes. And don’t think I’m not going to mention the cool Civil War history that abounds here as well. Upperville has quite a bit of Civil War folklore. Unfortunately, I was not permitted to drag Sonja around anymore battlefield outings, no matter how well I spun the yarn. “What are we doing out here in this field” had been a constant theme over the years. She had been duped many times before but at this stage in our lives, she was too well seasoned to fall for it again. Besides this was supposed to be a romantic Christmas outing at one of our favorite haunts. Too bad – so much cool history, so little time. Next time perhaps.
Once again, the tavern hosts understood our wishes and sat us perfectly next to a raging fire. And that was a good thing as my wife was sure the temperature was a mark above zero (Celsius that is). In Southern parlance that would be roughly a bit above freezing. In short, it was rather frigid out and we were frozen. As luck would have it, we were the taverns’ first patrons that evening.
The bar tender hooked us up with a piping hot coffee liqueur drink with Baileys and we settled in for some ole fashion date night. Very nice. When the fire started waning, the attractive barmaid came out and threw a couple more logs on the fire. I offered my assistance, but my wife stifled my exuberance – leaving the young lady to her own skills in fireplace maintenance.
And when it was time for vittles, the kitchen was equally skilled in the principals of getting plates on the table while the food was still hot. After all, that is the trick isn’t it. That feat was even more impressive when we looked around and found ourselves surrounded by fellow patrons. The place was packed. And for a moment there, I felt as if we had stepped back in time. It’s as if we were part of a secret colonial meeting to unseat the crown. We had apparently been engrossed in serious conversation that impaired our situational awareness. Snap out it, man. Clearly, I was the only one that experienced this sensation. Could it be that I’d let myself be over-served? Surely not.
All that aside, it was quite the treat to enjoy fine English fare in a cozy Christmas setting where you can relax and enjoy the season. Hunter’s Head Tavern was built in the 1700s and remains quaint, decorated in period accessories and enticing. The fire and the atmosphere harken you back to a Dickens’ novel or more so – to the days of the American Revolution. The old home itself, is in a nice, wooded area which is even more scenic at Christmas time. In short, it’s very reminiscent of ole town Williamsburg. After a night cap – we summoned our ride and took the scenic route by the horse farms enjoying the Christmas lights along the way. My wife casually mentioned under her breath, “For a moment there, I could have sworn we were surrounded by colonial militia in there.” Ha! More wine I say. I highly recommend this ole haunt – especially during the Christmas season.
This week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of December 9th
Are you looking for the full movie-going experience without having to wait in the long lines that often accompany that experience? Then look no further because Royal Cinemas movie theatre is the answer. Get the whole gang together and enjoy a movie! Reserved seating in all auditoriums.
Here is a list of this week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of Friday, December 9:
Ticket prices are as follows:
- Adult: $10
- Child (under 12): $7
- Military: $8
- Student (college): $8
- Senior: $8
- Matinees, All Seating: $7
- 3D – add $3
SATURDAY AND SUNDAY AT 1PM
Christmas Classics FREE Movie: “Grinch” (Illumination Studios, 2018)
THURSDAY: “Avatar: The Way of Water” 3D @ 7:00, 2D @ 8:00
- “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”
- “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”
- “A Man Called Otto”
Jail deaths and suicides soar and more Va. headlines
• The former Virginia police officer who “catfished” a 15-year-old girl in California and killed three members of the family was detained and hospitalized in 2016 after threatening to kill himself and his father, according to Virginia police records. A spokesman for the Virginia State Police said the agency conducted a “thorough background check” before admitting him to a law enforcement academy five years later.—Los Angeles Times
• Jail deaths and suicides soared in Virginia last year, but officials aren’t offering an explanation for what caused the increase.—Richmond Times-Dispatch
• In a lawsuit challenging the transgender-inclusive policies of Harrisonburg’s public schools, the judge dismissed claims brought by parents but allowed three teachers involved in the case to continue pursuing claims the policy violates their rights.—Daily News-Record
• A federal judge declined to dismiss a First Amendment lawsuit brought against Virginia Tech by a former soccer player who claims she was berated and benched for refusing to kneel during a pregame unity statement. Her former coach says she was benched for poor play, not her conservative views.—Roanoke Times
• A Richmond restaurant refused to serve a group affiliated with the Christian advocacy group the Family Foundation, which opposes abortion and LGBTQ equality.—WRIC
by Staff Report, Virginia Mercury
Virginia Mercury is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Virginia Mercury maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sarah Vogelsong for questions: email@example.com. Follow Virginia Mercury on Facebook and Twitter.
Are you making these two marketing mistakes?
There are two big mistakes that you might be making when it comes to marketing, and they’re costing you thousands of dollars a year. In this article, I’ll share the mistakes that most people make in marketing and the ones that you should avoid.
Many people struggle to market themselves online. There’s a lot of competition, and it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. This is why you need to avoid these two common mistakes.
Marketers often make mistakes when they’re trying to promote their brand online. They spend lots of time creating content but neglect the rest of the marketing process.
Read on so that you can avoid these common mistakes and focus on what matters most.
So, don’t waste your precious time making these common mistakes!
Mistake #1: Focusing on Selling the Product Instead of Building Relationships.
When you’re trying to sell anything to anyone, it can be quite difficult. You’ve got to be able to come across as someone who is trustworthy, genuine, and who cares about the other person’s opinion.
If you try to sell something to someone who has no interest in what you’re offering, you’re going to have a really hard time getting through to them. It’s a fact of life that some people will always be indifferent to what you have to offer, and you need to understand that and prepare yourself accordingly.
If you focus too much on trying to sell yourself to the other person, you’re going to come off as a bit pushy, and that won’t be a good thing. Instead, you’d do well to focus on what the other person wants first.
What do they need? Is there a need that you can fill? If the answer to that question is yes, then you’ve got to go about finding out what that need is.
There are times when you can’t fill a need right away, so you have to focus on building a relationship first.
There’s a difference between having a sales conversation with someone and actually building a relationship with them. There are many people out there who want to make a sale without really caring to see how well their product will fit into someone else’s life.
When you’re looking to make a sale, you need to be looking to make a sale, and it can lead to you talking about yourself and your business all the time. That’s fine when you’re talking to someone who already knows who you are, but it’s not really an effective way of building a relationship with someone new.
When you’re talking to a prospect, you should focus on them, not you. This means you need to focus on their needs and how you can help them. If you want to make a sale, you need to ask questions showing how you can help them.
It’s not just asking the obvious questions, like “What do you need?” or “How can I help you?”. You need to ask questions showing how you can help them, which is only possible if you build a relationship with them.
Only when you’re talking with someone who trusts you can start asking them the real questions. This is one of the biggest reasons why most salespeople make no money.
In sales, you have to sell the product, but you’ve got to sell yourself as the one who can actually help them with their problem. When you build a relationship with someone, they’re more likely to trust and listen to you.
It’s hard to get people to trust you, and it’s even harder to get them to do business with you. By building a relationship, you’re actually getting a chance to prove yourself to them.
If you get past the small stuff and you really care about your customers, then they can trust that you can help them instead of just selling to them.
Mistake #2: Not Continually Following Up With Their List From Day 1.
I will tell you about the average list builder. They build their list But do nothing with it. Eventually, when the marketer has a hundred, or a thousand subscribers, they decide the time is right to send emails.
The problem is by that time, most people on their list forget who they are.
“Relationships” don’t get built, “products” don’t get sold, and no one wins.
If you’re the new marketer, is it any wonder you give up and go back to your 9 to 5 job?
This isn’t the way it should be done. It’s a major mistake. Here’s what you have to do instead.
Right from Day One, you have to begin sending consistent messages to your prospects so that they don’t forget you and begin to like and trust you.
Write a series of pre-written emails that go out automatically to your list. You actually need to create these emails before you get the first subscriber so that you are properly prepared.
This will allow you to focus on list building without having to worry about creating automated emails.
Everybody gets an email every day after they sign up. They have become accustomed to hearing from you and expect to hear from you – if you do it right, they’ll look forward to hearing from you. They are more receptive to what you have to say when you send an email to the entire list with your latest offer.
Don’t make the mistake of ignoring them and thinking that you can start messaging them once you’re finally ready. It won’t work like that because people have short attention spans.
Don’t make these two common mistakes
Do you ever wonder why some people are so successful while others are left behind? It is not their intelligence. It is not even their wealth.
It has everything to do with their ability to market themselves.
You can create a profitable, sustainable, and successful business by creating an effective marketing strategy. But sometimes, we do just enough marketing without understanding the key to success.
We’ve covered the two most common mistakes that people make when marketing themselves and their businesses.
If you want to become a successful entrepreneur, you must know how to market yourself effectively, and you must use digital marketing techniques to promote your business and build your brand.
If you’re interested in becoming an entrepreneur, now is the time to start doing things differently.
Five great gifts for seniors
Are you looking for a Christmas present for the senior in your life? If so, here are five great gift ideas to show you care.
1. A book
Whether your loved one likes gardening, history, or science, there’s sure to be a book or audiobook that suits their interests. If you need advice, ask a bookstore employee what they recommend.
2. A game
Consider offering a fun puzzle, board game, card game, or memory game. You may also want to consider a video game for the tech-savvy senior in your life.
3. A kitchen gadget
Electric can openers and pepper grinders are perfect for elderly people who want to remain independent but lack strength and dexterity in their hands.
Purchase a picture frame or album, including photos of family members and friends. If there’s enough space, add one or more handwritten notes.
5. A cozy accessory
Give the gift of relaxation with an electric blanket, a pair of non-slip slippers, a soft scarf, or an essential oil diffuser.
For more great ideas, visit your local stores.
Virginia regulators enter into agreement with menhaden fishery
Following months of negotiations on proposed regulations and hours of testimony Tuesday, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission approved an agreement with the menhaden industry that will restrict fishing in the Chesapeake Bay but doesn’t carry any enforceable penalties.
In a 5-4 vote, the commission voted to approve a memo of understanding stating the Bay’s lone reduction fishery, Omega Protein, and two bait fisheries agree to not fish in state waters of the Chesapeake Bay around Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day, as well as on Saturdays and Sundays between Memorial Day and Labor Day and within a half-mile of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.
The agreement also calls for the whole fishery to work collaboratively with the governor’s office and the General Assembly to maintain a buffer where fishing will not occur in waters along the densely populated areas of the Eastern Shore, the Chesapeake Bay, and Virginia Beach region.
The commission initially considered regulations that would have created a no-fishing buffer one nautical mile wide around Virginia shorelines and Virginia Beach and a half-nautical mile wide around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, along with 17 days of no fishing around holidays.
The proposed regulations would have applied to both Omega Protein and the bait fisheries.
The regulations were proposed following two net spills by Omega Protein over the summer, resulting in thousands of dead menhaden washing ashore in Northampton County. Subsequently, the Virginia Saltwater Sportfishing Association delivered a petition with 11,000 signatures to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office asking Virginia to shut down the reduction fishery in the Bay.
Youngkin appointees Spencer Headley, A.J. Erskine, Lynn Kellum, and Chairman Jamie Green, along with James Minor III, an appointee of former Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, voted in favor of the agreement with the industry. Board members Glen France, John Tankard III, and Heather Lusk, all appointed by Northam, and Youngkin appointee Will Bransom voted against the agreement.
Before the vote, the board’s legal counsel stressed that the agreement doesn’t carry any force of law.
Erksine of the Northern Neck-based Cowart Seafood Corporation and Bevans Oyster Company said the proposed regulations didn’t address the problem of net spills and argued the state should increase enforcement of cleanup obligations after spills. Omega has said it has invested in a vessel to catch spilled fish before they reach the shore.
“I just think we’re falling a little short of our responsibility if we don’t address the issues at hand,” Erskine said.
Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Travis Voyles called the agreement with the menhaden industry a “good potential path forward,” while Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter said, “the administration and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission have been engaged with all stakeholders from Virginia’s commercial and recreational fishing sectors about these issues and the importance of commonsense solutions for protecting and cleaning up the Bay.”
During the five-hour discussion on the topic, VMRC Chief of Fisheries Management Pat Geer said the proposed regulations would have prevented Omega from setting about 6.4% of its nets in the Bay.
The sportfishers want the fishery shut down because they say overfishing of menhaden leads to the depletion of other species like striped bass.
However, Virginia Institute of Marine Science professor Rob Latour said coastwide menhaden landings have fallen to less than 50% of the 700,000 metric tons of landings that occurred at its peak, and striped bass populations have been periodically overfished.
“There’s very rarely a single smoking gun,” Latour said
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission recently increased the coastwide quota for menhaden by 20% after concluding the population is healthy.
But Virginia Saltwater Sportfishing Association President Steve Atkinson said coastwide menhaden data don’t reflect the impacts of the fishery on the Bay.
David Reed, executive director of the Maryland-based Chesapeake Legal Alliance, said the VMRC is ignoring a lack of science on the Bay’s menhaden population.
“They are covering their eyes and ears to the best available science,” Reed said.
Del. Tim Anderson, R-Virginia Beach, has proposed legislation to close the Bay fishery for two years to study the impact of menhaden reduction fishing. He also proposed legislation to expand the time frame when regulations can be changed. Currently, they can only be altered from October to December.
This article was updated to state that France, Tankard, Lusk, and Bransom voted against the agreement.
by Charlie Paullin, Virginia Mercury