Manassas set the bar with high-quality, truly local craft spirits and beer

KO Distilling

The craft beer, wine, and spirits industry has been growing in leaps and bounds.

In the last few years, two breweries and a distillery have opened in the City of Manassas. While each place offers their own unique vibe and products, two characteristics unite and set them apart from the competition – a commitment to quality and local ingredients.

“Similar to the farm-to-table movement, people are excited by the grain-to-glass concept and high-quality products made from local grains,” says Bill Karlson, the co-founder and CEO of KO Distilling. “We make a point of telling people during tours that our wheat comes from Renwood Farms in Charles City and our rye came from Bay’s Best Feed Farm in Virginia’s Northern Neck.”

KO Distilling
Heritage Brewing
KO Distilling Bottles

KO Distilling opened in September and welcomed 450 people to its grand opening. During its first week, more than 100 people stopped by to sample its whiskey and gins. The distillery is a true agribusiness – the spirits are not just made in Virginia, but the majority of the grains used are sourced from local farms.

A Nielsen study found that “local, authentic” are qualities desired of beer and spirits growing in importance among consumers, most largely among the 21-34 demographic.  Perhaps that is because today about 75% of adults over the age of 21 live within 10 miles of a brewery. The Atlantic reported that there were 70 small distilleries in the U.S. in 2003. Karlson says that KO is the 19th craft distiller in an industry of about 1000 microdistillers.

Customers seek quality and want to know how ingredients are sourced, says Sarah Meyers, co-founder of Manassas’ first craft brewery BadWolf Brewing Company.

“We try to source local whenever possible and at Little BadWolf they get to see beer being made right in front of them. Given how many craft breweries are popping up, we might hit a saturation point, so you need to make sure your quality is way up there and that is our biggest focus.”

The beer made at Heritage Brewing has a 100-percent organic base and 92 percent of all ingredients are either organic or locally sourced.  Sean Arroyo, CEO of Heritage Brewing, explains, “Our approach is committing ourselves to the consistency and quality of our product and bringing the best ingredients that we can through organics and local aspects.”

This fall, Heritage is collaborating with The Bone, a barbecue spot in historic Manassas, on a bacon stout. And BadWolf is working with downtown Manassas restaurateurs on an “Old Town” Beer that will only be available in downtown establishments.

Experimenting with new creations keeps the excitement alive. Heritage, which is a 20-barrel brew house, also operates a small pilot system for making small batches of creative releases for the taproom. “It gives us a way to interact with our consumers and let them decide what our next big beers will be,” says Arroyo.

After BadWolf’s successful first year, Meyers and her business partner and husband Jeremy opened a 6,000-square foot production facility. Little BadWolf Brewing Company, the smaller, original location, is where people can try out the experimental batches and even suggest recipes, while the new Big BadWolf has space for special events and growler and kegs of their flagship brews.

“We are using our space for more than beer,” says Meyers. “We focus on giving back to charities and bringing people together for social events.” One look at BadWolf’s event calendar shows there is always something going on, including yoga, painting, and Craft Beer Bingo – all accompanied with a pint. Similarly, Heritage hosts trivia and live music nights in addition to special events like a new beer dinner series.

While all three businesses are committed to building a sense of community, they also take being a regional destination seriously. As Meyers says, “people won’t go to just a bar, but places like a brewery are something special they will seek out.”

Karlson says that he and his business partner, John O’Mara, always envisioned KO Distilling being a tourism destination by matching a great product with a great experience. “The minute visitors walk through our doors,” he says, “they know they aren’t in a warehouse anymore.”

KO Distilling’s tasting room has leather couches, a fireplace, and copper and oak design elements that mimic the copper pot still they use for distilling and barrels they use for aging. The atmosphere rewards locals as well as travelers for making the drive. Karlson, Meyers, and Arroyo all agree that Manassas, with its close proximity to I-95 and 66 and its abundance of historical sites and attractions, is an ideal location for attracting tourists from the metro area and beyond.

“What we want to do is bring in the community, produce a quality product, and have a great time doing it,” says Meyers.

There will be music, games, and Best BBQ competition at Dumfries Fall Festival

dumfries fall festival

On October 17, 2015, the Town of Dumfries will present their 14th Annual Fall Festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Garrison Park, located behind the Dumfries Town Hall.

This year there will be an emphasis on a variety of free activities for youth, to include field games, face painting, a bounce house, and two large plastic spheres that can be propelled by an occupant inside. There will also be a DJ providing a wide variety of music throughout the event, including playing songs by request.

There will be opportunities for line dancing and of course individual rock-and-rolling and dancing for those that just want to let their hair down.

In addition, there will be vendors that will provide a wide variety of items for sale during the event and others that want to provide information to the public. Food vendors will be available as well and will offer an assortment of food and drink for purchase throughout the event.

This year’s event will once again feature a BBQ Competition where several self-promoted pit masters will put their food and reputations on the line in pursuit of the award for Best BBQ at the festival.

Festival goers will be able to purchase a ticket for one dollar that will allow them to taste some BBQ from each competitor. Those that participate will then be able to cast a vote for their favorite and the overall vote will determine the winner.

Dan Taber, Town Manager, has expressed his excitement over this year’s Fall Festival and has issued a challenge for as many people as possible to attend what he expects to be the best Fall Festival ever held.

“This is a great opportunity for the community to come together and have a great time while enjoying good music, good food, good fun, and most importantly, the good company of their neighbors,” said Taber.

Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets to the Fall Festival.

The Town is accepting applications for vendors and complete information is available on the Town website at

For questions please call Tiwana Barnes at (703) 221-3400, ext. 112 or through email at

Princess ‘Barbie’ turns 57 this year, bringing musical to Potomac Mills mall

Here is something you might not know if you don’t have children: “Barbie” — yes the doll — has a new movie that debuted earlier this month.

Here’s something else you might not know: “Barbie” turns 57 this year, according to a press release. 

Barbie won’t be shown as her actual age in the new animated musical “Barbie: Rock ‘N Royals.” In the movie, “Barbie” plays “Courtney,” a princess, who switches places with “Erika” a famous rock star, according to the film’s IMDB profile. 

Barbie will bring her live music show to Potomac Mills mall this weekend to promote the movie. Parents are invited to bring their children to hear songs from the movie “Raise Our Voices,” “What if I Shine,” and “Unlock your Dreams,” according to a press release.

Children will also be able to pose for photos with Barbie after the show. And, of course there will be new Barbie dolls to buy, which will be sold at the mall.

The Barbie festivities take place from noon until 6 p.m. Sunday. October 4, in the mall’s grand court. The mall is located at 2700 Potoamc Mills Circle in Woodbridge.

‘Taste of the Town’ to honor NOVEC founder

The 15th-annual Taste of the Town will honor the man who is half responsible for the name of one of the area’s largest high schools.

J. Manley Garber is the founder longest serving board member at the Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative. His last name also makes up half of the name for Gar-Field Senior High School in Woodbridge.

Garber, and another area family the Manderfields donated the land on which the currently sits at 14000 Smoketown Road, just across from Potomac Mills mall. The school building opened in 1972.

Garner will receive the Lily Blackwell Lifetime Achievement Award for his service to not only Project Mend-A-House, but to the community at-large. The award is named after Blackwell, who founded Project Mend-A-House in Prince William County 31 years ago.

“Mr. Garber played an instrumental role in making Prince William County what it is today,” said Project Mend-A-House Director Jennifer Shock Bolles.

The non-profit organization based in Manassas provides free home repairs to low-income families, as well as makes safety modifications to homes belonging to seniors, people with disabilities, and veterans for low or no cost.

The annual “Taste of the Town” is the organization’s annual fundraiser. More than 39 restaurants — from PF Changs to Bonefish Grill — will set up a table inside VFW Hall 1503 at 14631 Minnieville Road in Dale City, and will offer tastes of appetizers and entrees.

“You can have whatever you want. There’s tons of food,” said Bolles.

The event will take place at 6:30 p.m. October 28. Tickets for the event are $30 in advance, or $35 at the door. This year’s theme for the event is “love begins at home.”
Last year’s “Taste of the Town” raised $10,000 for Project Mend-A-House. The organization aims to surpass that mark with this year’s event.

Those who attend will also hear from volunteers, and from those who have benefited from Project Mend-A-House services during a brief program that will also be held inside the VFW hall.

Senator Charles Colgan honored at Hylton Performing Arts Center


Men donned back ties and women put on formal dresses on Friday to honor Virginia’s longest-serving state senator.

Charles Colgan, D-29, will retire this year. A celebration and tribute were held for him at the Hylton Center for the Performing Arts in Manassas.

The celebration was also used to mark the 89-year-old’s birthday.

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Colgan has been credited for “helping build Manassas,” securing funding for transportation and higher education for the city and surrounding areas in Prince William County.

Colgan has served since 1976, and he will leave the state Senate as its President Pro-Tempore.

A contentious election race has sprung up between Democrat Jeremy McPike and Republican Hal Parrish. Both men seek to replace the long-serving Senator.

The race has been closely watched throughout the state as the outcome could help shift majority power away from Senate Democrats and give it to the Republicans.

Doves Landing Park opens, offers trails for horseback riding

Doves Landing Park opens [Photo: Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition]

Prince William residents have a new place to hike and play in the woods.

Residents and officials celebrated the opening of Doves Landing Park on Saturday.

The park is located on Doves Lane in Brentsville, at the confluence of Broad Run and Occoquan Creek.

Here, you won’t find a children’s playground or a sports complex.

“This is for the person who wants to simply get out into the woods and enjoy themselves,” Prince William parks and recreation spokesman Brent Heavner.

The area is heavily wooded and includes a planned system of trails developed by the Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition. Park visitors may ride horses, but motorized vehicles such as ATVs and motorbikes are prohibited.

A gravel parking lot was added as a part of the process to develop Doves Landing into a park. Next, parks officials will work to make the entrance to Doves Landing “more inviting,” said Heavner.

The park’s ribbon cutting was held on National Public Lands Day. The Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition has several photos from the ribbon cutting on its website.

The land on which the park sits was owned by Prince William County. A “no trespassing” sign has been posted on the property by the park authority warning people not to enter prior to the land becoming an official park.

“Obviously, we thought we could do something better than put up a no trespassing sign,” said Heavner.

Talk about developing the park began three years ago. Residents that lived in the area did not want a large park or sports fields.

Roast marshmallows, play games, hayrides at Fall Family Fun Night at the Manassas Park Community Center

Fall Family Fun Night is Oct. 3

Are traditional family dinners indicative of a well-adjusted family?

Not necessarily according to a 2013 article from NPR. Journalist Alison Aubrey shares survey and research results from a variety of sources where participants agree that family meals are important but nearly half of the respondents don’t have regular family meals.

That finding is completely reasonable. With work schedules evolving from the usual nine to five, and children’s extracurricular activities becoming increasingly important, it’s hard to find even a moment when all the family members are in the house at the same time.

What exactly constitutes a family dinner? For some families, it appears that the traditional definition of everyone at the table every night having a family conversation may not be the only option.

Depending on schedules, some families may still have dinner together with the absence of a few members. Other families set aside a special weekend dinner once a week.

Flexibility also seems to be important as, according to the article, about 25% of the respondents have distractions during dinner time including TV or mobile devices.

Is the act of simply being together, eating together enough? Some families argue that it’s important time to catch up and relax together so no distractions are allowed.

Other families may feel that avoiding rushed dinners and awkward conversation are worth the occasional distractions and may even encourage dialogue.

The important point is that each family feels comfortable with tailoring their family dinner to their family’s needs and not hold themselves to an unattainable standard.

However, family dinner is not the only opportunity to strengthen bonds. Any special time spent together such as family vacations and attending events can be beneficial and possibly easier to coordinate.

One example would be the Fall Family Fun Night at the Manassas Park Community Center. Roasting marshmallows, playing games, and hopping on hayrides are all scheduled activities and all provide unique opportunities for reinforcing family relationships.

The event is only $10.00 per family and must register in advance. This can be done online or in person at the community center.

Attending special events also allows families in a community to connect together. Neighbors can share stories and exchange ideas on how they strengthen their family bonds. Plus having family friends can provide additional opportunities for family time. Play dates, game nights and planned outings with family friends can motivate family members to find time to participate.

With evidence showing that quality family time has a lasting beneficial effect on families such as emotional stability, there is a reason to make it a point to spend time together.

It can come in the form of a family dinner but it’s no longer the only option.

Choosing activities that are convenient for your family makes quality time achievable and, therefore, more likely to motivate family members to come together.

IWALK to benefit ACTS will be held at Potomac Nationals stadium

A 5K walk in Prince William County will raise money for the homeless.

The 5th-annual IWALK for ACTS is a free family festival to be held in Woodbridge on October 17.
Here’s more information in a press release:

The event will be hosted at Pfitzner Stadium (7 County Complex Ct, Woodbridge). Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the 5K walk starts at 10 a.m. Registration is $20/individual, $15/person for teams, or $50/family. Proceeds benefit ACTS of Prince William.

To register for IWALK, visit Following the walk, the community can enjoy a free family festival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Attendees will enjoy food vendors, clowns and various performances, and kids activities such as face painting, moon bounces, carnival games, crafts, and much more.

The mission of ACTS of Prince William is to provide relief, foster hope and promote self-sufficiency for our Prince William area neighbors in crises due to hunger, homelessness and interpersonal violence. Steve Liga, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of ACTS, joined the organization this Spring and has made reaching those in need his life’s work.

IWALK is a partnership between ACTS, Image Church, and the Potomac Nationals. ACTS and Image Church have worked together for nearly a decade to support families in need and specifically through IWALK since 2011.

Haymarket student finalist in photo contest, work featured at Hylton Arts Center

Freedom, by Alyssa Prouty of Haymarket, VA.

Ten students from local high schools have placed as finalists in the Nature Visions Photo Expo (NVPE) Student Photography contest and will receive a $50 gift card fromDistrict Camera, of Burke, Va.

The 10 finalists were chosen out of more than 60 submissions, representing schools from Northern Virginia and Maryland.

The winner will receive a $100 District Camera gift card and will be announced at NVPE at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, Va., held on Sat., Nov. 14 and Sun., Nov. 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day.

All finalists’ photography will be on display at NVPE. General admission is free to view the photo exhibits and visit more than 20 local and national photography vendors.

Class fees range from free to $85. Merchant Hall three-day passes are also available at $160 per person and allow access to 11 presentations. Purchase passes at

NVPE finalists include: two-time finalist, Gabriel Arias, 17 of Potomac, Md., attending Winston-Churchill High School for his photos, Harmony and Bloom

Sai Charan Gurrapu, 15, of Chantilly, Va., attending Chantilly High School, for Blossom

Two-time finalist, Kevin Hackler, 18, of Herndon, Va., graduate of Chantilly High School, for Glory and Connections

Alicia Kay, 17 of Vienna, Va., attending Oakton High School , for Monet

Abby Keller, 18 of Springfield, Va., graduate of West Springfield High School, for Frozen in Time

Alyssa Prouty, 18, of Haymarket, Va., graduate of Paul VI Catholic High School, for Freedom

Andrew Savino, 17 of Fairfax Station, Va., attending The Howard Garner School, for Eastern Screech Owl

Jess Taylor, 17, of Vienna, Va., graduate of Winston Churchill High School, for Stranded

The Expo presents nature photography exhibits from eight of the DC-area’s best camera clubs, as well as free classes for beginners, two free Lightroom seminars and 23 more instructional sessions on topics from the iPhone to landscape photography.

More advanced lectures by notable professional and freelance nature photographers, including keynote speaker Joe McNally, veteran photojournalist of the book, Faces of Ground Zero and renowned, freelance photographer for National Geographic and LIFE magazines, do charge a fee.

In addition to the seminars and lectures, photographers will have the chance to focus their lenses on hawks and owls in a natural setting, just outside the Hylton Performing Arts Center. All proceeds go to the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia to support their animal rehabilitation programs.

“Like painting, music and the performing arts—photography is an art-form to be enjoyed and practiced,” said Tom Shevock, president of Nature Visions Photo Expo. “We all look to capture a moment with our camera, whether it’s a professional shot or just a quick click of the cell phone–our Expo offers something for everyone.” 

One of areas largest businesses — Home Instead Senior Care of Manassas — looking to expand

A leading provider of senior care in Manassas is looking to hire more CAREGivers.

Home Instead Senior Care will hire 200 new CAREGivers in the coming year. They are looking for people with flexible schedules, those who appreciate paid in-house training, and those who have a caring heart.



Home Instead Senior Care consistently ranks as one of the top 10 employers in Manassas.

“Since starting the company, my husband Jack and I have been absolutely astounded by how many seniors there are in the area who need assistance. Being able to provide employment to hundreds of people, all while fulfilling such an important public need is the realization of our lifelong desire to serve our community in a positive way,” said Jacqueline St.Clair, Franchise Owner.

The senior population is set to explode, called the “silver tsunami,” over the next two decades so need for home care services is going only to grow and Home Instead is preparing to lead the way. Home Instead has experienced double-digit growth every year since being founded in 2006.  Their company has outgrown three previous Manassas offices and expanded into its new 8000 square foot office on Godwin Drive two years ago.

Duties of a CAREGiver range from companionship, meal preparations and transportation up to personal care services. Home Instead’s goal is to continue their reputation as the “employer of choice” in non-medical home care.

“The happiest day for me is when a brand new CAREGiver calls me after a shift to say how happy they were with their assignment. Seeing how rewarding the experience is for both our seniors and our CAREGivers never gets old” said Gail Earhart, who started working at Home Instead as a CAREGiver and now serves as our Staffing Manager.

Home Instead recruits openly and hosts an onsite job fair each quarter where potential job seekers can learn about the company, be interviewed and hired in the same day. They will also take part in the Greater Manassas Community Job Fair on Oct. 13, 2015, at Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church, 8712 Plantation Lane in Manassas.

“We are redoubling our efforts to help those in our region who are looking for employment. Helping seniors stay safe and stable in their own homes brings a unique sense of satisfaction that we really want to make job seekers aware of,” said Director of Operations Ian Lovejoy.

Visit Home Instead Senior Care of Manassas online at for more information or to apply to be a CAREGiver.

‘Grapes in the Garden’ raises money to provide music, art, & massage therapies for Mary Washington Hospice patients

Grapes in the Garden

"Grapes in the Garden" will help raise money for Mary Washington Hospice patients.
"Grapes in the Garden" will help raise money for Mary Washington Hospice patients.
"Grapes in the Garden" will help raise money for Mary Washington Hospice patients.
"Grapes in the Garden" will help raise money for Mary Washington Hospice patients.
"Grapes in the Garden" will help raise money for Mary Washington Hospice patients.

The annual Mary Washington Hospice “Grapes in the Garden” beer, wine, and food tasting is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015.

The event will take place at the Snowden House on the Mary Washington Hospital Campus, from 2 to 5 p.m. The hospice provides compassionate, comprehensive end-of-life care for patients at the hospital. The hospice does this music, art, and massage therapies.

The Grapes in the Garden event helps to fund these continuing therapies.

Tickets for the event are $50 in advance, $60 at the door.

You can purchase tickets and get more information online.

Woodbridge sushi joint talks culture, and the right way to eat sushi

'Bento Mom' teaches customers how to eat sushi.
Bento Sushi & Roll is located near Potomac Mills Mall in Woodbridge.

The owner of a sushi restaurant in Woodbridge wants to help you learn how to eat sushi correctly.

Bento Cafe Sushi & Roll, located at 13257 Worth Avenue in Woodbridge, has been open for 11 years – run by a woman who affectionately refers to herself as ‘Bento Mom’.

Bento Mom came to the country from South Korea as a child, without the ability to speak any English.

“I came to [Virginia] when I was 13 years old, through my father; because he was a correspondent through the Oriental Express…when I came, I didn’t know one word of English…I came from South Korea,” said Bento Mom.

According to Bento Mom, she became interested in healthy eating and living – which are important components in the food on her menu – after her father had a stroke.

“Unfortunately my father had a stroke at the age of 52, and I had to study, myself, what is happening to [his] body. This is why I went to school, to learn to do the acupuncture, and [the] tea,” said Bento Mom.

After her parents died, she became close with a Japanese woman whom she refers to as her ‘adopted’ mom, who taught about the Japanese culture and food.

And when she opened up her sushi restaurant, she decided to share her knowledge with her customers – including United States military members, who are going overseas, that need help understanding the food and culture.

“My father always said, ‘Knowledge is power. If you don’t it with someone, either you’re stupid or boring,’ and I don’t want to be either. The way I look at it – some people don’t know how to eat sushi correctly…I think if you eat it the right way, appreciating the miso and eating the wasabi and ginger in the right place, then I think your body will appreciate you more,” said Bento Mom.

In addition to her classes, she also offers a large menu including classics like the California Roll and the Veggie Roll, as well as some unique items like ‘potato-chip sushi’.

Bento Mom said that all of her classes are one-on-one, and interested customers just need to come to the restaurant and ask to speak with her.

Delicious Downtown: Manassas Restaurant Week returns

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Foodies have a great reason to get excited about fall!

September marks the return of Historic Manassas Restaurant Week. Restaurant Week is a tourism and marketing promotion celebrated throughout the U.S. to help bring in new customers and grow local businesses. Local restaurants feature their cuisine and offer a multi-course tasting experience for a special price.

Historic Manassas Inc. produces this event to showcase the City’s exciting culinary scene and encourage people to visit downtown businesses. Diners can try out places where they haven’t yet dined and regulars can score a great deal at their local favorites. Most Restaurant Week promotions are two courses for $25 or three courses for $35 and the specials run September 20 – 26.

Philly Tavern
The Bone
CJ Finz

Insider’s Scoop on Restaurant Week Specials

Carmello’s (9108 Center Street) brings seasonal fine dining and an award-winning wine list to Historic Manassas. Their Restaurant Week dinner for $35 will offer a choice of a chopped house or caesar salad to start; a choice of gnocchi con carne, veal Napolitano, or marinated pork chops for an entrée; and either crème brule or chocolate hazelnut cake for dessert.

C.J. Finz Raw Bar & Grille (9413 West Street) is the City’s surf and turf destination. They have a fantastic deal that starts with your choice of a pint of beer or wine and is followed by a half-dozen shucked oysters or a half-pound of spiced shrimp. Your meal continues with your choice of several sandwiches, including a lobster roll, fried oyster po’boy, tuna tacos, salmon BLT, as well as non-fishy options like rib-eye steak, grilled chicken, or a burger on pretzel roll.

City Square Café (9428 Battle Street), where many enjoy artisan charcuterie and cheese boards, will entice diners with a choice of appetizer, entrée, and dessert for $35 during dinner. For $48, you can indulge on a wine pairing with your meal.

El Cactus (9406 Battle Street) offers fresh Tex-Mex favorites. During Restaurant Week, two can dine for $36. Pick one of five different appetizers to share, including the Manassas Soup Bowl-winning chicken tortilla soup. Entrees on special include carne asada, smoking fajitas, mole salmon, shrimp-topped tilapia, honey roasted cilantro chicken, and sweet honey salmon salad. Dessert features churros or the Taste of Manassas-winning tres leches.  

Mackey’s (9412 Main Street), an American pub, is home to bourbon-glazed, “drunken” meats from the grill as well as plenty of “pub grub” favorites. They are offering an appetizer and entrée combo for $25.

Monza (9405 Battle Street) is where you can enjoy live music on the weekends and your favorite team on the big screens. They will be offering a choice of bruschetta, mozzarella sticks, arancini, or fried calamari for an appetizer and a choice of chicken picatta or pan-seared Atlantic salmon for an entrée for $25.

Okra’s (9110 Center Street) brings a taste of New Orleans to Manassas. This Cajun Creole favorite will feature a different dinner special each day of Restaurant Week. Swing by to see what the day’s special entrée will be and enjoy it with the choice of an appetizer and dessert for $35 during dinner. 

Philadelphia Tavern (9413 Main Street) offers authentic Philly fare and boasts hoagie rolls that come straight from Amoroso Bakery. Grab a pal and enjoy two of their famous cheese steaks and two draught beers for $25 during both lunch and dinner.

The Bone (9420 Battle Street) is downtown’s home for smoky barbecue and hand-picked craft beers. Come by for a two-meat combo platter with Banana Puddin’ Pie for dessert and a local craft beer for $25. Choose from pork, brisket, turkey, chicken, or ribs and pair it with two sides and bread.

Note: The full menus at every restaurant will still be available in addition to the Restaurant Week special menu items, deals, and pricing.

Prince William fire, police to face off on soccer field for charity


?The Prince William County Fire and Rescue and Police departments are setting up for a little interdepartmental rivalry later this month when they meet to play soccer in the Prince William Cup to raise money for four local charities. [Read more]

Ribbon cutting for Mum Mum Thai restaurant is Friday

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Mum Mum — the new Thai restaurant that sits outside the Hylton Performing Arts Center — will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday. 

The ceremony will be hosted by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce.

Mum Mum will feature a menu of Thai food with recopies inspired by those who live near the border of Thailand and India, restaurant owner Kris Yoo told us in May.

The restaurant is located at 10945 George Mason Circle in Manassas.

Reduce, reuse, repair: How yard sales can make our community a greener place

Manassas Park community center yard sale 1

When it comes to exploring options to improve our personal impact on the environment the old adage, “Reduce, reuse, recycle” rings as true as when it was first heard in kindergarten.

Looking from the outside, one might not make the connection on how the three R’s apply to yard sales. The R’s are indeed there having an impact even if it is simple or subtle.

The greatest impact one can have when going green is to reduce.  Typically this means that one should avoid purchasing new items or reduce consuming resources like water or electricity.

Another perspective is to reduce clutter within the home. Clearing out unused appliances, for example, means fewer items plugged into power strips slowly using energy.

Even turned off appliances can still be using energy to run background tasks or maintain WiFi connectivity. A half-empty chest freezer, a TV that is never used or a treadmill bought with the best of intentions can all be slowly consuming energy without providing any real benefit.

Reduce their impact by clearing them out!

Manassas Park Community Center: Yard sales great for community!
Manassas Park Community Center: Yard sales great for community!
Manassas Park Community Center: Yard sales great for community!
Manassas Park Community Center: Yard sales great for community!

Clearing out is just the first step. Now the question becomes what to do with it. Properly disposing of the item is an option.

For example, there are facilities and services that take electronics like computers to break down for their components. Another option is to reuse it! The more items kept out of landfills; the healthier our environment becomes.

Reusing also reduces the pressure to gather new materials and harvest new resources. A great place to see reusing in action is at a yard sale. If somebody is looking for a chest freezer to store their bulk purchased frozen foods then a yard sale vendor selling their underutilized chest freezer is a perfect match!

The vendor makes a little money, the purchaser gets an item they were seeking for a discount and less pressure is applied to the environment.
That’s a win all the way around.

Sometimes an item is in disrepair or functions poorly. The piece overall is still in good shape, but perhaps there’s a tear in the fabric of a chair.

The handier people in our community can reach out and enact the third R – recycle. Suggesting somebody reupholstering a chair is the same as recycling may be a bit of a stretch but all one has to do is look at the myriad of Pinterest projects to see how well reusing and recycling go hand in hand.

Maybe for the purposes of this article the third R should be repair. The underlying fact still remains true: The less pressure that is put on the environment to supply brand new items the greener it will be for future generations.

Come see how you can apply the three R’s at the upcoming yard sale at the Manassas Park Community Center on September 19th from 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Will you be a vendor reducing the clutter in your home?

Perhaps you’ll be a shopper looking to reuse, recycle and repair? Whichever role you assume, hopefully from now on you’ll look at yard sales with green tinted lenses.

This promoted post is written by Jason Shriner, at the Manassas Park Community Center.

Willowsford neighborhood is half homes, half farmland


Who would have thought? One of the highlights of a new luxury neighborhood is a working farm.

Willowsford is not just your ordinary farmland and pasture, it is a unique community of four villages where agriculture, history, nature, recreation, fine living and land stewardship connect with impressive single-family homes.

This concept in community-living is one of the few “agrihoods” in the country. The Tenant House is one of the information centers at Willowsford in Ashburn, located next to the Sycamore House, a community hub spot. Both buildings have re-purposed stone and wood found at the historical sites located on the property.

A charming red bike with a market basket decorates the front lawn of the Tenant House providing a comforting feeling.

Laura Cole, Vice President of Marketing, welcomes guests with a virtual tour of the Willowsford displayed on a huge touch screen built into a solid wood table.

“Willowsford opened in 2011. The community has 4,000 acres and is divided into north and south amenities. Half of the land will be for homes. The other half is reserved for nature and parks, including 300 acres reserved for farms.” said Cole.

Willowsford offers educational material, workshops and programs to their residence. Their magazine, “Inspired,” has photos and stories showcasing Willowsford and the surrounding area. Their newsletter, “FARMFARE Connection,” has Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) tips on weekly crops such as the all-time favorite — tomatoes.

Director of Farm Operations Mike Snow offers information on farm news and healthy eating. Culinary Director Chef Bonnie Moore suggests delicious Romesco Sauce recipe from the weekly harvest. Having a farm in the community allows CSA shareholders to pick up their local food at their farm stand.

Residents have the opportunity to use fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, poultry and honey from their beehives, in their cooking. Farmers work from morning to evening to make this happen.

Willowsford wanted a community with a healthy-living environment. Residents that live in Willowsford enjoy the farm and believe it is great to choose their own fresh foods grown in their agrihood. The gourmet kitchen in the Sycamore House has been the scene for visiting celebrity Chef Bryan Voltaggio.

The great rooms with local sycamore and poplar hardwood features were transformed into a 5-star restaurant setting with fresh food available from Willowsford Farm. Chef Bonnie also offers cooking classes for residents with the freshest ingredients from the farm.

Another special amenity at Willowsford is the farm stand opened in 2012. It is a gathering place for the residents. The farm stand provides healthy food including vegetables and fruits all year round. Favorite produce includes peaches, corn, and juicy, sweet cherry tomatoes called “candy in the farm.”

There were dozens of flowers, eggplants, and berry bushes growing in the gardens.

“I had a mission to integrate goats into Willowsford,” said Market Manager and Education Coordinator Deb Dramby.

She succeeded. The farm located behind the farm stand is home to the goats – nature’s lawn mowers producing natural fertilizer. Mike Snow keeps an eye on the busy weed eaters as he maintains the farm growing favorite crops in a natural landscape bursting with color.

Bella, the farm dog, keeps an eye on the hens playing hide and seek in the bushes. Baby chicks are safe guarded in the barn housing the farm equipment. Butterflies and bees are plentiful at Willowsford as they flutter and buzz around the flowering fields of delicate Queen Anne ’s Lace surrounding the fence.

Willowsford Farm is just a part of this living experience. The community is building a collection of 15 home designs. The Willowsford home builders include Arcadia, Beazer Homes, Camberley Homes, Integrity Homes, K Hovnanian Homes, Mitchell and Best, and Line K.

Amenities and gathering spaces are scattered throughout the four villages called The Grange, The Grant, The Grove and The Greens. Parks for families and dogs, trails, pools, tree houses, a camp site, the Conservancy and The Lodge at Willow Lake are favorite areas at Willowsford. 

Willowsford is located at 23510 Founders Drive in Ashburn.

This post was submitted by the student writers and photographers at CCN Manassas — Community Connection Network.

Where are you catching the game?

Prince William & Manassas has a variety of places to sit back, relax and root for your favorite teams this season.   With flat screen TV’s lining the walls, a variety of local and imported beer on tap and a team spirited atmosphere that every sports fan loves, here are some of the best places to can catch the next game.

In Historic Downtown Manassas, discover “All Sports, All the Time,” at the Olde Town Sports Pub where there is an easy-going atmosphere for even the most dedicated fans. With 22 flat screen TV’s lining the walls you definitely will not miss any a minute of the action. Not only are they serving up the latest sports game, but the pub also offers juicy buffalo wings, stacked burgers, and a large list of beers for all palates. In between games you can play a round of pool, on the house, or try your hand and compete in the weekly corn hole tournament for a chance to win a $50 gift card!

For a taste of Ireland and a variety of craft beers, Grafton Street Restaurant and Irish Pub in Gainesville is the perfect backdrop for your next game night. The bar is a hand-crafted centerpiece, backed by Irish artifacts and authentic décor, with fresh cocktails, and nightly specials. Sports fans will be impressed by their 24 drafts (including several local breweries) and pub menu, which includes steaks, burgers, and of course fish & chips. TV’s line the bar, with various sports throughout the season, always surrounded by loyal fans. If you are looking for a friendly bar with a wide variety of food & drink. Grafton Street is a must visit.

With more than 25 TV’s to choose from, you can tune into your favorite sport using the personal speaker box at your table when you stop by Glory Days in Gainesville or Manassas to watch the big game. Play one of the 150+ touchscreen entertainment games during half time or a few of your favorite songs on the TouchTunes interactive juke box. Serving up some American classics, you can order ‘macho nachos’, a loaded chili dog or steak with potatoes. With something for everyone this family-friendly restaurant is a great place to catch the next big game, race or competition.

Voted ‘Best Place to Watch the Game’ by, the Bungalow Alehouse in Woodbridge is a local favorite, serving up classic American grub with a variety of beers on tap, including stouts, ales, wheats, and lagers. Large TV’s are big enough for a large crowd to be able to watch a game and their pool/dart game area creates a laid-back atmosphere. If you’re looking for a classic American night of sports, the Bungalow Alehouse should be on the list!

To learn more about our attractions and things to do in Prince William & Manassas please visit Follow us on Facebook at or tweet with us at @Discoverpwm and show us how you make a memory in Prince William & Manassas.

Millennials find walkable downtown, new apartments near transit in Manassas

Old Towne Square
Old Town Heights
Messenger Place

For the past decade, city planners have been discussing the ways that Boomers and Millennials are going to reshape communities.

These two demographic groups comprise almost half of the U.S. population — the Census Bureau estimates there are 75.4 million Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) and 83.1 million Millennials (those born between 1982 and 2000).

Despite the age difference between Millennials and Boomers, they share similar preferences regarding where and how they want to live. Walkable neighborhoods with amenities such as coffee shops, restaurants, arts venues and shopping are at the top of the list. The less people need to get into a car to enjoy those amenities, the happier they are. This is why more people are relocating to small cities and towns with defined downtown districts.

The City of Manassas is a perfect example of what people are seeking in a vibrant downtown. Residents in and around the historic district have a short walk to the growing array of downtown restaurants and shops, festivals and events, markets, galleries , and more. In fact, Historic Downtown Manassas has a Walkscore of 85, which is considered “Very Walkable.”

Responding to these lifestyle trends, real estate developers have become increasingly willing to diverge from typical suburban development to smaller and denser urban renewal projects. Conceived during the economic downturn, several new (but different) housing developments in the Downtown Historic District cater to both demographics.

Prescott Court, a 33unit garagestyle townhome development offers homes priced around $300,000 and is still under development. Old Towne Square, a 58unit townhome development featuring two and threebedroom units with Georgianstyle architecture was priced slightly higher. Old Towne Square began construction in 2013 and the last unit was sold in August.

“The neat thing about this community is that it encompasses an entire city block in the heart of the historic district. We were excited about the location because it is walkable to so much in downtown Manassas,” says Candy McCracken of Van Metre. “We worked in partnership with the City to come up with the right product on this site. Everybody is happy with it and homeowners love it.”

Millennials are more transient now than ever before and find apartment living appealing. The City of Manassas offers downtown apartments to meet their needs.

The Courts at Historic Manassas offers 139 luxury rental units priced from $1,400-$2,000 per month. These units are close to all of the amenities that Downtown offers while also being conveniently located to major employers and the VRE.

Renting allows residents to become acclimated to a new area before buying, provides housing without the financial and maintenance burdens of home ownership, and grants flexibility for relocation without worrying about selling a home. Interestingly, the flexibility afforded by apartment living also appeals to Boomers who like to travel extensively.

Highlighting these trends, two more apartment projects in the Historic Downtown are in preliminary development. Messenger Place will replace the vacant News & Messenger Building at 9009 Church Street and will bring 94 apartments to downtown75 two-bedroom units and 19 one-bedroom units. It will be a five-story building that will feature 3,500 square feet of retail on the ground level. Residents will enjoy a 24-7 gym facility, lounge, and office area. Rents will range from $1,500 to $2,000. The developer, Coleman Enterprises LLC, anticipates construction to start before the end of the year and for units to become available in July 2016.

Finally, 105 apartments will be coming to Prince William Street, replacing the ABC Building. Manassas Station will anchor this edge of downtown with a three-story building by Christopher Land LLC. It will offer a combination of one- and two-bedroom units featuring granite countertops, walk-in closets, and balconies. Manassas Station will offer residents a fitness center; a community room with a TV and wet bar; and a “cyber café” for working remotely. Rents are anticipated to be comparable with the other two developments and the project is anticipated to be completed in late 2016.

Come to Williams Ordinary in Dumfries September 12 & 13 for history, artillery demonstations, food, and beer

williams ordinary

How many times have hopped off Interstate 95 south and taken Route 1 through Dumfries? 

Have you ever noticed that just after the median splits in two, a large brick building rises on your right – so close to the road it looks like it’s going to jump in front of you? 

That’s the headquarters for Prince William County’s Historic Preservation Division – and if you’ve ever wanted to learn more or take a peek inside, stop by on September 12 and 13.

For those two days the Williams Ordinary will reemerge as a busting stop it was in the 18th century. The building has seen a lot of change – built by John Glassford and Company in the mid 1760’s the structure was a popular store through the Revolutionary War.  

George Washington stopped at “the storehouse” in Dumfries to resupply on his way to victory at Yorktown at the end of the war. Just a few years after the war the building would become a Ordinary, or tavern, providing food, drink, and a place to lodge for people passing through area.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on September 12 and 13 you’ll find William’s Ordinary and the nearby Weems-Botts House a bustle of people that would have passed through here during its early history. 

Infantry, artillery, medical and cooking demonstrations will be on the two sites. At the Ordinary you can stop inside the recreated tavern room and meet George Washington, our Tavern keeper Alexander Henderson, or any number of other characters from our past.  

On Saturday at 1 p.m., Author John R. Mass will be discussing his latest book “The Road to Yorktown.”

Don’t miss the one of a kind event after the sun goes down on September 12; join us at the Ordinary for historic beer, appetizers, and live music for a chance to get a taste of the 18th century. 

Call 703-792-4754 to make your reservations – just $35 per person.

Parking is available at Dumfries Elementary School for both the day and evening events, with shuttle service to Williams Ordinary, located at 17674 Main Street, Dumfries, VA 22026

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