Beer, Wine & Spirits Trail in Prince William, Manassas

Discover the wine, beer and spirits trail right here in Prince William & Manassas. With a variety of beverage options there is sure to be something to satisfy everyone along this libation filled trail.

Winery at La Grange – This scenic 22 acre farm vineyard is a relaxing and restful place to spend a sunny afternoon sipping wine.  A fully renovated manor house dating back to 1790, is now used as the main Tasting Room.   It sits at an elevation of about 600 feet, right at the base of the Bull Run Mountain foothills.

Winery at Bull Run – A working farm vineyard in an authentic 1860’s setting. The winery adjoins over 5,000 countryside acres of the historic Manassas National Battlefield Park offering a glimpse of Virginia’s rich heritage along with fine Virginia wines.

Bad Wolf Brewing Company – The first micro-brewery to open in Manassas that specializes in exquisite craft beers that are ever changing.

Heritage Brewing Company – A uniquely American Brewery, owned and operated by veterans.  1% of all proceeds are donated to philanthropic efforts that give back to their country & community all while making 100% American microbrews.

–  Tin Cannon Brewery – The first nanobrewery in Prince William & Manassas, located in Gainesville is serving up some new and innovative brews that push the limits. From bacon to chipotle peppers you never know what flavors they will come up with next.

As if these wineries and breweries were not enough to quench your thirst, there are several more spirited businesses that are scheduled to open a little later this year.

K&O Distillary – A brand new distillery creating a product line of craft distilled beverages at the 12-thousand square foot facility. KO Distilling plans on opening an area for tours, taste-testing, special events, and product sales in the very near future.

MurLarkey Distilled Spirits – MurLarkey Distilled Spirits, located in Bristow, Virginia is a Small Batch Craft-distillery, specializing in Whiskey. Using 100% organic grains, all natural ingredients and botanicals ensures the production of premium spirits.

Ornery Beer Company & Public House – The very 1st Brew Pub in Prince William County you will be able to find not only delicious and unique craft beers here, but also a meticulously prepared food menu that compliments the beers served.

For more information about where to eat, drink and shop visit  

‘Manassas Pete’ talks rock n’ roll, candles and inspiration

Manassas native Pete Evick – known by many as ‘Manassas Pete’, has had an interesting assortment of life experiences.

The Stonewall Jackson High School graduate has worked with rockstar Bret Michaels for the last 10 years as his lead guitarist, and co-writer and producer of Michael’s last two records.

“I was a huge fan of Poison growing up, and my band was his opening act for a tour, and we got to be buddies then. And then he invited me to be his guitar player and my band to be his band – and we’ve just seen the world,” said Evick.

Despite living the rockstar lifestyle, Evick decided early on that he wanted to keep living in Manassas, and raise his family there.

“Was born and raised [in Manassas] and still live here to this day. Manassas – it’s always been my home – it’s where I grew up. And even when I raised my kids – I’ve been in the music business my entire life…and I spent a lot of time in New York, and some time in [Los Angeles] but I never wanted to go live that life. I lived the life in a small town and then once I had kids, I wanted them to have that same kind of life too,” Evick commented.

During his music career, he stumbled on to candle making, and began his own company – Shining Sol Candle Company – which manufactures products in Virginia.

“Being a musician, my life has been loud. And we were off tour a little bit, and I was taking a break…I spent a lot of time in Arizona [for music]…and in Arizona they put candles in their fireplace instead of lighting fires…then I happened to go to a candle store and buy a candle that was supposed to smell like a fireplace. And I had never had a hobby in my entire life aside from music…and I just started thinking about if I could make one of those…and finally I was doing something quiet, peaceful,” Evick said.

Evick’s most recent adventure has been writing a book about his life experience, following a personal tragedy, titled ‘The Moments That Make Us.’

“Most musicians at some point in their life, I think, tend to write a book. With such an interesting life you live, you manage to pick up an amazing amount of stories. I started writing this book when I was forced with the fact that my family was going to split up – me and my wife were getting a divorce and had two kids. The book was originally a collection of thoughts and fears about what was going to happen with my children…but after writing, I realized I had written a book that was much more inspiring,” said Evick.

Evick still performs and tours with Michaels, and runs Shining Sol Candle Company.

Animals to adopt at Stafford SPCA

Found dog
Solomon is a 7-year-old Rottweiler that is a staff and volunteer favorite. He loves playing with his basketball and getting belly rubs.
He is a pro at yard zoomies! Solomon needs a 6 foot, fully enclosed fence to run and play in. He would do best as an only pet in a home that has prior big dog experience and no young children. Solomon is neutered, UTD on vaccines, and microchipped.
Kingston is a 2-year-old, black and white, short haired kitty with lots of love to give! He is sure to entertain you with his quirky personality, while still being a cool, calm guy that enjoys the quieter moments in life. Kingston is neutered, UTD on all vaccines, and is ready for his forever home!
FOUND DOG. Beautiful white Pit / Pit Mix rescued from the road @ midnight on 06/22 in the Stafford area. The family was on their way home to Alexandria, and they took the pup home and he has been cared for there ever since.  If you have any information please call 540-657-7387.

-Information provided by the Stafford SPCA. Contact them for more information on any of the animals shown above. 

Here’s where you can check out fireworks this Fourth of July


Wondering where you can celebrate July 4 and see the fireworks in your area? Potomac Local has a list of July 4 events you can check out.

Prince William

In Prince William County there are several events you can attend to celebrate July 4, including the Dale City Parade on Dale Boulevard at 10 a.m.

More on July 4 events in Prince William:

Dale City Parade (July 4th 10 a.m. on Dale Blvd)
Leesylvania State Park Kid’s Fishing Tournament (9:00 a.m.)
Freedom Firecracker 5k Run & 1 Mile Fun Run (Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center 8:30 a.m.)
Pfitzner Stadium P-Nats Ball Game followed by fireworks show
Montclair Dolphin Beach fireworks display  (You must be an MPOA member to be on the beach.  However, you do not have to be an MPOA member to take advantage of a side-street view.)


On July 4, the City of Manassas will be hosting their Celebrate America event from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Downtown Manassas.

More on the excitement from the City of Manassas:

The celebration begins with the Bicycle Decorating contest. At 5 p.m. visitors are invited to take part in a Watermelon-eating contest.

Next, Judges from around the City will lend their culinary expertise to judge the Apple and Peach Pie Baking Contest. This is Americana at its best. To sign up for these contests, visit

Visitors can bring a blanket or a lawn chair to lay claim to a spot for viewing the best fireworks in Virginia. Beginning at 3 p.m., there will be children’s rides, food vendors, and other vendors. The celebration centers around the Harris Pavilion, the Manassas Museum and the Train Depot.

The City of Manassas loves pets, but pets do not love loud noises. Their ears are more sensitive and the City asks that pets be left at home in the air conditioning. This time of year, streets and sidewalks are hot enough to burn puppy paws.

Manassas Park

Fourth of July celebrations in Manassas Park include a fireworks display at Signal Hill Park, starting at 6:30 p.m.

More information on the fireworks display:

The City of Manassas Park invites you to join us Saturday, July 4th for a display you won’t want to miss. 

Free Admission
Fireworks Display at Dark
Free shuttles from VRE & City Hall Starting at 6:30pm
$5 Parking Available at 5pm – On-Site Parking: Handicap Only
Limited General Parking Across Street
PLUS! We will be having food trucks featuring: Bella Vita, Guapos, Bauji’s Kitchen, and Snowie!
No Alcohol
No fireworks allowed in park (this includes sparklers) 
Expect traffic delays from 8pm-11pm in the areas of Signal View Drive/Signal Hill Drive, Manassas Drive/Signal View Drive, Manassas Drive and Centreville Road. 


Stafford and Fredericksburg will also be celebrating that day with their Heritage Festival and fun run event.

More on the July 4 events from Stafford:

Fredericksburg’s July 4th Heritage Festival 
7:45 a.m.: Heritage Festival Five-Mile Run Sponsored by Fredericksburg Host Lions Club
6:30 a.m.: Registration at Visitor’s Center
9:30 a.m.: Heritage Day Parade Sponsored by Children’s Museum of Richmond/Fredericksburg
Downtown: Lafayette to Caroline to Princess Anne to Lafayette Prizes for Best Costume & Most Creative Bicycle
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.: Festival of the Streets Craft Show with more than 100 vendors Sponsored by Beth Sholom Temple, Classic Car Display Sponsored by Stafford Car Club & Rosner Motor Sports, Dunk your Favorite Local Celebrity Sponsored by Rappahannock Rotary
Children’s Activities: Face Painting, Balloon Creations, Moon Bounce & Photo Booth with free pictures
Live Music: Wil Gravatt – Gravatt Entertainment, Steve Jarrell & Sons of the Beach
10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Ferry Farm’s Let Freedom Ring Sponsored by George Washington Foundation $1.00 admission Catch a bus or trolley from downtown or from the Eagle’s Lodge on Cool Springs Road. Ferry Farm parking will be handicapped only. Patriotic, Family Activities, Re-Enactors
1:00 p.m.: Flag Retirement Ceremony with Anthony Campbell
12:00 p.m.: Presentation of Colors — American Legion Post 290 Welcome — Matt Kelly – Councilman at Large
4:30 p.m.: Pratt Park Opens for the July 4th Spectacular Bring lawn chairs & picnic dinners Food Vendors available
6:00 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.: Quantico Marine Corps Rock and Roll Band
7:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Special Appearance by the cast of: The Wedding Singer from Riverside Center Theater 
8:00 p.m. – through the Fireworks: Quantico Marine Corps Band
9:15 p.m.: Fireworks Sponsored by City of Fredericksburg & Stafford County
View fireworks from Pratt Park or Old Mill Park. No alchoholic beverages. No sparklers. No grills. Dogs must be on leashes.


Plantation tours, National Night Out, at Manassas Museum in July

manassas museum

The Manassas Museum will be hosting free book talks, historic walking tours, Liberia Plantation tours and a National Night Out event in July.

More on July’s events at the museum, from a city release:

Historic Downtown Manassas Walking Tours; Thursdays and Fridays at Noon
Stroll through Historic Downtown Manassas and learn about the town’s history during a Manassas Museum Walking Tour.  Costumed interpreters share stories about Historic Downtown during the Civil War and about the rebirth of the area after war and fire.

Liberia Plantation Tours; Sundays at Noon (8601 Portner Avenue, Manassas, VA) –
Step back in history at this historic 1825 plantation house where Civil War soldiers and presidents tread. Liberia will be open every Sunday at 12 Noon (as restoration work permits).

Museum at the Market; Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. through October –
(Lot B, Prince Williams Street and West Street) Stop by the Farmers’ Market and enjoy hands-on history for all ages.

A New Exhibit: Protecting Manassas; Through July 15; free –

The exhibit features historic and modern artifacts from the City of Manassas police, fire and rescue services, and features activities for young visitors. The exhibit coincides with this summer’s 2015 World Police and Fire Games, an athletic competition held throughout the region.

Free Book Talk: Jonathan Roberts: The Civil War’s Quaker Scout and Sheriff; July 12 at 2 p.m.
When author Gregory P. Wilson began researching his family history, he never expected to uncover a great-great grandfather as unique and fascinating as Jonathan Roberts.

Pre-K Tuesday; July 14 at 10 a.m.; ages 3-5 with adult; $10 per child

Children ages three to five and a caregiver may enjoy storytelling, crafts, songs, and outdoor exploration during the Pre-KTuesday program at the Manassas Museum. Register at or by calling 703-368-1873.

Free Book Talk: Cut From Strong Cloth; July 19 at 2 p.m.
In her new book, Cut From Strong Cloth, author Linda Harris Sittig tells the story of a strong Civil War-era woman whose dreams of entrepreneurship are thwarted by family and the threat of war.

Free Book Talk: For Brotherhood and Duty: The Civil War History of the West Point Class of 1862; July 26 at 2 p.m.

Brian McEnany’s curiosity about the Civil War and about the West Point class that graduated 100 years before he did, resulted in his new book, For Brotherhood and Duty: The Civil War History of the West Point Class of 1862.

National Night Out – Towne Ball; August 4 from 6 to 8 p.m.; free

See how baseball began during the annual event on the museum lawn held in conjunction with the Manassas City Police.

Two performances for children coming to Hylton Center this summer

The Hylton Performing Arts Center is pleased to introduce two exciting events as part of itsSummer Performances for Young Audiences. Juggler and comedian Mark Nizer presents “Juggling and So Much More!” onWednesday, July 22, 2015 at 11 a.m., and multicultural dance ensemble Footworks appears on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015 at 11 a.m.

One of the greatest entertainment comedians and jugglers performing today, Mark Nizer brings original comedy, world class juggling, dance, music and technology to his craft for a unique and spellbinding performance. This juggling master keeps it all up in the air with flying household items, clubs, balls and balancing sticks. Nizer’s wild antics have landed him on MTV, HBO’s “Just for Laughs,” Arsenio Hall, Bob Hope and Other Young Comedians, Comic Strip Live and “L.A. Law.” He has brought his one-man show to The Improv, Walt Disney World, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center and to countless college campuses, and opened for the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Bob Hope and George Burns. “Without a doubt the hottest juggler [out there], Mark Nizer is simply incredible.” (Entertainment Magazine) 

Fiery fancy footwork sets the stage ablaze when the aptly-named company Footworks, takes the spotlight. This talented group conveys the joy of dance while illuminating the historical and multicultural perspectives of American percussive dances. Known for its energetic and imaginative choreography, Footworks combines the elements of clog, step and tap into a fast-paced, exuberant dance production that leaves both entertainer and audience breathless. Through programming that celebrates the cultural diversity found in the United States, Footworks remains true to traditional American music andpercussive dance and presents connected roots and branches from many cultures. “The eruptive joy of Footworks dancers is as contagious as laughter!” (The Washington Post)

Tickets for each of these performances are $15 for adults and $5 for youth through grade 12.Tickets can be purchased, by calling 888-945-2468 or by visiting the Hylton Center ticket office, open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Summer Hours). The Hylton Performing Arts Center is located on George Mason University’s Science and Technology Campus (formerly the Prince William Campus) at 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, Va., 20110. Free parking is available in the lot next to the Hylton Center.

Picturesque Stafford barn destroyed by storm

All that's left of an old barn on Route 610 in Stafford.
A strong gust of wind took down the barn.
The old barn on a spring day. [File photo: Mary Davidson]
The old barn during a snowstorm in 2013. [File photo: Mary Davidson]
The same gust of wind that blew down the barn also took down these large trees.

An iconic barn that stood for at least 60 years is gone.

The barn sat on a 90-acre property on Route 610 in Stafford County. It was mostly intact and was being used to store an old straw blower once used on the farm.

A severe thunderstorm blew through Stafford on Thursday night packing heavy lightning, high winds, and quarter-sized hail.

A strong gust of wind blew through Aaron Clark’s property and took down two massive trees, as well as what was left of the old barn.

Before the storm, it was clear the barn had seen better days. It was missing a sidewall that faced the west. It had deteriorated over the years.

With so few barns left in an area once rich in farmland turned suburban neighborhoods, the structure was popular with photographers who would knock on Clark’s door and ask if they could shoot the wooden building.

Potomac Local’s Mary Davidson did just that in 2012 while on assignment shooting photos across the seasons of the year.

“I’ve always loved the old barn and have stopped to photograph in on several occasions. It seems to defy all the new houses that spring up around it and must have so many stories to tell,” said Davidson.

Clark says he and his wife, Joanie, used to watch the Barnwood Builders show. The show follows woodworkers who go about restoring old 19th-century barns. Joanie always wanted to restore the barn and make it into a house, said Clark.

It was a project the two never started, as Joanie wife passed on three months ago after battling cancer.
She leaves behind Clark — her high school sweetheart — and four children.

“I think this is a sign from my wife that’s it’s now OK to build a house here now,” said Clark.

Fuddruckers serves second helping in Woodbridge

Fuddruckers opens (again) in Woodbridge.
Fuddruckers opens (again) in Woodbridge.
Fuddruckers opens (again) in Woodbridge.
Fuddruckers opens (again) in Woodbridge.
Fuddruckers opens (again) in Woodbridge.
Fuddruckers opens (again) in Woodbridge.
Fuddruckers opens (again) in Woodbridge.

Years after closing a location on Prince William Parkway in, Fuddruckers reopened Tuesday in Woodbridge.

The hamburger joint is famous for their large beef patties and fresh baked buns. They’re most famously known for the toppings bar that allows customers to pile high lettuce, tomato, onion, and several other toppings onto their freshly cooked hamburger.

At dinnertime on Tuesday, customers, in a line that stretched from the register to the front door, all waited to place thier order. Nearly all of the restaurant’s 41 tables were full with hungry diners munching on burgers and fries.

The new Fuddruckers sits inside what was Cheeseburger in Paradise, a restaurant built under the Jimmy Buffett brand name. It and a similar Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant in Fredericksburg closed.
This new Fuddruckers location is 6,523 square feet of space. Because it was retrofitted from an older restaurant, It is slightly larger than many of the new Fuddruckers being built from the ground up, said restaurant spokeswoman Rebecca Conner.

The restaurant offers bottled beers and is looking into the possibility of adding beers on tap. The eatery hopes a kids night, where children’s meals sell for 99 cents and a 20% military discount with ID, will bring in customers. The restaurant also advertises its catering business good for office parties and children’s sports teams.

After Fuddruckers, Inc. filed for bankruptcy in 2010, the old Fuddruckers location that opened in the early 1990’s, located on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge, closed. The building was demolished, and a McDonalds built in its place. 

Shortly after Fuddruckers filed bankruptcy, a new company, Luby’s, purchased the Fuddruckers brand and began expanding the chain.

Brews and bands at festival in Centreville June 20, 21

This weekend you can hear bands and drink beer at the Northern Virginia Summer BrewFest in Centreville.

The festival – which is on its 8th year – will be held at the Bull Run Regional Park. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on June 20 and 21.

Tickets, which cost $25 for those drinking and $10 for designated drivers, and includes admission, a beer tasting glass and six tickets to try different brews, according to a release.

More on the festival from a release:

The spotlight for this festival will be the more than 45 regional & local craft breweries. There will also be a great line-up of popular local bands to liven up the festival and keep the crowd entertained. The bands will perform from 12:15pm through 6:15pm each day of the festival. The fun doesn’t stop there, if you’ve become a champion of your neighborhood cornhole competitions, you may want to consider entering the NoVa BrewFest Corn Hole tournament this year. We’ll have bragging rites and even prizes and trophies for the winners. Keep Reading…

Mission BBQ opens in North Stafford

mission bbq stafford

There’s a new barbecue joint in town.

Mission BBQ opened in the North Stafford Shopping Center on Monday. The chain restaurant with locations in Richmond, Roanoke, Virginia Beach, saw a line form with hungry customers form outside their location off Route 610 in North Stafford.

Jacqueline and Mark Dickenson took their family to the restaurant for opening day. They said the pulled pork was delicious.

At noon on opening day, employees treated customers to a live rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. The grand opening followed a week of special fundraising events for the Stafford County Fire and Recuce Department, Stafford County Sheriff’s Office, and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Here’s more in a press release:

The restaurant known for its traditional American BBQ with a hefty side of patriotism opens its 17th location in Stafford on June 15. Now Stafford County can experience traditional favorites done the MISSION BBQ way. Menu items include Texas Inspired Beef Brisket; Jalapeño and Cheese Sausage; and the bestselling North Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich topped high with Cold Slaw accompanied by an array of homemade BBQ sauces. The opening of the Stafford location is part of MISSION BBQ’s expansion plans, with a targeted goal of 40 restaurants throughout the East Coast by 2018. MISSION BBQ currently has restaurants in five states: Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida. 

How to do a tasting at Manassas Olive Oil Company

Manassas Olive Oil Company
Manassas Olive Oil Company
Manassas Olive Oil Company
Manassas Olive Oil Company
Manassas Olive Oil Company
Manassas Olive Oil Company

Find perfect pairings for salads, chicken, even ice cream

At Manassas Olive Oil Company, you have the opportunity to sample over 45 flavors of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

From mild to robust, these oils fill up metal fusties that are placed throughout the room. Empty bottles are lined up beneath them, and tasting cups are waiting to be filled with fresh oils and vinegar.

A tasting experience can vary.

You may end up spending an hour with friends sampling a large variety, or you might just be looking for something to create a perfect marinade for tonight’s chicken entree.

“We encourage people to spend as much time as they want finding what they love in here,” says store manager Cameron Thomson. “If you don’t want to spend an hour and change in here tasting everything, I can ask you what you’re looking to use it for and then help you find what you’re looking for.”

Thomson says it’s an experience that most people aren’t expecting. “Typically most people, what they’ve had their whole life is nothing like this, so they’re going to be caught very off guard by what they’re about to taste,” Thomson says.

To sample any of the olive oils or balsamic vinegar, you just have to fill up a small plastic ramekin of the flavor you want. Thomson says it’s important to smell it before taking a swig. He also suggests slurping the oils in order to really discern their tastes.

For people that might be put off by drinking the oils on their own, there are jars of bread available for tastings. You can dunk the small pieces of bread into the various flavors in order to get a sense of their taste.

“Sometimes it’s good to break up the taste of it,” said Thomson. “Some of the oils have very strong flavor by themselves, so sometimes its good to have something neutral to taste it with.” 

After sampling a variety of flavors, you may end up with a French Walnut olive oil and Black Cherry vinegar pairing that will make a perfect dressing for your salad, a Mushroom Sage as marinade for tomorrow night’s pork dinner, and a raspberry vinegar to drizzle on that vanilla ice cream in your freezer.

After narrowing down your choices, employees will help you fill the empty glass bottles with the fresh balsamic vinegar and olive oils.

Thomson says this is something fun and new that everyone will love trying out.

“Open up your mind to the new possibility of tasting very fresh olive oil,”he said.

Manassas Olive Oil Company opened its doors in May. Hours are Monday thru Thursday 10 a.m.- 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Boys & Girls Club’s Steak’n’Stake event raises $100K

The Prince William Boys & Girls Club held their 26th Annual Steak’n’Stake Dinner, honoring community leaders.

The event was held at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, and held more than 300 guests.

During the dinner, several leaders from the community were honored, including Marty Alloy from Stanley Martin Homes, Eddie Byrne from Potomac Shores and the Micron Foundation, according to a release.

With this annual fundraising event, the Boys & Girls Club was able to raise more than $100,000.

Two of the Club’s 2015 Youth Ambassadors – Taylor Hinebaugh and Destiny Malloy – were at the dinner to present.

“This year’s annual Steak’n’Stake Event was a phenomenal fundraising event for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington! The event allowed the Prince William County Clubs the opportunity to showcase major contributors and excellent youth who attend the Clubs and participate in the programming. The youth exemplified the character of the programming while honoring our distinguished award recipients. This event was what the Boys & Girls Clubs are all about—making differences and creating great futures,” said Boys & Girls Club Board Chair Jason Hickman.

“Porta Pagoda” little library opens in Occoquan, Lovejoy expresses support

The Greater Prin11425479_1004411209591378_7374033533558187361_o (1)ce William (GPW) Little Free Libraries project has continued to spread in the community, and is gaining momentum.

Former Occoquan mayor Earnie Porta finished his own little free library, the “Porta Pagoda” in time for last weekend’s Occoquan Arts and Crafts show.

Porta created and named his little library using the Asian-inspired theme of his front yard rock garden.

“It has survived some heavy rain since then without the books getting wet, so I think it’s going to work out pretty well.  I suspect that over time I will probably need to replace and/or reinforce the bamboo ‘shingles’ that I put on it.  I tried to use scrap materials as much as possible, and as a result some of the bamboo pieces have seen better days.  It turned out to be much heavier than I anticipated,” said Porta.

Residents have already started using and enjoying it.

“So far it appears to have been well received.  People have been using it, both taking and donating books.  I don’t have any signage on it right now, so I think some passersby are unsure what it is, but I have registered it with Little Free so I’ll be receiving a charter plaque that identifies what it is and how it works,” said Porta.

In addition to Porta’s new little library, Manassas City Councilman Ian Lovejoy has publicly expressed his support for the GPW Little Free Libraries initiative.

I’m extremely excited to be partnering with Write by the Rails to bring the youth literacy initiative Little Free Library to the City of Manassas. It is my hope that by working with local businesses, local authors and anyone who shares the love of reading that we can, in our own small way, bring literacy to the forefront in a simple, economical and purely fun way,” said Lovejoy.

Lovejoy will be working with one of our project partners – Write by the Rails – to establish several little library locations in the Manassas area.

Take a look at our interactive map to find a little free library near you!

See a little free library missing from the map? Let us know!

Exclusive: Take a peek at the “new” Chinn library in Woodbridge

The Chinn library was closed for three weeks of renovations.
The project was paid for using proffer funds from developers.
This room will be getting new furniture and desks next week.
Library staff reorganized all of the collections.
The plan was to make the library more open and user friendly.
The children's section is now more visible for parents.
There may be some more changes come to the library in the near future.


There are some big changes at the Chinn Park Regional Library in Woodbridge.

The library was closed for three weeks – from May 17 to June 7 – in order to complete some renovations and improvements in the building.

According to Sandra Oliver, the library’s branch manager, the improvements were made using about $100,000 of proffer funds from developers.

The money was approved for use by the county board of supervisors. Oliver stated that the board supported the changes because it would provide more open meeting space for residents.

Updates to make the space more open, efficient

One of the major pieces of the project was the new circulation desk.

“The intent was to make the circulation desk more efficient for staff, as well as patrons. The other thing we wanted to do was to make it a little bit brighter and make the air flow better, because the [old] bulkhead would come down over the desk. The whole desk was redesigned,” said Oliver.

Alongside the circulation area, the wall space was opened up for a more efficient shelving unit where patrons could pick up items on hold.

“One of the most popular services we had is the fact that people can put materials on hold, and then they could come and collect their holds. By reconfiguring [the space] we opened up [a] huge area,” Oliver commented.

The old holding area of the library was opened up and new furniture will be coming in the next week that will allow patrons to have private space for working or reading.

“When people come to the library now, they don’t want to sit at a reading table with three people they don’t know. If they’re not sitting there reading books, maybe they have their own devices…and they want some privacy,” Oliver said.

Reorganization of library materials

In addition to the renovated spaces and new fixtures, a big piece of the Chinn library improvements were the reorganization of the reading materials.

“By being closed for three week [we] had a golden opportunity to change the way our collections are placed in the library,” Oliver said.

The fiction and mystery books were moved towards to the front of the library because of their popularity.

They also moved around the children’s section, placing the shelves in a vertical pattern so parent’s can more easily view their children. It also gave library staff an opportunity to make the area more open and spacious for the programs and families they serve.

Occoquan hosts successful craft show for 46th year

The Occoquan Arts and Crafts Show was last weekend.
The town hosts the shows in the spring and fall.
This is their 46th year of hosting the show.
Around 10,000 took part this past weekend.
Several of the vendors were local businesses.

Last weekend, the Town of Occoquan hosted yet another successful spring Arts and Crafts Show.

“This is the show’s 46th year and we are continuing to take steps to improve and grow the show for the benefit of the participants, as well as the community,” said Town Manager Kirstyn Jovanovich.

Over the two days of the show, around 10,000 people came to Occoquan, said Jovanovich.

“We had about 265 vendors at the show that brought a wide variety of handcrafted items, including lawn ornaments made out of recycled materials, jewelry made from coins and recycled computer equipment, handmade soaps, baked goods, jellies, salsa, planters, dog treats and collars, clothing and more. In addition, we had many vendors specializing in fine, graphic and mixed media arts,” said Jovanovich.

Several of the vendors at the event were locally owned and operated, including jewelry maker Motherbored, based out of Gainesville, and What’s Your Time Frame, based in Manassas.

According to Jovanovich, the town is already gearing up for the fall Arts and Craft Show, which will be September 26 and 27.

Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House a fun experience

Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House
Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House
Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House

My and wife and I went to Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House for the first time.

She had been before for a workplace party a few years back. For me, it was my first time. But not my first time dining at a Hibachi-style steakhouse.

The morning before we went, I called to make reservations, as was recommended by my wife. We arrived at 7:30 p.m. (a half-hour later than we made our reservation for — thanks, traffic jam) and the hostess welcomed us as if we were right on time. She showed us to our seats at a U-shaped table that surrounded a flat-top grill where our food would be prepared.

Two other women were already sitting down at the table and were enjoying their conversation. My wife and I took the time to catch up after what had been a long and busy week for the both of us.

Our drinks came — my wife ordered a plum dessert wine, and I had water. Then, in walked a family two children who sat down at our table. Now with a full house, it was for our onion soup ( broth with thinly shaved mushrooms and other spices) and house salad topped with ginger dressing. I ate about half of each.

For dinner, my wife ordered combination platters. Hers was a mix of chicken and shrimp and my filet mignon and chicken.

“OK, it’s showtime,” said the chef as he drizzled oil on the flat, hot cooktop. After a flash of flame to heat things up, he began to prepare the rice and vegetables — carrots and zucchini, and onions —  that would make up the foundation of our plate. Of course, we were treated to the classic onion volcano that is always impressive to see, and is something I wouldn’t try at home.

As they cooked up, the chef placed a portion of rice on our plates and then portioned out the vegetables. Some at the table were clearly hungry and started eating right away. My wife and I waited until we had our full place in front of us.

When it was time for the meats, the shrimp seemed to cook up faster than anything else. The chef diced the chicken breast, and he made sure the steak was cooked to order. Mine was medium well and prepared just right.

Just as it was time to dig in, the chef played a little game. He cut up some remaining chicken and offered to play catch, and used his utensils to toss food toward the guests and see who could catch it in their mouths.

A few at the table made it look easy. It wasn’t for me as I was zero for two tries. My wife, ever the consummate lady, opted out of the food-tossing competition.

As we ate, the chef thanked all of us, and we all clapped in appreciation of the show we had seen. He poured rail vodka on the cooktop and quickly cleaned it and then went into the back.

The food was delicious and required no seasoning or sauce though two kinds of sauce are provided to you — a ginger dipping sauce and an orange sauce referred to as “yum yum” sauce.  

Or bill for the two of us was about $70 with tip. While it is something my wife and I would do together again, this place would also be fun to share with friends and family.

Animals to adopt at Stafford SPCA

Billie Jane
Found dog in Garrisonville

Billie Jane is a 2-year-old female Heeler mix that is spayed, UTD on vaccines, and micro chipped. She will pull at your heartstrings with her playful nature and youthful energy! Billie Jane can live happily with other dogs (with proper introduction) and children older than 5 years.

Ledo is a 4-year-old male DSH cat with an adorable lopsided mustache, and a unique black and white pattern. He is neutered, UTD on all vaccines,  and simply LOVES being around people. If you are looking for a feline with a friendly and outgoing  personality then look no farther – you’ve found your new BFF. 

Found dog. Intact male lab mix. About 1 year old. Very friendly. Found at the apartments behind Garrisionville Walmart. Please contact(540) 693-2843 if you have any information.

-Information provided by the Stafford SPCA. Contact them for more information on any of the animals shown above.

Stafford dog park opens

[Submitted photo]
[Submitted photo]
[Submitted photo]
[Submitted photo]
[Submitted photo]

A new dog park opened in Stafford County on Saturday, June 6, 2015.

Residents were invited to bring their four-legged friends to the new park at Duff McDuff Green Memorial Park on Route 3 for a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Two new parks were opened: a 7,500 square foot small dog park and a 15,000 large dog park. Both are the first such county parks in Stafford.

The parks are complete with water bowls, toys, and benches for people to sit on.

Members of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors were on hand to cut the ribbon for the new park. Garrisonville District Supervisor Laura Sellers, Falmouth District Supervisor Meg Bohmke, Hartwood District Supervisor Gary Snellings, and George Washington District Supervisor Bob Thomas posed for a ribbon cutting photo on Saturday.

Labella Bridal Boutique expands in Occoquan

Labella Bridal Boutique expands
Labella Bridal Boutique expands
Labella Bridal Boutique expands
Labella Bridal Boutique expands
Labella Bridal Boutique expands
Labella Bridal Boutique expands
Labella Bridal Boutique expands

Labella Bridal Boutique celebrated its expansion in Occoquan.

The bridal gown boutique acquired an old storage unit next door, and Labella added a new series of fitting rooms and places to store merchandise such as shoes.  This is the second expansion for the bridal boutique that shoppers and public officials say is unique to the Town of Occoquan.

“A woman wants to feel beautiful, and coming into Labella, we can enhance her beauty,” said Ellalyne Brayman, who has owned the shop for eight years.

Labella held a ribbon cutting for the new expansion in conjunction with the Prince William Chamber of Commerce. Several elected officials and longtime friends and customers of the business attended the celebration.

Brayman designs her bridal gowns. Some of the shop’s top sellers are also accessories like shoes, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.

“A bracelet gives a little bling to enhance the ring,” said Brayman.

A recent trend at weddings, “trash the dress” parties, where brides purposefully destroy their wedding dresses,  doesn’t sit well with Brayman. She donates gowns to charities, such as wounded warrior projects and said trashing the dress is wasteful.

“I think it takes away from the sacredness of a wedding,” said Brayman.

Labella Bridal Boutique is located at 313 Mill Street in Occoquan. The store is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday 11 to 7 p.m., Friday 11 to 5 p.m., and Saturday 11 a.m to 6 p.m.

NVFS aids with homelessness, hunger and health access

NVFS is based in Prince William County.
They provide services for individuals and families.
They currently manage their SERVE homeless shelter, and will be taking on the Hilda Barg shelter.
NVFS helps residents with a variety of needs.
Additionally, they offer Early Head Start programs.

Northern Virginia Family Services (NVFS) is a non-profit organization located in Prince William County that helps individuals and families, providing services to help them become independent.

Potomac Local spoke with Tonya McCreary, director of agency communications for NVFS, about the organization and how they help the community.

PL: Who does your organization serve? 

McCreary: NVFS serves vulnerable, low-income individuals and families facing threats to their self-sustainability and independence. We help prevent and end homelessness and hunger; provide job training and entrepreneurship, Early Head Start, child abuse prevention and health access programs. NVFS also serves foster children in Prince William County.

PL: Why is your organization important to the community?

McCreary: NVFS provides an array of services and programs to keep safe and secure, improving our communities’ stability and our quality of life. NVFS is committed to long-term case management and working with community resources to address the challenges facing families. This is important because in addition to helping face a crisis or emergency, NVFS is committed to helping families find pathways to stability.

As the largest social service provider in Northern Virginia, NVFS offers many opportunities for individuals, families, civic groups, churches and companies to get involved through donations and drives and volunteering. Keep Reading…

Arts and Craft show in Occoquan this weekend


This weekend town of Occoquan will be hosting its annual spring Arts and Crafts Show.

The Arts and Craft Show will take place on June 6 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and June 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

According to a release, there will be more than 300 artists and vendors at the show.

Because of limited parking availability, the town will be hosting shuttle bus service for residents.

More on shuttle service from a town release:

Shuttle Bus

Shuttle Bus Cost: $5 per Rider (Cash Only) (Round Trip)

The Town’s historic district will be closed off to vehicular traffic during the show.  Roads will be closed from 8 am to 7 pm on each day.

Visitors to the show can ride a shuttle bus from one of four locations and will be dropped off at one of three stops. View Event Map

Shuttle Bus Pick Up Locations

Visitors can park at one of the following lots to board a shuttle bus: ($5 per rider, round trip)

Vulcan Materials (Yellow)

Tackett’s Mill Commuter Lot (Purple)

123 Commuter Lot (Old Hechinger’s Lot) (Green)

Commuter Lot I-95 (Red)

Shuttle Bus Drop Off Locations

Shuttle buses bringing visitors to the show will be dropped off at one of the following locations:

123 Bridge (Yellow)

Mom’s Apple Pie (Red and Purple)

Occoquan Footbridge (Green)

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