Prince William County Fair opens

Prince William County Fair
Prince William County Fair
Prince William County Fair
Prince William County Fair
Prince William County Fair

The Prince William County Fair opens for its 2015 run tonight.

This is the 66th year for the county fair, which offers a little something for everyone — from carnival rides, animals, music, to demolition derby in the grandstand.

The runs Aug. 14 to 22 at the Prince William County Fairgrounds at 10624 Dumfries Road in Manassas. Everyone gets into the fair for $6 for opening night August, 14, 2015.

Here are the prices and special dates for the remainder of the fair:

General admission: $10
Child (ages5-13) and seniors (ages 60 or older) $6
Half-price day is Monday, Aug. 17, child/seniors $3 and adults $5
Tuesday is $2 admission, $2 per ride (no wristbands)
All ladies admitted free Wednesday, Aug. 19
All veterans admitted free Thursday, Aug. 20
Active duty military admitted free daily
There are several new attractions to the fair this year:

Welde’s Big Bear Show
Jeff Robbins Mountain Music
Ackmonster Chainsaw Artist
No-Joe’s Clown Circus
Jurassic Kingdom
Comedian Reggie Rice

The home arts exhibits are always popular at the Prince William County Fair. It’s where anyone can bring produce they’ve grown at home, food, and crafts into be judged. Prizes are awarded for everything from best-looking produce, best photography, best canned good, to tastiest jelly.

“The home arts department is a dying breed, especially here in Northern Virginia. It’s something that is truly unique to a county fair,” said spokeswoman Chrissy Taylor.

Some of the fair’s largest attractions — tractor pull, demolition derby, and “bulls ‘n barrels” show — will be featured in the grandstand and are free with admission.

Fair organizers listed this year’s events for the 10-day run.

Controversial Virginia family subject of Manassas Museum exhibit

UntitledManassas wants to talk about the Carter family.

In their newest exhibit, ‘New World Aristocracy: The Carters of Virginia’, which opens on August 15, the Manassas Museum wants to highlight an important family in America’s history.

According to a city release, the free exhibit is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until December 31.

More from a Manassas release:

The Carter family was among America’s first millionaires and emancipators. They lived amid a swirl of controversy and extreme wealth worthy of reality TV. Their Virginia backyard included half a million acres in the 1700s and 1800s, but they left a lasting impact on much of Virginia.

“Everyone that lives in this area today lives on land that was once owned by a member of the Carter family,” said Manassas Museum Curator Mary Helen Dellinger.  To see exactly what land the family owned, the exhibit will feature a map of Carter properties overlaid on a modern day map of area neighborhoods.

“A lot of these Carter storylines connect present-day neighborhoods,” said Prince William County Historic Site Operations Supervisor Rob Orrison. “Most people are amazed at how much land the Carter family owned around here.”

Liberia Plantation, Ben Lomond House, and Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg are among the properties built by Carter family members.  In addition to vast land holdings, the Carter reach extended to Virginia’s cultural life.

“There’s a history here that goes back centuries, one that touches on slavery, politics, religion, trade and architecture,” Dellinger says. Robert “Councillor” Carter III, the grandfather of Liberia’s owner Harriet Weir, was a particularly colorful member of the family, best known for gradually freeing nearly 500 of his slaves, and leaving the Church of England to become an evangelical Christian.

One of the artifacts on loan from Oatlands Historic House and Gardens is a book from Carter III’s collection, The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Concerning The Lord, which may explain his break with the Anglican Church. “This, coupled with his manumission of his slaves, paints him as somewhat of a radical running around in the Northern Neck during the late 18th century,” Dellinger says. “One wonders what his neighbors thought.”

Gathering artifacts and images for the exhibit proved to be a challenge since so few of the Carter family possessions still exist and so many of their homes no longer stand. “To visit this exhibit and see these objects and images is to try to connect to the very place in which you live, where a few families of wealth and power once dominated the social, political and business landscape and forged a beginning for the place we call home,” Dellinger explains.

Orrison and colleague Bill Backus were inspired to create the exhibit when they visited and led tours to Christ Church, the Carter family church in Virginia’s Northern Neck, where the Carter legacy is especially visible. Historic Christ Church is loaning Robert Carter III’s writing desk and bottle pieces with Carter’s seal for the exhibit.

“People who love history will enjoy so many rare things on exhibit,” Orrison says. “But even people who don’t like history will enjoy the story.”

Manassas, Prince William vie for more weddings

harris pavilion wedding

Calling all brides to Harris Pavilion.

Manassas will host its first-ever bridal show underneath the popular destination. It’s the same spot where city employee Thomas Joyce wed his sweetheart Ashley Thiesing on live TV July 31.

It’s the next move for a city that is working to market itself as a wedding destination.

“The Harris Pavilion is a great wedding venue with the trademark Virginia LOVE sign hanging behind it. The Manassas Museum Lawn is also ideal for a large outdoor wedding (when Liberia Plantation is finished with restoration, it is another option for outdoor weddings). The Center for the Arts at the Candy Factory is another unique wedding venue for a smaller, more intimate wedding,” said Historic Manassas, Inc. spokeswoman Brittany Bowman.

The show on Sunday, Sept. 6 will feature local businesses like caterers, shops with unique wedding gift ideas, wedding dress boutiques, and spas. While most bridal shows are held in spring, organizers of the Manassas show wanted to take advantage of the still-warm September weather in hopes it will help bring out brides to be.

“We are hoping to attract recently engaged women who plan on getting married in the next 18 months searching for an authentic wedding,” said Bowman.

The city hopes to make the bridal show an annual event, she added.

Prince William County is also in the wedding business, of sorts. The county’s Historic Properties Division manages some of the most historic sites in the region, like the county’s first courthouse at Bristow, to the 18th-century tobacco plantation, and the oldest house ni Prince William County, Rippon Lodge.

“Our sites give people the option of an affordable location that has a great history, scenery, and originality. All of our sites are over 100 years old and have defined this community,” said historic properties spokesman Rob Orrison.

Open flames aren’t allowed in the historic buildings, but, surprisingly, alcohol is, with the proper permits. Users may visit the county’s website to reserve a historic and read a list of freqeuntly asked questions.

Manassas a magnet for creative, performing arts

Manassas is a regional art destination
Manassas is a regional art destination

The Arts and Tourism District is in Historic Downtown Manassas.

Manassas already boasted the renowned Center for the Arts where visual and performing arts are taught, practiced and displayed as well as the highly regarded local studios and galleries, Creative Brush and ArtBeat. But local artists and community leaders wanted more.

The city council has a vision for Manassas to become known as an arts and cultural center in Northern Virginia, and beyond.

Last year the city converted the hallway on the first floor of City Hall into an art gallery aptly named “The Hall at City Hall.” The gallery has featured paintings, photographic art and works by local art students at Osborn High School and changes artwork every six weeks so there are regularly new displays.

Another example is the banner art displayed on light poles throughout Historic Downtown. The juried competition attracted artists from throughout the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Sixty of the more than 130 entries were transformed into public art that is on display seasonally until winter.

Historic Manassas Inc., the city’s Virginia Main Street Program, oversaw the project and intends to repeat it annually. The top -ranked submission, as judged by a panel of professional artists, received a $1,000 cash prize and at the end of the season one artist will be awarded the “People’s Choice” prize of $500. Ballots for this are included in a brochure describing each piece and available at the City’s visitor center in the historic train station adjacent to the municipal parking garage.

But it’s not all just about the visual arts.

Manassas also boasts the second largest ballet company in Virginia. The work of the Manassas Ballet Theater is recognized in the national and international press.

This attention helps contribute to Manassas becoming known as a regional arts and tourist destination. Further, Manassas worked closely with George Mason University, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Prince William County to bring the Hylton Performing Arts Center from dream to reality. The city continues to provide support to ensure the performing arts venue remains an asset for the citizens of Manassas and the surrounding area as well as attracting visitors.

There are many other local performing and visual arts groups and businesses in the city too numerous to mention in this article; all of which exist to teach, promote or display the vibrant culture of this historic yet modern city.

Renovations underway at El Gran Charro

el gran charro

After 10 years, it’s time for a change.

El Gran Charro inside the Town Center at Aquia closed its doors to remodel on Aug. 3. Inside the eatery on Aug. 10, a team of workers worked in a dimly lit room working on the ceiling.

It’s a complete renovation for the restaurant that sits just off Route 1 in Stafford County. When it’s done, the bar will sit in the middle of the restaurant, and new tables and chairs will be positioned on both sides of the restaurant.

The bar had been located on the right side of the restaurant, and that made some customers who sat on the left side of the eatery a bit lonely.

“[When the left side began to empty out] customers thought they were the last ones in the restaurant, and that we were about to close,” said owner Jose Gallardo.

As in most cases, there were more people sitting at the bar on the other side of the restaurant, they just couldn’t see them. The new floor plan will make the eatery more open and inviting, said Gallardo.

The renovations to El Gran Charro are happening as it appears work on the surrounding town center could finally begin. A new plan announced this spring indicates new commercial buildings and apartment homes could be built at Town Center at Aquia.

Stores closed, and buildings were demolished here in 2007, and the property has remained largely untouched since then. El Gran Charro has been located inside the town center or a decade.

“The finished shopping center is going to help a lot,” said Gallardo.

El Gran Charro will reopen its doors with a few new menu items. Seafood dishes and some new appetizers are the main new additions.

The renovations should take about two weeks to complete.

“I thought [this project] was going to be a smaller thing… but it turns out we’ve made a bigger mess than we thought,” joked Gallardo.

Chuy’s Tex-Mex replaces Macaroni Grill in Woodbridge

chuys tex mex

Think of it like a Mexican diner.

Chuy’s will open in the old Romano’s Macaroni Grill on Prince William Parkway in Woodbridge. Construction crews since last week have been working on getting rid of the makings of the old Italian restaurant to make way for the new Tex-Mex eatery.

Coined from a nickname people use for Jesus, the Austin, Texas-based Chuy’s has been opening new restaurants across the east cost. They opened their first one in Austin in 1982. The company opened its first Chuy’s outside Texas in 2009 and has been expanding ever since.
The company is expanding in Northern Virginia.

“We opened two restaurants, one in Fairfax and the other in Springfield, and they’re doing very well,” said Kianne Hilburn, a company spokeswoman. “Woodbridge was the obvious next step.”

The restaurant prides itself on using fresh, never frozen ingredients. The prices are more like something you would find in a traditional diner, said Hilburn. The most expensive item on the menu is the fajitas for about $15.

Patrons will also find silverware rolls, and funky wall decorations, much like you would find in a diner, when Chuy’s opens, said Hilburn.

The new Chuy’s in Woodbridge will open next door to another already popular chain Mexican restaurant — On the Border. On many nights when Macaroni Grill was still open, the parking lot at On the Border was packed with cars while fewer cars were parked outside the Italian joint.

“We consider ourselves to be different from On the Border simply because we are authentic tex-mex,” said Hilburn.

Chuy’s gets all of its recipes from border towns along the Rio Grande River between Texas and Mexico. It’s not clear when the new eatery will open, but the company hopes to open its doors before the end of 2015, said Hilburn.

Two little free libraries unveiled at The New School in Manassas

Write By the Rails unveiled two little free libraries at The New School over the weekend.
Write By the Rails unveiled two little free libraries at The New School over the weekend.
Write By the Rails unveiled two little free libraries at The New School over the weekend.

There are two new little free libraries in Manassas.

Write by the Rails, one of the partners in the Greater Prince William Little Free Libraries project, unveiled the new libraries at The New School building on Church Street in downtown Manassas on August 8.

Potomac Local, the Prince William Library Foundation and Write By the Rails have all partnered to build, advertise and promote the effort in the area.

Several community members including Councilman Ian Lovejoy, Washington Post representative Jim Barnes, and authors from the Write By the Rails group were in attendance for the ‘ribbon cutting’ ceremony.

*Photos courtesy of Victor Rook.

This interactive online map will allow you to find all of the little free libraries in our area that are participating in our initiative.

Let us know where you’re putting your own PW Little Free Library! Be sure to include the name, street address, town name, and zip code! 

Also, post pictures of your library on the Library Foundation’s Facebook page.

5 local spots for great seafood

Looking to savor great seafood without having to go very far to get it?  These hidden hideaways right here in Prince William & Manassas, will transport you to a seaside retreat to indulge in fruity cocktails and fresh seafood. With a wide variety of activities, live music and more there is sure to be something for everyone at one of these local eateries.

Tim’s Rivershore – Located in Woodbridge, this waterfront restaurant sits on one of the widest points of the Potomac River and offers panoramic views of the river. The view can be enjoyed from inside the restaurants dining room, on the outdoor deck or at the torch-lit tiki bar and beach. 

From monthly full moon bonfires on the beach to their annual “Not on the 4th” fireworks display there is a constant flow of events, live music and festivals held here every year. Serving fresh crabs, oysters, scallops, shrimp, mussels, and fish as well as steaks, burgers, pulled pork and chicken sandwiches this family-friendly restaurant is a must visit.

Blue Ridge Seafood – Find a southern twist on traditional seafood dishes in Gainesville, at Blue Ridge Seafood.  From fried frog legs to alligator bites and crawfish you are in for a treat when visiting this southern seafood hideaway.  More traditional fare such as fresh crabs, seasonal fish, hush puppies and french fries are also offered. 

Plan a night out with family and friends to enjoy live music on the back deck or stop in and pick up crabs and hush puppies to enjoy at home.  Their backyard tiki bar is the perfect backdrop to any happy hour too!

Crosby’s Crab Co. – Rated one of the best places to find fresh fish, lobster, crabs and oysters in Northern Virginia by Washingtonian Magazine, Crosby’s Crab Company prides itself on its fresh seafood selection.  In addition to a variety of local seafood to choose from they also have alligator, frog legs and octopus available for the brave and curious.

A more traditional seafood market, they offer carry out service only and can often be found at the Historic Downtown Manassas Farmers Market on Saturdays during the summer months. Crosby’s is open year round to satisfy any seafood cravings.

CJ Finz Raw Bar & Grill – A surf and turf restaurant offering coastal dining with a hometown feel, is what guests will find at CJ Finz Raw Bar & Grill in the heart of Historic Downtown Manassas.  Offering a hint of the Outer Banks in Northern Virginia, diners can relax on the rooftop deck while enjoying freshly shucked oysters or a beer from one of the local breweries.

This family friendly restaurant offers a wide variety of seafood and southern style dishes from fried pickles to oyster po-boy sandwiches. It is a must visit next time you are in the mood for a convenient get away with great food and amazing views.

Madigan’s Waterfront – Whether you are looking for a special place for date night or a unique location for your next private event, this waterfront retreat can accommodate both.  Overlooking the Occoquan River and marina patrons can select from a variety of seafood dishes and seating options that are sure to please. 

The topside deck and tiki bar play host to live music and entertainment throughout the summer months, making it the perfect spot to sit back and relax. From candlelit riverside dining to karaoke and dancing there is a little something for everyone at this restaurant on the river.

To discover more about where to dine and shop visit   

Fans love Corey Feldman at Pfitzner

Corey Feldman was at Pfitzner Stadium in Woodbridge on Saturday night. It was “Goonies night” and “One-eyed Willie” bobble head dolls were given out to fans.

Feldman is an actor best known for his roles in The Lost Boys, The Goonies, and Stand by Me, signed autographs for fans during the Potomac Nationals game.

And he wasn’t just there for a little bit. He stayed nearly the whole time. 

And the fans appreciated it, as Feldman signed everything from his band’s music CD’s, to a movie a prop from The Goonies. 


Manassas couple ties knot on live TV at Harris Pavilion

Ashley and Thomas get hitched at Harris Pavilion in Manassas.
Ashley and Thomas get hitched at Harris Pavilion in Manassas.
WTTG Channel 5 broadcasts morning show from Manassas.
WTTG Channel 5 broadcasts morning show from Manassas.

Ashley and Thomas are now one.

The newlyweds tied the knot on live TV Friday morning at Harris Pavilion in Downtown Manassas.

Getting married in front of many complete strangers, not to mention a live TV audience on WTTG Channel 5, was a bit unnerving for the groom.

“Yeah, that’s the nervous part of all this. But we’re ready,” said Thomas Joyce, a horticulturist in the City of Manassas.

He and his bride Ashley Thiesing met while in high school in Manassas six years ago. He now works for the city, and she just graduated college with a criminal justice degree.

Joyce never thought he would get married on live TV. But when the opportunity popped up, it was one that Amy Domenech, owner of Amy’s Bridal on Battle Street, couldn’t pass up.

“Fox 5 walked into my store and offered me this great opportunity,” she said.

About two weeks before broadcasting their morning show live from Harris Pavilion, the crew from the TV station scouted out locations in the city to see what they could feature while they were in town. They had the idea for the live wedding, and Domenech knew of the bride.

“She bought her dress in my store on the 4th of July. She just came from hair and makeup trial and looked fabulous in her dress,” said Domenech. “She kept saying ‘I would get married right now if I could,’ so when [Channel 5] said do it in 11 days, the rest is history.”

Amy’s Bridal organized the wedding from start to finish. Chairs were placed in rows, and cheesecloth decorations were hung around the pavilion.

The couple walked down the aisle about 10 a.m., exchanged their vows, and then stepped over to the TV hosts for the all-important post “I do” interview. The two plan to go on a honeymoon sometime in September, said Joyce.

Channel 5’s visit to Manassas is part of an ongoing series call “Zip Trip.” The TV station plans to broadcast from localities around the Washington, D.C. area until Labor Day.

Retiring Virginia State Senator Charles Colgan was honored as “Manassas hometown hero” during the broadcast for his more than 40 years in public service.


Bakery in Woodbridge offers European, New York desserts

Mario Rubio opened Bellash Bakery in Woodbridge.
The bakery serves New York and European style desserts.
According to Rubio, European baking ingredients can be difficult to get.
The bakery serves, cookies, cupcakes, pastries and more.
Rubio also does custom cake orders.

In the mood for some European-inspired deserts?

Bellash Bakery’s owner Mario Rubio, opened the New York and European style bakery a few months ago in Woodbridge.

“I saw there were no Italian or European bakeries around. So I thought it was something that the neighborhood would want,” said Rubio.

Rubio, who owned a bakery in New York for 30 years, wanted to bring residents a way to try European baked goods you couldn’t find elsewhere in the area.

Bellash Bakery offers an assortment of European desserts including butter cookies, Italian biscuits, French pastries, European tortes, cupcakes and Rubio’s custom cakes.

“A lot of people think that with a European bakery, they expect that all of our products come right from Europe. And around here, you aren’t really able to get those ingredients. But in New York, we are able to get those ingredients. So we are able to do a combination of the European tastes, with the American style bakery. You’re going to get the original taste from Europe, but you can imitate it with American ingredients,” said Rubio.

The bakery is located at Station Plaza on Jefferson Davis Highway in Woodbridge.

The pollo guizado is great, at Woodbridge bakery

Guadalupe Castro immigrated to the United States from El Salvador decades ago.
She has owned a bakery in Falls Church for more than 30 years.
Her new location is near the Potomac Mills Mall.
They serve El Salvadorian food, desserts and custom cakes.
Castro makes many of the custom cake orders herself.
They typically sell more than 100 cakes a weekend.

Guadalupe Castro has been baking and cooking up classic El Salvadorian food for a long time.

Castro, who is the owner of Castro’s Bakery in Falls Church, recently opened the doors at her new location in Woodbridge, near Potomac Mills Mall.

Castro has owned the Falls Church location for 30-years, and after requests from customers, she decided to expand.

“She was thinking about opening a second location, and we came down a couple of times…and then when she saw this location – next to the [El Salvadorian embassy] – she thought ‘well okay, I’ll open it,’” said Pam, the Woodbridge bakery’s manager.

Castro immigrated to the United States from El Salvador decades ago, and built her businesses up from scratch.

“Her whole experience – how she worked herself up to where she is now – she’s amazing. She just has this gift about her with cooking,” said Pam.

The Castro’s Bakery location in Woodbridge offers not only baked goods and custom cakes, but traditional El Salvadorian food as well – like enchiladas, pollo guizado, and paselito de carne.

The bakery is located at 14556 Potomac Mills Road, and is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sentara merges with Pratt Medical Center


Sentara Healthcare merged with Pratt Medical Center.

Pratt serves 66,000 patients in Stafford, Fredericksburg, King George, and Dahlgren areas. The healthcare began looking for a new partnership last year.

“Sentara and Pratt share a common commitment to improving the quality of health care in their communities,” stated Stephen D. Porter, corporate vice president, Sentara Healthcare in a press release. “The more we discussed a partnership, the more our natural fit became apparent, with both cultures focused on quality, innovation and a commitment to placing the patient at the center of all we do.”

The new company will operate under the name “Sentara Pratt Medical Group.” Nearly 40 multi-speciality providers will work under the new name, according to a press release.

Patients will see few changes, according to Sentara spokeswoman Corianne Pafford: 

We expect few changes for patients. They are likely to notice some minor administrative changes, such as signage, web migration and email address changes over the coming months. Patients have also been informed to verify that their insurance will participate in the new group.

Overall, all locations (addresses) and phone contact will remain the same, as well as our collective commitment to quality care for the Greater Fredericksburg area.

Pratt’s facilities will add to Sentara’s healthcare portfolio which includes Northern Virginia Medical Center in Woodbridge, formerly Potomac Hospital, and Sentara Lake Ridge.

Pratt Medical was founded in 1937 by Dr. Frank C. Pratt.

Sentara operates more than 100 healthcare offices and 12 hospitals. Sentara purchased Potomac Hospital in 2009 and then changed its name to Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center in 2012. Sentara Lake Ridge opened the same year.

Animals to adopt at Stafford SPCA

Shae [Karen Presecan Photography]
Bitsy [Karen Presecan Photography]

The following animals are available for adoption at Stafford County SPCA. 
Bitsy is an approximately 9 week old, female, Bombay mix kitty. She is a very playful little gal, but is quick to cuddle up in your lap when she gets all tuckered out! Bitsy is FIV/FeLV negative, UTD on her kitten shots, and is looking for her forever home! We are currently accepting applications for Bitsy at:
Shae is an approximately 9 week old, female, Corgi/mystery mutt mix. Shae is a chill pup that loves to play with her brothers, sisters, and everyone she meets. She may or may not have supersonic hearing with those big ol’ ears! We are currently accepting applications for Shae and her siblings at

Restaurant promises ‘sweet’ burritos in Dale City

A new burrito joint is opening up in Dale City.
They promise fresh ingredients, every day.
The All American burrito.
Their Rise and Shiner breakfast burrito.
Sweeto Burrito will open August 17.

Try some unconventional eats at Sweeto Burrito in Dale City.

From their luchador theme to their unconventional menu, Sweeto Burrito will be one of the coolest places to eat in Dale City at the Staples Mill Plaza at the intersection of Minnieville Road and Spriggs Road.

The burrito franchise got its start as a food truck in Idaho in 2011, by owner Jon Pierre Francia.

“It was really a blue collar story, where a guy went and borrowed money from his family to start a food truck, and the market came to him to start franchising,” said Virginia’s Sweeto Burrito franchise owner Mike Sarago.

Sarago first got involved with the company after seeing them on the Travel Channel program ‘Food Paradise’. Shortly after the program aired, Sarago flew out to Arizona to meet with Francia.

“I went out with the intention of buying a two or three franchise unit package, and by the end of the weekend, I had bought the rights for the state of Virginia,” said Sarago.

There are currently plans to open 25 Sweeto Burrito locations in Virginia in the next 10 years. The first location will be opening on August 17.

While the Sweeto Burrito will offer traditional TexMex style burritos, they also have plenty of unconventional fare on their menu.

“The food is very unconventional, but it has a complex flavor profile that you wouldn’t expect to click in the way that it does. You’re combining things into these TexMex burritos and it really creates these new and original things, with all these flavors that just clash together in a very positive way,” said Sweeto Burrito manager Max Haddad.

Haddad mentioned two burritos in particular – the ‘Buff Chick’ and the ‘White Chick’.

The ‘Buff Chick’ includes Buffalo wings, tater tots, cilantro ranch dressing and cheese. The ‘White Chick’ has grilled chicken, black beans, pepperjack cheese, sour cream, rice and cilantro ranch dressing, said Haddad.

According to Haddad, they also offer breakfast burritos, including the ‘Rise and Shiner’ – with steak and eggs, cheese, tater tots, cilantro ranch dressing and sriracha sauce.

Once the location is open, Sarago plans to work with community groups to host fundraisers.

“We want to do a partnership in the community, and do fundraising, and donate to the schools. That’s something I’d like to be involved in,” said Sarago.

The restaurant will have its grand opening ceremony on August 22.

Marriage isn’t a give-and-take. It’s a give-and-give.

Marriage should be serious fun.

That’s the premise behind a series of classes called ‘Married People,’ hosted by Chapel Springs Church in Bristow.

The classes are hosted on Wednesday nights at 7:30 p.m., and are open to all married couples.

Pastor Josh and Leah Wesley both work in the ministry at Chapel Springs, and recently hosted one of the ‘Married People’ classes.

The Wesleys have been married for 15 years, after meeting through a mutual friend in ministry.

“We really became best friends and got to the point where, ‘I just don’t want to live life without you. I don’t want to experience anything about life without you by my side’ and that was it,” said Leah Wesley.

According to Pastor Josh Wesley, the classes are for all married couples who want to make their marriage better.

“We’re trying to help people – not just from the slant of ‘come fix your broken marriage’ – but also we’re being proactive in helping people continue to nurture healthy marriages. Marriage gets a lot of flack for being the ‘ball and chain.’ We really believe that marriage opens and unlocks a lot of opportunities…we’re helping people develop their relationships,” said Pastor Josh Wesley.

Here’s some advice from the Wesleys about marriage.

1. Stop comparing your marriage to other people’s marriages. The way that you have fun and enjoy your lives together is unique.

2. Develop the ability to give.

“Marriage is not a give-and-take. It’s a give-and-give. And when we both are giving equally, everybody’s being blessed,” said Pastor Josh Wesley.

3. Make the decision to put your spouse first every day, and value them.

4. Developing your imagination and creativity, and explore new ways to have fun.

“In marriage we kind of tend to get very hum drum. We tend to do the same thing over and over again. We go to work – we have responsibilities. And we forget to be creative and to spark that love and enjoyment with one another,” said Leah Wesley.

5. Know that marriage requires a lot of hard work.

6. Your marriage needs to be above all relationships, including the relationship with your children and parents.

Chapel Springs Church, with locations in Bristow and Stafford, is committed to offering marriage enrichment opportunities and helping people heal fractured marriages. Next Wednesday, July 29, concludes the “Married People” series with a session at 7:30 pm in the Bristow auditorium. All married couples are welcome to attend.

Free marriage resources.


Late parks & rec director leaves little libraries in Manassas Park

Morretta, who served as the parks and recreation director for 20 years, passed away last month after battling cancer.
Morretta completed the little libraries in 2014.
All three libraries are located on the community center’s property on 99 Adams Street.

Former Manassas Park Parks & Recreation Director Catherine Morretta left the community with something to remember her by – three little free libraries at the Manassas Park Community Center.

Morretta, who served as the parks and recreation director for 20 years, passed away last month after battling cancer.

“Reading was extremely important to her, and she wanted to bring that to the park as well. So she wanted to promote reading at the park…on a nice day you could sit outside and read. The reading libraries were made for residents…she would even restock them out of her own [collection],” said Manassas Park Recreation Supervisor Tony Thomas.

Morretta completed the little libraries in 2014, working with co-worker Sue Griffith and her father Harry Griffith Jr, stated Thomas.

“I remember Catherine told us a story about living in Germany as a child and parks having these free libraries, and she wanted to bring that concept to Manassas Park,” said Thomas.

All three libraries are located on the community center’s property on 99 Adams Street in Manassas Park.

Potomac Local has added these little library locations to our map, along with the little library locations involved in our Greater Prince William Little Free Libraries project, with the Prince William Library Foundation.

This interactive online map will allow you to find all of the little free libraries in our area that are participating in our initiative.

Let us know where you’re putting your own PW Little Free Library! Be sure to include the name, street address, town name, and zip code! 

Also, post pictures of your library on the Library Foundation’s Facebook page.

Quantico coffee shop set to expand menu

Quantico Trading Company
Quantico Trading Company

The Quantico Trading Co. Coffee Shop opened in the Town of Quantico at the beginning of this year.

According to the shop’s owner and Quantico Mayor Kevin Brown, it serves gourmet coffee and espresso beverages made locally by Blackstone Coffee Company in Fredericksburg.

He owns the coffee shop with his wife Carrie Brown. Brown, who has nine children, even had his oldest child begin their first job working at the shop.

“We serve all of the traditional coffee and espresso drinks – lattes, mochas, cappuccinos. We recently added milkshakes and fruit smoothies to the menu. We also have bagels and breakfast sandwiches and some lunch items.

“Our most popular is our turkey bacon avocado sandwich,” said Brown.

Brown stated that an expanded menu will be released next month.

For Brown, starting his own business had always been a goal, after working for several years in the restaurant industry.

“I have a full time job as a project manager for a large IT company. My family moved to town in 2004 while I was an active duty Marine, and I have also always had the desire to own my own business,” said Brown.

Currently the shop is open from Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Manassas makes History Channel

Downtown Manassas will make its television debut on a History Channel program this year.

According to Manassas Museum programs coordinator Doug Horhota, the History Channel decided to film a program on war trains in Manassas because the city is known for its trains.

“We shot the footage at three locations: Liberia Plantation, Manassas Railway Depot, and the Manassas National Battlefield Park” said Horhota.

Horhota was interviewed for the program because of his work at the museum, and his extensive knowledge on the city’s train history.

Manassas just hosted their 21st annual Manassas Heritage Railway Festival on June 6.

The trains filmed for the program were used during the Civil War for carrying supplies for troops.

The program is set to air at the end of this year.

Brunch series: A la carte seafood and classics at CJ Finz’s brunch

Chris Sellers and John Kibben own CJ Finz.
On their brunch menu they offer crab cakes Benedict, Chesapeake omelettes, the classic steak and eggs and grits and gravy.
Their brunch is served a la carte.

CJ Finz, a new seafood restaurant located in Downtown Manassas, offers wholesome classics at their weekly brunch.

The restaurant – which is located on West Street – serves their brunch every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

They’ve only been open since February, but have already received a warm welcome from the community.

“We grew up in Manassas and having the opportunity to open our restaurant in the town in which we grew up was a great feeling.  Getting through the build-out period and opening the doors was a process to say the least but, well worth the warm welcome we have received from fellow Manassas residents,” said co-owner Chris Sellers.

While many restaurants serve brunch buffet style, CJ Finz serves their brunch a la carte.

“We chose to go with a la carte as opposed to buffet because we wanted to be able to give individual attention to each plate and make sure every customer had a great brunch experience,” said Sellers.

On their brunch menu you’ll find a crab cakes Benedict, Chesapeake omelettes, the classic steak and eggs and grits and gravy, said co-owner John Kibben.

According to CJ Finz’s chef Will Landay, a good brunch consists of well made basics and fresh ingredients.

“We think what makes a great brunch is having a good mix of the breakfast and lunch items that people love without making things so basic that they aren’t worth leaving home for.  For example, we make fresh hollandaise sauce every day for brunch, that’s something your average person can’t do at home.  We want you to remember coming to brunch here every time you sit down to eat breakfast,” said Landay.

Have a place you enjoy for brunch? Let us know!

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