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Lifestyle

E Book Downloads Up In Prince William

The checkout counter at Chinn Regional Library in Woodbridge. (Photo: Prince William County)

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Ahead of Superstorm Sandy on Monday came a influx of downloads of e Books from the Prince William County Library System.

Jean Ross with the library system said 276 e Books were downloaded Monday.  That’s up from their usual 180 per day.

PotomacLocal.com asked Ross about how the e Book system is used and why it’s so popular:

Q: Do you think the storm had anything to do with the demand?

A: We are quite sure that the combination of poor road conditions and office closures, with people stuck at home, contributed to this uptick.

Also, many people keep their e-readers charged and might have not had other entertainment options if their power was out, thus leading them to think about downloading an e-book. In addition, the Federal government offices were closed, and Federal workers had an unexpected day at home.

Q: How does the e book download option work?

A: You must have a current PWC library card and from there you go to the main library website and click on “Download and Go” or go directly to princewilliam.lib.overdrive.com.

Downloading is completely free and the steps required vary according to what device people are using (for example, iPads, Nooks, Kindles and others) Users can have up to 5 e-books checked out at any one time, and may place holds on e-books that are checked out.

Q: How long has Prince William allowed for e book downloads?

A:We have had free downloadable e-books since September of 2011, and the collection continues to grow, with new titles added constantly.

Unfortunately, there are some publishers who will not allow library circulation of their e-books, so we have some limits as to which titles we are able to buy.

We do, however, have a well-rounded collection of fiction, non-fiction, romance, science fiction, and other genres to offer users, and all are free with a library card.

Q. Why is this a popular service?

A: As e-readers have become more reasonably priced, more and more users are e-reading, and the library offers a source of free content for these e-readers, which has undoubtedly contributed to their popularity.

A Dumfries House Full of History, and Chilling Experiences

Historic Weems-Botts Museum is situated in Dumfries, Va. (Photo by: KJ Mushung)

By STEPHANIE TIPPLE

DUMFRIES Va. – Chances are that if you’ve ever taken the Dumfries exit on Interstate 95, or if you’ve gone down U.S. 1 on your travels, you’re unaware that you’ve passed by one of the oldest and most haunted sites in Virginia.

The Weems-Botts Museum, built around 1749, is one of the only remnants of Dumfries’ illustrious colonial past – and has a cast of camera hogging spirits to prove it.

Originally used for a church poorhouse, the Weems-Botts Museum has served as home to the sick, elderly and poor of the town, and

Violet (Weems-Botts Museum)

later in 1798 to Mason Locke Weems, George Washington’s first biographer.

In 1803 it was even owned by Benjamin Botts, the youngest lawyer for the defense team of the Aaron Burr treason trials.

Abandoned for more than 30 years before being acquired by the Merchant Family, the Weems-Botts Museum again fell into disrepair after 1968.

Then the Flory family, previous owners of the Bel Air Mansion which is now home to Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, had the site added to the registry of historical places and worked to restore it to be used as a museum, which opened in 1974.

Another shot of Violet. (Weems-Botts Museum)

And while the ghosts on the property have reportedly been around for centuries, a video segment on “My Ghost Story,” a TV show scheduled to air on the Biography Channel in this month, has revitalized local interest in the site for it’s bevy of paranormal experiences.

Joann Barron, Director of the Weems Botts Museum and Historic Dumfries, Virginia, was once a skeptic before working at the museum, but after more than a year of experiences, is making the transition to a believer.

While there have been dozens of various sightings and occurrences, Barron shared that most recently, on previous ghost walk, people heard the sound of horses and a young man horses at the other end of the property.

Spirits have personalities

There are several different opinions on the personality and physical characteristics the

Violet at age 79. (Weems-Botts Museum)

spirits may possess, with Civil War soldiers, members of the Merchant family, and a mysterious older gentleman among the list of otherworldly residents on the property. “They are hams – they are not discrete,” said Barron of the ghost’s personalities.

“We were in the upstairs bedroom, and when we’re up there the door opened on it’s own. All of the EVP (Electric Voice Phenomenon) meters went up and [Bennett] went over by the door, and you could see the handle [moving] and then door pops open and it’s all on video camera,” she added.

Local investigators take interest

Many different paranormal groups have investigated the site, but without question, one of the most successful collectors of evidence at the Weems-Botts Museum is Stafford resident David Bennett.

“I had just heard about this place, and was kind of interested and just stopped by for a tour one day, in April of last year. Joann [Barron] was showing me around the place and there was an interesting sort of occurrence. When she was talking about Violet, [a ghost of a small child believed to haunt the house] and she was just talking and it sounded like a female agreed with what she was saying,” Bennett said.

Since this initial experience Bennett’s been hooked, and he’s continued to have great success gathering solid EVP’s, ghost photos and video recordings.

In Bennett’s, Barron’s, and several others’ experiences, many of the paranormal incidents have been tied to women in the Merchant family who owned the property for several decades.

Violet and Mary Merchant were sisters who grew up in the home; but things were never the same after Mary passed away under “mysterious circumstances” in her early 20’s. Violet continued to live in the home, despite the tragedy, until her death.

See more of PotomacLocal.com’s Haunted October series: 

Who or what is haunting this Manassas hotel?

The spirits of these Civil War soldiers are alive and well 

A county leader’s historic home near Dale City has a haunted past

Campfire tales of Occoquan’s ghostly past

A window with a life of its own

Another one of the more high-profile haunting locations in the home is the window on the second floor, in Violet’s bedroom. The window has been said to open and close on it’s own, with the spirit apparently having a fondness for interacting with children.

“There were two girls and they had to be both less than 5, and we were there [in the upstairs bedroom] and the window was closed and I told them the story about the window. The girls were very excited and were trying to get it to open and shut and nothing happen. So we did the rest of the tour and they asked if they could come back, so we went back to the room again and the window actually opened and closed when they asked it to – and it happened a few times,” said Patrick Higgins, Docent for the Museum.

Ghosts also nextdoor

The Museum Annex, a newer building next to the museum house, has also been known for its ghosts and ghouls as well – who possess a certain affinity for scaring the staff.

“It was a Sunday afternoon, and so I was sitting in the [back room] and it had been pretty quiet for most of the afternoon and all of a sudden I heard this noise upstairs. I didn’t pay attention to it at first and then I realized it sound distinctly like someone was walking around. I could hear him get louder when he got closer to where I was sitting and so I heard it and it stopped and then I heard it again and I decided to go sit out on the porch,” said Stephanie Haas, a summer intern for the Museum.

Reporter investigates

With so many ghostly experiences to hear about, I decided to take the role of “investigative journalist” to see if I could have an experience myself. To be fair, I’m in the middle of the debate of real versus fake, but I’ve always leaned towards the believer’s side, on the basis that I don’t discount things I can’t explain.

To complete a thorough investigation, I enlisted the help of Bennett, Barron and Stafford resident Andrew Kiebler. After spending time analyzing compelling EVP’s that Bennett had captured, our group entered the home. When entering one of the upstairs bedrooms, I immediately smelled a overwhelming scent of a violet-type incense, which sent Bennett off to search for the source of the smell – although none was found.

The scent occurred again when leaving the Museum at the conclusion of our first investigation.

During my second investigation of the house, in another upstairs bedroom,

I felt the pressure and warmth of a human touch on my arms and on my shoulder on several different occasions, none of which could be ruled out after further investigation.

After being touched, I felt sore all along my arm, and was shocked to hear that another woman had the exact experience in the home herself. After sifting through hours of video recordings, we were also fortunate enough to capture some compelling EVP’s that display the voice of the many “roommates” living at the Weems Botts Museum.

While my experiences are personal, I am confident that there is something on the site of the Weems Botts Museum. With the long and often tragic past of the land, it’s no surprise that the Museum has become a stomping ground and a final resting place of spirits from all walks of life.

Food Drive Gives Holiday Hope to Families

By ANGELA POUNDERS

MANASSAS, Va. – It’s that time of year again where many of us will be gearing up to gather together around a bountiful table to ring in the holiday season with our families. Sadly, there are many people in our own neighborhoods that are not so fortunate.

There are a variety of opportunities to support the needs of our community during this holiday season. One way is to join the City of Manassas Fire & Rescue Department as they take part in the Third Annual Canned Food Drive to benefit Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS)/SERVE.

NVFS is a private, nonprofit community service organization committed to helping individuals and families discover new paths to self-reliance and brighter futures. With almost 33,000 of our neighbors turning to them each year needing case management, safe housing, counseling, medical and dental access, child care and development, affordable loans, foster and respite care and job training, the goal of the NVFS is to empower individuals and families to improve their quality of life and to promote community cooperation and support in responding to family needs.

Sponsors for this annual campaign include Prince William Hospital, Historic Manassas, Inc., the Old Town Business Association, Fire and Rescue Departments from the City of Manassas, Manassas Park and Prince William County, Wi-Not Stop and Kloke Group.

The community can help NVFS/SERVE in their efforts to be there for those who have little or no hope by contributing to this drive. Specific items needed include soup (especially “kid” soup), vegetables and pasta sauce.

You may drop of canned goods at donation boxes located at all City of Manassas buildings and around the City of Manassas from October 24 – November 14.

 

Halloween Still a Go for Area

A mask is a simple, but always effective last minute Halloween costume idea. (Photo: Stephanie Tipple/For PotomacLocal.com)

Happy Halloween. It’s not canceled.

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy many had wondered if trick-or-treaters would still be welcome in neighborhoods – some of which on Tuesday were without power.

In Prince William County, officials there said they don’t have the power to cancel the candy-getting, costume-wearing festivities.

County spokeswoman Nikki Brown comments:

——-

The county doesn’t regulate Halloween or trick-or treating. We do recommend that people follow these safety tips: http://www.pwcgov.org/government/dept/FR/Pages/Halloween-Safety.aspx.

In addition, due to the recent weather, people need to assess whether or not they think it’s safe to go out or take their kids out. If they do go out, they need to watch for any flooding or debris. Hopefully, power will be restored by then, but if not, people should be aware of that, as well.

——

Adversely in the gated North Stafford community of Aquia Harbour, police chief Patricia Harman did have the option to postpone Halloween but chose not to.

The neighborhood was impacted by a few power outages but it wasn’t enough to order children off streets tonight.

Shoppers Stock Up Ahead of Sandy

By STEPHANIE TIPPLE

DALE CITY, Va. – As Hurricane Sandy moves its way toward the Potomac Communities, families and companies all over Northern Virginia are preparing.

Prompted by the derecho this past June that took many off guard, and leaving several people without power and supplies for extended periods, there is a bigger sense of preparedness for Hurricane Sandy.

At Pitkins Ace Hardware in Dale City supplies are flying off the shelves; with batteries, flashlights and candles being among the top most purchased items, according to Meagan Stephens, a cashier at the store. Another popular item many are flocking to are sand bags.

“People are especially buying those to keep from flooding,” Stephens said.

While they have plenty of flashlights in stock, the store is currently out of propane tanks.

Dominion Virginia Power and NOVEC are also taking preemptive measures – and are urging their customers to do the same. A press release issued Saturday by Dominion Power warned this storm is likely to be long lasting, and that customers need to be ready for long term outages.

“This storm system will build in intensity over time and will remain a force for days, not just hours, causing major damage and extensive power outages,” said spokesman Rodney Blevins. Dominion has made a commitment to have teams on the ground as soon as the worst of the storm is over, to help restore power to affected communities.

NOVEC is also prepared with teams to fix any damage and outages in the Northern Virginia area, and has stressed safety and emergency preparedness. One tip that NOVEC offered all customers was to get in touch with NOVEC and ensure that they have your up to date contact information on file, so they can get in contact with you and restore your service as quickly as possible.

“If you use a cell phone, call us at 703-335-0500 or 1-888-335-0500 to associate your number with your account,” the press release states.

Take a look at these hurricane preparedness tips, published by NOVEC:

? Designate the safest shelter location. Be prepared to leave a mobile home for better protection. Develop a plan for someone disabled.

? Have an emergency kit with non-perishable food, water, flashlights, fresh batteries, battery-operated radio, lanterns, canned fuel, matches, and first aid. If applicable, have enough prescription drugs, pet food, and baby-care items.

? Have identification and documentation ready to grab. Keep Social Security information; birth certificates; home, car, and life insurance files; and other important documents in a water-proof file box.

? Cordless phones do not work when power is out; keep cell phones charged.

? Before a storm hits, unplug TVs, DVD/ VCR players, microwave oven, and computers to protect them from power surges and lightning strikes.

What to do if Power Goes Out

? Call NOVEC at 703-335-0500 or 1-888-335-0500, or report the outage online at novec.com if you have access. The Outage Center will provide updates.

? Only open freezers and refrigerators when necessary.

? Use portable generators, camp stoves, or grills outdoors to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Alternatively, heat food in a chafing dish or fondue pot over canned fuel.

 

NOVA Wins: ‘We Finally Started to Play Like We Can Play’

Bachmann

Playing two division games in less than 24 hours, Northern Virginia Community College Ice Hockey (NOVA) had its work cut out. After last week’s devastating loss to Radford University, NOVA had spent the last week retooling its game plan and it clearly showed.

On Friday night, NOVA celebrated its fifth anniversary with a celebration puck drop with NOVA Counselors Mike Donnelly and Trevor Blair who helped start the team five years ago.

NOVA clearly came out ready to get revenge on a fast William and Mary team that had beaten NOVA just a few weeks ago. Setting the pace early was NOVA’s #19 Taylor Bachmann who scored two quick goals at 2:20 and 5:35 of the first period. Freshmen Philip Patrican, playing in only his third game for NOVA, scored from a blast from the point at 24 seconds later. William and Mary superstar put in a goal six minutes later to calm the crowd, but NOVA’s Romtin Sharolli a minute later to put NOVA up 4 to 1 to end the first.

In the second period, two quick William and Mary goals had them close the gap, but NOVA’s Steve “Grandpa” Morales put in bouncing pass from Austin Woolf to make it 5 to 3. NOVA played containment defense for the rest of the game to hold on for their first BRHC win of the year.

“It was a good win, we finally started to play like we can play,” said Coach Barrett Haga.

In the second game of the weekend, NOVA Hockey traveled down to Old Dominion for the second annual Zach Cuddeback Memorial Classic played at the AHL Norfolk Admirals’ home the 6,000-person Norfolk Scope Arena. The game was a barnburner from the start. ODU, a BRHC Atlantic powerhouse, scored first with an upper shelf snipe from star player Bill Bock.

NOVA came roaring back with the first of three goals from Taylor Bachmann. With the score all tied up at 3 each, ODU scored two quick ones in the third. NOVA called the time out and reinforced the message that they were not going to give up.

Taylor Bachmann then scored his third goal of the night closing the gap. Coach Haga pulled NOVA goalie Timmy Gonzalez who had one of the best performances in NOVA history by stopping 45 of 50 shots with 1:06 left. NOVA then pounded ODU goalie Nick Sample relentlessly with Sample making save after save to win the game for ODU.

“The team is starting to come together. They are not realizing the benefit drylands, chalk talks, and practice. We will be very competitive down the stretch,” said Haga.

NOVA Hockey is sad to report that team founder Robert Lucier passed away the other day. Rob helped to create the program 5 years ago. He was a great player and a dear friend.

NOVA Hockey’s next game is Saturday, Oct 27 in Dix Hills, New York against Suffolk Community College.

 

Workhouse Holds Second Arts Gala

Paul Berry and Sally Merten at the Gala cocktail reception. (Submitted photo)

LORTON, Va. – The Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton held its second annual Arts Gala on Saturday.

The event is held to celebrate the artistic and cultural significance of a bustling arts center near Occoquan. Here are some snippets from a press release about the event that featured former WJLA-TV anchor Paul Berry as the Master of Ceremonies.

-The evening began with guests mingling at a cocktail reception that included decadent hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction, full of community donations and Workhouse artists’ work. From there, they moved to an elegant dinner upstairs in the McGuireWoods Gallery, featuring filet mignon and seared mahi mahi.

-Dinner entertainment included an awards presentation and live auction, featuring a Nascar Experience hosted by a Sprint Cup team owner and a custom oil portrait from one of the Workhouse Arts Center’s exceptional artists, Patricia McMahon Rice

-Musical entertainment was provided by the Johnny Artis Band, a favorite local rock and roll/rhythm and blues band. Throughout the evening, guests were able to meet the Workhouse Art Center’s outstanding artists and view their work.

-The evening’s Honorary Chairman Dr. Alan G. Merten, President Emeritus of George Mason University (GMU), was honored for his outstanding commitment to GMU, as well as to the arts at GMU and throughout Fairfax County.

-During dinner, [Fairfax County] Mount Vernon District Supervisor, Gerald W. Hyland, was presented the Lorton Arts Foundation (LAF) Founders Award by LAF Board Chairman Richard Hausler. The award was presented on behalf of the Workhouse community with appreciation and respect for Hyland’s steadfast support of LAF and the Workhouse Arts Center.

 

Dancers Raising Funds at Occoquan’s Rockledge Mansion

By ANGELA POUNDERS

The gracefulness of a ballet dancer gliding across the stage, the sounds of a tap dancer keeping rhythm to a song or a pair of dancers doing interpretative dance. All of these are forms of art and the Woodbridge Dance Company is committed to raising public awareness of dance as an art form and believe that the “Arts have an amazing power to inspire, unite and teach.”

The Woodbridge Dance Company is a non-profit (501c3) organization that relies extensively on their friends and patrons for support. Their mission is providing the community with awareness of dance and the performing arts, while giving young dancers the experience of performing, and gifted choreographers the means to create artistically.

One way the Woodbridge Dance Company raises money is with its annual Confections and Cocktails Masquerade Fundraiser Reception. Adults 21 years and older are invited to join and celebrate the event’s third year on Friday, November 2 from 7-10 p.m. at the historic Rockledge Mansion (circa 1758) located at 440 Mill St., Occoquan, Va 22125. Parking is a challenge in old town Occoquan, but there is ample parking at the end of the road near the Mansion.

Catherine Furr of The Woodbridge Dance Company says the Confections and Cocktails event “is an opportunity for the community to meet the directors, learn more about Woodbridge Dance Company, mingle with innovative choreographers and talented dancers.”

It is her hope that this event will raise $6,000 toward their final goal of $20,000 to support their 5th Annual “A Coffee House Concert Collection” on January 12, 2013 at the Hylton Performing Arts Center.

This will be a night out that you won’t soon forget. Cocktail reception attire is required; masks will be provided at the event. Enjoy the entertainment while having cocktails and eating hors’dourves.

There will also be door prizes, raffle items and a silent auction. One of the items to be auctioned is a “Wall of Wine” consisting of a variety of donated wines along with a personalized story of why the donor loves the wine contributed. The Woodbridge Dance Company feels that this item “demonstrates our Company members’ belief that enjoying the finer things in life, such as wine and dance, truly enhances our lives.” Other items to bid on will include gift certificates from various local businesses and donated baskets.

After Oct 15 through Nov 1 tickets cost $35 each, or they may be bought at the door for $45 per ticket. Tickets can be bought online at woodbridgedancecompany.com. For more information call 703-583-2623.

Food Bank to Benefit from Stafford Band Show

Marching bands from Stafford County high schools came together for the first time in 2011 to raise money to fight hunger in their communities. (File photo: Mary Davidson)

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – Students in Stafford County once again this year will come together to fight hunger in their communities.

More than 400 students will descend on Mountain View High School at 7 p.m. November 5 for the second annual Band Together to Fight Hunger. The show will feature band students from all five of Stafford’s high schools, and all proceeds from the show will benefit the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank.

The price of admission to the show will be one non-perishable food item. Mountain View High School is located at 2135 Mountain View Road in Stafford.

More in a press release from Stafford County Public Schools:

Gates will open at 5:30 pm with a wide offering of concessions provided. Admission requires one non-perishable food item. Monetary donations will be accepted that evening or at fredfood.org

All proceeds will go to benefit the Fredericksburg Area Food Bank and provide food back to the hungry of our community.

This event is not designed simply to showcase musical talent, or highlight individual school band programs, but as a way to bring our Stafford Community together in the effort to raise awareness of the challenges in relation to food and hunger that 40 in 100 of citizens in Planning District 16 are facing daily.

 

Photos: Stafford Wings and Wheels Festival 2012

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Photography by MARY DAVIDSON

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Arlen Harbaugh, of Reston, maneuvers his Hexcopter while attending the Wings & Wheels Festival held at Stafford Regional Airport on Saturday. (Photo: Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

 

Three generations of the Drown family, Ross, Brent and Nathaniel, 7, watch as remote controlled airplanes take flight. (Photo: Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

 

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Airport Hosting Stafford Wings and Wheels

Thomas, 4, and his mother, Lisa Vice, posed for pictures in an F-4 Phantom jet while at the Wings and Wheels Festival at the Stafford Regional Airport. (File) (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. -- It’s going to be a full day of fun at the Wings and Wheels Festival at the Stafford Regional Airport.

This marks the festival’s eighth year, and it’s organized by the Stafford Rotary Club.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, military and experimental aircraft, radio controlled aircraft, a motorcycle and car show, as well as food and vendors will be featured at the airport.

A schedule of the day’s events is below.

10:00 am – Gates Open

Vendors and Displays Open • Car and Motorcycle Show Open • Airside Open

12:00 pm – Airspace Closed – Demonstrations begin

1:00 pm – Airspace Open

3:15 pm – Aircraft Awards

3:20 pm – Motorcycle Awards

3:30 pm – Car Show Awards

3:45 pm – Raffle Drawing

4:00 pm – Gates Close

 

Stafford County Fair This Weekend

Mountain View High School in Stafford.

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – The fair has come to Stafford once more, for the third year in a row.

The Stafford County Fair opened last night and runs through Sunday at Mountain View High School. The fair is filled with carnival rides from the Ferris wheel to bumper cars, and fair manager Gordon Shelton is selling all-you-can ride tickets good all day long from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“This is a way to bring the kids, some of them who may not be able to afford to go to Kings Dominion, and ride all day long for $20,” said Shelton. “It’s also a good boost to the economy when so many people are out of work; it’s a great opportunity where a kid can come out and be a kid.”

There are also various vendors selling jewelry, t-shirts, car accessories, and equipment, said Gordon.

The fair dates back to 1922, according to the event’s website. Drought conditions in the 1930s forced the closure of the fair, and though it but it was brought back after World War II, the last time a fair was held in Stafford was 1952.

Gordon said his family has three generations of experience in the fair business, and that’s why he decided to bring back the Stafford County Fair in 2010. Parking and admission at the fair is free.

‘Halloween’ Coming to Potomac Point Winery

Photo: Chamber Chorale of Fredericksburg

By LAURA CIRILLO

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – The Chamber Chorale of Fredericksburg is gearing up for a ghoulish good time at Potomac Point Winery in Stafford. On Saturday, October 27 and Sunday, October 28, the winery and chorale group will partner to present a “Halloween on Broadway” concert.

Artistic Director at Stafford County’s Riverside Dinner Theater and Broadway veteran Patrick A’Hearn will be featured in the show.

President of the Chamber Chorale of Fredericksburg Patti Kerns said Halloween on Broadway will be the group’s first performance in Potomac Point Winery’s ballroom. The event is geared toward a mostly adult crowd, although children are welcome.

In planning their first pre-Halloween performance, Kerns says the Chamber Chorale recognized how few opportunities there are for adults to enjoy the ghostly holiday in a mature setting.

The evening will begin with a buffet dinner at 6:30 p.m. and concert at 7:30 p.m., or guests can attend on Sunday afternoon, for a 3 pm performance and dinner to follow.

Founded in 1988 as a small ensemble, The Chamber Chorale of Fredericksburg is known for performing high-quality choral music in a wide variety of styles. Music selections for the Halloween on Broadway concert include pieces from Harry Potter, The Addams Family, Little Shop of Horrors, Sweeney Todd, Les Miserables, Wicked and Phantom of the Opera.

Kerns said featuring A’Hearn is something that the group has been eager to do for some time, and that this concert was the first occasion to do so.

“This concert is a wonderful opportunity for the Chorale and the community to hear Patrick A’Hearn so soon after his acclaimed performance as the title role in Phantom [of the Opera] at the Riverside Dinner Theater. Audiences will certainly enjoy the spooky selections and the beautiful atmosphere at Potomac Point – we know it will be a memorable performance for everyone,” said Chamber Chorale Director Mary Hannah Klontz.

Guests are invited to wear Halloween costumes, if they dare. Prizes, including wines from Potomac Point, will be awarded.

The $30 ticket price includes a buffet meal and the concert. Wine and desserts will be available for an additional fee.

Advance tickets are required and are available at Potomac Point Winery, Fredericksburg Visitors Center, and on-line at ccfbg.org. For more information call 540-898-0458.

 

Teen Shaving Head for Tumor Research

Katy Patton

My name is Katy Patton and I am raising money for Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Research at the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine.

Over the past six years, I have watched a close family friend of mine battle this disease, and she has been an inspiration to me.

On Sunday, Oct. 21, I will shave my head as a token of appreciation to everyone who has donated. I will hold an event at Aquia Church at 1 p.m. This event is open for anyone to attend.

Any size donation is appreciated, and as a special bonus, any donations of $100 or more will be awarded with a turn with the razor on my head!

A raffle will take place where for $5 you can be entered into a drawing to be take a turn on the razor first!

For more information on ACC and how to donate directly to UVA, please visit medicine.virginia.edu/research/research-centers/cancer-center/teampages/adenoid-cystic-carcinoma.

 

County Leader’s Home Has Ghostly Past

When not presiding over the Prince William Board of Supervisors, Corey Stewart is at home at his Bel Air Plantation in Dale City. (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Story By
STEPHANIE TIPPLE

Photography by
MARY DAVIDSON

Editor’s note: This is the third is a series of stories in October that will explore some of the more haunted places in and around Virginia’s Potomac Communities.

DALE CITY, Va. -- There is a historic mansion tucked away in Dale City with a long history – as well as a few spirits.

Bel Air Mansion is a 25-acre home that was constructed in 1740. It was first owned by the Ewell family, with one of the owners, Charles Ewell, having strong ties with George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. After the Ewell family moved out, Bel Air ended up in the hands of Washington’s first biographer Reverend Mason Locke Weems.

For a long period after the Civil War, the home fell into disrepair and was abandoned, until the Flory family purchased the property in the 1940’s. Bel Air stayed in the family for several decades, until Bill Naedele, husband to one of the Flory descendants, decided to sell the mansion earlier this year.

The home was purchased this past summer by Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart.

As you would expect with the oldest manor home in Virginia, there have been more than a few reports of things that go bump in the night. The property seems untouched from its earliest days in the colonial period, complete with an old barn and a family cemetery on the property.

“We have not seen any ghosts, but what [Ann Flory] said back in the 50’s that there were many ghosts stories, including an old man who they had met, who said that when he was a young boy he came up here — and this was before the house was restored and reoccupied and when got to the house — he saw ghosts looking out at him from the windows,” Stewart said.

Many other people have stories to tell about the property, including those who have worked on and in the house.

“Some of the cleaning people, I met some of them and they came back here during the auction and they told me that there was a piano that played by itself, and it was not a player piano,” Stewart said.

People have also reported seeing people walking back from cemetery toward the house at night.

Because the Flory family lived in the home for many decades, it’s no surprise that they’ve had a few personal interactions with the spirits on the property.

“In the early 1950’s, Dr. Flory, who worked for the State Department, knew and was good friends with a lot of the diplomatic community, including the ambassador of Brazil. And the ambassador of Brazil, according to Flory, was staying in the guest bedroom upstairs and woke up in the middle of the night and saw an old woman in the rocking chair staring at him, rocking back and forth. He left the house the next morning, and would not come back,” Stewart said.

This closely mirrors a later experience a couple had, staying in the same room, where they had the covers torn off of their bed in the middle of the night.

There were two other particular experiences on the property that are sure to send a shiver up even the bravest ghost hunter’s spine. A very sad young woman, dressed in black, often wanders around the house in mourning, looking for her husband, who some believe was a casualty of the Civil War.

Many funerals were held on the property, and it was an old custom to host a funeral feast for the attendees of the time in the formal dining room. Several years ago, the Flory family entered the formal dining room, to find that the room had been set up for a funeral feast, yet no one had done so.

Overall, Stewart and others feel that the spirits aren’t malicious, but are kind and just want to remain in the home that they loved. The Stewart family said the home will continue to be preserved and cherished, with all of its history and colonial beauty.

Prince William Parkway Alive with Fall Color

Prince William Parkway

MANASSAS, Va. – It may not be Virginia’s Skyline Drive but Prince William County’s main thoroughfare is now beaming with fall color.

Bright orange, red, yellows, and green leaves adorn the trees along a five-mile stretch of Prince William Parkway between Woodbridge and Manassas. This largely undeveloped land this portion of the parkway traverses makes it a great scenic route this time of year.

Fall foliage usually peaks in this area about the end of October, making it one of the last portions of the state to experience bright fall foliage.

For drivers looking to get more than just a commuter’s view of fall leaves, nearby Prince William Forest Park offers a haven of natural beauty and history tucked away from the suburban sprawl of the Potomac Communities.

The park’s main entrance is just off Interstate 95 on Joplin Road in Triangle and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.

 

Find Nightmarish Fun at Fields of Fear

(Courtesy photo: Fields of Fear)

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. – Not far from Interstate 66 and Centreville is a farm where scary creatures roam.

A country store that sells pumpkins, apple butter, and other fall treats greets visitors when they arrive, but it’s what’s in the nearby Fields of Fear that brings out chills and screams.

On this farm is Cornnighttmare; a twisted trail of haunts and lost souls trapped in a corn field at Cox Farms in Fairfax County. Once on this trail of terror, small sounds in the cornstalks reveal themselves as clowns with chainsaws who jump out at you, mummies rise from their tombs, and a seven-foot tall brown grizzly bear chases visitors out of a log cabin.

As the path meanders, visitors will find exits that allow for an early escape. But only the brave will walk to the end and be able to tell their tales of Halloween frights.

While it’s worth the entire $19 price of admission, Cornightmare is just one of several fall attractions at this family-friendly farm where, by day, children and their parents come to pick pumpkins. At night, actors dressed to fright fill the field and provide a good clean panic to those on the farm.

When not on the trail of terror, children and adults and grab a potato sack and slide down a large slide. There’s also a bonfire, cider, and plenty of candied treats to enjoy while inside the farm.

Basic dmission to Field of Fear is $13 and includes unlimited haunted hayrides, the slide, bonfire, and other attractions nearby. For an additional $6, Cornnightmare is included in the experience.

Cox Farms Fields of Fear is open 7:30 to 11 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night in October. Tickets can be purchased online and sometimes sell out.

Workhouse Adds New Seats in Comedy Theatre

LORTON, Va. – Comedians made them the butt of their jokes, and now they’ve been replaced.

New padded seats with armrests have been installed inside the W-3 Theatre at the Workhouse Arts Center at Lorton. They have replaced uncomfortable plastic bench seating.

Once home to a children’s theatre troupe at the Workhouse, the W-3 as of late is showcasing more adult comedic humor and has attracted some of the region’s top stand-up comics – including some of TV fame – to the arts center near Occoquan.

During a comedy performance in July, one comedian promised to have new seats installed after hearing comments and, in some cases, groans from the audience about the benches.

Workhouse Arts spokeswoman Camela Speer said the new seats were planned for and did not come in response to any jokes about the old ones.

“The original bench seating that was installed was the incorrect product, but replacements took time to schedule installation,” said Speer.

The arts center hopes the new seats will open up even more live entertainment possibilities. The comedy shows at the Workhouse all sold out during the summer months.

The next Lorton Workhouse Comedy Showcase will feature comedian and WJFK Radio talk show host Danny Rouhier on Friday Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. Tickets for the show can be purchased online.

 

Saturday’s I-Walk Benefits ACTS in Dumfries

090612-Dumfries-sign

DUMFIRES, Va. – A Dumfries church will hold a walk to help families in need.

Image Church once again this year will hold I-Walk on Saturday at Merchant Park at Cameron and Duke Streets in Dumfries on Saturday. Registration will begin at 9 a.m. and the 2 and a quarter-mile walk will begin at 10 a.m.

All of the proceeds raised from registered participants will go to benefit ACTS of Prince William County. For every two I-Walk registrations received, the church will help ACTS to provide housing for one person for one night.

“It’s very eye-opening to realize that the things we can so easily take for granted like shelter and food so many people in our community are without. Participating in I-Walk is an easy and fun way that we can make a direct impact for families struggling to make ends meet,” said Image Church Deconess Kate Shifflett.

A $25 registration fee will be charged for those ages 25 or younger, a $30 fee will be charged for those aged 30 and older.

A free community festival will follow the walk featuring music, moon bounces for children, family crafts, and a video game van.

Image Church located 17650 Possum Point Road in Dumfries launched the I-Walk event last year in an effort to support ACTS.

 

Civil War Soldiers Never Left Stone House

(Photo: Manassas Battlefield)

Editor’s note: This is the second is a series of stories in October that explores some of the more haunted places in and around Virginia’s Potomac Communities.

By STEPHANIE TIPPLE

MANASSAS, Va. – When you hear about the Civil War you’ll often hear about the massive death toll, the carnage and the name of famous sites like Gettysburg, Pa.

But for those living in the Potomac Communities who want a taste of Civil War history, look no further than Manassas Battlefield National Park.

This theatre of war 25 minutes west of Woodbridge was site of the First and Second Battles of Manassas, and between 1861 and 1862 it was a launching point for the careers of several noted Civil War figures including Stonewall Jackson, Sherman and Custer.

(Photo: Manassas Battlefield)

And while this may have been the place of career-making battles, it was also the site of the death and wounds of more than 21,000 soldiers.

And according to several visitors and people involved with the Manassas Battlefield – some of these soldiers never left. Many people claim that they’ve seen ghostly spirits walking the grounds, and that they’ve heard sounds that mimic the sounds of gunshots.

“Of the structures themselves, the one that probably has the greatest association with ghost stories is the stone house. That big stone house was here at the time of the First and Second Manassas battles, it was used as a field station and it had all of the horrors associated with medicine in the Civil War era, particularly in the war. It was very ill thought out and ill prepared to handle the types and numbers of wounds that soldiers suffered, so obviously there would have been amputations and worse at this aid station,” said National Park Service supervisor Ed Clark.

(Photo: Manassas Battlefield)

In this stone house, on the second floor, there is also a Civil War story that is tied in with the home, as two gravely injured soldiers carved their names into the floorboards. The names are still visible in the floor of the house today.

While the Park Service has not yet been able to find a piece of irrefutable evidence of the ghostly encounters on the Battlefield, there are still several signs that the soldiers of First and Second Manassas have no intention of being forgotten.

“We often joke here at the Battlefield; we call it the ‘Vortex of Manassas’. Anytime something goes wrong, we find it going wrong in an extraordinary fashion and a grand example of that is our 150th anniversary last year. And the four days of our events were the four hottest days on record on the East Coast,” Clark said.

Have you had any experiences or photos that you’ve taken at the Manassas Battlefield? Share them with us!

 

Spooky Laser Lights Show coming to Planetarium

WOODBRIDGE, Va. – Be prepared to see some spooky laser light in the night sky inside a planetarium in Woodbridge.

The planetarium at C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge will hold Halloween-themed laser light shows this month. The visual effects during the shows will be paired with music from artists like Michael Jackson, Metallica, Boris Picket, The Who, Will Smith, Weird Al, Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper.

Three shows will be held each Friday night Oct. 12, 19, and 26 at 6, 7, and 9 p.m. The late show will include louder music and will feature some “Halloween spirits” that may be on the loose inside the planetarium.

“A misconception is that the only think you learn about in planetarium is about space or Astronomy,” said planetarium Tony Kilgore. ”For this particular event it’s not a learning experience at all, but a fun night out. But even with that mindset through the year the planetarium does shows on the origins of life and even an underwater adventure show.”

Tickets for this show are $10 at the door. This funds collected allow the planetarium to purchase new programs shown to students at 95 schools in Prince William County that visit the planetarium.

Kilgore said the 9 p.m. is usually full, and he encourages all show-goers to arrive at least 20 minutes early to get a seat. Advance ticket sales are not offered for this event.

In addition to Halloween shows, the planetarium also hosts laser light shows in December and host Rock N’ Roll laser shows over nine nights in April.

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