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Recharging In Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks

While my personal and professional life is focused on Arlington, VA, I also love to travel. This summer I was able to visit my former real estate mentor and partner Tracy Walczak at her beautiful home in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana.

It was a great opportunity to catch up and recharge.

Tracy is now a Realtor® in Montana and lives with her husband Paul in Darby, MT. And the view from the deck of their home is amazing (see photo in gallery above). And, just a little different from when they lived in the Yorktown neighborhood of Arlington!

And, since I was in Montana, it was also a great chance to visit Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks.

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is simply amazing. More than 3,500 square miles full of wildlife (grizzly bears, buffalo, elk, wolves and much more) and wild sights (geysers, boiling mud pots, vibrant colored hot springs and much more).

The Grand Prismatic Spring’s rainbow of colors (see photo in gallery above) are so vibrant they seem like they can’t be real. It was a favorite of both my husband Jon and I. Smithsonian Magazine has a great article on the science behind the Grand Prismatic.

We also were lucky to see Steamboat Geyser, the world’s tallest geyser at about 300 feet, erupt while we were in the park. It’s been very active this year, erupting about a dozen times. But there have been periods where there were 50-year gaps between eruptions.

And Yellowstone offers so much more: Old Faithful, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone with the spectacular 308-foot tall Lower Falls (see photo in gallery above), Yellowstone Lake, Mammoth Hot Springs and so much more.

Grand Teton National Park

Not far (in Western distances) from Yellowstone is another fabulous national park, Grand Teton.

Grand Teton National Park is a hiker’s paradise. We were able to take many hikes and each offered spectacular views. Whether it was at Hidden Falls above Jenny Lake, up into Cascade Canyon or the Cirque Trail that starts at 10,450 feet at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, there was always amazing views.

We also stopped at the Mormon Row Historic District (see photo in gallery above), an early homestead settlement from the early 1900’s.

Getting away from home always give me new perspectives and a broader view. Where’s your favorite place to get away?

All photos (C) Jon Ross 2018
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4 Fun Off Leash Dog Parks In Arlington, VA

Want to take your pooch for some frolicking run-around amusement with other dogs? Here are 4 fun off leash dog parks in Arlington, VA, where you’ll find amenities such as water fountains, play areas, and nearby dog friendly restaurants and bars.

Benjamin Banneker Dog Park

Benjamin Banneker Dog Exercise Area, 1680 N. Sycamore St., Arlington, is .06-acre fenced exercise area with a year-round water supply. The area includes a small-dog enclosure with a separate entrance.

The exercise area is part of the well-shaded 11-acre Benjamin Banneker Park that includes a playground, picnic tables and grills, a stream and nearby access to Four Mile Run, W&OD and Custis Trails.

Arlington County is currently in the process of renovating the park, which is near the neighborhoods of Falls Church, Madison Manor and Westover. You can see the planned dog park improvements – including adding synthetic turf and new seating at the county’s Benjamin Banneker Park project page.

Fort Ethan Allen Dog Park (Madison Dog Park)

Fort Ethan Allen Dog Park, 3829 N. Stafford St., Arlington, is part of the 15-acre Fort Ethan Allen Park. This dog park is also known as Madison Dog Park to the regulars from the Arlingwood, Chain Bridge Forest and Rivercrest neighborhoods. The fenced-in dog park features mulch ground cover, drinking water and benches.

The park includes Madison Community Center and is surrounded by the earthwork berms of the Civil War-era fort.

James Hunter Dog Park

James Hunter Dog Park, 1230 N. Hartford St., Arlington, is a roughly half-acre fenced dog park that features a deep fine gravel play area with a waterfall, small splash pond and drinking water spigots for our four-legged friends and separate shaded sitting areas and gardens for all.

James Hunter Park is close to the Lyon Village and Clarendon neighborhoods and is open from sunrise to 9 p.m. Being two blocks from the Clarendon Metro station means you have easy access to the many restaurants with outdoor pet friendly sidewalk seating areas along Wilson Boulevard including Liberty Tavern and Northside Social.

And, on Sunday, June 10, enjoy live music and free food from Smoking Kow BBQ from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Bark In The Park.

Shirlington Dog Park

Shirlington Dog Park, 2710 S. Oakland St, Arlington, is a 2.4-acre gated park along Four Mile Run that is recognized as one of the top dog parks in the Washington, DC, area.

This large dog park in Arlington, VA, has a separate area for small dogs, drinking water and tables for dog owners. Situated along Four Mile Run, it’s easy for dogs to get down to the creek and frolic in the water.

There are plenty of dog-centric stores right near the park including Wag More Dogs and The Muddy Mutt. And for dog owners, New District Brewing offers nearly a dozen beers on tap. You are also close to the Village of Shirlington and the many pet-friendly restaurant patios including Copperwood Tavern, Guapo’s, and Palette 22 (Yappy Hour Tuesdays from 4 to 7 p.m.!), plus Dogma Bakery offers treats for your pet.

You can stay-to-date on Shirlington Dog Park through Shirlington Dogs monthly newsletter.

Please note that the best entrances to use for the dog park are off S. Four Mile Run, either at the end of S. Oxford Street (near Wag More Dogs) or at the end of S. Nelson (near the baseball field).

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Get A Taste Of Arlington And Help Local Charities

The 31st Annual Taste of Arlington will be held Sunday, May 20, in Ballston. The event features some 60 local restaurants and food trucks, wine, spirit and beer gardens, live music on two stages and more.

Restaurants – including local faves Ambar, Bistro 1521, Little Miss Whoppie, Pamplona and Texas Jack’s Barbecue – will be competing to be named “Best of the Best.”

Two stages with live music will run from noon until 6 p.m. with bands including Jumpin’ Jupiter and White Ford Bronco. There’s also a KidZone and a pop-up BarkPark for our four-legged friends.

Benefits Local Charities

Most importantly, portions of the proceeds benefit 7 Arlington-area nonprofits. This year recipients are:

This gives you a chance to get a taste of Arlington and help local charities.

Entry to the Taste of Arlington is free. But you’ll need tickets to purchase beer, wine, spirits and food “tastes.” With 25,000 people expected, it’s a good idea to buy your tickets ahead of time online (through Saturday, May 19 at 7 p.m.). You can pick up your tickets at Will Call on site Saturday or avoid the lines at pop-up ticket booths at the Ballston Farmers Market Thursday, May 17, from 3 to 7 p.m. and the Holiday Inn Ballston parking lot Friday, May 18, from noon to 7 p.m.

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Opening Dates For 7 Great Arlington Farmers Markets

Now that spring has sprung, local Arlington farmers markets will soon be opening or expanding their offerings of fresh local produce, meats, breads, prepared foods, specialty items and more for peak season.

I have been visiting the Arlington Farmers Market in Courthouse market to buy directly from and talk to the local farmers for many years. There’s also a wonderful community vibe and an amazing selection.

But there are a wide variety of local fresh farm markets to choose from in the Arlington, VA, area. Here are the opening dates and details for 7 great farmers markets in Arlington and Falls Church:

Ballston Farmers Market

The FRESHFARM Ballston Market opens April 5 and runs every Thursday through October 27 from 3 to 7 p.m. It is held at Welburn Square, 901 N. Taylor St., Arlington, across from the Ballston Metro station.

This market features more than 20 vendors offering everything from wood-fired pizza to handmade pastas to Virginia wines to Vietnamese coffee. No time to shop? You can sign up for a weekly curated selection of farm fresh produce and pick it up during market hours.

The first Thursday of every month features a beer & wine garden with live music and chef demonstrations.

Clarendon Farmers Market

The Clarendon Farmers Market opens April 5 and takes place every Wednesday through December from 3 to 7 p.m. The market is located at the Clarendon Metro station in Clarendon Central Park at the corner of Wilson Blvd. and N. Highland St., Arlington.

This small market is a local producer-only market where vendors only sell products they have grown themselves.

Courthouse Arlington Farmers Market

The Arlington Farmers Market at Courthouse is open every Saturday year-round, but prime season (hours are 8 a.m. to noon) starts April 21. You can find the market at 1401 N. Courthouse Rd. in the Arlington Courthouse parking lot and along N. 14th St. There’s free parking in the garage below the AMC Courthouse Plaza movie theater. The Courthouse Metro is a block away.

This is my local farmers market and I’ve enjoyed going most Saturdays for many years. There are some 40 vendors offering a wide variety of locally grown produce, organic meats (including buffalo) and breads. You’ll also find fresh donuts, coffee, tacos and paella!

My favorite purveyors include Toigo Orchards (for watermelons, corn, apples and pears), Potomac Vegetable Farms (for heirloom tomatoes and vegetables) and Blue Ridge Dairy Co. (for their delectable yogurt and fresh Mozzarella).

Falls Church Farmers Market

The Falls Church Farmers Market is open year-round on Saturdays with spring/summer hours starting April 5 from 8 a.m. to noon. The market is located in the City Hall parking lot, 300 Park Ave., Falls Church.

This market features more than 50 vendors during peak season who offer locally grown produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, honey, juices, wine and more.

The Fairfax County Master Gardeners staff a booth at the market to answer any plant or gardening questions you may have.

Marymount Farmers Market

The Marymount Farmers Market season begins on May 26 and runs Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market is located at Marymount University, 2807 N. Glebe Rd., Arlington.

You’ll find some 20 vendors including A-Holes donut holes, Romanian pickled products from Count Pickula and Mechelle’s Pies. This market is a local producer-only market where purveyors only sell products they have grown themselves.

Rosslyn Farmers Market

The FRESHFARM Rosslyn Farmers Market – The Rosslyn FRESHFARM Farmers Market kicks off its second season on May 9. The market is open every Wednesday from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. through October. It is located at Central Place Plaza, 1800 N. Lynn St., Arlington. There’s easy access from the Rosslyn Metro Station.

You’ll find close to a dozen vendors offering organic produce, pasture-raised meat, cheese, baked goods, wine, flowers and more.

No time to shop? You can sign up for a weekly curated selection of farm fresh produce and pick it up during market hours.

Westover Farmers Market

The Westover Farmers Market is open on Sundays year-round but summer hours (8 a.m. to noon) begin May 5. The market is located at the Westover Library Plaza, 1644 N. McKinley Rd., Arlington, and all along the “downtown” village on N. McKinley St.

More than 30 vendors ply their wares at this local and producer-only market. So everyone who sells at the market grows, raises, bakes, cooks, or prepares everything themselves.

Besides a wide choice of vegetables, fruits, you can enjoy Dimitri Olive Farm’s olive oils from their 100-year-old farm in Greece, New Zealand-style savory pies from Kiwi Kuisine, pickles and krauts from Number One Sons, and Scott’s Brats smoked sausages.

Produce Calendar

Curious about what local fruits and vegetables are in season each month and available at these seven great Arlington farmers markets? Check out this searchable seasonal food harvest guide.

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8 Arlington Restaurants Featured During Northern Virginia Restaurant Week

8 Arlington Restaurants Featured During Northern Virginia Restaurant Week

Celebrate dining out at eight of my favorite Arlington restaurants during the fifth annual Northern Virginia Restaurant Week.

This value-priced dining experience runs from Monday, March 19, to Monday, March 26. Many restaurants in northern Virginia feature fixed priced lunches and dinners. It’s a smaller version of the big Washington Metropolitan Restaurant Week held every January and August. It’s a great way to check out Arlington restaurants. Though restaurants can get crowded during the promotion. So, make reservations, get there early and enjoy!

Northern Virginia Restaurant Week

Here are eight Arlington restaurants featured during Northern Virginia Restaurant Week:

Ambar (Clarendon), 2901 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA – Ambar specializes in Balkan comfort foods. Specials include a $22 lunch (platter, soup, dessert) and dinner featuring Ambar’s unlimited Balkan experience of unlimited small plates for $35.

BaBa (Clarendon), 2901 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA – The “speakeasy” café below Ambar has a unique ambience. The dinner special is Baba’s Trio (1 dish from each category + signature cocktail) for $35. While the lunch offer includes Baba’s basket of 1 starter, 1 entre, 1 coffee, 1 session cocktail and baklava for $22. For you late nighters, there’s usually a DJ spinning music into the night.

Gaijin Ramen Shop (Cherrydale), 3800 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA – Gaijin is the winner of Arlington Magazine’s Best Ramen 2018 and features Kyoto-style ramen, rice bowls and salads.

Grand Cru Wine Bar & Bistro (Ballston), 4301 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA – Grand Cru is a nice wine bar that focuses on French-American fare. Restaurant week specials are three courses for $35.18. This includes entrees like Pine Cone Smoked Salmon, Pan Roasted Rockfish and Roasted Beef Coulotte Steak.

Me Jana (Courthouse), 2300 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA – Me Jana is one of my go to restaurants in Arlington. Why? They have fantastic traditional Lebanese food, and you can usually find a table inside or on the patio. And, co-owner Rabih Abi-Aad is a friendly and welcoming presence.

Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company (Virginia Square), 3471 Washington Blvd., Arlington, VA – Rocklands is known for their red oak and hickory smoked chicken, baby-back ribs, brisket and pit beef. Specials include a Three Meat Sampler for $15.18 and Chopped Pork Sandwich served with two sides and fountain drink for $11.18.

Rustico Restaurant & Bar (Ballston), 4075 Wilson Blvd, Arlington – Rustico features gastro pub grub, a great craft beer selection and solid pizza. Specials include three courses for lunch (including the Brunch Burger, Rustico Burger or any pizza) for $22.18 or dinner (including Seared Salmon or any pizza) for $35.18.

Sushi-Zen (Leeway Heights), 2457 North Harrison Street, Arlington, VA – Sushi-Zen features Japanese cuisine and a full assortment of sushi. The special is a four-course sushi dinner for one for $40.18.

See all of Northern Virginia Restaurant Week’s participating restaurants. What are some of your favorite Arlington neighborhood restaurants?