A nonprofit with ties to Arlington is offering free outdoor hiking and camping adventures for D.C.-area teens and tweens grieving the loss of a loved one.
Hope for Grieving Families is partnering with the educational nonprofit Outward Bound to send up to 30 tweens and teens on a one-day ropes course adventure and a group of eight to 10 high schoolers on a seven-day expedition in the Appalachian Mountains.
The deadline to apply for both programs is next Friday, May 19.
The program does not aim to provide counseling, but rather, an opportunity for teens to befriend feeling similar emotions.
“The friendships that have blossomed between these teens are so amazing,” Tara O’Brien, the executive director of Hope for Grieving Families, tells ARLnow. “It makes you feel like you’re doing something that means something, that is still impacting these families’ lives.”
In a press release, the nonprofit said one in 13 children will lose a parent by the time they are 18 and one in five will lose someone close to them by 18 — and that these children will experience grief differently than adults.
“For kids who have faced the immensely painful loss of a parent, sibling, or other loved one, the chance to connect with each other out in nature is an unforgettable, healing experience,” O’Brien said in a statement.
“Our participants learn from our guides and from one another, building resilience and self-advocacy skills,” she continued. “Most of all, these trips are an opportunity for grieving children to just experience some fun again, alongside other kids who are going through the same journeys of loss and healing.”
Jason Alford, of Outward Bound, says research shows most children who have experienced loss benefit from peer-to-peer support.
“Children can experience comfort from having others who understand grief and loss. Without a peer support group, children can feel anxious, isolated and overwhelmed,” he said in a statement. “Our expedition program with Outward Bound was designed with these evidence-based insights in mind.”
Hope For Grieving Families says it is the D.C. area’s only organization providing “family-focused grief programming” aimed at giving people new, positive memories and experiences after a loss.
Its founder, Becky Wagner, lives in Arlington and the nonprofit serves many from North Arlington and Northern Virginia more broadly, O’Brien said.
Clients come to the organization for a range of reasons, O’Brien tells ARLnow. Many have lost someone to suicide or a car accident, while for others, family members died after a bout with cancer.
“The thing that bonds them all is that they all understand they’re going through a grieving process,” she said. “They might not talk about the grief but they all understand what they’re going through.”
The nonprofit focuses on creating fun experiences for teens processing their grief. O’Brien says it is sensitive to current events that may trigger that grief, such as a recent shooting at a mall in Allen, Texas.
Summer movie nights are coming back to Penrose Square and Arlington Mill for a 12th year.
Columbia Pike Movie Nights is a free outdoor summer movie series taking place on Friday nights at the Arlington Mill Community Center Outdoor Plaza (909 S. Dinwiddie Street) and Saturday nights at Penrose Square Outdoor Plaza (2503 9th Road S.).
It’s scheduled to begin July 7 and run for 8 weeks through August 26. The movies will begin at sunset, generally between 8 and 8:30 p.m.
The series is organized by the Columbia Pike Partnership. It returned to the outdoor plazas last year after being drive-in only in 2020 and 2021.
Movies set to be shown are a mix of old and new classics intended to be relatively family-friendly, including Back to the Future, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Top Gun: Maverick, and Till.
The full schedule for each location is below:
- July 7 — Spirit Untamed
- July 14 — Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
- July 21 — Dog
- July 28 — Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank
- August 4 — Lady and the Tramp
- August 11 — Raiders of the Lost Ark
- August 18 — Lightyear
- August 25 — The Goonies
- July 8 — Cave Rescue
- July 15 — Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope
- July 22 — Back to the Future
- July 29 — A Man Called Otto
- August 5 — Till
- August 12 — Top Gun: Maverick
- August 19 — The Woman King
- August 26 — Jurassic World Dominion
The movies will be shown in English with Spanish subtitles. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own blankets and chairs. Leashed pets are welcome, organizers note, and alcohol is not permitted at either site.
Free parking will be available, though bus and bike travel is encouraged. There will be restroom access inside of Arlington Mill Community Center and at the businesses around Penrose Square.
In case of inclement weather, check the event’s webpage and social media channels for updates. Information will be “typically posted at 3:30 p.m. on the day of each screening.”
The end of August today means the end of summer and start of fall is upon us.
With the season change coming, we have compiled 14 fall events coming up in Arlington and around Northern Virginia.
1. Corn Maze and Apple Harvest (Sept. 1-30)
Great Country Farms (34345 Snickersville Turnpike, Bluemont)
September may mean back to school for many, but at Great Country, it means back to the farm for freshly pressed cider and apple picking. Celebrate everything apple with apple picking, their award-winning apple cider doughnuts, and a romp in their 12-acre play area. On Saturdays and Sundays, they add live music, marshmallow roasting, pig races, and cider demonstrations.
2. Bands, Brews, and Barbecue Festival (11 a.m-5 p.m. on Sept. 10)
Manassas Museum Lawn (9101 Prince William St., Manassas)
Historic downtown Manassas will hold its 11th Annual Bands, Brews, and Barbecue Festival, complete with a chance to ride a mechanical bull and try your hand at some ax throwing. Put those tossing skills to work and participate in a fun corn hole competition with a chance to win a trophy. Of course, there will be plenty of food and drinks, with live bands playing throughout the event.
3. Rosslyn Jazz Fest 2022 (1-7 p.m. on Sept. 10)
Gateway Park (1300 Langston Blvd, Arlington)
Jazz is back in Rosslyn. Beginning at 1 p.m., Rosslyn is bringing a diverse lineup of four acts to the stage: Cimafunk, Mwenso & The Shakes, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, and Groove Orchestra. Jazz Fest is FREE, and registration is not required but strongly encouraged (capacity limits are in place).
4. Dulles Day Plane Pull (11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sept. 17)
Dulles International Airport (1 Saarinen Circle, Dulles)
The Dulles Day Festival & Plane Pull (presented by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and United Airlines) is back on the ropes on September 17 at Dulles Airport. There will be a wide variety of food options available, as well as to further support Special Olympics Virginia.
5. Green Valley Day (noon-6 p.m. on Sept. 17)
Drew Elementary and John Robinson Jr. Town Square (2406 Shirlington Rd., Arlington)
“It’s a new day, in Green Valley!” The Green Valley Civic Association will be hosting Green Valley Day fun for the entire family. It will feature a community talent showcase, games and activities, live music, food, and much more.
Rosslyn movie nights are returning to Gateway Park this summer, with a selection of voted-on fan favorites.
The Rosslyn Business Improvement District (BID) is once again hosting a series of movie nights in June at Gateway Park (1300 Langston Blvd).
This year’s line-up includes the following films, which all emerged victorious through a March Madness-style bracket:
- National Treasure
- Space Jam
- Mamma Mia
This year, residents were given the opportunity to not only vote on what movies were shown, but predict what the winners would be — much like the annual tradition of submitting a bracket predicting which team will win the college basketball championship. The three most accurate brackets win a gift card to a Rosslyn restaurant.
The bracket was broken up into four categories — family, sports, romantic comedies, and D.C. area-based — with National Treasure, Space Jam, Encanto, and Mamma Mia winning its respective group.
While voting on which movies will be shown in June concluded yesterday (Thursday), residents can still vote on which will be the ultimate winner.
Championship Round of March Madness: #RosslynCinema!
You have 24 hours to vote. Vote on our Instagram Stories at https://t.co/zy4Aw58wRf! Full details on how we're picking this summer's movie lineup: https://t.co/WTYCPgAazr
— Rosslyn, Virginia (@RosslynVA) March 31, 2022
Exact dates of when each movie will be shown have not been announced yet.
Rosslyn’s movie series at Gateway Park dates back at least a decade, to 2012. After taking a year off due to the pandemic, the series returned in 2021 with an abbreviated version.
Rosslyn BID is not the only community organization that will be hosting outdoor movies this summer.
The Columbia Pike Partnership’s movie nights are also set to return for their 12th year on Saturday nights starting in July, the organization has confirmed to ARLnow. The series will run July 9 through August 27 while alternating locations between Penrose Square and Arlington Mill Community Center. The calendar of movies will be announced later this spring.
In the past, the National Landing BID and Ballston BID have also both hosted summer movie nights. Ballston BID told ARLnow that they will not be hosting movies this summer, while the National Landing BID said they don’t have details to share as of yet.
The pandemic has moved office work to the home. As at least some of that work moves back to office buildings, the next frontier might be outdoors.
In Arlington, a recently-renovated 1980s office building in Courthouse offers a glimpse of a greener office future, with a year-round outdoor working space.
The new 16,000-square foot landscaped outdoor plaza at 2000 15th Street N. — the centerpiece of a $11 million renovation project — is the largest outdoor plaza of any office building in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, according to American Real Estate Partners (AREP).
“The renovated plaza, wired for connectivity, extends the office to the outdoors, offering all-season, year-round use as a work and meeting space, and provides a spectacular backdrop to the indoor conference and amenity spaces, creating an urban oasis,” said Paul Schulman, AREP’s Principal and Chief Operating Officer.
The group says the renovation will help tenants coax employees back to the office with new experiences and stronger health features, such as air filters and purifiers. Experts say such projects are the latest examples of how incorporating natural elements into built environments can improve employees’ health while promoting environmental stewardship.
COVID-19 has altered many people’s work and personal habits, and these changes are likely to stick around, according to a Post-Schar poll released this summer. Three-quarters of respondents said they’ll spend more time outside, two-thirds said they’d wear comfortable clothing more often, and nearly 70% said they’d wear a mask when sick.
People and offices are adapting to these behavioral changes, in part, by working outdoors — or by bringing elements of the outdoors inside — and focusing on wellness measures.
During the pandemic, experimental outdoor work spaces popped up in Crystal City and in Rosslyn’s Gateway Park.
Meanwhile, new office projects here boast natural elements — such as Amazon HQ2’s water- and mountain-inspired “Helix” building — and wellness, such as Skanska’s new office project near Quincy Park, which has been recognized for its focus on health and well-being.
The seeds for natural, “biophilic” design elements were planted decades ago, says Dr. Gregory Unruh, an expert on sustainable business strategy in George Mason University’s School of Integrative Studies. It took a pandemic and the right technology to get people to rethink their work environments and to see nature integrated into offices.
“There’s something about us having a connection with the world,” he said. “Before the conversation around ‘biophilia’ existed, there was scientific research that suggested if you give people windows with a view of nature, they tend to be more productive, happier and less sick.”
Other research demonstrated that, without outdoor air circulating in and with the synthetic materials in carpets, paints and cleaning supplies, indoor office spaces had poorer air quality than the outdoors, despite the gas-burning cars and other pollution sources outside.
COVID-19 connected these issues, Unruh says. Building owners outfitted indoor spaces with machines that regularly bring outdoor air inside while people spent more time outdoors.
Although employees and employers realized that remote work could be as productive as in-person work, they still recognized the need for interpersonal collaboration — a need he says the rise of outdoor working spaces will meet.
“These collaborative outdoor spaces are going to play a role,” Unruh said. “These initial experiments we see in Arlington are very encouraging, and I think they enhance the working life and community life of people.”
Integrating nature into workplaces could encourage environmental stewardship among more people, says Elenor Hodges, the Executive Director of EcoAction Arlington.
The biophilic elements at 2000 15th Street N. and other under-construction projects support the environment in addition to workers, she says. Additional trees improve stormwater management and green roofs keep the county cooler.
Particularly in urban areas, she said, strengthening one’s connection to nature is important for encouraging sustainable habits.
“People need to see nature in order to understand the importance of stewarding it,” she said.
She notes that the county-level conversations about biophilic design, still in their infancy, are pandemic-driven.
“We’ve seen at County Board meeting people raising these questions [about biophilia],” she said. “I don’t think that would have happened before the pandemic.”
(updated at 1:10 p.m.) Gateway Park in Rosslyn will be transformed into a concert venue for three musical performances this month.
Rosslyn LIVE!, a new neighborhood event hosted by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, will feature Broadway, pop and drag performances. The D.C.-based American Pops Orchestra will play all concerts alongside different featured performers every Thursday night this month outdoors at the 1300 Lee Highway park.
For the first concert, Broadway performers Mary Michael Patterson and Vishal Vaidya will sing show tunes, accompanied by the orchestra. The show will be next Thursday. Tickets are available now online.
The following Thursday, July 22, the orchestra will accompany singers Rayshun LaMarr, Hilary Morrow and Kevin Rose, who will be performing ’90s music. Tickets went on sale yesterday (Tuesday).
The last concert will be a drag performance on Thursday, July 29 with tickets available next Tuesday (July 13). The BID has yet to decide who the featured performers will be for this show.
Gateway Park will open each Thursday for concert-goers at 6:30 p.m. and performances will begin at 8 p.m.
Wine, beer and sangria will be available for purchase at $6 a glass. Kona Ice trucks will also be at the event to pick up frozen treats from, said a spokeswoman for the Rosslyn BID.
General admission standing room tickets cost $5. For $20, concert-goers can purchase a bundle that includes a spot on the lawn and a picnic blanket for two people. $20 can also buy a balcony seat.
A portion of ticket sales will be donated to the high school choir programs at Arlington Public Schools, according to the event page. Some of the proceeds will also go towards improvements at Gateway Park.
A pop-up outdoor office is returning to Gateway Park this spring.
The Rosslyn Business Improvement District is bringing back its Outdoor Office, or O2, which the BID set up for the first time last October as a pandemic-era neighborhood amenity.
O2 is scheduled to open next Tuesday, April 13 and will remain active through June 11.
More than 20 socially-distanced workstations are being set up in the outdoor office this season as a part of “Rosslyn Refresh,” a campaign by the BID to get people outdoors and enjoying spring safely. The space is equipped with power outlets, free Wi-Fi, easels, whiteboards and other office essentials.
“The free office space offers an inspiring atmosphere for employees looking to come back to the neighborhood or anyone in the DMV area needing a break from their home office routine,” the BID said in a press release. “O2 has everything you need to work safely outdoors and get back to blue-sky thinking.”
Closer to the outdoor office’s opening day, users will be able to reserve 90-minute blocks in advance online and can reserve consecutive time blocks if they would like to stay longer. O2 will also accept walk-ins if space is available and will provide blankets for people to sit on the grass if no slots are available.
Rosslyn Ambassadors, who keep Rosslyn’s streets clean and provide information, will sanitize the used stations between guests, according to a video (below).
O2 will initially be open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Beginning on May 1, it will also be open on Fridays.
Photo courtesy Rosslyn BID
Gov. Ralph Northam announced today that he is easing some public health restrictions, including the 10 p.m. curfew on alcohol sales.
Effective March 1, Virginians will be able to buy and drink alcohol at restaurants, food courts, breweries, distilleries and wineries until they are required to close at midnight.
The changes to the current executive order come amid declining rates of hospitalizations and infections and rising vaccination rates in the Commonwealth, Northam said during a press conference this morning (Wednesday).
Northam is also easing restrictions for outdoor entertainment and social gatherings, where evidence shows the risk of airborne transmission of COVID-19 is lower, as well as allowing overnight summer camps to open “with strict mitigation measures in place.”
“Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of all Virginians, hospitalization and positivity rates across the Commonwealth are the lowest they have been in nearly three months,” Northam said in a press release. “As key health metrics show encouraging trends and we continue to ramp up our vaccination efforts, we can begin to gradually resume certain recreational activities and further reopen sectors of our economy.”
He attributed the rise in cases over the winter to cold weather and the holidays.
In Arlington, the rate of new coronavirus cases dropped from a peak of around 850 cases per week since mid-January, but has since leveled off between 250-300 cases per week. Cases have similarly dropped nationwide, but that drop has been leveling off.
Meanwhile, Virginia’s Safer at Home strategy — and its accompanying requirements for physical distancing, mask-wearing, gathering limits and business capacity restrictions — will remain in place.
“Even as we take steps to safely ease public health guidelines, we must all remain vigilant so we can maintain our progress — the more we stay home, mask up, and practice social distancing, the more lives we will save from this dangerous virus,” Northam said.
The current modified Stay at Home order will expire on Sunday.
Several Arlington restaurants have told ARLnow that they were waiting on a decision about the Stay at Home order before making plans for March, a month that includes St. Patrick’s Day, March Madness basketball and other events that are traditional draws for local bars.
The full press release from the governor’s office is below.
(Updated at 9:25 a.m.) In addition to the official woodlands paths and trails through Arlington parks, a visitor is likely to find countless other well-worn paths that criss-cross the park built from decades of use.
As Arlingtonians venture into nature for a social-distanced outdoors experience, a local group is hoping to legalize the natural trails and make them sustainable.
An over 200-member Facebook page called Arlington Trails advocates for preserving and sustaining natural trails across Arlington — particularly for local mountain bikers.
“Arlington County is the only area that doesn’t allow mountain biking,” said Matthew Levine, who runs Arlington Trails. “It’s a great way of getting kids into nature. Right now, a lot of people need to be outside.”
Susan Kalish, a spokeswoman for the parks department, verified that natural trail use is restricted to walking humans and dogs on leashes, due to the damage caused by bicycles.
“Bikes are not allowed on a natural trail in Arlington,” Kalish said. “Wheels on trails compact the ground and have a greater impact on the flora and fauna that make up our natural trails. Wheeled transport on natural trails compacts the soil and can destroy plants and damage tree roots. Compacted soils and less vegetation lead to water runoff and degradation of our streams. There are also safety issues as these trails are narrow and the walkers and bikers can’t easily step to the side without harming more vegetation and possibly themselves on steep embankments.”
Kalish said those trails have been damaged in recent months by irresponsible users.
“We find rogue, bushwhacked trails where trees have been cut down and plants pulled out,” Kalish said. “We’ve also found places where bikers have built ramps, jumps and holes.”
For Levine, the recent damage shows that cyclists are still using these trails despite local ordinance, and legalizing that use while providing less destructive options for use.
“Part of it is making these trails legal, otherwise there are rogue trails being built with thrillseekers going straight down,” Levine said. “If they’re not sanctioned and following protocol — that’s why you have kids in the woods building jumps.”
Nora Palmatier, an Arlington resident and a member of Tree Stewards of Arlington and Alexandria, said that the trails through the parks are currently unsafe for mountain biking.
“It is too dangerous for off-road biking in small parks,” Palmatier said. “Several of us have been hit getting off trails by speeding bikes. I discovered 13 holly saplings 6-10 feet tall chopped down for bike trails which is just wrong in Lacey Woods. I love to bike ride but not where it destroys wildflowers and trees or where it is too dangerous.”
Currently, many of those trails are desire paths — reflecting the most direct routes park users take from one place to another. Levine said those paths aren’t made with concerns about erosion and other issues in mind, which is why Levine and local organization Mid Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE) work to adapt those trails into sustainable paths. Emails Levine provided of his offers to do so in Arlington show park managers rebuffing those efforts.
After months of uncertainty, the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization announced that the group’s annual summer movie series would be converted into a new drive-in theater format.
“On Saturday nights throughout July and August, CPRO will be showing blockbuster hits on the big screen at the Arlington Career Center parking lot (816 S. Walter Reed Drive),” the organization said in a press release.
The movies are scheduled to start at sunset, sometime between 8-8:30 p.m.
The event will remain free and open to the public, but with limited space, participants will have to register in advance. Attendees will also be asked to remain in their vehicles during the movie. Public restrooms will not be available.
An area will be set aside for households without vehicles, which CPRO said can be identified on the registration form.
The lineup (below) is a fusion of the earlier schedule for movie nights at Arlington Mill and Penrose Square, now that the only screenings will be at the Career Center.
- July 11: Jurassic Park
- July 18: The Secret Life of Bees
- July 25: Twister
- August 1: Crazy Rich Asians
- August 8: Apollo 13
- August 15: Ready Player One
- August 22: Coco
- August 29: Mary Poppins Returns
“2020 marks the 10th anniversary of the Columbia Pike Movie Nights and we had already hosted several rounds of voting to let the people pick this year’s line-up, so we were really eager to find a way to host the event safely,” CPRO Program Director Stephen Gregory Smith said in a press release. “So we worked with [Arlington Public Schools], libraries, and county staff to secure the Arlington Career Center parking lot and come up with a plan to allow everyone to still enjoy their favorite movies together — while still apart — this summer.”
Photo via CPRO
Wawa Planning 40 New N. Va. Stores — “Wawa Inc. has big plans for the Northern Virginia. Upon breaking ground on its latest project in Vienna Tuesday, the Pennsylvania-based convenience store chain officially unveiled its expansion plan for the area, which includes 40 new Northern Virginia stores in the next 15 years totaling $240 million.” [Washington Business Journal]
National Honors for Arlington Traditional School — “Arlington Traditional School is one of nine Virginia schools, and 362 across the nation, to be named 2019 National Blue Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education. It is the third time since 2006 the school – known as ATS – has received the national honor.” [InsideNova]
Census Is Important for Emergency Management — “The Census provides emergency managers and public safety officials with critical information to better prepare for and respond to emergencies and disasters in Arlington County. Data from the Census provides us with key demographic, socioeconomic and housing data that form the basis of Census Bureau tools we use in emergency management.” [Arlington County]
Outdoor Lab Ready for Another School Year — “The Arlington Outdoor Lab starts the school year with a host of initiatives, as well as a new incoming director. Michele Karnbach, who previously served as a resource assistant at the facility, has been tapped as its next director. Karnbach most recently was a science teacher in Prince William County’s school system.” [InsideNova]