Alexandria, VA

Say your farewells to the traffic circle at the end of Eisenhower Avenue, because later this month work is scheduled to start on a widening and roadway improvement project that will replace it with a T-intersection.

A construction open house is scheduled for Tuesday, December 15, at 7 p.m. via Zoom.

“Join us to learn about the improvements planned for East Eisenhower Avenue and plans for mitigating impacts during construction,” the city said. “Staff will also be on hand to answer your questions.”

The project was approved earlier this year, though with some frustration from the City Council that the project was primarily moving forward because it was too expensive to cancel.

During construction, city said access to nearby businesses will be unimpeded, but traffic along Eisenhower Avenue and Holland Lane could experience slightly longer travel times.

According to the city website, planned improvements include:

  • Adding an additional left turn lane at the Eisenhower/Mill Road intersection on westbound Eisenhower Ave.
  • Upgrading the receiving lanes on Mill Road to accept the dual left turns from Eisenhower Ave.
  • Convert the traffic circle at Eisenhower and Holland to a “T” intersection from John Carlyle Street to Holland Lane.
  • Upgrading the street lighting and sidewalks on the north side between Mill Road and Elizabeth Lane, and both sides between John Carlyle Street and Holland Lane.
  • Full width resurfacing of Eisenhower Avenue between Holland Lane and Mill Road.

Photo via Google Maps, map via City of Alexandria

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A new restaurant could be coming to the west end of Carlyle

Developers are looking for  anew restaurant to fill between 1,708-9,600 rentable square feet of space in the new Shops at Carlyle Tower development along Eisenhower.

A flyer put out by the developer noted that the site could also feature outdoor seating near the busy intersection.

The corner is a prime location, located at the corner of Eisenhower Avenue and Stovall Street off the exit to I-495. The location is also directly across from the Eisenhower Metro Station — a claim that could be less prestigious if Metro plans to move forward with closing the station. The corner is also close to the National Science Foundation and the Patent and Trademark Office a little further down Eisenhower Avenue.

The corner is planned as a new Shops at Carlyle Tower rebranding of what locals know as the Hoffman Town Center. The planned restaurant is neighbored by Starbucks and a recently sold Cold Stone Creamery.

Rendering via Carlyle Tower.

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Big changes are coming to the Eisenhower corridor, with two new developments approved at the City Council meeting last Saturday that put some of the final puzzle pieces together.

One of the more visible changes will be the approved development of Block P in Carlyle — referred to by staff as the last block in Carlyle. The project was originally approved in 2007 as a pair of office towers, but the project was recently redesigned with the northern tower becoming a hotel while the southern tower would be residential.

Changes included a slight increase in height to the project and an increase to the total square footage permitted for Block P.

The proposal was unanimously approved and praised as locationally appropriate for the growing Carlyle neighborhood.

“This is a really tall building, which is what we always envisioned for Eisenhower Avenue,” said Councilwoman Del Pepper. “We do not want buildings of this size in historic Alexandria or some other places, but here in Eisenhower Valley it’s most important. I always like to think about people who are driving east or west on the highway there that they are looking over that will see that Alexandria is on the move… that we’re happening.”

The City Council also approved a new addition to the Victory Center lot — the first of several changes ahead for the large lot. The new building will be a one-story retail development in the southwest corner of the lot. The location would include outdoor seating and a drive-thru window.

The proposal was unanimously approved with little discussion.

Images via City of Alexandria

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As the first-ever Old Town Oyster Week draws to a close in Alexandria, an oyster eating contest with Del Ray and Old Town business owners resulted in a tie.

Bill Blackburn, of Pork Barrel BBQ in Del Ray and Trae Lamond of Chadwicks in Old Town tied by both eating 103 sea stone oysters in the Pearl of Alexandria Oyster Eating Contest held at Whiskey & Oyster on Thursday, October 15. The competition ended when the restaurant ran out of oysters.

“It’s the best day of my life,” Lamond said during the competition. “I’m loving it.”

Competition between Blackburn and Lamond is fierce, as both respectively captain the Del Ray and Old Town Restaurant softball teams. Del Ray won the first softball game in 2018, followed by Old Town last year, but this year’s game was called off due to the pandemic.

The contest was live streamed by The Zebra, and ALXnow’s James Cullum was the emcee.

103 oysters apiece. Nice work Bill Blackburn and Trae Lamond in eating all the oysters at Whiskey & Oyster. No winner of…

Posted by James Cullum on Thursday, October 15, 2020

“Be sure that next year… this competition will be expanded in some way to include more restaurants, more restaurateurs and more charities,” Blackburn said.

“I could have easily eaten 30 more,” Lamond said after the end of the contest.

“I could have eaten 100 more,” Blackburn countered.

Both contestants now have to pay $5 per oyster eaten to the others’ charity of choice. Blackburn chose Casa Chirilagua in Arlandria and Lamond chose Children’s National Hospital.

A dozen restaurants participated in Oyster Week, which ran from October 12-17. The event was created by the Old Town Business Association and Guinness Beer.

Photo and Video via Taylor Brown

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There are few sweeter traditions in Old town than trick-or-treating on Halloween night, but this year’s celebration will undoubtedly be unlike any other.

The pandemic has threatened the health and safety of residents, which has us wondering: Are you going to hand out Halloween candy this year?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list traditional trick-or treating as a “higher risk” activity, along with having a haunted house. The CDC recommends virtual costume contests, home and pumpkin decorating and maybe having a Halloween-themed movie night instead.

Incidentally, the Carlyle House in Old Town will be handing out candy in individual bags. Check out all that is available in the city for Halloween Night on Visit Alexandria’s website.

Feel free to expand on your thoughts in the comments section.

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Morning Notes

Kamala Harris’ Husband Douglas Emhoff Ecourages Voters in Alexandria — “Excited to welcome @DouglasEmhoff to Alexandria as he works to encourage voters to turn out and make his wife our next Vice President!34K+ ballots have been mailed.Nearly 8K in-person early voters….and we are just getting started!” [Twitter]

Councilman Chapman Takes Tour of Potomac Yard Metro Station Construction –“Some pictures from my tour this morning of the construction site of the Potomac Yard Metro!” [Facebook]

Art on the Avenue Goes Virtual This Weekend — “Happy October! While this year’s festival is different, we’re still working overtime to support local artists and maintain the creativity and spirit of this community festival that we all love. Our 25th anniversary festival kicks off online Saturday at artontheavenue.org!” [Facebook]

Casa Chirilagua Chosen for Pandemic Street Design Grant — “Very grateful for Casa Chirilagua to have been selected!” [Facebook]

Carlyle Council Showing ‘Jumanji’ Saturday Night — “Join us this weekend for our Saturday Cinema Series showing of Jumanji: The Next Level! Grab a movie bag special from Sweet Fire Donna’s, bring a chair or a blanket and enjoy the film!” [Facebook]

Michael’s Little Italy Calls For Unity Through Italian Food — “Maybe we’re all from different families, countries, political parties. But that doesn’t matter at Sunday dinner. As we approach this weekend, I have an idea: come together folks. We have pizza, pasta, wine, and each other. That is really all we need.” [Facebook]

Sheriff Reads Kids’ Story Online — “Sheriff Dana Lawhorne shares a new book with a very important message — Speak Up! When something really matters, one voice can indeed make a difference.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Some clouds in the morning will give way to mainly sunny skies for the afternoon. High 68F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Clear (in the evening). Low 47F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Fitness Operations Manager — “The Operations Managers are dedicated to making the fitness experience at our clubs an exceptional one. They create a clean, fun and friendly environment by training and motivating their staff. They also generate revenue, keep a clean and well maintained club, all while providing great customer service.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Beyer Says Trump Should Not Reject Strict FDA Guidelines for COVID Vaccines — “Political interference with vaccine development and an open feud with FDA can only further damage the public’s already growing safety concerns. Once again, lives may depend on Trump shutting his mouth and letting scientists do their jobs.” [Twitter]

Pizzeria Paradiso Closing in Old Town — “Like many restaurants in Old Town, Pizzeria Paradiso closed when the coronavirus pandemic reached Alexandria. Unfortunately, the beloved pizza restaurant will not be reopening, the owner announced this week.” [Alexandria Living]

Carlyle Farmers’ Market Today from 3-7 P.M. — “Free to the Public; Produce, Meats, Food, and Beverage sales are welcomed. What to Bring? Face Mask and your Social Distancing Etiquette.” [Facebook]

Lee-Fendall House Hosting Virtual Speakeasy Fundraiser — “Enjoy a night of speakeasy-style fun , without leaving your living room! Join us for this special night to support the Lee-Fendall House Museum’s vital work in historic preservation and education – one where you can keep on dancing, break out the booze, and have a ball.” [Visit Alexandria]

Alexandria Sheriff’s Deputy Reads ‘Lost And Found’ — “Chief Deputy Candra Callicott offers her encouragement to young students and the sweet story “Lost and Found” about a boy and a penguin.” [Facebook]

Alexandria Country Day School Hosting Virtual Open House — “ACDS’s small-size and ability to adapt quickly allowed us to open in September with in-person learning under a hybrid model. Join our Head of School, Division Heads, current parents and middle school students to learn more about our student-centered program.” [Patch]

Free Drive-Thru Flu Shot Clinic on Saturday — “This clinic will be open to adults and adolescents age 12 and over, with a maximum of four people per vehicle.” [City of Alexandria]

Today’s Weather — “Overcast (during the day). High 74F. Winds SSW at 5 to 10 mph.Rain showers in the evening will evolve into a more steady rain overnight. Low 63F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 70%.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Alexandria Assistant City Manager for Public Private Partnerships — “As a member of the City Manager’s Senior Leadership Team, the Assistant City Manager for Public Private Partnerships reports to the City Manager and a Deputy City Manager and is responsible for leading the overall public private partnership (P3) initiatives for the City primarily via capital project planning and financing, leveraging of City assets and resources to implement City infrastructure and facilities, economic development related public sector and private sector projects, as well as facilitating the development and implementation of alternative service delivery strategies.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Beyer: We Must Protect the U.S. Postal Service —  “I have been in touch with local postal officials, who express their commitment to ensuring the timely delivery and return of all ballots. This could be an issue in many parts of the country, however, and I will be working with my colleagues to exercise constant vigilance and ensure that elections are fair and safe. My Northern Virginia colleague, U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, serves as the chair of the Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations, and with his tireless leadership the House will do all it can to fix these problems and restore operations and service at USPS.” [Gazette]

Three City Parks Scheduled for Improvements — “Projects at or near Powhatan, Hooffs Run, and Brenman Parks to occur over next two months.” [Zebra]

City Holding Virtual 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony Online — “Alexandria’s ceremony is prerecorded and virtual to avoid a large gathering during the pandemic. It will include remarks from Mayor Justin Wilson, City Manager Mark Jinks, and representatives from the Alexandria Fire Department, Police Department, and Sheriff’s Office. There will also be a “Return to Quarters” bell-ringing ceremony.” [Patch]

Alexandria Wedding Showcase Goes Virtual — “Tune in virtually on Sunday, Sept. 13 to hear from a variety of vendors on trends, wedding industry changes, and what you need to know while planning your wedding during a pandemic.” [Alexandria Living]

Carlyle Concert Series Starts Friday — “Enjoy the Carlyle Farmers Market while you attend the Concert! Alcohol is available for purchase at select vendor stands and bar as well BYOB-Bring Your Own Beverage will be observed in designated area.” [Facebook]

Harvest Moon Yoga Tonight in Del Ray — “Shine on Harvest Moon! Free outdoor yoga in Del Ray returns every Wed. Sept. 9 – Oct. 14, 6:00 – 7:00 pm at the Del Ray Psych & Wellness lot, 1900 Mt. Vernon Avenue (Corner of E. Bellefonte) in the Heart of Del Ray.” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Cloudy early. Scattered thunderstorms developing later in the day. High 81F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 50%. Scattered thunderstorms in the evening, then mainly cloudy overnight with thunderstorms likely. Heavy and torrential downpours at times. Low 72F. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 80%.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Dog Walker and Pet Sitter — “Are you a veterinary technician who has been pet-sitting under the table to supplement your income? Have you worried about your lack of insurance or back-up plan if you got sick? If so, then joining Cat Nanny Jess might be the answer to all your worries!” [Indeed]

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In years past, the Alexandria Old Town Art Festival has packed King Street full of art vendors. This year, that changes with a new venue to allow for some extra pandemic precautions.

The Old Town festival will be moving a little west to 300 John Carlyle Street in the Carlyle neighborhood on Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13.

The festival will run from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on both days.

“Carlyle is a mixed-use community within the Eisenhower East area of Alexandria and includes high-rise residential complexes, hotels and retail establishments,” the festival organizers said on the website. “The strong support we receive from the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Bureau contributes to the local crowd, and that support continues to its new location. All artwork is juried, which provides a higher level of quality, diversity and creativity of art on display, exemplifying the gifted artists in regions from all over the country.”

Art Festival is coming soon to John Carlyle Square Park! Mark your calendars for September 12th and 13th! Admission is free, masks are required. Stay tuned for more details as we get closer to the event dates.

Posted by Carlyle Council on Thursday, August 27, 2020

The porous movement in and out of the King Street festival that defined it in the past has also been replaced by the necessity of reserved time slots. Visitors will be required to reserve a time slot online to limit the number of attendees. Entrances and exits will also be monitored for one-way traffic, the site said.

According to the website, other pandemic restrictions include

• All attendees are asked to wear a mask upon entering the Festival, with the exception of children aged 2 and under.
• Social distancing is required between artists and patrons, and patron groups.
• Patrons are asked to stay home if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, awaiting test results for COVID-19, or show any symptoms of the virus.
• Guests are also asked to utilize hand-washing and sanitizing stations on a regular basis and avoid casual touching.

A list of exhibiting artists is available online, including painters, jewelers, and mixed-media artists.

Photo via Howard Alan Events/Facebook

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Morning Notes

(Updated 8/7) Upcoming Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend Canceled — “The coronavirus has canceled one of Alexandria’s most beloved traditions this winter.” [Alexandria Living]

Beyer Blames Trump for Coronavirus Response Failures — “The White House is simultaneously blaming state governments for Trump’s failed pandemic response and blocking federal assistance to support state and local governments.” [Twitter]

Fire Department: Use Flashlight, Not Candle if Power Goes Out — “Tropical Storm #Isaias is expected to bring heavy rain and wind gusts that may cause power outages. If you experience an outage, use a flashlight for emergency lighting instead of candles to prevent a possible fire. Be prepared. Be informed. Be ready.” [Twitter]

City Suspends Trash and Recycling Today — “Due to expected impacts from Tropical Storm Isaias, the City of Alexandria has suspended its curbside trash and recycling collection for Tuesday, August 4.” [Zebra]

Ebbin Pledges to Fight for Marijuana Legalization in 2021 — “In 2020, six years of hard work paid off in major reform to our criminal justice system by decriminalizing possession of marijuana. In 2021, I’m ready to do the hard work to legalize cannabis in Virginia the right way.” [Facebook]

Silver Diner to Open August 12 — “The 6,500-square foot restaurant is part of West Alex, a new $185 million mixed-use community at the corner of King and North Beauregard streets, anchored by an in-the-works Harris Teeter grocery store and Array, a 278-unit apartment building.” [Alexandria Living]

New Farmers Market in Carlyle Starts Friday — “The Carlyle Vitality Initiative is hosting a new Farmer’s Market at John Carlyle Square Park, starting on August 7th! We can’t wait to see you this weekend!” [Facebook]

Today’s Weather — “Thunderstorms. Potential for heavy rainfall. Low 71F. Winds SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 100%.” [Weather.com]

New Job: Activities and Volunteer Coordinator — “At Sunrise, our Activities & Volunteer Coordinator is responsible for leading the day to day activities and programs for a Sunrise Senior Living community.” [Indeed]

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