After months closed during the pandemic, the Lee-Fendall House and Garden (614 Oronoco Street) in Alexandria has reopened with new tours planned to focus on women and minorities throughout the home’s history.
The house, built in 1785, is a museum dedicated to covering the history of the families that owned the home and the slaves and servants that worked there over the years. In recent years, that has meant a renewed focus on learning more about the slaves that were forced to work at the house for the Lee family.
“As we work to reopen, we are re-dedicated to telling a fuller story,” Martha Withers, Executive Director of the Lee-Fendall House said in a newsletter. “The violent deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the ensuing protests are reminders of how our nation struggles with racism and injustice born in the past and harbored in the present. We have an obligation not to ignore the racism experienced every day by African Americans and other Americans of color. We must use our knowledge of the past to shed light on these ongoing problems.”
Tours at the facility are limited to ten people or less, with all participants required to wear face masks.
“[The museum] will sanitize high-touch surfaces between each group of visitors and maintain social distancing of six feet during tours,” the museum staff said in the newsletter. “Volunteers, staff, and visitors wear masks in accordance with state regulations.”
The next tour for the house is Under the Same Roof: Enslaved and Free Servants at Lee-Fendall scheduled for Saturday, July 25. Tickets for the program are $10 and must be purchased in advance.
“As we work to broaden this story, we want to become a place where people can engage in historical understanding relevant to current issues,” Withers said. “To that end, we will continue to expand programs and exhibits that examine the lives of enslaved and free African Americans connected to our site, telling a more diverse story from the days of the early Republic through the upheavals of the 1960s.”
Photo via Lee-Fendall House
Del Ray First Thursday Porch Party Today — “The Del Ray Business Association presents First Thursday Porch Party: Red, White, and Blue from 6 p.m. to dusk on Thursday, July 2. In the spirit of Del Ray’s summer street festivals, the event features a wide range of activities that promote community while maintaining social distancing standards.” [Facebook]
Major Residential Development Breaks Ground — “About 300 residences and a large parking garage are replacing an old office building in Alexandria’s West End.” [Alexandria Living]
DASH Bus Mobile Tracker Launches — “The new mobile-friendly DASH Tracker is finally here with new features and improved information to make finding your next bus a snap! Where will you go with the new DASH Tracker?” [Facebook]
Al’s Steak House Won’t Have Indoor Seating — “As we enter Phase 3 Al’s will continue not to have indoor seating available. Our space is too small to accommodate customers dining in and customers picking up their orders.The social distancing would be non existent. We do offer two tables for outdoor seating. Al’s will continue to accept call in orders and Delivery.” [Facebook]
Rebuilding Together Alexandria Slowly Getting Back on Track — “Our team was looking for a socially-distant project to get us out of the office and back into the community. We mulched the grounds of local nonprofit, Friends of Guest House. Check out the before and after!” [Facebook]
Mason & Greens Grand Opening Moved Online — “When news about the coronavirus began to spread, the Marinos knew they would have to cancel their big grand opening event.” [Alexandria Living]
Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden Open House Saturday — “Explore the history in your own backyard with free, self-guided tours of the Lee-Fendall House on July 4th! Face masks are required and we will be limiting the number of visitors allowed in the museum at one time to allow for social distancing.” [Facebook]
Large Income Disparities in Alexandria — “White Alexandria is pulling in significantly more money than Hispanic workers and African Americans, according to numbers from the United States Census Bureau. A look at average income shows non-Hispanic whites make more than $85,000 a year. That’s more than three times the average income for Hispanic workers, $24,000, and more than twice the average income for black workers, $37,000.” [Gazette]
Water Taxi Returns to Old Town — “A face mask requirement and other safety measures are in place for the limited water taxi service.” [Patch]
Lee-Fendall House Museum & Garden Hosting Juneteenth Trivia Night — “It’s long been on our calendar to celebrate Juneteenth – marking the legal end of slavery in the United States on June 19th, 1865 – with a trivia night that explores African American culture. We hope you’ll join us on Zoom this Friday night for this special evening! Tickets are FREE, but an optional donation will be split between us, Carlyle House Historic Park, and ALIVE. Pre-registration at our Eventbrite page is required.” [Facebook]
NVTA Recommends Full Funding for Duke Street Transitway — “The Duke Street Transitway was the City of Alexandria’s only request to the NVTA and the cost is estimated at $87 million. Alexandria received $12 million already, so this funding request is for the remaining $75 million.” [Alexandria Living]
North Potomac Yard Virtual Meeting at 7 p.m. — “The Virginia Tech Foundation and JBG SMITH is hosting virtual community meetings to provide information on the design of the proposed buildings and site-wide updates.” [City of Alexandria]
Casa Chirilagua Hosting Fundraiser Sunday — “Casa Chirilagua is a local community nonprofit serving the Central American Latinx community in City of Alexandria zip code 22305 – a hot spot for COVID-19. Because of the health and economic conditions, demand for Casa Chirilagua’s services has become enormous.” [Facebook]
‘Ascend Cycle’ Hosting Virtual Pride Ride — “A $15 minimum donation is requested for this event. 100% of proceeds will be donated. Sign up for the ride online and we’ll text you the Zoom code before class!” [Facebook]
YMCA Reopens in Del Ray — “Your local YMCA at 420 East Monroe Avenue is back in business. It opened for the first time in months this past Monday, June 15, along with the Arlington location. The Y is following a phased approach to reopening so you will see differences when you visit.” [Zebra]
New Job: Assistant Center Manager — “Mathnasium is a highly dynamic and fast-paced and is known for the great care we take with our students and employees alike… We’re looking for an Assistant Center Manager to assist at both our Alexandria City and Mount Vernon centers. The pay range we’re offering is $16-$18/hour depending on center performance.” [Indeed]
Inova Hospital System Needs Blood Donations — “Starting this week, over 1,400 blood donors will be needed each week to make lifesaving donations. One blood donation can save up to three lives! Schedule your lifesaving donation with Inova Blood Donor Services online at www.inovabloodsaves.org or call 1-866-BLOODSAVES.” [Facebook]
Video: Alexandria Firefighters Thank Health Care Workers — “Station 203 members made a quick stop at Envoy of Alexandria today to thank healthcare workers.” [Facebook]
VDOT Asks Drivers to Slow Down on Interstate — “While many #stayhome and #socialdistance, there are fewer cars on our roads. That doesn’t mean safety goes out the window, though. PLEASE comply with posted speed limits. Let’s help keep each other safe #NoNeedForSpeed #SlowDown” [Twitter]
Rep. Beyer Defends Dr. Fauci Amid COVID-19 Criticism — “People in positions of power and influence trying to capitalize commercially and politically on treating Dr. Fauci like some kind of national villain as he literally works to save their lives is not a proud moment for this country.” [Twitter]
City Continues Series on Teleworking ‘Innovation’ By Citing 911 Operators — “After a successful one-month pilot, Alexandria became the first city in the United States to enable some staff to answer 911 calls from home. Rather than relying on employees’ home phone or internet connections, this remote setup uses wireless hotspots connected to a dedicated national public safety network called FirstNet. Regardless of the location, staff comply with the same strict confidentiality and quality assurance standards, and have access to the same computer-aided dispatch system that helps route public safety resources.” [City of Alexandria]
New Sheriff’s Deputy Sworn In at Alexandria Courthouse — “Congratulations and welcome to Deputy Fidelis Asonglefac who was sworn in yesterday! Deputy Asonglefac received his badge and Clerk of Circuit Court Greg Parks administered the oath of office at the courthouse.” [Facebook]
New Italian Restaurant Planned for Del Ray This Summer — “Piece Out LLC, which operates Café Pizzaiolo, St. Elmo’s and Markt2Market, is working on opening a from-scratch Italian restaurant at 2419 Mount Vernon Ave. The restaurant will initially focus on carry-out dining with plans to grow into a sit-down restaurant as the region starts to recover from the coronavirus crisis, according to owner Larry Ponzi. The restaurant will include pizza, house-made pasta and more. The company is very early in the planning process, Ponzi said, but he hopes to open the new Italian restaurant by mid-summer.” [Alexandria Living]
Alexandria Animal Hospital Now Open For All Appointments — “Whoop! We are excited to announce that we are now able to accept all appointment types. We will continue our curbside service and safety protocols to ensure the safety of our staff and clients. We’ll greet you outside and keep you informed during your pet’s visit. With safety in mind, we will continue to limit hospital traffic to associates only.” [Facebook]
Mount Vernon Community School Teacher Launches Youtube Channel — “Did you know that Mount Vernon Community School has many amazing dual language teachers? One of their music teachers, Mrs. Quesada-Sayler. has started a YouTube channel to provide more music lessons in Spanish and English. Check these out. They are awesome!” [Facebook]
Lee Fendall House Celebrates Museum Week — “Much has been said about the historic times we are living through now. Are you doing something to document them in your own way? Perhaps you are keeping a journal, taking pictures, or saving certain mementoes of life in quarantine?” [Facebook]
Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Center To Reopen Saturdays — “The City of Alexandria will reopen the Household Hazardous Waste & Electronics Center for one day a week starting on Saturday, May 16. The limited opening is intended for residents who cannot store materials at home indefinitely for reasons such as moving. Others are encouraged to store materials until normal operations resume.” [Patch]
New Job: Administrative Specialist for Salvation Army National HQ — “Bachelors degree and at least two years’ of experience required. Knowledge of general office practices and procedures, effective and efficient record-keeping and bookkeeping practices, knowledge of proofreading symbols and basic mathematics. Ability to transcribe dictation and type information into a computer. Ability to scan documents and work with same. Ability to operate various office equipment including a telephone, Dictaphone, computer, scanner and adding machine.” [Indeed]
T.C. Senior Wins $40K Scholarship — “What does it feel like to get a SURPRISE ZOOM CALL from U.S. Senator Mark Warner, Lisa Collis, and daughters Gillian, Eliza & Madison…telling you that you are the first recipient of the Collis Warner Family Scholarship worth $40,000? Just ask T.C. Williams High School Senior Foziya Mohammed! Mohammed received the call this afternoon…’I am shocked and excited! I was nervous I thought this was a call about some kind of problem with my scholarship application. I’m not nervous anymore! Thank you so much. I would tell all of the younger students at T.C. that hard work pays off!'” [Facebook]
Police Respond to Domestic Violence Service Call — “The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a weapon violation in the 1400 block of South Highview Lane. A helicopter is assisting and expect police activity in the area.” [Twitter]
Local Reporter Gets Coronavirus Test — “To my surprise, the ER wasn’t crowded and I got in fast. With the social scene dead, the emergency room would be the most interesting thing I’d do that week. I kind of like the ER. You’re waited on, there’s a lot of hustle and bustle, and you generally feel you’re safe. Although this time was slightly different. The nurse wore a hazmat suit.” [Zebra]
Hops N Shine Hosting Virtual Beer Tasting Tonight — “This will be a Zoom meeting broadcast onto Facebook live for all to see. We welcome you to join us on Zoom to chat about how things are going for breweries, cideries, and restaurants around town, or if you just want to watch you can check it out on Facebook.” [Facebook]
T.C. Seniors Make Fox 5 DC Appearance — “T.C. Williams High School seniors TJ Horton & Amiya Chisolm on Fox 5 DC with Principal Balas this morning talking about the Titan #Classof2020 documentary we’re making. Don’t miss out – record your stories this Friday, May 1!” [Facebook]
New Job Posting: Virtual Insurance Agent — “The Financial Crisis Prevention Center is seeking highly motivated Benefits Analysts to meet with federal employees about their retirement benefits, supplemental insurance, annuities, and fringe benefit discount programs. Hiring immediately part-time and full-time sales representatives. Licensed and unlicensed positions available.” [Indeed]
Carpenter’s Shelter Gets Face Mask Donation — “Thanks to Elegance By Roya Bridal – Alexandria for these beautiful masks made by their atelier and donated to the shelter for the protection of our residents. We are appreciative of your, and all of our donor support for needed items such as masks, Clorox cleaning wipes, and sanitizer.” [Facebook]
Oakville Triangle Plan Comment Deadline is Today — “As a reminder, the online feedback portal for the applicant’s second online engagement posted on April 16 will remain open through tomorrow, April 30. Please take a few minutes to view the second presentation and provide comments.” [City of Alexandria]
Del Ray Cakery Makes Flower-like Cookie Bouquets — “Mother’s Day bouquets! 3 choices DM if interested. $15 each.” [Facebook]
There’s a 500-Piece Lee Fendall House Museum Jigsaw Puzzle — “Feeling PUZZLED about how to spend your time? How about a springtime image of Lee-Fendall House? These 500-piece puzzles are $18, and all proceeds support our preservation and education work. Message us on Facebook, email [email protected]
Old Town Book Club Goes Online This Saturday — “In this captivating story of crisis and survival, Emily St. John Mandel takes readers through often hidden landscapes: campgrounds for the near-homeless, underground electronica clubs, the business of international shipping, service in luxury hotels, and life in a federal prison. Rife with unexpected beauty, The Glass Hotel is a captivating portrait of greed and guilt, love and delusion, ghosts and unintended consequences, and the infinite ways we search for meaning in our lives.” [Old Town Books]
Alexandrian Creates Haiku Contest for Sister’s 70th Birthday — “Poring over the poems was the closest they were going to get to a family reunion. They picked their three favorites and sent the entire batch to the family to enjoy.” [Washington Post]
Asthmatic Champion Sprinter Noah Lyles Cautious Amid Pandemic — “Professional athletes can seem superhuman, but some like US sprinter @LylesNoah are having to take extra precautions to protect themselves during the Covid-19 crisis.” [Twitter]
The Majestic Menu Available Only For Easter Sunday — “We’re so hoppy to be back 🐰 The Majestic is back for one day only and offering a chef curated, prix fixe Easter menu for four. To pre-order, call us today at 703.997.5300. All Easter meals must be picked up at Mia’s Italian Kitchen located just .5 miles from The Majestic.” [Facebook]
Mystery Del Ray Chalk Artist Creates Street Art — “The most timely message from earlier in March read: STAY SAFE WASH YOUR HANDS BE KIND along with the more philosophical quote: ‘Life is, at times, tough. All we need to do is to prove that we are tougher than it.'” [Zebra]
It’s Super Easy to Volunteer Making Face Masks — “Being over the age to help with the general public, I was frustrated about how I could serve during this crisis … until I saw my sewing machine in the closet. I sent a note to Volunteer Alexandria that simply said ‘I sew’ and before I knew it I had an order for masks. Using tea towels, items in my sewing basket, and patterns found online I turned my dining room into a production line. As I handed over my first batch of masks, I was thinking how today’s technology merged with an old fashioned skill will hopefully keep people safer.” -Ivy, Sewer of Masks [Facebook]
At Home in Alexandria Gets Homemade Face Masks — “Several of our wonderful members have dusted off their sewing machines and have gotten to work. Our AHA [At Home in Alexandria] members are in their 60’s, their 70’s, their 80’s and their 90’s. They are the most vulnerable among us right now, and while we have had to pause our full range of services and events momentarily, we still have volunteers shopping for groceries and delivering necessities for our members to keep them safe at home.” [Facebook]
Police Receive Face Mask Donations — “Thank you so much American Uniform Sales, Inc. for these donated cloth face coverings. The Alexandria Police Department is really grateful, and glad to add these to our uniforms.” [Twitter]
Lee-Fendall House Easter Egg Hunt Goes Virtual — “The first five people to find all of the eggs will receive a family pass to visit the museum and a Lee-Fendall chocolate bar. Both can be redeemed when the property reopens later this year.” [Alexandria Living]
Alexandria Chamber of Commerce List of Business Updates — Here’s a list of more than 100 restaurants, retail shops and other businesses in the city, including deals and hours of operation. [Chamber of Commerce]
Free Online Therapist-Led Support Group Tonight — “Join us on Sunday and Wednesday evenings from 7:00pm to 8:00pm via zoom to connect with others, share resources, and to chat about this wild rollercoaster ride of life. We will limit the group to under 10 per meeting. Please RSVP for each event. We hope to see you there!” [Facebook]
Valor Awards Postponed, No Date Set — “Please be advised, the Valor Awards will be postponed to a later date given these unprecedented times. We will be updating the event date once confirmed and alert registered attendees and sponsors directly. We look forward to honoring these exceptional individuals for their tremendous sacrifices to our community.” [Chamber of Commerce]
Alexandria Hospital Reminds Residents to Monitor Stroke Symptoms — “During these unprecedented times, we understand that there is concern about entering a hospital…If you or someone you know is experiencing a serious life threatening emergency, such as a stroke, we urge community members to call 9-1-1 and activate an emergency response team to evaluate and provide further resources.” [Facebook]
If you’ve waited until the last minute to put together your Halloween plans, here’s your guide to events around the area.
The Birchmere (3701 Mount Vernon Avenue) is planning it’s annual party called Raven’s Night on Saturday, Nov. 2. The “unique soirée” features belly dancing, live music and a pre-show carnival. This year’s theme is “Creature Feature,” an homage to classic iconic movie monsters. Tickets are $25. Doors for the show open at 5 p.m.
Other Halloween events around town include:
Tonight (Oct. 30)
- Costume Halloween Shindig in Ivy Hill Cemetery (2823 King Street): Ivy Hill Cemetery is hosting a costume party tonight at 6:30 p.m. that will include a visit to the cemetery’s vault, ghost tours, moonshine tasting and costume awards. The event is also scheduled to include a reading from Maribeth Decker, a “local intuitive animal communicator,” who will be available to check in with pets living and deceased if the attendee brings a photo of their pet. Tickets are $35 per person and include food and drink.
- The Haunting of Hill House at The Little Theater of Alexandria (600 Wolfe Street): The Little Theater of Alexandria is hosting a performance of The Haunting of Hill House, a play based on the 1959 gothic horror novel by Shirley Jackson. The plan is running every day this week starting at 8 p.m. and Wednesday (Nov. 7) through Saturday (Nov. 9).
- Halloween at Cafe 44 (44 Canal Center Plaza): Cafe 44 on the Alexandria waterfront is hosting a Halloween party tonight. The event is scheduled to include champagne, costumes, an dlive music from acoustic band Sleeper Car. Festivities are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.
Tomorrow (Oct. 31)
- Halloween Bar Crawl in Carlyle: The Carlyle Council is hosting a bar crawl across the Carlyle neighborhood. Participating restaurants include Tequila & Taco, Trademark Drink and Eat, Sweet Fire Donna’s and Whiskey & Oyster. Checking into each restaurant earns a ticket to a raffle to win a dinner at Taste of Carlyle. Those who wear costumes can get discounted drinks.
- Halloween at Sonoma Cellar (207 King Street): The Sonoma Cellar is celebrating Halloween with an all-night happy hour. All night, the restaurant will have $2 off all wine and appetizers and $1 off all beers. Cigars and mulled wine in the garden are planned after 8 p.m., with blankets and patio heaters for a cozy atmosphere.
Friday (Nov. 1)
- Grief and Ghosts at the Lee-Fendall House Museum (614 Oronoco Street): This weekend, the historic Lee-Fendall House will host a series of tours on Friday and Saturday starting at 7:30 p.m. that explore death and mysteries from the home’s history, as well as a look at Victorian mourning traditions. The event page says such customs include draping the mirrors after death, hair jewelry, and séances. Tickets are $10 and frequently sell out, so advance purchase is recommended.
- 10th Annual Columbia Firehouse Halloween Bash (109 S. Saint Asaph Street): The Columbia Firehouse is hosting it’s annual party, with trick or treating for kids and prizes for the best costume.
Photo via The Birchmere/Facebook