I had low expectations of the inside operation, but was pleasantly surprised.
This is one of the few drive-through coffee places in the area, but by the looks of the long line outside, there will be more.
And our treat for you today includes an homage to automobiles, Deep Purple’s killer song -- Highway Star.
Dear Book Lovers,
Some great news to share with you today. The date, time and place have been set for the Alexandria Book Fair.
Over 30 authors have signed up. More details to follow. We are putting together at least one panel on self-publishing.
Until we receive the official commitments, I can’t provide the list of authors. I can tell you, however, we are so very thrilled to have a great response from the authors, and that we have a diversity of topics.
There’s not a dedicated site on the web, but the Beatley Branch website will be our platform for info.
Fingers crossed this event becomes an annual affair. For now, we are endeavoring to make the first one a good one.
So spread the word. Alexandria is having a book fair!!
About Beatley Library (Source: Library Thing)
Designed by Pierce Goodwin Alexander & Linville in association with Michael Graves, Architect, the Beatley Central Library, named for Charles E. Beatley, Jr., Mayor of Alexandria from 1967 to 1976 and 1979 to 1985, opened on January 31, 2000.
Its unique roofline, comprised of multiple peaks, provides a striking landmark for Alexandria’s West End neighborhood. Since opening its doors, it has become a hub of communal activity.
In addition to housing a large collection of print resources and audio-visual materials, the library hosts a variety of cultural and educational programs for all ages.
Its spacious interior includes meeting and conference room facilities, public Internet stations, free wireless service and areas for quiet study or group interaction. With book or tablet in hand, patrons are also encouraged to enjoy the library’s outdoor reading garden.
As we and others have noted (Black History Month, Womens History Month), our embraces of peoples should not be confined to any one particular time frame. On the other hand, it is important to set aside time and sharpen the focus. Such is the case with May, which is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
We’ve been pleased to see a variety of initiatives, programs and events.
On Friday, Metro Connection looked at Korean-Americans in Fairfax County. If you’ve ever sought out authentic Asian foods, you’ve hopefully gone to Annandale. But, of course, there is much more to the story than food (Anyone remember the Korean BBQ restaurant near the Pentagon City Mall?) Michael Lee Pope takes a look at the Korean media and what parts of Fairfax County are home to thriving Asian communities and culture.
Last week, the White House hosted the first-ever White House Summit on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Washington, DC.
While 37 percent of the U.S. population is comprised of people of color, this diversity is not reflected in the books our children are reading. Only 10 percent of children’s books contained multicultural content, according to publisher Lee and Low Books.
Last week, Roberta and I attended the 2nd Annual Military Leadership Luncheon, held at the Grand Hyatt in downtown Washington. Its purpose is to promote leadership diversity and Asian American and Pacific Islander representation in the Armed Forces. Asian Pacific American Institute of Congressional Studies (APAICS) and the Pan-Pacific American Leaders and Mentors (PPALM) sponsored the event for APA veterans and active duty.
Major General (US Army, Retired) Tony Taguba, the second American citizen of Philippine birth to be promoted to general officer rank in the Army, handled the myriad of introductions (and translated acronym-speak quite well.)
Congress was represented by Reps. Mark Takai & Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Rep Mark Takano of CA and Guam Delegate Madeleine Bordallo.
Former Congressman Norm Mineta told the story of deciding to land all the planes in the air on 9/11; he was Secretary of Transportation at the time.
A highlight was recognition of Terry Shima, one of the last remaining members of the famed WWII Japanese American 442nd unit.
We brought Robert Lee of Arlington, VA, the only Chinese American WWII U.S. Army veteran in the vast ballroom.
It was also great to see all the young midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis and cadets from University of Maryland's ROTC program who attended.
In our nation’s past, the percentage of the American population for Asians and Pacific Islanders was small. This was certainly not, however, the case in their stature.
This point is driven home in a new handbook titled, “Asians and Pacific Islanders and the Civil War.” Meant to commemorate the sesquicentennial of Reconstruction, it is a wonderful publication, 259 pages chock full of images and stories.
At the luncheon, I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Carol Shively, Civil War to Civil Rights Commemoration Coordinator with the National Park Service. She edited the handbook.
As noted in a handout that came with it, a group of researchers and writers worked for over twenty years to uncover hundreds of AAPI servicemen – “forgotten warriors who fought for a nation in which they faced extreme discrimination.”
This book does not stop with the end of the Civil War. It covers “The Cost of War, ” The Struggle for Citizenship,” “From Civil War to Civil Rights,” and “Serving Still.”
Our final thought was inspired by comedian Trevor Noah. In his recent show, he pokes fun at stereotypes and all the hyphenated subdivisions we have in America for racial identity.
Each of us draws our own conclusions from this. I thought to myself, What he is really saying is -- we're all Americans.
A reenactment of the Grand Review parade that took place at Civil War's end will be conducted here in Washington this Sunday, noon to 4 pm.
On May 23, 1865, 80,000 Union troops marched down Pennsylvania Avenue. The next day, another 65,000 took the ceremonial walk.
Here are a few news reports.
Mark your calendars, June 14, Flag Day, for what promises to be a zoo of a Grand Opening at their newest temple of food, corner of Telegraph and Beluah, in the Alexandria part of Fairfax County.
We took these photos. The reflection in the windows is the heaven and earth that has been moved. Going back to the 1990s, this high point in the county was landfill, which they converted to the Hilltop Golf Course. A softball field stood on the corner.
Anyway, sort of lost in all the excitement is the other new stores at the Hilltop Village Center. We saw a Coming Soon sign for Panda Express (yea!), but no others. Listing at their website, includes Peet’s Coffee and Sports Bar.
By the way, the Peet’s Coffee at the new Fordson Place closed down. Sad to see that.
But a half mile up Richmond Highway is a new drive through Starbucks...
Took a walk around upper King Street and took these photos.
Horray for Horray for Books! They have expanded and it looks fab.
They also have this baseball starter program...
Hilton’s new Garden Inn on Prince sports this public art. Looks like the artist is a hockey fan…
Over at the Hilton on King, Historic Alexandria Museum Store (11-7) has opened new satellite shop. Huzzah!
Love this creative map of Alexandria and environs. It’s behind the check-in desk, steps from the satellite shop.
Earlier this year, PBS announced that Alexandria will be the setting for a new Civil War drama series. “Mercy Street” focuses on the lives of two volunteer nurses on opposing sides of the Civil War.
Last week, as reported by Variety and other websites, the cast for six-part series (Winter 2016) was announced.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead (The Returned, Smashed, The Spectacular Now) will play Nurse Mary Phinney – “a feisty New Englander and widow who is a newcomer at Mansion House Hospital.”
Phinney kept a diary during her time of service. The series will draw from that source.
Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother, Liberal Arts, Disgraced) will portray Jedediah Foster, “the civilian contract surgeon who grew up in a privileged Southern slave-owning household as the son of a wealthy Maryland landowner.”
Mercy Street is the first American-based series by PBS in ten years. Filming has begun in Richmond and Petersburg.
Produced by Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise), the story takes place at the Mansion House Hotel. Sandwiched in between the Carlyle House, a mid-18th-century Palladian-style mansion built by John Carlyle, and North Fairfax Street, the four-story building (town down in the 1970s), was converted into a hospital during the five-year war (1861-1865).
Susan Hellman, Director at Carlyle House, expressed excitement.
“We are very excited about this series,” she said, “and can’t wait to see how the producers tell the story of the Mansion House Hospital.”
Authenticity buffs will be pleased to learn the amount of time the show’s staff gave to research.
“The producers spent two years,” Helllman said, “interviewing Carlyle House staff, going through our archives, scanning old photographs, and doing everything they possibly could to learn about the real story of the Mansion House Hospital.”
An interpretive marker on the front lawn of the Carlyle House touches on some of the characters in this story. They include Walt Whitman, Confederate spy Frank Stingfellow and Sarah Emma Edmonds, a “woman who disguised herself as a male Union soldier.”
Gary Cole (Veep, The Good Wife, Entourage) will play James Green, Sr. In 1848, Green, a furniture maker, bought the Carlyle House and the Bank of Alexandria (corner of N. Fairfax and Cameron). As noted by the interpretive marker, he turned the bank into a hotel and in 1855, expanded the hotel across the front lawn of Carlyle House. The hotel was torn down, but the bank building remained.
The Carlyle House also features an exhibit on the Mansion Hotel during the Civil War.
Another interpretive marker, located on the shady east side of Carlyle House, is titled “Living and Working in 1700s Alexandria.” Nine enslaved African Americans lived and worked there in 1780. One of them was named Penny. The marker asks, “If we could hear her voice, what would she say?”
Perhaps this new series, scheduled for broadcast on PBS in the Winter of 2016, will help answer that question.
For those interested in the Green family, (James, the father, owned the hotel), a historical marker of sorts can be found at the southeast corner of Prince and South Fairfax. Green, and then later his sons, made and sold furniture there. The building was converted into residential units in the 1980s.
In 1827, one of Alexandria’s worse fires, which destroyed over 53 buildings south of King Street and east of Royal, started in the Green’s furniture factory when it was on S. Royal Street a few doors down from King Street.
In “A Seaport Saga,” Smith and Miller note the hotel was “one of the premier hotelries on the East Coast.”
Green’s Mansion House Hotel had enough room to hold 700 soldiers. It was the largest temporary hospital among the 20 or so converted buildings in Alexandria.
Ravensworth. Mount Eagle. City View. Ossian Hall. Maplewood. Spring Bank.
Despite the best efforts of the preservationists in Fairfax County to save them, these and other jewels of architecture and history were swept away during the tsunami that was suburban development in the middle of the 20th-century.
Fortunately, there are survivors. One is the Moss Historic House, located on the grounds of Green Spring Gardens, a Fairfax County Park, located just off Little River Turnpike between Annandale and Alexandria. Green Spring is a heavenly oasis in the land of sprawl, a peaceful wooded place right out of a Thoreauvian dream.
Years back, Roberta and I used to see some of the gardens when we played golf at Pinecrest. My eyes told me it was just that – a set of gardens. Reading more about the house’s history the other day took us down that wonderful road of discovery. Turns out the house dates to the 18th-century. John Moss (1743-1810) built the manor house sometime in the 1780s.
In their book, Ross and Nan Netherton point out the importance of Green Spring Farm.
There is no better site for an example, probably, to illustrate the early patterns of life on the agricultural land of Fairfax County as well as to follow the changes and pressures that have come about through war, depression, boom, and technological change down to the present. Anyone familiar with the history of this parcel of land, the Green Spring Farm, will be familiar with a great deal of the history of Fairfax County—told not so much in terms of its famous and powerful people as in terms of those who drew sustenance directly from the land.
On about 500 acres of farmland once used to grow tobacco, the Moss family grew corn and oats and raised cattle and pigs. Moss married Louis Minor in 1775. He served as Justice of the Peace and Sheriff in Fairfax County and was an office in the Revolutionary War. The house stayed in the Moss family until 1843.
After the Civil War, the next owner, Fountain Beattie and his large family, raised dairy cattle, fruit and vegetables at Green Spring. Their business was good, with proximity to Little River Turnpike, which connected farms to the customers and docks in Alexandria.
The modest Georgian brick manor, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, saw several owners after the Beattie’s, including Minnie Whitesell in the 1930s. She made some notable improvements to the sagging structure before passing away in an upstairs bedroom.
Sometimes, the story of a manor wanes as it enters the 20th-century. Not so here. We can thank Michael (passed away in 2004) and Belinda Straight, who purchased and improved the property in 1942, and donated the house and 16 acres to Fairfax County in 1970.
The Straights left us with not only a restored house and grounds, but they also us gave us a memoir of their story. This power couple were far from the typical farmer. Straight was educated at Cambridge, worked in the White House, was a U.S. Air Force pilot, wrote novels and became editor of the New Republic. Any admiration for Straight, however, has to be tempered with the fact he was a double agent, a spy for the KGB. His obit writer for the Washington Post points out Straight confessed and was then hired by the Nixon administration.
Straight touches on various aspects of his life in "On Green Spring Farm, The Life and Times of One Family In Fairfax County, Virginia, 1942-1966." His rolodex included Dean Acheson, Alger Hiss, Walter Mondale, Eric Severeid (he donated a goat to the farm). Straight interviewed J.R.R. Tolkein.
We needed a break from the molds of tobacco plantations and urban manors, and Green Spring delivered the goods. The grounds include ponds, thematic gardens, a plant shop, a greenhouse, a horticultural reference library and a gift shop. Don’t miss the eastside stroll that takes you alongside a winding creek and under a canopy of trees.
The house is open Wednesday to Sunday, 12 to 4. My only recommendation is to erect one or more interpretive markers. Otherwise, a wonderful story of a Fairfax County survivor.