ALEXANDRIA, Va. — In 2008, this HAWK signal debuted at the intersection of N. Van Dorn Street and Maris Avenue, yet motorists still seem puzzled by it.
Recently, while waiting for the bus, the HAWK signal (High intensity Activated crossWalK) was activating about every minute without intervention. That gave me a chance to see about 5 cycles and how motorists responded. Some simply blew through it, despite four reds in each direction. Others stopped and remained so until the entire red cycle, including flashing, was completed. Few knew that if the crosswalks were clear, the flashing reds function as a stop sign and it was permissible to proceed after a full stop. That was the norm and only on one occasion did it lead to horns honking.
Given the length of time the HAWK signal has been in service, it’s clear that they are not universally understood. HAWK signals aren’t unique to this Alexandria intersection either — there are some on Eisenhower Ave. as well as installations in Arlington and The District. Is more education needed? Even then, how often are drivers in a position to be educated when licenses only come up for renewal every four years in the commonwealth. The other possibility is to convert HAWKs to standard red-yellow-green signals.
Either way, I believe that having traffic control at this particular intersection is warranted. The busy 8W/8Z Metro bus route as well as a DASH bus route travels along Van Dorn St. daily. The layout of the corridor, residential on the east side and a buffer between Van Dorn & Interstate 395 on the west side limits the HAWK usage to primarily in the evening so that bus riders can cross Van Dorn to get to condos and apartments. I have seen some motorists from Maris Ave. get out of their cars and activate the HAWK so that they can turn left in the morning as well.
One Eight Distilling is named for Article One Section Eight of the Constitution, which among other things provided for the establishment of a district to serve as the nation’s capital. Our passion to build a distillery came from a desire to produce the finest spirits from grain to glass all within Washington, DC. We seek to continually make connections between people and our spirits, to use locally sourced ingredients, to recycle our spent mash to area farmers, and to pay our respects to the time-honored traditions of distilling while bringing innovation and love to every bottle we fill.
KO Distilling owners Bill Karlson and John O’Mara describe their business as a “artisan distillery” and plan to make and sell bourbon, rye whiskey, corn whiskey, gin, vodka and rum. The business will also feature a visitors’ center and will offer tours, tastings, merchandise sales and space for special events.
We’ll check back in several years to find out if there is a distillery bubble like we think there might be a brewery bubble.
New Columbia and the Ivy City neighborhood was also featured in The Post recently: Street Smart: Ivy City’s Green Hat Gin. New Columbia, which is next to a “medical marijuana cultivation factory” share the neighborhood with One Eight and Atlas Brew Works.
Welcome to the Winter 2015 update of BetlwayLand Beer – a long time coming.
UPDATE: It seems like every time I publish one of these posts, a few items come up not long after. Rather than wait, I’ve added them throughout the post. Prost!
It’s already been four years since Port City Brewing Co. opened (and almost five since we heard about it), returning a production brewery to the immediate Washington, D.C. area – inside the Beltway for the first time since there has been a Beltway. Sure, Loudoun and Frederick counties have had breweries for a while, but this was closer to home. Port City opened on January 30, 2011 as Alexandria’s first brewery in a century and was followed by several more locals, including DC Brau, the first production brewery in the District since Heurich closed in 1956. They seem friendly:
@dcbrau THANKS! We're proud to call y'all friends, too.
I tried two DC Brau special editions, The Tradition which is their DC United themed beer. By the time I found some is not at its freshest and did not provide any luck in the playoffs as the black & red fell to Red Bull New York. A stadium was secured though, so that’s good news. I’ll give the beer another shot next summer if it is still produced.
The Penn Quarter Porter, which I had out at Chadwick’s in Old Town, was a pretty special beer though. The chocolate and coffee flavors are smooth, but not overwhelming. If I see a six pack, I’m buying one to take home.
There is some bad news though —
Anyway, with @dcbrau no longer pouring free 3 oz tasters, it's the end of an era. All DC breweries now charge.
The packaging is a bit much but Bold Rock (Wintergreen, Va.) has a pretty tasty hard cider. I’ve gotten it several times and will continue to do so, especially if I wind up skiing Wintergreen this winter.
WHY ISN’T THERE A VERIZON CENTER BEER GUIDE?
As far as I know, there isn’t a beer map for Verizon Center like there is for Nationals Park. This ought to be rectified; does The Nationals Review like hockey or basketball? Local beers are sold there, but the most recent list is from 2013, so it may be out of date.
The great Vince Guerrieri wrote about a brewery bus in Cleveland recently and I thought, DC needs one of those. Sure enough, I soon learned of DC Brew Tours. Reston Limousine does it too, but not as often. Oh and DC Brew Tours, work on that SEO, it was hard to find you.
I think I mentioned it before, but Old Bust Head doesn’t have a winter seasonal next year called something like “school closed” or something they are doing it wrong because Fauquier is always the first school system to close for winter weather.
Hey, John Taylor’s sharing a byline there.
DC BREWERS BALL
March 7 is the DC Brewers Ball at National Building Museum. Might not be the optimum weekend for touring the local breweries which I was considering. We’ll see.
GREAT AMERICAN BEER FESTIVAL
It would be hard to match last year’s success when DC & VA beers cleaned up, but there were some high achievers in 2014 too:
Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
American-Style Fruit Beer
Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Outpost
Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant – Annapolis
Amber Waves Ale
Capitol City Brewing Co.
American-Style Amber/Red Ale
Old Virginia Dark
Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Outpost
American-Style Dark Lager
Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Outpost
Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant – Rockville
Union Craft Brewing
DC Brau Brewing Co.
Belgian- and French-Style Ale
Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Basecamp
Three Notch’d Brewing Co.
Irish-Style Red Ale
Sweet Baby Jesus!
DuClaw Brewing Co.
Devils Backbone Brewing Co. – Basecamp
Heavy Seas Beer
Golden or Blonde Ale
I’ll still ask, even at this late date — did everybody have (a) good Oktoberfest(s)? It’s my favorite beer season.
Like the Washington Nationals, the local ones did not last as long into October as I would like. I did not make it out to any events either, but I sampled four regional Oktoberfest beers:
Rhinofest by Lost Rhino – Probably the best, a little sweetness, but not overpowering. My wife liked it the most. It was about $10 for a 30 oz bottle though.
Corcoran Brewery (half-growler) – good, if I lived out in Loudoun County, I’d be inclined to get a half-growler if I were having a few people over.
Port City Brewing Co. – As always, it sold out too soon – I only got one six pack of it. I never saw it in stores, only at the brewery.
DC Brau – I bought a couple at the penultimate Nats game and enjoyed them. Not surprisingly, this was the hoppiest of the four area ‘fests. It paired well with a half-smoke though.
Flying Dog also makes an Oktoberfest, Dogtoberfest, but I didn’t get it this year. There may still be some sixpacks of their Old Bay-infused Dead Rise beer at Van Dorn Safeway and the Vienna Giant, by the way.
Outside of the region, I sampled the following:
Great Lakes Brewing Co. (Cleveland)
Harpoon (New England)
Saranac (New York State)
Great Lakes was my favorite of the four, but Shiner and Leinie are pretty special. Harpoon and Saranac are also solid choices.
I had Samuel Adams Oktoberfest somewhere too, on draft, but can’t remember where. It’s not my favorite and Yuengling Oktoberfest was surprisingly disappointing last year. There may be some sixpacks of Old Dominion, formerly of this region, but now from Delaware, floating around. Leingkugel made it well into the New Year.
Next year, my wife and I will make it to a fest and report back on it.
…Gov. Terry McAuliffe stood in front of a crowd to announce the first commercial hops processing facility would be heading to Black Hops Farm in Lucketts…the same farm was announced as the home to Farmworks, a farm beer operation run by Frederick, Md.-based Flying Dog Brewery.
Coming summer 2015, Farmworks Brewery will take 5 acres of property and is expected to include a 15-barrel brewhouse, cellar, coolshop and tasting room.
The hops processing facility will be located at another location on the farm.
“I’m pretty excited about the fact that there will be more great beer in Virginia,” said Jonathan Staples, the owner of the farm located on the west side of Route 15, north of Lucketts.
Loudoun County has two distillers (which I’ll blog about soon), several breweries and dozens of wineries.
This post has been in the works for months and by the time I get to the next one, it’ll probably be beer & half-smokes at Nationals Park time.
The building location could be a bit of a disadvantage — while Tysons is seeing a lot of new construction, most of it is right along the Silver Line and 7950 Jones Branch Drive isn’t within a half-mile of a station. The World Bank was rumored to be interested at one point, but that fizzled. ExxonMobil and SAIC is also looking to unload their Fairfax County campuses. I’m not sure the amenities like a walking path around a large stormwater retention pond are that big of a selling point. I do miss “walk time” with my former colleagues though.
It seemed like half my colleagues lived in Ashburn so they might have a retention problem with a move like that, though the Silver Line might be finished out that way by then. Of course, selling the current Gannett/USA Today building and then leasing space could be an option. I’m just a spectator on this one, but had I still been with Gannett I’d have been hoping for move.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — It may be #blizzardof2015 (of #BlizzardBust) further up the Northeast Corridor, but here it’s 1 ½ inches of accumulated powder. It took me about 20 minutes to get the car cleared off to an acceptable level. Traffic along Interstate 395 and N. Van Dorn Street is moving well; about 4 Metrobuses and one DASH bus went by as I was clearing.
Alexandria City Public Schools are on a two hour day, as is the Federal Government. The rest of the area – WTOP Closings & Delays
The Virginia Department of Transportation has released another Then & Now video, this time of Henry G. Shirley Highway in 1949, then known as Virginia primary route 350 and now Interstate 395. Last time, the video was of US 29 in Arlington. This time VDOT recreated about a 2-mile drive along Shirley Highway and combined it with the 1949 footage (IN COLOR!) of the same stretch of road, though nothing really is the same:
Shirley Highway predates the interstate highway system, having been built to provide access to the Pentagon and the Fairlington development that came out of World War II as well as a bypass of US 1 a bypass of US 1 between the Occoquan and Potomac Rivers. Technically, Shirley Highway did not go over either river, but provided a direct connection between the two of them.
In the original 1956 interstate highway plan, VA 350 was to be part of I-95. The new number may not have been posted as such until massive rebuilding in the early 1970s that included 2 reversible express lanes. The designation was short-lived though as the proposal to build I-95 between New York Ave (US 50) and the Capital Beltway near College Park was cancelled. Shirley Highway was re-designated I-395 in 1977.
The contrast between then and now is striking of course. The video begins near Edsall Road which today is just south of the terminus of the “EZ Pass Express” toll lanes that supplanted the 1971 express lanes. The two lanes in each direction with no shoulders of 1949 is unrecognizable to the 11 lanes over three separated roadways of now. The hills of the Alexandria area are quite visible too — it looks like a rural area then. Because it was.
Concrete arch bridges (similar to the Washington Blvd spans over Columbia Pike that are being replaced now) and sporadic white guide signs have been replaced by steel girders and frequent big green signs. A conspicuous NO THRU TRUCKS signal also makes an appearance.
Rolling along in 1949 Shirley Highway was through untouched country side past the current Landmark Mall (opened as a shopping center in 1956) and the new Mark Center. Van Dorn Street, which parallels Shirley Highway now wasn’t even there yet, nor was it’s residential development. That would come within a decade. The large Mark Center building would only open in the last few years.
This is a fun exercise for me, seeing what the area close to my current home looked like long before I was born. A late former neighbor grew up in Fairlington and told me about how they would ride their bicycles along the grading for an Shirley Highway when it was under construction; I wish I could show him this video.
There is a lot more to learn about Shirley Highway and see maps and photographs and I recommend the following sites:
Adam Froehlig and Mike Roberson’s Virginia Highways Project – VA 350
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — An Alberta Clipper has arrived with the first snow fall of 2015. As of 8:10 a.m. there are &2 frac14; inches on the ground outside of WWN headquarters in the West End of the city. Road conditions are poor! My wife turned around because Van Dorn Street was an untreated parking lot. Alexandria schools are delayed two hours. The rest of the area – WTOP Closings & Delays
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — For over a year, a broken sewer line closed portions of the Holmes Run Trail west of ParkLawn Swimming pool. There were warnings to stay away from the water and at times, the trail was completely fenced off.
Since mid-September though, the trail has been available if not officially reopened. New asphalt has been laid down between Columbia Pike and Parklawn make the ride much smoother too. Combined with the Eisenhower Ave. Trail, there is a continuous route from Lake Barcroft to the Carlye section of Alexandria, just west of Old Town.
West of Interstate 395 and of Beauregard Street in particular, Holmes Run carves its way out of rock as it descends toward Cameron Run and the tidal Potomac River. It’s beautiful all year long, but particularly as the autumnal color arrives.
The western terminus of the trail is at Columbia Pike near Lake Barcroft. Descending in a generally south-southeast direction through the woods, the trail has four water crossings. The second-most western one tends to be fairly deep, several inches. If you choose to ride through the at-grade water crossings YOU WILL GET WET. The alternative is to carry your bicycle as you walk across stepstones. As of October 25, the water wasn’t too cold yet.
After the fourth water crossing, the new pavement ends in the vicinity of Parklawn Swimming pool. The setting is more open and all there is a brief respite from the leaf covered trail. Near Chambliss Street there is a recently constructed concrete bridge over the Run and then it is back into forest. There is a fork in the trail, but keep right for the main trail. Dora Kelley Park abuts the trail here and there are a few other trails through their to the streets of western Alexandria. The trail surfaces changes along this stretch with old asphalt, concrete and even wooden viaducts to contend with along the way. Traffic also picks up, mostly walkers, many of them with dogs who may or may not be leashed. Give ample warning and be prepared to stop as the level of attentiveness cannot be relied upon. Climbing up to Beauregard Street is a wooden viaduct that can feel quite narrow with others on it. After crossing Beauregard, the trail winds through the woods with poor sightlines. Here it is especially important to be mindful of others and take a leisurely pace.
The trail travels through two tunnels, a long dark one at I-395 and another at Van Dorn Street. Expect to be splashed by the puddles along the way. The final crossing of Homles Run is atop a damn east of Van Dorn Street. From there, the trail footprint is within a long, narrow park, so watch out for families and small children. After the park, it’s back into the woods before an underpass at Duke Street. A sharp turn awaits near another playground and then the final stretch to Eisenhower Avenue under railroad and Metro viaducts — it’s a good spot for railfans. At Eisenhower Avenue, cyclists have the option of choosing the sidewalk on the northside of the roadway to Great Waves water park or continuing under the roadway to a merge onto the Eisenhower Avenue Trail that parallels Cameron Run.
Judging by the weather for this weekend and next week, this may be the last weekend with decent conditions for some time. It’s also a good park to hike through with some scrambling opportunities as well.