Website About the Nature of Monticello Park

Monticello Park in Beverley Hills is THE place to see migrating songbirds in the spring. The small, tree-covered park is an ideal spot for the birds to land and feed.  The stream allows for drinking and bathing (for the birds and hopefully not the birders).  Birders flock there in April and May to view the flying beauties.

And now there is a website dedicated to the park.

Ashley Bradford and Bill Young have created the website MPNature to help people learn about and enjoy the nature at Monticello Park.  The website is designed so that visitors can know what to look for before visiting the park and can understand what they are seeing once they get there.

The site offers photos and facts about the species that frequent the park, daily bird checklists, as well as a map and virtual tour of the park.  And for those who want to learn even more, there will be natural history essays.

So take some time and explore the information on MPNature by clicking here.   And when the time is right, come and visit so that you check out the beauty of Monticello Park!


5th Annual Del Ray Chili Cook Off and Beer Tasting

The Fifth Annual Del Ray Chili Cook Off & Beer Tasting is this Saturday, February 10 from 6:00PM – 8:00PM at the Commonwealth Academy Gym, 1321 Leslie Avenue.  The event is sponsored by the Del Ray Citizen’s Association with proceeds going toward their Spring Build Project with Rebuilding Together Alexandria, which helps transform the lives of low-income homeowners by improving the safety and health of their homes and revitalizes communities.

Single entries or teams (up to three people) from Del Ray can enter the Cook Off.   Awards will be given in three categories: meat, veggie, and people’s choice.  Judges will be looking at taste, aroma, texture, after-taste and heat.  But this doesn’t mean the hottest chili will win.  All of last year’s winners generously donated back their $250 awards.

To learn more about the rules and fill out an application, click here.

To buy tickets are to just make a donation click here.



Local Business

Knits by Naima


If you are looking for a great, fashionable way to keep warm this winter, you should check out Knits by Naima. It is a one-woman, local business based in Del Ray offering handcrafted knintware including hats, scarves, mittens and more.

Naima Barnes started knitting in 2013 after she learned the basics at a knitting club offered at her job in Seattle. There she learned the basics of how to put yarn on the needle. And from there she was hooked! She ventured to YouTube to learn more and was able to pick up advanced skills through videos. Later, someone pointed out to her that she was knitting as a right-handed person even though she was left-handed. Apparently, the YouTube videos had instructed her as a right-hander. But she knew it that way, so stayed with that method.

She started with scarves and headbands, then moved on to hats, then mittens and more. She opened her Etsy shop about one year ago. There she offers made-to-order items but you can view samples of her work to see what you would like. She can make a scarf in about a week, but a hat takes only about one day!

She does have another job. She works as a Planner at Motley Fool Wealth Management. So, knitting provides Naima a way to wind down from the stresses of the world and is a way for her to practice self-care.

The link to her shop is here.

You can also find her on Facebook  and on Instagram.

Events, Restaurants

Alexandria Restaurant Week 2018

For 10 days and two weekends, more than 60 Alexandria restaurants will offer a $35 three-course dinner for one OR a $35 dinner for two during Alexandria Winter Restaurant Week!  This year the event will run January 26 to February 4.  And if lunch is more your thing, more than 30 restaurants will also offer lunch menus at $10, $15 or $20 per person in addition to their dinner offerings.

There are some new restaurants joining the fun this year.  They include Hank’s Pasta Bar, Sunday in Saigon, Cedar Knoll, La Trattoria, Café 44, and Nectar Coffee & Wine Bistro.  All chefs at these local restaurants will be showing off their culinary skills during the annual event.

You can find fine dining and casual food in several neighborhoods throughout the city including Old Town, Del Ray and the West End.

To find the menu flip-book and to make reservations click here.

Here are a few of the menu highlights:

Hank’s Pasta Bar’s $35 three-course dinner for one featuring options such as Bucatini Carbonara, Fettucine & Clams and Mafalde

Vermilion’s $35 three-course dinner for one featuring menu items such as Braised Pork Cheek, Tagliatelle and Roasted Bluefish

Columbia Firehouse’s $15 per person lunch featuring items such as Shrimp Scampi, Crab Cake Sandwich and Vanilla Bean Créme Brule

So many destinations and meals to choose from!