The original Dacha, the crazy-popular beer garden in Shaw, is like a perpetual college party, vexing neighbors by pressing on with the exuberance of youth.
With the May opening of Dacha Navy Yard, it appears our little beer garden is all grown up at its second outpost between Nationals Park and the Anacostia River.
The come-hither beer garden features a polished Airstream travel trailer—an American icon in its own right—converted into a bar, surrounded by tables, a vintage car and a kids’ play area. Then, there’s a mural of Jackie Kennedy, the first clue to the space-race theme of the sleek, 4,000-square-foot restaurant. A blue-toned mural of President John F. Kennedy wearing sunglasses reflecting an image of Nikita Khrushchev holding a shoe (Long story. Google it.) reinforces the midcentury vibe.
While the original Dacha serves elevated and German-inspired comfort foods like mussels with hefeweizen broth and a döner-style ribeye, Dacha Navy Yard features higher-end options like escargot, duck confit cassoulet and lobster linguine. Order a beer, such as the DC Brau DACHNiK Helles Lager, made exclusively for Dacha, or the Kennedy-esque Camelot cocktail—basically a Last Word but with rum filling in for gin.
A share-plates section listed before the appetizers often signals tiny plates are headed your way. Not so at Dacha, where executive chef Taylor Burlingame doles out generous portions for each course. The menu pulls from across the globe but leans heavily on French influences. A light, gingery tuna tartine and tender meatballs are excellent ways to start, although we wished the meatballs arrived with some sort of bread to swab up the very tasty Italian-style sauce.
A gorgeous springtime salad of grilled and shaved asparagus, pickled shallots, peas, favas, radishes and a poached egg is so fresh and enjoyable that we all but licked the plate clean. The Dacha Caesar is served dramatically as a stack of whole romaine leaves tarred and feathered in dressing and Parmesan shavings.
Housemade linguine is a bit too gummy to be considered the perfect noodle texture, but it’s close enough—especially when you pile luscious chunks of tender lobster, strips of fennel and a briny, creamy foam on top. We loaded up on apps, but will return soon to try the hangar steak with frites and bearnaise, or the scallops and grits.
Desserts are a mixed bag, with a too-sweet rum cake leaving us wishing the poached pineapple tasted more like, well, pineapple. But a chocolate semifreddo with peanut butter cremeux, caramel ice cream and a sweet-salty peanut-pretzel tuile ensured that dinner still ended on a sweet note.
With its fun vibe, great drinks, warm service and excellent bites, Dacha Navy Yard is a welcome new star among the stellar restaurants orbiting the baseball stadium. // 79 Potomac Ave. SE, Washington, DC
Owing to the beer garden and large bar, there’s no shortage of space to grab a drink at Dacha—but Bardo Brewing’s outdoor brews (25 Potomac Ave. SE, Washington, DC), The Salt Line’s oyster shooters (79 Potomac Ave. SE, Washington, DC) and All-Purpose Rivefront’s Italian ice cocktails offer great alternatives if you want to bar hop (79 Potomac Ave. SE, Washington, DC)
Mount Vernon Triangle
Try celebrity chef Michael White’s versions of pizzas, parms and pastas at Nicoletta Italian Kitchen, then hit his coffee shop next door. // 901 Fourth St. NW, Washington, DC
A mother-daughter restaurateur team brings Burmese food to the old Sally’s Middle Name space with the opening of Thamee. // 1320 H St. NE, Washington, DC
Ivy City Don Ciccio & Figli recently moved its distillery to the up-and-coming neighborhood, adding the intimate Bar Sirenis, featuring house amari. // 1907 Fairview Ave. NE, Washington, DC
Last weekend, an Antifa goober tried to firebomb the ICE detention facility in Tacoma, WA. As was to be expected, his technical skills were not up to the task, but the Tacoma police gave him what he so richly deserved. He left behind a “manifesto” that was the gibbering anarchist nonsense that you’d expect but, the more we look at it, the more it becomes obvious that the rhetoric of The Squad, that august brain trust consisting of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ilnan “no I really didn’t have sex with my brother” Omar, and Ayanna Pressley, heavily influenced his thinking, such as it was, and his actions.
He relies on AOC’s “concentration camp” rhetoric and his method of attack seems to have been derived from another.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley condemns conditions during visit to Texas border facility: "We're lifting up these stories in the hopes that you will see the light. And if you don't, we will bring the fire." https://t.co/PbhK0aOpJLpic.twitter.com/OfSpYgEX0X
For someone who has twisted her panties in a tight little knot over a tweet by President Trump, Pressley seems to be fairly cavalier about inciting arson attacks or, taken at its most benign, mob violence against federal detention facilities. The left has a sordid history of inciting fatal attacks by using rhetoric that clearly calls for violence but which can be massaged by a willing press into mere hyperbole that some nutter misunderstood. It was the left that encouraged a nutter to try to shoot up the Family Research Council. It was the left that encouraged a nutter to shoot up a GOP congressional baseball team. It was the left that encouraged a nutter to try to burn an ICE facility. It is the left that is encouraging the violent street mobs of Antifa.
It is getting harder and harder to believe that these incitements are accidental and not part of a desire, if not a design, to ratchet up political violence in the country. Too what end, we don’t know. But it is certain that we will find out in the coming years.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., left, looks over her notes during testimony by Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Sitting next to Ocasio-Cortez is Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., right. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
My old man used to say that there were some people who needed killing. Saturday a 69-year-old goober who was part of the terrorist Antifa organization got exactly what he needed as he tried to firebomb and ICE facility in Seattle, WA. I really have zero sympathy for him. He was part of a vicious group of thugs who have assaulted people and destroyed property throughout, primarily, the Pacific Northwest. In Portland, where they operate under the protection of the mayor, they have cowed the police into submission.
Not only did the Antifa goober try to firebomb an ICE facility, he left behind a “manifesto” that reads like an Ocasio-Cortez speech. Given those things, one would think that the least she could do would be to condemn it. But then you wouldn’t be AOC, or Chiquita Khrushchev as Ace styles her.
WATCH: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) also refuses to condemn the Antifa terrorist attack on an ICE facility in Washington State, despite the fact that the attacker used her rhetoric in his manifesto: pic.twitter.com/9z9Pwrc4UQ
How hard would it have been to say that what he did was wrong? Not hard at all. But the fact is that AOC is reliant upon the Antifa and their fan club for her popularity and, therefore, her political clout. The moment she denounces their violence, she’s done. So she won’t.
Police said Van Spronsen tossed lit objects at vehicles and buildings, causing one car fire, and unsuccessfully tried to ignite a propane tank.
Officers were called by an ICE employee who saw the rifle. Soon after they arrived, officers reported “shots fired,” said Tacoma police spokeswoman Loretta Cool, although it is unclear who fired first or if Van Spronsen fired at all. The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office classified his death as a homicide.
Willem Van Spronsen has been part of the protest scene at the facility for a while. Just last year he was criminally charged after attempting to choke a police officer while also carrying a knife.
Back on the street, his rage apparently hadn’t quelled and he went too far this time. Police saw the rifle as well as the fact that he was throwing improvised explosives and ended the confrontation with deadly force.
I noticed above that the medical examiner classified Van Spronsen’s death as a homocide. I’ll assume that’s normal, but it’s still jarring considering the officers were obviously acting in self defense here.
This kind of thing is not going to stop as long as the media and Democrat party are stoking the flames every single day. When you call ICE Nazis and claim they are torturing children, what kind of response should we expect? If someone really believes those things, why wouldn’t they take action? That’s the danger of all the misinformation that’s been spread around.
It’s ironic given that Republicans were accused of incitement simply for accurately quoting Ilhan Omar a few months back, something that clearly wasn’t in fact incitement, but the left and their media allies are completely mum about possible incitement in this case. Would they stay quiet if this were an abortion mill being attacked? Or would they try to tie it to the pro-life movement? We all know the answer to that and it’s a testament to their incredible hypocrisy.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her allies in Congress that are making up things and lying about the situation at these facilities, all while holding funding hostage, need to be called to account here. They are whipping up resentment and violence that’s going to lead to more people getting killed.
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WASHINGTON – The House Judiciary Committee says a former Trump administration official who was a vital witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’sRussia investigation was blocked by the White House from answering more than 200 of its questions.
The Democratic-led panel on Monday released written responses provided by Annie Donaldson, who served as chief of staff to former White House counsel Don McGahn.
Both cooperated with Mueller, providing vivid accounts about episodes at the heart of the special counsel’s probe into whether President Donald Trump sought to obstruct justice. Mueller’s report repeatedly references handwritten notes that Donaldson took about Trump’s angry reactions to the unfolding Russia probe.
Though the White House made staff available for questioning by Mueller’s team, the administration has taken a more adversarial approach to demands from Congress and moved to block testimony from multiple ex-officials, including McGahn. The Judiciary Committee is investigating whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice during the probe after Mueller said he could not exonerate the president on that point.
Donaldson agreed to answer written questions from the committee but did not appear for a scheduled deposition last month because she was in her third trimester of pregnancy. The panel previously said Donaldson would appear in person after Nov. 1.
The transcript sheds little new light on her time at the White House. In response to dozens of questions, Donaldson replied that the White House had instructed her not to answer because of “constitutionally-based executive branch confidentiality interests that are implicated.” That is new wording for White House lawyers, who cited what they called “absolute immunity” when instructing former Trump aide Hope Hicks not to answer questions last month. The Judiciary Committee plans to challenge that concept in court.
The questions included what actions the president took that led officials to become concerned that he would fire then-FBI Director James Comey; efforts by Trump to prevent the recusal from the Russia probe of then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions; and calls from the president to McGahn seeking the removal of Mueller because of perceived conflicts of interest.
In several cases Donaldson affirmed Mueller’s references to her notes or her interview with his office, with the following caveat: “I have no reason to question the accuracy of the special counsel’s office’s description of my handwritten notes or my voluntary statements to it, although I do not have access to its records of my statements.”
Mueller is scheduled to testify publicly next week before the House’s judiciary and intelligence committees. While the judiciary panel is investigating obstruction of justice, the intelligence panel is looking at Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mueller wrote that there was not enough evidence to establish a conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign, but detailed extensive contacts between the two.
As part of the intelligence committee’s probe, its staff will interview Felix Sater behind closed doors on Tuesday, Sater said Monday. The Russia-born business executive worked with Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, on a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow before the 2016 election. The project was later abandoned, and Cohen is now in prison, partly on charges that he lied to Congress about the duration of the project.
Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. At least it is at SplashDown WaterPark. Spend a relaxing day floating down a 770-foot-long lazy river at the region’s largest water park. Open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, the expansive park offers vacation vibes with three giant water slides, a ropes course over the water, a splash section for little ones and snack stands to recharge—before you hit the lazy river one more time. // 7500 Ben Lomond Park Drive, Manassas; Daily tickets $16 for guests over 48 inches, $12.25 under 48 inches, $95 season pass for ages 3 and older
Fairfax is home to seven breweries, and they’ve collaborated on a brewery field guide—aptly titled Locally Poured—to help you visit them. When you arrive at any of the participating breweries, ask the bartender to stamp your guide. After collecting at least four stamps, you’ll gain VIP access with paid admission to the Fairfax County Brewfest on Sept. 22 at Mustang Sally Brewing Company. It’s a fun, and dare we say, organized method to determine your new favorite craft beer. The guide is available at Fairfax County Visitors Center and member breweries. // Tysons Corner Fairfax County Visitors Center: 1961 Chain Bridge Road, Tysons; Mustang Sally Brewing Company: 14140 Parke Long Court, Chantilly;
Technically it’s not the weekend, but everyone knows Thursday night feels very close—especially in the summer. The community of Del Ray wholeheartedly subscribes to this philosophy and founded a First Thursdays Del Ray celebration along the neighborhood’s main street, Mount Vernon Avenue. Themes vary, but for the rest of this year it’s Red, White and Blue (July 11), Aloha Thursday (Aug. 1) and Show Your Spirit (Sept. 5). The festival occurs on the first Thursday of each month, April through July and September.// Del Ray Association: 2308 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; free
Riverbend Park in Great Falls offers visitors 400 acres of natural wonders. Whether you seek a field of bluebells, a leafy path along the Potomac Heritage Trail or a wagon ride through meadows hunting butterflies, this is the place to immerse yourself in nature’s great bounty. The county park is a vital habitat for wildlife, but it’s also a fun place to paddle. Located at Potomac Gorge, after launching your canoe, kayak or row boat, you must head north—downriver leads to the Aqueduct Dam and Great Falls (yikes!). Enjoy a blissful workout on a hot summer day in this secluded county park. // 8700 Potomac Hills St., Great Falls; rentals available through Labor Day; kayak half- and full-day rentals: $18-$30, canoe $20-$32, row boat $18-$30
The new foodie incubator Chefscape Kitchen in Leesburg features a market, food hall and bar. Like its sister complexes in Manhattan’s Seaport District and Tribeca, ChefScape helps launch new food businesses by providing a shared commercial kitchen and other services. The rustic food hall features innovative vendors like Johnny Ray’s Sultry Soul Food and Tumi Urban Kitchen, with plans for up to 50 vendors. There’s a lot going on here—Bar AhSo hosts happy hours every weekday from 3 to 6 p.m.—and the EatLoCo farmers market is open 3 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays. There’s even a night market on Fridays, plus cooking classes for adults and kids. // 1602 Village Market Blvd. SE, Leesburg; open Sunday–Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m.
Strike a pose or two on the Rosslyn Public Art Walking Tour. The self-guided tour showcases the neighborhood’s acclaimed public art installations. Rosslyn has 12 modern art structures within close walking distance of each other, including Miriam Schapiro’s colorful steel dancers at 1525 Wilson Boulevard, and Boaz Vaadia’s stone “family” at 1300 17th Street. Before setting out, download the Rosslyn Public Art Walking Tour map or pick one up at the Arlington Cultural Affairs office. New projects are in development in Freedom Park and other locations. // 2100 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington; free
Do you feel down after the fireworks are spent, and Independence Day is just a memory? If you’re the patriotic sort, bring a picnic dinner to Oronoco Bay Park in Old Town Alexandria to celebrate one more time. Every year, Alexandria hosts a party for the city’s—and the nation’s—birthday. This year, Alexandria hits 270 years old, and the U.S. turns 243. On July 13, come savor the cooling breezes off the Potomac, while the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra performs, followed by a spectacular fireworks show. Everyone gets a piece of birthday cake, too, and food trucks will sell popcorn, hot dogs and more. // 100 Madison St., Alexandria; 703-746-5592; free
Charlottesville is a small town with a big dining scene, and an ideal way to sample the town’s acclaimed restaurants is during a three-hour guided tour with Taste of Charlottesville. As you move from restaurant to specialty shops guided by owner and tour guide Deborah Hoal, you’ll hear about Charlottesville’s architectural treasures, colonial history and fun facts, like why one neighborhood is called Vinegar Hill. While tasting small plates at the five to seven restaurants, you may even meet a chef or two. Book online, and choose between noshing in the afternoon or evening. // Throughout Main Street, Charlottesville; 434-589-5558; lunch tour: $59, adults; $36, ages 8-11, $24, ages 7 and under; evening tour (adults only): $79
Most global cities have a skyscraper with panoramic, awe-inspiring views. DC’s towering lookout point is just outside of DC in Rosslyn. The 31-story-high Observation Deck at CEB Tower—opened just last summer—is now the tallest publicly accessible point inside the Beltway. From here, you can marvel over the breathtaking views of the National Mall and the sprawling skylines of our nation’s capital, Maryland and Virginia. The Observation Deck offers HoverDC’s immersive flyover experience, plus an interactive tour called Windows into History that tells the story behind each landmark. After you’ve snapped all your selfies, sip Champagne at The View DC Champagne Bar, nearly 400-feet above Washington. // 1201 Wilson Blvd., Suite 214, Rosslyn; $22 adults, $12 kids ages 5-13, children under 5 free; save $1 buying online
August 2019 marks the 400th anniversary of the first Africans to land on the English-speaking shores of the New World. Captured in Central Africa, they were transported on a Portuguese ship heading to Mexico when it was attacked by pirates. The ship was re-routed to Point Comfort (now Fort Monroe). The City of Hampton and the National Park Service recognizes the enduring legacy of this historic event and are opening an interpretive Visitor & Education Center at Fort Monroe on Aug. 24. The center will host ongoing programs related to African-American and Native American heritage in America. // 41 Bernard Road, Hampton; free
When the state of Virginia obtained parcels of waterfront property on the peninsula known as “Wide Water,” the plan was to preserve and protect the landscape where captain John Smith landed in 1608. Officially opened in November 2018, the new park—Widewater State Park—borders Aquia Creek on one side and the Potomac River on the other, with idyllic places to fish, picnic and hike, as well as launch a kayak. The visitor center explains the history of settlements in the area, like Widewater Plantation, and the lifestyle of the watermen who fished in these waters for centuries. // 101 Widewater State Park Road, Stafford; Open 8 a.m.-dusk; some fees apply
DC DAY TRIP July 20, 2019 marks 50 years since NASA’s Apollo 11 first landed on the moon—and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is celebrating. Back in 1969, people marveled as courageous astronauts hopped around the planet’s dusty surface for the first time. Glued to black-and-white TV screens, Americans cheered when these rocketeers planted the Stars and Stripes. The Air and Space Museum on the National Mall kicks off a year-long commemoration with official programs from July 16 to 20. The groundbreaking mission comes alive when you see astronaut Neil Armstrong’s Apollo 11 spacesuit—on display at the museum for the first time in over a decade—or listen to a lecture from NASA scientists. // Independence Ave. at Sixth St. SW, Washington, DC; free
Imagine sitting in the courtyard of a 16th century Tudor manor, while an actor spouts lines from The Tempest. Sounds like Merry Olde England, right? It’s actually a summer performance at Richmond’s historic Agecroft Hall & Gardens. The actors are from the city’s classical Quill Theatre Company, and they’ve performed at Agecroft for 21 years this season. This summer’s Richmond Shakespeare Festival runs from June 6 to Aug. 4 and includes The Tempest and The Taming of the Shrew. Bring a picnic and arrive early, because when the grounds open at 6 p.m., the company likes to show off its sonnets, bawdy songs and fencing skills. // Agecroft Hall & Gardens: 4305 Sulgrave Road, Richmond; $30 adults,$25 seniors (65 or older), $20 students (must show ID)
Sneak a look inside this entertaining museum focused on all things covert. The International Spy Museum’s new home at L’Enfant Plaza was designed by the architects who developed the Pompidou Center in Paris; with sweeping views of DC, it’s double the space of the former location. Through immersive RFID technology, visitors can take on a spy persona and mission as they try to crack codes and explore the craft of spying in the old and modern world. The expanded narrative includes new stories, like an African-American spy who served George Washington during the Revolutionary War, and the women who tracked the capture of Osama Bin Laden. // 700 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC; $24.95 adults, $19.95 seniors; military $19.95, $14.95 kids 7-12; free for kids 6 and younger
The Virginia Arts Festival introduces a new event this summer with Williamsburg Live, on June 21 and 22. Grammy-winner Norah Jones (June 21) and Country Music Hall of Famer Emmylou (June 22) will play on the lawn of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg for two powerhouse performances at this must-do event for country music fans. Skip the weekend traffic and sit back and relax on the round-trip Amtrak route from Alexandria to historic Williamsburg. // 326 Francis St. W., Williamsburg; $45-$237 event tickets; $35-$61 Amtrak tickets one-way from Alexandria station
This post originally appeared in our July 2019 print issue, as part of the 52 Weekend Adventures cover story. Want to stay up to date on all of the best things to do in Northern Virginia? Subscribe to our biweekly newsletter, here.
Your kids will shriek with delight when you lose them in a never-ending corn maze. For six weeks in the fall, Temple Hall Fall Festival, owned by NOVA Parks, is a wonderland of seasonal fun, from blasting pumpkins into the air, to watching adorable pigs sprint around a track. Find your way through a 24-acre maze (if you can), and see regal, live turkeys, peacocks and chickens waddling about. Before you leave, pick up a pumpkin to take home and carve. George Mason’s nephew owned this farm in 1810. Temple Hall offers educational farm tours year-round. // 15855 Limestone School Road, Leesburg; Daytime admission: $14 adults, $11 kids (3-11); Nighttime admission: $10 adults, $8 kids, fees apply to some activities
Cider doughnuts. That piqued your interest, right? Around the first days of autumn, the family-owned Great Country Farms in Bluemont invites visitors to rejoice in everything apple at its Apple Gala & Fresh Cider Fest (Aug. 31 to Sept. 29). Along with picking your own apples, you can sit down at the farm’s “Roosterant” to sample hot apple cider, cider doughnuts, apple pies and smoked pork barbecue. Watch as a farmer demonstrates his antique cider press, then make your way through the 1.5-acre maze. The entry fee entitles you to slip over to the adjacent Bluemont Vineyard to taste Autumn Apple wine and beer at Dirt Farm Brewing. // 18780 Foggy Bottom Road, Bluemont; Admission weekdays: $10 adults, $8 children; Weekends: $12 adults, $10 children, dogs welcome
The Virginia Oyster Trail is made up of seven oyster-centric destinations, including the Virginia Institute of Marine Science in Virginia’s Northern Neck. The humble bivalve infuses energy and prosperity into this mostly agricultural region and beckons visitors to explore the bucolic peninsula. Options include Ebbing Tides Eco Tour, which involves a two-hour paddleboarding expedition to an oyster reef sanctuary. Learn the inside workings of an aquaculture farm with captain Danny Crabbe of Crabbe’s Charter Fishing, and dine al fresco at The Chef’s Table Tour, beside the Lynnhaven River. // Artisans Center of Virginia: 1290 Richmond Ave., Staunton; prices vary for each activity and tasting
DC DAY TRIP
Over its decade-plus existence, DC’s annual H Street Festival has grown into one of the city’s most anticipated festivals of the year (and DC hosts a lot of festivals!). Stroll 11 blocks and stop at 14 staging areas for a diverse mix of music, dance, youth performances, interactive family-friendly programming, fashion, heritage, arts, poetry and, yes, even more. The festival, held this year on Sept. 21, was started to promote local artists and showcase this growing neighborhood—today it attracts over 150,000 visitors clamoring to experience all manner of festival fun. // H Street between Fourth and 14th streets NE; free
The Glow: A Jack O’Lantern Experience in Reston is a 1/3-mile trail lined with more than 5,000 hand-carved pumpkins, all sourced from local farms. Some dangle from above, others have detailed renderings of faces, including a few recognizable politicos and superheroes. In Prehistoric Park, find a 16-foot-tall dinosaur and a Harley-riding skeleton. Colorful jack-o’-lantern displays are an enchanting sight, designed to delight rather than scare. Watch the live carving demonstrations at this fun event for the whole family. Glow festivities are held on weekends beginning in early October and run through Halloween. // Lake Fairfax Park: 1400 Lake Fairfax Drive, Reston; timed ticket prices vary depending on times and days of the week
Raise your stein at Port City Brewing’s annual Oktoberfest featuring its Märzen-style lager. Like its tasty pale ale, IPAs, pilsner, Porter and Belgian-style white, Port City’s Oktoberfest beer is produced using the highest quality ingredients and brewed true to style. This popular brewery in Alexandria hosts weekly running events, yoga, pedals ‘n pints and trivia games, but during Oktoberfest, the brewery cranks it up a notch with live tastings, multiple food trucks, brats and pretzels. Don your best lederhosen for the costume contest, then compete in the Stein Hoisting Competition. Prost! // 3950 Wheeler Ave., Alexandria; free
What is life without goals? You can watch a few expertly kicked ones at Loudoun County’s new stadium in Leesburg’s Bolen Park. The region has a growing passion for soccer, and the Loudoun United FC’s soccer stadium can now welcome up to 5,000 fans per game. Loudoun United is DC United’s highest-level soccer franchise and is a member of the United Soccer League, a second-division affiliate of Major League Soccer. With 12 home games this season, kicking off Aug. 9, families in attendance will be excited to watch talented Virginia players on the field. // 19798 Sycolin Road, Leesburg; Individual game tickets start at $22, season tickets $144-$1,140
Loudoun County has more than one skeleton in its closet and you can discover most of them at the Middleburg Ghost Tour. Take a walking tour in downtown Middleburg to investigate the town’s chilling history, a place with more reported sightings of the supernatural per square acre than anywhere else in the United States. Anthropologist Heather Kyle shares her deep knowledge of the town’s ghostly apparitions. The 90-minute tour includes stops in a forgotten Middleburg graveyard and the site of the brutal murder of a 1930s socialite. // Begins at the metered municipal lot on South Liberty St., Middleburg; $30 per person. Tours are held Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; advanced reservations required
Shop till you drop at the 50th anniversary of the most popular festival in Prince William County, the Occoquan Arts & Crafts Show. Every fall (Sept. 28 to 29) and spring (June 2020), the historic streets of Occoquan are closed to cars, and people gather to shop for an extensive assortment of juried art and handmade crafts. Tents are erected, carnival-style food sold, live music abounds and Water’s End Brewery’s beer garden opens at River Mill Park. Take the shuttle to four satellite locations, including the Workhouse Arts Center. // 314 Mill St., Occoquan; free to attend festival, shuttle bus $5 per rider
DC DAY TRIP La cosecha means “harvest” in Spanish, which is the concept behind the new market in Northeast DC. A center for Latin American heritage and culture, La Cosecha will have 14 eateries and shops when it’s fully expanded. Some highlights include El Cielo, an innovative Colombian restaurant by chef Juanma Barrientos; Amparo, with its modern renditions on coastal Mexican cuisine by Christian Irabien; Ali Pacha, a plant-based fine dining outpost by Bolivian chef Sebastian Quiroga; and Peruvian Brothers—a former food truck specializing in coastal Peruvian sandwiches and empanadas. La Cosecha is a new dining destination founded by Union Market, EDENS and Washington, DC’s Latin American embassies. // 1270 Fourth St. NE, Washington, DC
This post originally appeared in our July 2019 print issue, as part of the 52 Weekend Adventures cover story. Want to stay up to date on all of the best things to do in Northern Virginia? Subscribe to our biweekly newsletter, here.
The civil service may be impartial, but it isn’t neutral. Indeed, a world in which civil servants worked in a vacuum, without values, policy expertise or vision, couldn’t be the world that we live in. Nor is it. The civil service will remain broadly committed, whichever party holds office, to a core of policy aims that are unobjectionable, or ought to be. These include maintaining a first-rate relationship with the United States – the “special relationship”, as it is sometimes, not uncontroversially, described.
Kim Darroch has in no way made that relationship more difficult by writing memos that are critical in some respects of the Trump administration. It is the duty of our Ambassador to the United States to give Ministers and others his view, and it is his right to be able to do so in confidence. As journalists, we rejoice in the Mail on Sunday getting hold of Darroch’s memos: they provide a cracking story. But as citizens, with wider interests than journalistic ones, our take is that the leak is bad for Britain. It will make politicians and civil servants alike less likely to tell the truth, as they see it, to both themselves and to each other.
It neither follows that all Darroch’s judgements are necessarily right, nor that the civil service’s instincts shouldn’t be challenged. These are worth a long view. Consider, for example, Michael Palliser – one of a series of Foreign Office civil servants who, during the run-up to British membership of the Commons Market, helped turn the department’s Eurosceptism into Euroenthusiasm. Or Michael Quinlan, the civil service theoretician, at the Ministry of Defence, of nuclear deterrence. Or Charles Farr, the former Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, who had a particular take on what policy should be towards non-violent extremism.
Examples are endless, and there are more of them since recently-retired senior civil servants have taken to Twitter. Nicholas Macpherson, the former Treasury Permanent Secretary, likes the hashtag #soundmoney. Simon Fraser, a counterpart at the Foreign Office, is critical of the Brexit project. This takes us to the point. The civil service worldview is multilateralist, pro-EU, pro-NATO. There are worse causes to adopt. But the referendum result has exposed a difference between the view of much of the machine and the take of a mass of voters. Particular decisions have worsened this tension. The civil service is responsible for none of them.
It was Theresa May, not the bureaucracy, who centralised Brexit policy, cut DexEU out of it, and made Olly Robbins, in effect, her personal negotiator with the EU. It was also the Prime Minister who brought much of the culture of the Home Office into the heart of government. We have nothing against Mark Sedwill, but senior parts of the civil service have become leaky on his watch: consider the recent briefing against Jeremy Corbyn, whose future was “openly discussed at an event attended by mandarins this month”. It is the job of the rest of us to keep him out of Downing Street, not that of the civil service – let alone for mandarins to brief about it.
Which returns us to Darroch. There is a suspicion that Sedwill, and not Darroch himself, was the real target of the leak. The former is reportedly interested in the Washington post. A new Prime Minister will be in place by the end of the month. Changes at the top of the civil service are expected. The leak looks designed to prepare the way for a replacement for Darroch who is more Trump-friendly than Sedwill. But the disposition of Darroch’s replacement to the President is not the exam question, or shouldn’t be.
There is a precedent for sending a non-civil servant to Washington as ambassador: Peter Jay, Jim Callaghan’s son-in-law, was sent to Washington when the latter was Prime Minister. However, the example is not encouraging. Perhaps Prime Minister Johnson should scour the more junior civil service ranks, and send for one of those who, pro-Brexit Ministers tell us, have put in exemplary work preparing for No Deal if necessary, regardless of their own views.
There are dueling rallies taking place in Washington, DC today, similar to the sort of thing we’ve seen in Portland in the last two years. Today the Proud Boys were holding a “Demand Free Speech” rally featuring several speakers in Freedom Plaza near the White House. Antifa is holding a counter-demonstration called All Out DC. From USA Today:
The Demand Free Speech rally, organized by the a self-proclaimed “chauvinistic men’s group,” numbered around 200.
But they were outnumbered by counter-protesters.More people gathered under trees in Pershing Park, listening to the activists from the other sidespeak about transgender rights and violence against transgender people.
A heavy contingent of police blocked off roads and guarded the barricades separating the two camps.
The space where the All Out DC rally took place was being patrolled by a group of minders who were doing their best to maintain a safe space, i.e. keep out anyone who might be critical of what they were doing. You can see them in action in this live stream. This goes on for two hours but I’ve got it queued up to the minders in action. You’ll see a guy in a black shirt trying to record something on his phone and a group of people are following him and trying to block him.
This goes on for several minutes. It’s kind of mesmerizing to watch. Who is this guy and what is he going to say? It must be pretty devastating if 4-5 people are needed to keep him away.
The Washington Examiner had two reporters on hand including Julio Rojas. In this clip, they are giving him the same treatment. In fact, you can see the guy in the black shirt from the clip above in the beginning of this (top) clip:
I asked #AllOutDC people if they saw the irony in keeping a Mexican reporter out of an event that was marketed as being inclusive.
I really do feel sorry for the black officers who have to put up with the crap coming from these people. This lovely person asks a black officer if the white officer is his “master.” I’m sure he had something to say about that but he remains professional and doesn’t allow himself to be goaded.
Even though the #DemandFreeSpeech rally ended awhile ago, antifa are now heckling police.
Finally, it’s not an Antifa rally without vandalism and property damage. Cops get their hands on the guys doing this but don’t seem to be arresting them. That seems like a mistake. Still, DC police are a lot more active in dealing with Antifa than their counterparts in Portland.
I’ve never heard of TJ Helmstetter before but his Linked In account says he was a DNC associate communications director leading up to the 2016 election. Helmstetter was ejected from a DC restaurant called Hill Country BBQ on the Fourth of July after he approached a tourist who was also eating there. He initially claimed on Twitter that he’d been kicked out for “standing up to a Nazi.” Helmstetter has since deleted all of his tweets about the incident, so I’ll quote the text which is still available at Twitchy.
“Just got thrown out of Hill Country DC for standing up to a Nazi. Don’t go there ever again. They support Trump and Nazis,” Helmstetter wrote. Asked for additional details by the Post’s Dave Weigel, he added, “Guy wears MAGA hat at my favorite restaurant. I say ‘hey are you from dc?’ He says ‘no.’ I say ‘we don’t tolerate racism in this city.’ His girlfriend then physically jabs fingers into my chest and starts threatening me. Management tells me to leave, not woman who assaulted me.”
Helmstetter continued to argue that he was the victim in the situation: “Just called the manager there and his answer was “we are an equal opportunity restaurant who welcomes all political viewpoints” before hanging up on me. cool, except MAGA hats actually make clear that POC and LGBT are not welcome at all.”
“To be clear, it is the Nazi’s 1st amendment right to wear racist shit in public. And it is decent people’s 1A right to tell them they are racist pieces of shit. He exercised his 1A right, and I exercised mine. @HillCountryBBQ mgmt chose to protect the Nazi’s right but not mine,” he wrote in a subsequent tweet.
People were not terribly sympathetic to Helmstetter’s situation. The right mostly just pointed out what he’d already admitted, i.e. he started the confrontation by calling a stranger a racist and a Nazi. The restaurant, quite rightly, saw him as the instigator and asked him to leave. Someone named Ben Smith posted a thoughtful thread about DC locals respecting tourists who come to the city:
I live downtown only a few blocks from the White House. Every day I see hundreds of tourists walking through my area.
Once it became clear that he was not going to be greeted as a liberator by the progressive left, Helmstetter protected his tweets and deleted most of them. His follower count went from just over 3,000 to 10. He then returned to Twitter and instead of taking the loss or apologizing for his behavior, started attacking people who were criticizing him. In this thread, he attacks Mollie Hemingway and then claims someone else is a racist because of a Betsy Ross flag:
All the things are racist! That includes anti-slavery Quakers apparently. Helmstetter also put up a tweet promising to press charges against the girlfriend of the man he harassed:
I’ll be pressing charges, then we’ll see if it’s “crickets” from a judge.
Finally, for some reason, Helmstetter is trolling people by claiming he never protected his tweets:
His tweets were briefly protected while he was deleting them. I saw it myself. Anyway, I suspect this whole fiasco was intended to be a boon to Helmstetter’s career. He must have imagined progressives would rally to his defense. So far it doesn’t seem to be working out that way. But things could change. The Washington Post working on a story about all of this. We’ll see how sympathetic they can make this guy.