web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Spring"

Freshen up your at-home garden with help from Mount Vernon Estate

Westlake Legal Group mount-vernon-green-house Freshen up your at-home garden with help from Mount Vernon Estate virtual events Things to Do stems Spring (Season) Spring shopping planting planters plant sale plant Outdoors Mount Vernon Estate Home Resources Home & Design Home gardens gardening garden flowers flora coronavirus
Photo courtesy of George Washington’s Mount Vernon

As the weather warms up and rainy days become a norm here in Northern Virginia, many have taken the time to turn a small patch of land into a garden landscape. And, while gardening is a great hobby to take part in during the global pandemic, it can also be quite challenging if you don’t know where to start. 

Lucky for you, there are plenty of plant experts in the NoVA region who can help, including the horticulturists at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, who have launched several virtual offerings to better your garden this spring as the stay-at-home order remains in place. 

On April 23, Mount Vernon started its annual Historic Plant & Garden Sale in honor of George Washington’s early days as a plantsman and a farmer. While typically this affair serves as an opportunity for local residents to explore the gardens of the estate and purchase plants grown on the property, this year the sale is taking place entirely online. The sale will continue until all flora and plants are sold out. Then, on Friday, May 1, Sunday, May 3, Tuesday, May 5 and Thursday, May 7, shoppers will have the opportunity to come to Mount Vernon and pick up their items curbside.

Westlake Legal Group mount-vernon-gardens Freshen up your at-home garden with help from Mount Vernon Estate virtual events Things to Do stems Spring (Season) Spring shopping planting planters plant sale plant Outdoors Mount Vernon Estate Home Resources Home & Design Home gardens gardening garden flowers flora coronavirus
Photo courtesy of George Washington’s Mount Vernon

In addition to plants, annuals, perennials and heirlooms, online shoppers can choose from The General’s Choice plant line this year, which were inspired by the estate and designed by Greenhouse Manager Melanie Welles Creamer. The varieties include American beautyberry, American boxwood, common fig and so much more, all of which can be added to your at-home garden. Mount Vernon is also currently selling various garden accessories online, such as colonial black lanterns, suncatchers, a distressed outdoor clock and more.  

While the Historic Plant & Garden Sale will only last about two weeks, aspiring gardeners can learn from Mount Vernon experts through several live and pre-recorded videos found on the organization’s website. The most recent course? A container gardening workshop, hosted by Welles Creamer. 

For a full schedule of Mount Vernon’s daily workshops, which vary in topic each week, click here. Plus, Mount Vernon has a variety of other garden-focused resources, including virtual tours and fact sheets of the grounds, history lessons on gardening’s roots and so much more to keep you informed and entertained at home.

Stay up to date on everything happening in the NoVA community by subscribing to our newsletters.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

6 great biking trails in Northern Virginia

Westlake Legal Group 6-great-biking-trails-in-northern-virginia 6 great biking trails in Northern Virginia wellness trails Things to Do Features Things to Do Summer Spring outside Outdoors health and wellness Health family friendly things to do exercise biking trails biking Bike
Westlake Legal Group mount-vernon-trail 6 great biking trails in Northern Virginia wellness trails Things to Do Features Things to Do Summer Spring outside Outdoors health and wellness Health family friendly things to do exercise biking trails biking Bike
The Mount Vernon Trail (Photo by Renee Sklarew)

Editor’s Note: This post was originally written for our April print issue, before the current coronavirus situation we are facing. Please check the trails’ websites to see if they are open at this time.


Written by Renee Sklarew, Mathina Calliope and Nevin Martell

Mount Vernon Trail

Go if: You want to time travel on two wheels.

Address: Arlington, Alexandria and Belle Haven

Mileage: 36 miles round-trip from Key Bridge to Mount Vernon. (For a shorter ride, find free parking at Theodore Roosevelt Island, LBJ Memorial Grove, Washington Sailing Marina, Dyke Marsh and Fort Hunt Park.)

Difficulty: Intermediate, Old Town section joins city roads

The Mount Vernon Trail takes you on a picturesque path along the Potomac River, with the river opening up and getting wider the closer you get to Mount Vernon. The trail starts at Roosevelt Island (or, if you’re feeling particularly energetic, start earlier on the Potomac Heritage Trail and ride past all the monuments along the same path as the GW Parkway). With many historic things to see along the way (Netherlands Carillon, Old Town Alexandria, Jones Point, Lyndon B. Johnson Memorial Grove, Arlington Cemetery), it’s a history-packed day. For a shorter ride, there are multiple parking lots along the way. Arrive at Mount Vernon, lunch at the Inn, say hello to George and then don’t worry about pedaling the 18 miles back to civilization. You can hop aboard a Potomac Riverboat Company by Hornblower vessel and get a new view.

Where to cool your wheels: Top off the history theme with lunch at The Mount Vernon Inn serving up American classics with servers in Colonial-period costumes. At a midway point, grab a snack in Old Town Alexandria, or start the day with a picnic at Gravelly Point Park, watching the airplanes take off from Reagan before you hit the trail.

Massanutten Mountain Bike Park 

Go if: You want to visit a ski resort in spring.

Address: 1822 Resort Drive, McGaheysville

Mileage: 30 miles (split amongst multiple trails)

Difficulty: Varies by trail

Yes, Massanutten Resort is well known for its skiing and even its summer activities, but the resort’s Mountain Bike Park is a pretty cool feature that flies under the radar. Mountain bikers love it for the gorgeous views and thrilling descents—and the added novelty of taking the ski lift to the top of the mountain. With 30 miles of beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert trails, nobody is going home without a challenging workout. Looking to shred? The renowned World Cup Trail has rocky, tight, technical sections and super rock gardens. If you’re looking for daredevil jumps and maximum speeds, take the Creamy Trail. Trying mountain biking for the first time? The Peanut is the perfect practice track with its mellow, gentle slopes. No snow, all the hills.

Where to cool your wheels: We’d recommend making a weekend out of this one. Get your exercise in on your bike, then cool out in the spa, followed by dinner at the lodge.

Westlake Legal Group connolly-trail 6 great biking trails in Northern Virginia wellness trails Things to Do Features Things to Do Summer Spring outside Outdoors health and wellness Health family friendly things to do exercise biking trails biking Bike
Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail (Photo by Don Sweeney)

Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail

Go if: You want to have fun throughout Fairfax.

Address: Across Fairfax County

Mileage: 40 miles

Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate

Named after the congressman who has worked to protect natural lands in Fairfax, the Gerry Connolly Cross County Trail (GCCT) runs 40 miles of flat bike path from Great Falls Park all the way to Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton. Especially scenic in the spring, look for a carpet of bluebells on either side of the path. GCCT knits together 10 Northern Virginia parks, including Lake Accotink, Wakefield Park and Reston’s segment of the W&OD Trail. In busier spots, expect to share the trail with joggers, equestrians, dog walkers and strollers. If you’ve ever wanted to try a multiday bike tour, the newish path is part of the East Coast Greenway, which stretches from Maine to Key West.

Fountainhead Regional Park

Go if: You want to be truly challenged.

Address: 10875 Hampton Road, Fairfax Station

Mileage: 15 total miles, with shorter sections

Difficulty: Beginner to Advanced

Hard-core mountain bikers have lots of options on Northern Virginia’s network of hilly and forested trails. But for true mountain bike enthusiasts, they all know that Fountainhead Regional Park offers the most challenging trails in the region. Bike it and you’ll find it’s got a head-spinning series of twists and turns with 14.2 miles of short steep climbs and several fast descents. The expert-only section consists of double-black loops with three major drops, heart-pumping jump platforms and fields of rocks. But it’s also an equal opportunity park: The stacked loop system means there are trails for beginners and intermediate mountain bikers as well. Beginners love the Green Loop’s gentle series of bridges, while the Blue Loop’s rooty rivulets and screaming berms make for some technically difficult terrain. When you stop for a breather, take in some gorgeous views of the Occoquan River.

Where to cool your wheels: Just about 4 miles from the park is the recently revamped and now more casual (read: it’s OK to go with your post-biking glow) Trummer’s. The quaint town of Clifton is the backdrop for the restaurant’s seasonal, modern takes on Southern cuisine. After that rigorous ride, Trummer’s house-made s’mores are guilt-free.

Cupcake Ramble at BicycleSpace DC

Go if: You want to eat sweets from your seat.

Address: 1512 Okie St. NE, Washington, DC

Mileage: 15-20 miles

Difficulty: Intermediate

Forget bikes and brews, how about cupcakes? BicycleSpace DC offers a weekly come-one, come-all ride on Saturdays called the Cupcake Ramble that ends with a sweet treat. A 15- to 25-mile easy ride through the city with the finish line at a local bakery? Sign us up.

Where to cool your wheels: After the cupcakes, want a cocktail? BicycleSpace in Ivy City is near a number of hip distilleries and City Winery.

Loudoun County Ale Trail 

Go if: You want a side of beer with your bike.

Address: Find stops at visitloudoun.org/drink/loco-ale-trail

Mileage: 10 miles

Difficulty: Beginner

Loudoun County is home to 34 craft breweries and owners have joined forces to create the Loudoun County Ale Trail. Some say it was designed especially for beer drinkers with a bike habit. You can tour these innovative breweries from a bike seat by hopping onto the Washington & Old Dominion Trail (W&OD), a 45-mile paved trail stretching from Arlington to Purcellville.

This post originally appeared in our April 2020 print issue. For more great hiking and biking trails, subscribe to our Parks & Rec newsletter.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Here’s how to start your spring gardening

Westlake Legal Group heres-how-to-start-your-spring-gardening Here’s how to start your spring gardening Things to Do Spring Gardens Spring social distancing quarantine plants Home Resources Home & Design Home gardens Gardening Tips gardening garden resources flowers COVID-19 coronavirus Corona April Showers April Flowers april
Westlake Legal Group spring-gardening-tips-during-covid19 Here’s how to start your spring gardening Things to Do Spring Gardens Spring social distancing quarantine plants Home Resources Home & Design Home gardens Gardening Tips gardening garden resources flowers COVID-19 coronavirus Corona April Showers April Flowers april
Photo by Irene Dávila

Looking for ways to social distance and keep yourself occupied could be giving you Instagram envy of all sorts: baking bread, redesigning your home or even planting a garden. 

If the latter has caught your eye lately, Nikki O’Rourke, owner of Modern Foliage Designs, LLC, is here to help. Gardening not only will get you outside and in the fresh air, but it will also give you the opportunity to turn a small patch of land into something even more beautiful. 

In highlights from our conversation below, find tips on how to plan for your garden, what you should and shouldn’t be planting in early April and how to add a few plants to your life even if you don’t have an outdoor grassy patch.

If someone is trying to plant a garden for the first time, what are a few starting steps they should take?

Before you even think about breaking ground, think about how much time you will actually spend in the garden. Are you willing to go weekly, or are do you just want to let it do its thing? Knowing your realistic gardening time allotment, you can start to select the plants you want to grow. Annual and perennial flowers require more work than shrubs and trees (with exceptions).

The next thing I would recommend is understanding what type of light you have. Are you full sun, no sun or part sun? South-facing yards get the most sun, while north-facing get the least. East gets morning and cool sun, while west gets afternoon’s hot sun.

The beginning of spring is warm but still has those cooler nights. What are the best things to plant in early April for the mixed weather?

Now is a great time to get your cold crops growing: broccoli, kale, cabbage and peas. You can even get your early flowers in too. This year may prove to warm up sooner than last, so I’ve been taking risks in my own garden and getting some summer flowers in the ground early.

If you want to plant shrubs and trees, you’ve got a small window to get things in the ground and established, I would wait no later than Friday, May 1. Otherwise, I would wait until fall to do a major overhaul. With proper care you can plant anytime, but for low maintenance I would abide by these suggestions.

Since many might be planting gardens with some newfound free time, what advice would you give them on enjoying the process?

Don’t strive for perfection. Gardens are organic and growing and evolving; don’t stress over perfect pruning (unless it’s a hedge). Let plants do what they want to do for the first year. If it gets too leggy, clip it. If you prune too much and it’s ugly, wait two weeks and it’ll grow back. It’s the imperfections in a garden that make it perfect. I think that’s why I enjoy gardens so much is because my lack of perfectionism allows the gardens to move organically in the space. Nature does a much better job of designing than any person can.

How do you make the most of a garden with only a small amount of space?

I love planting annuals in my small-space gardens and coupling them with just a few evergreen plants to last all season. Annuals can get expensive to change season after season, so I reserve them for my smaller spaces where I can afford to go all out and make a bigger impact.

If you don’t have space for a garden but are dreaming of one, what are some good balcony plants for early April, or indoor plants to adopt this spring?

All your indoor plants can make it outside in one location or another. But just like people, they can get sunburned. Don’t just put them outside in bright light without expecting damage. You need to acclimate them to the sun, maybe a couple morning hours at a time, before they can stay out all day. I love putting palm trees on my deck. They screen me from the neighbors and are easy to maintain in a pot. For flowering plants, try hibiscus or mandevilla. They bloom most of the summer and are pretty no-fuss.

Are there any plants people should avoid planting right now? 

Monday, April 20 is our usual last frost day. This year has warmed up significantly early so I’m taking the risk, but anything below 45 degrees has a chance of causing damage to sensitive tropical plants or flowering annuals.

What is your personal favorite springtime plant?

This year I’m loving my newest addition to the gardenVeronica ‘Georgia Blue’ (for full to partial sun). It bloomed even before my daffodils came up and is still going strong. I divided it from a friend’s garden last fall and it has tripled in size. It’s a ground-cover plant and hopefully will take over some of my bare spots in the garden. But each year my favorite plants change season to season. I always love finding something new!

Why do you think it’s a good activity to get out and plant during social distancing and quarantine? What about it can be beneficial?

This can be a little hard to answer without sounding cliché, but a garden is such a peaceful oasis away from all the city life. I can really focus on watching the little bugs move around or the squirrels hopping around in my trees (and stealing my tulips). I love to focus in on these sounds and colors and it just feels rejuvenating. There are also the many therapeutic qualities of dirt itself and how it has been shown to decrease anxiety and even increase health.

Is there anything else you would want readers to know about starting spring gardening in early April?

Don’t be afraid if your plant hasn’t come to life yet. Some plants wait until late May to even put on new leaves! Gardening is a lesson in patience, so just wait and see what happens. 

Want more gardening tips? Subscribe to our weekly Home newsletter.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

2 NoVA natives create musical about Princess Diana

Westlake Legal Group Queen-Diana-play 2 NoVA natives create musical about Princess Diana Things to Do Theater stage Spring special events plays performing arts performances nova in 19 Events Culture Features Culture COVID-19 coronavirus cancellations
© Kimimasa Mayama / Reuters / stock.adobe.com

Editor’s Note: This story was published in our April 2020 print issue. The musical, Princess Diana: Queen of the People’s Hearts was originally scheduled to be held on April 4. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, it has been canceled. 

With the popularity of Netflix’s The Crown and the frenzied media coverage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s marriage, it’s safe to say that Americans are obsessed with our royal friends across the pond—and always have been. Princess Diana herself remains a legacy in both British and American culture, and this month, local fans of the People’s Princess can head to Hylton Performing Arts Center to watch Princess Diana: Queen of the People’s Hearts, a musical written by two Northern Virginia natives, Randal Dewey and Angela Knight. Here, they share the need-to-know details about the show.

How did the two of you decide to create the musical?

AK: I was at the Kennedy Center watching Hamilton. I had a lightning bolt plot in my brain; it was just an aha moment. I was filled with confidence and I said, “I’m going to write a musical about Princess Diana.” I ran out during intermission, grabbed a pen out of my purse and my little envelope that my tickets were in and I started writing the musical immediately. Then I ran out to the fountains outside and I called Randal and said, “Do you want to partner with me and write a musical about the life of Princess Diana?” He and I have always partnered together; we’ve been friends for 16 years.

RD: Angela and I always collaborated musically. I immediately jumped into it. I grabbed a lot of books and started researching Princess Diana, and took a more analytical approach. It really set itself out in two acts—it was blatantly obvious from my research to do so. It almost wrote itself: Act one is the courtship and fairy tale wedding, and the second act follows Diana mania through her marriage falling apart and her tragic ending.

Is the show fact-based or were creative liberties taken with the plot line?

AK: It’s fact-based. Everything I learned about her growing up was from the media, and it is all pretty true and factual, as we have now discovered by researching her life. Life is very theatrical, very traumatic and some real-life situations you can’t make up. Her life was complex; you don’t have to add anything else to it.

What was the inspiration for the title?

RD: When the marriage was falling apart and they were getting a divorce, there was a big argument about whether the royal title would be stripped from Diana. She famously got asked, “Do you care if you’re Queen of England?” and she said, “I don’t care if I’m the Queen of England, as long as I am the queen of the people’s hearts.”

For more interviews with local talent, subscribe to our newsletters.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

11 events to look forward to in NoVA

Westlake Legal Group horse-race 11 events to look forward to in NoVA Things to Do Features Things to Do spring events Spring special events shows plays family events Family exhibitions COVID-19 coronavirus concerts cancelations april calendar april
Photo by Eduardo Rawdriguez

Editor’s Note: This piece was initially published in our April 2020 print issue as our monthly “NoVA in 19.” Due to the coronavirus outbreak, our monthly calendar looks a little different online. Many planned events have been canceled, others postponed and a few remain as scheduled (for now). We have updated the below text to reflect those changes and have removed events that have been completely canceled. 

1. Celebrate the arrival of spring with The Middleburg Spring Races. The annual event brings thousands of fans to Loudoun County as they cheer on the horses and jockeys around the famous Alfred Hunt Steeplechase course. // May 30, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Glenwood Park: 36800 Glenwood Park Lane, Middleburg; $20-$1,500

Westlake Legal Group Queen-Diana-play 11 events to look forward to in NoVA Things to Do Features Things to Do spring events Spring special events shows plays family events Family exhibitions COVID-19 coronavirus concerts cancelations april calendar april
© Kimimasa Mayama / Reuters / stock.adobe.com

2. NoVA natives Randal Dewey and Angela Knight were set to debut their musical Princess Diana: Queen of the People’s Heartsa work of art depicting Princess Diana’s life, on April 4 at The Hylton Performing Arts Center. While the coronavirus altered those plans causing the two creatives to cancel their show, you can still learn more about it in our interview with them here.

3. Marvel at the talents of ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro. The Hawaiian native rose to fame through his ukulele covers on YouTube, including George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” Now, Shimabukuro has released his second album, Trio, which features collaborations with Bette Midler, Jack Johnson and more. // April 15, 7 p.m.; Tally Ho Theater: 19 W. Market St. SW, Leesburg; $45

Westlake Legal Group Vanessa-Carlton 11 events to look forward to in NoVA Things to Do Features Things to Do spring events Spring special events shows plays family events Family exhibitions COVID-19 coronavirus concerts cancelations april calendar april
Photo by Alysse Gafkjen

4. Vanessa Carlton joins Jenny O. for the Love is an Art Tour to celebrate her sixth album. Fans will rejoice in Carlton’s new album Love is an Art, while enjoying classic hits, like “A Thousand Miles” and “White Houses.” // Postponed, date TBA; The Birchmere: 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; $29.50

Westlake Legal Group giant-preying-mantus 11 events to look forward to in NoVA Things to Do Features Things to Do spring events Spring special events shows plays family events Family exhibitions COVID-19 coronavirus concerts cancelations april calendar april
Praying mantis sculpture created by artist David Rogers

5. David Rogers’ Big Bugs exhibit is a nature lover’s dream come true. Guests can take a stroll around the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley’s 7-acre garden in search of larger-than-life creatures, including a 10-foot daddy long-legs and an 18-foot-long praying mantis. // April 18-Sept. 13; Museum of the Shenandoah Valley: 901 Amherst St., Winchester; $5-$15

Westlake Legal Group Alex-Cuba 11 events to look forward to in NoVA Things to Do Features Things to Do spring events Spring special events shows plays family events Family exhibitions COVID-19 coronavirus concerts cancelations april calendar april
Photo by Christina Woerns

6. Four-time Latin Grammy winner Alex Cuba is making his way to the region. The musician’s seventh studio album, Sublime, combines retro Cuban roots with the “Latinoamericana” genre with hit songs “Dividido” and “Solo Mia.” // Oct. 11; 8 p.m.; Jammin Java: 227 Maple Ave. E., Vienna; $15-$20

7. See up-and-coming artists from the DMV at the 2020 Emerging Artists exhibit at Torpedo Factory Art Center. This third annual exhibit will feature work from MK Bailey, Mahsa R. Fard, Zia Palmer and Latrelle Rostant. Stop by opening night on Aug. 14 for a special reception with the exhibit’s featured artists. // Aug. 1-Sept. 13; Torpedo Factory Art Center: 105 N. Union St., Alexandria; free

Westlake Legal Group joan-osborne 11 events to look forward to in NoVA Things to Do Features Things to Do spring events Spring special events shows plays family events Family exhibitions COVID-19 coronavirus concerts cancelations april calendar april
Courtesy of Wolf Trap

8. Grammy-nominated artist Joan Osborne is taking the stage at Wolf Trap. With a career full of successful hits, the “One of Us” singer’s latest album, Songs of Bob Dylan, features covers of the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer, including “Rainy Day Women” and “High Water.” // Jan. 22; 8 p.m.; The Barns: 1635 Trap Road, Vienna; $42-$47

Westlake Legal Group horse-race-exhibit 11 events to look forward to in NoVA Things to Do Features Things to Do spring events Spring special events shows plays family events Family exhibitions COVID-19 coronavirus concerts cancelations april calendar april
The Start, 2003, oil on linen, 48 x 60 inches, Gift of Mrs. Peter Manigault, 2015, © Daphne vom Baur

9. Learn about the history of steeplechasing through Thrill of the ‘Chace: Steeplechase in Art. The exhibit will feature paintings, sculptures and works on paper that showcase the worldwide reach of the over-250-year-old sport. // April 10-Sept. 13; National Sporting Library & Museum: 102 The Plains Road, Middleburg; free

Westlake Legal Group camille-sig-theatre 11 events to look forward to in NoVA Things to Do Features Things to Do spring events Spring special events shows plays family events Family exhibitions COVID-19 coronavirus concerts cancelations april calendar april
Photo by Christopher Mueller

10. Travel back to 19th-century France for a special presentation of Camille Claudel. This musical features the story behind the famous French sculptor, the men who determined her life and her creative masterpieces that broke society’s limitations and expanded the art world. // Postponed until 2021; Signature Theatre: 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington; $40-$95

11. Spend your weekend surrounded by art at the eighth annual Arlington Festival of the Arts. The festival will include over 100 artists in attendance, showcasing a variety of mediums, including glass, paintings, pottery and more. // Postponed, date TBA; 3003 Washington Blvd., Arlington; free

This post originally appeared in our April 2020 issue. For more events to add to your calendar or inspiration on how to spend your days at home, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Meow DC set to return to the region for its second year

Westlake Legal Group czino-meow-dc-union-market-may-20 Meow DC set to return to the region for its second year Washington DC events washington dc union market Things to Do Spring pets pet events may events May Events cats Cat Events cat Calendar
© czino / stock.adobe.com

Time to put on your cat-eared headband and get down to Union Market. 

On Saturday, May 30, Meow DC will make its return to the nation’s capital with over 60 vendors, meet and greets, a film festival and more, all in the name of felines. (Note that this date could change in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. As of publishing date, the event has not been postponed or canceled.)

Find cat clothing (for you and your pet), cat-themed gifts and catnip treats, and catch the prize giveaways every hour. Want to learn more about cat ownership? Check out the presentations being held throughout the day, such as “Ask the Veterinarian” and “Helping Special Needs Cats Thrive.” 

Even “celebri-cats” will be there, including Pudge (@pudgethecat on Instagram), Sunglass Cat (@sunglasscat) and Pip the Beach Cat (@imfeelingpipsy). Some meet and greets require an additional ticket and range from $5 to $10. Plus, don’t miss Sterling “Trap King” Davis during his presentation on his experience with trap-neuter-release and the betterment of the cat community. 

Meow DC started in 2019 as a fundraiser for the Humane Rescue Alliance, and all proceeds from ticket prices ($40 each) will go back to the foundation. // Union Market: 1309 Fifth St. NE, Washington, DC; May 30, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; $40 online, $45 at door 

For more local event coverage, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

National Cherry Blossom Festival’s official artist talks inspiration

Westlake Legal Group official-cherry-blossom-poster National Cherry Blossom Festival’s official artist talks inspiration style Spring Special Event shopping posters painting Paint National Cherry Blossom Festival merchandise matt long Culture Features cherry blossoms cherry blossom art artwork arts artist Art annual event
The official artwork of the 2020 National Cherry Blossom Festival (Photo courtesy of Matt Long)

This week, cherry blossom trees throughout the DMV will be at their peak bloom. And while getting out there and seeing the beautiful blossoms in person may not be plausible this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are plenty of other ways to feel the spirit of the spring season. 

One way to bring the floras to you is by observing the work of Frederick, Maryland-based artist Matt Long, the official artist of this year’s National Cherry Blossom Festival. The majority of this year’s scheduled events are canceled but luckily for us, Long’s work is already done, as he has created the official artwork for the affair, found on posters, T-shirts, water bottles and even the side of buses zooming throughout the District. 

Here, Long shares how his work was chosen, inspiration behind the artwork and what exactly this opportunity means to him. 

Westlake Legal Group Matt-Long-in-floral-car National Cherry Blossom Festival’s official artist talks inspiration style Spring Special Event shopping posters painting Paint National Cherry Blossom Festival merchandise matt long Culture Features cherry blossoms cherry blossom art artwork arts artist Art annual event
In 2019, Matt Long drove a cherry-blossom-themed car that he created himself through the Washington Auto Show. (Photo courtesy of Matt Long)

How did you first get involved with the National Cherry Blossom Festival?

Specifically, as my art career has taken off, I am always looking for things. Living in the DMV, I’ve been aware that [the festival] always picks an artist to brand the festival, it’s been on my radar. I was invited to paint a car at the Washington Auto Show in 2019, which usually takes place at the end of January, but this past year it happened in the spring, coinciding with the National Cherry Blossom Festival. People from the auto show got in contact with me and asked if I would be interested in painting a cherry-blossom-themed art car. It’s a heavy event with the foot traffic; you work live on the floor there. We eventually wheeled it out to the parade and I got to drive in the parade too. 

Throughout that experience I met the right people and made good contacts. I asked them about how they work with an artist each year and after a conference call, a few meetings and the fine print, I got the acceptance email. That was a really awesome day. 

Talk to me about the creative process behind this design.

The creative process was not too shabby; I do what comes naturally to me. The team was all really nice to work with, and I am used to working with clients to satisfy their needs visually. I started with three sketches, then we refined it and then I took it digitally too. For the unveiling I did more of a visual art form, which was then transformed into all of the merchandise for the festival. 

In terms of design, [the festival] was keen on having the Jefferson Memorial and we went back and forth on including the Washington Monument. Of course, a lot of blossoms are included. I think for me the color palette is where I strayed a little different. In the past, they’ve used a ton of pale pinks and light blues, but I got hung up on this Japanese painting I saw and images of the Tidal Bison at dusk. So we went for this: blossoms at dusk. With the other elements, the tree trunk is styled by me and the stars I tend to throw in with a lot of my work. My style is very busy and vibrant, and it captures the energy of this spring event. 

Westlake Legal Group official-unveiling-of-cherry-blossom-poster National Cherry Blossom Festival’s official artist talks inspiration style Spring Special Event shopping posters painting Paint National Cherry Blossom Festival merchandise matt long Culture Features cherry blossoms cherry blossom art artwork arts artist Art annual event
The official unveiling of the 2020 National Cherry Blossom Festival artwork (Photo courtesy of Matt Long)

What’s it like seeing your work be printed and used for something that catches the attention of hundreds of thousands of people?

It’s a really big honor. The festival picks one artist in the nation. It’s an extreme level of exposure and the art goes across all the merchandise, which people can find online. I worked with the festival to lay all that out. At first when I got the gig I was like, “Oh, I’m just doing what I’m doing.” It didn’t really sink in until I went to the unveiling at District Winery. Then I was like, “OK, this is surreal.” It’s one thing to be producing the art and sending it off, but I am really living in it and creating a tone for the festival. 

How will this experience impact you and your work?

The advertising and exposure to get my name out is insane. I think this will definitely help me to further push my signature out in the world.

For more Q&As with residents of the DMV, subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com