Tag Archives: Washington

Weekender: Not the Standard Brunch & Brew

Starr Hill Brewery - Crozet, Va.

Starr Hill Brewery – Crozet, Va.

I haven’t owned a car for six years.  It’s both a benefit and a drawback.  Not owning a car forces me to be creative and make concerted efforts to leave Washington when I can.

Charlottesville, Va., home of the University of Virginia, is about a three-hour train ride from Washington and costs a fraction to visit compared to New York or Philadelphia.  Enterprise will also arrange to pick you up at the train station so you can rent a car to see the city and points nearby like Crozet, Barboursville, Ruckersville, and Stanardsville, to name a few.

Virginia is known for its wine and it produces some of the best in the country.  However, did you know that Virginia is home to over 60 breweries with several in the vicinity of Charlottesville?

If you like brunch and beer as I do, you won’t want to miss The Standard on Main Street in Stanardsville for brunch and Starr Hill brewery in Crozet for a tour and tasting.

The Standard - Stanardsville, VA

The Standard – Stanardsville, VA
Photo Courtesy of Kris Seale

In a previous post, I stated that I am not a food critic.  What I do know is that I enjoy clean, local food served in a welcoming environment.  While its name is a bit of a misnomer, The Standard offers both.

The Standard promotes community involvement.  The day I visited with my family, meals were being served by a group of middle-school students who were raising money to go to the Galapagos Islands on a service project.  Great food and the opportunity to encourage students to explore the world while helping others?  I couldn’t have tipped enough.

After a filling and lazy brunch, we hopped in the car and headed for Crozet, which is a scenic 50 minute drive from Stanardsville.

Crozet, Va., is the home of Starr Hill brewery.  Starr Hill was founded in the late 90’s and I’ve found their products in Washington at Whole Foods Market and other restaurants and bars around town.

What marked the experience as a “must do” was the well-organized tour of the facility where you are taken through the brewing process from grain selection to distribution.  Starr Hill also offers a tasting room where you can sample their year-round and seasonal brews.

Did you grow up in the Mid-Atlantic and want to feel nostalgic?  Grab a bottle of Starr Hill malt vinegar to put on home-cooked French fries and remember those days spent on the boardwalk at the Maryland and Delaware beaches.

Charlottesville isn’t your standard college town.  Drive around and you’ll see.  Be sure, however, to ask residents about their favorite destinations.  You may find some out-of-the-way treasures like The Standard or Starr Hill brewery just a short distance from Charlottesville, Washington, and Richmond.

Also, don’t sweat not owning a car.  Get creative and get there:

The Standard
76 Main Street
Stanardsville, VA

Starr Hill Brewery
5391 Notch’d Road
Crozet, VA

Weekender: Autumn Running

U.S. Capitol - Washington, DC

U.S. Capitol – Washington, DC

In my opinion, autumn is the best season in Washington for outdoor enthusiasts.  By late September, winds and lingering summer storms have swept the haze and humidity out of the city making room for crisp days and chilly nights.

For someone who loathes summers in Washington, I welcome autumn not only for the weather but for the abundance of races like the Army 10-Miler and neighborhood Turkey Trots on Thanksgiving.

Last week, The Washington Post ran an article about Washingtonians’ obsession with running.  The article suggested that the reason there are so many runners in the city is not due to the climate and terrain, but because Washingtonians are (stereotypically) more competitive and driven.

I don’t necessarily agree.

Washingtonians deal with extremes:  oppressive summers, crippling traffic, and self-induced job stress, to name a few.

We also know how to blow off steam, whether it’s checking out the newest neighborhood watering hole or getting up early to run on the mall, through Rock Creek Park, or along the Potomac River on the Mount Vernon Trail.

This autumn, consider walking, running, or biking the sights and take advantage of Washington’s history and flat terrain while lifting the mood and reducing stress.

Our days are numbered as we inch closer to the gray winter months.  Set a personal goal, sign up for a race, and get out there.  The city’s sights, set against blue backdrops and accented with vibrant oranges, reds, and yellows are yours for the taking.

Weekender: Postcard from the Edge

Thomas Circle, Washington, DC - 1940

Thomas Circle, Washington, DC – 1940

I grew up in the Washington, DC area as did my parents and grandparents.

Looking for work as young adults, each of my paternal grandparents moved to Washington from central Virginia.  It was in Washington that they met, got married, and started a family.

After visiting in-laws in Richmond, my grandfather sent this postcard as a thank you for a pleasant visit.  The postcard portrays Thomas Circle along 14th Street in 1940.  It was taken on the edge of the now re-developed part of the 14th Street corridor along Thomas Circle.

The three-story building on the right is now a hotel, but the National City Christian Church on the left and Luther Place Memorial Church in the middle still stand.  The statue of General George H. Thomas, erected by the the Society of the Army of the Cumberland also stands and is encircled by snarling rush-hour traffic and office buildings.

Interested in learning more about the neighborhood’s history?  Check out the Logan Circle Heritage Trail.