"There's no place like home. . . there's no place like home. . . there's no place like home." Home for The Belt Team is Vienna, Virginia. Please stop by frequently and share with us all the things about life in Vienna that make Vienna truly the best place to live.

Welcome to Vienna, Virginia

Friday, May 28, 2010

8 Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day in Vienna, Virginia

This weekend, we mark another Memorial Day. Who will you be remembering?

On May 2, 2000 - the White House put out a statement that said "As Memorial Day approaches, it is time to pause and consider the true meaning of this holiday. Memorial Day represents one day of national awareness and reverence, honoring those Americans who died while defending our Nation and its values. While we should honor these heroes every day for the profound contribution they have made to securing our Nation's freedom, we should honor them especially on Memorial Day. "

Here are a few ideas for things to do in Vienna this Memorial Day weekend:

1. "The President's Own" (the United States Marine Band) will be playing a FREE concert at Wolftrap on Sunday, May 30th. The concert will be followed by fireworks. Gates open at 6:30PM, show at 8PM, fireworks at 9:45PM.

2. Meet & greet the folks who stay in & around the Vienna area when they come for Rolling Thunder. It's not hard to miss them - just look for the big groups of Harley Davidson riders. These veterans of the Vietnam war convene for a demonstration each year to urge the government to account for all MIA's and POW's and also ride to show their love & respect for veterans and soldiers of all wars. If you want to actually see the "RIDE" on Sunday (it's a very moving sight), the best spots are along the Memorial Bridge & Constitution Avenue.

3. Enjoy the Memorial Day Tribute at Viva Vienna. Viva Vienna is a huge festival that takes place in Vienna each year (rides, vendors, food, entertainment & more!). In the midst of the festival on Monday, stop by the Vienna Town Green for a Memorial Day tribute - FREE - 3 to 4PM

4. Mike Klee's True Blue American Show - Also at Viva Vienna, you'll find a Children's Stage. On Monday at 3PM, your kids might enjoy learning about American history & being entertained at the same time!

5. Call your grandpa, mom, brother, aunt, friend - whomever you know is serving or has served our country and tell them THANK YOU!

6. The Soundry's "Verbal Assault" - May 28th at 8PM at The Soundry in Vienna. One of the freedoms we most celebrate in the United States, is the freedom of speech. This unique event is a weekly celebration of expression. Tonight's theme is "Solitary Confinement". Here's what the web site says: "Verbal Assault has been sentenced to “Silentary Confinement”! What are we to do?!? Use movement, body language, facial expressions, chalk, and the GIANT Whiteboard to express yourself and a party we will have. Once you cross the threshold of silence, not a sound we will make, but we will be heard. Most communicative will be awarded an awesome prize. Watch out for the Improper Imps!"

7. Stop in at one of Vienna's many churches to attend a service or say a prayer for peace & for protection of our armed forces. There are too many churches in Vienna to list them all, but here are a few options - St. Mark Catholic Church, Vienna Presbyterian Church, First Baptist Church of Vienna, Church of the Holy Comforter, Wesley United Methodist Church, Vienna Baptist Church, Our Lady of Good Counsel.

8. Lastly, what's more "All-American" than baseball? (You know how we love baseball here at TheresNoPlaceLikeVienna.com!) There are some great games going on in Vienna this weekend. Stop by Waters Field during the weekend to see Vienna Babe Ruth's Senior League games. Or stop by James Madison High School tonight (May 28th) at 7PM to see Madison take on Hayfield in the Northern Region tournament. Madison will also host the Northern Region Quarterfinals on Monday at 1PM and 4PM.

There are LOTS of other great ways to celebrate Memorial Day in the Washington DC area. But whatever you do, make sure you remember why we mark this day.

Happy Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Madison Miracle Hijacks Hardware From McLean Highlanders

Vienna has a LONG history & reputation for producing great baseball players. And if you missed this week's District Championship Baseball Game between Vienna's Madison HS Warhawks and McLean HS's Highlanders, you missed an EPIC game! Lucky for you, we are blessed with another post from Guest Blogger, Dave Graham. Enjoy!



We often hear during the NFL playoffs that it is tough to beat a team three straight times in a season. The same typically applies to the Liberty District Baseball Tournament. However, when one of the teams won the previous two games by a combined score of 24-6, is the top ranked team in the Northern Region and the second ranked team in the state, a third consecutive victory would seem to be a foregone conclusion. Facing such a daunting challenge, the Madison Warhawks rose to the occasion pulling off a miraculous upset to snatch the Liberty District Championship trophy from the hands of the defending District Champion McLean Highlanders.

Central to the stunning victory was a bold pitching strategy formulated by Madison Coach Mark “Pudge” Gjormand. Having given up a dozen runs in each of the previous contests between the teams, Gjormand had to find a way to shut down the McLean bats. Heeding the advice of Albert Einstein that “one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results,” Gjormand devised a scheme to keep the Highlanders off balance by pulling his pitcher every other inning regardless of how well he was doing.

When David faced Goliath, he chose five smooth stones. Gjormand chose four to hurl the stone. The first three---Eli Facenda, Dan Powers and Nate Favero---pitched two innings apiece and the fourth---Danny Cate---closed in the seventh. They embodied the age diversity of the team; respectively, they are a junior, freshman, sophomore and senior. The first and third are more finesse pitchers while the second and fourth are more power pitchers. Facenda, a stocky lefty, was followed by a trio of righties who kept getting longer and lankier. Backed by several stellar defensive plays, the quartet combined to limit the potent McLean line up to three hits and a lone unearned run.

In addition to having the advantages of being a prohibitive underdog and having a daring pitching strategy, another factor in the Warhawk’s favor was that although the Highlanders were the higher seed, the location of the game had been predetermined to be Madison. To be sure the Highlander faithful were well represented but the Warhawk Nation was out in force and made the confines at JMHS “visitor” friendly.

Against that backdrop, the Highlanders sent Sean Fitzgerald, the Liberty District Pitcher of the Year, to the mound. He had pitched three innings Friday night getting the win in extra innings in the semifinal game. He began this game in impressive fashion needing only thirteen pitches to set down the side in order on an infield pop up, a comebacker and a strike out.

Facenda started the game pitching carefully to Liberty District Player of the Year Riley Beiro ultimately issuing a five pitch walk. On a 1-1 count, he induced a room service ground ball to short and Andy McGuire, Favero and Jonny Graham dialed 6-4-3 for a splendid twin killing. This loomed particularly large when Fitzgerald shot a grounder through the left side for a single. Facenda retired the side on a comebacker.

Scott Bernier led off the second for the Warhawks by wearing a curve ball in the back. After a strike out, Jay Kenyon crushed a drive on a bounce off the fence to the left of the 415 sign in left center with Bernier scurrying home. Austin Mellor entered as a courtesy runner. It looked like Madison would put another run on the board when Graham scorched a shot to center. However, the fleet Beiro, who played shallow all game, raced in to make the catch and doubled the runner off second to end the inning.

Josh Sborz led off the second with a rocket barely over the second baseman’s leap that went to the fence for a double. After a pop up to second, James Oldenburg sacrificed the runner to third and was safe at first when the throw pulled the first baseman off the bag. Facenda picked off Oldenburg who broke for second. Graham looked Sborz back to third and fired to shortstop Andy McGuire who started to chase Oldenburg back to first then relayed home where Kenyon blocked the plate and tagged Sborz for a crucial out. After the textbook execution of the rundown, Charlie Geiger walked to put runners at first and second. Facenda got ahead of the next hitter 1-2, ran the count full and ultimately recorded a swinging strike out to conclude an eight pitch at bat.

Fitzgerald mowed down Madison in order in the top of the third needing only thirteen pitches sandwiching a pair of strike outs around a ground out.
In the bottom of the third with the top of the Highlander order coming to the plate, people were wondering if Facenda had been injured as Madison sent Powers to the mound. A freshman facing the top of the order in a 1-0 game when the starter had only thrown thirty pitches? Little did they know it was part of a plan. Beiro fouled off a pair of two strike pitches before drawing a walk on a full count. Chris Russo grounded a single through the left side to put runners at first and second. Powers got a huge out on strikes then a force play at second put runners at the corners. A wild pitch moved the runner to second but Beiro held third. With the runners off with the pitch, Powers escaped the jam getting another swinging strike out on a full count.

Matt Moore was plunked in the posterior with a curve ball to start the eventful fourth for the Warhawks. He was forced at second on Teddy Turner’s hard grounder to first. Bernier reached out and poked an outside pitch for a bloop single barely out of reach of the second baseman. The runners advanced to second and third on a wild pitch and after a strike out, Kenyon hit a grounder to short. The throw to first bounced and the first baseman knocked it down but couldn’t scoop it allowing Turner to score and putting runners at first and third. Mellor again entered as a courtesy runner. With an 0-2 count on Graham, Mellor advanced to second uncontested on a pitch in the dirt. On the ensuing offering, Graham fisted an inside breaking ball just hard enough to dump a single out of reach of the shortstop to drive in a pair of runs. The inning ended on a ground out but somehow Madison had manufactured three runs with only two bloop hits. Depending on who you were rooting for, the hits were either cheap or good pieces of hitting against a terrific pitcher. Either way, they gave Madison a 4-0 lead.

With one out in the bottom of the frame and Powers still on the mound, Oldenburg walked on a full count pitch and took second on a passed ball. After a fly out to right, Oldenburg scored when Bruce Beatty’s grounder was booted. The error meant that for what would turn out to be the only time in the ballgame, McLean batters would face a pitcher a second time. Beiro reached first when he was hit by a 2-2 pitch but Powers bore down, quickly got ahead of the next hitter 0-2 and ended the inning on a grounder to short.

Fitzgerald dominated with a 1-2-3 fifth needing only ten pitches to retire the side. Sticking with their game plan, Madison sent Favero out to pitch the bottom of the fifth. Andy McGuire started things with a web gem as he backhanded Fitzgerald’s bullet on one hop and lasered the throw to first. Denis Buckley was hit in the back with a curve ball and Chase Mills entered as a courtesy runner. Sborz scalded a line drive right at McGuire who made a fine catch jumping but not needing to fully extend to haul it in. The inning ended on a fly out on a full count. It was indicative of the kind of night it was for McLean that two balls they roped in the fifth produced outs while Madison used a pair of dinkers in the fourth to produce three runs. A sense of frustration must have been mounting for the “home” team.

Turner started the Warhawk sixth by drilling a shot over shortstop for a single. With one out, Ryan McGuire sacrificed him to second and he stole third getting a great jump off second and going in with a headfirst slide. It was all for naught as Fitzgerald ended the inning on a called strike three on a 3-2 pitch.

Facing the bottom third of the line up, Favero retired the side in order. His replacement at second, David Belt, stayed with a high pop up for the first out and a made a solid play on a grounder for the second out. The inning ended on a comebacker.

Graham led off the seventh going with the pitch to stroke a soft line drive to left for a single. Mellor entered as a pinch runner and Favero sacrificed him to second. Fitzgerald got his eighth strike out of the game for the second out and ended the inning on a comebacker. On the night he walked no one but the two batters he hit led to a pair of runs. Though charged with four runs, only one of them was earned.

With the top of the order coming up, Cate took the mound for Madison. He was focused and quite loose having warmed up a number of times in previous innings. He started the inning facing the dangerous Beiro. After fouling off a two strike pitch, Beiro looked at called strike three and stalked back to the dugout shooting a disgusted look at the plate umpire. Russo hit a hard grounder to short on an 0-1 pitch. Andy McGuire’s throw to first was high but Graham leaped and made an acrobatic play to snare the ball and make a sweep tag on Russo for the out. The game ended on another grounder to short with McGuire making the pick up and another strong throw to first for his seventh assist of the night.

It was a tough loss for a marvelous McLean team that had won 29 of 31 Liberty District regular season and playoff games over the last two years. In particular, it was a tough loss for Fitzgerald who was attempting the remarkable feat of winning both the semifinal and final games of the District tournament. After pitching three innings three days earlier, he had tossed 108 pitches in seven innings. Next year he will pitch for the Fighting Irish and hear about Notre Dame’s fabled Four Horsemen backfield that played football in the 1920’s. On this night though, Madison rode its own version of the Four Horsemen---Facenda, Powers, Favero and Cate---to a victory that will long live in Warhawk folklore.

As the exuberant Madison players and coaches celebrated on the infield, one could almost hear Al Michaels saying, “Do you believe in miracles?” Coach Gjormand summed it up noting, “We had a great approach against one of the best pitchers in the Northern Region. We beat a great team tonight; I tip my hat to them. They don’t make many mistakes but we took advantage when we had the opportunity. We played almost a flawless game, battled for everything and got a few breaks. We had been planning how to win this game for a long time and decided to run a potpourri of pitchers at them. Eli, Dan, Nate and Danny all did a great job. Our kids have been resilient all year and I’m excited for this group to win their first championship.”


Other posts about Vienna Baseball: Yeonas Park - The Old-Fashioned Back Fence , Baseball At Waters Field, Baseball & Apple Pie

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's Friday Night - What Should We Do?

Well, if you live in Vienna, Virginia - you have LOTS of options - and you don't even have to leave Vienna! Here are some ideas for this coming Friday, May 21st:

Catch a performance or some "live music":
  • "The Mikado" done by the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players at Wolftrap (tickets are $8-$48)
  • Ellis Paul & Michael Clem (Eddie From Ohio) at Jammin Java (tickets are $20)
  • The Splinters at the Vienna Town Green (FREE)
  • Reinhardt Liebig in the Piano Bar at Maplewood Grill (NO COVER CHARGE)
  • "Verbal Assault" - an open mic for poetry, monologues, etc at The Soundry (FREE)

Try a new restaurant or a new cuisine:

Pack a picnic and enjoy one of Vienna's parks:

What are YOU doing for fun in Vienna? We'd love to know!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sellers Market In Vienna?

Average days on market is still trending to the low side for 2010 in Vienna, while the number of months supply is at its lowest level ever for 2010 - with only a 2.3 month supply of homes. This puts us in a Sellers Market in Vienna. (Keep in mind that this is a general statement. If you are looking to buy or sell, make sure you talk to your Realtor about the inventory and supply of homes in your specific price range, school district, etc.)

Click here for today's full Vienna Real Estate Update .

Monday, May 10, 2010

Old MacDonald Had A Farm

Remember that old Song, "Old MacDonald Had A Farm"?

Old MacDonald Had A Farm - E-I-E-I-O
And on his farm he had a Crepe?

Wait - that doesn't sound right. Let's try again.

Old MacDonald Had A Farm - E-I-E-I-O
And on his farm he had some Popcorn?

Now that's not right either. Let's try one more time.

Old MacDonald Had A Farm - E-I-E-I-O
And on his farm he had some Crab Cakes?


Well - it's the Vienna Farmer's Market! It just opened for the season and will remain open until October 30th. The Vienna Farmer's Market is a "producer only market", which means that what the vendors sell at the market must be raised, grown or made on their own farms. It's located in the "Caboose" parking lot in the heart of Vienna and is open Saturdays from 8AM to Noon.

Meet Sidney Kuhn, of Kuhn Orchards. Sidney drives from Cashtown, PA (outside of Gettysburg) every Saturday at 4AM to make the Vienna Farmer's Market. Kuhn Orchards has been a family farm for over 90 years and Sidney is the 5th generation to work in the business!

If you love to cook, it's a great place to find whatever is fresh & in season. And the vendors are great at giving you tips on how to prepare the foods they are selling. (They even provide recipes on the Vienna Farmer's Market web site!)

Folks who are trying to "eat healthy" love the market as well for the things you can find like salsa and sausage without preservatives & additives. And some of us just like to taste our way around the market - first the popcorn man, then the salsa lady, taste a crab cake, then finish up with a crepe. YUM!

Oh - and of course there is the "normal" farmer's market fare - fresh produce, flowers, meats, dairy products & more. Recently, Diane Nugent & her daughter Madison came to buy their favorite popcorn. Madison said she "loved the pretty lilacs and other plants" for sale. So gardeners - take note as well!

Here's a list of some of the vendors & products you may find at the market on any given day:
  • Middleburg Creamery - homemade ice cream, root beer floats
  • Kuhn Orchard - fruit, herbs, cut flowers
  • Friendly Hall Farms - produce, jams
  • Blue Ridge Gardens - annuals, perennials
  • Guata Java - organic coffee
  • Gypsy Hill - packaged rubs & dips
  • The Crab Ladies - crab cakes
  • Ole Pioneer's Kitchen - breakfast, appetizer & dinner meats
  • South Mountain Creamery - milk, cream, yogurt, eggs, cheese
  • The Swiss Bakery & Pastry Shop - artisan breads, pretzels, pastries, cookies
  • Lois' Produce - fresh fruits & produce
  • Smith Family Farm - grass-fed meats, pastured pork, poultry, turkey
The Vienna Farmer's Market is just another reason why we love living in Vienna. You don't have to live on a farm when the farm comes to you! Theres No Place Like Vienna!

Monday, May 3, 2010

First A Pig, Now a Goat?

If you're a regular reader of our blog, then you'll remember we recently wrote a post about "Foxy Cleopatra", the pig in residence at Stalcup's Hardware in Vienna.

Well, maybe the idea is catching on . . . because yesterday, we walked into Vienna's Whole Foods Market and who did we find but "Phillip the Goat"?!

Phillip was there promoting all the fabulous goat cheese offerings at Whole Foods.

Stay tuned to TheresNoPlaceLikeVienna.com - who knows what animal we'll find next?!