"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

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Calling All Foodies & Fun Lovers

If you've been reading our blog about "Life In Vienna" over the past few years, then you already know that WE LOVE LIVING IN VIENNA! In fact, the whole purpose of our blog is to share all the reasons WHY we love living in Vienna.

Well, this weekend, you have the opportunity to find out for yourself how much fun Vienna is. Our past blog posts have talked about the awesome variety of cuisines offered in Vienna's restaurants, the fabulous music scene, the family friendly activities and the people themselves. And this Saturday from 11AM-8PM, all of these things will converge in one spectacular event.

I'm proud to say that The Belt Team is a sponsor of what is being billed as "the first annual" TASTE OF VIENNA. This is an event you don't want to miss! And proceeds will benefit the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department. VVFD has served our community for over 100 years. And these men and women truly deserve our support. I can tell you from personal experience having had a daughter with serious medical problems, that the EMTs and fire fighters are sent straight from heaven. It's a call you never want to have to make, but when you call 9-1-1 and within minutes you hear the siren on the VVFD truck, that siren is a beacon of hope.

There's no admission required for the event. Each restaurant will sell "tastes". And wine & beer will be sold as well. We hear that more than 30 local restaurants will be represented and many of them will have their Owners and/or Executive Chefs on site. This isn't just typical street vendor food like you'd see at a fair. If you and your family can never agree on where to go out to eat because you like different cuisines - this is the perfect event for you! Everyone can try their favorite at the same time.

Here's a partial list of participating restaurants:
  • CREPE AMOUR (opening soon)
  • YIRASAI SUSHI & GRILL (Japanese & Korean Cuisine)

Not only will there be fabulous food, but the line up of entertainers is excellent as well. These are musicians you might catch at some of Vienna's musical haunts like Jammin Java or the piano bar at Maplewood Grill - but this time no ticket charge or tip jar! Here's the schedule:

Noon - Tom Lohrmann
1PM - Overland (Formerly - Ray Bennett & Band)
2PM - Natalie York
3PM - Natalie York
4PM - Terry Lee Ryan
5PM - School of Rock
6PM - Shenandoah Run
7PM - Overland

You can bring your kids (there will be face painting and a moon bounce), but you can't bring your dog (unless it's a service dog). And I'd suggest walking if you can as parking will not be easy. VVFD says the event is on rain or shine, so you'd better pack your umbrella too!

For more information, visit the web site for Taste of Vienna.

Hope to see you there. Come find out why WE LOVE LIVING IN VIENNA!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Rock N Roll Royalty Visits Vienna!

Have you been to The Barns yet? (Not the kind of barn where the horses live, but the one that's part of Wolftrap!) If you haven't been, then you are missing out on something really special. Wolftrap & The Barns are part of why we LOVE living in Vienna!

Right here in small town Vienna, we have one of the premier music venues in the country - America's National Park For The Performing Arts. The initial 53 acres of land for this park was originally purchased (and later donated) by Catherine Shouse for $5,300 (don’t you wish you could buy land around here for $100 an acre!) and she named the farm “Wolf Trap Farm”.

From late May to early September each year, people enjoy the outdoor amphitheatre known as The Filene Center. (People like us who have grown up here just call this “Wolftrap”.) The Filene Center seats about 7,000 people. The Barns, on the other hand, is an intimate facility that probably seats less than 200 people. It is made up of two 18th century barns that were restored & rebuilt using only 18th century methods with hand -hewn beams & panels. It’s simply gorgeous and the acoustics are phenomenal.

The Barns' season runs from October through May, so you only have a few chances left to catch a show there this season. We made the most of that opportunity on Saturday night when we attended Bandhouse Gigs' "Tribute To Rod Stewart". This isn't the first time Bandhouse Gigs has brought one of their tribute shows to The Barns and hopefully it won't be their last - because IT ROCKED!

If you've never caught a Bandhouse Gigs "gig" before, let me explain. Basically, it's a gathering of the premier rock n roll royalty of the DC music scene. Musicians and singers from all different bands and various genres gather together for a one or two night show. Musicians mix and match - and they pay tribute to whomever the chosen artist is. Previous shows have celebrated Neil Young, Nils Lofgren, Bob Dylan, Nick Lowe, Joni Mitchell, Warren Zevon, Allen Toussaint, Paul Simon, the British Invasion, Woodstock & The Byrds. It's an incredible opportunity to see so many top notch musicians - all at one time, in one place and for just one ticket price! It's a great way to scope people out & see who you might want to see again on their own.

Saturday's show was a tribute to Rod Stewart - great timing since while we were watching the Tribute Show, Rod & The Faces were actually being inducted to the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame! Here's a list of just SOME of the musicians who participated:
  • Tad Wadhams
  • Scott Kurt
  • Ronnie Newmyer
  • Patty Reese
  • Paul Bell
  • Mike Cotter
  • Louie Newmyer
  • John Jennings
  • Jim Clatterbuck
  • Janine Wilson
  • Greg Hardin
  • Doug Tull
  • Daryl Davis
  • Buddy Griffin
  • Billy Coulter
  • Bill Wadhams
  • Andy Shriver
  • Akira Otsuka
  • Bill Craig
  • Bill Starks
  • Brandon Ehrgood
  • Chuck Sullivan
  • Dary Jr. Cline
  • Eric Scott
  • Helen Hausmann
  • Jeff Watson
  • Joe Romero
  • Jon Carroll
  • Mark Walston
  • Max Evans
  • Paul Pisciotta
  • Rico Petruccelli
  • Seth Kibel
  • Spencer Hoopes
Like I said, this is the royalty of the DC music scene. Musicicans listed above include Grammy Award winners & WAMMIE Award winners and have performed with the likes of Sheryl Crow, Steve Miller, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Ringo Starr & Nils Lofgren. One of them even was the piano player for the King of Rock N Roll - Chuck Berry!

It's always hard to tell at a Bandhouse Gigs tribute, who is having more fun - the folks in the audience or the folks on stage.  After all, most of these musicians don't get an opportunity to see one another perform. You can't be two places at once, so if your band is playing, you can't very well catch someone else's! EXCEPT at a Bandhouse Gigs tribute. And boy do they guys (and gals) have fun!

I don't know the answer to the question of who has the MOST fun, but I do know that I loved it. It's hard to pick out highlights - especially with this kind of star studded cast, but let's pick three who I thought stole the show:

John Carroll - the consummate Washington DC area musician. You might recognize him from back in the day when he was part of Starland Vocal Band and had his own TV show. But he's had a long, storied career since then, playing both solo and with a number of nationally knows artists. I started following John when I was a kid (ie- a LONG time ago). He'd play piano at my best friend's house and the way he could tickle those ivories mesmerized me - and it still blows me away today. Then you add his frenetic energy & great voice. And boy is he fun to watch. I especially liked his version of "I'm Losing You".

Tad Wadhams - If you were around in the early MTV days, then you might remember Tad. His band Animotion's video "Obsession" was played on MTV a LOT!

On Saturday, Tad definitely livened things up.  Ronnie Neumyer, co-founder of Bandhouse Gigs, said "I love a man who knows how to wear a wig and crawl on a piano." Well, guess what? So did we!

Daryl Davis - OK, this guy stole the show. Some people just have that "it" factor. And Daryl has IT! From the second he came onstage, you knew something special was going to happen. This man can PLAY! Not only did he play the piano - but he played the electric guitar - - - - - BACKWARDS. Daryl had the crowd on its feet.

The night ended with more than 30 musicians on stage and a fabulously fun five minute version of  "If I Knew Then What I Know Now". Of so true!

Two more Bandhouse Gigs shows are in the works (tributes to Stevie Wonder & a re-creation of The Band's "The Last Waltz"), but we're waiting for the next time they come back to The Barns. Because when you live in Vienna, you get spoiled. After the 3 hour show, we popped into our car & were home in less than 5 minutes. Now THAT'S what I'm talking about!

If you'd like to catch a show at The Barns before the season ends, here's what's coming up:

Jim Brickman (pop pianist)
Jeri Sager (Broadway sensation)
John McCutcheon (folk singer/songwriter)
Joyce Yang (piano)
The Nields (sisters folk duo)
Tom Principato Band (blues rock)
25th Annual Evening of Comedy

THE BARNS - Just another reason why we LOVE living in Vienna!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Spring Break is over for Fairfax County Public Schools and Guest Blogger Dave Graham is back in town with the final report for the James Madison High School baseball team's tournament adventure. Congrats to the Warhawks!

The Wildkits from Evanston Township High School in Evanston, Illinois, upset the team from California that Madison had beaten in eleven innings to set up a contest with Madison for the Hall of Fame Spring Classic championship.  Pitching on short rest Tim Davis brought a tired but still effective arm to the mound and a big bat to the plate in leading the Warhawks to a 4-2 victory.  Coach Mark “Pudge” Gjormand later noted, “I thought we were a little edgy and lethargic at the start of the game playing an afternoon game the day after an evening game.  We really played six games this week because of the extra inning game.  I think we grew up some; it was a team week and everyone contributed.”
Evanston, fresh from an 11-5 thumping of the Narbonne Gauchos, handed the starting assignment to Charlie Binford, a crafty little lefty.  He retired the side in order on only nine pitches in the top of the first.

Madison countered with Davis for this Thursday afternoon game.  He had also started the first game of the tournament Monday morning throwing 59 pitches in four shutout innings against the team from McMinn, Tennessee.  He recorded the first two outs on grounders to second then Connor Hackett sliced a single to left field.  Jeremias Delgado bounced another single through the left side but Davis ended the threat on a fly to right.
Nate Favero was hit by a pitch leading off the second.  He advanced to second on Livingston’s grounder through the wickets at shortstop.  Catcher Delgado picked Favero off second with a superb throw to the shortstop covering.  Logan Claybrook got a pitch up and drilled it for a single up the middle to put runners at first and second.  Binford got the second out on strikes with Delgado hanging onto a tipped strike three to set up the pivotal play of the game.

Davis fought off a two strike pitch before stroking a sinking liner to right on a 1-2 offering.  The right fielder came racing in and dove headlong for the ball but instead did a face plant and the ball trickled behind him.  The impact stunned the right fielder so the center fielder had to come over to retrieve the ball.  Livingson scored easily from second and after almost stopping at third Claybrook was waved home too.  Davis had to hold at first because the ball was in shallow right meaning that Claybrook scored from first on a single.  Jake Hall entered as a courtesy runner and stole second but the inning ended on a ground out.  The Warhawks had grabbed an early two run lead.

Davis protected the lead in the bottom of the second with a 1-2-3 inning finishing with a pair of backwards K’s as both batters stood paralyzed by two strike breaking balls.

Andy McGuire led off the third.  He drove a ball deep to right leading off the game and had pummeled numerous balls to the outfield throughout the tourney.  With the outfield back he was able to parachute a single in front of the oncoming right fielder.  Fooled by the lefty’s motion, he took off for second and was out when first baseman Max Siedlecki relayed the pickoff attempt to shortstop Alex Vergara who made the tag.  With two outs Jonny Graham jumped on a pitch and lasered a double into the right field corner.  The inning ended on a pop to short.

With one out in the bottom of the third Davis issued back to back walks to the first two hitters in the Wildkit order.  He recovered to get the third and fourth hitters who had singled back to back in the first to extinguish the threat.

Livingston led off the fourth and drilled a 3-2 pitch to the gap in right but center fielder Evan Binford made a nice play to run it down.  His brother Charlie retired the next two hitters on just four pitches.

Brandon Vamarsi led off the bottom of the fourth by grounding a single just under the shortstop’s diving attempt.  Siedliecki got new life on a dropped foul pop and took advantage by slapping the seventh pitch of the at bat to center.  With runners at first and second, Luke Hackett bunted toward third and Justin Padgett made a good play to get the out at first with the sacrifice putting runners in scoring position.  After a called strike three Evan Binford grounded a 2-2 pitch up the middle to score a run and put runners at the corners as Graham hurriedly returned the ball to the infield.  Vergara walked to load the bases but Davis once again escaped, this time with an infield fly.  He labored through 80 pitches in four innings striking out three.  Despite giving up five hits and three walks he managed to strand seven runners and surrendered only one unearned run.  It was a gutsy effort pitching on short rest under the Florida sun.

Davis and Binford locked up in an epic battle to start the fifth.  After falling behind 0-2, Davis fouled off four two strike pitches.  Finally on a 2-2 pitch he stroked a bouncer up the middle past the shortstop’s dive for a lead off single.  Hall again entered as a courtesy runner.  When Padgett missed a 1-0 bunt attempt Hall moved to second as the catcher threw the ball away trying to pick him off first.  Hall alertly tagged up and hauled to third when Padgett flew out to center on a full count pitch.  With two outs the swift Ben Socher easily beat out a high chopper the second baseman backhanded to bring home an important insurance run.  The inning ended when left fielder Hackett made a splendid diving catch to rob Graham of an extra base tweener.

In the bottom of the fifth the Warhawks brought in southpaw Henry Brandmark to protect a 3-1 lead.  He breezed through the 3-4-5 hitters on only eight pitches setting them down in order ending with a called K.

After 77 pitches, the Wildkits pulled Binford in favor of Josh Isenstein.  Favero jumped on a 3-1 offering and lashed a single over the leaping second baseman.  He stole second and moved to third as Livingston flew out to right on a good piece of two strike hitting.  Claybrook chose to wear a pitch on his sleeve to put runners at the corners.  Beau Overholt pinch hit and on the first pitch executed a perfect bunt to first to drive in Favero and move Claybrook to second.  Tommy Kyllo pinch ran at second and Evanston brought in Jack Anderson who threw one pitch to end the inning.  Playing small ball pushed the Madison lead to 4-1.

In the bottom of the sixth Hall came in to play center with Graham sliding over to left.  After surrendering a one out walk Brandmark buckled down to get a swinging strike out on a full count.  He punctuated a brilliant two inning stint on three pitches for another backwards K to end the inning.

The Wildkits brought in Matt Munro in the top of the seventh to pitch and he quickly retired the side in order.

McGuire came in to close in the bottom of the seventh facing the top of Evanston’s order with Padgett sliding over to short and Dan Powers entering the game to play third.  On a 3-2 count lead off hitter Vergara lined one back at McGuire who narrowly averted disaster by deflecting the ball with his pitching hand.  He fell with his back on the ground as the ball trickled toward third and Vergara sped to first.  Fortunately the ball hit the fleshy part of his palm so after a few warm ups tosses he stayed in the game.  He recovered to record a three pitch strike out but then issued a six pitch walk to Hackett.  Delgado drove a single to right but Socher returned the ball to the infield quickly and down by three runs the runner held at third to load the bases.  Working from the wind up, McGuire uncorked a wild pitch on an 0-2 count to move everyone up 90 feet and score a run.  McGuire got another swinging K on the next pitch for the second out.  The game ended with Padgett ranging far to his left to gobble up a chopper behind second base and fire a bullet to first for the final out.
The victory gave the Warhawks a well deserved tournament championship as they  swept through the week with a perfect 5-0 record.  This win typified the streak as many players contributed and execution of little things made the difference.  Coach Gjormand summed it up by saying, “Tim did a good job pitching on short rest; his hitting was just as important.  Henry did a great job and Andy showed some toughness in coming back from being hit on his pitching hand.  It was great to get a trophy at the end of the week.  Hopefully there are more in front of us.”

Friday, April 6, 2012


Congratulations to the James Madison High School baseball team! We received two updates after our posting on Wednesday. Here's what we heard happened next:

"We beat a team from Coral Springs, FL tonight 3-0. Nate Favero pitched a three hit complete game shutout. We will play for the championship tomorrow."

AND THEN . . . .

"We won 4-1 against a team from Evanston, Illinois!"


Wednesday, April 4, 2012


It may be Spring Break time here in Vienna, but the James Madison baseball team & our Guest Blogger Dave Graham are still working hard. Here's a recap of their first Spring Break Tournament game down in Florida:

On a beautiful Florida morning the Madison Warhawks kicked off the Hall of Fame Spring Classic Tournament against the McMinn County High School Cherokees from Athens, Tennessee, with a 10-0 win in a game shortened to five innings.  The players had to get up before 6:00 am and had not practiced in three days and it showed.  Madison snoozed to a 1-0 lead before breaking out for seven runs in the fourth inning aided by a shabby McMinn defense that made five errors.  Coach Mark “Pudge” Gjormand later noted, “Our guys did a great job answering the bell for an early game after three days off.  We brought good energy under some different circumstances.”
Matt James got the starting nod for McMinn and Andy McGuire greeted him by roping a 1-1 pitch to left field for a single.  Moving the ball and mixing his pitches, James retired the next three hitters in order.

Tim Davis took the mound for Madison and after a fly out and a called strike out Corey Wade flared a single to right field.  The inning ended on a fly out.
Matt Livingston dropped a single into center to lead off the second.  With one out, his aggressive lead off second distracted the third baseman who fielded a grounder but couldn’t decide whether to try to get Livingston off second or throw to first so everyone was safe putting runners at first and second.  The inning ended when second baseman Wade backhanded a grounder up the middle and made a nifty play to tag the runner and throw to first to complete a twin killing.

James walked leading off the bottom of the second and Corey Edgemon entered as a courtesy runner.  With the middle infielders shading second, second baseman Nate Favero ranged far to his left to make a superb diving stop of a grounder and scramble to his feet to get the out at first with the runner taking second.  As Davis was working on a strike out, catcher Jack Anzilotti alertly noticed the runner dancing off second.  On a swinging strike three Anzilotti rifled the ball down to shortstop McGuire who threw to Justin Padgett as the startled runner broke for third.  Padgett raced back toward second and made the tag for the third out on a K-2-6-5 double play that was as well executed as it was unusual.
In the top of the third Ben Socher slapped a two out single to the hole at shortstop and handily beat the throw to first.  He stole second as Jonny Graham drew a walk.  On a breaking ball in the dirt that squirted away from the catcher, Socher sped to third and the catcher threw to second to try to get the trailing runner.  In a heady play, Graham slammed on the brakes and got in a rundown.  Socher picked his spot and bolted home as McMinn eventually tagged Graham out but not before Socher had crossed the plate to give the Warhawks a 1-0 lead.

First baseman Livingston began the bottom half of the frame making a nice play to field an in between hop and step on the bag for the out.  After a walk Davis escaped trouble with a strike out and a soft liner to second.

The decisive fourth began inauspiciously with Favero getting hit on the foot with a breaking ball as he was around to bunt.  Livingston laid a beautiful bunt single down the line that the third baseman was unable to field.  Logan Claybrook drew a walk to load the bases.  Favero loped home on a passed ball as all three runners moved up 90 feet.  With the infield in, the shortstop muffed a backhanded attempt at a grounder allowing Livingston to score with Claybrook taking third and Evan Jacquez aboard at first.  With runners at the corners, Claybrook scored when the throw to second in an attempt to nail Jacquez stealing went awry.  Jacquez scooted to third on the play and came home on a wild pitch. 
After a strike out, Padgett grounded to third and wound up at second after the throw was offline.  McGuire laced a liner to the gap in right for an RBI as Padgett streaked home and McGuire took second on an error by the outfielder.  Socher attempted to bunt for a hit and got all the way to third when the throw went down the right field line enabling McGuire to score.  Graham scored Socher with an RBI ground out and Favero crushed a triple to the gap in left.  The inning ended on another ground out but Madison had manufactured seven runs.  It wasn’t pretty but it blew the game open.

After a strike out to start the fourth, Alex Vinroe and James worked back to back walks.  On a hard hit grounder up the middle, Favero, McGuire and Livingston dialed 4-6-3 for a slick rally killing double play.
The Cherokees brought Tyler Biddle in to pitch in the top of the fifth.  Claybrook timed an outside pitch and drove a lead off double down the right field line.  After a ground out the ball got away from the catcher on strike three. The catcher’s throw to first was wild allowing Claybrook to score with the batter cruising into second.  Beau Overholt moved to third on a wild pitch as Justin Padgett was walking to put runners at first and third.  Padgett stole second and on a shallow fly to left the throw home got away from the catcher allowing Overholt to score.  The inning ended on a well hit ball to center.

Davis was done pitching after four innings and 59 pitches.  He yielded no runs giving up one hit while walking four and whiffing four.  Henry Brandmark came in to pitch the fifth and after a lead off ground out gave up a walk to Biddle and Treavor Crisp rolled a single through a gaping hole on the left side.  Brandmark bore down and struck out the top two batters in the line up to close the game out.  Anzilotti made a nice block of the final pitch and threw to first for the last out.
But for McMinn’s defensive implosion in the fourth it would have been a close game.  Coach Gjormand summed it up by saying, “Tim wasn’t at his sharpest today but he kept them off balance.  I thought we applied pressure and created our own breaks.”