“…And It’s A Beautiful Day In Fairfax County!”
Despite this, I believe that a short travelogue is in order. To that end, I have borrowed the famous catchphrase used by Pete Womback, who had a radio series about Pennsylvania for many years. His series were minute-long commentaries on various points and events of interest in Pennsylvania. Every report concluded with the words, “This is Pete Womback and it’s a beautiful day in Pennsylvania.” This explains the title above.
Fairfax County is located in the extreme northeast corner of Virginia. The southern part is made up of mostly blue-collar residents, while the northern part has a number of upscale developments and government office buildings. Both sides of the county boast a rich historical heritage.
George Washington’s estate at Mount Vernon encompassed most of the southern part of the county during his lifetime. There is also a local tavern where Washington could’ve spent some of his time. Then in nearby Old Town Alexandria, a tourist might find the apothecary where Washington had his teeth shellacked. They had to be shellacked because he had wooden teeth and...oh, I hate explaining my own jokes. Just forget it.
A little further north and near the bank of the Potomac River, the tourist will find Arlington National Cemetery. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located within the cemetery grounds and commands a scenic view of the Washington DC skyline. If one is lucky enough to get in before dawn, the sunrise over this view is indeed breath taking.
My own special memories of Fairfax County involve two local music venues – The Birchmere and Wolf Trap. The Birchmere, once housed in a storefront, moved to a converted warehouse about ten years ago. Here many artists from all genres – including country and classic rock – perform. I remember one particularly hot August night when Anne Marie and I saw Junior Brown in concert. The sweat just poured off him while he strummed and picked his guit-steel. He did an excellent show without showing any signs of discomfort. If it were me, I would’ve raised my hand and announced, “Folks, I’m drowning up here. Good night!” Okay, so I wouldn’t be considered professional, and the audience would’ve rightly hooted me off the stage, but I would’ve been dry.
Wolf Trap is an outdoor venue, a wonderful place to see such performers as Mary Chapin Carpenter, Ray Charles, The Mavericks, Hall and Oates and others from the country, soul and jazz fields. The effect is thrilling when the evening is perfect – low humidity and a clear, starlit sky. The county tourist should try to fit in a side trip to either of these venues when they visit.
I must say one more thing about Washington’s teeth. Do you realize that a good coating of shellac will preserve and protect the wood from the moistness of the human mouth, and will discourage gingivitis and termite infestation?
TO BE CONTINUED