0
Votes

The Fun Never Stops

More ways to have fun in and around Great Falls.

photo

Local painter Mehrnaz Moussavi works in her studio in Great Falls during last year’s Great Falls Studios Tour.

photo

Have an exotic meal at the Serbian Crown.

photo

Thelma’s may have closed, but the Bouchebel family, including Jad and Najib, began serving homemade ice cream and sorbet at Le Grand Appetit European Deli in Great Falls Shopping Center last year.

photo

The band Standing Room Only performs at the Great Falls Optimist Club’s third annual Barn Dance last November.

photo

A Claude Moore Colonial Farm employee works in 18th century attire.

photo

On Clear Fridays, watch the stars at Observatory Park.

photo

Join a book discussion group at the Great Falls Library.

<b>Get Your Art On </b>

RE/MAX Gateway Office

10135 Colvin Run Road

703-759-2440

Open Monday through Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. This real estate office is also a gallery space for Great Falls Studios and features original art made by Great Falls artists.

<b>Watch Artists in Action </b>

Artists’ Atelier

1144 Walker Road

The Great Falls Studios Artists' Atelier is a working studio and fine art gallery for 14 artists. It is open to the public on Sundays during the summer from 4-8 p.m. This coincides with the Great Falls Village Centre Summer Concert on the Green series, and refreshments are served. Visitors are welcome to come and talk with the artists, or just watch them paint. The studio is always open by appointment. To make an appointment, call Jill Banks at 703-448-3886. Visit www.greatfallsfoundationforarts.org/Artists_Atelier.html.

<b>Find Your Inner Picasso </b>

Artists’ Atelier

1144 Walker Road

The Artists Atelier hosts classes in a variety of media, from painting to computer art to sculpture, as well as art history. These classes are available for children, teens, adults and senior citizens. To sign up for classes and for more information, visit www.greatfallsstudios.com/instruction.asp.

<b>Tour the Art Studios </b>

Great Falls Studios Tour

Each fall, the artists of Great Falls Studios host a two-day tour, during which they invite the public to drop in, admire the art, watch the work, ask questions and maybe make a purchase. While a number of artists station themselves in shared space, such as the gallery over the RE/MAX Gateway Office, many others invite the tourists into their home studios. Artists include painters, potters, jewelers, sculptors, digital artists, photographers and more. Visit www.greatfallsfoundationforarts.org.

<b>Visit the Gallery </b>

McLean Project for the Arts

McLean Community Center

1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean

703-790-1953

The McLean Project for the Arts, housed in the McLean Community Center, generally has three exhibitions running at once in a variety of media. From Jan. 15 to Feb. 21 will be "Cellular Perspectives," featuring paintings that reference the biological by Betsy Stewart and Patrick Craig; "Comfort Zones," a series of painted interior roomscapes by Michele Montalbano; and "Spaces of Places," multimedia, postindustrial landscapes by Tom Wagner. Each spring, the galleries host a youth art show. Visit www.mpaart.org.

<b>Learn from the Masters </b>

McLean Project for the Arts

McLean Community Center

1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean

703-790-1953

Year-round, the McLean Project for the Arts offers classes and activities for adults, children and families, including week-long summer camps for kids and parent-child workshops. Adult classes include a variety of courses in drawing, charcoal, pastels, painting and mixed-media. Visit www.mpaart.org.

<b>Celebrate Art! </b>

MPA Artfest

McLean Central Park

703-790-1953

This year’s MPA ArtFest will be Sunday, Oct. 4. The 2008 ArtFest brought mini-galleries of the work of 40 juried artists — many of them local — to McLean Central Park, along with a walk of children’s art, a tent for children to make art, a seniors exhibit, art talks, food and a series of musical performers. Visit www.mpaart.org.

<b>Taste Wines — For Free </b>

Maison du Vin

756 Walker Road

703-759-9880

Maison du Vin, a wine shop that just moved into Great Falls Village Centre, has 16 bottles of wine available for complimentary tasting every day. The selection is rotated regularly. Every three or four weeks, the shop brings in distributors to pour their wines on a Saturday afternoon, and food is served. In December, it was champagne, caviar and salmon; In January, burgundy and venison stew will be served. The food and drinks are free. Visit www.maison-duvin.com to learn more. Until the Web site is completed, call to find out about special events.

<b>Hit the Tavern </b>

The Tavern at Great Falls

9835 Georgetown Pike

703-757-4770

Located in the Great Falls Shopping Center, the 190-seat tavern serves classic American cuisine and features Great Falls artifacts such as vintage saddles and a carousel horse for decoration. The American tavern food featured on the menu ranges from meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes to horseradish-roasted salmon. In addition, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 8 p.m. to midnight, acoustic music performances take place featuring different bands from all over. Visit www.greatfallstavern.com.

<b>Try Exotic Food and Drink </b>

The Serbian Crown

1141 Walker Road Great Falls

703-759-4150

The Serbian Crown serves Russian and French cuisine with a side of piano bar sing-alongs on Fridays, ballroom dancing on Saturdays and the musical stylings of Balalaika on Sundays. The diverse menu consists of antelope, lion and boar alongside the traditional beef and chicken. A cafe-style menu is available Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to closing. Although it has an extensive menu (with specialties such as Kulebiaka-Russian style salmon served with lobster sauce), the Serbian Crown prides itself in its vodka collection. Serbian Crown is renowned for its wide variety of over 22 vodkas from all over the world. Visit www.serbiancrown.com.

<b>Grab Breakfast with the Family </b>

McLean Family Restaurant

1321 Chain Bridge Road, McLean

703-356-9883

This decades-old diner is casual, kid-friendly and one of McLean’s longest-operating restaurants. Much of the food is Greek-inspired and the place serves breakfast until mid-afternoon. McLean Family Restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

<b>Eat Some Small Plates with Your Wine </b>

Evo Bistro

1313 Old Chain Bridge Road, McLean

703-288-4422

This wine bar serves tapas with a Moroccan or French twist. The restaurant is intended for groups who are interested in sharing food and can seat approximately 60 people. A wine sampling machine dispenses 36 varieties, and 18 more are available by bottle or glass. Hours vary. Visit www.evobistro.com.

<b>Sate Your Taste Buds with Local Thai Food </b>

Neisha Thai Cuisine

7924 Tysons Corner Center, McLean

703-883-3588

or

Thai Pilin

8385 Leesburg Pike, Vienna

703-556-9191

These locally owned restaurants pack a lot of taste into dishes and are great for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Neisha Thai, which is located inside Tysons Corner Mall, received high praise for its drunken noodles. Thai Pilin’s owner recommends the restaurant’s shrimp panang curry and spicy crispy catfish. Visit www.neisha.net or call either restaurant.

<b>Try Your Custard Frozen </b>

Nielsen's Frozen Custard

144 Church St., Vienna

703-255-5553

Nielsen's Frozen Custard is famous for their signature frozen vanilla custard mixed with add-ins like crushed M&Ms, Oreos, chocolate chips and fruit. The environment is perfect — a traditional brick building with historical photos of the home town of Vienna. The frozen custard has a distinct, creamy flavor, but it's actually lower in butterfat than ice cream. The atmosphere is homey and comfortable for any family to enjoy. Single cones of frozen custard run $1.75 for a child-size portion to $2.25 for a single ($2.85 for a single with flavor mix-ins).

<b>Cool Off (Come Summer) with Homemade Ice Cream </b>

Le Grand Appetit

Great Falls Shopping Center

703-759-4451

Thelma’s may have closed down, but Le Grand Appetit was quick to make sure Great Falls had an option for homemade ice cream. Last year, the European deli began serving 10 varieties of homemade ice cream and two flavors of sorbet. The frozen desserts are purchased from Great Falls Ice Cream, located in Great Falls’ counterpart, Great Falls, Md. Visit www.legrandappetit.com to learn more.

<b>Get Fit at the Spring Hill RECenter </b>

1239 Spring Hill Road, McLean

703-827-0989

The Recreation Center is 44,062 square feet complete with a swimming pool, a spa, locker rooms, a sauna, preschool/daycare programs, racquetball courts, volleyball courts, a fully equipped gym, and a dance studio. The recreation center also has playing fields nearby where soccer games take place on the weekends. There is also a softball, little league fields, football fields, and a little league field available. A tot playground is adjacent to the center. Visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/rec/shillrec.htm.

<b>Learn To Cook </b>

McLean Community Center

1234 Ingleside Drive, McLean

703-790-0123

Whether you are interested in mastering a soufflé or garlic mashed potatoes, the McLean Community Center probably has a cooking class for you. Individual sessions focus on topics from cooking fundamentals to the taste of Napa Valley. For schedule and pricing, visit www.mcleancenter.org/classes-trips/adultculinary.asp.

<b>Make Your Pictures Perfect</b>

Old Firehouse Teen Center

1440 Old Chain Bridge Road., McLean

703-790-0123

The McLean Community Center offers two different classes in basic digital still photography and home movie editing at this satellite location. Both are geared toward beginners with little to no experience. For schedules and pricing, visit www.mcleancenter.org/classes-trips/adultcomputer.asp.

<b>Dance The Night Away </b>

McLean Community Center

1234 Ingleside Drive, McLean

703-790-0123

Jazz and introduction to flamenco are both offered this spring. To see schedule, pricing and requirements, visit www.mcleancenter.org/classes-trips/adultdance.asp.

<b>En Garde!</b>

McLean Community Center

1234 Ingleside Drive, McLean

703-790-0123

Learn the fundamentals of fencing, including footwork, handwork and strategy. Fencing is open to both teens and adults this spring. For schedules and pricing, visit www.mcleancenter.org/classes-trips/adult-fencing.asp.

<b>Sculpt Your Body</b>

McLean Community Center

1234 Ingleside Drive, McLean

703-790-0123

Sign up for several different yoga, pilates and other fitness classes that are designed to streamline your body. For schedules and pricing, visit www.mcleancenter.org/classes-trips/adultfitness.asp

<b>Feng Shui Your Home </b>

McLean Community Center

1234 Ingleside Drive, McLean

703-790-0123

Learn to create comfortable living space in your home that will spur positive energy and remove the imprints of previous owners. For schedules and pricing, visit www.mcleancenter.org/classes-trips/adultpersonal.asp.

<b>Light Up The Stage, Literally </b>

McLean Community Center

1234 Ingleside Drive, McLean

703-790-0123

Alden Theatre is always looking for volunteers to help out with the "behind-the-scenes" side of their productions. Those who are interested in doing technical work on the productions must take one of two sessions on set construction, lighting and sound offered at the community center. For pricing and schedules, visit www.mcleancenter.org/classes-trips/adulttheater.asp.

<b>Hang Out at the Old Firehouse </b>

Old Firehouse Teen Center

1440 Chain Bridge Road, McLean

703-448-8336

The Old Firehouse Teen Center, located next to the Giant Shopping Center, provides many activities to help guide teenagers away from trouble, providing a safe, alcohol-free atmosphere. Dances are held every Friday night. Party packages are also available. A membership fee is only $25 per year for those who live in the district. Teens have access to table tennis, volleyball, pool, and musical instruments.

<b>Running for Fun </b>

703-790-9223.

Participate in the Old Firehouse Teen Center's 8K Fun Run held during McLean Day each year.

<b>Enjoy a Cultural Evening </b>

Amadeus Concerts

703-759-5334

Amadeus Concerts is a group of musicians that provides high-quality musical entertainment to the communities of McLean and Great Falls at low cost. In addition to performances by the Amadeus Orchestra, the group brings other renowned musicians to perform at St. Francis Church in Great Falls and Saint Luke Church in McLean. Remaining performances for this season include the Silver-Garburg Piano Duo, the National Symphony Orchestra Education Program, soloists from the Virginia Opera and The Amadeus Orchestra. Admission costs $25 and is free for students under 18. Season tickets cost $125. Visit www.amadeusconcerts.com to learn more.

<b>Rockin' on the Green </b>

Concerts on the Green

703-759-2485

Concerts on the Green is held Sunday evenings from 6-8 at the Great Falls Village Centre, June through July. The concerts are sponsored by local merchants, and admission is free. Feel free to bring a picnic basket and a bottle of wine. The series features a range of acts, including pop/rock, country jazz and more.

<b>Hoe Down! </b>

Optimist Club Annual Barn Dance

Every fall, the Great Falls Optimist Club throws a barn dance in a refurbished barn on Walker Road. The event includes live music, food and a cash bar. Cowboy boots are optional. Cost of admission is a $50, tax-deductible donation to the club.

<b>Get Enamored with the McLean Symphony </b>

1350 Beverly Road, Suite 115-172, McLean

703-734-1960

Music director Dingwall Fleary has directed elite musical performances since 1972 and the symphony has more than 70 members. All are professional-level musicians. The symphony performs everywhere from the Alden Theater to outdoor concerts for the community. Upcoming shows include a Latin Valentine’s Day tribute by pianist Polly Ferman, a spring family concert by pianist Carlos Alberto and comedian-juggler Jonathan Austin, and a classical, romantic piano concert by Director Fleary and Jiji Park. Call 703-421-8593 or visit www.mclean-symphony.org.

<b>Hear Children Lift Their Voices </b>

6723 Whittier Ave., Suite 404 McLean

703-734-0621

The World Children's Choir was founded in 1990. The choir features children, ages 4-18 years old. Exclusive performances have been before Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, the United States Supreme Court, and on several international and national television broadcasts. Visit www.worldchildrenschoir.org.

<b>Party at Wolf Trap </b>

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

1624 Trap Road, Vienna

703-255-1900.

Made up of 130 acres of hills and forests, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is truly dedicated to the arts. With special acting performances from May through September, along with singing performances, this national park is home to many musicians. Wolf Trap's smaller theaters feature year-round performances, including singing groups, orchestras, bands, musicals and dance groups. Visit www.wolftrap.org.

<b>Lounge at Jammin' Java </b>

227 Maple Ave., Vienna

703-255-1566

What started off as a simple coffee shop slowly budded into a hot music venue, drawing music lovers from all over the metropolitan area. Jammin' Java features live entertainment ranging from rock to soul. All types of music are welcomed. On Mondays, customers are given the opportunity to perform "stand-up style." Open mic night starts at 8 p.m. Shows of all genres start at 8 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and on Sundays, shows start at 7 p.m. Visit www.jamminjava.com.

<b>Stay up Nights at Nottoway Park </b>

Nottoway Nights Concert Series

9601 Courthouse Road, S.W., Vienna

703-324-7469

The Nottoway Nights concert series, presented by the county Park Authority and the Board of Supervisors, brings music of all different genres and ethnicities on a weekly basis all summer long. Bring a picnic dinner, blankets and lawn chairs, and get experienced.

<b>Listen to The Vienna Community Band </b>

Vienna Community Center

120 Cherry St., S.E., Vienna

703-255-6360

After about three decades of performing, the Vienna Community Band is made up of almost 80 volunteer musicians and performs in several of Vienna's town celebrations including Independence Day and ViVa! Vienna! The band performs a variety of music ranging from rock to jazz.

<b>Rock Out at The State Theatre</b>

220 N. Washington St., Falls Church

703-237-7187

Originally opening as a movie theater in 1936, this mid-sized venue includes a full-size restaurant and reserves a few "dinner theater" seats for each of its shows. Music and performances are eclectic, including everything from a touring group of Seattle comedians to D.C. ska band The Pietasters. One of The State Theatre’s semi-regular acts, 80s tribute band The Legwarmers, is always sure to draw big crowds. Visit www.thestatetheatre.com.

<b>Get Quirky at Artisans</b>

1368 Chain Bridge Road, McLean.

703-506-0158

Founded in 1990, Artisans is a quaint arts and crafts store with a mission to present a fun and unusual mix of contemporary crafts, jewelry, clothing, and gifts with the guiding principles of good design and lasting value. Visit www.artisansofmclean.com.

<b>Rejuvenate Yourself </b>

McLean Face and Body Spa

6707 Old Dominion Drive, McLean

703-761-0100

Make an appointment for various types of facials and massages at this local business Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Special "vacation" packages are available for and can last from one to three hours. Visit www.mcleanfaceandbodyspa.com.

<b>See the Stars </b>

Observatory Park at Turner Farm

921 Springvale Road

The Analemma Society hosts viewings of the night sky in Observatory Park every Friday evening, weather permitting. A weather watch is provided on the group’s Web site, as is a clear sky clock to closely monitor conditions for viewings each week. On clear Friday nights, the group arrives at the observatory at sunset and stays for about an hour. Visit www.analemma.org.

<b>Mill Around </b>

Colvin Run Mill Historic Site

703-759-2771

Great Falls

This 36-acre historic site includes four buildings — Colvin Run Mill, built around 1811; the miller’s home, built around 1809; a late 19th century general store; and the barn and blacksmith shop, built in 1970 during the restoration of the mill. In the general store, examples of merchandise that would have been sold in its time are displayed, and the store still sells the grain that is ground in demonstrations at the mill, "penny" candy and "sundries." The barn houses a scale model of the mill and examples of tools and items used in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The restored mill is again functional, and on the first and third Sundays of the month, spring through fall, visitors can watch the miller grind wheat into flour or corn into meal, although they should call ahead to confirm that conditions permit grinding. Tours of the site are offered daily, except Tuesdays, year-round, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last tour beginning at 4 p.m. The park also hosts numerous events, including the Country Christmas, model train display, children’s holiday shopping at the General Store and others. Visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/crm.

<b>Hit the Trails </b>

Many miles of trail are available at Great Falls and Riverbend parks along the Potomac River, and a lot of the trails are open to bikes and horses. Great Falls National Park is at 9200 Old Dominion Drive, and the adjacent Riverbend Park is at 8700 Potomac Hills St. Visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/riverbend for Riverbend Park or www.nps.gov/grfa for Great Falls Park.

<b>Go Fishin’ </b>

Fishing is permitted in the Potomac River at Great Falls and Riverbend parks with either a Virginia or Maryland state fishing license for all fishermen over the age of 16. Line fishing is allowed, but net fishing is prohibited. Fishermen may not enter the water at any time. Boats and fishing tackle are available for rent at Riverbend Park, and fishing birthday parties can be scheduled. Great Falls National Park is at 9200 Old Dominion Drive. Call 703-285-2965 or visit www.nps.gov/grfa/index.htm. Riverbend Park is at 8700 Potomac Hills St. Call 703-759-9018 or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/riverbend.

<b>Visit the Ruins</b>

Matildaville, Great Falls National Park

9200 Old Dominion

The Potomack Canal, built by George Washington, gave birth to the town of Matildaville, which was built on the canal and prospered shortly while the canal was in operation. Houses, storage buildings and stores were once built there, but after the canal fell out of use, the town was abandoned in 1830. A few ruins of the town remain, but most of the area has been reclaimed by native vegetation. The remains of the Potomack Canal are still present and run through the center of the park. The Matildaville Trail can be accessed from the visitor center or the Difficult Run Trailhead.

<b>Down on the Farm </b>

Turner Farm

Intersection of Georgetown Pike and Springvale Road, Great Falls

Turner Farm features both educational and recreational activities. With a tot lot, picnic areas, trails, horseback riding facilities and nature observations, this peaceful and tranquil 52-acre park is a great place to spend the day. The park is open from dawn to dusk and there are no entrance fees.

<b>Play For Everyone </b>

Clemyjontri Park

6317 Georgetown Pike, McLean

703-388-2807

Children with physical or developmental disabilities can play alongside the general population at this park designed to accommodate people in wheelchairs, walkers and braces. The park is open daily from 7 a.m. to dusk. Visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/clemyjontri.

<b>Run at the Marie Butler Leven Preserve </b>

Kirby Road, McLean

This 19-acre area left to the county by Maurice Leven houses an extensive garden with exotic and native plants. This site also acts as a dog park. Near the back of the park, Virginia's historic stream, Pimmet Run, winds and twists throughout. Running trails of diverse landscape and difficulty are also available.

<b>Perform Under the Stars </b>

Traveling Players

703-987-1712

Traveling Players Ensemble is a Great Falls-based nonprofit professional theater company dedicated to "bringing great theater to the great outdoors." In the summer camp, a small ensemble of teens is classically trained by theater professionals to perform in outdoor amphitheaters. Performances then tour several locations. The model is to reflect the early days of theater, when traveling groups of actors roamed the countryside. Once a week, the teens camp out and learn camping techniques, and when they tour, they camp near each venue. Traveling Players also offers classes for grades five through 12. Visit www.travelingplayers.org.

<b>'Oh the Drama!' </b>

Alden Theatre

1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean

703-790-9223

The Robert Ames Alden Theatre, located in the McLean Community Center, organizes first-rate performances, including plays, lectures and educational programs. The performances are suitable for any age group. Visit www.mcleancenter.org.

<b>Join a Book Discussion </b>

Great Falls Library

9830 Georgetown Pike, Great Falls

703-757-8560

The Great Falls Library hosts book discussion groups throughout the month. Call the library for titles and times. Visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/library/branches/gf.

<b>Rent or Visit The Great Falls School House </b>

9818 Georgetown Pike, Great Falls

703-938-8835

Built in the 1890s, the building acted as a school, church, library, bank and private residence. It can hold up to 50 people. Nowadays, the schoolhouse can be rented for parties, weddings and meetings as well.

<b>Suit Up With McLean Youth Athletics </b>

Started in 1954, McLean Youth Athletics has promoted youth activity for years. Now, MYA provides 11 sports throughout the school year for over 4,400 participants, from kindergartners to high school seniors. The program hopes to provide organized sports programs for all children in the community, promote sportsmanship, competition, skill building, fitness, and provide a safe and proper environment for young athletes. Visit www.myathletics.org.

<b>Check Out Dolley Madison Library </b>

1244 Oak Ridge Ave. McLean,

703-356-0770

The Dolley Madison Library is located right between the McLean Community Center and McLean Central Park. Children can read a book while relaxing in the park's gazebo. The library has been serving the McLean community for more then 33 years. Dolley Madison Library provides a variety of materials for everyone. The library is equipped with a diverse children's section and for older kids, there is an emphasis on popular titles in both fiction and non-fiction. It covers 11,000 square feet and houses about 80,000 books. There are about 30 staff members and about 10 volunteers. The library provides activities year round such as preschool story time.

<b>A Place to Get Wet </b>

Highland Swim Club/Bryan Branch Stream

1515 Bryan Branch Road, McLean

703 821-9894

Highland Swim Club/Bryan Branch Stream Not only does the club offer a swimming pool and tennis courts, it stands next to the Bryan Branch stream. Part of Pimmit Run, which runs from Falls Church to the Potomac River, Bryan Branch runs through a lively woods with hiking trails and some interesting wildlife.