Cinema Arts Gets New Chairs Thanks to Crowdfunding

20161223_205501890_iosCinema Arts Theatres in Fair City Mall (Fairfax, Va) has brand new chairs in its theatres. This is thanks to a creative crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. The “Save Our Butts The Seat-quel” campaign raised $112,536 from 1,260 supporters. Quite an achievement considering the family owned theatre was only asking for $100,000 at the start of the campaign.

How do you raise $12,500 more than you ask for? By having great pledge awards! This campaign had eighteen different pledge levels. As little as $5 gets your name on the big screen as a thank you. Thirty people gave for this award. The highest level ($1,000) earned you a … “Get an 8 second video/PowerPoint advertisement or message on the Big Screen before our movies play for 2 months.” Three people paid for this award.

20161223_205719520_iosMy wife and I donated at the $25 level. We received 2 tickets and a voucher for a “combo light” (a popcorn & 2 small sodas). We stopped by the theater yesterday to see the new chairs and watch Rogue One (good movie!) The staff have one of the new chairs on display in the lobby by the front entrance for people stopping by to check out the results of the campaign.

This demonstrates the power of crowdfunding as a new source of capital for small businesses and nonprofits. Come up with a creative campaign message. Add a smart or funny video. Attract supporters with interesting award levels. Back it up with savvy social media marketing. Before you know it, an old theater has new chairs, a small museum as a new exhibit or a small town has new tourism revenue. It’s worth exploring.

Congratulations on a successful campaign Cinema Arts Theatres!!!

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The Visitors Center at Frying Pan Farm Park (Herndon, VA)

Frying Pan Farm Park is one of the Fairfax County Park System‘s hidden gems. This 135-acre operation is a working farm and park located in Herndon, VA. I wrote post about Frying Pan Farm Park with a broader view back on December 9th. This is a closer look at the Visitors Center. As I said in my first post, The Visitors Center can get you started on your journal to explore Frying Pan. It has racks of information and a very friendly staff.

Exhibits at the Visitors Center

Indoor Meeting Rooms for Rental: The Auditorium and The Classroom

The auditorium is 1,800 square feet and can handle up to 200 people. The classroom is 600 square feet and can handle up to 50 people.

The Pavilion behind the Visitors Center

Ellmore Farmhouse & The Resident Curator Program

The Fairfax County Park Authority is always looking for help with preservation. The Resident Curator Program was created with this in mind. The program offers long-term leases to qualified tenants who agree to rehabilitate and maintain historic properties within the county. The Ellmore Farmhouse is located across from the Visitors Center and is available for lease by a resident curator.

The Visitors Center at Frying Pan Farm Park, 2709 West Ox Road, Herndon, Va (Fairfax County) | 703-437-9101 | http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/fryingpanpark | free admission | free parking | Call or visit the website for hours, event schedule and volunteer opportunities.

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A Visit to Great Falls Creamery

20161214_164847046_iosIf you’re on a visit to Great Falls Park or the Scott’s Run Nature Preserve in Fairfax County, you must stop by Great Falls Creamery in the Great Falls Village Centre. It’s a convenient break after exploring the trails or watching the waterfalls. I stopped by after scouting the Billy Goat Trail in the park.

Enjoy any of 22 different flavors of ice cream! They can turn any flavor into an ice cream sandwich, shake, float, sundae or banana split if you need something more interesting than your standard scoop on a cone. Turn your ice cream into a work of art with the 11 available toppings. Don’t forget to get your loyalty card stamped! Buy 10 cones, get 1 free.

It’s a creamery so they carry a small selection of dairy, baked products, drinks and snacks.

One note about finding this place. It’s located on the back end of the shopping center and has a small sign in front. You’ll miss it if you blink at the wrong time while driving by. Also, they’re happy to take your credit card as long as it’s not American Express.

Great Falls Creamery / 766 Walker Rd, Great Falls, VA 22066 / (703) 272-7609 / Facebook / Twitter / Yelp Reviews

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Frying Pan Farm Park – Family Fun in Herndon, VA

frying-pan-farm-park-signFrying Pan Farm Park is one of the Fairfax County Park Authority‘s hidden gems. This 135-acre operation is a working farm and park located in Herndon, VA.

Families are welcome to visit the animals at the Kidwell Farm or explore one of many historic buildings. Top of the list of buildings to visit is Floris Old Schoolhouse (1911) and Moffet Blacksmith Shop (1904). You can shop at the Country Store or take a wagon ride. Learn to ride a horse at the equestrian center or see a show at the indoor arena. Attend one of the many events scheduled throughout the year. Explore the woods and trails around the farm. There’s plenty to see and do.

frying-pan-farm-park-mapThe Visitors Center can get you started. It has racks of information and a very friendly staff. Take a few minutes to visit the small museum at the center. Learn about the Frying Pan’s history, local wildlife and Fairfax County’s conservation programs.

A program currently held at the Visitors Center is Bluegrass Barn. It’s a series of Sunday evening concerts held annually from September through April. There are 4 concerts remaining in the 2016/2017 season. The last concert is scheduled for April 9, 2017. Food & drink will be available for purchase. Check the website for performers, dates and tickets.

Tips for your visit:

  1. Dress for the farm – this is a working farm so wear shoes you don’t mind getting dirty (or muddy).
  2. Bring a little cash – it’s free to park and visit Frying Pan but there are fees to take a wagon ride, a ride on the antique carousel, a horseback riding lesson or buy snacks in the country store.
  3. Check the website for coming events – Find out about holiday events, concerts, festivals and a farmer’s stand that take place at Frying Pan. Some events require tickets purchased in advanced.
  4. Check the website for hours – The farm, park and trails are open from dawn to dusk. However; the Kidwell Farm, Visitor Center, Country Store, Indoor Arena and wagon rides have separate hours that change during the year.
  5. A few of the historic buildings are only open during special guided tours – Call 703-437-9101 for more information.
  6. Visit the Parktakes Online website to get a list of classes and programs available across all Fairfax County parks.
  7. Leashed pets are welcome.

Available Services:

  1. Birthday party packages
  2. Event ballroom for weddings and events
  3. Meeting rooms rentals
  4. Demonstration gardens
  5. Youth, scout, school and summer camp programs
  6. Exhibits in the Visitors Center
  7. Picnic tables
  8. Shelter rental
  9. Playgrounds

Support the park:

  1. Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park – Donate or become a member of a nonprofit dedicated to Frying Pan. This organization provides recreational opportunities, educational programs and preservation. Members are invited to special events. Follow their page on Facebook for updates!
  2. Fairfax County Park Foundation – The foundation supports all Fairfax County Parks by raising private funds and obtaining grants for the parks system.

 

I hope you enjoy the Frying Pan Farm Park. Thank you for reading Maryland Travel Stories!

A Visit to Lake Anne Brew House

img_1211I had three good reasons to visit the Lake Anne Brew House Sunday. First, the brew house is located in the historic Lake Anne Village Center in Reston, VA (Fairfax County). The shopping center sits at the end of Lake Anne. It makes a pleasant backdrop for shopping, eating and people watching. My wife and I like this area but we don’t get to visit much.

Second, to check out the award winning beer! Two of the beers at the Lake Anne Brew House earned the 2016 Virginia Craft Brewers Cup. Their “Lord Fairfax English Pale Ale” placed 2nd for a British Bitter. Their “Reston Red” placed 3rd for an American Amber Ale.

And third, to meet the business dynamo at the head of this female-owned nano-brewery. Melissa Romano and her husband started the brewery six months ago. I learned about this start-up when I contributed to their Kickstarter campaign back in September 2015. They raised $26,000 from 191 backers to help get the business off the ground. Congratulations to this hard working couple with their creative way to help finance a business.

img_1214There’s a couple things you should know for your visit. Get the correct address from their website before you drive there. You need a special address entered into GPS. You’ll get lost if you use their mailing address.

Next, they have snacks for sale but no food is served at the brew house. They have a great solution to this. The brew house has a menu with food items from the nearby Kalpso’s Sport Tavern. Order food from the tavern and a server will bring the food to your table at the brew house. More creative thinking and a good partnership with a nearby business.

Now you have three reasons to visit as well. Grab a few friends for some great beer and a great view!

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Finding Yellow Falls III

Previous posts about Finding the Yellow Falls can be found here.

I explained my approach to seeing Yellow Falls in my first post about Yellow Falls. I will try to see the falls by getting as close to the Potomac River on the Virginia side with a good camera. I can get access to the river from the Scotts Run Nature Preserve in Fairfax County, VA. Scotts Run has a yellow marked trail that will take you all the way to the river.

For the trip, I parked in the East parking lot at the start of the yellow trail and walked to the end. I found a waterfall. Problem is … it’s clearly not the Yellow Falls. I need to do some research but here are some photos from the trip.

 

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Finding Yellow Falls II – Follow the Purple and Yellow Trails

Scotts Run Trail Map (Partial)I explained my approach to seeing Yellow Falls in my first post about Yellow Falls. I will try to see the falls by getting as close to the Potomac River on the Virginia side with a good camera.

I can get access to the river from the Scotts Run Nature Preserve. Scotts Run has a system of trails that will take you all the way to the river but I needed to find the best path. (I don’t want to get lost!)

Well, I have my path mapped! I will park in the same parking lot off Georgetown Pike. Go up the steps to the Parking Lot Connector Trail (Purple). Follow the Parking Lot Connector Trail to the Stubblefield Falls Overlook Trail (Yellow). Take the Stubblefield Falls Overlook Trail all the way to the Potomac River. The trip is planned for next week. Wish me luck!

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