AA Learn more about in-home care options for your loved ones

Given the choice, most of us want to stay in our homes. Sometimes, people need help to remain at home. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Personal Care Consultation

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TESTIMONIALS

“My mother required some post-surgical assistance as she was healing from a knee replacement procedure. Scott was very helpful in arranging a dependable and compassionate caregiver for the time which we needed the assistance. I could confidently attend to my work schedule knowing that my mother was receiving the help she needed for medication reminders, meal preparation, exercise prompts and having a supportive ear during the convalescence from Sue. I recommend Always Best Care Senior Services very highly.”

Rio Z.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Scott Maquire, owner is helpful and will work with you to develop a plan that works best for your situation. My mom loves here caregiver and I highly recommend Always Best Care Senior Services for peace of mind,”

Cheryl S.
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TESTIMONIALS

“I had caregivers for my elderly mother from Always Best Care for close to three years, and I would unreservedly do so again. It took a little bit to find providers who were right for my mother’s particular needs (besides becoming increasingly frail, she had severe anxiety), and for my schedule (my mother was living with me), but owner Scott Maguire was extremely accessible and responsive, and ultimately we established an arrangement that worked well. The caregivers were honest, reliable, caring, and responsive to my feedback, and communication via daily logs and in-person reporting ensured I was aware of anything I needed to know. I found the advantage of working with a small company whose owner I never had trouble reaching or getting to understand my needs a huge factor in what made this agency work for me.”

Judith B.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Finding Always Best Care was a game changer for me and my mom (after trying several other companies). Scott was professional and responsive. He found the perfect companion for my mom (Kendall). She was reliable, flexible, thoughtful, kind and an excellent communicator. Within a short time, my mom began asking when that "nice Kendall" was coming again. I cannot recommend ABC Senior Services highly enough. I will always be grateful for their services.”

Michelle H.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Our experience with Always Best Care Senior Services of Herndon was positive. Excellent communication and billing was easy.”

John E.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Wow--my family has worked with a number of companies to assist us through the years in the Annandale area. This is the best. Scott Maguire--the owner is responsive, collaborative, and empathetic to unique questions and requirements. This is the company we will work with hereafter.”

Michael F.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Anyone reading this is likely where my family was. Completely exhausted and desperate. My husband and I had been primary caregivers for my in-laws when one ended up with non-COVID pneumonia and the other had a stroke followed by a fall-- all since early January. Now vaccinated, they were ready for outside help and wanted it to start right away. We had been talking to an agency throughout the process that came highly recommended, Old Dominion. But they were not able to turn around an awesome caregiver in 72 hours and recommended I call one of their friendly competitors-- Scott- At Always Best Care Senior Services in Herndon. Scott understood that we were looking for stopgap care until Old Dominion could find someone permanent and after a call Friday afternoon, he had someone at my in-laws on Monday, 8:00am. And she was terrific. It makes all the difference to have such a positive experience from the beginning. My in-laws were very pleased and appreciated that Scott had been upfront that the caregiver he had available had a thick accent and that, combined with a mask, might be challenging for someone hearing impaired. This is an issue for my mother in law and it made all the difference that she knew in advance. The other thing I appreciated is that all of Scott's caregivers are vaccinated or on their way. The one he sent was getting her second shot later in her start week with us. Unfortunately, my father-in-law is going to need a stint in skilled rehab, so we won't be continuing with Scott's wonderful caregiver. But Scott stepped up to help provide some insiders perspective on facilities. There was nothing to gain from that, except putting goodness out into the world. The process is overwhelming and it made such a difference to get his perspective. We could not have been more pleased to have had such a terrific experience and highly recommend Always Best Care Senior Services if you or a loved one is looked for quality care.”

Joan B.
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TESTIMONIALS

“I had the good fortune to work for Scott Maguire at ABC following my move from New Hampshire to Virginia. I was with the agency for eight years until last month when I moved to Florida. Scott always cared about his clients, and had a knack for matching them with compatible caregivers. He was always available for questions and concerns. I had opportunities to work for other agencies between clients, but chose to stick with Always Best Care, because the name of the agency says it all.”

Jill B.
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TESTIMONIALS

“With my wife bed bound and I the only caretaker, I was soon exhausted. Scott and Always Best Care came to my rescue by providing me with the help I needed to get through this ordeal. The young lady that came 7 hours a day was a Godsend to me. She was attentive and caring and made my wife's life so much better, no to mention my own. I would not have made it through without her. Scott dealt directly with the insurance people saving me from having to manage any record keeping and payment issues. That also relieves a lot of stress. I would strongly recommend Always Best Care to anyone in need of such services.”

Tom S.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Scott and his team provided excellent companion care for Mom as her dementia progressed. They ran errands with her, provided meals for her and Dad, and generally kept her engaged and entertained during the pandemic. Scott was a wealth of knowledge and always available to help us navigate the disease and it’s effects. I highly recommend him and his team!”

Susan F.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Our family was delighted to have found Always Best Care Senior Services, having been recommended by another senior care agency. They quickly responded with excellent experienced care givers who were terrific in caring for my father, giving him the attention he needed. The personal attention given by the owner was terrific. The nursing consultation was also appreciated. I highly recommend this agency.”

Robin H.
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TESTIMONIALS

“My mother was in hospice care and needed help and companionship and I couldn’t be there 24/7. Always Best Care sent providers to be with her and I can’t say enough good things about them. They were compassionate and skilled, and always there when I needed them. I could relax knowing that my mom was in good hands.”

Elizabeth
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TESTIMONIALS

“I couldn’t be happier with the care Scott and his team have provided my mother this past year. They’ve been very responsive and flexible to her changing needs. I would recommend this very well-run company to anyone seeking top-notch care for their loved one.”

Rita S.
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TESTIMONIALS

“I can't say enough good things about Always Best Care. They have have been very flexible with providing services for my dad, and have a top-notch staff. We're extremely pleased!”

Dolly K.
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TESTIMONIALS

“I have worked with Scott in the Senior Healthcare field for over 5 years and have consistently found him to be genuinely concerned and compassionate in regards to caring for the elder population as well as extremely knowledgeable about the Senior Market in general. He is well respected in the industry and has a lot of reliable contacts to refer families to if you are looking for assistance in other areas of the industry. In a very competitive field, it is nice (and extremely important) to find someone you can trust.”

Bev O.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Scott has been a great resource for two summers now, when I needed help finding a companion who could take my mom to the pool. Scott did a wonderful job finding companions who were a good fit for my mom's personality & needs, and was also quite helpful figuring out pool schedules & locations in Reston, with an eye toward accessible facilities at each one (very important as I live 3k miles away ). Scott is really good about working with the staff at the assisted living where my mom is, and the companions he hires are kind, thoughtful, and professional. Thank you, so much.”

Mira G.
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TESTIMONIALS

“I found that Always Best Care went out of its way to give my mother wonderful help during a challenging time of extreme heat and intermittent power outages. I am very appreciative!”

Sheila B.
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TESTIMONIALS

“My parents were very resistant at first to having any help but enjoyed the staff that was sent to our home. I was able to leave them good care and go about my plans.”

Shannon L.
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TESTIMONIALS

“I find it refreshing that this company cares more about the person than just doing a job. I am a former nurse and am very particular about my caregivers and the company I deal with concerning my need for assistance. The company has already exceeded my expectations. I am grateful that I found Always Best Care, and I would suggest to anyone who needs this kind of help to carefully consider using their services.”

Jane L.
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TESTIMONIALS

“They were able to find a suitable care-giver within a relatively short time frame”

Robin L.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Scott Maguire at ABC was very helpful when I needed to find an assisted living facility for my mother. Later, when my mother's needs increased, ABC provided a very good companion for her. I recommend Scott and ABC without reservation.”

Charlie P.
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TESTIMONIALS

“I have worked with this company for many years as the leader in an assisted living community in the local Herndon neighborhood. I have found that the caregivers at "Always Best Care" were compassionate, caring and engaging with the the residents they served with our community. The management team at Always Best Care, in addition, were very responsive to any questions or concerns that we may have had and resolved issues immediately. The management team often visited their team members in the community ensuring that their employees were engaging with their clients and performing professionally in the "guest community". I would highly recommend this organization if you are looking for a team who can understand the needs of the senior as well as the needs of the family.”

Peggy B.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Always Best Care has provided a wealth of knowledge. They helped me deal with all the issues that appeared once my Mom got sick and could no longer take care of herself. Scott shared ideas and information. He was able to direct me to VA services I didn't realize my Mom was entitled. This money thanks to Scott has allowed my Mom to stay in her home and have services provided to her. I highly recommend Scott and his caring wonderful staff at Always Best Care.”

Michael C.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Always Best Care is a very respected business in Herndon. It is always a pleasure to work with Scott and his team.”

Jon H.
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TESTIMONIALS

“Scott was a huge help to the Nay family by helping us find an Assisted Living Home that suited my parent's budget and lifestyle. Scott identified our financial concerns and then went to work looking for a place for my parents. He found a great place closer to my home and my parents are thrilled with it and are able to bank money instead of wasting money at the place they were at before. Scott's referral service will always be remembered by the Nay Family”

Bill N.
 In-Home Care Alexandria, VA

How does In-home Senior Care in Alexandria, VA work?

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it's especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one ages, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

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 Senior Care Alexandria, VA

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a unfamiliar assisted living community, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:

Comfort
Comfort

How much does a senior's home truly mean to them? A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old. With the help of elderly care in Alexandria, VA, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Healthy Living
Healthy Living

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors. Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.

Independence
Independence

For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like an assisted living community. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

Cost and Convenience
Cost and Convenience

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, can be less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care in Alexandria, VA gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

Empowers Seniors

Affordable Care Plans

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

Veteran's Benefits
Veteran's Benefits

Aid and Attendance benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.

Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-Term Care Insurance

Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.

Private Insurance
Private Insurance

Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.

Life Insurance
Life Insurance

Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.


Respite Care Alexandria, VA

During your Care Plan consultation with Always Best Care, your Care Coordinator will speak with you about in-home care costs and what options there may be to help meet your budget needs.

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Alexandria,VA understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

 Caregivers Alexandria, VA

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

An assessment of your senior loved one

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An in-depth discussion of the needs of your senior loved one to remain in their own home

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Reviewing a detailed Care Plan that will meet your senior loved one's needs

03

Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

Latest News in Alexandria, VA

8 Alexandria Area Students Named 2024 National Merit Semifinalists

Students from City of Alexandria high schools are in the running for the next National Merit Scholarships in 2024. ALEXANDRIA, VA —Eight high school students from the Alexandria area have been named 2024 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, taking the first step in securing a scholarship in the competitive program.On Wednesday, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced approximately 16,000 semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of high school seniors in the U.S. Students were entered into the co...

Students from City of Alexandria high schools are in the running for the next National Merit Scholarships in 2024.

ALEXANDRIA, VA —Eight high school students from the Alexandria area have been named 2024 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, taking the first step in securing a scholarship in the competitive program.

On Wednesday, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced approximately 16,000 semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of high school seniors in the U.S. Students were entered into the competition as juniors by taking the 2022 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Semifinalists were the highest scoring entrants in each state, and the number chosen from each state is proportional to its share of graduating seniors in the U.S.

The eight greater Alexandria students who were named semifinalists include the City of Alexandria's Alexandria City High School, Bishop Ireton High School and St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School, as well as Fairfax County's West Potomac High School and a homeschooled student. They are:

About 15,000 semifinalists are expected to advance to finalist standing in February, and over half of the finalists will win about National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million next spring. To be considered as a finalist, semifinalists must submit a detailed scholarship application with information about the student's academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.

The semifinalists must demonstrate an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and write an essay. Scholarship winners will be chosen based on their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

Find out what's happening in Old Town Alexandriawith free, real-time updates from Patch.

There are three kinds of National Merit Scholarships finalists will compete for: corporate-sponsored, college or university-sponsored and National Merit Scholarship Corporation awards. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation's own $2,500 Scholarships will be awarded to 2,500 students on a state-representational basis. Around 840 corporate-sponsored scholarships will be provided by about 160 corporations and business organizations for students who meet their criteria. For example, the criteria may include being children of an employee at the sponsoring business or residents of communities where the business has locations or offices. Around 160 colleges and universities are expected to fund about 3,800 awards for finalists who will attend their school.

Winners will be announced in four groups between April and July 2024. To date, there have been about 375,000 students named as Merit Scholars.

Here’s What’s Happening This Fall in Alexandria!

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Autumn brings favorite art events, outdoor festivals, Halloween haunts and bright-hued foliage to Alexandria, Virginia, located minutes from Washington D.C., on the Potomac River. Voted one of Travel + Leisure’s ...

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Autumn brings favorite art events, outdoor festivals, Halloween haunts and bright-hued foliage to Alexandria, Virginia, located minutes from Washington D.C., on the Potomac River. Voted one of Travel + Leisure’s Best Cities in the U.S. 2023, Alexandria boasts beautifully preserved historic architecture to enjoy on the 81st Annual Historic Alexandria Homes Tour or during a goosebumps-inducing Ghost & Graveyard Tour. Browse al fresco art festivals including the 21st Annual Alexandria Art Festival in Carlyle and Del Ray’s 28th Annual Art on the Avenue, plus attend ever-popular autumn events at George Washington’s Mount Vernon like the Fall Wine Festival & Sunset Tour.

New this year, enjoy inaugural Halloween events hosted by tall ship Providence at the newly-opened Senator John Warner Maritime Heritage Center on Alexandria’s waterfront.

Dive deeper into fall events and activities in Alexandria with the listings below and at VisitAlexandria.com/Fall.

Alexandria Colonial Tours’ Ghost & Graveyard Tour

Wednesdays through Sundays in September at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30, 8:30 and 9 p.m.

Nightly in October at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30, 8:30 and 9 p.m.

Admission: $15 for adults; $10 for children; free for children under 6 years old

Tours meet at the Alexandria Visitor Center, 221 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

Walk your way through the charming streets of historic Old Town Alexandria. Follow a colonial-costumed guide by lantern light for an engaging history tour on Alexandria’s original Ghost & Graveyard Tour. During this entertaining tour, you’ll hear ghost stories, legends, folklore, unsolved mysteries, tales of romance and angry ghosts looking for revenge.

Taste of Old Town North September 21, 2023, from 4 to 8 p.m. Admission: Free Montgomery Park, 901 N. Royal St oldtownnorth.org

Head to Montgomery Park for a celebration of greater Old Town North featuring local businesses including restaurants like Jula’s on the Potomac, Hank’s Oyster Bar, St. Elmo’s and Yunnan by Potomac Noodle House. Plus, enjoy music from New Breed Soul Consortium, formerly Three Man Soul Machine, and Sally and the Mander. Rain date is September 28.

81st Annual Historic Alexandria Homes Tour

September 23, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Admission: $45 per person

Various locations throughout Old Town Alexandria, VA 22314

thetwig.org/homes-tour

The Twig, The Junior Auxiliary of Inova Alexandria Hospital, proudly announces the 81st Annual Historic Alexandria Homes Tour to be held on Saturday, September 23. New this year, a digital tour book guiding participants through the homes will be accessible to ticket holders via their mobile device. Hard copies of the tour book are available for purchase, in advance, for $5 each. Please note that this event sold out last year, so early ticket purchase is recommended.

21st Annual Alexandria Art Festival

September 30 to October 1, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission: Free

300 John Carlyle St., Alexandria, VA 22314

Rated one of the top 100 art shows in Sunshine Artist Magazine, the annual art festival features a variety of works exemplifying the gifted artists in regions from all over the country.

Fall Wine Festival & Sunset Tour

Admission: Friday: $49 for members, $59 for general public; Saturday: $53 for members, $63 for general public; Sunday: $43 for members; $53 for general public

George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, VA 22121

703-780-2000

Taste samples from Virginia wineries after hours at George Washington’s estate. Bring a blanket and relax on the east lawn overlooking the Potomac River and meet General Washington.

28th Annual Art on the Avenue

October 7, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Admission: Free

Mount Vernon Ave. between Hume Ave. and Bellefonte Ave., Alexandria, VA 22301

The 28th annual arts festival held in the Del Ray features more than 350 juried artists, from quilters to card-makers to cartographers, displaying their one-of-a-kind wares. Arrive with an appetite and grab a bite from 20+ food vendors and set to the soundtrack of live music along the avenue. Trolley transportation will be available from the Braddock Road Metro.

3rd Annual Carlyle Halloween Stampede

October 28, 2023, 2 to 6 p.m.

Admission: $10 per person

Whiskey & Oyster, 301 John Carlyle St., Alexandria, VA 22314

The 3rd Annual Carlyle Halloween Stampede features all-day festive cocktails, signature party favors, costume contests, photos ops, giveaways and more. Guests can start the crawl and pick up their wristbands at any of the participating restaurants: Whiskey & Oyster, Sweet Fire Donna’s, Tequila and Taco or Lost Boy Cider. Costumes are recommended. There will be costume prizes for the most festively dressed participants. 10-100% of the registration fee will be donated to the nonprofit ALIVE! in Alexandria.

Tall Ship Providence Presents the Halloween Howl

October 28, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; tours 45 minutes to one hour

Admission: $20 per child (ages 1-13); free for accompanying adults Senator John Warner Maritime Heritage Center, 1A Prince St., Alexandria, VA 22314 tallshipprovidence.org

Arrive in costume for some Halloween fun aboard tall ship Providence! Little ghosts and goblins will be taking over the floating maritime center as they rotate through stations of story time, crafts and activities then step aboard Providence with legendary Captain John Paul Jones.

Old Town Family Trick or Treat

October 28, 2023, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission: Free

Various locations in Old Town Alexandria, VA 22314

Bring the family and enjoy trick-or-treating in the various shops and restaurants in Old Town along upper and lower King Street and select side streets. Visit oldtownbusiness.org for the starting point and map pick-up location.

Tall Ship Providence Presents “Ghost Ship Providence

October 28, 2023, from 7 to 10 p.m. Admission (adults only): $85 per person; $150 per couple Senator John Warner Maritime Heritage Center, 1A Prince St., Alexandria, VA 22314 tallshipprovidence.org

All aboard for an adults-only costume party! Cross the gangway (if you dare) for a hauntingly good time. DJ, open bar, food, costume contest and raffles will all take place at the floating heritage center and aboard Providence.

Old Town Doggie Trick or Treat

October 29, 2023, from 1 to 5 p.m.

Admission: Free

The Dog Park, 705 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

Bring your dog for a howling day of walking through Old Town and visiting participating merchants who will offer treats for your four-legged companion. Start at The Dog Park boutique, located at 705 King Street. For more information, visit www.oldtownbusiness.org.

Del Ray Halloween Parade

October 29, 2023, at 2 p.m.

Admission: Free

Begins at Mount Vernon Ave., south of E. Bellefonte Ave. Alexandria, VA 22301

One of Del Ray’s favorite traditions, the annual Del Ray Halloween Parade, returns once again. Children, pets and strollers in costumes are invited to march and show off their finest and scariest Halloween garb. For more information, including details on entering the house decorating contest, pet costume contest and stroller decorating contest, visit www.visitdelray.com.

About Alexandria, Virginia Recognized by Travel + Leisure among the Best Places to Travel in 2023 and Best Cities in the U.S. 2023 and voted a Condé Nast Traveler Top 5 Best Small City in the U.S. 2022, Alexandria is a welcoming weekend escape on the Potomac River, minutes from Washington, D.C. Founded in 1749 and boasting the nation’s third oldest historic district, Alexandria hums with a cosmopolitan feel. Stroll Old Town Alexandria’s King Street mile to find more than 200 independent restaurants and boutiques plus intimate historic museums and new happenings at the waterfront. Explore vibrant neighborhoods beyond Old Town, trace George Washington and the Founding Fathers’ footsteps and follow the stories of Black Americans who shaped the history of Alexandria and the United States. [SEE ALSO: NAACP’s Alexandria Branch Welcoming Congresswoman Jennifer McClellan as Keynote Speaker for Freedom Fund Gala]

NoVA, DC Weekend Events: Flashlight Corn Maze, Celebrate Virginia

Sept. 15-17 weekend happenings in NoVA, DC: fall festivals opening, Colonial Market, H Street Festival, Pet Festival, Oktoberfest and more.VIRGINIA — Although fall officially doesn't begin until next weekend, seasonal fun is starting up around Northern Virginia and DC.Fall festivals are starting to open, including the Cox Farms Fall Festival and ...

Sept. 15-17 weekend happenings in NoVA, DC: fall festivals opening, Colonial Market, H Street Festival, Pet Festival, Oktoberfest and more.

VIRGINIA — Although fall officially doesn't begin until next weekend, seasonal fun is starting up around Northern Virginia and DC.

Fall festivals are starting to open, including the Cox Farms Fall Festival and Pumpkin Village at Leesburg Animal Park. There's also the ongoing Corn Maze & Apple Harvest and the special Family Flashlight Corn Maze Night this weekend.

Early Oktoberfest celebrations are another way to celebrate the season. Check out Oktoberfest at the Wharf, Town of Middleburg's Oktoberfest Celebration and more.

Other major events happening this weekend are Celebrate Virginia at Tysons Corner Center, H Street Festival, Mount Vernon Colonial Market & Fair, Virginia Native American Festival, Village at Leesburg's Pet Festival, Rappahannock Riverfest, Hispanic Heritage Festival, Perchfest and Literary Hill BookFest.

Below is a full roundup of local events from Friday, Sept. 15 to Sunday, Sept. 17.

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Crazy Mason’s milkshakes are as big as my head. I tried to eat one anyway.

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Still, I was on a mission: It was the eve of National Chocolate Milkshake Day (Sept. 12), and my goal was to get my hands on the most extravagant chocolate shake I could find.

The Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar was opened this month by Robert and Erin Studer, who also operate an outpost of the franchise in Ellicott City. The couple fell in love with the concept of the restaurant — in which colossal shakes are served in Mason jars — during a 2021 visit to the flagship store in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Robert welcomed me into the narrow shop in a prime location on Old Town’s main drag and explained that one thing he and Erin loved about the Crazy Mason is that “the pictures you see on the menu line up with what you get.” Milkshake flavors range from Oreo cheesecake to banana pudding and come with punny names — the mint chocolate chip shake, for example, is called Mint to Be. Or perhaps you’d prefer the peanut-butter-flavored Build Me Up Buttercup.

The picture that drew me in was of the Fudgin’ Best, a chocolate milkshake mixed with mini chocolate chips and crowned with a dense brownie drizzled with hot fudge, chocolate mousse and half a king-size Hershey bar. Like all the other Crazy Masons, it costs $16 and comes in a locally themed, 16-ounce Mason jar that customers can bring home as a souvenir.

Once my shake was served to me, I found that Robert was right. The dessert looked almost identical to what I had seen online and what was depicted on the diner-style menu.

Armed with a straw and a spoon, my first thought — which I later heard uttered aloud by another patron — was, “How on earth do I start?” So I started with photos — the phone eats first, after all. Then I picked up my long-handled spoon and tasted the chocolate mousse. As I worked my way through the layers of mousse, brownie and chocolate bar, I was reminded of the scene from Roald Dahl’s “Matilda” where Bruce Bogtrotter has to eat Miss Trunchbull’s entire chocolate cake — delicious, but intimidating, and also quite messy.

After a few bites, I decided to move the toppings aside to test the main attraction, and Robert gave me a to-go box to bring them home. The milkshake was one of the better chocolate shakes I’ve tasted, in large part because it uses real chocolate ice cream rather than vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup. I sat for about half an hour, gazing out at King Street and at the “Treasure Chest” claw machine in the corner of the shop, as I took sips of chocolate and more chocolate interspersed with bites of chocolate.

Just under halfway through, I admitted to Robert that I didn’t think I could finish the shake in one sitting. “That’s possible,” he nodded, unsurprised.

As delicious as it was, and as much as I love chocolate, it was rich. I could’ve used some help from a friend. As a kid, I would have loved sharing this with a parent. As I sipped, I thought of the laundry list of loved ones who would enjoy this with me. But, like Bruce Bogtrotter, I was destined to consume my chocolate alone. Unlike poor Bruce, I had the liberty of putting my spoon down when my stomach reached capacity.

Because I had no one to help me, I brought the rest of my milkshake, plus the brownie, chocolate mousse and chocolate bar, home. Though I enjoyed my experience, I don’t think I can return to the Crazy Mason without another person. As Bruce Bogtrotter and I can both attest: A dessert of this magnitude is meant to be shared.

The Crazy Mason Milkshake Bar, 716 King St., Alexandria. Hours: 2 to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 2 to 10 p.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.

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8 Greater Alexandria Students Named 2024 National Merit Semifinalists

BELLE HAVEN, VA —Eight high school students from greater Alexandria have been named 2024 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, taking the first step in securing a scholarship in the competitive program.On Wednesday, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced approximately 16,000 semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of high school seniors in the U.S. Students were entered into the competition as juniors by taking the 2022 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Semifinalists were the h...

BELLE HAVEN, VA —Eight high school students from greater Alexandria have been named 2024 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, taking the first step in securing a scholarship in the competitive program.

On Wednesday, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced approximately 16,000 semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of high school seniors in the U.S. Students were entered into the competition as juniors by taking the 2022 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Semifinalists were the highest scoring entrants in each state, and the number chosen from each state is proportional to its share of graduating seniors in the U.S.

The eight greater Alexandria students who were named semifinalists include Fairfax County's West Potomac High School and the City of Alexandria's Alexandria City High School, Bishop Ireton High School and St. Stephen's and St. Agnes School, as well as a homeschooled student. They are:

There were also 165 semifinalists from Fairfax County's Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, one of the top schools in the nation.

About 15,000 semifinalists are expected to advance to finalist standing in February, and over half of the finalists will win about National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million next spring. To be considered as a finalist, semifinalists must submit a detailed scholarship application with information about the student's academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.

The semifinalists must demonstrate an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and write an essay. Scholarship winners will be chosen based on their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

There are three kinds of National Merit Scholarships finalists will compete for: corporate-sponsored, college or university-sponsored and National Merit Scholarship Corporation awards. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation's own $2,500 Scholarships will be awarded to 2,500 students on a state-representational basis. Around 840 corporate-sponsored scholarships will be provided by about 160 corporations and business organizations for students who meet their criteria. For example, the criteria may include being children of an employee at the sponsoring business or residents of communities where the business has locations or offices. Around 160 colleges and universities are expected to fund about 3,800 awards for finalists who will attend their school.

Winners will be announced in four groups between April and July 2024. To date, there have been about 375,000 students named as Merit Scholars.

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