Monday, September 28, 2009

Northern Virginia Brew Fest - Harvest Time is Here in DC’s Beer Country

Fall in Northern Virginia is filled with countless harvest festivals and seasonal entertainment, mixed in among the demanding schedules of school academic and athletic events. It’s hard not only to find a spare moment to relax and enjoy the Oktoberfest-influenced, pre-holiday season, but to also choose among the myriad offerings of Northern Virginia’s best outdoor venues – including farms, restaurants, wineries and vineyards, parks, rural and suburban communities. For those seeking the perfect mix of outdoor entertainment in great Fall weather, seasonal harvest brews and local food, plus a great mix of fun-loving residents, families and visitors – make plans now to visit DC’s Beer Country out in the Loudoun County/Dulles South region for the great 3rd annual Northern Virginia BrewFest.

The World Beer Experience on October 24th and 25th, at Bull Run Regional Park in Centreville, VA, will feature more than 40 of the world’s best breweries, plenty of delicious food to complement the craft beers and outstanding local and regional bands providing entertainment. Bull Run Regional Park includes huge, spacious fields, scenic woodlands and trails, and is a quick trek about 30 minutes to the west of DC, off of Rt. 29 in Centreville - an easy ride from Rt. 66.

Musical entertainment on the Main Stage will include genres such as rock, classic rock, blues, and folk - and all are included with the price of admission. Great local and regional bands will be joining us all weekend long, including Road Soda (rock/hip hop/classic rock quartet from Fairfax, Virginia), Gonzo’s Nose (80’s and 90’s rock covers, from Arlington), Gypsy Sons (classic rock, from Alexandria), The Cheaters (rock, southern and classic rock, from Baltimore), Backseat Betties (Northern Virginia female trio, 80’s through today’s rock and country covers), and Klepto Radio (classic/modern rock to old school/modern Hip Hop).

For those ready to sample the very finest and world-renown beers, here’s the lineup of over 40 breweries expected – some especially fabulous and award-winning breweries featured along with local champs:

Vintage 50, Abita, Allagash, Ballast Point, Bear Republic, Beck’s, Bells, Birra Peroni, Bitburger, Blue Grass, Boston Brewing Company, Boulder, Brooklyn, Budweiser, Capitol City, Clipper City, Dogfish, Flying Dog, Fordham, Franziskaner, Het Anker, Hofbrau Munchen, Hook Ladder, Huyghe, Kona, Kostrizer, Lagunitas, Lancaster Malt, Brewing Co., Leinienkugel, Mad Fox, Magic Hat, New Holland, Northcoast, Old Dominion, Oskar Blues, Otter Creek/ Wolavers, Peak Organic, Plzensky Prazdroj, Raven, RedHook, Sierra Nevada, Spaten, St George, Starr Hill, Van Housebrouck, Victory, Weihenstephaner, Widmer, Wild Goose, and Woodchuck.

Just because it’s a BrewFest, don’t think that the kids aren’t welcome as well. There’s an area dedicated to entertainment for the children including moon-bounces, face-painters, and other hands-on activities. Local Virginia crafters and artisans will also be on hand to provide unique, handmade products and some early shopping for the holidays this year. There’s even a local vineyard or two representing, for the Virginia wine lovers in all of us.

As an entirely family-friendly, safe, fun local arts, crafts, music and brew festival, the Northern Virginia BrewFest in DC’s Beer Country offers a full slate of early and late entertainment for everyone – and represents one of the very best, professionally managed and most anticipated outdoors fall events in all of Northern Virginia. Free parking’s available, and lots of great hotels are very near, with special rates available to festival attendees.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Should your Northern Virginia or Loudoun Business Tweet?

Here's a bit of advice via the KME Internet Marketing of Loudoun expert community, regarding your decision as a business owner to tweet or not to tweet. We're finding this is a pervasive question among most small to medium-sized businesses; the answers align with existing online marketing and communication strategies.

"The jury’s still out for most businesses on whether or not significant effort is made in “tweeting” information via – but the evidence is IN regarding whether or not to simply sign up and prepare to do so.

Your company’s online popularity, reputation and ultimately success is derived from two core things – what you say, and what others say about you. Let’s address these communication elements as “attributed source information” (ASI). “Attributed” from the perspective that there is in fact a known source (though it may be an anonymous ID), “source” from the perspective that it’s the very first sincere representation of the communication or concept actually published online, and “information” in that it’s not just some data or graphic fragments, it’s actually a message or concept with enough context to drive interest..."

Read more about Northern Virginia and Loudoun Business Tweeting...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

2009 Online Loudoun County Business Marketing Challenge - 3rd Quarter Update

Here's a quick update to our "2009 Online Loudoun County Promotion Business Challenge", started to help stimulate business investment in the county.

The keyword phrase we researched that best illustrates the joint goals of promoting Loudoun as a great place for business investment, along with promoting Loudoun as a great community, was "Loudoun Virginia business DC location great community invest". While it's a very "long-tailed" keyphrase, when used in searches without the quotes it seems to capture the results we're looking for.

We're seeking local and/or regional businesses who are doing their best to promote, online, Loudoun County as a business destination; a great place to invest commercial and community assets. The results so far aren't spectacular - it appears there's a heavy reliance and expectation on the government by businesses to promote the county for them. Some businesses (like us) are taking "matters of the common good" into their own hands, however - as the results reflect. (We did strip out our own businesses, investments and marketing clients from these results - for example, Ingrid Myers, Realtor, who shows up very high in the results.)

Our guidelines for choosing a winner include:

- the business must be local to the DC metro region; final winner's preference given to Loudoun-based businesses (i.e. "Made in Loudoun"), "single" owners (vs. groups or associations, though we'll include these)
- the business must be actively promoting Loudoun (with results not simply based on coincidental copywriting)
- the results will be drawn only from Google search results, with much preference given to results that are current, i.e. from 2009
- businesses which are primarily "traditional media" or "political support" in nature are excluded
- businesses who are direct competitors with us and/or our clients will be indicated as such

Here, then are the top 5 leaders - note that the business who "wins" our challenge at the end of the year, will receive loads of "free" online publicity for their efforts to help all Loudoun businesses and residents, by promoting Loudoun's economic climate as an attractive reason and place to invest...

1) Kae Davis, Realtor out of Ashburn, VA
2) Cornerstone HR Consulting out of Leesburg
3) Kelly Gaitten, Realtor out of Hamilton, VA
4) Thierry Roche & Associates Realtors out of Fairfax
5) Virginia Business Networking, part of a web design/promotion services organization out of the Shenandoah Valley.

(Here's a secret - it should be pretty easy to increase your status in these rankings, as a Loudoun-promoting business - just include some information on your website or blog about how great Loudoun is, and why investing in Loudoun is such an attractive proposition!).

Saturday, September 19, 2009

WAPO disconnected from Social Media and Online Advertisers in Loudoun

Today's piece on "Loudoun to Media Outlets: How Local Can You Go?" ( is a report flawed by traditional journalistic perspective - i.e. disconnected from the actual realities and energies being executed through social media channels and online advertising, just those things that are only just developing as part of the journalist's arsenal and the traditional media's toolset.

The report describes how "publishers are also stumbling because they are not "hyperlocal" enough"...but doesn't really delve further into the definition of "publishers" than the mainstream news outlets. In the world of Loudoun and Washington DC Internet Marketing and Social Media, "publishers" take all kinds of forms that don't typically resemble traditional "one size fits all" centralized news outlets; rather, publishing happens across a social-media supported ecosystem of micro-news content, micro-funding, and various aggregations of such to serve networks of communities and businesses. A lot of money is flowing into this, as well.

Loudoun is increasingly being served relevant hyper-local and interstitial news and events, opinion/commentary, advertising and relationship-building content through the increasing networks of social media channels, supporters and publishers (both commercial and government) - and these don't include "traditional media". This blog, for example, has a very wide reach far beyond core readers - when adding up the syndications, references, network of content distribution outlets, and other mechanisms used to "feed the social media-o-sphere and encourage direct or asymmetric comment" (all made possible by the rapid growth of "Web 2.0" technologies); the reach is far broader than most local newspapers. Businesses looking to harness this reach, precise segmentations, and flexibilty in delivery and response are quickly jumping on the bandwagon; as are a plethora of DC-area technology and online marketing companies creating programs and capabilities to service the demand (including mobile).

Loudouners can support this growth of relevant, accessible and helpful publishing options and their local businesses, simply by continuing to engage online with the products delivered, and the businesses who are online. Comment often, share your input!

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Fulcrumpoint for CAHMs - Save 50% on Groceries

Here's a quick note on grocery savings in Northern Virginia from the Fulcrumpoint, our blog focused on Career-at-Home-Moms (CAHMs) - navigating the work-family balance while rebuilding your professional career at home. Now's the time to save over 50% on a regular basis, through smart management of coupons combined with falling prices and increasingly better deals at the grocery stores. Plus, as we regularly do, you can have some fun "crashing the system" when the store computer complains about your savings - it's a bit of a bi-weekly challenge!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Loudoun Posterous

Just a little Loudoun Posterous Test to !

Sigh - only 11 more years till I can really take advantage of all this!
See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from loudoun's posterous

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

How Can Loudoun County VA Get Out of Debt?

Gateway to Loudoun County is pleased to begin providing a series of occasional "Guest Blogs" written by those very familiar with Loudoun, Dulles and the Northern Virginia region and associated topics consistent with our "business and the community" themes.

The following is provided by Mr. Rob Noyes, who manages 3500 writers on his Letter Writing Service website (, and who runs a very popular Loudoun Winery twitter aggregation via @LoudounWineries to support and promote rural economic development and organic products in Loudoun County and Virginia. Contact him here, or at LoudounWineries[at] .

How can Loudoun County get out of debt?

This conversation really occurred. I know...I was the taxpayer.

Taxpayer to Loudoun County official: "In what ways is Loudoun County raising money to pay its huge debt?"

Reply: "The only thing Loudoun County is interested in is selling real estate in order to levy the associated taxes."

Please read between the lines here. The Loudoun official is not referring to the selling of existing homes. The taxes on existing homes (in most cases) are already being paid. The Loudoun official's statement refers to selling new, yet-undeveloped homes to more newcomers to Loudoun.

I grew up here in Loudoun...attended Loudoun Country Day School and Catoctin Elementary, participated in Pony Club, played Little League, was baptized and confirmed at St. James Episcopal, worked during summers at Morven Park...and as much as I enjoyed the quaintness of Loudoun County the way it was, the newcomers to Loudoun County have made it a truly wonderful place. Loudoun County's population is more talented and better educated now, thanks to its newcomers, than it ever was back then. Additionally, "Made in Loudoun" organic products, including local Virginia wines and beer, are much more well-known and appreciated by friends and families of new Loudoun residents outside the County. Regardless of what anyone else may say, if you're transplanted to Loudoun, as far as I'm concerned you're very, very welcome.

That being said, I disagree with the county's position to sell more homes to an ever-growing local population. By doing so, it sells in bits the very thing that makes Loudoun so desirable. So, rather than sit here and wait for the 120 square feet of land behind me to be built into a quad-plex for which some poor soul will pay too much in taxes, I'm offering some different ideas for Loudoun County to make money.

1) In 1661, King Charles II, presented with a map of the New World and told to divide it by royal decree into governable portions of land, laid his hands on the Potomac and York Rivers and declared the section between the two as "Northumberland County".

Why is this significant? Because Loudoun County, as well as Fairfax, Stafford and a few others still hold that border that was set by royal decree prior to the revolution. Henrico County, the county of our esteemed state capital, has a claim to no such history. It was shaved from the carvings of multiple counties until it finally reached its present boundaries.

2011 marks the 350th anniversary of King Charles decree. Wouldn't an invitation to Prince Charles to come to Loudoun to re-enact that event be marketable? (Note: Prince Charles, the Duke of Windsor, is not the namesake of King Charles. King Charles II was of the House of Tudor while Prince Charles is of the House of Windsor, previously Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.)

2) In 1737, the western border of what is today Loudoun County was established when Prince William County (which would later be divided into Fairfax and finally Loudoun counties) was created. Of note, Loudoun's western border, the original Prince William western border, rests at the top of the Blue Ridge, instead of just a half mile away at the Shenandoah. Why? Because in 1737, what lay west of the Blue Ridge was quite literally 'Indian Country.' The western border was established 'on top of the mountain' for strategic positioning to look down on the Indian villages that dotted the banks of the Shenandoah from Harpers Ferry down to Front Royal.

Why is this significant? Because when a political boundary is established it means that anyone living inside the boundary must pay taxes. In exchange, those living inside the boundary are granted certain provisions, most notably in 1737 was protection. Pre-revolutionary soldiers were assigned to the Blue Ridge border to stand guard against indian raids upon the residents and taxpayers of Prince William(Loudoun) County. In the 20 years between 1737 and 1757 when Loudoun County was established, something had to happen up there. Some soldier died by attack or disease or age and was interred up there.

In 2006 when the original settlers of Jamestown were discovered (again, pre-revolutionary citizens), Queen Elizabeth visited Jamestown to pay her respects to those she still considered subjects of the crown. Wouldn't she do the same for one of Britian's soldiers buried here in Loudoun? Let's go find one.

3) The Mount Zion Community Cemetery, the black cemetery at the intersection of North and Liberty Streets in Leesburg, holds the grave of Loudoun's purported oldest resident, Mary Mallory, who died at the age of 108 after living her first 60 years as a slave at Morven Park.

Loudoun County has a rich black history that is, unfortunately, disjointed and under-marketed: Arcola's slave quarters, the Middleburg Freedom School, St. Louis (the oldest black township in the South), the Waterford Freedom School, Mary Mallory's slave quarters, Mary Mallory's grave and the Mount Zion Community Cemetery. This site holds not just Mary's grave but the graves of 40 people who lived before the Emancipation Proclamation, 13 of whom fought in the Civil War and several of whom walked to Baltimore to enlist in the Union. Of course, just down the street from the cemetery is the Mount Zion United Methodist Church, the oldest black congregation in Virginia.

In 2011, Colin Powell is slated to conduct the ribbon-cutting for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the mall in D.C. With no Harriet Tubmans nor Thoroughgood Marshalls in the surrounding area, can't Loudoun's rich black history bring people visiting the Dr. King Memorial to Loudoun, thereby stimulating our economy?


3% of every dollar spent by people staying in hotels in Loudoun is called the 'Transient Occupancy Tax.' 1% of this 3% goes directly toward paying our taxes. Finding reasons to bring people to Loudoun is our priority...or we can just bury it all under new homes to levy the associated taxes.?

Got any ideas of your own? Comment back!

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Monday, September 07, 2009

Virginia Women in Business - Gubernatorial Candidate Responds

Heading into Labor Day weekend, it seemed appropriate to query the Virginia Gubernatorial candidates (Creigh Deeds (D) and Robert McDonnell (R)) about their views concerning Virginia women in business. In disclosure, "Gateway to Loudoun County" (this blog) is maintained by KME Internet Marketing, a woman-owned small business in Loudoun County, VA.

We asked: "What can be done to further encourage, support and maintain the rapid growth of women-owned businesses in this region's business tax districts, in a manner that also supports work-life balance for dual income families?"

For those who know us, this is a very central issue to both our company and family, and very central we believe to promoting the economic recovery of the region. It's also something we feel is owed to our daughters to promote (remember Mary Poppins?).

Note to the candidates - in terms of constituent marketing and communications (that is business, after all), we can only give out about a B-minus for both (notwithstanding the actual response). Mr. McDonnell's email generated a well-written, generic, instant response - though the subject line said he was "Out of Office". We've not yet heard back from him, but hope to, soon. Mr. Deeds' campaign didn't generate an autoresponse, but Jeremy Sturchio, Deeds Campaign Deputy Policy Director, did respond personally 12 hours later, with a polite message that we'd get an answer shortly.

Here, therefore, is Creigh Deed's response:

"I think women who work deserve every opportunity to pursue a fulfilling career on equal footing with their male peers. It starts with equal pay for equal work. In 2007, on average, women in Virginia working full-time, year-round earned only 77% of what men working full-time, year-round earned - one percentage point below the nationwide average of 78%. That is not acceptable.

My voting record in opposition to wage discrimination demonstrates my steadfast support for gender equity in the workplace, and as governor I will work to close the wage gap between women and men in Virginia.

I know that in these tough economic times many families need two incomes to make ends meet, but too often quality, affordable child care is not readily available. As a legislator I led the fight to raise health and safety standards for child care and my voting record shows consistent support for expanding and improving child care options. As governor I will continue to focus on child care as a key priority not only for families but also as an economic development tool that enables parents to pursue careers and raise their children at the same time.

In addition, I'll make it easier for anyone to work from home by finishing the last mile of broadband internet across the Commonwealth, and offering businesses a $1,200 tax credit per teleworking employee and a $500 tax credit for each employee working under a flextime agreement. Experts estimate that telecommuting combined with flextime will reduce auto emissions and could decrease rush hour traffic up to 20 percent.

Then, for all small businesses, I¹ll start with a simple idea to help business owners "create a job, get a tax credit." For every new employee a small business owner hires, I¹ll provide a state tax credit equal to the employer share of the federal payroll tax. I'll also provide tax credits for capital investment, extend the carry back period for net operating losses from two to five years, and streamline business regulations by putting all forms online and creating a single point of contact at the Department of Business Assistance for all small businesses.

And, finally, to encourage the growth of women-owned businesses in particular, I will direct my administration to increase the percentage of state contracts awarded to small, women- and minority-owned businesses (SWaM). Part of this initiative will involve increased outreach and ongoing communication so that state officials and SWaM business owners are aware of issues facing both the Commonwealth and SWaM business communities. As governor I will support SWaM-owned businesses because I know that one of the keys to job growth is creating a culture of entrepreneurship that encourages small business development."

Very thoughtful response, and we look forward to more details - along with feedback on this important issue from the McDonnell campaign (which we'll publish right away).

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Potomac Nationals - Great Late Season Minor League Baseball in Prince William County!

We caught one of the last season games (against Lynchburg last Thursday) of your hometown Potomac Nationals (Class A affiliate of the Washington Nationals), just down the road on Prince William County Parkway in Woodbridge...there were probably about 50 people in attendance, dollar beers, oodles of foul balls, errors, and nearly on-the-field seating - what better way to watch a baseball game? Only one more game, tomorrow - remember this for next year...

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Saturday, September 05, 2009

NOVA Loudoun Insurance Group Adds Employee - Some Economic Upticks?

While the national unemployment numbers continue to increase, though with some significant slowdowns, local and regional employment may be percolating a bit in the right direction (though the Northern VA/DC/Loudoun area's not fared too badly compared with the rest of the country). This is evident in some of the more mature and necessary service industries, like IT infrastructure services and insurance.

For example, NOVA Loudoun Insurance Group of South Riding VA, recently announced addition of a new employee, Kim M. Leduc, as a licensed Account Manager.

Kim Leduc, NOVA Loudoun Insurance Group Accounts Manager

According to Khalid Umerani, NOVA Insurance Group (Allstate) owner, "Kim has been licensed since 2005, actively engaged in the Sales & Service of Property & Casualty Insurance policies. She has performed extensive reviews of both personal and commercial insurance policies, conducted client interviews, and followed-up with claims. She has had many years of experience evaluating and processing policy ratings & renewals, and is a very valuable addition to our Agency."

NOVA Loudoun Insurance Group specializes in Auto , Property, Business and Life Insurance policies, targeting the entire Dulles South region including western Fairfax areas of Herndon, Sterling, Chantilly and Centreville, and eastern Loudoun County including South Riding, Brambleton, Arcola, Stone Ridge and the Broadlands.

Read more about this Washington DC and Northern Virginia Business News...


Friday, September 04, 2009

Organic Loudoun Meat at Vintage 50/51 via Fields of Athenry Farm

We've just returned from a very tasty and organic lunch at the new Vintage 51 in South Riding, VA - where the manager's told us that "Fields of Athenry Farm" Loudoun organic meat is used, and soon will be delivering.

Vintage 51, an offshoot of the very popular Vintage 50 Restaurant and Brew Lounge in Leesburg, serves a very reasonable and unique menu for lunch and dinner, with a fully-stocked beer menu that's got no equal east of Leesburg's Fireworks Pizza. In between our Flying Dog IPA and Clipper City Cannons (assisting the digestion of an Oyster Po' Boy and steamed mussels), we learned that the extremely fresh and organic meats used in menu items were supplied via Loudoun's own "Fields of Athenry Farm" - which raises some of the world's finest lamb, poultry (turkey, geese, chickens) and beef. Pork is also offered through their local farming partners and Mennonite butcher.

Unfortunately, VA ABC laws prohibit the transport of fresh beer from the Vintage 50 brewery to the Vintage 51 restaurant - so you'll have to visit Leesburg to try them out.

It also appears that this all-natural meat can be ordered online or in person - and will soon be delivered via the Vintage 51 South Riding location. The meat counter's already installed and should be operable by the holidays. That's right - you'll soon be able to order and pick up fresh Loudoun organic meat products from animals raised right here in our county, without antibiotics, hormones or GMO.

What's more healthy and delicious in Loudoun than northern virginia local craft beer and organic beef? Be sure to visit the Northern Virginia BrewFest this Fall (October 24/25)for a complete selection of local craft brews, crafts and organic food products.

Unique and Comprehensive Loudoun Twitter Feed

Check out our blog's new Twitter RSS Feed - relaying news, information and updates real-time from our very unique collection of Twitterers....only the very best and most informed of Northern Virginia, Loudoun, Fairfax and Prince William twitterati, journalism outlets and other online news sources.

It includes a very unique and useful aggregation of Loudoun Winery/Vineyard tweets, compliments of @loudounwineries.

<--- It's the "real time loudoun news" widget over there in the left column...