After internships at the Ritz-Carlton in St. Thomas and on the Laguarian Sea Coast in Italy, chef Clarke Congdon winged his way to Boston, eventually opening his own restaurant, Clarke's Grill & Sports Emporium. Chef George Zwetkow was trained at the Culinary Institute of America and distills 35 years of experience into each dish he sears, to say nothing of this polyglot's fluency in English, Russian, and Spanish. The third pillar of the eatery, Mike Larkin, gives the establishment its sports aesthetic, having played minor-league hockey for five years before cultivating marketing prowess. Framed jerseys, photos, and sports memorabilia make the walls as athletic as Bo Jackson and are available for love-struck patrons to purchase after sharing a platter of nachos and dreams with an autographed hockey jersey. Plates of the signature fish tacos, topped with creamy chimichurri sauce and fresh cilantro, steal outside onto the sprawling patio. The outdoor space features weekly events including bean-bag tournaments and wine tastings, and flat-screen TVs light up the full bar, displaying both Red Sox and Yankees games to satisfy rival fans without inciting a duel over the remote or with remotes.
Fairway virtuosos can putt around in a rental cart for three rounds of golf on three of Prince William County's maintained golf gardens. Forest Greens Golf Club fills its ranks with an 18-hole, 72 par course marked by lush greenery, alleys of pine trees, and fewer blind spots than a Sherman tank missing its side mirrors. Built more than 50 years ago by a cadre of farmers, Prince William Golf Course greets sultans of the swing with 6,367 yards of pastoral playgrounds, boasting a traditional course amongst a countrified bucolic setting. Meanwhile, the General's Ridge Golf Course enfolds golfers in a warm oak-forest embrace and 6,651 yards of championship layout, as well as softly undulating hills patrolled by deer, fox, and confused hawks hatching nest-fulls of Titleists.
Former Masters champion Fred Couples has competed on golf courses around the globe. So he had plenty of inspiration to draw from in designing Westfields Golf Club, which incorporates Northern Virginia's unique topography into its 18 holes. Amid the rolling hills, natural wetlands, and towering beech and oak trees that pepper the course, a lake looms to the left of the signature third hole as players take their tee shots. Other features make the course unmistakably Virginian—on hole 13, for instance, a Civil War burial site comes into play on the right side. After taking in all the course has to offer, players can relax and untangle their coiled hips by visiting the clubhouse's indoor and outdoor dining areas.
Course at a Glance:
A whir emits from the skee-ball machine as a long string of tickets emerges from its depths. With his parent’s help, the child counts them off, eager to see if he’s won enough for the coveted prize at the counter, or at least enough to trade with his sister for the window seat on the way home. At Majestic Fun, kids of all ages dive into an 8,000-square-foot spread of games, rides, and food. As Maximillion the Dalmatian and Ellie the Elephant wander around to give birthday kids high-fives or to steal a french fry, friends race each other at driving games or compete in furious rounds of air hockey. Tykes can put gravity in time out on the moon bounce or savor rides on the pintsize carousel. Between games, players find nourishment at the snack bar, munching on pizzas, sub sandwiches, and mozzarella sticks.
The cream of the local culinary crop comes out in full force for the first-ever Taste of Historic Manassas, held at The Harris Pavilion. From the gourmet Italian cuisine of Carmello's to fresh-brewed coffee from Grounds Central Station, Manassas's most dedicated chefs put their best flavors and tallest chef hats on display for foodies. Meanwhile, the musicians of Harlen Simple break free of genre constraints and play a set list of rock, funk, and reggae covers throughout the day.
There's a Virginia outdoorsman who's been called the "Penguin" for most of his life, due to his short, stocky stature. Rather than let that nickname defeat him, he used it as the inspiration for his touring and rental company, Penguin Paddling LLC. Today, when he isn't fighting fires or working as a paramedic, The Penguin leads guests out onto the water for adventures via kayak and stand-up paddleboard, going all the places that motor-powered craft cannot.
Some tours send guests down the Potomac River and along the DC waterfront, passing sites such as historic Georgetown, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Kennedy Center. Alternatively, trips down the protected Neabsco Creek may bring paddlers face-to-face with native wildlife or vigilante hero, Kayak Cop. This secluded waterway is also the setting for the company's fishing trips and on-water yoga classes. In addition to tours, Penguin Paddling LLC provides half- and full-day rentals from its facility at Hampton’s Landing Marina, which lies adjacent to several national and state-protected wilderness areas.