Town Crier Articles

Posted on December 1, 2019 7:00 AM by Town Crier Staff
Categories: Life in New Town
And watch for events in New Town like Carol - oke and Cocoa on Fridays in December and Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Thanksgiving weekend in front of the Regal Cinema
Posted on December 1, 2019 7:00 AM by Tom Nichols, Chair, Preparedness
Categories: Life in New Town
We all look forward to the Holiday Season to be with families and friends. We will be attending Parties, Dinners, Local Events plus seeing the Decorations in New Town and on Duke of Gloucester street in Williamsburg. We have been fortunate that we have had no disasters in our area that affected New Town this year. Even with no area disasters, we need to be prepared for personal disasters.
Weather and Personal Disasters
We have just entered the Freeze Season with ice, snow and freezing pipes (as some can attest with freezing back flow piping). We need to pay attention to things that could lead to personal disasters and try to prevent them: home fires, falls on ice (home steps, walkways, parking lots), vehicle accidents on ice and snow covered roads, break-ins at home and in your car, and theft of a wallet or purse plus robberies. 
Staying Safe
These are some of the ideas to help you enjoy the Holidays and prevent Personal Disasters:
Fire-Cooking - Stay with Food being Cooked. Do not leave items on a stove that will burn (boxes, candles, papers). Do not wear loose clothing while cooking to prevent the danger of clothing catching on fire. 
Candles-Control use of candles. Know where they are burning, keep away from Children/curtains/combustibles and pets, use only in one room at a time which you monitor.
Electric Wiring - Keep all decorating wiring, tree lights and power strips maintained (throw out questionable items) do not overload a circuit. Do not run wires under a rug. Do not use extension cords with Portable heaters (cord could overheat)
Fireplaces - Please cut it off if not being used, keep it maintained (have checked yearly), keep combustibles away from them like live Christmas trees. Make certain that your home has functioning Carbon Monoxide Detectors (one each floor)
Christmas trees - Real trees can catch fire easily and burn out a room in 2 minutes or less, keep trees fresh, watered, and when getting brittle or browning, Throw them away. NOTE: if a tree catches fire, CALL the Fire Department, use a proper ABC fire extinguisher on it if YOU KNOW how and at the start of a fire. A real tree can burn up in 45 seconds; Artificial trees burn slower.
Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Detectors - Change batteries yearly and test every month. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors should be REPLACED every 10 years since they lose sensitivity and could be slow in sounding an ALARM which could be deadly.
Falls on Ice- Keep walks clear of snow, use ice melt on sidewalks/steps (only use ice melt that will not damage concrete or wood steps), use Kitty Litter or Sand on steps as a back-up (does make a mess). Wear winter boots/shoes.
Driving-Review Winter Driving Safety. Keep Kitty litter or sand in the car to use to help you get un-stuck from ice/packed snow, have a small shovel on hand in your car. Have your CELL PHONE available, DO NOT TALK ON CELL PHONE WHILE DRIVING. 
Break-ins- Keep doors locked (use dead bolt locks, have pins in windows, keep curtains and shades drawn at night, keep porch lights on as needed. Do not open a front door to a stranger
Car thefts and personal theft- Keep packages covered in a visible trunk of a SUV or back seat. Park and walk in lighted areas where you feel safe, if you sense danger, stay away. Use purses with a long strap around your body to prevent a purse snatch, use caution with wallets when you visit in crowed areas (put wallet in a safe zippered area of a coat or in the front pocket of your slacks). Stop mail and papers if away.
Posted on November 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Mary Cheston
Categories: Life in New Town
You may have noticed the feminine theme for many of the streets and parks in our community. The final section of New Town continues this trend with Shirley Park, but just who was Shirley?
Shirley (Wong Kit Mui*) Quan was born and raised in Guangzhou, China and immigrated to Canada as a young bride at the age of 20.  First and foremost, she was a wife and young mother but her independence led her to venture into the hospitality and culinary industry. When her husband, William, opened his first restaurant, the Golden Eagle Restaurant in Calgary, Alberta, she would, in its infancy, aid in all facets despite working full-time and maintaining a household.  She loved gardening, her daily walks and spending time outdoors, especially in and around Banff and Lake Louise. She also enjoyed being hostess to large gatherings of family and friends and would whip up 8 course meals like it was a breeze. She loved a good conversation and good debate about worldly politics. Above all, she was most proud of being a wife, mother and doting grandmother. According to her granddaughter, Samantha Forsyth, Shirley set an example as a business leader – she encouraged her three daughters (and grandchildren, two being granddaughters) at an early age to be independent, strong and confident.  She also urged them to pursue their dreams and to never have to fully rely on a spouse.
                                Shirley Quan and Samantha Forsyth
Shirley was also the beloved mother-in-law of one of the developers of New Town. Samantha’s father, Jody, and New Town developer Mike Youngblood have become the best of friends and business partners as Mike continues to develop residential phases in New Town, including Shirley Park. Although Shirley was unable to visit New Town, the progress of this venture was part of her family’s daily conversations.  When the developers were looking for a strong female presence to memorialize in New Town, honoring Shirley seemed like a good fit.  Shirley passed away in 2017 before groundbreaking for the new section occurred. “She would have loved it here,” said Samantha.
*in Chinese culture, surname appears first
Posted on November 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Mary Cheston
Categories: Life in New Town
There are probably very few people who are as enthusiastic about Williamsburg and all it has to offer than Samantha Forsyth. Samantha is a resident of the Federal Towns townhomes here in New Town and an attorney in the New Town offices of Kaufman & Canoles.
Samantha first visited Williamsburg the summer after 5th grade as part of a camping trip with her parents. The Forsyths were traveling from Calgary, Canada and exploring historical sites across the United States, and came to Colonial Williamsburg after visiting Gettysburg. Williamsburg became a vacation spot for many future summers allowing the family to absorb the historic atmosphere in combination with, of course, Busch Gardens. Samantha’s parents eventually bought property in New Town and then Governor’s Land, and currently spend half of their time in the area. They developed close friendships and business relationships with the principals of Twiddy Realty, and are actively involved with William & Mary.
While their love of history drew the Forsyths to Williamsburg, Samantha found something else – a “welcoming, small and high caliber” college that became her first choice when it came time to apply to college. She attended William & Mary as an international student, graduating in 2015, and then decided to pursue a law degree. After considering several schools, Samantha “just kinda knew” that she couldn’t match the warm and engaged educational community she had found at William & Mary. So William & Mary Law School became her home for the next 3 years.
When law school was over, Samantha expected to move on and explore new places. She had enjoyed a variety of internships and work in Canada and throughout Virginia, so 7 years here seemed like plenty. Once again fate intervened and she was offered a business law position at Kaufman & Canoles, which currently offers her exposure to many different practice areas. Samantha loves her work and the benefits of Williamsburg, which is “nestled away” from urban environments, yet enjoys proximity to the beach as well as Washington, D.C.  
The biggest adjustments for this “Canadian Williamsburgite” are definitely the humidity and our political system - how American elections have become so polarized and how the government is grappling with issues that Canada resolved years ago. Samantha explained, “In Canada, I think people share the same fundamental values and want the same things – access to healthcare, a strong educational system, etc. – we may just differ on how to achieve these outcomes.”
While Samantha was a college student, her local “go to” family was the Youngbloods and McCarthys. She would frequently tease Mike Youngblood that since she was surrounded by New Town streets named after women, when would someone name a street after her? So when Roper Park was being designed, Mike Youngblood rolled out the plans for “Samantha Lane.” It was “a surprise and an honor” to be included in this development, she said. Even more so, because she shares this honor with her grandmother (see the related story on Shirley Park.)
Posted on November 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Phil Casey
Categories: Life in New Town
                                                                                                  Hanging out at Capriccio Ristorante
                Hope it was all treats!             
Posted on November 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Phil Casey
Categories: Life in New Town
Does New Town provide sufficient living options, services and social opportunities to satisfy young and old?  Team Stratton thinks so.  Four generations of Strattons have found their way to New Town since 2011 and are happy to call it home still today.
Their story starts with John and Tara, who we will call the third generation.  John and Tara met in 2001 in DC.  At the time, John had been a native of Colorado his whole life.   Tara grew up in an Army family and had lived all over the world.  Now John was starting his career as an Air Force officer.  In 2002, while he was stationed at Langley AFB and Tara was working at GuideStar in Williamsburg, she discovered New Town in its infancy.  Seven years would pass during various assignments, but each year Tara would travel back to Williamsburg to reconnect with GuideStar colleagues and check what was new in New Town.  In 2011, the Air Force brought John back to Langley AFB.  The decision about where to live was simple; John, Tara, and the fourth generation (Jack and Lila) moved to Charlotte Park.  Tara says, “At the time, we felt like pioneers.  We  were surrounded by trees, and only 6 houses stood in all of Charlotte Park.  We loved the open space in front of our home for our young children to play.  We loved that we could walk to everything.”
Fast forward to 2017 when generation two (Brick and Barbara) were both a couple years into retirement at home in Colorado.   They had children and grandchildren in Texas and Virginia.   Barbara says, “We had not had the opportunity to cultivate the relationship with Jack and Lila that we had with our other three grandchildren in Texas, so we talked about making a move to New Town. Because both of us had never moved out of Colorado, it was both scary and exciting to consider such a big change.”  They took the leap and chose a condominium in The Bennington.
And in an even bolder move, the first generation, represented by Brick’s mother Barbaralee, also decided to leave her life-long home in Colorado and join the team forming in New Town.  She lives at Edgeworth Assisted Living where all the family members can drop by to visit with her every day.  That kind of routine that proximity makes possible is valuable to all of the family.  “We can see our grandchildren off to school in the morning at the bus stop right down the street, they can walk to visit their great-grandma, we can pick up "Mom" and meet the family at one of the local restaurants, hang out with the grandkids at Barnes and Noble, and ride the trolley into Colonial Williamsburg.”   
Each generation has quickly become embedded into social circles in New Town.  Tara says, “Another young family lived across the park from us and our children played together.  Our neighbors on either side of us moved in the same week we did, and although we were separated by nearly a generation we found quickly that these would be life long friends.”  Jack and Lila have met more friends as they grow in the community and like to hang out with them at the community pool.  Tara returned to work at GuideStar (in the SunTrust building) so her home and work communities are together.
Soon after moving to New Town, Brick and Barbara joined Ironbound Gym and the Williamsburg National Golf Club, landing in two terrific networks of friends. Barbara says, “We developed friendships within the community:  in our building, at the gym,
in Foundation Square, at Edgeworth, at Town Management and in the local businesses. Now we feel like we have a number of strong friendships in our New Town home.”
Barbaralee likes to talk with the other Edgeworth residents at meal times and enjoys the many activities that Edgeworth offers. Best of all is having family members so close that they can pop in for a visit.
People are universal in enjoying New Town as a walking neighborhood with easily accessible entertainment, restaurant, shopping, doctors, etc.   But Team Stratton is amazingly specific and voluminous in discussing what they like doing in New Town and the surrounding area.  Here is a sample:  early morning walks to get coffee at Panera on weekends; special desserts at Sweet Frog; taking the trolley into CW to go to the Farmers Market; the pool; all the activities hosted by the activities committee; Sunday Brunch at any one of the great local restaurants; Christmas Pops at the Kimball Theater; the Grand Illumination; Bingo at Edgeworth; Busch Garden events; Music in the Park this Fall at Pecan Square; William and Mary baseball; kayaking at Waller Mill; riding the Jamestown Ferry.  Wow!  But mostly what comes through in interviewing them is how much they enjoy living close to one another and being a part of each others’ daily routines and special occasions.
Tara sums it up this way: “Even though we move where the Air Force sends us, we always come back to New Town - every year. And when John’s Air Force career comes to a close, New Town is where we intend to stay. We, and our children, love each trip back.  We have unique perspective.  When you step away from New Town and come back you see all the good; how things have grown and well things have been maintained.  We are always excited to come ‘home’.”  In fact, at this particular time,  John, Tara, and their children (third/fourth generations) are stationed at RAF Lakenheath, England and look forward to returning home to New Town.
               All four generations of Strattons gathered for a meal at a restaurant in New Town 
Posted on October 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Kathy Mullins
Categories: Life in New Town
The “Coming Soon” sign is coming down at 4919 Courthouse Street.  AXE REPUBLIC  has arrived. Opening festivities will take place October 25–27, according to business-owner Nikki Montero, who has leased the property.  Have you experienced axe throwing?  This centuries-old sport, with ties to knights, Vikings and lumberjacks, is known to evoke primal competitive feelings in participants. 
“And, it’s really fun,” adds Nikki.  “Axe throwing can be enjoyed by both men and women and a wide range of age groups. You don’t need any special skills to throw one.”
That’s something she discovered herself when she was introduced to axe throwing by a friend for her birthday. At the time she was exploring options for a new venture, and immediately delved into some intense research about the flourishing axe throwing rage.  Before long she was convinced that this rapidly growing sport would be a great fit for New Town. 
More and more sports, from rock climbing to sky diving to pickleball, have created indoor versions that can be experienced year round in climate controlled indoor space. Participation is not weather dependent. Devotees are able to maintain training year round and entrepreneurs can count on steady return from their business investment.  Add axe throwing to the list of newly “indoor” activities.
The New Town location is ideal, Nikki noted, citing the convenient parking, proximity to shopping areas, Colonial Williamsburg, the college and other places where she might draw interest. “Most local residents of all ages maintain active lifestyles. The movie theater, restaurants, pubs and fitness centers, all contribute to a lively nighttime vibe. Sidewalk traffic is abundant in this walkable community and that increases our visibility and our chances of walk-in business,” she said.
Nikki Montero, the sole owner of AXE REPUBLIC, is confident about her own abilities and brings a unique set of skills to running the business.  She has traveled widely as a former military wife, worked in the stock market arena, been a stay-at-home/active-in-the-community Mom, and most recently worked as a school nurse with Williamsburg/James City County Schools at D.J.Montague Elementary. 
Nikki Montero, owner of Axe Republic, in front of a target. 
Opening celebration will take place October 27 - 29
Her enthusiastic support team includes husband Eddie, who owns and operates two The UPS Stores; their college-age children, CJ and Hannah, who are enrolled at UVA and JMU; parents Ron and Francine; and, other family, friends and community associates. Friends and family members assisted with the demolition process, removal of debris, painting and construction of lanes; while contractors created a kitchen suitable for handling the food and beverage needs.
Though axe throwing is quite safe, safety is taken seriously. Precautions and lane rules are reviewed before guests enter the throwing area and lanes are monitored.  Come prepared – all players must wear closed toe shoes (no high heels or sandals allowed). No intoxicated person may throw. And, should you own an axe, leave it at home. Except in League competition players must use house axes.
Each of 12 throwing lanes accommodates 2-6 players at a time. A single walk-in customer might pair up with another single player who is hoping for a match.  Larger groups can reserve multiple lanes. Booking lanes online is recommended (  The minimum age for axe throwing is 14 years.  Groups that contain 14- to 17-year olds must include at least one playing adult. The cost to throw is $27 per person for 75 minutes of lane time.
Novices will be able to learn how to throw an axe on site and then consult with those experienced Axe Coaches - called “Axeperts”-  as they play. 
Montero shares today’s consumer preference for “EATertainment” venues, those that combine activities with food and beverages in one place (29%, according to a survey conducted by research firm YouGov). AXE REPUBLIC is designed to be an all-in one place entertainment/recreation establishment. 
The interior ambiance at AXE REPUBLIC is a mix of rustic features and modern industrial surfaces created with both wood and hi-tech materials. Wire fencing, metal mesh and poles, and wood panels define the boundaries of the throwing lanes. At the head of each lane there is a raw wood backdrop displaying a large round target outlined in black with a bold red bulls-eye at the center. 
Nikki says, “The comfortable lounge area has a different vibe. It is separate from the throwing lanes, but has a view of them. Watching the competition is part of the excitement.” 
The lounge is furnished with high top tables and stools Here patrons can enjoy gourmet hot dogs, cookies from Celli’s Chocolate Chips and other exceptional snacks and varied beverages including craft brews from Virginia Beer Company. “Some patrons will visit us to demonstrate their existing skills; others, to learn the art of hurling an axe at a large wooden bulls-eye target,” she said. “Games can be friendly rivalries, or fierce competitions. It’s up to the players. There may be customers that come in just for the food and beverages,” Nikki anticipates.  
When it comes to attracting customers, Nikki Montero sees many possible directions.  “We expect AXE REPUBLIC to be an exciting date night destination. The novelty aspect of axe throwing will draw in some curious folks and also position us as an interesting venue for birthday, bachelorette, office parties and other events. I envision business colleagues coming in after work.  College students should find this a great place to have fun – my own kids included.  Groups of friends or couples could meet here before a movie or stay all evening. This will be a lively place where tourists and families can get something to eat and drink and either watch others play or join the games themselves.  It works on so many levels,” she said.
Defined by distinct shapes and forged from varied materials, axes have been used for centuries in many capacities – as tools, weapons and even as amulets to protect crops from bad weather.  It’s not hard to imagine how throwing these implements became a competitive pastime for those who handled axes regularly and had time on their hands. Yet today, axe throwing is a rapidly growing craze that captivates all sorts of participants, many that have never handled a tool of any sort. 
“Everyone wants to experience something that’s new and different,” suggested Nikki. 
League competition has encouraged interest in and promoted skill building for bowling, archery and many other individual and recreational sports.  Now leagues are being developed for axe throwing.  AXE REPUBLIC Williamsburg has affiliated with the World Axe Throwing League (WATL).  This means that local players can join competitive league matches on Tuesday nights beginning with the 8-week Winter Season that starts January 14, 2020.  Local winners will qualify to compete in regional and national contests.
In a press release announcing the lease of 4919 Courthouse Street, Kelly Voss of Developers Realty, the company that manages New Town’s commercial properties, expressed her pleasure with the new business, saying, “We’ve been searching for the right user to activate this corner location for some time and believe we’ve hit the bull’s-eye with AXE REPUBLIC!”
Drew Haynie, of Cushman and Wakefield | Thalhimer said, “Nikki is a true entrepreneur and an energetic early adapter bringing a fantastic and nationally trending new concept to New Town.”  
He also offered an upbeat projection about the potential impact of this new business, stating, “Watch for more entertainment/EATertainment and family friendly concepts coming to Main Street in 2019. New Town Main ownership has really made a big commitment to keep the center relevant and dynamic by attracting fresh offerings and hot concepts that offer something for everyone.”
One final note: Nikki Montero is not only an entrepreneurial business owner in New Town, she is also a resident.  She and her husband reside in the Village Walk neighborhood. She says it’s an added bonus that she can now walk to work, so keep an eye out for her on the sidewalks and give her a welcoming shout!                 
Monday:                                      CLOSED
Tuesday:                                      Leagues/ Special Events
Wednesday–Thursday:                    5 – 9 PM
Friday:                                          5 – 10 PM
Saturday:                                     11 AM – 10 PM
Sunday:                                        12 NOON – 6 PM
Posted on October 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Lucy Painter
Categories: Life in New Town
New Town residents are busy people with work and families, yet many find time for a hobby. Now that the weather is cooling off, maybe it's time to get out the bicycle that has been sitting in your garage and join some of your neighbors in a hobby that many enjoy.  
One avid biker is Bill Haas of Charlotte Park.  Bill road bikes recreationally with his family but also seriously with groups organized by Conte's Bike Shop located here in New Town.  Conte's publishes ride schedules online, and its employees are always willing to talk with you whether you are a long-time biker or new.  The shop also organizes mountain bike rides, some along a trail with access across from Opus/Panera that opens onto a vast system for mountain bike riding. It is at Panera on Saturday mornings that as many as 11 bikers meet at the end of their ride, neighbors who are happy to talk with you about their experiences.
We are fortunate to live in James City County with its many trails for bikers of all levels.  Rider Tom Carter, a mountain biker, uses trails at Freedom Park at the end of Centerville Road and York River State Park.  Both have wider, flatter trails good for beginners as well as single track (narrow) mountain biking trails.  These are more challenging with changes in slope, twisty turns, root obstacles, and narrow gaps between trees.  Riding here requires that you have the right bike for the terrain.
Area bikers also have access to Virginia's Capital Trail, a favorite ride of Tom's. It begins next to the parking lot at Jamestown Settlement and ends about 50 miles later at Shockoe Bottom in Richmond although no rider has to go the entire distance. The trail is wide, flat, and off road to avoid cars. Benches along the way offer rest.
No matter whether you tackle the Capital Trail or enjoy our neighborhood streets, the object, as Tom says, is to "have fun."
Posted on October 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Phil Casey
Categories: Life in New Town
The New Town Commercial Association inaugurated another fun social event this month:  Wednesday evening concerts in Pecan Square (at the corner of Discovery and Ironbound Road).
Johnny St. Clair kicked off the series on September 18 with an easy going program that put the emphasis on old school country tunes.  The weather was perfect for an evening of music and many New Town residents were in the audience.  Johnny performed solo but he provides his own bass accompaniment for his guitar using pedals as an organist would.  There is a lot happening in a Johnny St. Clair live performance but he makes it all sound super smooth.
On September 25, Jocelyn Oldham performed.  As she sang Van Morrison’s “Moondance”, with its lyric about October skies, it perfectly suited another beautiful outdoor evening in the neighborhood.  Her set included covers of such artists as Sheryl Crow, Leonard Cohen and John Prine.
If you missed these two shows, do not fret!  There are two more announced concerts in the series for 2019.  Bring a lawn chair or blanket and come out for a couple hours of live entertainment under the magic of October skies.  New Town entrepreneur and guitarist Scott Wise will appear on October 2 and the dual guitar line up of StonesThrow takes the stage on October 9.  Concerts are 5:30 to 7:30PM.
Special thanks to The Local Scoop and Next Door Neighbor Magazine for making these concerts possible.
Posted on October 1, 2019 9:00 AM by Town Crier Staff
Categories: Life in New Town
Iron-Bound Gym will offer flu shots on Tuesday, November 5th from noon to 3 PM. 
Anyone is welcome.  Simply bring your insurance card and you will be all set.   
DID YOU KNOW - Early November/late October is the ideal time for flu shots.  The big box stores are pushing shots earlier and earlier in the season (just like holiday displays), but that can make them less effective.  It takes 2 weeks for the shot to be effective and the highest incidence for the flu is from December to May.
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