Valley Homes & Style Magazine | October & November 2018 Edition
Oct26

Valley Homes & Style Magazine | October & November 2018 Edition

October & November 2018 Edition

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Wild Bird store offers niche for Winchester area ‘birders’
Oct01

Wild Bird store offers niche for Winchester area ‘birders’

By Josette Keelor When it comes to wild birds, Bruce and Dolores Johnson have pretty much heard it all. After 12 ½ years in business, they might be considered experts in their field. And yet, every day, their customers have the chance to surprise the couple with news of something new and exciting flocking this way. “It’s not unusual to hear, ‘Guess what I got in my backyard,’” Bruce said on a recent afternoon, as hummingbirds from Canada were traveling the Shenandoah Valley on their annual migration south toward Florida and, eventually, over the Gulf of Mexico to Central America. “Right now, we’re getting swamped with hummingbirds,” he said. Another popular traveler to these parts is the bluebird, a cavity nester that Valley residents can easily attract with the right housing and food. Bluebirds love live mealworms, something the couple’s store sells in spades. “It’s the gourmet food for bluebirds,” Bruce said. And as the number of houses increases around the Valley through more development, the number of cavity nesters will also increase. Those who want to attract cavity nesters, such as tree swallows, should have success by setting up birdhouses in their yard. But fall and spring aren’t the only migration schedules to watch for, the Johnsons said. “One of the best places to see a snowy owl in the winter is the Outer Banks [in North Carolina],” Bruce said. Snowy owls, which hail from Canada, have, in recent years, been spotted all along the U.S. East Coast in states like New Jersey, Maryland and even South Carolina starting in early December. Though their nesting preferences historically kept them in the Arctic tundra areas of northern Alaska and Canada, snowy owls also seek coastal areas resembling tundra. In recent years, they’ve been hypothesized to head farther south in search of food or because of environmental or climate changes. But while the oddity of a snowy owl in temperate zones has become more common, the Johnsons, who own a Wild Birds Unlimited store in Winchester, say they still learn things in their line of work that surprise them. For example, the rufous hummingbird from southern Alaska and British Columbia, which would typically migrate down the West Coast, has been known to fly east and turn up here in December over the last several years. And it’s these sorts of surprises that can cause customers to flock over the Wild Birds Unlimited at 3103 Valley Ave. to share their stories with the Johnsons, who are just as eager to hear something new and fascinating in the world of wild birds. Customers all tend to have the same thing in mind,...

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The Chocolate Touch: New chocolatiers cater to some serious chocolate cravings
Oct01

The Chocolate Touch: New chocolatiers cater to some serious chocolate cravings

By Josette Keelor Shenandoah Fine Chocolates has its own deliciously storied past as a time-tested chocolate shop with former adjoining restaurant. But new owner, Stacy Macomber, is looking to the future to craft success for herself and the business. “When you buy a chocolate shop, you don’t know a lot about it except you like to eat it,” she said. In her case, that might only be half true, since Macomber, 47, brings a long history of working in food service, and her manager, Emily Neff, 44, has years of experience running a catering business in South Carolina. She also used to make espresso drinks at the former Creekside Daily Grind. “We are chocolatiers, not chocolate makers,” said Macomber. Neff and Macomber don’t go as far as making the cocoa beans into chocolate, she said. But they do craft fully formed chocolate into a stellar work of art. And in so doing, they’re maintaining Shenandoah Fine Chocolate’s quality and history. “We kept the same recipe,” Macomber said. Now, they’re adding more. Macomber purchased Shenandoah Fine Chocolates of Winchester in 2016. The store, which opened in 2001, had since expanded to include the full-service Chocolate Café, offering sandwiches, salads, coffee, and a wide selection of mouth-watering desserts, but then dropped the restaurant before Macomber took over. Still, in spite of its successes and losses, Shenandoah Fine Chocolates never lost the gourmet chocolate so important to the core of the business. Now it’s changed again, to focus on the chocolate shop and an adjoining coffee café. Macomber grew up in Charleston, W.Va., but spent a lot of time in Winchester before returning here after eight years in Roanoke. Once buying her business, she hired on Neff, who hails from Winchester, but studied dance before moving to South Carolina. There, which pursuing a career in dance, she started a catering business, before eventually returning to Winchester and joining Macomber at Shenandoah Fine Chocolates. “We found each other through a mutual friend,” Macomber said. Shenandoah Fine Chocolate has long offered catering services for events like weddings and bridal showers, and Macomber said it still does. “We can cater pretty much everything,” she said. Barks, like chocolate bark and peppermint bark, were always a popular offering at the shop, but now Macomber’s adding flavors like cinnamon pretzel bark, Oreo cookie bark, and cayenne bark with spiced peanuts. Dark chocolate is available in large quantities and varieties for the healthier chocolate nuts of their clientele, and, indeed, their menu caters “to those who love to splurge.” They still sell top sellers like buttercreams, truffles, turtles and caramels. And molded candies—which come in thousands of molds...

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It’s Not Just a Pizza Place
Oct01

It’s Not Just a Pizza Place

By Bonnie Williamson Fresh is part of the name of Montese’s Fresh and Fast restaurant in Martinsburg, West Virginia,  because it reflects not only on the quality and variety of food offered, but also on a refreshing approach to business and customers. Montese’s owner Mike Schianodicola, hails from a family in Monte Di Procida, Italy, outside of Naples. His passion for cooking started at an early age, acquired from his father and mother, Mario and Archina. “I was always around good cooking. When I go back to visit my parents in Italy, I usually gain eight pounds in ten days,” Mike says, smiling. Still, cooking was not immediately part of Mike’s future. He planned to go to school to learn how to be a captain on a cruise ship. “I thought that would be an exciting career, until I realized I would be away for three or four months at a time. I wanted to be home every night. Have a family,” Mike says. He came to the United States in 1984 to work on his culinary skills with his brother Raimondo. In 2008, he opened Montese’s, named after the nickname of his Italian village. He started out concentrating on pizzas. The kind of pizzas customers order feature just about any topping imaginable. The list for toppings includes pepperoni, mushrooms, sausage, onions, bacon, green peppers, black or green olives, fresh tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, banana peppers, pineapple, meatballs, ham, steak and chicken. There is even a peanut butter and jelly pizza. For dessert, customers can order a chocolate chip pizza, or pizzas topped with Nutella, cherries, apples or Oreos. “Our pizza dough and the sauces are made fresh every day. We take great pride in the quality of our food,” Mike says. He has gluten free dough. He adds he will eventually start offering cauliflower dough. One of the most popular pizzas is the Greek pizza (feta cheese, fresh tomatoes, fresh garlic, olive oil, fresh spinach and mozzarella cheese). “Good for the heart,” he says. Still, Mike wanted to offer his customers even more. “I didn’t want to be just another pizza place. I know children love pizza, but I wanted to offer adults a choice, too. I didn’t want people to have to think too much when they are trying to decide what to order. That’s why I added a buffet,” Mike says. Fresh especially comes into play with the buffet, which is All-You-Can Eat. It’s beautifully and enticingly presented. The lettuce tastes as if it was just picked from the garden. Spaghetti and a delicious sauce are among the delights awaiting buffet tasters. A particularly delicious morsel is...

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Dermatology Associates & Surgery Center
Oct01

Dermatology Associates & Surgery Center

Walking into the reception area filled with natural light coming thru the recessed ceiling, I am promptly greeted by a smiling front staff member who welcomes me on a tour of the office. Ducking my head into the exam rooms, I noticed the fresh décor and mounted computer screens displaying information on dermatologic topics. Plaques displayed by the checkout area express appreciation for a local team sponsorship and being chosen Best Dermatology Practice by The Journal. For a practice with seven offices, I am struck by the personal touch the Doctors and staff express to me and the patients in the office. This seems like a group that works well together and are happy with their live’s work. Dr. Nelson Velazquez, takes time out of his busy day to meet with me. I ask how he choose to become a dermatologist, “Once I was accepted into Medical school, and exposed to the specialty of dermatology, I knew this was my calling. I liked that this specialty was a combination of a Medical and Surgical practice within one practice. I’ve been blessed to practice dermatology, and would do it all again.” The practice specializes in medical and surgical dermatology, treating many skin conditions, ranging from skin cancer, eczema, psoriasis, acne, vitilago, cysts, and hair & nail disorders. Much of the focus these days is on skin cancer. The three most common skin cancers are Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Melanoma. Basal Cell carcinomas appear in many shapes and sizes. These appear on skin that gets repeated sun exposure such as the scalp, neck, and hands. It can also occur on the nose, cheeks, and forehead, but may also develop anywhere on the body. They may appear as a sore that does not heal, a dome shaped growth, or a shiny pinkish patch. Squamous Cell carcinomas also develop on the skin that gets sun exposure or elsewhere on the body. They may appear as a bump that is crusty or rough, or a sore that does not heal. Some Squamous Cell carcinomas begin as actinic keratosis, which are a pre-cancerous lesion. They may be dry, scaly, and rough textured. Melanoma,  if detected early, is highly treatable. Like basal and squamous cell carcinomas, melanoma can be caused by sun exposure, but may also be caused by genetics. Research shows if a close blood relative had melanoma, a person has a much greater risk of getting melanoma themselves. There are different modalities for treating skin cancer ranging from freezing the cancer cells with liquid nitrogen to a surgical procedure called Mohs surgery. With Mohs surgery, the procedure involves removing tissue in...

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