Word on the Street

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Word on the Street
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By Abigail Jurk (Photo/Rich Kessler Photography)

If the long winter this year gave you cabin fever, here are a few ideas of ways to get out and about now that spring is finally in the air.

WHAT’S NEW: Everyone is talking about Mason Social; a new restaurant located at 728 N. Henry St. Mason Social is a farm-to-table restaurant that specializes in using local products. The name is borrowed from Thomas Mason, who was mayor of Alexandria in the 1820s. The ambience of the restaurant leans toward that time period but with a contemporary twist — think reclaimed wood, concrete countertops and pictures of historic Alexandria on the walls. The style of food fits right in: contemporary American cuisine. Chad Sparrow, one of the owners, says to make sure not to miss out on the mussels during your visit. Prepared with local beer, bone marrow butter, bacon and scallions, they are one of the most popular dishes on the menu.

If you’re not looking for a full meal but just want to have a cocktail and spend some time with friends, Mason Social has that covered as well. They have a bar that is separate from the dining room, in which guests can relax and have a drink or a snack. Amongst a selection of local beer and wine, Mason Social also features a specialty cocktail list. Sparrow says the Mason Punch — grapefruit vodka with honey and tarragon syrup — is especially good.  Sparrow said he and the other partners grew up in Alexandria and always thought about opening a restaurant. They wanted to give the neighborhood a place to relax, be comfortable and enjoy great food. Mason Social certainly seems to be all of these things. And, Sparrow says, they’re just getting started. As the restaurant moves forward, they hope to add happy hour and brunch to the mix, and maybe even a rooftop bar. This definitely will be a place to add to your list of hang-outs.

WHAT’S HAPPENING: Barre workouts are sweeping the Port City. The new fitness trend is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. If you’re interested in joining the trend, Xtend Barre, located at 1701 Duke St., Suite 160, is a great place to get started. If you’re not familiar with barre, it is a workout that is done predominantly at a ballet bar, using your own body weight, heavy repetition and features lengthening and strengthening exercises to modern, upbeat music. No dance background is required and there are no experience brackets; classes include people of all different ages (minimum 16) and abilities. Barre provides a full body workout, but also focuses individually on each area of the body and cardio. Natalie Strahorn is the owner and an instructor at Xtend Barre. She says barre is a fun social activity, but everyone focuses on themselves and their individual workouts. Strahorn says the difficulty levels of moves can be modified for each person depending on their abilities.

Xtend Barre offers individual classes for $25, and also offers package deals for longer periods. There is a live DJ class offered to members and a new “Babies on Board” class where moms (or dads — Xtend is open to both men and women) workout with babies strapped on. Strahorn says after the workout, many members stay and chat. So if you’re looking for a new workout this season, give Xtend Barre a try. You can get in shape and have fun while you’re at it.

To request a place, event or special be featured in Word on the Street, contact Abigail Jurk at ajurk@alextimes.com.

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