Dear Governor McAuliffe: Allow Virginia’s Servicemen and Women to Carry Firearms

Dear Governor of Virginia​ Terry McAuliffe:

In wake of the Chattanooga, TN terrorist attack, it’s incumbent upon you and others down in Richmond to ensure the safety of our servicemen and women here in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Six states have already taken steps to arm their National Guard as a start. Will you join them or continue to be beholden to partisan politics? They make countless sacrifice to protect us here and aboard. Why not afford them the right to carry firearms at military bases and similar installations here in our state?

I understand you are busy hosting cocktail parties in the Governor’s Mansion, luring in shoddy businesses to our state, trying to dismantle good reforms put in place by your predecessor, and laying the groundwork for Hillary Clinton–but if you want to make a positive impact as governor, though most of us doubt you will, you should allow our military to protect themselves. You’re THE Governor of Virginia–you’re accountable to more than 8.3 million people. Want to actually do something positive for the Commonwealth? Don’t be an ideologue.

We are one of the most military-friendly states in the United States. Our state boasts 27 military bases and dozens of recruitment centers. Millions of veterans also reside here. Why should servicemen and women be defenseless against attack? Hell, we send them abroad to fight with guns and yet, they aren’t afforded the right to protect themselves here at home. Do you want Virginians to feel safe or insecure?

I doubt you’ll read this given how selective you are in putting your support to good causes, but now more than ever these gun-free zones need to be done away with. Not another life – military or civilian- as a result of these dangerous policies.
Do something right for once; let servicemen and women arm themselves here in the Commonwealth of Virginia.


A concerned resident of Virginia

Looking to Escape the Beltway for a Day? Hike Harpers Ferry

View of Harpers Ferry from Loudoun Heights Trail Credit: Gabriella Hoffman

View of Harpers Ferry from Loudoun Heights Trail
Credit: Gabriella Hoffman

Nestled between West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia is Harpers Ferry. I recall reading about this place in high school and being intrigued by it for its historical significance. I thought to myself, “I have to visit this place one day!” So my friends and I trekked out to West Virginia on Saturday to pay Harpers Visit a visit.

Harpers Ferry is a gem in West Virginia. Fresh air, lush nature, and peaceful rivers define this beautiful place. It’s most prominently marked by the confluence of the Shenandoah River with the Potomac River, which is a sight to behold. A part of the Appalachian Trail also meanders its way through the park. Thomas Jefferson visited Harpers Ferry in 1783 and later wrote in Notes on the State of Virginia (1785), “The passage of the Patowmac through the Blue Ridge is perhaps one of the most stupendous scenes in Nature.” If you’re seeking tranquility and a break from the heyday of Washington, this is the perfect weekend escape or day trip.

Most notably, Harpers Ferry became the site of John Brown’s failed raid during the Civil War. Here’s more about the event from Civil War Trust:

On the evening of October 16, 1859 John Brown, a staunch abolitionist, and a group of his supporters left their farmhouse hide-out en route to Harpers Ferry. Descending upon the town in the early hours of October 17th, Brown and his men captured prominent citizens and seized the federal armory and arsenal.  Brown had hopes that the local slave population would join the raid and through the raid’s success weapons would be supplied to slaves and freedom fighters throughout the country; this was not to be. First held down by the local militia in the late morning of the 17th, Brown took refuge in the arsenal’s engine house. However, this sanctuary from the fire storm did not last long, when in the late afternoon US Marines under Colonel Robert E. Lee arrived and stormed the engine house, killing many of the raiders and capturing Brown. Brown was quickly placed on trial and charged with treason against the state of Virginia, murder, and slave insurrection. Brown was sentenced to death for his crimes and hanged on December 2, 1859.

There’s so much history tied to Harpers Ferry, so I’ll let you read up on its history .

For you hiking enthusiasts out there, there are two prominent hiking trails to select from: the Loudoun Heights Trail (Virginia side) and the Maryland Heights Trail (Maryland side). We chose to hike the Virginia side since it’s less crowded. Overall, our hike totaled 9.3 miles.

Below are some pictures my sister and I took during the hike:

harpers ferry 1

Town of Harpers Ferry — Credit: Anna Maria Hoffman


Credit: Anna Maria Hoffman

Credit: Anna Maria Hoffman

St. Peter's Catholic Church Photo Credit: Gabriella Hoffman

St. Peter’s Catholic Church
Photo Credit: Gabriella Hoffman

Jefferson Rock Credit: Gabriella Hoffman

Jefferson Rock
Credit: Gabriella Hoffman


Shenandoah River Credit: Gabriella Hoffman

Shenandoah River
Credit: Gabriella Hoffman

Breathtaking, right? If this blog post has convinced you to visit Harpers Ferry, here are some recommendations:

  • Pack plenty of water and light snacks (trail mix, fruit snacks, beef jerky, vegetables)
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Have bug spray to repel mosquitoes and ticks
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Eat the night before and have a hearty breakfast
  • Hike with a decent-sized group of people. It’s easy to get lost there.

In preparation for hiking Harpers Ferry, I recommend visiting Hiking Upward to map out your trek up either trail. It’s a great resource marked by user-friendly features to help hikers plan out their hikes. Additionally, learn more about Harpers Ferry prior to visiting.

Happy Hiking, fellow D.C. denizens and transplants! Have you hiked here before? Did you enjoy it? Let me know your thoughts!

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Mount Vernon Spring Wine Festival and Sunset Tour

Gabriella Hoffman:

Check out my review of the Mount Vernon Spring Wine Festival and Sunset Tour up at A Taste of Patriarchy today!

Originally posted on A Taste of Patriarchy:

Anna Maria and I spent Saturday evening at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate to attend their annual Spring Wine Festival and Sunset Tour event. This was a three-night event, which ran from Friday, May 15, until Sunday, May 17. Tickets ranged from $35-$45 per person. We got to sample some fine Virginia wine and enjoy sweeping views of the Potomac River. Despite getting caught in torrential downpour, we enjoyed our time sampling some fine Virginia wine! We got to sample from about 16 different wineries: Barboursville Vineyards, Barrel Oak Winery, LLC, CrossKeys Vineyards, Delaplane Cellars, Early Mountain Vineyards, Fincastle Vineyard & Winery, Fox Meadow Winery, General’s Ridge Vineyard, Gray Ghost Vineyards, Horton Vineyards, Jefferson Vineyards, New Kent Winery at Dombroski Vineyards, Potomac Point Winery, Prince Michel Vineyard, Rockbridge Vineyard, Trump Winery, and Veritas Winery

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Angling Right: Gear Up for Fishing Season!

Who else is excited for fishing season to start up again? I know I am!

I’ll be returning to the water this Sunday. (Post to follow!)


Last spring, I launched a series of blog posts called “Angling Right” to help generate interest in fishing among members of my generation. I’m happy it’s been well-received by my fellow Millennial anglers and those curious about becoming anglers!

Starting March 15th, this Sunday, fishing weather in Virginia is slated to be off-the-hook (pun-intended)!

Need more reasons to go fishing? Take Me Fishing’s Debbie Henson explains below:

  1. Fishing is a physical activity that can be a great addition to a healthy lifestyle. The sports of fishing and boating encourage you to use your arms to cast and your legs to walk from one spot to another or to steady yourself on the boat deck.
  1. Fishing uses brain power. When you start getting into fishing, you use brain power to research things like tides, weather, water conditions and areas of structure. Every time you go fishing, you can learn something new.
  1. Fishing can give you a rush of happiness that is much more sustainable than a sugar rush. When you catch a big fish, you are on “cloud nine” for days, and smile from ear to ear every time you think about the good fishing memories you have made.
  1. The feelings of accomplishment that come from learning new fishing skills are sweeter. Think about how good it feels when you master a new skill. When you learn how to throw a cast net or tie a new fishing knot, you get those sweet feelings of accomplishment and success.

I couldn’t agree more!

Here in the Commonwealth of Virginia, there are a lot of untapped fishing spots to explore.  This may sound sacrilegious to write, but I’ve found more fishing opportunities here in Virginia than in Southern California. (Sorry, home state!)  I’ve been doing extensive research on local fishing spots to see which ones are good and have optimal returns on investment. Luckily for my family and I, there are plenty of rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans spots to choose from within a 50 mile radius–even as close as two miles!

Here are some places I’ll be visiting and/or blogging about this fishing season:

  • Riverbend Park – Great Falls, VA (Loudon County): This fishing spot is located just north of Great Falls Park in McLean/Great Falls, VA. This area is known for its hiking spots plus decent fishing. Crappie, perch, and small bass are common
  • Pohick Bay – Lorton, VA (Prince William County): Pohick Bay is located in Prince William County, which neighbors Fairfax County to the southwest.
  • Little Hunting Creek – Alexandria, VA (Fairfax County): This is my new favorite fishing spot. It’s easily accessible and is a unique body of water since it’s the intersection of the Potomac River and Little Hunting Creek. My dad and I have caught catfish, eel, and perch/small bass here. People reportedly catch largemouth bass and shad (herring) here.
  • Occoquan Reservoir – Occoquan, VA (Prince William County): I also discovered and fell in love with this fishing spot last year. It’s huge and surrounded by beautiful nature. Plus, the fish there actively bite.
  • Naples, FL – I look forward to deep-sea or backwater fishing here later this year.

I hope you join in on some fishy fun this year! If you haven’t gone fishing before, it’s never too late to start.

Check out Take Me Fishing, Field and Stream, North American Fishing, Keep America Fishing, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, and Gander Mountain to get started.

Do you plan to fish this year or introduce someone to fishing? Comment below!

Guns.Com Article: Keep Virginia Gun-Friendly

I’ve penned my first opinion editorial (op-ed) at today. It’s titled, “The fight to keep Virginia gun-free must continue.” Below is an excerpt:

Last Monday, the Virginia State Senate Courts of Justice Committee shot down another series of anti-gun legislation from Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe. The Senate committee rejected a bill that would have imposed background checks on private firearm sales and another bill that would have limited firearm purchases to one a month.

Additionally, this Republican-controlled committee passed a bill that would allow for lifetime concealed handgun permits and a subcommittee of the Virginia House Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety scrapped some more anti-gun bills.

McAuliffe’s support for gun control shouldn’t come as a surprise. While campaigning for governor in 2013, McAuliffe pledged support for “mainstream and majority supported gun control measures like universal background checks, limiting the size of magazines, and a return to the 1-gun-per-month rule.” True to his word, McAuliffe introduced a series of gun control bills in January 2014–that were subsequently defeated in the Virginia House Militia, Police and Public Safety subcommittee.

Despite McAuliffe’s penchant for pushing gun control in our state and the impression it may give others about our feelings towards the Second Amendment, Virginians know how disingenuous the gun control lobby truly is.

Continue reading at

Exciting News: I’ll Be an Op-Ed Columnist for

Hello readers!

I’m happy to announce another writing opportunity I’ve been given. In addition to writing here, for Counter Cultured, for A Taste of Patriarchy, and for, you can soon find my work at is the premiere news site for all things shooting sports. Their content covers topics such as  self-defense, competitive shooting, ballistics, hunting, hand loading, and gun rights. I’ve read their website for several years now, and am excited to add my voice to their website! I’ll be writing two articles for them every month.

Stay tuned for my first post early next week!

Follow them on Twitter and LIKE them on Facebook!


Catch Me at MDCAN’s Turning the Tides Conference

Two weeks from today, I’ll be speaking at Maryland Citizen Action Network’s annual Turning the Tides conference in Annapolis, MD on January 10, 2015. I’ll be one of four panelists on their “Liberty in the Youth” panel. Headlining speakers include Dr. Alveda King, Dan Bongino, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Niger Innis, Kira Davis,  Sonnie Johnson, and more.

I previously spoke at the event in 2013 on their “Cheated Generation” panel. Here’s the video (I start talking at 19:28):

Here’s more about the conference:

Maryland shocked the nation in the 2014 midterm elections. Marylanders are showing they are ready to reject one-party control over the state.

There is still a lot of work to do to maintain the momentum though. Turning the Tides 2015 is a key part of that.

Join us to learn about what strategies worked and what helped weaken the one party monopoly in Maryland. Come to learn about how to infiltrate the pop culture and reach out to new potential voters. Perhaps most importantly, join us so we can show the state and the country a united front for making Maryland into the “Free State” once again.

What? Turning the Tides 2015

When? January 10, 2015 from 9:00 AM – 5:00PM

Where? Annapolis DoubleTree Hotel

Conference tickets are still available. It costs $35.00 for students, $75.00 for MDCAN members, and $90 for non-MDCAN members.

Hope to see you there!