Jill Devine

Freelance Features Writer

United States

I'm a Northern Virginia-based freelance writer specializing in human interest stories and business profiles. I am honored to write for the most visible and respected publications in the region.

My clippings on this site are arranged by general subject categories, from people, interviews, and history to travel, health, and community. Just scroll through the tabs, and thank you for visiting.

Portfolio

Recent Highlights

Northern Virginia Magazine
09/21/2022
Ani Arzoomanian Is Officially Northern Virginia Magazine's 2022 Teacher of the Year

The third grade teacher from Arlington is beloved for the excitement she brings to her classroom, and her passion for helping kids in Uganda. "Our brilliant sun amongst the stars." That's how veteran teacher Theresa Coffman describes her colleague Ani Arzoomanian, a third grade teacher at Tuckahoe Elementary in Arlington and recipient of the Northern Virginia Magazine Teacher of the Year Award.

Northern Virginia Magazine
08/24/2022
How This Great Falls Teen Chef Became a TikTok Sensation

A former 'Kids Baking Championship' contestant, Matthew Merril has amassed a following of over 2.5 million on the social media app. In the kitchen of celebrity teen chef and TikTok sensation Matthew Merril, everything seems to rise and cook fast, including his career.

Northern Virginia Magazine
06/02/2022
This Loudoun County Resident Joined Blue Origin For a Joyride in Space

Loudoun County resident Dr. George Nield, president of Commercial Space Technologies, LLC, became an astronaut for Blue Origin at age 71. Like many kids who grew up during NASA's golden years, George Nield first turned his eyes toward the stars in the 1960s.

Northern Virginia Magazine
05/27/2022
Joan Mulholland Was at the Most Important Moments of Civil Rights History

The white, Southern community around her couldn't understand why she was doing it. It was early June 1961, and the young woman from Arlington chose her travel clothes carefully. A few days before, she had flown from Washington, DC, to New Orleans, and the last leg of her trip would be a train ride to Jackson, Mississippi.

VirginiaLiving.com
05/31/2022
Hip, Historic, Hollin Hills

A testament to suburbia in the heyday of Frank Sinatra, martini bars, and Tupperware parties, the mid-century modern community of Hollin Hills runs counter to the buttoned-up colonial revivals that proliferated here during that era. Here, you'll find no fluted columns, center halls, or white picket fences.

Ashburn Magazine
07/05/2022
Local park named for black entrepreneur of the early 1800s - Ashburn Magazine

Loudoun County has seen many changes throughout history, but one thing has remained constant: the unyielding beauty of the Potomac River that defines its northern border. The sun that shines on its sparkling waters today is the same sun that shone on 19th-century Loudoun boatsman Bazil Newman.

Ashburn Magazine
01/28/2022
Broad Run grad completes non-stop Appalachian Trail hike - Ashburn Magazine

Hiking the entire Appalachian Trail is something many people muse about as a "bucket list" item, something to daydream about. But Sierra Wharton turned that daydream into a reality. On Sept. 28, the Ashburn native climbed Mount Katahdin in Maine, stretched out her hand and touched the iconic sign that marks the trail's northern terminus.

VirginiaLiving.com
01/25/2022
The Tile Maker of Loudoun

"I love a fun challenge," says tile maker Joan Gardiner, looking up from a set of oversized Van Gogh prints and smiling in anticipation. "And these will be gorgeous." Gardiner is the most sought-after designer of custom tile in Loudoun County.

Blue Ridge Country
09/13/2021
Five Generations at White Post Restorations

It's nice to catch up with old friends, which we did 30 years later in White Post, Virginia, to talk again to some unique, world-class car guys. Pull up at One Old Car Drive in the tiny village of White Post, Virginia, and you'll meet the Thompson family, owners of one of the largest and most elite full-service antique car restoration businesses in the country.

Ashburn Magazine
04/02/2022
Little Free Libraries abound around Ashburn - Ashburn Magazine

Maureen Cura remembers exactly when and where she was the first time she saw a Little Free Library. It was 2016 and she was attending the National Book Festival in Washington when she spotted a dollhouse-sized wooden box built with the sole purpose of sharing books and spreading a love of reading.

Northern Virginia Magazine
04/29/2022
The Biggest Indoor Water Park in the U.S. Is Within Driving Distance of NoVA

Weatherproof your vacation with a trip up North for endless adrenaline-pumping water slides, wave pools, and splash zones. Superlatives matter, so when a place touts itself as the largest indoor water park in the nation, you naturally want to pack a swimsuit and go check it out.

People and Interviews

Posh Seven, A Magazine for Loudoun County
10/07/2019
Wendy Rieger - Posh Seven, A Magazine for Loudoun County

When it comes to making life decisions, local NBC News4 anchor Wendy Rieger suggests a method that has never failed her: "If you really want something, don't wait - make it happen NOW." Rieger attributes most milestones in her life to moments of epiphany: sudden and crystal-clear realizations of where to step next.

VirginiaLiving.com
06/22/2020
Soap Lady Comes Clean

Behind the scenes of the bubble business. It's hard to pass a display of homemade soap without buying a creamy, scented bar. Every detail of a soapmaker's booth is designed to stop customers in their tracks: wafts of essential oils, swirls of natural colors, and the offer to touch and sample the enticing, moisture-rich products.

Northern Virginia Magazine
02/09/2022
How Vienna Kid Garrett Roe Made His Olympic Hockey Dreams a Reality in 2018

From Vienna to Switzerland, this hockey player's Olympic journey has been a long and bumpy road. There will be moments during February's televised Winter Olympic Games when viewers across the world drop everything to watch the screen in quiet unity. Television makes clear what stands in front of the athlete: the competition, judges, scores, and medals.

Northern Virginia Magazine
01/26/2022
How Growing Up in NoVA Led this Freestyle Skiier to Her Fourth Olympics

Ashburn native Ashley Caldwell shares how her life in NoVA took her from gymnastics to skiing to the Olympic Games. There will be moments during February's televised Winter Olympic Games when viewers across the world drop everything to watch the screen in quiet unity.

History

VirginiaLiving.com
05/28/2021
Fenced In

The history of the state is all around us. Virginia's affinity for wrought iron began as far back as 1607, when Capt. John Smith wrote of the Jamestown settlement: "Our best commoditie was Yron which we made into little chissels."

VirginiaLiving.com
07/09/2019
SOS. 12:35 a.m.

A jug made by Winchester's White House Foods is said to have survived the sinking of the Titanic. In 1908, apple cider vinegar was a staple in every pantry, including the White House kitchen in Washington, D.C.

Ashburn Magazine
08/10/2021
Old family cemeteries abound in Ashburn - Ashburn Magazine

Early last year, Jack Gray and his family were out for a walk when they noticed old headstones in the woods near the golf course at Brambleton Regional Park. The Brambleton family had stumbled upon the remains of the Lyons Family Civil War Cemetery.

Travel

VirginiaLiving.com
11/09/2021
Waterford's Magic

It's morning in the tiny village of Waterford, an hour from bustling Washington, D.C., and Linda Landreth pauses to check on her sheep before rattling open the weathered door of Waterford Market, built in 1883. Landreth pokes some wood into the cast iron stove and readies her spinning wheel.

Northern Virginia Magazine
05/13/2022
Why Paris, Virginia, Makes for the Loveliest Spring Weekend Getaway

This quaint 18th-century town provides the perfect romantic getaway. Fragrant blossoms, sparkling wines, terrace dining, and spectacular views - it's springtime in Paris, and a trip there is closer and more affordable than you might think.

VirginiaLiving.com
02/21/2022
Travel by Gravel

Some historic treasures don't fit inside a museum. Take the 300 miles of gravel roadways that wind through Loudoun County's pastures and ridges. "These are the same paths traveled by early colonists, Revolutionary War soldiers, and George Washington when he surveyed the Shenandoah Valley," says Douglas Graham, an award-winning photojournalist who is among those spearheading their preservation.

Northern Virginia Magazine
05/12/2022
West Virginia's Pipestem Resort State Park Is the Perfect Spot for Your Next Outdoor Adventure

Dodge the water cascading from the splash park's 40-gallon bucket, skip through fountains, and leap from floating mountains at this fun zone-or spend a quiet afternoon angling. Spectacularly perched on the east rim of the Bluestone River Gorge in southern West Virginia, Pipestem Resort State Park checks a lot of boxes when it comes to lakeside vacation destinations.

Northern Virginia Magazine
11/22/2021
This Little West Virginia Town Hosts the Ultimate Traditional German Christmas Celebration

Skip the crazy holiday airport traffic and enjoy a European getaway in neighboring West Virginia. Picture this: a timbered Bavarian chalet, cradled by snow-kissed evergreens and perched high above a frosty, winding river. A romantic European getaway? It could be, but this is actually in nearby Shepherdstown, West Virginia, less than two hours from Northern Virginia.

Ashburn Magazine
06/29/2020
A beach adventure 10 million years in the making - Ashburn Magazine

By Jill Devine Seeing a 10-million-year-old shark's tooth in a museum is cool, but who wouldn't rather find one at the beach? Look no further than Calvert Cliffs State Park in Lusby, Md., where finding such fossils is an everyday occurrence. About five miles north of Solomons Island, the park entrance is less than a two-hour drive from Ashburn.

Northern Virginia Magazine
05/05/2022
The Perfect Day-Out-on-the-Lake Trip Is Just Outside NoVA

Like a classic lake oasis on steroids, this mammoth resort has everything from Jet Skis to water skis-if it floats, you'll likely find it here. Smith Mountain Lake has over 500 miles of gorgeous shoreline, so it's no wonder boating is one of the most popular activities here.

Northern Virginia Magazine
12/01/2021
The World's Largest Light Maze Has Arrived in DC for the Holidays

Enchant Christmas is back at Nationals Park, ready to make Christmas bigger and brighter. When it comes to festive Christmas light displays, Enchant Christmas takes the cake. With millions of lights scattered throughout Nationals Park, the larger-than-life light maze will bring out your inner child just in time for the holiday season.

Northern Virginia Magazine
02/08/2022
Why You Need to Hike Dark Hollow Falls Trail in the Shenandoah

It's got one of the most scenic ends to a hike in all of Virginia. Flip through any calendar or coffee table book of Shenandoah National Park, and you will likely find a photo of one of the park's most iconic features: a 70-foot cascading waterfall, spilling like silver ribbons over moss-covered boulders to misty pools in the forest below.

Ashburn Magazine
04/08/2021
Experience colonial life in nearby Fredericksburg - Ashburn Magazine

Every summer, tens of thousands of tourists head to Williamsburg to see the historic colonial sites and buildings and go on tours led by actors - called "historical interpreters" - wearing tri-corner hats or linen aprons. From Ashburn, it's roughly 175 miles to Williamsburg.

Northern Virginia Magazine
08/20/2021
A Stress-Free Day Trip to the Beach from NoVA? Yep, Here's How.

Believe it or not, an affordable and easy day trip to the beach is possible. Here's how to dodge the traffic and that overpriced, reheated Boardwalk pizza (yes, we said it!). No matter where you live in Northern Virginia, the sand and surf of an ocean beach are just a few hours away.

Business

VirginiaLiving.com
09/16/2021
Lazy River's Artful Canoes

Not all canoes are created equal, and master woodcrafter Jim Dodd, owner of Lazy River Canoes in Buchanan, is proving that point. Dodd specializes in hand-built solo wood strip canoes, which he says are traditional in "big water" states in the north and west, but not commonly seen in Virginia.

Northern Virginia Magazine
11/12/2021
This Arlington Wreath Shop Has Found a National Customer Base

How an Arlington-based company found fans around the globe. Lauren Cleary was decorating her daughter's nursery and wanted to add a splash of natural color, so she gathered some dried flowers into bundles and fashioned them into a circle for the wall.

Ashburn Magazine
07/25/2020
Local company serves restaurants around the world - Ashburn Magazine

By Jill Devine Whether you're in New York City, Los Angeles, London or here in Loudoun County, the next time you're dining out at a nice restaurant, look at the place setting. Pick up the stemmed water glass. Feel the weight of the fork and knife.

Blue Ridge Country
02/22/2021
Curios: Natural Vegetation Control - Goat Busters on the Land

Goats eat between 3 and 9% of their body weight each day, and put on a bit of a show while they do it. No, Goat Busters isn't a movie (yet!), but the spectators are gathering. In fact, one Buckingham County (Virginia) family plans its annual vacation around what one goat farmer is calling agri-tainment.

Ashburn Magazine
06/08/2020
Ashburn studio unleashes your inner woodworking skills - Ashburn Magazine

by Jill Devine Sometimes a happy accident can take your life in a whole new direction. Last year, Ashburn Farm mom Jenna Myers was searching for the Dollar Tree in the Broadlands Village Center when she noticed a storefront sign announcing that Board & Brush Creative Studio would be opening soon.

Northern Virginia Magazine
08/11/2021
A NoVA Florist Explains How to Make the Perfect DIY Floral Arrangement

Metro Flower Market's Margaret Fleegal has some insider tips and tricks that could make your at-home displays swoon-worthy. Flowers and happiness go hand-in-hand. Behavioral research studies confirm that flowers have the ability to relieve stress, reduce anxiety, improve mood, increase productivity, and enhance personal relationships.

Posh Seven Magazine
10/25/2020
It Began With Flowers on a Street Corner - Posh Seven Magazine

Vienna florist Maris Angolia tells a story that unfolds as sweet and lovely as the blossoms in her shop. Meet Maris Angolia, President and CEO, Karin's Florist It's a story that begins in the early 1900s with a handsome Greek immigrant selling flowers on a street corner in New York City.

Ashburn Magazine
09/27/2020
Dog's wild ride inspires new business - Ashburn Magazine

By Jill Devine Francesca Maniff was relaxing on her living room sofa in early 2019 when she had a "lightbulb" moment that changed her life. Her pup, Chewey, a Maltese-Yorkshire terrier mix, had climbed on her Roomba vacuum cleaner and accidentally turned it on.

Dining

Northern Virginia Magazine
09/27/2021
From Hard Cider to Apple Wine: 15 NoVA Spots for Amazing Apple Drinks

Nothing says fall like a drink made with real pressed apples. Sip the season at these amazing cideries, pubs, wineries, and more. Apples are a gift that keeps on giving. Long after the fruit is picked, the pies are baked, and the leaves have fallen, apple juice, ciders, wines, and cocktails keep the party going all year long.

VirginiaLiving.com
02/04/2020
Foam Dome

Customize your beer head. No drink should be naked, according to Ripples, an Israeli-based company that produces a machine originally designed to print images on lattes but that now dresses up beer foam heads and cocktails as well.

VirginiaLiving.com
02/13/2020
In The Mix

Drink industry trends, tips, and tastemakers. Save the bees with a sip of your mead at Melo Lion Meadery. The refreshing, semisweet acidity of Melo Lion Meadery's Blackberry Mead is reason enough to enjoy a glass of the bestseller. Tack on the knowledge that your purchase supports local beekeeping, and you have yourself a deal!

VirginiaLiving.com
01/30/2020
Let's Go Low

Creating cocktails with lower alcohol content. A new study by the London-based International Wines and Spirts Record found that more than half of Americans want to reduce their alcohol intake. Yet low- and no-alcohol products currently account for only 0.5 percent of the total domestic beverage alcohol market.

Northern Virginia Magazine
11/22/2021
10 NoVA Bakeries With the Perfect Pies, Cookies, and Cakes for the Holidays

From giant heart-shaped gingerbread cookies to fruit Bavarian cake, the desserts from these bakeries both capture the spirit of the holidays and instantly elevate your celebrations. In the idyllic world of Betty Crocker, holiday baking is something that brings families together.

Education

Northern Virginia Magazine
09/21/2022
Ani Arzoomanian Is Officially Northern Virginia Magazine's 2022 Teacher of the Year

The third grade teacher from Arlington is beloved for the excitement she brings to her classroom, and her passion for helping kids in Uganda. "Our brilliant sun amongst the stars." That's how veteran teacher Theresa Coffman describes her colleague Ani Arzoomanian, a third grade teacher at Tuckahoe Elementary in Arlington and recipient of the Northern Virginia Magazine Teacher of the Year Award.

Virginia Living
Learning in Stride

In a challenging year, students at Virginia Virtual Academy never skipped a beat.

Northern Virginia Magazine
07/09/2021
STEM Flights brings kids to the sky

Based in Alexandria, the program teaches children introductory flying instruction at no cost. The world looks different when viewed from a Cessna cockpit high in the sky. Problems below suddenly appear smaller, while the horizon ahead expands with possibilities.

Ashburn Magazine
09/28/2021
Ashburn teens grow vegetables, self-confidence and smiles - Ashburn Magazine

Neurodiversity is a concept in which neurological differences are recognized and respected as any other human variation. These differences can include those identified with dyspraxia, dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyscalculia, Asperger syndrome, autistic spectrum, and Tourette syndrome, among others .

Ashburn Magazine
10/02/2020
Ashburn eighth-grader already making his mark - Ashburn Magazine

By Jill Devine "There is no success without hard work." Those are the words of Samvrit Rao, an eighth-grader at Stone Hill Middle School in Ashburn. But Samvrit isn't just any eighth-grader. In the world of science, he's something of a superstar - coming up with ideas and creating inventions that could one day change the world.

Posh Seven Magazine
04/01/2020
2020 Best Private Schools in DC, Northern VA and Maryland - Posh Seven Magazine

Parenting comes with many responsibilities, perhaps none as important as making sure your child is situated in the right educational setting. For many in Northern Virginia, this means attending one of our many excellent public schools. For others, it means finding the right private school setting.

VirginiaLiving.com
06/01/2021
Top Schools & Universities 2021

Recognizing nearly 200 of Virginia's public and private schools. Every year, we research the programs, achievements, and curriculum of schools across the state to create a snapshot of education in Virginia. Late last year, asking schools to tell us the good things happening on campus sounded like an impossible request.

Recreation

Northern Virginia Magazine
06/22/2021
Explore the Washington & Old Dominion Trail

Extending across over 10 cities and towns, this 45-mile trail has some worthy stops along the way. If you've spent any time in NoVA, you've likely crossed paths with the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park -or, more commonly, the W&OD-at some point.

VirginiaLiving.com
04/13/2021
Adult Recess

Schoolyard sports are making a comeback among adults eager to play. Remember the sports we loved growing up, back when getting a game together was as simple as calling a few friends or heading over to the rec center?

Northern Virginia Magazine
04/27/2022
These Local Shops Have the Best Bike Accessories

Does your ride need a refresh? From the whimsical (handlebar streamers!) to the wise (a bike lock in the prettiest shade of tangerine), add some pop to your trail presence. Now that bike season has officially started in NoVA, make sure you take your next ride in style.

Northern Virginia Magazine
07/21/2021
NoVA's Gone Bike Crazy. Here's Our Favorite Cycling Gear Trends For Every Type of Rider.

Whether commuting daily to work, riding for pleasure, competitively training, or pedaling the distance, here's the on-trend gear that will actually improve your ride. It's not your imagination-bicycles are everywhere these days. During quarantine, those who already had bikes rediscovered the joy of pedal power, while others stood in line to buy them.

Northern Virginia Magazine
09/02/2021
An Insider's Guide to the Best Running and Walking Trails in NoVA

Ray Pugsley, owner of Potomac River Running and a beloved figure in the local running community, tells us all his favorite and overlooked spots. Anyone who owns running shoes in Northern Virginia has likely encountered Ray Pugsley at some time or another, either through one of his 10 Potomac River Running Store retail locations or at one of the hundreds of local races or running events that his company supports.

Ashburn Magazine
02/17/2021
Pickleball growing in popularity around the region - Ashburn Magazine

When retired IBM executive Dave Bauer moved from his long-time Fairfax City home to Ashburn's Ashby Ponds in December 2016, he wanted to stay active and make friends. An invitation from another resident to play pickleball, a sport that combines elements of tennis, ping pong and badminton, delivered more friends, fun and fitness than he ever expected.

Families

Northern Virginia Magazine
10/16/2021
VA Is One of the Most Expensive States to Raise Kids. Here's How Families Cope.

A new study has named D.C. and Virginia as some of the most expensive places to raise kid. Four families around NoVA share how they deal with the rising costs of child rearing. It's an old saying most of us have heard before: "If you wait to have kids until you can afford them, you'll probably never have kids at all."

Ashburn Magazine
09/20/2019
It's A-maze-ing! Secrets of a local corn maze - Ashburn Magazine

By Jill Devine There's something about an autumn corn maze that can make even the busiest families put on the brakes. Every fall, Lansdowne mom Malinda Mahaffey's calendar fills up with back-to-school and sports obligations. "So much to do, but I make sure we block out time for our family to be together," Mahaffey said.

Posh Seven Magazine
04/01/2020
Our Top Summer Camp Picks of 2020 - Posh Seven Magazine

All parents want the best experiences for their children, and no time is that more important than during the long days of summer. Finding a safe, nurturing environment that offers just the right balance of unstructured time to think and dream with opportunities to explore new interests or develop new skills is no easy task.

Culture

Posh Seven Magazine
10/26/2020
Loudoun Artist: Saya Behnam | Co-Creating Art with Nature - Posh Seven Magazine

When Loudoun artist Saya Behnam produces a piece of art, she never works alone. The Iranian American artist says she always co-creates with nature, not just as a source of inspiration, but in a very physical, tactile sense. Behnam has learned to extract pigments from materials foraged from her surroundings, such as grasses, flowers, leaves, berries, bark, spices, rocks, and minerals.

Posh Seven Magazine
10/26/2020
Boredom Never Hurt Anyone: Sara Bardin - Posh Seven Magazine

Parents often go to great lengths to make sure their children are not bored, but Washington, D.C., artist Sara Bardin is living proof that boredom isn't necessarily a bad thing for children. Boredom is what launched Bardin's love of colors and art.

Animals

Ashburn Magazine
10/25/2020
Ashburn woman raises a young dog to help those in need - Ashburn Magazine

By Jill Devine The handful of dog treats in her coat pocket made Heidi Cummings' heart crumble on Valentine's Day this year. She scooped some beef-flavored nuggets out with her car keys as she prepared to drive home to Virginia, and the tears started to fall. "I cried all the way home," Cummings said.

Posh Seven, A Magazine for Loudoun County
12/17/2019
Icelandic Passion - Posh Seven, A Magazine for Loudoun County

How lovely is it when your greatest life-long passion gets channeled into a career? Antje Freygang knows. Owner and manager of Montaire Icelandic Horses in Middleburg, Freygang says she wakes up every morning feeling blessed to work with animals she has loved her whole life in a setting of breathtaking beauty.

Health

Posh Seven, A Magazine for Loudoun County
10/07/2019
Lyme in Loudoun County | Denise Corbo's Story - Posh Seven, A Magazine for Loudoun County

Loudoun County teacher Denise Corbo truly is a woman who has it all. A radiant beauty by any measure, many would envy Corbo for her large and loving family, fulfilling lifetime career, stellar professional accolades, business savvy, and community service. The kicker? Corbo also has Lyme disease, which she has battled for almost 20 years.

Community

Posh Seven, A Magazine for Loudoun County
01/30/2020
Abundant Compassion - Posh Seven, A Magazine for Loudoun County

Poverty and despair in the midst of economic prosperity is a theme that's all too common across Northern Virginia, including Fairfax County. For many residents, the high cost of living makes it difficult to make ends meet, even for those who work multiple jobs. Fortunately, the area also flows with compassion and generosity.

Posh Seven, A Magazine for Loudoun County
12/17/2019
Charitable Giving in Need - Posh Seven, A Magazine for Loudoun County

Who doesn't love to give and receive gifts? Gifts express appreciation for the people in our lives, and no matter what's inside the box or how pretty the wrappings, we know that sentiment is the heart of every gift exchanged. Why then have we allowed holiday gifting to become so complicated and stressful?