Sperryville column for Dec. 23

Gifts of love for the holidays

Early on Christmas morning, after opening gifts with his family, the chef at Griffin Tavern, Victor McLawhorn, along with his father-in-law, will drive to the silent kitchen at Griffin Tavern, fire up the ovens and get to work preparing a sumptuous and plentiful dinner that will feed a large extended family for Christmas Day and several days thereafter. In addition to the ham, turkey and all the trimmings, Victor and his family include food they canned during the summer and his mom’s sourdough rolls. Monetary donations by Griffin Tavern, Victor, his father-in-law and others make this dinner possible for a family referred by the Rappahannock Food Pantry. We know this is but one example of the generosity and many kindnesses of people in our community and we want to acknowledge the spirit of love that this dinner represents.

Shop local

Amy Perdieu and her daughter Belle tend to business at Primitive Blessings in Sperryville. Belle's job is to put the price stickers on merchandise. Photo by E. Raymond Boc.
“My kids think I am famous because you write about me in the paper,” laughed Amy Payne Perdieu, owner of Primitive Blessings in Sperryville. So it is that each of the businesses that Gail Swift and I write about are not just crass commercialism of big box stores, but a chance to tout the talents of members of our community and promote our village’s vitality. My return visit to Primitive Blessings on U.S. 211 found that the inventory has really increased and that Amy has begun to develop quite a following of customers both local and from surrounding communities such as Warrenton and Culpeper.

Her popularity comes not only from the interest in primitive decor, but also from her talents. Amy has sold most of the signs that she makes herself (more are coming) and she has a large collection of tasteful items under $20. One wooden framed item with a flag motif had three sheep in it, each draped with a stylized flag. Amy is most positive about her distressed furniture and her signs. A corner cabinet in the shop will make its way to a new home by Christmas Eve. This former gas station, modest in appearance, is a wonderful place to shop. Be sure come in for last-minute gifts and post-Christmas discounts.

Wasmund’s Distillery at 9 River Lane, off Water Street, has expanded its gift shop selections. Not only can you purchase barrel kits in five sizes ranging from 2 liter (two half-bottles of whiskey or rye) to 20 liter (24 bottles), but also there are T-shirts, limited edition toy delivery trucks, baseball caps and flasks. Both the Bootlegger’s Blend and Moonshine BBQ sauces are made with Wasmund’s and are for sale at the distillery gift shop, too. Wasmund’s whiskey is now sold nationally and internationally, but you only need to drive a few minutes to purchase the award-winning single malt whiskey and rye. By the way, Rick and Chelsea’s infant daughter Camille is gorgeous.

The Sperryville Emporium still has the best selection of Minnetonka moccasins available. If you don’t see the size or style that you want, they can fax an order and it comes in just a few days. Looking for an old-fashioned piggy bank for the kids or grandkids? They are available is several sizes at the Emporium. Think spring and pick up one or more rocking chairs for the front porch. Don’t forget to stock up on honey, jams, jelly and country hams when you stop in. There is a 30 percent discount on all ceramics and some Christmas items are 50 percent off now.

Cara Martin of Abracadabra Massage & Bodywork wanted to put the word out that if someone needs a last-minute gift for themselves or a loved one, she is be offering a special holiday gift certificate for a one-hour massage, normally $100, for $80. Cara offers in- home massage therapy. This special will be offered through New Year’s Day and can be ordered through caracadabra.com, or call 540-878-7085.

Maggie Rogers has created studio space for herself at Central Coffee Roasters. She gave demonstrations of the etching process at a reception at the store Saturday. Photo by E. Raymond Boc.

Eat local

Jumbo lump crab cakes that are perfectly seasoned, served piping hot and with the barest of filler are served at High on the Hog BBQ on Main Street. Chef Jaime’s extensive seafood experience has really brought another dimension to this modest little restaurant. JD Hartman, owner, and Jamie make a dynamite team for excellent food on Main Street.

Try one of their crab cake sandwiches for a real treat. Thornton River Grille’s weekday breakfast is delicious and affordable. A customer urged me to order the omelet with roasted tomatoes, bacon and cheddar the first day the Grille opened. It was moist, fluffy and served with a large chunk of homemade grilled bread. On another day I had the sausage, egg and cheese on a biscuit. The biscuit was firm enough to hold together, but still moist and tasty.

Yummm! And what fun to again have a place to see folks in the morning. On Saturday I met Jacob Nash (yes, our chef’s son and he is adorable), was able to say hello to Rudy Frye ( the “mayor” of Water Street), learn about Hunt Harris’ full moon midnight hikes, catch up with Eddie Wayland about his grandchild (whom he adores) and learn the good news of Jack Bagley’s grandchild coming in January. During those cold winter months ahead, take advantage of the Grille to stay in touch.

Drive 25

Condolences to Ann Bellomy whose darling miniature dachshund, Felix, was hit on Main Street (walking on the sidewalk with Ann) Friday afternoon by a speeding car and died that evening. Please remember to drive 25 mph in Sperryville.

Merry Christmas, Buon Natale, Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noel, Happy Hanukkah!!

Gail and I wish you all peace and love during this holiday season. The solstice this year has both a full moon and a lunar eclipse. Here in Rappahannock, with our dark skies, we can really enjoy it and we give thanks for the beauty that surrounds us and for all of you who make this such a special place to live.