Rappahannock County, with its locally grown food and welcoming vineyards, is often compared to California’s Sonoma County, just north of San Francisco. Or sometimes the East Coast comparison is the Hamptons on eastern Long Island, the weekend and vacation escape for well-heeled New York City dwellers: Rappahannock as Big Washington’s equivalent.
But the very eastern end of Long Island – Montauk – is now resisting the invasion of visitors and come-heres who act smarter, richer and better than the locals. According to The New York Times, Montauk is suffering “hipster fatigue,” and the fedora hat, often worn by self-styled hipsters, has become a handy symbol of what locals don’t care for.
On bumper stickers and road signs are the words “Save Montauk,” with a red diagonal line and circle superimposed over an image of a fedora. The longtime locals can do without the “I’m hipper than you” attitude and certainly don’t want the higher real estate and other prices that the hipsters import. Rather, Montauk proudly prefers its well-established self-image as “a drinking town with a fishing problem.”
Whether Rappahannock is “a drinking county with a farming problem” is worthy of debate, but the clash between locals and visitors just doesn’t much happen here. Maybe because we simply have a better class of visitors and transplants!
The clearest evidence of this can be found in the new arrivals to head up two of Rappahannock’s most well-established institutions: Wakefield Country Day School and the Inn at Little Washington.
Jessica Lindstrom, Wakefield’s new head of school, has more than 30 years of experience in teaching, education administration and curriculum planning. Among her achievements are the “Outstanding Teacher Award” from the Virginia Association of Independent Schools.
Tom List, the Inn’s new general manager, comes to Rappahannock from a Vermont village that is often called “the prettiest small town in America.” There he ran the world-renowned Woodstock Inn and Resort. Having had the honor to meet him recently, I can say with confidence that he is most assuredly not a snooty hipster.