The Rapp for Aug. 1

Business alert: RHVA membership picnic  

If you own or operate a business in Rappahannock, you’re invited to the Rappahannock Hospitality and Visitors Association’s (RHVA) annual membership picnic at the Visitors Center from 5 to 7 this Sunday (Aug. 4). Members are welcome at the potluck dinner, as well as those interested in finding out more about the organization, which is renaming itself Businesses of Rappahannock (or BizRapp) to welcome all types of commercial concerns in the county. Come to hear about the new membership fee structure (starting at $25 a year), and if you can’t attend, you can also pick up membership forms at Coterie or Copper Fox Antiques in Sperryville, Ginger Hill Antiques on U.S. 211, R.H. Ballard in Washington or Horse and Hound in Flint Hill. Or email Maggie Rogers at questions@centralcoffeeroasters.com. For more information about the event or BizRapp, call 540-987-8615.

Glen Gordon, the Inn earn top designations

The Hunt Room at Glen Gordon Manor, now part of the Select Registry. Courtesy photo.
The Hunt Room at Glen Gordon Manor, now part of the Select Registry. Courtesy photo.

Two of Rappahannock’s attractions — one of its oldest and one of its newest — were honored recently as Glen Gordon Manor joined Select Registry’s portfolio of celebrated B&Bs, and the Inn at Little Washington was named the best-looking restaurant in the Washington, D.C area by Zagat.

“We’re delighted to welcome these outstanding properties,” said Phil Jenkins, executive director of  Select Registry, which named Glen Gordon Manor as one of just three new Virginia entries. “Of the 20,000 inns in North America, only 350 have earned this prestigious designation . . . Each property must pass rigorous, unannounced inspections to qualify and then to maintain its membership. We set the bar extremely high.”

Glen Gordon Manor’s 45-acre property overlooks Shenandoah National Park and has hosted members of the British royal family and set the scene for memorable hunts and galas. Originally built in 1833 as a stagecoach stop, the main house was expanded in the early 1920s to serve as an aristocratic hunting lodge. Today, chef and proprietor Dayn Smith offers guests stables and a swimming pool, five luxury guestrooms and suites, and cottages with their own hot tubs, iPads and Bose speaker systems. Hearty breakfasts and five-course dinners are also a staple at the inn, where the seasonal menu features products grown in the Manor’s extensive garden and orchard.

O’Connell’s eat-in kitchen is probably a bit larger, and officially better-looking, than yours. Courtesy photo.
Inn at Little Washington chef and proprietor Patrick O’Connell’s eat-in kitchen is probably a bit larger, and officially better-looking, than yours. Courtesy photo.

Meanwhile, Zagat.com ranked the Inn as the “best-looking” restaurant in the Washington, D.C. area. Describing it as “simply the best,” Zagat says the world-renowned Inn “delivers a life-altering experience as guests get pampered” in an intimate, richly embroidered setting, where revelatory multicourse repasts are prepared with extraordinary skill . . . in short, it’s worth every penny . . . and that’s a lot of pennies!”

The Inn joins Zagat’s 12 other “best-looking” restaurants in the U.S. The full list, as well as a virtual tour of the Inn’s interior for those who may never have been inside, can be found online at blog.zagat.com.

“Pedals to Petals,” a painting by Catherine Hillis is part of RDA’s new exhibit.
“Pedals to Petals,” a painting by Catherine Hillis is part of RDA’s new exhibit.
RDA celebrates 100 years of landscapes

River District Arts is hosting an exhibit of landscape paintings by current members of the Washington Society of Landscape Painters beginning Aug. 3. The show commemorates the 100-year anniversary of the Society, which began in Washington, D.C. when a group of painters called “The Ramblers” banded together to paint outdoors. In 1913, they did not have to go far from downtown D.C. to be literally in the countryside.

The Centennial Exhibit features plein air landscapes painted in oil, pastel and water media. Many of the artists will be at the gallery next Saturday (Aug. 10) from 3 to 5 p.m to greet the public. The whole exhibit was painted “en plein air,” French for “in open air” or outdoors, a practice which can be traced to the middle of the 17th century. French impressionists called it “le sur motif” or “in front of the subject.”

“Tangled Vines,” a painting by Bruce Handford, is in RDA’s “Centennial” exhibit opening Aug. 3.
“Tangled Vines,” a painting by Bruce Handford, is in RDA’s “Centennial” exhibit opening Aug. 3.

American landscape painters started painting landscape studies in oil in the early 19th century and referred to them as “nature studies” or “painting on site.” It was not until the end of the 20th century that painting in nature became known as plein air.

RDA is located at 3 River Lane in Sperryville, and is open 10 to 5 Friday-Sunday. The show closes Sept. 29.

Is there a Cheshire Cat in the house? 

Summer heat is still with us, but it’s time to start thinking about Christmas — not shopping, but RAAC Community Theatre’s Christmas play. This year’s play is “Alice in Wonderland,” directed by Howard Coon, who also directed last year’s sold-out production of “Peter Pan.”

Howard is holding auditions from 1 to 3 p.m. on two weekends — Aug. 10-11 and 17-18. As in past holiday shows, this one has many roles for kids and adults of all ages. Whether you have been a star on Broadway or have no experience whatsoever, if you can manage to get onstage, there is a part for you. And, unlike “Peter Pan,” nobody needs flying experience.

Auditions are in the air-conditioned RAAC Community Theatre (310 Gay Street, Washington). Come on down and have a hot time in the cool theatre! For more information, contact Howard at 540-937-2059 or howapop@hotmail.com.

The art of Spontaneous Painting

Part painting and part meditation, “Spontaneous Painting” is a class to be taught by Sperryville artist Barbara Heile at The Studio School in Flint Hill, which offers an “unplanned, unpredictable and surprising experience.” Participants are led through the painting process using rich-colored, non-toxic tempera paint, to encourage exploration and listening to one’s intuition. Whether you are a beginner looking to experience the simple childlike enjoyment of painting, or an experienced painter who wants to try something new, Heile hopes you’ll come and enjoy “the freedom and playfulness that will help you open up to your own creativity.”

The Studio School’s class is 2 to 5 p.m. Aug. 16 and/or Aug. 23. To learn more or register, visit mullanyartstudios.wordpress.com (click on “Studio School”) or call 540-878-3687. There’s more about Barbara Heile at heileart.com.

Calculating stormwater at your desk

The EPA’s National Stormwater Calculator is a desktop application that estimates the annual amount of rainwater and frequency of runoff from a specific site anywhere in the U.S. Estimates are based on local soil conditions, land cover and historic rainfall records.

The calculator (which can be found online at epa.gov) is now available to the public, and is designed to be used by anyone interested in reducing runoff from a property, including site developers, landscape architects, urban planners and homeowners.

The calculator accesses several national databases that provide soil, topography, rainfall and evaporation information for the chosen site. The user supplies information about the site’s land cover and selects the types of low impact development (LID) controls they would like to use, including disconnection, rain harvesting, rain gardens, green roofs, street planters, infiltration basins and porous pavement.

Green infrastructure promotes the natural movement of water, instead of allowing it to wash into streets and down storm drains. It also has the added benefit of beautifying neighborhoods and increasing property values.

The stormwater calculator (SWC), like any model, estimates an outcome based on available information such as soil type, landscape and land-use information, and historical weather. These estimates can be affected by limitations on site-specific information and uncertainties about future climate.

To better inform decisions, it is recommended that the user develop a range of results with various assumptions about model inputs such as percent of impervious surface, soil type and sizing of green infrastructure.

An update to the SWC, which includes the ability to link to several future climate scenarios, will be released by the end of 2013. Climate projections indicate that heavy precipitation events are very likely to become more frequent as the climate changes.

Green Infrastructure can increase the resiliency of stormwater management approaches to a changing climate, and this update will allow users to consider how runoff may vary based both on historical weather and potential future climate.

Clean water is essential to keeping our families and the environment healthy. The calculator helps protect and restore the environmental integrity of our waterways. For more information, visit epa.gov and search for “stormwater calculator.”

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