Rock lover John Henry of Stone Hill Farm in Flint Hill has finished enough of his hand-built, all-rock Stone Hill Amphitheater to offer an inaugural production amid the giant and carefully fitted stones this weekend: “Galileo’s Torch,” a historical one-act play written by James Reston Jr., starts at 7 p.m. this Saturday (June 7) and benefits the Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community (RAAC) theatre in Little Washington.
The play, focused on the age-old conflict between science and religion, is an outgrowth of Reston’s 1994 biography, “Galileo: A Life,” a book heralded by The Washington Post as “brilliant” and “masterful.” Directed by Rick Davis, executive director of George Mason University’s Hylton Performing Arts Center, the play’s cast is composed of such Washington, D.C.-area celebrities as the Hon. David S.Tatel (U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Court) and Ambassador C. Boyden Gray, former White House counsel under President George H. W. Bush and ambassador to the European Union.
The grass opens at 5:30 p.m. — the hosts ask that you arrive no later than 6:30 p.m. — for picnickers, who are urged to bring food, beverages, chairs and/or blankets, as very few seats will be available to the public. A $20 donation is suggested. The address is 40 Springwish Lane, off Route 647 (Crest Hill Road) about 1.5 rolling, curving miles east of U.S. 522. For more information (or if it looks like rain Saturday), visit galileostorch.org.
— Megan Smith
The Inn at Little Washington’s tour and tea is 1 to 5 Tuesday (June 10); proceeds from tickets ($75, $60 for seniors 60 or older) benefit Trinity Episcopal Church. More information on the tour, and other village news, in the Washington column.
Tastings from several local vineyards and some of Virginia’s top craft brewers, along with four popular local bands, are the focus of the Flint Hill Public House Restaurant & Inn’s second “backyard festival” on Saturday, June 14, on the grounds behind the facility.
Participating vineyards and breweries include Desert Rose Ranch & Winery, DuCard Vineyards, Fox Meadow Winery, Gadino Cellars, Gray Ghost Vineyards, Mountain View Vineyard & Winery, Narmada Winery, Philip Carter Winery of Virginia, Quievremont Wine, Rappahannock Cellars and Three Fox Vineyards. The craft beers tasting includes Bold Rock Hard Cider, Devils Backbone Brewing Company, Starr Hill Brewery, SweetWater Brewing Company and Three Brothers Brewing Company. Mark Clay, the Gold Top County Ramblers, Brian “Boo” Seal and the Shenandoah Travelers will provide music throughout the day and early evening.
Tickets to the tasting and music are $25 (available at flinthillfestival.com). Tickets at the door, if available, are $35. Entertainment-only tickets are $10. Guests must be 21 or older to drink and an adult must accompany children at all times; all pets must be on leashes. Seating is not supplied, but guests may bring quilts or lawn chairs. Hot dogs and hamburgers will be available from the grill for a nominal fee and the restaurant’s full menu will be available indoors.
The Public House has more than doubled the size of this year’s event, according to John Gruber, the restaurant and inn’s managing partner. “In addition to our deck, covered patio and pavilion, we have ordered two large tents for the back yard to accommodate more guests, vineyards and breweries,” Gruber said.
Festival guests will be able to tour the Public House’s new garden, a massive landscape project that will include vegetable and flower gardens and a greenhouse designed by brothers Brian and Kyle Loch of Permabuilds/Permascapes. “We have reached the size where maintaining our own garden was just prudent,” said chef Marvin Swaner. “We will continue to utilize local sources for meat and produce, but a garden provides us with a stable resource for our specific needs.”
Artist Jeanne Drevas, who moved from her longtime Sperryville home last year to Oregon, will pay a visit on Saturday, June 14, to Rappahannock County — “the land that I know the most intimately and which not only influenced and nurtured my art work, but gave me the materials with which to make my creations . . . bark, vine, grass, pine needles.”
Drevas will be at Haley Fine Art in Sperryville (42 Main St., 540-987-1000) from 4 to 7 p.m., to sign copies of “Green Art: Trees, Leaves and Roots,” the recent book by E. Ashley Rooney and Margery Goldberg that features her work and that of about 100 other “Green Art” pioneers — but mostly to visit with friends, fans and acquaintances from her 40 years here in Rappahannock.
Celebrate the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day in Shenandoah National Park this Saturday (June 7) with a “Beyond the Trailhead” event co-sponsored by the park and the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC).
From 9:15 to 3:30 at the Byrd Visitor Center (milepost 51 on Skyline Drive), new hikers and experienced backpackers can learn new trail skills at the PATC Trail Patrol’s day of guided hikes and hands-on demonstrations. The hikes, led by experienced Trail Patrol members, are meant for those of all ages and experience levels: Hikes suitable for families with children, as well as easy, moderate and advanced hikes for adults.
PATC and Trail Patrol are charging no fees to attend or participate in any hike, workshop or demonstration connected during the event; there is a $15-per-car entrance fee to the park (good for seven days). For more information about the event, visit the PATC website at patc.net or contact Trail Patrol at TPNTD@patc.net. For more information on the park, visit nps.gov/shen.