If it’s music that moves you into the holiday spirit, this is your weekend.
Tomorrow night (Friday, Nov. 21) at 7 is Trinity Episcopal Church’s fifth annual Sing-a-Long. A benefit for Rappahannock Food Pantry (free-will donations are welcomed), the family-friendly program in the parish hall at 379 Gay St., Washington, features the multitalented Hal Hunter on the piano, and you — regardless of singing ability — in full voice. It’s open to all, and there’s wine and hors d’oeuvres available. (Contact Kay M. Wilson at 540-987-9229 or firstname.lastname@example.org for details.)
This Sunday (Nov. 23) at 3, down the street, Washington Baptist Church is having a community concert, also open to all: “Thanksgiving Offerings: A Cornucopia of Seasonal Songs,” presented by Wendy and Gary Aichele. The Aicheles happen to be church neighbors. (They are the innkeepers of the Gay Street Inn, across the street.) Wendy is organist and minister of music for the church (with degrees in music from the University of Virginia, she’s been a church musician and choir director for more than 30 years); though less formally trained, Gary has been singing in church since he was 5. The concert’s free; free-will offerings also support the Food Pantry. Light refreshments served at a fellowship hall reception following the concert. (For more information, call 540-316-9220.)
The following Friday (Nov. 28), of course, is the biggest shopping day of the year — but if you seek out the shops and artisans of Rappahannock, you will not be disappointed (nor will you be fighting anyone for a parking spot). See the story on B1 for some highlights along the Rappahannock County Artisans Trail. (And check out the Holiday Gift Guide inside this week’s Rappahannock News.)
If you’re a member of the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection, you’re invited to the organization’s 44th annual membership meeting and celebration at 6:30 this Saturday (Nov. 22) at Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville. If you’re not a member, you’re invited to join — and then come to the celebration.
This year, RLEP reports, the League has begun a public awareness campaign promoting dark skies, along with an assistance fund for purchasing shielded lights. The organization also has plans to purchase sophisticated weather stations to be located around the county as a long-term science project on Rappahannock weather patterns, one in which RLEP plans to involve the schools. Station software would enable any citizen to see weather in real time, and it also collects long-term data on county rainfall and temperatures. One of the new stations will be available for viewing at the annual meeting.
RLEP’s forums this year have included ones on invasive plant management, creation of native meadows and good forestry practices, and the League joined with the Krebser Fund, RappFLOW and the Piedmont Environmental Council to fund a PEC employee’s attendance at a 2014 Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) study course on riparian conservation issues. Each year, RLEP also sponsors environmental adventures for two young adults to attend two-week sessions at Rappahannock Nature Camp and Camp Vesuvius.
For more information, visit rlep.org or call 540-675-RLEP.
The colder-weather park
Shenandoah National Park’s Dickey Ridge and Byrd visitor centers will both be open on Thanksgiving Day, the park reports. Both centers will remain open for the season through that Sunday (Nov. 30).
A visit to the park is a great way to work up an appetite for (or work off) that Thanksgiving feast. To kick off the holiday season, the Shenandoah National Park Association (SNPA) is offering a Thanksgiving sale Nov. 27-30, with all bookstore items marked 10 percent off.
Starting Dec. 1, Byrd Visitor Center will be open weekends only (9:30 to 4 Saturdays and Sundays), weather permitting, with rangers available to answer questions and help plan trips. Movies, exhibits, backcountry camping permits and the bookstore will be available.
Skyline Drive is open year round, but the drive may be temporarily closed on short notice for indefinite periods because of winter weather conditions. For the most current Skyline Drive status, call 540-999-3500 and choose option 1 (twice). Park road status is also posted on the park’s Facebook page and Twitter.
The park’s $15-per-vehicle entrance fee ($10 from December through February) is good for seven days. For more, visit nps.gov/shen.
Narmada Winery in Amissville celebrates its fifth anniversary this Saturday (Nov. 22) with hourly raffles, commemorative glasses and more — including henna tattoos by Heena. From 11 to 6 at the winery (43 Narmada Lane, off U.S. 211). Visit narmadawinery.com or call 540-937-8215.
Up the road at Gray Ghost Vineyard the following Friday (Nov. 28), the winery kicks off the holiday season from 11 to 5 with light hors d’oeuvres and holiday music by Valerie Von Fange (2:30 to 4:30), plus fabulous decorations (including Gray Ghost’s famous cork Christmas tree). Free. Call 540-937-4869.