The Rapp for July 30

PEC photo contest

The winner of the "Native Plants and Wildlife" category in 2014 was this photo taken by Denise Machado in Rappahannock. Denise Machado
The winner of the “Native Plants and Wildlife” category in 2014 was this photo taken by Denise Machado in Rappahannock.

The Piedmont Environmental Council’s sixth annual photo contest, now underway, gives photographers of all ages a chance to capture some part of the Piedmont region’s peerless scenery, flora and fauna, farms and food — plus a shot at a prize and a spotlight in PEC’s printed and web publications.

Up to six photos can be submitted by Sept 30 in any of three categories — Beautiful Landscapes (or streetscapes), Native Plants and Wildlife, and Farms and Food — by adults. Photographers who are 17 or younger can enter up to six photos in a Youth category.

The photos must be taken in Albemarle, Clarke, Culpeper, Fauquier, Greene, Loudoun, Madison, Orange and Rappahannock counties. After PEC staff and guest judges choose finalists in each of the categories, the photos will go online for a public vote to determine winners. Each of the finalists will receive a free PEC membership and have her or his work featured in upcoming online or print PEC publications. The winners of each adult category will receive a $75 gift certificate to a nearby Buy Fresh Buy Local restaurant. The Youth category winner will receive a $75 iTunes gift card.

The contest is open to everyone with the exception of PEC staff and immediate family. Finalists will be announced in October. The complete rules and instructions (which require the photos be submitted online through flickr.com) are online at pecva.org/photocontest.

El Quijote is closed

Photo by E. Raymond BocRaymond Boc | Rappahannock News

El Quijote, the Spanish tapas restaurant open for just over a year at Sperryville’s River District Arts complex, has apparently closed. Owner Emilio Fontan said in a voicemail Tuesday night that he and his restaurant crew and family “loved the building, and loved the town and would like to stay,” but that landlord Jerome Niessen (who’s had the entire complex that he renovated and opened five years ago on the market for months) “had found a way to kick us out.” Niessen did not return calls for a comment.

Summer doldrums banished at Middle Street

Flowers will make a strong showing at Middle Street Gallery’s annual August art show, tomorrow (July 31) through Sept. 6 in Sperryville. A wide variety of sculptures, paintings, drawings, and photographs will be on display and for sale.

“I had never seen cotton growing, so when I found these red cotton plants at a local nursery, I just felt compelled to put them in my flower bed," says artist Ann Currie.
“I had never seen cotton growing, so when I found these red cotton plants at a local nursery, I just felt compelled to put them in my flower bed,” says artist Ann Currie.

Ann Currie will offer three drawings of the Red Cotton plant. “As a paper maker, I have made lots of paper using ‘cotton linters,’ which are dehydrated sheets of paper made from the cotton fibers that remain on the cotton boll,” she says. “I had never seen cotton growing, so when I found these red cotton plants at a local nursery, I just felt compelled to put them in my flower bed. These drawings represent the growth of the red cotton plant over a period of one month.”

Jo Levine is showing photos from her series, “The Secret Life of Flowers,” exploring flowers’ emotional qualities, such as modesty, purity, and conciliation. “Resilient,” for example —  the seed head of a wildflower — impressed her for the way it survived the preceding fall and winter to remain standing upright in March.

Phyllis Northup offers paintings of the iconic Virginia blossoms, the Virginia dogwood and the magnolia, while Barabara Heile offers paintings of flower gardens in her trademark bright colors.

Carl Zitzmann's nest of leaves is among the works on exhibit at Middle Street Gallery through Sept. 6. Carl Zitzmann
Carl Zitzmann’s nest of leaves is among the works on exhibit at Middle Street Gallery through Sept. 6.

Kathleen Willingham’s acrylic paintings of plants and flowers employ “patterning and other elements to develop compositions that are mostly realistic but have a touch of whimsy, showing that magic can be found in the garden.” And, more magic, Carl Zitzmann’s photograph of a bird’s nest holds leaves instead of eggs, on a stark black background.

The gallery is open 11 to 5 Friday-Sunday, next to River District Arts at 3 River Lane in Sperryville. Call 540-987-9330 or visit middlestreetgallery.org for more information.

— Gary Anthes

Full moon walk on Hawksbill Mountain

By Chad HeddlestonChad Heddleston
The moon as seen from near the summit of Old Rag Mountain.

Have you ever taken a woodland walk by the light of the full moon? Your next chance is tomorrow (Friday, July 31), as rangers will lead a hike to the summit of the highest peak in Shenandoah National Park, Hawksbill Mountain, lit only by the glow of the full moon.

The hike, expected to last two and half hours, starts at 8 p.m. at the Upper Hawksbill parking lot at mile 46.7 on Skyline Drive. Hiking distance is just over two miles (a mile each way), out and back on the same trail. The elevation gain from the parking lot to the summit is about 520 feet. There is a viewing platform at the summit, at an elevation of 4,050 feet.

If the weather is clear, there will be views of the Shenandoah Valley to the west and Old Rag and the Virginia Piedmont to the northeast, as well as the night sky and its big, bright moon. The moon will rise as the sun sets, around 8:20 p.m. The hike will go on in light rain and even if the sky is overcast. It will be canceled if there’s a threat of a thunderstorm.

Come prepared to hike in any weather, with layers of clothing for cool mountain nights. Wear sturdy shoes and bring water. It’s always a good idea to have a flashlight when hiking, but visitors will be asked to refrain from using them, phones, or other lighted devices during the full moon walk.

There is no fee or preregistration for the hike, but there is a $20-per-vehicle entrance fee to Shenandoah National Park. For more information, contact Byrd Visitor Center at 540-999-3500, ext. 3283.

Another full moon walk on Hawksbill Mountain is scheduled for Saturday, August 29.

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