Sperryville column for Oct. 15

The store is back . . .

The Laurel Mills Store has reopened, a “soft” opening this past week, under the able stewardship of Chris Jones and Susan Marshall of Amissville. The long-anticipated reopening had been delayed by interior repairs, construction and permits. The exterior ambiance of the beloved spot is reminiscent of Hooterville, of “Green Acres” fame. Daniel Hitt, who lives next door to the store, adds additional flavor and friendliness, with his grounds transformed into a fairy-tale illustration, his expansive lawns dotted with whimsical art and handcrafted lawn ornaments.

Betsy Pullen, well liked and a familiar face to all, will be the store’s general manager. Looking forward to the coming weeks and news about the progress. The store will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 8 to 6 Sunday. Call the store at 540-937-3841 for further information.

. . . and fall is back in Sperryville

Josh Perrot's Savory Smoke food truck did a brisk business last weekend in the parking lot at the Copper Fox complex.Tucker Rogers via Instagram
Josh Perrot’s Savory Smoke food truck did a brisk business last weekend in the parking lot at the Copper Fox complex.

Under a warm autumn sun, shining brightly throughout a Columbus Day holiday weekend, Sperryville found locals and tourists alike enjoying the hamlet’s famous hospitality.

An extended outdoor deck, in the Copper Fox complex, now encompasses both the Copper Fox Antiques storefront as well as that of the Carney brothers’ Pen Druid Brewery. The latter are a trio of gifted, Rappahannock-raised brothers, known not only for their master craft of beer brewing wizardry but also their musical talents, being members of the world-renown Brothers Pontiak rock band.

Picnic tables at Pen Druid filled to capacity with families of small children, and a beautiful, gentle golden retriever, a self-appointed goodwill ambassador, welcomed everyone with equal enthusiasm — namely, a soulful look, a wagging tail and a wet nose placed beseechingly upon your knee.

Jennifer Perrot’s Flourish Root floral design establishment, together with Colleen O’Bryant’s Wild Roots Apothecary and Kat Habib’s artwork, is open for business, and the sights of autumn abounded, with orange and ivory-white pumpkins adorning the entranceway.

The parking lot was brimming and in constant bustling motion, with folks streaming and strolling in and out of the Copper Fox Distillery’s tours. Visitors also were coming and going from Ridgeline Jewelers and Copper Fox Antiques, and the laughter and conversation was hearty and animated. Josh Perrot’s Savory Smoke food truck, with its wood-fired meats and fish, was doing a brisk business.The sweet and pungent smell of fresh pork and trout tacos wafted through the air, luring and enticing customers, transforming them into good ol’ country food disciples.

Across the way, Thornton River Grille’s parking lot was packed as well, as tourists and locals alike  sat on the upstairs covered deck celebrating the sunshine, great food and libations. Across Main Street from the Thornton, Hopkins Ordinary, enjoying the new “Biergarten” addition to its small Ale House, hosted  numerous folks as well.

While savoring the craft beer, hungry patrons are encouraged (since Hopkins doesn’t offer lunches or dinners in the garden), to grab a pizza from Rudy’s. How typical of local area businesses, supporting and promoting one another, how trademark Rappahannock.

Around the corner at the Sperryville Schoolhouse annex, world-renowned flora and fauna photographer  Jackie Bailey Labovitz, has been busy transforming her new studio, art gallery and gift shop, formerly home of Coterie.

The “Cottage Curator” signage is bold, gorgeous and easily seen off of U.S. 211. The interior walls and decor are gleaming white, and painters were putting the final touches of brushwork, allowing her to showcase her magnificently colorful and vivid photography, on exhibition-sized canvas to a backdrop of brilliant whites. She smiles and tells me of a recent and curious onlooker, who’d stepped inside and said “Wow, this is a kick-ass space.” Yes, it is that, Jackie, for sure, simply beautiful.

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