Ann Wenzel and Scott Wallace of Washington, D.C., chose to spend a recent weekend in the breathtaking Shenandoah Valley. Avid hikers, they rented a charming cabin in Luray, their adored doggie in tow, and enjoyed a hike along Skyline.
Savoring the mountains, the cabin’s roaring fireplace and rustic surrounds were exactly what Scott had in mind for his planned special weekend. Indeed, his intentions, while unbeknownst to Ann, were known to immediate family and close friends. Scott popped the question in the deep quiet of the Blue Ridge Mountain woodland, reminiscent of Grimm and Andersen fairy tales. Later, while back at the cabin with the beloved doggie snoring happily on the rug, Scott and Ann decided to descend down the mountains.
The little town of Washington beckoned and — in search of a good meal, and a phone to let their immediate family know of the heartfelt words that were spoken — they came upon Tula’s. Bustling with business, smiling faces, warmth and camaraderie in abundance, Scott and Ann knew this was a good place to quietly sit and enjoy the evening.
John McCaslin, Tula’s charming co-owner, immediately offered them a phone, and indeed one of his staff, hearing of the couple’s reason for wanting access to a landline, gently nudged John and suggested complimentary champagne might be in order. John’s eyes lit up, and immediately he made it so.
With a twinkle in his eye, Scott told me that he had yet more surprises in store over the weekend for his lovely Ann. You are a lucky woman Ann, but hey, he’s a luckier man. (Oh, by the way, John McCaslin officiates weddings…just thought you’d like to know.)
Almost time for the Oyster Festival
Sperryville, and indeed all of Rappahannock, enjoys an unusually congenial collaboration among local businesses. To whit, Pen Druid Brewery, Hopkins Ordinary and the Sperryville Country Store celebrated together last fall, a day of great craft beer tastings, and Andy Thompson’s fabulous pulled pork BBQ fare. My personal favorite is his grilled bratwurst topped with sauerkraut, dripping with a gourmet, thickly kerneled mustard, all stuffed inside a steamed, toasty warm pretzel roll. The local businesses in the Copper Fox complex were all open for business and the parking lot was packed all day and into the evening.
Now, another collaborative venture is in the works. This time, the 5th-annual Rappahannock Oyster Festival will take place on Saturday, Jan. 30, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. at River District Arts, 3 River Lane in Sperryville. This event, according to Donna Henrickson of Little Washington Winery, “has become a fun community winter tradition the weekend between the playoffs and the Super Bowl. We host the event annually at River District Arts amongst the gorgeous local art. The event is focused on indulging in art, paired with fresh oysters on the half shell and a selection of our wines that were named best oyster pairing wines on the east coast.”
Also to be savored, oysters and BBQ paired with whiskey and beer at Pen Druid Brewery and Copper Fox Distillery, as they will be open and offering tastings. And according to Donna, “Little Cabin Barbecue will be joining the fun this year with delectable barbecue fare. Wild oysters will be harvested that morning and brought directly over from the Chesapeake Bay. Walk- ins are welcome. Admission is free, simply pay for what you consume (10 oysters for $10).” For more information, please see www.littlewashingtonwinery.com/oysterflyer.html
Beagles fly (and premier)
John Hallberg recently premiered his movie “Attack of the Flying Beagles” to a rapt audience at Forge Studios at old Washington School. John tells he was humbled by the comments from viewers such as Adria Nielsen, who wrote: “We had the BEST time last night! It will be something we’ll always remember. You are a masterful editor, and what you put together was really amazing. Besides it being so entertaining, the message it sends is what’s truly the most important part. Animal testing is senseless, horrible and cruel and shows the worst in humankind.”
Jean-Claude Van Damme appears by way of green screen in several scenes (such as his fight with Andy Thompson!). John says that he learned that this stock footage was not royalty-free, and is in the process of trying to get an agreement with the “powers that be.” See John’s website for information on further showings: www.attackoftheflyingbeagles.com