Sperryville column for June 30

Before & After and furthermore

ess Sutten (right) and barista Destiny Waag demonstrate Before & After's newfound beverage diversity.Chris Green | Rappahannock News
Jess Sutten (right) and barista Destiny Waag demonstrate Before & After’s newfound beverage diversity.

“Yes!” writes the always exuberant Jess Sutten, in her latest update on Before & After cafe’s expansions on Main Street in Sperryville. “We opened the wine bar! Yippie!! We serve wine all day, and additionally on Friday and Saturday evenings from 5 to 10 p.m. Our charcuterie and cheese boards are a hit so far and very scrumptious. It’s so much fun to be open in the evenings now. The ambiance is so charming with the chandelier gleaming, the joyous laughter and everyone enjoying each other’s company. It feels good. . . .”

Jess also reports that Before & After is renovating the market, the large room next to the cafe and wine bar, to open in the next few months, and installing a 1,000-bottle storage unit so people can pair their wines with meats, cheeses and other delicacies. “We want to offer local Rappahannock retail products, and there will be a section in the room catering to the hikers as well. Pre-made sandwiches and nutritionally packed lunches, so that they can ‘grab-and-go’ to the trails and mountains,” she says.

In addition to working on the courtyard out back, with plans for outdoor seating (at the moment, picnics along the Thornton River are possible), Jess says she and her uncle, Kerry Sutten, are looking for more staff: “Particularly a barista and a cook. (I can train them, so no prior experience necessary.) We also have one rental office available above the cafe.”

Wow, Jess, I noticed a slew of comments and photos on FB posted from folks who’ve recently enjoyed your selection of wines and cheese platters, calling Before & After “a must place to go!” Congratulations to you and your uncle on all your continued successes.

Before & After is at 31 Main St. in Sperryville. Call 540-987-8392 or visit their lively Facebook page for updates.

Happy birthday, Alice

Alice Anderson cuts the cake amid well-wishers at her surprise birthday party last weekend. Chris Green | Rappahannock News
Alice Anderson cuts the cake amid well-wishers at her surprise birthday party last weekend.

Alice Anderson had a surprise birthday party this past week, celebrating her 72nd birthday. Alice is well known in the county for her generous spirit and tireless volunteer work, never seeking recognition nor expecting thanks. Her involvement in the Benevolent Fund is legendary, as is her behind-the-scenes organizational talents for the annual Christmas in Little Washington parade. She volunteers on behalf of the Food Pantry and many other notable nonprofits.

So it’s no surprise that many a notable folk showed up to honor Alice at this special event last weekend — a total surprise for Alice. Her brother, John, made it so. Mimi Forbes and troops of volunteers sworn to secrecy set about the logistics and decorations, as a family friend and John’s daughter entertained Alice at the Griffin Tavern over an extended lunch.

The intimate group of well wishers, with childlike exuberance, excitement, and hushed tones, quietly hid alongside the brick walled patio of John’s magnificent Tiger Valley farm. Washington’s mayor and his lovely wife, one of the owners of the Rappahannock News, a prominent former county officeholder, Food Pantry and Benevolent Fund volunteers, founders and executives as well as generous donors, philanthropists, family and friends gathered in anticipation.

Her arrival was so innocent, her facial expression one of total shock, and then, as she realized what was happening, the tears welled up and the patio attendees burst into congratulatory song amid a sea of raucous laughter and hugs all around. The wine flowed, glasses clinked and the Country Cafe catered an assortment of delicious hors d’oeuvres and a buffet of country ham sandwiches, rib-stickin’ fried chicken, coleslaw and more. An evening under the beautiful summer Rappahannock skies couldn’t have been more well spent. You are a treasure, Alice, and you are much loved. Congratulations on your 72nd birthday; wishing you many more to come.

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