Down Memory Lane for Jan. 25

Aug. 18, 1999

Flint Hill Baptist Church, on Zachary Taylor Highway in the middle of Flint Hill, has been on the Virginia Landmarks Register as well as the National Register of Historic Places since 1997.

The church’s history can be traced back to before 1770. A man named Allen Wiley, who lived near what is now the village of Flint Hill, gathered friends at his home in the absence of a minister in the area and “urged upon them the claims of the gospel.”

History has it that Wiley traveled all the way to Pittsylvania County in search of a preacher. There he met Elder Samuel Harris, whom he persuaded to return with him to what was then Culpeper County (now Rappahannock County).

The first congregation consisted of 24 people, six men and 18 women.

By 1956 church membership totaled 130. However, the church soon afterward started to experience a decline in membership. In 1968, due to lack of members and the loss of their minister, Flint Hill Baptist Church closed its doors and discontinued operation.

The building remained vacant for almost 30 years. The church’s board of trustees, however, stayed together. And in the mid 1990’s they decided to re-open the church. Flint Hill Baptist re-opened on May 19, 1996 and has been in business since.

The Washington Architectural Review Board had to grapple with a proposal that would alter the appearance of the Town of Washington at its August meeting. The application by Sunnyside Farms drew a large crowd and much debate.

David Cole, representing Sunnyside Farms, and individuals from the architectural firm of William McDonough and Partners spoke to the board regarding their plans for changing the appearance of the area between Clopton House and the Gay Street Mercantile building.

The proposal includes demolition of the additions to the western and southern sides of the Mercantile building and demolition of cottage additions to the summer house and smokehouse. In addition, they would want to add a rear porch to Clopton House. The area in between would be turned into a series fo public outdoor spaces.

Sunnyside Farms has already purchased Clopton House, and is the process of purchasing the rest of the property in question. They plan on using Clopton House to sell organic foods, and the Mercantile building would be converted into “an old style butcher shop,” according to Cole.

Oct. 30, 2003

Beginning with a perfect day, clear skies and crisp fall temperatures, Donald and Denise Chandler took off from an open field at their home on Fodderstack Road into the wild blue yonder at the break of day on Saturday for a “once in a lifetime” ride in a Hot Air Balloon.

Almost awe-struck by the beauty provided during this most popular season, they saw the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah National Park at their most colorful splendor; gleaming ponds and sparkling streams as the morning rays of sun reflected on the water, the beautiful homes and farms of nearby neighbors; and long ago built rock fences and old homes tucked into the landscape.

They also were fascinated by the reflections of the balloon in the water as they crossed over the ponds and lakes of the Rappahannock countryside. Shadows of the balloon on the ground and in the trees as they drifted above the treetops in their flight also were especially captivating to the Chandlers’ party.

Trips in hot air balloons usually last about an hour and can be scheduled either in the early morning or the early evening several hours before sunset for best viewing. This trip was provided by Shenandoah Hot Air Balloons of Front Royal. The trip cost $175 per person.

Rappahannock County is the featured destination in the September/October issue of a new magazine, The Virginia Sportsman.

The magazine featuring the country lifestyle in Virginia began publication with the May/June inaugural edition.

Published by Virginia Outdoor Media, LLC, the glossy magazine with captivating photography and an easy to read layout is a joint venture between Hay Hrdy of Frank Hardy, Inc., Realtors in Charlottesville and Jim Brewer, a noted outdoor writer, also from Charlottesville.

The first three editions include articles on polo, fly fishing, double barrel shotguns, decoys, English Springers, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Alaska adventures, yachts, snakelore, wines, sporting clays and foxhounds.