Sperryville Column for Sept. 16

Blessings in Sperryville

“If you have a dream you should try it.” Thus was born the newest shop in Sperryville, Primitive Blessings, which reflects Amy Payne Perdieu’s long-held desire to have a business in her hometown as well as her love of the simple taste of late 19th- and early 20th-century home decor.

Perdieu was born and raised in Sperryville, now lives in Old Hollow with her husband, Chuck, in the home of her paternal grandmother, Annie Bell Payne. Chuck Perdieu is employed by VDOT, and at home are three children — Grant, 9, Annie Belle (called Belle), 6, and Sam, 4. Her parents and her sister live just down the road.

Perdieu earned her college degree from James Madison University and is a full-time nurse at Fauquier Hospital. This multi-talented young woman has a new position at the hospital: informatics nurse, helping community physicians transition from paper to electronic medical data and records.

Proudly displayed in front of the shop is her grandmother’s galvanized metal tub, now holding mums. Perdieu smiles as she recalls Saturday night family baths in that tub at Grandmother’s house. Inside, her grandmother’s old ringer washer cleverly displays hand towels.

The store, at 11951 Lee Highway (just west of the bridge at the Sperryville Rescue Squad), is filled not only with reproductions of primitives, but also with many items that Perdieu has made herself. This includes old windows converted to wall decor, signs, table arrangements and cabinets that Amy has “distressed” and painted. She takes items unwanted by one person and makes them into something useful and attractive. In the future, she hopes to hold classes on scrapbooking.

Perdieu says has been touched by the warm welcome she has received from the community. People that she has not seen since she was a child have stopped in to see her and the store. Primitive Blessings will generally be open 10 to 6 Saturdays and 10 to 5 Sundays. During October, it will also be open 10 to 5 Fridays. Call 540-987-9050.

Be sure to stop in to welcome Amy Perdieu, and to support this young woman’s dream to become part of the business community. We wish her well.

Farmers in the forefront

Sitting at the peak of Mary’s Rock last Saturday, we spoke with a couple from Charlottesville who told us that they come up to Rappahannock’s Mt. Vernon and Waterpenny farms for meat and vegetables whenever they can. Their determination to seek small-farm products intensified after they watched “Food, Inc.,” the stunning documentary that exposes America’s industrialized food system and its effect on the environment, health, economy and workers.

On Sept. 6, Waterpenny was one of 18 farms selected to participate in the “Meet Your Eats” farm tour presented by Whole Foods and Market Central. Our own self-guided Farm Tour (Sept. 25-26) will offer all of us, residents and visitors alike, the opportunity to experience the smells and tastes of local, sustainable agriculture and to increase our knowledge through programs that will be presented.

Indeed, the richness of Rappahannock County’s agricultural community will be showcased on this day, but aren’t we lucky to have these resources available to us 365 days a year?

Link up at the reunion

From 4 to 9 Sept. 18, anyone who has ever attended school (or taught) at the old Sperrville school — now the Link — or just wants to catch up with old friends, is welcome to come and join the fun.

Admission is free to the Old Sperryville School Reunion, but donation baskets will be set around and there will be a cash wine/beer bar. Bring a dish to share, old photos of days at the school and your memories! The Mahoneys will be on hand to scan old photos again. Dancing to oldies from 7 to 9 for anyone so inclined! Please come! Call 540-937-0121 or 540-675-1373 for more information.

More music on deck

The Chesham Chicks — Patty, Becca and Liz — also known as the gentler half of Chesham Creek, will present an evening of folk, country and traditional songs on the deck at the Thornton River Grille from 5 to 8 pm on Sunday (Sept. 19). Perfect for a fall evening in Sperryville!

Photo by E. Raymond Boc

Tourist Stop

Nearly 30 travel counselors — two from each of Virginia Tourism Corporation’s official welcome centers around the state — were treated to lunch at Griffin Tavern and to tours of many of Rappahannock County’s sites last Wednesday (Sept. 8), including the stop shown in the photo at right, at Sperryville’s Haley Fine Art (formerly Longview) gallery. Shepherded locally by the county tourism office’s Laura Overstreet, Sandra Maskas and others, the tour of attractions in Rappahannock, Culpeper, Madison, Warren and Page counties was arranged by Virginia Tourism in preparation for a year-long celebration of Shenandoah National Park’s 75th anniversary, which begins in November.