The Rapp for May 10

Pantry Day: This Saturday’s celebration

It’s almost Food Pantry Day! Saturday (May 12) will begin with a Washington pet parade at 9:30 a.m., followed by a gardening demonstration at 11, then an open house from 1 to 3 at the Rappahannock Pantry (603 Mount Salem Ave., Washington) – and the day will end with a big party and wine auction at the home of Beverly and John Fox Sullivan in Washington, sponsored by Flavor magazine and a number of local businesses. Food and wine for the event have been donated by local farmers, restaurants, and wineries, and the party is a fundraiser for the Pantry. Ticket price is $85 per person.

Find out more about Food Pantry Day in the story and box on page 2. Support the Pantry not only with food and money but also by joining the celebration. You can also sign up to be a volunteer at the Pantry. While there are many regular volunteers, there is often also a need for a volunteer for an hour or two once in awhile. Signing up won’t commit you to being a regular volunteer.

Montpelier: historic house, ‘happy home’

The view from the porch at Montpelier.
| Rappahannock News
The view from the porch at Montpelier.

At Montpelier, the historic F.T. Valley residence of Sarah and James Wildasin, hosts for Belle Meade School’s upcoming fundraiser Saturday (May 12), guests will have a unique opportunity to view a careful, caring restoration of a treasured historic house (shown here is the view from the porch, which features railings that owner Sarah Wildasin carefully reproduced, of the Blue Ridge mountains and some of Montpelier’s horses in background).

“This is a happy home, a very happy home,” Wildasin declares, noting that three generations of her family are enjoying life fully at Montpelier, the evidence supplied by the dogs underfoot and the young folk grooming and riding horses nearby.

The transformation of a Rappahannock gem in the aftermath of a tragic vandalism episode was begun five years ago by Sophie and Roger Scruton, from whom the Wildasins purchased Montpelier in 2010.  But it’s clear that Sarah Wildasin, in the time since, has been busy attending to the details of a long “to do” list.  Old wood floors and walls are cleaned and polished; walls re-plastered and repaired and paints applied in historically accurate colors; baths, closets and kitchen fixed or updated. All the fireplaces operate now with marble facades scrounged from salvage and antique dealers, as well as matches found for missing door knobs, sink fittings and chandeliers.

Saturday’s guests will gain a rare glimpse of a superb and ongoing restoration of a privately owned historic house that is lived in and enjoyed as a home – one, which in days gone by, frequently hosted George Washington, his horse, Buckskin, stabled then in what is now a state-of-the-art  equestrian barn.

The dinner is 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday (May 12) at Montpelier (26 Montpelier La., Sperryville) and features music by Dontez Inferno and a Belle Meade Farm menu by chef Sylvie Rowand with local wines. Visit or call 540-987-8970 for details or to purchase tickets.

– Kathy Christie

Celebrate Mary Beth, and farming

Mary Beth Williams
Courtesy photo
Mary Beth Williams

The Mary Beth Williams Memorial Fund’s annual dinner and bluegrass music gala begins at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, May 19 at High Thicket (367 Fletchers Mill Road, Woodville). Mary Beth Williams (pictured here), whose life has become a symbol of spring, was tragically killed in an automobile accident on Route 729 in May of 1997. She was 18.

Mary Beth’s greatest passion was agriculture. And so the theme of the event is “farming in Virginia.” Bluegrass music will be provided by the Shenandoah Travelers. Political commentary, with a focus on agriculture, will be provided by Del. Michael Webert (R-18th), who is a Fauquier-based farmer when he’s not in Richmond attending to General Assembly business.

The Williams memorial fund finances scholarships for higher education, camp attendance and other activities for Rappahannock youth. To date, there have been contributions of more than $61,000 to the fund. Scholarships awarded since 1997 exceed $46,000.

Tickets for the May 19 fundraiser ($80 per couple or $40 per person) may be purchased at the Rappahannock County Extension Office (540-675-3619). Children 12 and younger get in free. All residents of the county surrounding area are invited.

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