Editorial: Summer vacation!

June is upon us, and that means school is almost out! Even for aging adults, like yours truly, the school calendar remains a reflexive organizing principle of life. That means summer always should equal no homework. And no homework translates into fun.

Growing up in this part of the world, I found my boyhood summers especially blessed with the pleasures of canoeing on the Rappahannock and its tributaries, hiking in the Shenandoah National Park, even working up a sweat making hay – so as all the better to enjoy then splashing in secret swimming holes whose only access point was by foot or bike. Today those simple pleasures remain, and you don’t have to be young to partake.

But to those simple pleasures in today’s Rappahannock County is added a sophisticated layer of appreciation unimagined 50 years ago – reflected in music and the visual arts; local food and wine.

Take, for example, the Castleton Festival, now in its fourth season. Located on the rural border with Culpeper County, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, this appears at first glance an unlikely venue for a world-class music festival.

One of today’s most esteemed and sought-after conductors, Maestro Lorin Maazel and his wife, German actress Dietlinde Turban Maazel, could have located their summer music festival anywhere in the world – and they chose here!

Twenty-four years ago the Maazel family fell in love with this special part of the world and bought Castleton Farm. Here they raised three children, and created an annual event to identify and mentor the most gifted emerging musicians and singers from around the world. So, in addition to offering spectacular events for audiences, the Castleton Festival is a way to “pass the baton” to the next generation.

This summer season runs June 22-July 22. Tickets can be ordered by calling 866-974-0767 or online at www.castletonfestival.org. And it’s not just about the music; the Festival’s “Hospitality Partners,” located right here in Rappahannock, will make sure there’s plenty of world-class food and wine available for Festival goers.

Walter Nicklin