The Rapp for Sept. 27

Fourth ‘Estate’ Friday this Friday

Fourth “Estate” Friday – the Rappahannock News’ monthly public story-conference meeting where anyone is welcome to drop by with ideas, constructive criticism (or just for a cup of coffee with the hardest-working newspaper staff in the county) – is this Friday (Sept. 28). And this Friday is special for several reasons: First, it’s not the only – or even close to being the most popular, we hope – Fourth Friday event in Rappahannock County (see the next item). Second, it’s at Tula’s Off Main, the long-awaited coffee and lunch spot in the Kramer Building on Gay Street, mere steps from our office (and the Theatre at Washington, and the RAAC Community Theatre, and the Rappahannock Historical Society museum, and your next brush with Circuit Court jury duty).

We’ll be there at 9 a.m.; bring your thoughts on anything – including, if you don’t mind, any ideas you might have about our plan to introduce a free online business and service directory on in the coming months. Call us at 540-675-3338 if you need to know more.

That other, better Fourth Friday

That would be downtown Sperryville’s first Fourth Friday event, aka Shop Sperryville! Just about every gallery, crafts shop and other merchant in and around the village will stay open 6 to 9 p.m. this Friday (Sept. 28) for sales and discounts, artist and artisan demonstrations and talks, tastings and more. A welcome tent in front of Coterie at the Sperryville Schoolhouse has maps and samples.

Sperryville merchants prepare for their first annual Fourth Friday event "Shop Sperryville" at one of their meetings. Photo by E. Raymond Boc.
Sperryville merchants prepare for their first annual Fourth Friday event “Shop Sperryville” at one of their meetings. Photo by E. Raymond Boc.

Among the specials: 10 percent off to local shoppers at Beech Spring Farm Gifts & Quilts; samples and a Printmakers Workshop show at Central Coffee Roasters; 10 percent discounts on most goods at Coterie, Mount Vernon Farm Store, Triple Oak Bakery and Haley Fine Art; 50 percent off summer clothing at Knit Wit Yarn Shop; a talk by current exhibitor Patricia Underwood at Middle Street Gallery; 15 percent off work by Eric Kvarnes at his Oldway Art Center & Glassworks Gallery, 20 percent off at the River District Arts gift shop and at Sperryville Pottery, and Old Rag Photography will donate 10 percent of sales that evening to the Rappahannock Benevolent Fund.

A holiday shopping opportunity, yes, but more important – a local shopping op. Of course, you could just stay home and get all your news, shopping and “human interaction” accomplished online. But that would just be wrong.

Public safety day

The first-ever Rappahannock County Public Safety Day, sponsored by and hosted at the Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office, is 10 to 2 this Saturday, Sept. 29. The day includes K-9, Taser, animal control and vehicle-extraction demonstrations as well as equipment exhibits and demonstrations by the county’s volunteer fire and rescue squads. There is no admission cost. For more information, call Lt. Janie Phillips at 540-675-5300.

‘Marigold Hotel’ screens Oct. 5

The Rappahannock Association for the Arts and Community (RAAC) brings some of your favorite British actors to town Oct. 5 – when it screens “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” at the Theatre at Washington. Judi Dench, Maggie Smith and Bill Nighy star in director John Madden’s PG-13 comedy-drama, which reminds us that things are not always what they seem. The show starts at 8 at the Theatre (291 Gay St.); admission is $6 ($4 for students). There’s water, popcorn and candy at the concession stand. For a review of the film and more, visit

In Little Washington, five diamonds . . .

AAA announced last week the Inn at Little Washington has earned the prestigious Five Diamond Award for the 25th straight year, once again making it the longest running Five Diamond restaurant in America. The Inn is one of two Five Diamond restaurants in the mid-Atlantic region and joins an elite group of Five Diamond restaurants including the Fearrington House in North Carolina, the French Laundry in California, Menton in Boston and the White Barn Inn in Maine. In addition, the Inn’s guest rooms also received Five Diamonds for the 23rd consecutive year, making it one of only 5 hotels in the Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia area to be so honored.

“All of us here at The Inn at Little Washington were again delighted and proud to be the recipients of AAA’s Five Diamond Award for both our restaurant and accommodations,” said chef and proprietor Patrick O’Connell. “As every hotelier and restaurateur can attest, earning the initial award is thought to be easier than maintaining the distinction year after year as the playing field changes and new properties enter the marketplace attempting to raise the bar. We salute every member of our team for their continued dedication and hard work in surpassing guests’ expectations night after night, year after year, decade after decade.”

According to AAA, the Five Diamond establishments represent less than one percent of the current 59,000 approved and diamond-rated establishments.

. . . and the Smithsonian Chamber Players

The 21st season in the Smithsonian at Little Washington concert series opens on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 8 p.m. with a program featuring Beethoven, Faure and Chausson, performed by an international quartet of musicians from the Smithsonian Chamber Players.

The quartet is comprised of Vera Beths, violin; Steven Dann, viola; Kenneth Slowik, violoncello; and Pedja Muzijevic, piano, all of whom give concerts throughout the world as soloists and chamber musicians – and all of whom have previously performed in the Smithsonian concerts.

Tickets for the concert are $25 ($10 for students 17 and younger). For reservations, call 540-675-1253 or email

Last chance

At last report, Rappahannock’s folk trio Mandalele was within $300 of reaching its $4,500 fundraising goal on If you know of anyone who might be interested in pre-ordering a CD – the group’s project funds will pay for mixing and mastering their CD, “Riddled in Rhyme,” to be out by the end of November – visit before Oct. 1.

More arts in Sperryville

A season of new art exhibits continues this month at Haley Fine Arts in Sperryville. HFA showcases regional art and will debut 15 new paintings by Michael Fitts, whose fabulous works use found metal instead of traditional canvas. (That’s one of them shown here.) The Fitts show runs through Oct. 29 and features an artist reception this Saturday (Sept. 29). Haley Fine Arts is located at 42 Main St., Sperryville, and is open 10 to 6 daily, Thursday through Monday (HFA is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays). For more information, call 540-987-1000 or email

Meanwhile, Middle Street Gallery in Sperryville is debuting a new show, “East and West,” beginning Friday, Oct. 5. The exhibit features photography by two local artists: Jo Levine of Sperryville and Washington, D.C., and Gary Anthes of Castleton and Arlington.

A Jo Levine photo of Arches National Park is part of an October exhibit at Middle Street Gallery, Sperryville.
A Jo Levine photo of Arches National Park is part of an October exhibit at Middle Street Gallery, Sperryville.

Levine’s photos encompass the woodlands of the Virginia Piedmont (mostly Rappahannock County) and the rugged red-rock country of Utah. “When choosing pictures for this show, I was torn between the two very different kinds of scenery, until I decided that including both would provide an interesting study in contrasts,” said Levine.

Levine’s Rappahannock pictures capture the beauty of autumn colors as well as the subtler views of winter and spring. In several of her Utah photos, the naturally vibrant hues of the rocks and soil are enhanced by the first light of dawn. “When I saw the warm light adding its own color to the rock, I grabbed my camera and tripod and started shooting. Although I am not a morning person, the resulting pictures were well worth the lost sleep.”

Gary Anthes’ photo of one of the ponies at Assateague is among the works at an October Middle Street Gallery show in Sperryville.
Gary Anthes’ photo of one of the ponies at Assateague is among the works at an October Middle Street Gallery show in Sperryville.

Anthes’ photos are recent views of the Eastern Shore of Virginia (from the Chesapeake Bay to the Atlantic) and the western shore of the Bay. “One tends to think of these areas as havens for weekenders and retirees with fancy waterfront homes, sailboats and beach umbrellas,” he says. “There is that, of course, but there is much more of what these photos capture – abandoned houses, churches and seafood plants; decrepit old fishing villages and the remains of villages; and towns that look like they have not changed since the 1950s.”

“East and West” will run from Oct. 5-28. There will be a public reception, with refreshments, on Sat., Oct. 6 from 2-5 at the gallery at Rappahannock Central, 3 River Lane, in Sperryville. In addition, there will be a reception at the gallery from 6-9 p.m. on Oct. 26 as part of Sperryville’s new Fourth Friday activities. The gallery will be open each week from Friday through Sunday from 10-5. Call 540-987-9330 or go to for more information.

Wakefield holds book fair

Wakefield Country Day School (WCDS) will host a Scholastic Book Fair in its library on Saturday, Oct. 13, and again Monday through Wednesday, Oct. 15-17. The Book Fair hours on Saturday are 11 to 3; the hours Monday through Wednesday are 9:30-4 p.m.

Families and members of the community are invited to attend this fun reading event that helps inspire children to become lifelong readers. The Book Fair is a great way to purchase gifts for everyone in a family, especially children. It’s local and purchases are tax-free. Funds raised will help purchase books for the school’s library.

The Book Fair offers specially-priced books and educational products, including popular series, award-winning titles, new releases, adult bestsellers, and other great reads from more than 100 publishers. A special guest on Saturday will be the reading-friendly dog, Ricky the dachshund, a certified therapy dog. Anyone with questions should call Susanna Spencer at the school at 540-635-8555, ext. 248.

Charity golf tournament honors fallen hero

WCDS is also hosting the first annual 2nd Lt. Leonard M. Cowherd III Memorial Golf Tournament on Friday, Oct. 19 at the Fauquier Springs Country Club. The proceeds will go toward a need-based scholarship fund established in Cowherd’s name, which is granted to a student who demonstrates academic and moral excellence. Cowherd, a 1999 Wakefield graduate, went on to West Point and was killed by sniper fire in 2004 while serving in Iraq.

Several levels of sponsorship are available, from $250 to $1,500, which will include top billing and a logo displayed on all advertisements, emails, banners, bulletins and the school’s website. Individual registration is $125 per golfer, and includes a greens fee as well as food and beverages. The tournament begins at 11 a.m.

The Fauquier Springs Country Club is located at 9326 Tournament Drive in Warrenton; directions are available online at For more information about being a sponsor or participant, contact Jim Hart – 540-635-8555 or email – or Mark Dick at 540-671-9908 or

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