The Rapp for Oct. 18

This weekend around Rappahannock

As you dart among the leaf-season drivers and parked-on-the-shoulder picture-takers this weekend, there are plenty of worthwhile stops you can make (most of which offer parking well off the roadway), including Trinity’s 56th annual dried flower sale and house tour Saturday and Sunday (with tea at Middleton Inn); this Friday and Saturday night’s “No Ordinary Person” storytelling fest at RAAC Community Theatre in Washington; and, just on Saturday, Whiskey Wagon performs at 5 in the pavilion at Narmada Winery, Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department hosts a ham and turkey dinner at 5:30, and soprano Jacqueline Neimat and friends perform at 8 at the Theatre at Washington. For all the details and more, see our comprehensive online events calendar.

1812 in focus at Caledonia Farm

Caledonia Farm 1812, Phil Irwin’s historic Flint Hill B&B, is the site of the Rappahannock Historical Society’s annual meeting and fundraiser from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27.

Built in 1812 by Revolutionary War Capt. John Dearing (and one of the featured stops on this weekend’s Trinity house tour), Caledonia Farm is also celebrating its 200th anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, the Society of the War of 1812 Virginia will mark the gravesite of Alfred S. Dearing, son of John and a soldier in the war. Dearing is buried in the family cemetery; the marking takes place at 1:30.

Several demonstrations help provide a glimpse into the lifestyle of the period, including herbalist Cara Martin, who will have items for tasting and demonstration; basketmaker/spinner Jinny Fox; blacksmith Nol Putnam, whose work can be viewed in the summer kitchen; creations by woodworker Gary Wilson, including Appalachian dulcimers; period fashions with Lori and Larry Payne; and music of the early 1800s by Evergreen Shade. A listing of the Rappahannock County War of 1812 soldiers will be available.

Interpreters of specifics of aspects of “The Forgotten War” will be on hand to relate history, including Mike Lyman and The Society of the War of 1812 Virginia. Anne Winn introduces the National Park Service’s “Star Spangled Banner Trail,” and the United States Daughters of 1812 share their application information.

Kevin Weisgerber, whose great grandfather, Charles, created the 1892 painting “The Birth of Our Nation’s Flag” currently hanging in the State Museum of Pennsylvania, gives a talk entitled “History of the American Flag.” A silent auction offers a variety of items, including a stay at Caledonia Farm, a personalized massage by Abracadabra Massage and Body Work and a night’s lodging at The Inn at Mount Vernon Farm, to name a few.

Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door and $10 for ages 6 to 12. Reservations are requested before Oct. 25 and can be made by calling the Rappahannock Historical Society at 540-675-1163 or emailing

It’s for RAWL, y’all

The Rappahannock Animal Welfare League (RAWL), which has cared for and found homes for stray or unwanted dogs for more than 20 years, is having a costume-part fundraiser at the Flint Hill Public House on Friday, Oct. 26 from 5 to 9 p.m.

According to Patti Want, who manages the RAWL shelter in Amissville, “All this is ongoing and expensive, and we need all the financial help we can get . . . We do not see the huge numbers of unwanted dogs in our county that our neighboring counties see in theirs. And our ongoing spay/neuter program is an important factor in reducing these numbers.”

That monthly, low-cost spay/neuter program is RAWL’s most significant long-term contribution. Always busy, the program is costly, but helps dramatically reduce both the county’s canine and feline populations.

The Halloween-themed “Mutt, Mix & Mingle” party will be held in the backyard on the restaurant’s patio. Costumes are welcome – for you and/or your dog – with prizes awarded for the scariest, funniest and most original costumes.

Chili (both beef and vegetable) is the featured dinner menu, with a wide variety of toppings and cornbread. Certain wines are available for $4 per glass ($1 of which will be donated). Pet owners can order from the Public House’s pet menu, which offers “woof waffles” – four ounce steak cut into small bites – and 10 percent of those sales will go to RAWL.

Admission is $20 per person; good dogs on leashes are free. For more information, call the Flint Hill Public House at 540-675-1700 or email

Survey says: The Inn, No. 1 again

The Zagat Guide has released the results of its 2013 Washington/Baltimore restaurant survey, and The Inn at Little Washington was once again tops in all categories with a near-perfect, 29-out-of-30 score for food, decor and service. Quoting respondents, the guide cites The Inn’s creation of “a life-altering experience” for guests, who are “pampered in all directions” in an “intimate,” richly embroidered setting, where “revelatory” multi-course repasts are “prepared with extraordinary skill” and seasoned with a “touch of whimsy.”

“Our entire team was thrilled to learn today that we received the highest ratings possible in all three categories,” said Patrick O’Connell, Inn chef and proprietor. “This is a wonderful acknowledgement of the hard work and dedication on the part of our staff during the past year. It’s especially heartwarming to know that almost 17,000 independent respondents rated The Inn as the top restaurant in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area. This most recent accolade comes at a perfect time as it coincides with The Inn’s 35th anniversary celebrations beginning in January. We couldn’t ask for a more wonderful birthday present.”

The Inn has also been recognized in last two months as the longest-tenured AAA five-diamond restaurant and as one of the top five resorts in the world for food and wine by Andrew Harper’s “Hideaway.”

Dinner-dance honors cancer survivors

A special dinner-dance event will be held again this fall by the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of Rappahannock County to honor survivors, remember those lost and take action in the fight against cancer. Door open at the Sperryville Schoolhouse at 5:30 pm. Saturday, Nov. 10.

“We all come to Relay For Life and this event for similar reasons as we may have battled cancer ourselves or may have lost a loved one to the disease. Through both the Relay and this event, we are able to join forces to do something to help eliminate cancer as a major health problem,” said Ellen Timbers, volunteer co-chair of the Relay event in Rappahannock County.

Relay For Life of Rappahannock County is held at Rappahannock County High School. Individuals and teams camp out at around the track, with the goal of keeping at least one team member on the track at all times throughout the evening. Teams do most of their fundraising prior to the event, but some teams also hold creative fundraisers at their camp sites during Relay. Relay aims at furthering the American Cancer Society’s efforts to create a world with less cancer and more birthdays.

Tickets for the Nov. 10 dinner are $30 and can be purchased from any Relay For Life team captain, at the Country Cafe or Union First Market Bank. Cancer survivors are admitted for free (but will need a ticket). Space is limited and the deadline for advance tickets is Nov. 1. The event will have dinner, dancing, and a silent auction. Proceeds benefit the Relay For Life of Rappahannock County. Individual survivor sponsorships are available for $30, or you can help sponsor the event for $100.

“We will honor the survivors at this event and we encourage the community, friends and family to cheer the survivors on,” said Katherine Todd, volunteer co-chair for the local Relay For Life. For information about the event or about forming a Relay For Life team, call 540-522-6656 or email

Gray Ghost best in class

Gray Ghost’s 2011 Adieu took Best in Class and Double Gold honors at the 2012 International Women’s Wine Competition held in Sonoma, Calif., Sept. 18-19. To receive a Double Gold status, every judge must award the wine Gold. The International Women’s Wine Competition evaluated more than 860 wines from around the world and awarded only 27 Double Gold honors; Gray Ghost also took silver honors for its 2011 Gewurztraminer.

The announcement brings Gray Ghost’s Adieu medal total this year to 22. Those awards include “Best in Class,” “Best Dessert Wine” and seven golds. Eleven of the awards were received in California wine competitions. Gray Ghost Winery is located at 14706 Lee Hwy. in Amissville and can be contacted at 540-937-4869. The tasting room is open 11 to 5 Friday-Sunday.

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