The Rapp for June 27

Fourth (Estate) Friday comes to Flint Hill

Our every-fourth-Friday public story-conference meeting — an open forum for your ideas, suggestions and constructive criticism, hosted by the newspaper staff — finally makes it to Flint Hill this Friday (June 28). We’ll be buying the coffee from 9 to 10 a.m. at the Flint Hill Public House, and hope to see you there. If you have any questions beforehand, call us at 540-675-3338 or email

By the way, next week’s paper will be out a day early — Wednesday, July 3.

Oysters for Life, or at least for July 4th

“Oysters For Life” is a private-sector initiative by the Oyster Company of Virginia and its founder W. Tolar Nolley to improve the quality of the Chesapeake Bay by bringing its oyster population back. Recently the company — and, more importantly, its oysters — were invited to the Sperryville Volunteer Fire Company’s Fourth of July Celebration by Bill Fletcher, on whose Thornton Hill Hounds racecourse the event takes place pretty much all day on Thursday, July 4.

Oysters for Life sells “cage packages” — you pay for oyster cages that Virginia watermen can use to raise oyster populations, at rates from $75 to $275 — and the company will send you two dozen fresh Chesapeake Bay oysters once a year for either 10 years or for life. Details are at, but the detail you want now is that Nolley and company will have oysters available for free tastings all day at the Fourth celebration. For more information about the Sperryville Independence Day celebration, visit or call 540-987-8124.

‘Copperhead,’ screened and explained

“Copperhead,” the title of the latest Civil War movie by Rappahannock-based film director Ron Maxwell, is not a reference to the venomous snake. The politics and background of the term applied to northerners who argued for peace over union is explained by “150 Years Ago This Week” columnist Art Candenquist. Meanwhile, if you missed this week’s benefit screening in Warrenton, you can see “Copperhead” at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, June 28) at Culpeper’s State Theatre. Admission is $15; for $25, you can meet Maxwell at a post-screening VIP reception. (There’s another show at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, when all seats are $15.)

Public House is a TripAdvisor pick

The Flint Hill Public House Restaurant & Inn received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence award Monday (June 24). The accolade, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Only the top-performing 10 percent of businesses listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.

To qualify for the award, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher (out of a possible five), as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor, and must have been listed for at least a year. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.

“Flint Hill Public House is pleased to receive a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence,” said managing partner John Gruber. “We strive to offer our customers a memorable experience, and this accolade is evidence that our hard work is translating into positive reviews on TripAdvisor.”

Flint Hill Public House is also scoring well in Yelp ratings, Gruber said this week. (Check out some of your favorite Rappahannock spots on sometime and see how visitors, and a handful of locals, are liking it here. In general, they’re liking it a lot.)

RAAC’s Mitchell Fund arts grants announced

Rappahannock Association for Arts and the Community (RAAC) has announced seven grants to Rappahannock artists and organizations. In keeping with the vision of the Claudia Mitchell Art Fund, the grants reward and encourage county organizations who are working to foster the arts in Rappahannock and local artists of all ages, especially emerging ones.

Of the many worthy applications RAAC said it received, the following are recipients of this year’s Mitchell grants (which ranged from $150 to $3,000): local folk trio Mandelele, for a performance at the Rappahannock Senior Center; Headwaters, for a mosaic project at Rappahannock County Elementary School; The Studio School, for a teen studio arts program; Child Care & Learning Center, for a preschool music program and a school-age theater program; Kid Pan Alley, for a character development assembly at RCES; Nicole Espinola, for art supplies to establish her Rappahannock studio; and Sam Mullany, for a filmmaking workshop.

“The committee and board are thrilled at the diversity and quality of art-making in the county and are pleased to encourage more,” remarked Mitchell Fund Committee chair Pat Burke. “These grants follow on the heels of our successful spring photography workshops at the elementary and high schools, underwritten by the Fund and led by members of Old Rag Photography. This year’s total giving is now almost $10, 000. We’re excited to see more great projects emerging. Watch for another Mitchell Fund grant cycle on and join us in supporting local artists.”

The Claudia Mitchell Arts Fund was established in 2009 by RAAC from a generous bequest from Mitchell’s estate. Mitchell was a dedicated supporter of RAAC and served as its president for many years. The fund is augmented by ongoing individual contributions, a fall challenge grant from Mitchell’s executors, RAAC fundraising events and net proceeds from RAAC’s annual fall art tour.

Four golds for Gray Ghost’s Adieu

Gray Ghost’s 2012 Adieu has already medaled 11 times, including four gold medals and eight California awards in advance of its scheduled release this weekend (June 29-30) – more pre-release awards than any wine in Gray Ghost’s 19-year history. Top awards include gold medals at the San Diego International and Monterey International in California as well as the Finger Lakes International in New York and the Lone Star International in Texas. Additional highlights include awards at the Los Angeles International and San Francisco International.

All Gray Ghost wines are made from 100 percent estate-grown fruit; the Adieu is made with late-harvest Vidal Blanc grapes. The dessert wine exhibits luscious peach and apricot flavors without being cloyingly sweet. Gray Ghost’s Adieu has been named “Best of the East” four consecutive years by Vineyard and Winery Management Magazine. The winery (14706 Lee Hwy., Amissville) is open 11 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays. For more information, call 540-937-4869.

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