The Rapp for July 25

Fourth-Estate Friday: New business

Actually, the topic of our monthly public story-idea conference and casual meet-up — 9 a.m. this Friday (July 26) at Tula’s Off Main, 311 Gay St. in Washington — is “business,” which by no means is a new subject around Rappahannock County. But as we prepare an expanded version of our annual Guide to Rappahannock (to be published next month), we’ve also begun working with others on making businesses, tourism-related and otherwise, easier to find by Rappahannock’s residents and visitors. Interest? Ideas? Bring them to Tula’s tomorrow, where the coffee’s on us until 10. For more information, call us at 540-675-3338 or email

A Wellness Festival proposal

The Little Washington Wellness & Spa is looking for those in the community interested in participating in the first annual Rappahannock Wellness Festival from Sept. 20-22. The spa, and its owner Jackie Meuse, are looking for health practitioners in any field, as well as small business owners, teachers, farmers, beekeepers, artists, herbalists, environmentalists — anyone and everyone interested in celebrating the health conscious and environmentally minded community in Rappahannock.

Photo by Matt Wingfield.
Photo by Matt Wingfield.

Meuse said the Little Washington Wellness & Spa wants this to be an opportunity to promote local businesses and resources, as well as to simply “meet and share ideas with each other, in this wonderful, magical place.” The festival hopes to include wellness workshops, demonstrations, meditation, group hypnotherapy, yoga classes, children’s activities, music, chair massages, skin care consultations and more. Members of our community can “join with practitioners of mind-body-spirit and environmental wellness,” said Meuse, “for a weekend of inspiration, education and healing that will enrich your life.”

The preliminary meeting is 6:30 p.m. tonight (Thursday, July 25) at the spa (261 Main St., Washington). The follow-up meeting is 6:30 p.m. next Thursday (Aug. 1), also at the spa. Light refreshments will be served. Bring your ideas.

More information about the festival and calendar of events can be found online at For more information, to participate or for any other questions, call 540-675-1031 or email

— Megan Smith

If you farm it, they will come

Whether you raise cattle, cultivate heirloom vegetables or husband for a herd of to-die-for alpacas, if you’ve got a farm in Rappahannock County you’re invited to participate in this year’s Rappahannock County Farm Tour & Festival, scheduled for Sept. 28-29.

All you need is a passion for what you do and a little planning so that no one is bitten, trodden or stung, and that you don’t forget to put on the tractor’s parking brake.

Moreover, you don’t need to prepare scripted presentations or over-schedule your day. You will simply welcome visitors and share some basic information about what you do on your farm and perhaps why you do it. Has the farm been in the family for generations? Are you doing things like your grandfather did, or are you doing something new? Why did you choose this breed of cattle and why do you grow this type of corn? What seems mundane to you will fascinate your visitors, who often know nothing about the rural life.

In return, you’ll have fun fielding questions from the most enthusiastic visitors, who tend to be suburban children awestruck by silken, bewhiskered muzzles and giant green machinery. Try to keep a straight face while repeating through the day, “No, the sheep don’t die when you shear them.” and “Yes, Bessie here has teeth but she probably won’t bite you unless you put your fingers in her mouth.”

The sign-up process is easy and won’t cost you a dime. It is a priority of the tour’s organizing committee to include a diverse cross-section of county farms this year, so please consider joining in the fun. For more information, contact Cathie Shiff by phone (540-937-5438 or 540-219-8396) or email

— Cathie Shiff

Piedmont Virginian Artist Showcase

Detail of a painting by John S. Corraro that’s part of the Piedmont Virginian Artist Showcase this fall at River District Arts.
Detail of a painting by John S. Corraro that’s part of the Piedmont Virginian Artist Showcase this fall at River District Arts.

Sperryville’s own River District Arts hosts this year’s Piedmont Virginian Artists Showcase, an annual art exhibit by the Piedmont Virginian magazine, beginning Oct. 5. A major regional show designed to foster the artistic talent of Piedmont Virginia, this two-month showcase (through Nov. 30) features 34 different artists, including Ramey Campbell, whose oil painting “Retreating Snow” received “Best in Show,” besting the other 250 entries.

An artist reception and award ceremony takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 12 at River District Arts (3 River Lane, Sperryville). The full list of showcased artists can be found in the summer issue of Piedmont Virginian magazine, as well as online at RDA is open 10 to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For more information on the showcase, call 540-987-8770 or visit

Aid to speed Sandy recovery, prevent future damage

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is providing up to $124.8 million in Emergency Watershed Protection Program-Floodplain Easement (EWP-FPE) funding to help prevent future damage from significant storm events in Virginia and 11 other states affected by Hurricane Sandy.

The program complements traditional disaster recovery funding and allows NRCS to purchase a permanent easement on lands within floodplains that sustained damage from Sandy and restore the area to a natural condition.

Private lands and those owned by local and state governments are eligible if they are located in a floodplain, not subject to tidal influence or action from storm waves, and must have been damaged by flooding during Hurricane Sandy, which impacted Virginia last Oct. 28-29. Other lands within the floodplain are eligible, provided the lands would contribute to the restoration of flood storage and flow, provide for control of erosion or improve the practical management of the floodplain easement.

NRCS is accepting applications through Sept. 2 from residents of 25 counties affected by this storm and where a major disaster was declared under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, including Rappahannock County.

“Floodplains store water, helping to protect lands downstream from future flood damage,” NRCS State Conservationist Jack Bricker said. “Restoring these ecosystems ensures that the land will continue to provide environmental, economic and social benefits in the face of future threats.”

Compensation rates and ranking priorities will vary by location and whether the land is agricultural or vacant or has homes or other structures on it. If a structure is present, NRCS will cost-share the removal or demolition of that structure and enroll the remaining lot in a permanent easement.

Interested landowners should contact their local USDA Service Center to learn more about the program and submit an application prior to the Sept. 2 deadline. For Culpeper, Greene, Madison and Rappahannock counties, contact Rex Rexrode at the Culpeper Service Center at 540-825-4200, ext. 101. More information is also available on the NRCS floodplain easement website.

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