Washington column for Oct. 17

News from the Food Pantry

Starting in November, the Rappahannock Food Pantry will be picking up donated food from Trader Joe’s on the first and third Tuesdays of every month.

Those who shop at Trader Joe’s know that probably means high-quality foods will be available to those who  need the help the Pantry provides, but it also means the help will be needed to pick up, stock and distribute the food. If you can help drive (with pantry manager Mimi Forbes the first few Tuesday mornings) or be available to stock the Pantry after the food arrives (probably noon to early afternoon), please contact Mimi at 540-675-1177 or mimi@RappahannockPantry.org.

Government shutdown

I asked several local business owners this week how the government shutdown has affected their business, and several of them — including Bryant Lee, owner of Lee’s Orchard, Middle Street Inn proprietor Mary Ann Kuhn; and Darla Morres, owner of Tula’s Off Main — agreed that the shutdown, specifically the closing of Shenandoah National Park, hasn’t really affected them yet. Despite having to pick apples in the rain over the weekend, Lee said he’s had a good crowd of tourists stop in for apples. Tula’s, if anything, has been busier than ever, Morres said.

On the other hand, Walter Siriwardena, part owner of the Hillsdale Store, said he’s noticed fewer cars stopping to for gas and other items. In more positive news, Hillsdale is considering adding a dollar store filled with lower-priced items to their regular offerings. Nothing’s been decided yet, though. I’ll keep everyone up to date on this news item.

A ‘Cut-a-Thon’ above

Next Tuesday (Oct. 22), the Hair Gallery’s Kim Nelson and Chandra Graves are partnering with Sexy Hair in a “Cut-a-Thon” from 10 to 6 — as part of a nationwide fundraising effort for Look Good Feel Better, the nonprofit organization that helps women who are undergoing cancer treatments cope with devastating appearance-related side effects. Stylists will be accepting $10 donations for haircuts.

Nelson also recently announced the latest winners of the Hair Gallery’s drawing for a free haircut at the Main Street establishment. The winners are Sperryville residents Kim Nagle and Deanne Wayland and Kathy Cebowski of Warrenton.

Ralph and Gwen’s excellent Alaskan adventure

Ralph and Gwen Bates of Huntly recently returned from an Alaskan cruise they took to celebrate their 41st anniversary.

Ralph and Gwen Bates on their Alaskan cruise (with McKinley Mountain in the background). Courtesy photo.
Ralph and Gwen Bates on their Alaskan cruise (with McKinley Mountain in the background). Courtesy photo.

The cruise started in Vancouver, where they toured lovely gardens and parks, and biked along the shoreline of the famous Stanley Park. The people of Vancouver are most hospitable and friendly and it is one of the most racially, ethnically and religiously diverse cities in North America. The Bates’ claim the food is pretty good too, with much attention paid to locally grown and organic products.

They spent their second night on the cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, as they celebrated in one of the five gourmet restaurants and watched a gorgeous sunset over the Pacific. The ship, while large, never had an overcrowded feel because of lots of spaces, clubs and intimate small music and sitting areas. The couple said a big plus was their living quarters — an upper-deck balcony cabin.

The glaciers in Glacier Bay and College Fjord were spectacular and the ship got amazingly close, the couple reported. Along the way to Anchorage, they stopped and disembarked at three ports to see the salmon runs, where bears and bald eagles caught their winter supply; hiked a rainforest; whale watched in one of the fjords where the orcas dove below their large catamaran while humpback whales breached and crashed back in or just gracefully displayed their backs and waved with their impressive tails.

At the end of the week-long night cruise, Ralph and Gwen traveled by train to Denali National Park and then to Mount McKinley Resort Lodge at the foot of the mountain. They were most fortunate, as Mount McKinley is clouded over most of the time. For these visitors, however, the sky parted and the entire snowcapped mountain range framed by a cloudless blue sky. They were also delighted by a 3 a.m. viewing of the Northern Lights.

The Bateses left for their trip on Aug. 14 and returned home Aug. 29. “The food was excellent, too,” said Ralph.

Halloween storytime

The Rappahannock County Library is having a Halloween storytime at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 30. Children can wear costumes and there will be spooky crafts. For further information, contact the library at 540-675-3780.

Ham and oyster dinner

Mark your calendars for the Washington Volunteer Fire Department’s all-you-can-eat ham and oyster dinner on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 4 to 8 p.m. Adults are $25 ($10 ages 10 and younger, 3 and younger eat free). All proceeds help fund daily operations. For more information, call 540-675-3615.


Belated birthday wishes go out to Mike Massie, who celebrated his day on Oct. 4, and Susan Parrish, who celebrated her special day yesterday (Wednesday, Oct. 16). Wishes also go out to Mayor John Sullivan, whose special day is Saturday (Oct. 19); to a special friend of mine, Ruthie Windsor-Mann, whose birthday is Thursday (Oct. 24); and to a dear lady, Mitzie Young, who is celebrating her special day on Oct. 29.

Anniversaries wishes go out to Rick and Kaye Kohler, who celebrated their day on Tuesday (Oct. 15); Kim and Bruce Nelson, who celebrate tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 18); and to Doug and Margaret Baumgardner, who are celebrating their day on Oct. 29.

Apple butter sale

The Rappahannock Lions Club is selling apple butter this weekend at the Quicke Mart on U.S. 211 (8 to 4 Saturday and 10 to 2 Sunday). The jars are $6 per pint (or two for $10). Lions Club brooms are also available for $10 — and they are the best brooms there are. I would not use any other.

Have a wonderful week!