Griffin Tavern and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) host a Przewalski’s Horse Happy Hour next Thursday (June 5) at the Flint Hill pub, with guest bartenders from 5 to 7 p.m. and Przewalski’s Horse (and other horse-related) trivia from 6 to 9. It’s all a fundraiser for the SCBI, a leader in efforts bring the Mongolian species back from the brink of extinction.
The only horse never to be bridled or tamed, the Przewalski’s Horse went extinct in the wild in 1969. Through the efforts of research and conservation organizations, the P-horse has been reintroduced into Mongolia and brought back from the brink of extinction. Mix and mingle with Smithsonian scientists and P-Horse experts, win trivia prizes and have a pint for a P-Horse!
The Rappahannock Association for the Arts and the Community (RAAC) screens its last film of the spring season at 8 p.m. next Friday (June 6) at the Theatre in Washington. “Philomena,” the PG-13 drama, is directed by Stephen Frears and stars Judi Dench, Steve Coogan and Sophie Kennedy Clark.
It tells the story of a world-weary journalist who picks up the story of a woman’s search for her son, taken from her decades ago after she became pregnant and was forced to live in a convent. “Philomena” was nominated for four Oscars. Admission is $6; the concession stand has popcorn, candy and water. (The fall film season resumes in September; for more information, call 540-675-3193 or visit raac.org.)
Two landscapes by Rappahannock artist Kevin H. Adams are en route to Burkina Faso. The U.S. State Department picked them up from Adams’ Washington studio a few weeks back, and they are headed to Ouagadougou, that country’s capital, where they will hang in the residence of ambassador Tulinabo Mushingi. (The ambassador’s wife, the former Rebecca Marshbanks, is originally from Virginia.)
The paintings are on loan to the state department through its Art in Embassies program, which borrows art from American artists to decorate U.S. embassies around the world.
This is the fourth time the department has asked to borrow work from Adams. Previously, his paintings have hung in U.S. embassies in Austria, Guyana and Switzerland.
During the Castleton Festival’s 2014 season, you can enjoy the classical and opera offerings but also learn to cook. The festival is introducing small cooking classes led by the world-class chefs who are part of the Castleton family, where you can make your own lunch with wine pairings before a performance this season.
The classes, offered at 11 a.m. Saturdays on three of the festival’s weekends, are: French and Japanese cuisine on June 28 (opening day) with Japanese embassy chefs Ryo Iisawa and Teruhito Amemiya; “Italian seduction cuisine” on July 5 with chef Daniela Costa, a member of Castleton’s music faculty; and “Simple Techniques/Impressive Results” with Rappahannock chef (and Castleton’s festival chef) Dayn Smith on July 12.
Classes are limited to 15 and tickets are $225; to reserve, visit castletonfestival.org. The classes take place at Legacy Lake House, 15 minutes from the Castleton Festival.
It seemed the whole town of Washington was in attendance last Thursday night (May 22) to listen to Rappahannock Historical Society researcher Maureen Harris detail the history of the land that became the “First Washington.”
The town hall’s three rows of pews weren’t enough to hold the crowd, which quickly filled up the extra seating and flowed into the second-floor balcony for Harris’ presentation on the town’s history from 1735-1833, tracing its origins from a single land grant issued by King George II to its eventual placement as Rappahannock’s county seat.
“Not so long ago, there was nothing here,” said Harris (whose four-plus months of research is available for purchase from the RHS for $500). Using deeds recorded and preserved in Rappahannock, Orange and Culpeper counties, Harris explained the land was first granted to the Kennerly family in 1735 by King George II, in an effort to promote further colonization and stem encroachment from France and Spain.
The land was then divided in thirds in 1745, with each of the Kennerly siblings — James, Thomas and Elizabeth — taking a third. Though they were the earliest settlers of what became Rappahannock County, Harris said that as far she can tell, there are no Kennerly heirs living in Rappahannock today.
The land on which the town now sits changed hands many times, Harris said, and eventually came to rest with James Wheeler, George Calvert and James Jett — who, along with William Porter, petitioned the General Assembly to allow the founding of a town. On Dec. 25, 1797, that request was granted.
Originally laid out in 51 plots, Harris explained the town “took a while to get going,” and still had undeveloped lots as late as 1822. Rappahannock itself was founded in 1833, at which point it was decided the fledgling town would serve as the county seat.
Impartially laid out by representatives from neighboring counties — including Page, Culpeper, Halifax, Fauquier and others — the town held roughly “300 souls” by 1833. Among the decision-making highlights were a courthouse (where the health department now stands), and a tavern (and eventual relocation) that became Avon Hall.
“Back then it was a very simple town,” Harris said. “Now we have a very complex one.”
— Matt Wingfield
News from the Amissville winery trails:
Gray Ghost’s 2013 Gewurztraminer won gold medals at three consecutive competitions: The Pacific Rim International in California, the Finger Lakes International in New York and the Tasters Guild International in Michigan. Made from a grape with origins in Germany and now grown extensively in New York, Oregon and Washington states, a Virginia Gewurztraminer winning gold medals on both coasts, in wine regions known for producing their own internationally acclaimed Gewurztraminer, “is a major accomplishment,” said a Gray Ghost spokesperson. With these recent announcements, Gray Ghost (14706 Lee Hwy.; 540-937-4869) has earned 32 medals since the beginning of the year.
At California’s Riverside International Wine Competition last month, Narmada Winery’s Cabernet Franc Reserve 2010 won the Chairman’s Award (Unanimous Gold), a best-of-class award made after 11 panels of 44 professional judges had evaluated some 1,900 wines. Led by wine critic Dan Berger, judges included some of the country’s top sommeliers and wine personalities, including Wilfred Wong, Rene Chazottes and Narsai David. Wrote master sommelier David Stevens of Narmada’s Cab Franc Reserve: “Ultra varietal, bright red fruit nose; vanilla/oak, slight green leaf mid-palate; long varietal finish; great balance and crisp. The poster child for cool climate Cabernet Franc.”