Eileen and Lucky Yilmaz have much to celebrate, especially the family circumstances which prompted a recent move back to their beloved Rappahannock after an eight-year sabbatical in North Carolina. Residents might still remember their Sperryville enterprise, the Apple Hill Bakery, which they ran from 2004-07. Eileen’s dad, Wayne Weller, recalls they’d closed up shop when they were unable to find affordable housing in the county.
The new endeavor will be called Creekside Bakery. They will offer everything from sandwiches to baked goods, ice cream and breakfast, pastries, cupcakes, scones, donuts, muffins and coffee. Lucky, Eileen relates, will put his baking skills to use: “He is the bread and pie man.” Of course, that means they’ll also offer Lucky’s signature cheesecake with assorted toppings, inside seating and the coveted picnic table alongside the picturesque Thornton River out back.
I asked Eileen what prompted her and Lucky to return. She told me while she’d worked in a high-octane, stressful banking position, while Lucky worked for FedEx. She eventually resigned, as she and Lucky were planning to open a trucking business.
All the while, her stepmom here in Rappahannock, whom she adored and has known since she was a little girl, became gravely ill; she and Lucky returned here repeatedly to help care for her and for her dad. Each trip brought more of a yearning to return permanently, to come home. The trucking business was ultimately shelved because they found out Eileen was with child — a child they’ve desperately wanted and tried to have for many years.
Eileen’s dad is thrilled to soon hear the pitter-patter of little feet. “I’m so excited to be given an opportunity to raise a child in my beautiful Rappahannock,” Eileen said. She and Lucky are busy renovating and await all the necessary permit approvals; they plan to open in early August.
We wish you the best with your your new enterprise. (Especially the wee bun in the oven!)
Cherl Crews is an Earth child; her Living Sky Foundation is a testament to her celebration of all things living. “Everything you do is a living art form,” she believes. Living Sky is a nonprofit located beside Middle Street Gallery and River District Arts in the Rappahannock Central building (3 River Ln., Sperryville), and “offers services for the education and outreach of children, youth and their families, providing music and art enrichment programs and environmental stewardship.”
Her foundation was born six years ago, and, much like plein-air artists, was geographically on location servicing the Rappahannock community and surrounds. Recently, however, Living Sky found a permanent home; a formal grand opening takes place Aug. 2-3. The weekend-long celebration also celebrates their inclusion on the Artisan Trail and features the unveiling an 8-by-12-foot mural, the “Earth Allegiance Mural.”
The spectacular, boldly illustrated mural is a collaborative effort, a community art project originally created for Shenandoah National Park’s 75th anniversary a few years back. The artwork was created by students at Hearthstone and Belle Meade schools and Rappahannock County Elementary School. Rappahannock’s own Davette Leonard provided the calligraphy; art direction was provided by Constance and Tim Friesen of AVEC Arts (Arts Vitally Enrich Communities).
It is a “New World Pledge,” Crews says, “created to honor Earth Day and designed to emphasize the urgent need for continued wildlife and environmental conservation for all life forms, many of which are already endangered or on the verge of extinction.”
While the mural was given to the National Park Service, it was closeted after the anniversary because of its size; the park graciously donated it to Living Sky Foundation. Cherl is delighted to house it at the entrance to RDA, where it can be appreciated by patrons and provide students with a source of deep pride.
The weekend celebration will offer musical guests, as well as children’s activities, face painting, workshops, vendors, artist meet-and-greets, and food and drinks, including Spanish tapas and sangria on the porch by El Quijote — the proceeds of which also benefit Living Sky Foundation.