The Rapp for Sept. 18

Much ado

This weekend brings bikes, breakfasts, apple butter, Shakespeare, singers, spaghetti, fajitas — and even some “Salt & Pepper” on the side. Is it a mid-September weekend in Rappahannock County?

Since the weather is also expected to be bright and autumnal, you’ll want to check the Events column that starts on page 2 for a complete list of reasons to be out and about this weekend, including:

• Charity bike riding — specifically on rolling, paved and not-so-paved routes of the 18th annual Rappahannock Rough Ride, which starts at 10 a.m. this Saturday (Sept. 20) in Washington, and helps support the Rappahannock and Fauquier Free Clinics.

A Gary Anthes photograph of Japan  on exhibit at Middle Street.
A Gary Anthes photograph of Japan on exhibit at Middle Street. Gary Anthes

• Theater, including “Salt & Pepper,” a seven-scene comedy starring some alarmingly familiar faces and directed by Patty Hardee at RAAC Theatre Friday and Saturday nights at 8, and high-energy productions of Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” by touring Cambridge University students at the Theatre in Washington Saturday (at 8 p.m.) and Sunday (at 3).

• Music, including a house concert by Nashville rising star Danika Portz at Flint Hill-based songwriter Will Hopkins’ place Saturday, and two performances by Mandelele, the folk trio-turned-quartet (thanks to a visit from founding member and fiddler Frances Miller) at Trinity Episcopal Church’s Haiti mission benefit Sunday and at the free Claudia Mitchell Fund-sponsored concert at the Senior Center in Scrabble Monday.

• Art, including the opening of a group photography show at Sperryville’s Middle Street Gallery and new colorful etchings by Viviane deKosinsky at Washington’s R.H. Ballard (more on those below).

• Food, including dueling benefit breakfasts Saturday at the Washington fire hall and at Amissville Methodist Church, all-you-can-eat spaghetti at Forest Grove Baptist Church Saturday afternoon and fajitas at Sperryville Volunteer Fire Department that same evening; and homemade apple butter on sale all weekend at Quicke Mart, made and sold by the Rappahannock Lions to benefit an array of good causes.

Four paws, no pausing

Hike with your dog to benefit RAWL on Oct. 5.
Hike with your dog to benefit RAWL on Oct. 5. Courtesy photo

Do you love the outdoors, and especially hiking with your dog? If so, the Rappahannock Animal Welfare League (RAWL) is challenging you and your dog to test your skills on their obstacle trail course on Sunday, Oct. 5 at the RAWL shelter (160 Weaver Rd., Amissville).

For $10 per entry (proceeds benefit RAWL), you and your dog can hit the one-mile timed course, which contains 10 manmade and natural obstacles. High score wins a professional painting of your dog by artist Carol Pivarnik. For information and to register, email

Views of Iceland, Japan and Key West

From this Friday (Sept. 19) through Oct. 26, Middle Street Gallery in Sperryville has an all-photography exhibition of recent color images by gallery members Jo Levine, Susan Raines and Gary Anthes. The subjects are Iceland, Key West, Fla., and Japan.

Jo Levine’s views of Iceland are among this month’s works on view at Middle Street Gallery.
Jo Levine’s views of Iceland are among this month’s works on view at Middle Street Gallery. Jo Levine

“Although the weather was less than ideal for sightseeing, the clouds and mist added drama to my photos,” says Levine of her recent trip to Iceland. “Iceland has a wild and amazingly varied beauty that’s captured in images of rugged glaciers, icebergs, foggy mountains and delicate waterfalls.” Several of her photos depart from her customary style by including people: “Without people in them, viewers would have no idea of how large the glaciers and icebergs really are,” she says.

Raines’ photographs of Key West, the southernmost point in the U.S., show the unique and colorful aspects of one of America’s iconic places. Photographs of street scenes, bars, homes, ocean views and, of course, a sunset create a portrait of this unique and charming island.

Anthes exhibits photographs from his travels in “Old Japan” — the cities of Kyoto, Nara, Kanazawa and Takayama. His color images portray the mystery and drama of Zen and Buddhist temples, the beauty of gardens hundreds of years old, and the ancient crafts that have made Japanese artisans famous over the centuries. His new book, “Spirit of Old Japan,” 100 pages of photographs from the country, is also on sale at the show.

There’s an opening reception for the artists and the public from 3 to 5 this Saturday afternoon (Sept. 20) at the gallery, located at Rappahannock Central (3 River Ln., Sperryville). Middle Street is open 11 to 6 Friday-Sunday. For more information, visit or call 540-987-9330.

DeKosinsky’s ‘View with a Room’ at R.H. Ballard

R.H. Ballard Gallery’s exhibit of “A View With a Room,” comprising new works by Viviane deKosinsky and up through Oct. 12, opens with an all-day open house this Saturday (Sept. 20) at the gallery on Main Street in Washington.

Viviane deKosinsky’s “View With a Room” is among the works on exhibit at Ballard Gallery this month.
Viviane deKosinsky’s “View With a Room” is among the works on exhibit at Ballard Gallery this month.

DeKosinsky’s fourth exhibit at Ballard is her most accomplished group of new work to date, with more than 35 new hand-colored etchings focusing on interior views that look out at framed scenes through windows, exploring and reveling in the beautiful cities, towns and countrysides of Europe and Rappahannock. Images without window frames capture the romantic, calm beauty of everyday moments of life in France, England, Italy and here in Virginia.

Her etching technique, much like that of Rembrandt, creates delicate but strong compositions that, combined with the hand coloring of image with watercolor, make for stunning statements of both art and place. Born in Geneva, Switzerland, Viviane is a master etcher, trained by Swiss, Italian and American experts in Rembrandt’s method of freehand line etching. She now lives near Washington, D.C., and has a home in Sperryville overlooking the Francis Thornton Valley.

“Viviane is an artist that melds the current beauty of a region with a nod to the artists of the past who made these regions timeless. She creates fresh, intimate, accomplished and vibrant works of art,” said gallery director Robert H. Ballard.

The gallery is open 10 to 6 daily (except Wednesday). For more information, contact Ballard at 540-675-1411 or visit

Learn Amissville’s history Oct. 5

“Once upon a time in Amissville . . .” might sound like the beginning of a fairy tale, and maybe it is, since the story it tells — of Amissville before the four-lane highway, when it was the site of a school, several churches, many businesses and a thriving community — is a story of what is now “long ago and far away.”

Amissville’s history is the subject of the Rappahannock Historical Society’s Oct. 5 event and annual meeting.
Amissville’s history is the subject of the Rappahannock Historical Society’s Oct. 5 event and annual meeting. Courtesy photo

The Rappahannock Historical Society is sponsoring a program at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct 5, at the Amissville Methodist Church that tells the story of that long-ago time when the Amiss, Bayse, Corder, Hackley, Hitt, Latham, Riley, Silvey, Tapp and Walter families were among the oldest families in the town — and when gas was 25 cents a gallon.

The program — which is also the occasion of the Historical Society’s annual meeting — features a panel of long-time Amissville residents, as well as a Rappahannock Civil War historian and an expert on Amissville history. The Society is hoping that other attendees will add their comments on the subject, so that the stories of the town are recorded.

Amissville residents Jan Makela and Noel Laing will talk about the past as it refers to farming, business and ordinary life. John Tole, Rappahannock Historical Society president, will speak on the Civil War happenings in Amissville. Judy Tole, the Society’s director, will provide the general history of the town.

There will be a display of Katherine Riley’s quilts and a diorama of miniature structures and houses that were removed from the median strip when U.S. 211 was widened. Attendees are asked to bring pictures and mementos to share with other guests.

A new booklet produced by the Historical Society, “An Early History of Amissville, Virginia,” will be available for purchase. After the program, the Historical Society will provide barbecue, slaw, rolls and drinks. Guests are asked, if possible, to bring their favorite apple dessert to share, to honor the season and the county.

Recommended donation is $10; all are welcome. Contact the Rappahannock Historical Society at 540-675-1163 (11 to 5 Monday, Tuesday and Thursday) or email

Ping pong on Gay Street

Paddlers over the age of 21, of all skill levels, came out in force for the ping pong competition some were calling “King of the Mountain” last Friday (Sept. 12) at Tula’s off Main in Washington, where there’s now a table in its own dedicated room adjacent to Tula’s new bar. Boston resident and local web guru Tobey Wheelock outlasted all challengers, we hear, to earn the title of King.

Semifinalists Candy Wroth (left) and Becky Smith (right) battle it out at Tula’s Bar.
Semifinalists Candy Wroth (left) and Becky Smith (right) battle it out at Tula’s Bar. Courtesy photo

Dana Thompson sent in the following report on the first official Tula’s Ping Pong Club meeting the Tuesday before — too late for last week’s edition, but we saved it to keep up interest in the fledgling club and weekly competitions (and if you’re interested, email to participate), as well as to help find someone who can give Tobey a run for his money.

Dana wrote:

Who can resist the sound of a celluloid ping pong ball against the pimpled rubber of a regulation red and black ping pong paddle? Those who could not attended the first official Ping Pong Club meeting at Tula’s off Main on Tuesday evening. Attendees Colleen O’Bryant, Candy Wroth, James Henze, Ben Pierson, Becky Smith, Jacob Konick, Ken Thompson, Andy Thompson and I gathered in the bar to talk about the implementation of a local Ping Pong Club. The idea came about after the build-out of the lounge at Tula’s off Main included a special ping pong room directly behind the bar.

“Pops,” my father-in-law Ken Thompson, thought to invite a group of people whom he knew to enjoy the game of ping pong to gather with other players in a relaxed forum in order to get the ball bouncing, so to speak. Preliminary discussions began regarding the level of interest, membership organization, table access, competitions and tournaments, club member rankings, game schedules, internet scheduling, club activities and events, club rules, uniforms and even a club name.

The excitement in the room was palpable. After a few bites of Rudy’s pizza, it was time to play some ping pong. Pops established a crude ranking system, and each pair was set to play a fast, 11-point game. The team member to establish a three-volley rally served first, and no team was shy about jumping in to play the game. It became immediately clear that this was not the after-dinner parlour game that I was used to playing in my home with friends and family on a Saturday night.

Initial pairings were Colleen O’Bryant vs. James Henze, Andy Thompson vs. Ben Pierson, Becky Smith vs. Dana Thompson, and Jacob Konick vs. Candy Wroth. Pops held off competing during this meeting until the very end when he played a couple games for fun, but watch out for him in the future — he may be approaching the upper end of the age bracket, but he’s a contender. Semifinalist rounds were Becky Smith vs. Candy Wroth, and Ben Pierson vs. James Henze; the finalists were Ben Pierson and Candy Wroth, with the champion of the evening, Sperryville Corner Store employee Ben Pierson. First round top rankings go to family members, Ben Pierson, his aunt Candy Wroth and her son James Henze (and all the while Candy was playing with an injury). Win or lose, a great time was had by all. We are calling all other resident ping pong enthusiasts to come out and enjoy the ping pong table at Tula’s off Main. Also, check the Rappahannock News for future Ping Pong Club meeting announcements.

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