The Rapp for Oct. 23

Fourth Estate Friday postponed — a week

This month’s usual Fourth (Estate) Friday morning coffee-and-story-idea gathering is postponed a week — to Friday, Oct. 31 (yes, Halloween; costumes are highly optional, although we’ll all be dressed up as journalists). The one-hour session is 9 a.m. at the Country Cafe in Washington; we provide the coffee, you provide your thoughts. Call us at 540-675-3338 for more information.

The spectacle at Stone Hill

A character from a previous 1000 Faces performance at Stone Hill.
A character from a previous 1000 Faces performance at Stone Hill. | Rappahannock News

You might not be likely to open up your property to hundreds of people in masks — people in masks are not themselves, you know — but Flint Hill’s John Henry and Ann Crittenden will be doing it again this Saturday (Oct. 25) evening at their Stone Hill estate off Crest Hill Road, when Peggy Schadler and her iconic 1000 Faces mask troupe are the centerpiece of an afternoon and evening of Halloween-centric entertainment.

The 1000 Faces program at Stone Hill’s Circle of the Standing Stones is at 5:30. Schadler’s play this fall is “A Slightly Altered Version of the Divine Comedy,” but the costumed crowd is expected to start arriving at 3 this year — for picnicking, the City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums bagpipers, border collie demonstrations and traditional Irish music in the big tent (the tent being another new addition). Stand-up astrologer Caroline Casey gives one of her inimitable State of the Universe addresses in the tent at 7, after the bonfire and 1000 Faces show.

A donation of $10 is suggested. For more information, visit (or check out the video of the troupe’s last show at, or email the host at Stone Hill is at 40 Springwish Lane, off Crest Hill Road about two and a half miles east of U.S. 522 in Flint Hill.

Flint Hill’s annual trail ride

If you’d rather enjoy the Blue Ridge views from the back of a horse, Flint Hill Volunteer Fire and Rescue’s annual benefit trail ride, a two-day affair with dinner al fresco in between, is 9 to 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday this weekend at Wakefield Manor. A one-day ride is $40; two days is $60. Dinner Saturday, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., is $20, and includes music, a voluntary costume contest and camaraderie. Breakfast and lunch provided both days; complimentary camping is available starting Friday. For more information, contact Robert Metcalfe at 540-675-3897.

‘Six Rappahannock Artists’ opens at Ballard

Janet Brome’s “Hen & Chicks” wire sculpture is among the six artists’ works at Ballard Gallery starting Sunday.
Janet Brome’s “Hen & Chicks” wire sculpture is among the six artists’ works at Ballard Gallery starting Sunday. Courtesy Photo

Opening this Sunday (Oct. 26) is a compelling group show at R. H. Ballard Gallery of “Six Rappahannock Artists.” And a reception for those six artists — Thomas Mullany, Janet Brome, Lisbeth Sabol, Viviane de Kosinsky, Robert H. Ballard and Nora Harrington — is 2 to 5 Sunday at the gallery (307 Main St., Washington), with wine and light fare.

Mullany shows an array of new work from figurative drawings and sculpture to local subject matter in his recent oil paintings. Brome has new sculptures, her animals and objects conjured from screen and wire. The plein air landscapes of Harrington concentrate on the beauty of Rappahannock County. De Kosinsky features hand-colored etchings of Rappahannock and European scenes in miniature. Cast bronze and stone sculpture by new artist Sabol display her sensitive rendering of the figure, and artist Ballard exhibits a series of recent acrylic paintings featuring inspired land and sky imagery with an emphasis on texture and color.

In addition to the exhibit — which will be on view for the Nov. 1-2 Artists of Rappahannock Studio and Gallery Tour — there is sculpture by Nol Putnam and Hans Gerhard on display. The gallery is open 10 to 6 daily (except Wednesdays). Visit or call 540-675-1411.

Molasses Creek overflows on Gay Street

Ocracoke Island’s Molassas Creek returns to the Theatre Nov. 1.
Ocracoke Island’s Molassas Creek returns to the Theatre Nov. 1. Justin Casey

Molasses Creek, the high-energy folk band from Ocracoke Island, N.C., is back at the Theatre at Washington for an 8 p.m. concert Saturday, Nov. 1.

The talented band of musicians, who host their own shows at Ocracoke’s Deepwater Theater during the summer but spend much of the rest of the year touring, are known for their spirited performances and quirky humor, and for taking audiences back to simpler times of picking tunes and sharing songs, telling stories and laughing on the porch with friends.

With strong vocals, elegant harmonies, and some “truly wicked fiddling,” the band took a top award on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” and earned a track on North Carolina Public Radio’s “Back Porch Music Sampler.” The musicians are Gary Mitchell, guitar, bass and vocals; Dave Tweedie, fiddle and vocals; Marcy Brenner, mandolin, banjolin, guitar, bass and vocals; Lou Castro, guitar, resonator guitar, bass and vocals; Gerald Hampton, acoustic bass and mandolin.

The band has a loyal local following, so tickets for the Nov. 1 show ($20 for adults; $10 for students 17 and younger) are going fast; reserve at 540-675-1253 or

‘Bohemia @ Belle Meade’ Nov. 1

Belle Meade’s fall benefit dinner, Bohemia @ Belle Meade, begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1, at the school (353 F.T. Valley Rd., Sperryville). The dinner is a masquerade and features a selection of student-designed masks, food by guest chef Sylvie Rowand of Laughing Duck Gardens and Cookery and music by local trio Mandalele. Tickets are $75. For reservations or more information, call 540-987-8970 or email

Chamber music Nov. 2

The Madison Chamber Players string quartet performs works by Mozart, Haydn and J.S. Bach at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2, in a free concert at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Washington.

The group has performed frequently in churches and public venues in Madison as well as at the U.S. Supreme Court and the Library of Congress, and at a number of private events in the area. First violin Daniel Pierson plays with the U.S. Army Strings at Ft. Myer in Arlington. Other members of the group are Michael Hansen, violin; Richard Skarnes, cello; and Alfred Regnery, viola.

Westbound dinner traffic alert

The Inn at Little Washington again received a four-star review from Washington Post restaurant critic Tom Sietsema in this year’s annual Washington Post Fall Dining Guide. Noted Sietsema: “Every year, I go to the Inn at Little Washington wondering how Patrick O’Connell and staff can possibly top their performance from the year before, and every visit I leave with greater admiration for a troupe that refuses to settle for mere excellence. My most recent pilgrimage found more bedrooms, in what used to be a parsonage across the street, and news of an upcoming book on the design of the legendary inn, born as a gas station, by the kitchen pope himself.

“The best news for diners is a revised way to eat: The Inn’s epic menu has been divided into collections of house signatures, odes to the season and vegetarian creations: seven-course tasting dinners that allow diners to mix and match.”

Artist Showcase at RDA

Carole Pivarnik’s watercolor “Finesse” is part of the Piedmont Virginian Artist Showcase running through Dec. 28 at River District Arts.
Carole Pivarnik’s watercolor “Finesse” is part of the Piedmont Virginian Artist Showcase running through Dec. 28 at River District Arts.

The Piedmont is home to many talented artists, and the current exhibit at Sperryville’s River District Arts, sponsored by Piedmont Virginian magazine, features some 65 works of art (paintings, sculpture and fine art) by the more than 40 artists selected for the 2014 Piedmont Virginian Artist Showcase. The works will be on display and sale through Dec. 28 at RDA.

For the showcase, artists from the Piedmont region were invited to submit their work for judging by jurors Greg Huddleston, Becky Parrish and Bradley Stevens, who had the arduous task of narrowing down 242 submissions to those ultimately selected for the exhibit — which is a must-see show. For more information, visit RDA’s Facebook page ( or call 540-987-8770.

Pumpkin carving and painting

Some of the results of last year’s pumpking carving and painting at Coterie.
Some of the results of last year’s pumpking carving and painting at Coterie. Courtesy Photo

Join Coterie Shop in Sperryville from 5:30 to 7 tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 24) for its third annual pumpkin carving and painting event — an occasion for kids of all ages to celebrate the Halloween season and autumn. A $5 fee covers a pumpkin and supplies at Coterie, 12018A Lee Hwy. (in the Sperryville Schoolhouse complex). Call 540-987-8249 or email for details.

Holiday plans for cherubs and angels

The holidays are quickly approaching, and the Rappahannock County Department of Social Services is preparing to sponsor both Cherub Trees and an Angel Tree this year.

Last year, more than 70 children were served thanks to the generosity of county residents who adopted cherubs; this year social services continues that tradition and adds responsibility for an Angel Tree — for seniors 70 and older who would also welcome a Christmas gift.

If you have a senior or a child who needs Christmas gifts, contact social services at 540-675-3313 between Oct. 27 and Nov. 21 to complete an application.

The Cherub trees will be placed at Trinity Episcopal Church and the Rappahannock Library by Nov. 19. The Angels will be placed at the Rappahannock Branch of Union First Market Bank. If you adopt an angel or a cherub to provide Christmas gifts, the gifts need to be brought to the social services office (354 Gay St., Washington) by Dec. 5.

A TRACK trail is born

To encourage children and their families to get outdoors, Shenandoah National Park has partnered with the Kids in Parks program to establish the Limberlost Trail as a TRACK Trails location.

Supported with a grant from the Shenandoah National Park Trust, the park’s activity trail includes a new introductory exhibit and activity guide. An opening ceremony open to all is 9:30 a.m. this Saturday (Oct. 25), when the trail dedication (at the Limberlost Trail parking area at milepost 43) will be followed by a family-friendly, ranger-led hike at 10 a.m.

“With over 500 miles of trails, Shenandoah offers outstanding outdoor recreational opportunities for visitors of all ages and abilities,” said park superintendent Jim Northup. “As a partially accessible trail, Limberlost is a great place for visitors to both experience the park and participate in the TRACK Trails program. Children who complete the new ‘Senses and Sensitivity’ activity guide can also use it in support of their Shenandoah Junior Ranger Program requirements. It’s a great way to have fun outside and learn at the same time.”

“Research shows that people have become increasingly disengaged from nature, spending less time in our parks and outdoor places, while spending more time ‘plugged-in’ to electronic media,” said Kids in Parks director Jason Urroz. “On average kids spend 7.65 hours per day ‘plugged-in’ and only an average of seven minutes per day in unstructured outdoor play.”

The Kids in Parks program means to address these trends by getting kids unplugged and physically active through TRACK Trails, an expanding network of family-friendly outdoor adventures. Each TRACK Trail features self-guided brochures and signs. For more information on the program, visit

The park’s $15-per-car entrance fee is good for seven days. For more information the park, visit

Roger Piantadosi
About Roger Piantadosi 544 Articles
Former Rappahannock News editor Roger Piantadosi is a writer and works on web and video projects for Rappahannock Media and his own Synergist Media company. Before joining the News in 2009, he was a staff writer, editor and web developer at The Washington Post for almost 30 years.