The Rapp: Rough Ride, big weekend and beyond

Rough Ride, big weekend

A snapshot from the 2013 Rappahannock Rough Ride.
A snapshot from the 2013 Rappahannock Rough Ride.

Rappahannock County’s rolling hills are again the place to be for bicyclists from around the region this Saturday (Sept. 19), when the annual Rappahannock Rough Ride, a fundraiser for the Fauquier and Rappahannock Free Clinics, glides down roads that somehow manage to be sleepy even on a busy September weekend like the one coming up.

Multiple route options range from a family-friendly 12 mile loop through Washington and Flint Hill, two paved/unpaved road Rough Ride options to the full 63-mile paved route. Register online at for $40 ($30 ages 11 and younger) or on ride day ($50 /$30, still a bargain compared to the other rides in the area. Starts and ends at the Washington fire hall, where all riders now also get a full lunch upon return. Rest-stop food and drink also available as always.

Shannon Gunn and her D.C.-based all-woman jazz orchestra kick off the Castleton in Performance season this Sunday (Sept. 20).
Shannon Gunn and her D.C.-based all-woman jazz orchestra kick off the Castleton in Performance season this Sunday (Sept. 20). Lawrence Randall

For proof that it’s a busy Rappahannock weekend, check out our Events calendar, some highlights of which include:

On Saturday at 8 and Sunday at 3, for example, one of Shakespeare’s most-loved comedies, “The Taming of the Shrew,” comes to the stage of the Theatre at Washington, a production of the Cambridge American Stage Tour (CAST). Established under the patronage of Dame Judi Dench in 2000, CAST is an international theatre student touring group from England’s Cambridge University. Each September, Cambridge’s most talented actors, directors, designers and technicians travel across the Atlantic to bring a professional quality production of a Shakespeare play to audiences in the eastern United States. For their stop in Little Washington, tickets are $25 ($10 students 17 or younger); call 540-675-1253 or visit

Also on Sunday, Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes, the only all-women jazz orchestra in the D.C. area, kick off the 2015-16 season of Castleton in Performance at 4 p.m. in Castleton’s Theatre House, with big-band renditions of jazz classics to world premieres.Tickets ($20 to $40) available at 866-974-0767 or for the concert, a benefit for the Fauquier High School Band.

From Public House to Front Porch

The owners of the Flint Hill Public House Restaurant & Inn have opened a new restaurant and upscale market in nearby The Plains.

Featuring local culinary artisans, fine wines and craft beers in a revitalized space, the Front Porch Market & Grill opened Sept. 1 for casual lunch and fine dining seven days a week.

Courtesy Front Porch Market & Grill
Front Porch Market & Grill

Owners William Waybourn and Craig Spaulding of Linden say the Front Porch is devoted to sustainable foods and local economic development through rural-urban partnerships. The full menu includes chef-prepared sandwiches, entrees, personal pizzas, soups and salads, and hearty ready-to-eat meals. Repurposed from an old house for railroad workers, the structure has been totally renovated, utilizing the upstairs as a dining room and full bar. The downstairs market features an array of wines, gourmet items and unique gifts, plus an outdoor dining area has been added to the back (the “back porch”).

As in their renovation of the Public House four years ago, Waybourn and Spaulding used local tradesmen and American-made products whenever possible, including LED lighting and other energy-efficient fixtures. The renovation was orchestrated by contractor Eric Reid of The Reid Group (of The Plains) and AlterUrban, a Baltimore-Washington architectural firm specializing in retrofitting old places without sacrificing character or historical elements. Returning customers will not recognize the interior, as it has very little in common with the previous space due to a repositioned stairwell and enclosed kitchen downstairs and a full dining room and bar upstairs.

On-site management is by general managers Dan Myers and Tammy Layne, who have extensive experience in restaurants, catering and gourmet merchandising. More information at, or call 540-253-2018. The Front Porch is open 10 to 10 Sunday-Thursday, till 11 Friday-Saturday.

The Lions roar into fall

It’s shaping up to be a busy fall for members of the Rappahannock County Lions Club.

Lions will gather at the Rappahannock Farmers Coop next Thursday (Sept. 24) to cut up 45 bushels of apples from Lee’s Orchard, cook the apples using a time-honored secret recipe the following day at the community cannery over in Keezletown, and then sell the resulting famous Lions Club apple butter at Quicke Mart on Lee Highway start at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26. Sales continue the next day, the following weekend and until the stock is sold out.

Apple butter sells for $6 per pint jar, two for $10. A case of 12 is $48. The jars make great holiday gifts. Brooms and peanuts also available. Your purchases support the Lions’ good work in the county throughout the year. For more information, contact Larry Grove at

The Lions are also gearing up for the annual fundraising ChiliFest and Grand Raffle Oct. 10 at Sperryville fire hall. Club members are selling only 150 of the $100 tickets for a chance to win or split $5,000. One raffle ticket guarantees entry to the chili sampling for the whole family as well as the fun and memorable Grand Raffle. For raffle tickets, contact any member of the Lions Club or event chair Jim Manwaring at 540-987-8433 or

Rapp at Home: off to work

Ken Gray is the new planning coordinator for Rapp at Home.
Ken Gray is the new planning coordinator for Rapp at Home. Patty Hardee | Rappahannock News

Rappahannock at Home is moving forward in establishing itself as a “village” organization dedicated to helping the county’s seniors stay in their homes as they age. Rapp at Home follows the model established by more than 140 “village” organizations around the country with the same mission.

In the months since Rapp at Home’s April 30 public meeting at the Reynolds Memorial Baptist Church in Sperryville, the organization has elected a board and hired Ken Gray as planning coordinator.

Rapp at Home board members include Sharon Pierce (president), Patty Hardee (vice president), Eve Brooks (secretary), Ed Eager (treasurer), Danny Wilson, Emery Lazar and Heidi Lesinski.

Gray brings many years’ of experience in building and managing nonprofits. He was the executive director of the Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID), a nonprofit economic development organization in D.C., for six years. “I was with the BID from the beginning,” says Gray, “and worked with the organization to secure the nonprofit status of the BID, raise awareness of the organization in the community, and ultimately see the entity approved by a majority of the commercial property owners in Georgetown.”

At the BID, his team built the organization from the ground up, establishing policies and procedures; securing grant, tax-based and philanthropic funding; and putting accounting controls in place while engaging the community and branding the organization—similar to many of the tasks that Rapp at Home is currently engaged in.

“We have already applied for our corporate status and are in the process of preparing our application for nonprofit tax status,” said Gray. With his hiring, Rapp at Home has established an office in the Kramer Building, and is constructing a website and forming committees. “Our next steps,” he said, “will be to finalize our membership plan and service model.”

Services typically provided by villages include transportation to medical appointments, shopping trips and social events; vetting and compiling a list of approved vendors who do household repair, lawn work and other services; and helping members establish social and educational groups. “However, our services initially will include nurturing social networks via social events, educational seminars and other activities. In-home services are being planned for later,” said Gray.”

For more information about Rapp at Home, call Ken Gray at 540-422-1535 (until a Rapp at Home phone line is established), email him at or visit during office hours: 9 to 5 Tuesday and noon to 5 Wednesday-Thursday at 311 Gay St., Washington.

‘Selma’ screens, Scrabble benefits

theRappSelma-17A fundraiser to benefit the Scrabble School Preservation Foundation is also RAAC’s next movie date.

On Friday, Oct 2 at 7 p.m., Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community’s screening of the award-winning historical drama “Selma” will be followed by a discussion lead by Culpeper native Hortense Hinton Jackson, former provost of Northern Virginia Community College’s Manassas campus and a past president of the local NAACP chapter. The event — for which the usual $6 movie admission goes up to $10 ($5 for children) — is cosponsored by RAAC, the Scrabble School foundation and the Rappahannock Historical Society.

“Selma” chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965 when Martin Luther King Jr. led a campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The PG-13 film stars David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth, Jim France and Oprah Winfrey. For more information, visit

The Scrabble School is one of more than 5,000 schools built across the South under the leadership and beneficence of Sears Roebuck co-founder Julius Rosenwald and the African-American educator and leader Booker T. Washington. (The Washington Post published a feature on Rosenwald schools Aug. 31 that includes information on Scrabble School and two of its former students, Lillian Aylor and Irene Timbers.)

East Jesus, by way of Culpeper

“The Road to East Jesus” is a new exhibit (through Oct. 26) at the Loft Gallery in Culpeper that opens with an evening reception at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26 at the gallery (107B E. Davis St.). Meet photographer Andrew Morgan, who has 20 eclectic and stunning scenes from Slab City, California. Slab City/East of Jesus is home to a small community of artists, far away from it all, who live and create by their own rules. Their recycled, found-object creations are “something out of Mad Max,” says Morgan. Acoustic tunes from Rappahannock roots musician Lisa Leftwich also offered at the reception, where light hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served. Call 540-717-0647 or visit for more information.

Knowledge to Work at LFCC

Lord Fairfax Community College is offering a new program of individualized assistance available to students to identify the shortest path to associate degrees or career certificates — for such high-growth, well-compensated careers as IT, health information management and skilled trades — with a new direct-assessment, competency-based education grant called Knowledge to Work.

Direct assessment does not involve counting hours in the classroom but shifts the focus to documenting learning and the attainment of competencies in a way that makes college more affordable and accelerated. With competencies that are clearly aligned to job requirements, graduates of Knowledge to Work are more employable.

“This program represents a new way of helping individuals acquire the competencies to work in specific fields,” said LFCC President Cheryl Thompson-Stacy. “Even those already possessing a degree can leverage their existing knowledge to achieve a degree or certificate that makes them more marketable.”

Seven programs are offered this fall, including Associate of Applied Science degrees in health information management and in information systems technology; the certificate in office systems assistant; and career studies certificates in hospital facility coding, information processing technician, cyber security and networking specialist. Apprenticeship programs are also offered through Knowledge to Work with personalized learning plans tied to competencies in plumbing, electrical and HVAC.

Knowledge to Work includes the use of personalized learning plans tied to competencies using free and low-cost online resources. Wrap-around student support services are provided by career coaches and an adult education instructor. Special veterans’ services are in place to translate military job experience into competencies and a workforce navigator connects directly with employers to ensure that LFCC students get the competencies they need for current job openings. Visit for more information.

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