The Rapp for Sept. 1

The in-town holiday

Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings in "The Lady In The Van," RAAC's Friday movie tomorrow (Sept. 2).
Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings in “The Lady In The Van,” RAAC’s Friday movie tomorrow (Sept. 2). Courtesy photo

Hosting the family gathering in Rappahannock this Labor Day? Among the events this weekend worth a trip into town are RAAC’s First Friday at the Movies season-opening screening of “The Lady in the Van,” starring Maggie Smith, at 8 p.m. tomorrow (Friday, Sept. 2) at the Little Washington Theatre. Tickets are $6. Popcorn, water and candy available for purchase. For more information, call 800-695-6075 or email

Over at the Washington fire hall Saturday and Sunday, the Rappahannock County Democratic Committee’s annual Dog Days of Summer Indoor Yard Sale and Fundraiser is 7 to 3 Saturday and 7 to 2 Sunday. For more information, call Ross O’Donoghue at 703-303-5695.

Smithsonian Chamber Music Society artistic director, Kenneth Slowik.
Smithsonian Chamber Music Society artistic director, Kenneth Slowik. Courtesy photo

Also, while you’re making plans: the Little Washington Theatre’s own fall season includes some new-to-Gay-Street acts this September as well as some old favorites, including, in the latter category, two more installments of the Smithsonian at Little Washington chamber music series — the 25th season of those intimate classical performances by Smithsonian Chamber Music Society artistic director Kenneth Slowik and friends, Sept. 11 and Dec. 4; comedian Mark Russell’s next unique, headline-based act on Oct. 22; and the Frank Vignola Trio Dec. 10.

First-timers at the Theatre this fall: The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington’s a capella Potomac Fever Ensemble on Nov. 5; the Smith Sisters — folk singers Debi Smith and her sister, Rappahannock’s own Megan Smith, on Sept. 24; and an evening with Electric Light Orchestra Part II’s singer-songwriter-impresario Parthenon Huxley, Oct. 15. The complete schedule is at

PEC donates land to the park

Shenandoah National Park just grew a little bigger and a little more beautiful.

PEC's Carolyn Sedgwick at the Sperryville property newly donated to Shenandoah National Park.
PEC’s Carolyn Sedgwick at the Sperryville property newly donated to Shenandoah National Park. By Jonathan Marquisee

This past May, the Piedmont Environmental Council donated a 17.2-acre property it owned in Rappahannock County to the National Park Service. A forested and vacant parcel on a mountain slope south of Sperryville, the land is within the legislative boundary of Shenandoah National Park.

“The property is surrounded by the park on three of its four sides, so it was a key puzzle piece,” said Carolyn Sedgwick, PEC’s Rappahannock County land conservation officer, who oversaw the donation from PEC to the park service with legal assistance from Rappahannock-based attorney Tim Lindstrom. “This great public-private partnership with the National Park Service has resulted in the expansion of one of the most important wildlife corridors on the east coast.”

The donated acreage is by an area in the national park designated as federal wilderness — the highest conservation designation for federal land — making it an important and strategic area to conserve.

“This property is a wonderful addition to the park, and we are grateful to PEC and the family [who originally owned the land] for wanting to see this property protected as part of Shenandoah National Park,” said park superintendent Jim Northup.

PEC was approached about the opportunity in 2012 when the former owners decided they wanted their property to be part of the national park. The land was then purchased by PEC at a significant “bargain sale” from the owners, thanks to funds raised locally through PEC’s Krebser Fund for Rappahannock County Conservation.

The Krebser Fund, a fund PEC manages specifically for Rappahannock conservation projects, has a local advisory board composed of county residents who work with PEC to identify projects of  high conservation priority and help raise funds for additional projects.

“The Krebser Fund is excited to see this deal completed and to have such a strategic and important parcel added to Shenandoah National Park,” said Nick Lapham, chair of the Krebser Fund advisory board. “The project is a perfect example of how the fund can flexibly deploy its resources to assist willing parties in completing conservation deals for the benefit of Rappahannock and the public at large.”

Now that the property is officially part of Shenandoah National Park, “PEC hopes to work with the Park Service on pursuing federal wilderness designation for the area,” said Sedgwick. “Such designation requires an act of Congress.”

Rappahannock Writer’s Retreat

Join a select group of writers Sept. 16-18 for the first annual Rappahannock Writer’s Retreat. In the beautiful studio and gardens of Bookworks in Flint Hill, the group will write, and study writing, under the mentorship of poet, teacher and editor Victoria Bosch Murray.

The studio at Bookworks in Flint Hill awaits writers for a retreat Sept. 16-18.
The studio at Bookworks in Flint Hill awaits writers for a retreat Sept. 16-18. Courtesy photo

The weekend includes generative exercises and strategies for writing in the absence of inspiration. There will be craft workshops with a focus on the tools of writing, plus a look at revision, or how to transform the first draft so that it transforms the reader. There will be a session on professional engagement, including how to develop relationships with editors.

The retreat includes regular breaks for food and libation to facilitate a community of support and encouragement. At the end of the weekend, in celebration of the new community and the fresh work, there will be a formal reading by all participants. There are still retreat spots left; if you’re interested, submit a work sample and a brief bio to KC Bosch at PO Box 228, Washington VA 22747 or

The retreat was made possible with the help of a Claudia Mitchell Fund Grant from the Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community.


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