Washington column for Oct. 13

Cafe celebrates 27th year

This Sunday (Oct. 16), the Country Cafe on Main Street will be celebrating its 27th anniversary. Though the Cafe takes its day of rest on Sundays, David and his staff are preparing a meal of thanks for their customers on Monday (Oct. 17). The special dinner will be turkey with all the trimmings, with a free piece of pumpkin pie. David and his wonderful staff have been serving the community for a long time and would love to see everybody there. Hope to see you there.

Town full of blue-plate specialists

John McCaslin knew that Tula’s new “Wednesday Blue-Plate Special” would be an immediate hit with the Rappahannock County community when the very first orders placed last week were served in cardboard “to go” containers. So much for the antique blue plates!

Tula’s first blue-plate special last Wednesday featured a mouth-watering meatloaf.
Tula’s first blue-plate special last Wednesday featured a mouth-watering meatloaf. By John McCaslin

“My restaurant partner Mark Allen and I had been told time and again by employees in the Rappahannock County courthouse complex, for one, that the town of Washington and indeed the entire community would enthusiastically support a substantial yet more affordable menu option, and boy did these folks show up at Tula’s last Wednesday — for both lunch and dinner,” he says.

“Our very first blue-plate special, which will remain the same for a few more Wednesdays before we choose a new traditional blue-plate entree, consists of a generous portion of mouth-watering meatloaf — mind you, this is not my mom’s ketchupy recipe, God rest her soul — accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed green beans,” McCaslin says. “Fortunately the several dozen patrons who placed orders last Wednesday before the clock even struck noon dined in and enjoyed the entire blue-plate experience.”

Meaning their meatloaf was served on the same vintage Blue Willow divided plates that helped trigger the popular American term “blue-plate special” — an inexpensive but hearty meal served extensively in diners and cafes across the country from the 1920s through the 1950s.

U.S. Marine Band director emeritus Col. John R. Bourgeois, who for decades has collected rare and valuable china, has loaned Tula’s tall stacks of his divided blue-and-white dinner plates, as well as salad and dessert plates.

Ham and oyster dinner Oct. 22

Cool weather brings the ham and oyster dinner at the Washington fire hall from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22. All-you-can-eat ham and oyster dinner includes fried, raw and stewed oysters with country and baked ham, vegetables, bread, desserts, tea, etc. A great social event with good food and time with your neighbors.

Tombstone replacement

In a photo taken in 1973, Wayne Baldwin holds up ancestors' broken gravestones, which could be read with some difficulty back then. The family hopes to replace them this weekend.
In a photo taken in 1973, Wayne Baldwin holds up ancestors’ broken gravestones, which could be read with some difficulty back then. The family hopes to replace them this weekend. Courtesy of Wayne Baldwin

According to Wayne Baldwin, “151 and 146 years ago, respectively, our ancestors, Thomas Burrell and Mary G. Martin Dwyer, were laid to rest. Married May 1, 1818 according to Bible records, this hearty couple raised a family of nine children on the Piney Ridge area in Rappahannock. Four of the six sons were soldiers in the Confederate Army.” Last year at the family’s annual reunion, a committee was formed to obtain new gravestones to replace the broken, eroded stones at their ancestors’ graves. The committee’s work was completed in August of this year, the new granite markers were picked up and are waiting to be transported and placed at the graves.

This Saturday (Oct. 15), they will endeavor to perform this labor of love. “Since the cemetery is in the Wilderness Area of Shenandoah National Park all the work involved will be physical, no motorized anything can be used,” says Baldwin. “It is about a two-and-a-quarter-mile hike from Skyline Drive. We are appealing to family and friends who would be able to assist to join us in this task.

Wayne Baldwin has been coordinating with park authorities and says so far all is a go. Any and all who would be able to help are asked to meet at 10 a.m. at the old Panorama parking lot just off U.S. 211. Here folks need to “double up” so as not to create an unnecessary confusion. Wear appropriate clothing and shoes and bring your own refreshments.

For more information contact Wayne Baldwin at 540-547-3722. Rain date is Oct. 29.

Spooky storytime

The Rappahannock County Library holds a Halloween storytime 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26. Children can wear costumes for the storytime, which also features songs, spooky crafts and stories. For more information, call the library at 540-675-3780.

The library holds preschool storytime Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Each storytime includes stories, songs and crafts. There is no registration required. The second Wednesday of each month is a special “Books and Barks Story Time” with Waggin’ Hearts Therapy Dogs. For more information visit rappahannocklibrary.org or call 540-675-3780.


Wednesday (Oct. 5) afternoon guests of Anna Clatterbuck and Mae Racer were Russell and Nelson Clatterbuck of Front Royal and Jimmy Clatterbuck and daughter Patti from Utah. They were sightseeing in Rappahannock County before heading back to Utah.


Sympathy go out to the family of Philip Lee Kuhn, 67, of Washington. He passed away on Monday, Oct. 3, in Winchester Medical Center in Winchester, following a long illness.

Birthday wishes

Birthday wishes go out to Mae Smoot of Washington, and to my grandson, Troy Jackson Singleton, from Hickory N.C. They will celebrate their special day on Tuesday, Oct. 18.

Enjoy the crisp October weather!