The Rapp for Jan. 26

Fourth Estate Friday

The staff of the Rappahannock News will be back at the table — specifically one at the Country Cafe (389-A Main St.) in Washington — at 9 a.m. tomorrow (Friday, Jan. 27) for our monthly public story conference. Come by and tell us what you think, about today’s paper, or what should (or shouldn’t) be in future editions. We’ll be there, and the coffee’s on us, until 10. Call 540-675-3338 or email if you have questions.

Hey, isn’t that . . .

Yes, that was Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor touring Narmada Winery in Amissville this past Saturday, although the staff was under strict orders not to release details of the VIP visit.

“No pix allowed,” said one source. “No Facebooking, no Instagramming — nada.”

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor complimenting Griffin Tavern’s chef Rachel Rowland and owner Debbie Donehey on the restaurant’s fine food and atmosphere. Courtesy photo

Sotomayor’s security detail scoped out the winery three days prior to the justice’s visit, which unfortunately came on a damp foggy day.

Meanwhile, mum wasn’t completely the word at Griffin Tavern in Flint Hill, Sotomayor’s second stop in Rappahannock County, where she dined on curried chicken salad. While the tavern provided the justice with a good deal of privacy, a photo did get posted of a smiling Sotomayor posing in the kitchen with chef Rachel Rowland and owner Debbie Donehey.

The local appearances by Sotomayor, who was appointed to the nation’s highest court by former President Barack Obama, came one day after she attended the inauguration of President Donald J. Trump.

A few days after Trump’s November victory, Sotomayor commented publicly that people “can’t afford to despair” over the election any more than they can “afford to give up on pursuing the values that we and others have fought so hard to achieve.”

Coming soon: wood-fired pizzeria

Rudy’s Pizza closes, but only temporarily. By John McCaslin

Rudy’s Pizza lovers don’t fret!

Yes, the doors were shut to the “Best Pizza in Sperryville” this past Tuesday — but only “temporarily for renovation.” So assured Craig Batchelor, who with his wife Caitlin and brother Clay own the Sperryville Corner Store complex: the historic country store, Thornton River Grille, and pizza shop.

But here’s the best news: Batchelor revealed that Rudy’s will reopen as a “wood-fired pizzeria.”

When will we smell the aroma of pizza again? “Spring!” the owner replied with confidence.

The MacPhersons fill a room

The pews at the county courthouse were completely full last week (Jan. 18) for the Rappahannock County Planning Commission’s monthly meeting. And, in a nice change of pace, every citizen who stood up came to praise a project, not bury it.

County Administrator Debbie Keyser said no one could remember an application to the planning commission that generated more letters — all of which supported the project, she said.

The project, and the rezoning application heard by the commission, is that of John and Diane MacPherson, who are about to settle the sale of their Foster Harris House B&B (and its small, highly rated dining room) on Washington’s Main Street and are hoping to open a new place — a somewhat larger restaurant-only spot — in downtown Sperryville.

The old house on a hill at 4 Main St., its driveway right next to Sperryville Rescue Squad, will need some work — the MacPhersons freely acknowledge that. When all was said and done last Wednesday, the planners agreed; they recommended approval of the permit to the supervisors. They added three conditions that must be met, however: a VDOT-approved entranceway, now too narrow for commercial use; the rescue squad’s agreement on the reconfigured drive; and a site plan showing drainage and runoff plans.

“We are hopeful,” said John MacPherson on Tuesday. “We’ll know more in a couple of weeks. Right now, we just have boxes everywhere.”

The MacPhersons will have moved out of Foster Harris House by the time you read this, to a smaller home further north on Washington’s Main Street.

‘A walk in the woods’ for charity

This Saturday, Jan. 28, the 8th annual Benevolent Fund Celebrity Waiter Dinner will take place at the Washington School. The Rappahannock Benevolent Fund was formed in 2008 to provide emergency assistance to individuals and families with short-term needs.

“It’s a concerted community effort to help provide much needed emergency assistance to local families,” explains organizer Lindsay Sonnett.

The dinner is organized by a volunteer committee and community members, and is served by “celebrity” waiters. Admission is $85 per person but attendees are encouraged to come with additional funds because there will be many opportunities to contribute money to a good cause. And how’s this for generosity: all contributions will be matched up to $60,000 by an anonymous donor.

This year’s raffle items include, among others, a dinner for two at the Inn at Little Washington and half a hog from Bean Hollow Grassfed.

The dinner’s theme is a Walk in the Woods. In a change from past years, the dinner will feature a tapas-style buffet of hot and cold small plates, hors d’oeuvres, and mini-desserts supplied by local Rappahannock restaurants.

The evening entertainment will feature local talent including Richard Brady and Forrest Marquisee along with their respective bands. Decor will be woodsy so dress accordingly! With a few seats left, there’s still time to reserve your spot with Lindsay ( or Jane Whitfield (

Spring season

Spring is coming and Piedmont Softball Association in Amissville is now registering players. Any girl from Rappahannock and surrounding counties born anytime from 1998 through 2011 is welcome to join.

PSA offers every opportunity to develop all fastpitch softball skills — beginner through advanced — while having fun: local-league through tournament play; weekly dedicated pitching/catching practices; and individual attention for every player. Teams will be available in all age groups for which there is enough interest.

Registration fee is $55 or less, and covers the entire year (spring, summer, fall). Player and equipment scholarships are always available.

Girls may register in person Saturdays, Jan. 28 and Feb. 4, from 10 a.m. to noon; and also Sundays, Jan. 29 and Feb. 5, from noon to 2 p.m. at the ballfield (inside) at 10 Maddox Lane, Amissville, VA. You may also go to, print out the registration form (three pages) and mail it in.

For questions, check out the website or Piedmont Softball Association, Amissville, on Facebook or email,

Get off that sofa!

One doesn’t have to attend Rappahannock County Public Schools to take advantage of the valuable health and fitness services of Holly Jenkins, the school system’s Wellness Integration Specialist.

“Commit to Be Fit is a health and wellness program that offers fun exercise classes and nutrition workshops for the entire Rappahannock community,” Holly explains. “Everyone is invited to participate.”

Rappahannock County residents filled the elementary school gymnasium for last Saturday’s Commit to Be Fit class. Courtesy photo

The classes and workshops are held at various locations in both the elementary (RCES) and high school (RCHS) and every event is “free of charge.” How good a deal is that?

Here’s the list of upcoming events for the week of January 30th:

  • Monday, Jan. 30 — Step Classes, 3:45 pm and 5:30 p.m. (RCHS Band Room)
  • Tuesday, Jan. 31 — Walking/Running Group, 3:45 p.m. (RCES parking lot)
  • Wednesday, Feb. 1 — Balletone Class, 4:30 p.m. (RCES AUX Gym Band Room)
  • Thursday, Feb. 2 — Walking/Running Group, 3:45 p.m. (RCES parking lot); Yoga Class, 4 p.m. (RCES Music Room); Cardio Combat Class, 5:30 p.m. (RCES AUX Gym Band Room)
  • Friday, Feb. 3 — Country Heat Class, 3:45 p.m. (RCHS Auditorium)
  • Saturday, Feb. 4 — Fit Fun Circuit Class, 9 a.m. (RCES, meet at AUX Gym); Kids Yoga Class, 9 a.m. [ages 2-12] (RCES AUX Gym Band Room)

For more information contact Holly at

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