The Rapp for Feb. 2

MacPhersons withdraw application

John and Diane MacPherson, until recently the longtime owners of the Foster Harris House B&B in Washington, have withdrawn their rezoning application with Rappahannock County in a quest to open a small restaurant at 4 Main Street in Sperryville.

Among the larger stumbling blocks, the Virginia Department of Transportation [VDOT] had determined that the entranceway to the proposed restaurant site — a hillside farmhouse overlooking Route 211 — was too narrow for commercial use.

“As many of you know, the challenges of meeting the VDOT requirements for the driveway were significant,” the MacPhersons posted on Monday evening to Facebook, expressing their gratitude to the community for its support.

“We were hopeful that with the help of Dan Clark, surveyor extraordinaire, and the fact that our small restaurant conformed to a Low Volume Commercial Entrance stipulation in VDOT regulations, we’d succeed,” the couple wrote.

“Well, we’re sad to say we just couldn’t make the driveway conform to all of the VDOT safety standards within a reasonable budget. We’ll continue our search for that perfect little building here in Rappahannock County. Until then, we look forward to seeing you all around town and in our beautiful countryside.”

The day before the MacPhersons withdrew their application, Washington attorney David L. Konick stirred the pot by sending a Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] request to VDOT surrounding the disputed property.

Then, in a separate letter Monday to VDOT Commissioner Charles Kilpatrick, Konick made it clear that he opposed the property being rezoned for commercial use without major safety improvements.

Citing VDOT’s sight-distance requirements, Konick said “[t]hese factors are exactly the reasons why this particular property was not given ‘commercial village’ zoning classification . . . when the 1986 Rappahannock County Zoning Ordinance was adopted.

”Konick then opined to the VDOT commissioner that “certain ‘powers to be’ in Rappahannock County are trying to railroad this through . . . despite the obvious public safety issues and its non-conformity with applicable regulations . . .

“If VDOT approves this proposal despite its obvious non-conformities and later on someone is seriously injured because safety requirements and regulations were ignored, someone will be held responsible,” the attorney warned.

That said, VDOT didn’t seem to be budging anyway from their original thumbs-down assessment of the entrance.

“This appears to be an attempt to avoid access management standards for commercial entrances,” Joseph W. Webb, VDOT’s area land use engineer, wrote to his supervisors last month. “I don’t believe the entrance is safe for any use including a private entrance.

”Still, with dozens of friends and supporters of the MacPhersons packing the county courthouse on Jan. 18, the Rappahannock County Planning Commission voted 5-0 (with one abstention by member Alvin Henry) to recommend approval of the application to the Rappahannock Board of Supervisors, granted certain conditions were met, not the least being those imposed by VDOT.

Trinity’s new ministry

Trinity Rector The Rev. H. Miller Hunter, Jr.

Virginia’s Episcopal Bishop The Right Rev. Shannon Sherwood Johnston of Richmond offered his blessing over last evening’s (Wednesday, Feb. 1) “Celebration of New Ministry” with The Rev. H. Miller Hunter, Jr., as Rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Washington.

Trinity’s former longtime rector Jennings W. “Jenks” Hobson III came to read the gospel at the spiritual celebration, which also included the dedication of the refurbished Trinity Parish Hall and a reception.

“Bishop Johnston and I were ordained on the same day,” observed Rev. Hunter, who is in his 29th year as a parish priest.

He began his ministry as Curate of the Church of the Holy Comforter in Montgomery, Ala.; served four years as Canon of the Cathedral of the Advent in Birmingham, Ala.; 17 years as Rector of St. Paul’s Ivy in Charlottesville; and most recently five years as Vicar of Christ Church in Raleigh, N.C.

Now one month into the new year, Rev. Hunter said the Rappahannock community will witness in 2017 “a much more engaged ministry” in Trinity.

“We will build on our strong outreach ministry,” explained the new rector, revealing that the church’s outreach budget will “triple” this year.

Joel Fan comes to the Theatre next weekend.

Pianist Joel Fan at the Theatre

Joel Fan is recognized for his work with cellist Yo-Yo Ma as a member of the Silk Road Ensemble, appearing at Carnegie Hall and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., and on the television programs Good Morning America and Late Night with David Letterman.

“Soaring!” declared the Los Angeles Times.

Next Sunday, Feb. 12, at 3 p.m., Fan will play selections from Chopin, Brahms, and Liszt at the Little Washington Theatre.  Tickets, $25 for adults; under 18, $10. For reservations and more information, go to or 540-675-1253.

Groundbreaking ‘Rattlesnake’

Joel Fan comes to the Theatre next weekend.

Award-winning actor John Hardy performs his one-man play, Rattlesnake, Saturday, Feb. 11, at 4 p.m., at Castleton in Performance (CiP).

Written by Hardy and directed by associate artistic director Katy Brown, the virtuoso tour-de-force tells the devastating story of a West-Texas man who goes to great lengths to achieve fatherhood. Hardy plays 16 different roles, taking the audience from Texas to Paris and back over the course of 30 years.

“It’s a pleasure to perform this play because audiences have no idea what the play will be like,” said Hardy. “It’s unique to have a play that is unlike anything out there, and yet is so easily enjoyed by both veteran theater-goers and those new to the theater.”

“John’s Rattlesnake performance is revolutionary, and Katy’s directing is seamless,” said Burnett Thompson, director of CiP. “We are thrilled to have John showcase his unforgettable acting and writing talents for our audience.”

“We are honored to have John kick off the new year in his brilliant performance,” added Castleton CEO and Artistic Director Dietlinde Maazel. In 1997, she and her husband, Maestro Lorin Maazel, converted the once-overlooked chicken house into today’s Castleton Theatre House, one of the most exquisite performance spaces in the world.

Tickets for the CiP 20th Anniversary concerts range from $20 to $40, and the performance will be held in the Theatre House (663 Castleton View Road, Castleton), an intimate, state-of-the-art 140-seat proscenium theatre.

There will be one intermission. Call 703-489-8704 for more information and visit to purchase tickets.

Feel the country heat

Rappahannock County residents are responding enthusiastically to Commit to Be Fit,  a school sponsored, grant funded program that offers weekly exercise classes and wellness workshops for the entire community, young and old alike. Through the generosity of the Path foundation, Commit to Be Fit was created to help promote healthier lifestyles for students, staff, and county employees and residents.

All classes, workshops, and events are “free of charge” and held at the Rappahannock County Public Schools.

Upcoming Events for the Week of February 6th

Monday, Feb. 6-8, Week Challenge Workshop — 6:00 p.m. (RCES AUX Gym Band Room)

Tuesday, Feb. 7, Walking/Running Group — 3:45 p.m. (RCES parking lot)

Wednesday, Feb. 8, Step Classes — 3:45 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. (RCHS Band Room); Balletone Class- 4:30 p.m. (RCES AUX Gym Band Room)

Thursday, Feb. 9,  Walking/Running Group — 3:45 p.m. (RCES parking lot); Yoga Class — 4:00 p.m. (RCES Music Room); Cardio Combat Class — 5:30 p.m. (RCES AUX Gym Band Room)

Friday, Feb.10, Country Heat Class — 3:45 p.m. (RCHS Auditorium)

Saturday, Feb. 11,  Fit Fun Circuit Class — 9:00 a.m. (RCES- meet at AUX Gym); Kids Yoga Class (ages 2-12) — 9:00 a.m. (RCES AUX Gym Band Room)

For more information on upcoming events, contact Holly Jenkins, Wellness Integration Specialist, at

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