The Rapp for March 23

Fourth Estate Friday

The staff of the Rappahannock News will be back at the table — specifically a large table at the newly opened Sperryville Trading Cafe & Market (11669 Lee Highway) in Sperryville — at 9 a.m. tomorrow, Friday, March 24, for our monthly public story conference. Please come by and tell us what you think about today’s paper, or what should (or shouldn’t) be in future editions. The coffee’s on us until 10. Call 540-675-3338 or email if you have questions.

 These hills are alive

A Netflix screen shot of Kid Pan Alley founder Paul Reisler. Courtesy photo

Acclaimed actress and singer Julie Andrews has a new Netflix series — Julie’s Greenroom — and Rappahannock County’s own Kid Pan Alley is featured in Episode 6.

“It’s a series about the creative arts and children produced by the Jim Henson Company, the creators of Sesame Street,” explains Kid Pan Alley founder Paul Reisler. “Kid Pan Alley’s episode features the incredible Sara Bareilles. The segment was filmed at a summer camp last summer in Amherst, Virginia called Summer Stage.”

The segment shows the talented Reisler working with the children to write a song.

“Kid Pan Alley’s segment is featured at about 14 minutes into the show, though you’ll want to watch the whole thing. It’s charming,” notes Reisler, adding that all the episodes are now available on Netflix.

Kid Pan Alley just returned from a songwriting residency at Loyola Village Performing Arts Magnet School in Los Angeles and began a residency this week at Wakefield Country Day School in Flint Hill. Visit

Grape weather we’re having

Rappahannock Cellars, pictured here last weekend surrounded by snow, has welcomed the recent cold snap in Rappahannock County. Photo by John McCaslin

We reported earlier this month that Rappahannock County fruit growers were keeping their fingers crossed, what with the upside down weather that ushered in spring-like temperatures in February and winter-like temperatures in March.

Now we’re told by the Virginia Department of Agriculture’s Elaine Lidholm that the peaches that were farther along the budding process and the apricots that had already bloomed means that farmers “could lose a lot of fruit or an entire crop on those trees.”

However, for the county’s local apple and wine grape growers the March cold snap actually spelled good news, according to Lidholm. Apple grower Phil Glaize, who has 600 acres of trees in nearby Winchester, went so far as to comment after the most recent March snowstorm: “This is exactly what the doctor ordered. The cold delayed the blooming process . . . and it made my day. I’m so happy I may go out and build a snowman.”

Annette Ringwood Boyd with the Virginia Wine Marketing Office had a similar positive outlook: “The early heat really had us worried but the recent cold has helped. Wine grapes are not at bud break yet and the cold slows down that process, so the cold weather was good news for grape growers.”

As for other fruit trees, we won’t know about this year’s harvest for several more weeks.

New counter coming

When revealing last week than Shenandoah National Park in 2016 saw its most visitors in the last 15 years, we’d pointed out that the traffic counter at the Thornton Gap Entrance Station actually hasn’t worked since it was struck by lightning last August.

“The new traffic counter is on order,” Sally Hurlbert, the park’s management specialist, now assures us. “We don’t have a date as to when it will arrive and ultimately be installed. The holdup was because we had questions about the wiring that runs under the pavement to where the traffic counter is located. Now that those questions have been answered, we are ready to install the new traffic counter when it arrives.

“In the meantime,” Hurlbert explained, “the traffic was counted each month using a statistical analysis that uses the actual number of sales of entrance passes at the station and compares it to the average numbers of visitors who entered at that entrance station over last 5 years. We realize that the numbers that are reported aren’t exact, but they are the best we can do with a broken counter, and is a standard practice to fall back on when counters are broken.”

Old Dominion Hounds

The annual Old Dominion Hounds Point-to-Point is slated April 8 at Ben Venue Farm in Ben Venue. Post time is 12 p.m. for the first of at least eight races over hurdles, over timber and on the turf. A sighthound lure coursing event begins at 11 a.m. Gates open at 10 a.m.

Though ODH is currently kenneled on Henchman’s Lea Farm near Orlean, the original ODH kennels was at the intersection of Crest Hill Road and North Poes Road in Flint Hill, and more than half the club’s hunting territory is in Rappahannock County. Some ODH territory is shared with Rappahannock Hunt.

Admission options range from general admission to railside tailgate reserved spaces. Ticket information is available by calling 540-270-7353. More details on the Old Dominion Hounds is on their website:

Third EXCEL Honors

Rappahannock County’s Nan Butler Roberts, co-founder and CEO of Women in Worship Ministries, tells us that the group’s Third EXCEL Honors Luncheon is now set for Saturday, Sept. 9, 11:30 a.m., at the Fredericksburg EXPO Center. More importantly, the process is now open to nominate women who have distinguished themselves in their field of study or work. In addition, girls and young women ages 15 to 25 years may be nominated for the “Generation NEXT” Award. Nominations will be open until June 15.

Women in Worship Ministries is a non-profit, Christian organization that provides Christian fellowship for women and girls of all nationalities and cultures. The group says it “uses various formats such as dynamic teaching and preaching in workshop and/or worship experience, networking opportunities with other women and girls who are walking in their destinies for greater Kingdom building.”

Check out the website at for information on nomination requirements. Tickets for the luncheon are $45/adults, and $25/students. Tickets will soon be available for purchase online or phone 540-661-2013 or 540-786-8736 to place ticket orders. Email for more information.

Run, Heidi, run

Looking to donate to a worthy cause? Rappahannock native Heidi Maeyer is running the Fodderstack 10k on April 22 to benefit sport and recreational opportunities for people of all ages with disabilities. More officially she will be running on behalf of the Student Occupational Therapy Association of James Madison University, raising money for Therapeutic Adventures (TA).

An adaptive sports program in our region of Virginia, TA provides sport and outdoor recreational opportunities for the disabled, including snow skiing, fly fishing, handcycling, kayaking, sled hockey and surfing.

Checks can be made out to Therapeutic Adventures, Inc., EIN #: 54-1779203. If writing a check please also reference either Heidi Maeyer or the Fodderstack race. Donations can be handed personally to Heidi or mailed to: Heidi Maeyer, P.O. Box 297, Sperryville VA 22740. Any questions please contact TA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable education organization.

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