Washington column for July 27

RAAC’s open “Harvey” reading

Photo by Ray Boc

Over 35 people — actors and audience — participated in a reading of the comedy play “Harvey” at the RAAC Theatre this past Sunday, July 23rd. RAAC will be sponsoring more of these events as a way to expand community involvement in its theatre program.

Little Bug Inn

The Inn at Little Washington is pleased to announce a twelve room expansion — for insects. Created with the finest wood, leaves and twigs, the Little Bug Inn is available on a first come, first serve basis, and it is conveniently located next to the Inn’s vegetable garden. A variety of solitary bees, including leafcutter and carpenter bees, as well as a number of spiders, have already set up residence.

Inn at Little Washington adds rooms for the tiniest of guests Courtesy photo by The Inn at Little Washington

“We welcome all guests to the Inn, regardless of creed, color, political party or species,” said the Inn’s chef/proprietor Patrick O’Connell.

Bug hotels are built to encourage beneficial insects to set up shop in the garden, with the goal of inviting predators to eliminate harmful pests, and pollinators which will help optimize future garden growth. The use of different materials is designed to invite different types of insects.

As an example, logs with drilled holes or pieces of bamboo make an excellent home for solitary (non – nesting) bees and wasps such as carpenter bees and leafcutter bees. They lay their eggs inside the holes, allowing larvae to develop until they are ready to emerge. These types of bees are excellent pollinators, working more extended hours than honey bees who only work during fine weather. These solitary bees and wasps are non-aggressive since they have no nest or hive to protect. Several of the drilled hole logs are already full and were filled within 12 hours of completion.

Several rooms are ideal for spiders, ladybugs and earwigs, all of which are great garden predators, eating pests such as aphids and thrips. While the rooms were created with an aim to house these insects for the winter, many spiders have already moved in.

The insect house will be a part of the garden for many years to come. It has been weather proofed with beeswax and linseed oil to keep the interior dry, and some of the materials will be replaced yearly, typically in the early summer. Follow the Inn on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on the latest photos of the Little Bug Inn at Little Washington.

Other news from The Inn by Annette Larkin, SP Consulting

The Inn at Little Washington will soon celebrate a momentous occasion — its 40th anniversary — and the epic celebrations are a year in the making. One might wonder how an internationally known icon in the hospitality world, famous for its discriminating taste and glamorous style, will go about creating events worthy of its 40th Anniversary celebrations. The 5-Star Inn is rolling out a year-long series of events, both in the U.S. and in Europe.

First, the Inn has partnered with the Mount Vernon Ladies Association to host a Summer Garden Dinner titled “A Magnificent Dream at Mount Vernon,” George Washington’s beloved home. This celebration will be held on June 16, 2018.

At the gala event, Michelin-starred chef/proprietor of the Inn, Patrick O’Connell, will bring Washington’s legacy to life, inviting his guests to experience Mount Vernon as if they were being entertained there in the 1800s. The proceeds of this event will benefit Mount Vernon.

A second 40th anniversary celebration will pay tribute to O’Connell’s and Washington’s connections to France. The European gala will take place at Vaux le Vicomte, the greatest chateaux ever built, and the inspiration for Versailles. This palace, located 40 minutes from Paris, was created in 1661 by Nicolas Fouquet, Louis XIV’s minister of finance. The Inn’s celebration at Vaux le Vicomte will benefit a historic French charity that is soon to be announced.

In addition, a Woodstock-like summer festival and reunion of former employees and chefs from the last four decades is in planning. This two-day festival will include music, and an evening bonfire followed by “glamping” in luxury tents at the Inn’s Field of Dreams, which is adjacent, but not too close, to the Inn’s beloved llamas. This event will be open to the public and all proceeds will benefit Chef Patrick O’Connell’s foundation.

Patrick is well known for hosting theatrical extravaganzas and has created extraordinary events at the White House, Biltmore, the Vanderbilt mansion in Asheville, North Carolina, and the Peacock Room at the Freer Gallery in Washington. Patrick also hosted the Inn’s legendary 30th Anniversary at the Mellon Auditorium, which raised money for children’s charities.

Many other plans and projects are also in the works as The Inn continues its transformation of the tiny village of Washington. A street, given to the Inn by the town, has just been completed and is now lined with lamp posts and an allee of trees. Another historic home from the 1800s on the town square has been renovated and will now provide three charming guest suites with mountain views and a walled garden. The same historian who recently put a new roof on Mt. Vernon, George Washington’s home, is replicating the identical red roof on this building, named “Carter House.”

Patrick is finishing a compelling and colorful memoir, as well as discussing several exciting film projects. “2018 is shaping up to be the most exciting one in the last four decades,” said Patrick. “We’re thrilled with the momentum and the support from so many people.”

Birthday wishes

Birthday wishes go out to Lisa Dodson. She will celebrate her big day on Aug. 4. Lisa works at the Treasurer’s Office as a deputy treasurer.

Birthday wishes also go out to a special person, Clarissa Leggett, who will celebrate her special day on Aug. 12. Clarissa is a dear friend to many of us here in the town of Washington.

Picnic canceled

Thornton’s Gap Regular Baptist Church picnic that was going to take place on Saturday, Aug. 5, at the Recreation Park in Washington, has been canceled due to a scheduling conflict. It will be rescheduled in October. Watch for the date in the paper.

Book Barn news

The Book Barn adjacent to Rappahannock County Library has new science fiction arrivals to offer readers. Included is a large collection (five boxes) of hardback science fiction books by highly regarded sci-fi writers such as Margaret Ball, Alan Dean Foster, David Weber, and John Ringo. Also featured this week at the Book Barn will be top military history books and numerous large print editions of excellent popular fiction, all for sale at $1 each.

Stop by the Book Barn every Saturday from 9 a.m to 3 p.m. to browse and find some excellent summer reading.

New Venture Crew

Trinity Episcopal Church and Washington Baptist Church are excited to be joining together to start a new Venture Crew this fall. A Venture Crew is a youth group for boys and girls ages 14 and up. It is chartered under the umbrella of the Boy Scouts of America. This new group will be meeting once a month on Saturdays to do outings. Some ideas for outings include hiking, kayaking and trips to historical places and museums. The first outing will be Saturday, Sept. 23, will be visiting Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington. Please contact Juliet Del Grosso at phone/text: 540-220- 8187 or email: blooskyz@comcast.net for membership information.

Summer sale

R.H. Ballard Shop & Gallery, 307 Main Street, Washington, is having its annual rug clearance sale this week, 20 percent to 70 percent off. Small and large, many sizes and designs, modern and traditional. They are moving out a lot of great rugs and getting ready for fall shipments, which is just around the corner. Also, there are other fun sales going on throughout the shop. Sale ends July 30. The Ballard’s leave for buying trips in mid-August, and they are excited about what they will find!

R.H. Ballard Shop & Gallery, 307 Main Street, Washington, is having its annual rug clearance sale this week. Photo by Joanie Ballard

Sky observers

This year the Perseid Meteor shower is predicted to peak on the afternoon of Aug. 12. The best time to watch will be the morning hours that day between midnight and dawn.

Of course, the evening hours of Aug. 12-13 may end up being a good time to see them also. The moon is going to make the show a little less exciting than it could be. The expected rate is given at 60 meteors per hour, but it could be more or less. Since the moon will interfere, it is likely that less will be seen because the dimmer ones don’t become visible. Anyway, there could be a very neat meteor shower for those who would like to watch.

Stay cool and have a wonderful week!