Rep. Tom Garrett, Virginia Republican, ought to moonlight as Rappahannock County’s tourism ambassador.
“I didn’t get to know Rappahannock County until I ran for Congress and represented Rappahannock County,” Garrett tells this newspaper. “Every time I drive to Little Washington or Sperryville, or any part of this county, every curve I go around I see something else that’s more beautiful than the last thing I saw.
“And I grew up in a rural area,” he adds. “We didn’t have the contour, the hills that you have that I think really separates you guys.”
The difficult task for the county, as Garrett points out — and everybody in Rappahannock is aware — is the balancing act between preservation and growth. Particularly given the county seat is a mere 57 miles from the Capital Beltway (only 34 miles from exploding Gainesville).
“There’s a real challenge to preserving the character of the community while understanding that there needs to be opportunity for people who grow up here to stay here,” the congressman notes.
“It’s ironic, because whether it’s Nelson 151 [a destination for wine, craft beer, and outdoor recreation along Route 151] or wineries on 29, or a distillery in Sperryville, one of the industries that has sprung up, and we were at a brewery in Madison yesterday, [all of which] allowed the character of the community to remain intact, but people have economic opportunities — distilling, brewing, winemaking, cideries. It’s pretty awesome.”
Concludes Garrett: “I bet you people in Rappahannock County like it this way.”