Let the holidays begin!
It’s that time! Christmas in Little Washington kicks off the Rappahannock holiday celebrations this Sunday, Dec. 10.
The artisans’ markets will open at 11 a.m. at no less than five different sites throughout the historic town. There will also be many choices for unique food that open at the same time.
Breaking news from the parade committee: now that holiday weather has crept in, there will be heating stations scattered throughout the markets and parade route for those in need of warmth (of course dress appropriately with hats and mittens).
The parade will begin promptly at 1 p.m., with the ringing of the church bells, stepping off at Middle and Gay streets. Grand Marshal George Washington and his lovely lady will lead the parade, and following his grand tour will review the parade from the porch of the Trinity Parish House.
The parade features all of Rappahannock’s grand life with school children, community groups, and lots of animals of all sizes. And of course Rappahannock News Citizen of the Year Jimmy Swindler will be waving to the crowds from his chauffeured convertible. Official parade judges will be ensconced in front of the Little Washington Spa with prizes to be presented in numerous categories (look in next week’s paper for the winning entries).
Come one and come all to celebrate the holidays and Rappahannock County.
And remember, this is a fundraiser for the Rappahannock Food Pantry — elves will circulate among the crowd hoping for some “pennies (or more)” in the hat, so please be generous.
Keep in mind that streets will close promptly at 12:45 for several hours. Free parking will be provided at the nearby Washington Fire House, with the Lions Club directing traffic.
If weather dares to be inclement, call 540-675-3128 for a recorded status update.
The full parade lineup:
Knights of Columbus
Army Fife & Drum Corps
Grand Marshal George Washington
Rappahannock News Citizen of Year Jimmy Swindler
Board of Supervisors
Cub Scout Pack 123
Boy Scout Troop 36
Boy Scout Venture Crew 36
Antique Classic Cars
Red Hill Riders
Rappahannock Co. Cheerleaders & Mascot
Rappahannock Co. HS Band
The Hair Gallery
Washington Baptist Youth Drama Club
Child Care & Learning Center
CFC Farm Home Center float
Thornton Gap Regular Baptist Church
St. Peter’s Church/Knights
Naughty Little Goat Farm
Mini Whinnies & Bitty Brayers Club
Amissville Full Gospel Church
Boy Scouts 316
Cub Scouts 316
Rose Hill Veterinarian float
Belle Meade Montessori School
Washington Fire Department
Future Post Office
Rick Hancock, a North Carolina-based U.S. Postal Service real estate specialist who is in charge of finding a new space for the soon-to-shutter U.S. Post Office in the county seat of Washington, will arrive next month to meet residents and answer questions about a new postal facility.
The Post Office announced it will move from its current space at 389 Main Street #B to a yet to be determined location “in or near” Washington.
“That is our goal,” Hancock told this newspaper. “Obviously we would want to stay in Washington itself, but that’s [only] a couple of blocks here and there.”
Mayor John Fox Sullivan conceded earlier that “if there is nothing acceptable in the town” then the Post Office could move “out on 211 somewhere.”
Hancock will be introduced at the regular Washington Town Council meeting, Monday, Jan. 8 at 7 p.m.
The much-anticipated I-66 “Inside the Beltway Express Lanes” opened this week, and for any Rappahannock commuters who haven’t experienced the new traffic patterns (and related costs) VDOT has unveiled a website: 66ExpressLanes.org.
Bottom line, get an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex. The express lanes, which are open Monday through Friday, 5:30-9:30 a.m. eastbound, and 3 to 7 p.m. westbound, purportedly are designed to move people “with greater speed and reliability.”
In addition, “solo drivers” for the first time are permitted to use the highway during rush hour, albeit paying a hefty price for the privilege (carpoolers and motorcyclists drive toll-free).
Toll calculators will be activated each day displaying “rate estimates,” with the cost fluctuating with traffic demands. But his past Monday, during the morning rush, the cost to travel the 9 mile stretch reached an outrageous $34.50. That afternoon, VDOT said not to worry, it had to work out the bugs. But on Tuesday morning the toll reached a staggering $40.
Oh, and if you’re among Rappahannock residents increasingly held up by I-66 traffic closer to home — what with explosive growth around Marshall, Haymarket and Gainesville — look for I-66’s “Outside the Beltway Express Lanes” to open in mid-2022. What the toll cost could be by then remains to be seen.
Comings & goings
As departing Rappahannock antiques dealer Berni Olson puts it: “Season Changes, Life Changes.”
“After nearly 10 years of Ginger Hill Antiques, I will be moving onto the next phase of my life,” she says. “We will be closing Ginger Hill December 31. River District Artists and The Shops will remain open after December 31.
“Mountainside Physical Therapy owner Annie Williams has purchased the building and will be bringing her creativity and enthusiasm keeping The Shops and River District Artists open. Dan [Lewis] will remain with The Shops with his unique collection of items and handy work with clocks.”
Olson says JLR Auctions will liquidate the Lee Highway shop’s inventory via online online auction — jlrauctions.com — beginning Saturday, Dec. 9, and ending Dec. 21.
“Over the past years I’ve met so many wonderful people, learned heaps about antiques and even more about history,” says Olson. “I’m grateful for the past 10 years and look forward to what life has to offer next.”
Meanwhile, Mike and Molly Peterson are closing their Heritage Hollow Farm retail store in Sperryville — or as Molly stresses online: “Not going out of business: pivoting. Changing direction. Store closing: Yes. Farm closing: No — still farming. Meat available: Yes. But in different ways.”
The couple’s son, Alden, recently celebrated his first birthday, and as his mom puts it after the family’s whirlwind year “we’re getting our feet under us again.”
December 30 will be the final day at 7 River Lane, unless the store runs out of meat first. “We encourage you to shop now and shop large,” Molly writes in their farm’s newsletter.
Finally, word around the town of Washington is that the “campus” of Patrick O’Connell’s Inn at Little Washington could soon be expanding, namely with another historical addition to the Inn’s numerous properties. More on that if and when official word comes.
Paulie not Polly
Sperryville resident-turned-bird-tracker Dabney Hammer Kirchman, who recently held the ladder steady while her intrepid husband Paul rescued the elusive “Sperryville Parrot” from a church bell tower before winter’s icy grip took hold, has received good news from the veterinarian:
“He is quite healthy!” Dabney relays via online post.
“Negative for all the diseases they tested for, slightly elevated liver enzymes (meaning too much fat in his diet). And he is a he. He’s settling in quite well, though pretty shy. He’s eating well — blueberries, sweet peppers, Harrison’s pellets, and a few seeds. He’s also chewing like crazy on different parrot chew toys, and bathing occasionally. Now that he has a clean bill of health we can introduce him to our other parrots. He makes tiny quacks, and lets us know if a hawk is nearby . . . anyway, just thought his fan club might want an update!”
Knows her cows
Louisa Ann Kita of Washington has become a junior member of the American Angus Association — the honor announced no less by Allen Moczygemba, the CEO of the national organization headquartered in Saint Joseph, Mo.
Now as a junior member of the association Louisa is eligible to register her cattle in the American Angus Association, participate in programs conducted by the National Junior Angus Association, and take part in association-sponsored shows and other national and regional events.
The American Angus Association is the largest beef breed association in the world, with more than 25,000 active adult and junior members.
Rappahannock County Artisan Trail members throw open holiday-decorated doors to entertain this Saturday, Dec. 9. Look for yellow flags to identify locations.
Amissville: Magnolia Vineyards and Winery: Make cork ornaments, $5 per craft, 11:30 to 5:30.
Flint Hill/Huntly: Griffin Tavern: Elizabeth Lawrence Band, 8:30. Rappahannock Cellars: Mulled wine and Christmas tunes, 11:30 to 6.
Sperryville: Blue Ridge Artisans: Ceramics to woodworking to hand-dyed yarns, 11 to 5; River District Potters: Make an ornament during free workshop, 1 to 3.
Washington: Little Washington Winery: Two-hour class with food and chocolate pairings, 11 to 1:30. Middle Street Gallery: Artist’s reception 3 to 5; Old Rag Photography: Holiday show with photographers, 11 to 4; Quievremont Winery: Forrest and Jonathan Marquisee play originals, 3 to 6. Evolution of firearms discussion by Army Capt. Matthew DiRisio, 7:30. Warmglass Designs: Create fused glass ornament and suncatcher. $20 workshop fee, 11 to 2.