The Rapp for March 15

Good riddance

For some residents of Rappahannock County it took an entire week to get their electricity turned back on, but hats were off to crews from Rappahannock Electric Cooperative (REC) and more than 200 additional linemen from six other states — 27 co-ops in all — who worked around the clock to restore power after the powerful Nor’easter dubbed Riley blew across the Blue Ridge two weeks ago and outened the lights.

Clean-up continues throughout Rappahannock following the powerful Nor’easter that struck the county two weeks ago, including removing of these tree branches on Highway 211 west of Sperryville. By John McCaslin

“We know this was difficult,” said Robbie Beard, manager of REC’s western region that includes Rappahannock. “Whether members were offline for a day or a week, going without electricity is more than an inconvenience. It’s unsettling. We greatly appreciate members’ patience as the guys worked nonstop through challenging terrain to rebuild much of REC’s infrastructure.

“We’re grateful not only to REC’s line workers, but also to all the crews who came from other parts of Virginia and six other states to help us get members reconnected,” Beard said.

As for storm facts: REC crews replaced more than 350 broken poles that snapped in two from the hurricane force winds; more than 71,000 REC members experienced a power outage (including a majority of Rappahannock County) although over 112,000 power outages were restored because some members experienced repeat outages; and thousands of trees in Rappahannock County came crashing down, mainly pines.

Irish chef

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of The Inn at Little Washington, Ireland’s award-winning country house hotel Ballyfin has arranged a gastronomic weekend in collaboration with “Irish Chef Patron Patrick O’Connell.”

The event will unite two of the world’s finest chefs — O’Connell and Ballyfin’s San Moody — and hotels, both members of Relais & Chateaux, over two evenings on April 6 and 7. Guests will be presented with a specially designed six course tasting menu showcasing some of The Inn’s classic dishes, all accompanied with wines selected by Ballyfin’s sommelier.

“Everyone has their own fantasy of the perfect country house hotel and mine is Ballyfin — and not just because I’m Irish!” said O’Connell. “Rarely has any hotel touched a nerve or struck a chord with me the way Ballyfin did on my first visit there . . .”

Adult camp

Adults share camping experiences with young campers at Rapp Nature Camp. Courtesy photo

Camp veteran Lyt Wood reminds us that the first day of spring is less than a week away, and Rapp Nature Campers of all ages are optimistically looking forward to the chance to observe hawks migrating through the clouds, dragonflies hunting over ponds and streams, and wildflowers welcoming the springtime sun.

Rapp Nature Camp’s 33rd year of day camps for young children is already at full enrollment with a growing waiting list, but there will be many other programs this year. At 4 p.m. this Sunday, March 18, at the CCLC shelter at 12763 Lee Highway, there will be “Spring Nature Camp for Adults.”

Rappahannock’s perennial campers will experience mushroom hunts, bird hikes, an introduction to birds and birding, clouds and weather, tree ID, and stillwater paddling on the Shenandoah River to observe nesting orioles and carp breeding activity.

Another day-long event is planned from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 28. No charge and no pre- registration is necessary.

Information on all the programs is available at or call 540-987-9530.

Star gazing

Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection is holding a series of events to celebrate the county’s star-filled night skies. First up is this Saturday, March 17. Meet at 7 p.m. at the Rappahannock County Park on Route 211, across from the town Washington, and learn about star viewing while viewing the stars with telescopes.

Astronomers with telescopes are welcome to come early (6 p.m.) if they need time to set up. Please feel free to bring your own telescopes. And bring a camera, as Joyce Harman will be on hand with her camera and explain how to take dark sky pictures.

This is a fun, family event that will inspire people to spend more time appreciating Rappahannock County’s night skies. Even if cloudy meet at the park pavilion to learn more about star viewing, telescopes and night photography. In the event of rain, come to next event planned for April 14th.

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