Down Memory Lane for March 22

Sept. 13, 1990

When Vinnie Carney, Susan Parrish and Sharon Pierce decided to open a bookstore, they requested information from the national trade association about how to start.

The package they received from the American Booksellers Association, Pierce said, “told us not to even open a store without at least 50,000 potential customers.”

The tiny size of the Cabin Fever Store, located on Main Street in Washington, just past the Washington House of Reproductions, make buying decisions “a challenge,” according to Pierce.

But packed into the small, two story building (one of the three remaining log cabins in Little Washington) are hundreds of books, including a special section just for children — conveniently placed at the just right height to allow them to browse on their own.

And, for those looking for a particular book not stocked by the store, special orders are just part of the service for Cabin Fever. “It’s not just good customer relations — it’s a part of our orientation,” Parrish explained. “In a shop this size we can’t carry everything people want, but we can get the books quickly.”

When the Middle Street Gallery planned a panel discussion to accompany the opening of its “Sacred Cows” exhibition, the organizers said they hoped the public would attend, “loaded for bear.”

Both the public and the bear came to the Town hall.

Though the panel featured three artists, and the audience was primarily made up of artists also, there proved to be plenty of divergence of views between the artists and also with others in the audience.

Attorney Douglas Baumgardner, the sole non-artist on the panel, drew some heated comments after he suggested that “anti-obscenity” content restrictions seemed to him to be a reasonable response to criticism from conservatives.

From a legal point of view, he said, the idea of the government providing money to pay for something judged legally obscene — thus in effect abetting a crime — is wrong.

But, he noted, “there are nervous Constitutional nightmares that confront the drafters of such laws.”

Nov. 17 1999

Pursuing the issue raised by council member Alice Butler at its October meeting, the Washington Town Council discussed the possibility of regulating helicopter landings within town boundaries.

Town attorney John Bennett presented relevant portions of the Culpeper town and county codes for reference. The Town of Culpeper permits heliports in its limited industrial M-1 District on a conditional basis, and the County of Culpeper similarly authorizes airports and air landing strips in A-1 Agricultural Districts.

Bennett summarized the legal issues and options available to the town: airspace is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration, and local government does have the right to regulate helicopter landings via land use and zoning regulations; and the Town Council would have the authority to develop and promulgate helicopter landings within town limits as long as such regulations are clear and not arbitrary.

Alice Butler expressed her support for such a regulation — the proximity of past landings to her residence has caused her to question the safety of landings near residential areas, and led her to raise the issue in the first place.

After a eight year run, Mary Carlson will close her bed and breakfast the week before Christmas. She has had a long, successful career with her B & B. But the business has kept her away from seeing her grandchildren grow up.

Carlson says, “I missed everything with my grandchildren. But I enjoyed it very much and my husband let me do it.”

Carlson’s decision to close has been difficult as she has enjoyed it so much.

She says, “There’ll be days I’ll felt I shouldn’t have closed. But my gut feeling is that it’s time to do it. The real reason is I am prioritizing and my family is my top priority.”

“I have a wealth of endless stories that I shall always cherish and maybe, one day, write down.”

The Carlsons plan to stay in the county as long they can physically keep Blue Knoll Farm together and that should probably be good while.