The Rapp for April 26

Fourth Estate Friday

This Friday, April 27, is the Rappahannock News’ monthly public story-conference meeting, where we’ll be discussing everything under the sun with our readers — whether it’s the proposed FY19 county budget, the coming bike trail, or the 5th District Democratic Convention.

Hope to see you at 9 a.m. at Before & After, 31 Main Street in Sperryville. The coffee’s on us.

Spring Plant Sale

Spring kicks off in Rappahannock County this Saturday, April 28, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with the 17th Annual Rappahannock Spring Plant Sale at Waterpenny Farm in Sperryville.

A peek inside a greenhouse at Waterpenny Farm finds just a few of the fresh assortment of plants awaiting Saturday’s 17th Annual Rappahannock Spring Plant Sale. By John McCaslin

As usual, many local growers will have their native plants, perennials, shrubs, herbs, small trees and flowers for sale. There will also be handcrafted metal garden ornaments, and the Rappahannock Nature Camp will have nectar plants, pollinator plants, fig trees and even a mushroom inoculation station for kids.

This year members of the Old Rag Master Naturalists (ORMN) will be sharing their knowledge of native plants, host plants and pollinator loving nectar plants. And at 1:30, there will be a free 45-minute kids program, “Planting for Pollinators.”

Headmaster’s Pub will be providing delicious food for breakfast and lunch as a fundraiser. And Mudlarks will be playing the tunes.

Spa changes hands

“For five years my heart has been with Little Washington Spa, as I have shared my passion for massage with our many clients,” says the popular Ashley Smith. “I am grateful to announce that founder Jackie Meuse has graciously passed the Spa to me this April. I’m humbled and honored by this gift.

Ashley Smith and Rich Sitorius are anxious to greet you at the Little Washington Spa. By John McCaslin

“Rich Sitorius — my business and life partner — and I are excited to continue to offer the community a beautiful oasis for relaxation and wellness, just as Jackie Meuse intended. We are fortunate to have a supportive and extremely talented wellness team; together we look forward to what the future holds for Little Washington Spa.”

The spa is located at 261 Main Street in Washington. Phone 540-675-1031.

Ducks geared up

Beneficial rains this week will speed up the course for Saturday’s much-anticipated Great Rubber Duck Race Down the Mighty Thornton River. The race begins at 2:30 p.m., and will run the entire length of the Thornton River through Sperryville, ending near Pen Druid Brewing in the River District.

There’s a call for volunteers to serve as “Duck Enablers,” to launch the 250 rubber ducks into the river; “Duck Dodgers” to encourage ducks that might get sidetracked at certain points; “Duck Chasers” to follow behind the pack and make certain every duck crosses the finish line; and “Duck Hunters” to round up every duck at the conclusion so they don’t wind up in the Atlantic Ocean.

Those cheering on the numbered ducks are encouraged to take a lovely walk to the River District finish line rather than drive, as parking will be restricted along Water Street. And while dogs are welcome along the course of the river, it’s asked that they not enter the grass area surrounding the finish line.

Parents’ Choice

Rappahannock’s own Kid Pan Alley recently won an award from the Parents’ Choice Foundation for their new album, One Little Song Can Change the World. Reviewed earlier by this newspaper, the album features songs about respect — for each other, the community, the environment and oneself.

Rappahannock based Kid Pan Alley has received a Parents’ Choice award. Courtesy photo

Kid Pan Alley founder Paul Reisler wrote the songs with children at 10 schools, including the 3rd grade at Rappahannock Elementary.

A reminder that Kid Pan Alley is participating in Give Local Piedmont again this year along with over 150 other organizations in Rappahannock, Fauquier, Madison and Culpeper counties. Contributions to Kid Pan Alley will be more than doubled thanks to a matching gift from board members.

To find all the worthwhile organizations visit

Night skies

Last Saturday, April 14, the Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection held its first dark skies event at the Rappahannock County Park as part of applying for a Dark Skies Park designation from the International Dark-Sky Association.

Volunteers from Northern Virginia Astronomy (NOVAC) showing off their telescopes and sharing the night skies of Rappahannock County. Courtesy photo

Approximately 50 people attended the fun-filled evening with astronomers, telescopes, cameras and light refreshments. A number of volunteers from the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club (NOVAC) shared celestial views from their telescopes and gave a talk on planetary orbital motion.

Ray Boc gave a presentation on night photography. RLEP’s Torney Van Acker shared a presentation titled, “Why Smart Outdoor Lighting Matters,” outlining how the choice of outdoor lighting can impact our night skies for star viewing, improve home/personal security and reduce the impact on human and animal health.

The presentation also explained RLEP’s initiative to maintain the quality of the night skies over Rappahannock by offering county residents lighting alternatives free of charge that would also provide improved lighting for work tasks and personal security. To learn more about this program, call RLEP at 703-250-7943.

By the way, RLEP and NASA will present the blockbuster presentation, “The Birth, Life and Death of Stars,” by Greg Redfern, NASA Solar System Ambassador, this Saturday April 28, at the Castleton Festival, 7 Castleton View Lane, at 4 p.m. The event is free.

About Staff/Contributed 5503 Articles
The Rappahannock News welcomes contributions from any and all members of the community. Email news and photos to or call us at 540-675-3338.