New art and fitness studios open in Sperryville

Martin Woodard is a thoughtful, quiet spoken man. He’s known not only for his successful real estate practice shared with his realtor wife, Cheri, but also for his artistic flair. He’s been on the artists tour for many a year, and his studio at one time was located in his barn, precariously situated upon a third floor loft and, he tells with a smile, without benefit of heat or air conditioning.

In recent months, Martin has opened a new art studio, formerly housing Kevin Adams’ works. Its charming interior is flooded with bright sunshine and warmth, conveniently located just across the street from the Cheri Woodard Realty office in Sperryville.

Vibrant oil paintings adorn the walls of Martin Woodard’s new art studio in Sperryville. By Chris Green

Vibrant oil paintings adorn the walls, including a wall dedicated to Juba Mountain Pottery, Susan Dienelt’s finely crafted high-fired stoneware. Martin is self described as an old school broker with a new school attitude. His business philosophy contributes to his professional success and his love of his beautiful FT Valley farm, inspiring his bold and vivid depictions of gentle rolling hills, woods and pastures and landscapes dotted with ancient barns filled with the silence of long held whispers and secrets of days gone by.

He’s gratified to see his paintings decorating homes that he has sold, but as a former stonemason he enjoys seeing both of his crafts present on a property, which he calls a “twofer.”

The studio is located at 36 Main Street and is open by appointment and/or by chance. Martin can be reached at 540-987-8500 and his email is

Meanwhile, a ribbon cutting ceremony will be held this Sunday, April 29th, from 2 to 4 p.m. celebrating the long awaited opening of a state-of-the art expansion of the Stonewall Abbey Wellness Center. The new addition, built by Home Tech Construction Services, is designed by architect Bill Smith.

According to the announcement: “Stonewall Abbey Wellness isn’t just a gym. It’s a community wellness and fitness center in the heart of Sperryville, delivering an unrivaled experience from training to regeneration. Our 5,000 square foot facility is a perfect blend of historic beauty and modern function. Our exquisite 1901 A-framed Abbey offers a wonderfully warm & bright practice space for our mind/body classes and boasts a new addition Full Service Gym with top of line equipment, expert nationally certified Personal Training as well as world class, engaging Group Fitness Programming that includes Yoga, Qigong, Martial Arts, TRX, Strength & Conditioning for every age, Stand Up Paddle Boarding ,Thai Massage & more. Whether you are looking to have the strength, mobility and fitness to enjoy your golden years, be in the best shape of your life, or get your family more active and have fun while living a healthier lifestyle, we provide the service and experience that you are looking for, only minutes away.”

A recent tour taken with founder and co-owner Susan Huff brings me through the high-ceilinged, sunlit Abbey where one envisions students practicing the ancient Asian discipline of qigong fusion led by Master Gordon Wicks. I can hear the sound of modulated deep-breathing techniques — the quiet and focus palpable — filling the hallowed space. Susan escorts me, her enthusiasm infectious through the connecting hallway to the new gym. State-of-the art facilities doesn’t begin to describe the ultra modern facility, a sauna and massage center celebrating silence inside a soundproof room, an ADA bathroom with gorgeous tiles and spongy spring flooring constructed for martial arts practice, and fitness classes. Free weights and weight machines are situated beneath enormous windows. Sunlight streams through the entire room and gleaming off the black mat flooring where the brand new cardio and strength equipment are situated.

Co-owner Susan Huff poses in the newly expanded Stonewall Abbey Wellness Center, which has its grand opening this Sunday. By Chris Green

Gordon shares his feelings of the Abbey and new edition as a sanctuary, where the beauty of Blue Ridge Mountain views sparkle through its large arching windows. A master martial artist and exercise specialist, Gordon is a certified personal trainer and youth exercise specialist (who offers martial arts and personal training to youth and adults).

Huff holds a Ph.D. in special education and taught for many a year at public schools, including Rappahannock, and at an intersection in her life decided to pursue yoga as a means to continue her passion for helping people.

Stonewall Abbey Wellness is located at 44 Main Street in Sperryville. A variety of affordable membership options exist for gym access, group class passes, adult and youth martial arts programming and personal training. Go to to register today or phone 540-987-8369.

Chris Green
About Chris Green 159 Articles
Chris Green (formerly Chris Doxzen) is an an executive recruiter by profession who enjoys exploring and writing about all things Rappahannock. Friends and neighbors with potential stories for her Sperryville column should email her at