Washington column for Oct. 11

Capstone celebration for ‘The Inn’

Jay Brown and Kevin Adams from Washington, attended the capstone celebration of The Inn at Little Washington’s 40th anniversary that took place at Vaux le Vicomte. Courtesy photo

The capstone celebration of The Inn at Little Washington’s 40th anniversary took place overseas at Vaux le Vicomte, long considered to be one of the greatest homes ever built. The 17th century French château was the site of a notorious three-day party held in 1661 for King Louis XIV, which served as inspiration for the event.

The US Ambassador to France, Jamie McCourt, served as honorary chair. Other attendees included our own Kevin Adams and Jay Brown; Michel Guérard, chef and proprietor of Les Prés d’Eugénie, a three Michelin starred restaurant since 1977; and Count Alexandre de Vogüé, the fifth-generation of the Sommier family who restored Vaux-Le-Vicomte to its current splendor.

Guests dined by candlelight and the evening concluded with a magnificent fireworks display. Each of the three anniversary events were created to honor the influences on Chef Patrick O’Connell’s career as well as relationships created over four decades.

According to Inn spokeswoman Annette Larkin, the Inn will have an inaugural luncheon and lecture series by Peter Stark, with the signing of his new book “Young Washington: How Wilderness and War Forged America’s Founding Father,” on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 11 a.m. in the Little Washington Theatre and is free to the public. Books will be available to purchase.

Stark is the author of the New York Times bestseller Astoria, along with The Last Empty Places, Last Breath, and At the Mercy of the River. He is a frequent contributor to Outside Magazine, has written for Smithsonian and the New Yorker and has been nominated for a National Magazine Award.

After the lecture there will be a unique 5-course lunch with the author including wine. Sorry, the lunch is not free. Lunch is by advance reservation at a special all inclusive rate of $125 per person and limited to the first 50 guests. A reservation includes guaranteed premier seating at the lecture. For additional information and to make reservations for lunch, call 540-675-3800.

Dinner and concert

Jeffrey and Veronika Benson of Washington welcomed their good friend singer/songwriter Cindy Alexander from Los Angeles. She brought along Kevin Fisher, a musician and platinum songwriter. These highly talented individuals are collaborating and touring as “The HummingBARDS”.

Local musicians Ben Mason and Paul Reisler also played tunes for the audience. The concert was held at the Town Hall and her husband Jeffrey prepared his award-winning chili, Kattle One offered up grass fed burgers at his home, while friends brought a wonderful array of pot luck dishes. Donations were accepted for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund as Cindy (the songstress) is a cancer survivor.

CCLC training

The Child Care and Learning Center hosted Conscious Discipline Training, vibrantly led by Amy Speidel along with the many teacher hosts from CCLC.

The day of free training provided teachers the opportunity to learn more about the Conscious Discipline State Brain Model, which recognizes three basic brain/body/mind states likely to produce certain behaviors.

Teachers came from as far as Harrisonburg, Culpeper, and Stafford and as close as Hearthstone School in Rappahannock County. The teachers heard how the brain uses symptoms of behavior to signal a need for help regulating emotions and how to integrate best practice teaching strategies into these symptoms.

Dark skies

More than 35 people came out to Rappahannock County Park for a planned ‘dark sky’ event on Saturday Oct. 6, despite persistent overcast conditions that made the planned views of the planets and stars impossible. Still, interesting presentations were given by Torney Van Acker (Rappahannock League for Environmental Protection), followed by Q&A.

The first presentation, “The Planets Stars and Galaxies,” included many fascinating facts and pictures about the planets and stars. The children were impressed they could probably jump eight feet high on Mars but the adults were discouraged they’d have to lug around the equivalent of 450-500 pounds on Jupiter.

Did you know that all the stars you see in the sky belong to our Milky Way galaxy and that most of them are actually binary stars or triplets that orbit closely around each other? The second presentation shared the progress that RLEP has made on replacing unshielded outdoor lighting in the county. In all, over 150 lights have been already replaced. The Rappahannock schools are currently in the middle of their replacement. The Library is planning to replace their lighting by year end 2018. RLEP will continue to offer free light replacement through 2019. Just call 703-250-7943.

Mark your calendars. The next ‘dark sky’ event will be at the Park on Saturday, November 10, starting at 5 p.m.

Cooler days are on their way for us.