Getaway... for a day, or a stay!
FALL 2013/ WINTER 2014
Hidden Treasures of the Northern Neck and Beyond!
Acres of waterfront are only the beginning of Richmond countyâ€™s treasures.
Westmoreland County, Virginia More Beaches, More Parks, More Wine, More History For mo re info call 804.493.8440
Explore and Experience Westmoreland County, Virginia
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Turning over a new leaf for the fall From the Managing Editor: Fall has always been my favorite time of the year. Gone is the humidity and sometimes oppressive heat that summer brings, and here now to enjoy are the cooler temps and the ever-changing scenery with the leaves transforming from green to the magnificent colors of fall. Soon, it will be time to decorate our homes and places of business with scarecrows and pumpkins. And for some of us, it’s time to beCarla Rollins Gutridge gin haunting our yards with Halloween decorations for the soon-to-be trick-or-treaters. Before we know it, the holidays will be upon us, and with them comes the preparation for visits from our family and friends. When those visitors arrive, don’t stay in and try to entertain them at home. Instead, hit the road to share with them the many hidden treasures of Virginia’s Northern Neck. In this issue of Getaway, we’ll be highlighting just a few of the many places to go and things to do in our area that are open year-round. Whether you enjoy hiking, shopping, taking in a concert or theatrical production, or visiting historical venues, there’s something for everyone in the five counties that make up the Northern Neck, and its surrounding areas. The Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail runs right through here, and our local wineries and vineyards haven’t rolled up their sidewalks, just because the “tourist” season has ended. Personally, I don’t care for the term “tourist”- I prefer to think of those people passing through our area as visitors, instead. We welcome
On the cover This photo, taken by the Getaway’s production artist, Cynthia L. Ailey, was shot during a sunset kayak tour of the Potomac River at Caledon State Park in late August 2010. Organized kayak tours at Caledon are available until Oct. 20. There are lots of events at our local state parks all year long. Please check out www.dcr.virginia. gov/state_parks/events.shtml to search for events.
their presence and their patronage of our businesses and services, and we hope they’ll return, either alone or with more of their families and friends, for another visit, or to stay and become residents of a great place to live. Virginia is the birthplace of eight U.S. Presidents, tied with Ohio, for the most of any state. Three of those eight were born right here in the Northern Neck. George Washington, James Monroe and James Madison all may have slept many places during their lives, but only we can say that they slept here, FIRST! George Washington’s birthplace in Westmoreland County is a National Monument under the National Park Service (See page 19 for more information). James Madison’s birthplace in King George County is now a beautifully restored bed & breakfast (See page 3 for more information). James Monroe’s birthplace, just outside Colonial Beach, also in Westmoreland County, is less developed, but plans are in the making to build a memorial house and expand the site. There is currently a memorial obelisk, a historical roadside marker, and museum exhibits inside a visitor center (Open on weekends during the summer). Visit the James Monroe Memorial Foundation’s website www.monroefoundation.org for more information. When visiting places you’ve read about in Getaway, be sure to let those folks know how you heard about them. That way, they can track their visitation, and you’ll be helping them to realize their success in their marketing endeavors. But please, don’t stop there. Word of mouth and social media referrals and testimonials are the greatest compliments. If you like what you see here, and you’ve enjoyed your travels in or through the Northern Neck, spread the word. We’d appreciate it.
The Getaway The Getaway is published by the Journal Press, Inc., of King George County. The Getaway is for both locals and tourists visiting the Northern Neck and regional visitor locations, and is published two times a year. Each issue highlights attractions in the counties of the Northern Neck and surrounding areas. All rights reserved. No part may be reproduced without written permission. P.O. Box 409, King George, Virginia, 22485 (540) 775-2024, FAX (540) 775-4099, www.journalpress.com Publisher..................................................................................................................... Ruth Herrink Managing Editor......................................................................................................Carla Gutridge Production.........................Cynthia L. Ailey, Drue Murray, Leonard Banks, Jessica Herrink Advertising.......Carla Gutridge, Charlene Franks, Steve Detwiler and Elizabeth Foreman
The Bell House Bed & Breakfast
Colonial Beach’s Bell House was home to one of America’s most well-known figures Richard Leggitt Alexander Graham Bell was a noted scientist, inventor and engineer who is known for inventing the telephone and doing groundbreaking research on elocution, speech, optical telecommunications, hydrofoils and aeronautics. What is not known about Bell, who was one of America’s most well-known figures, is that he had a home in Colonial Beach. Bell, who was born in Scotland, inherited the Colonial Beach house from his father, noted Scottish teacher and researcher Alexander Melville Bell. His father bought the newlyconstructed elegant home on the banks of the Potomac River in 1883. Alexandria Graham Bell divided his time between the house in Colonial Beach and a home he and his father built in Nova Scotia in the 1880s. The home, which is known simply as the Bell House, is the only Colonial Beach house listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it is a Virginia Historic Landmark. Alexander Melville Bell bought the home from Col. J.O.P. Burnside, the son of Civil War General Ambrose Burnside. Bell and his famous son lived in the house on and off. Alexander Melville Bell died in 1905. Because of his many inventions, Alexander Graham Bell had to travel frequently from Colonial Beach to Washington, DC, to deal with
hundreds of patent and court challenges to his various discoveries. He finally sold the historic Colonial Beach waterfront home in 1920, just two years before his death. Anne Bolin first saw the house with its beautiful hardwood floors, stained glass windows and unique balconies in March of 2000. “Honestly, it was love at first sight,” Anne Bolin said. She bought the historic home, becoming its seventh owner, and less than four months later, turned it into what has become one of Virginia’s top bed and breakfasts. “Honestly, I never thought of owning a bed and breakfast,” Bolin said. “But when I first saw the house, I thought, ‘Golly, it would make a nice, warm, comfortable place for people to visit and stay’.” Bolin put a great deal of love and time into restoring and refurbishing the historic home. “I refurbished the third floor, added three bathrooms, added a guest bedroom and a library, and repaired the two widow’s walk balconies,” recalled Bolin. Today, guests can relax in one of the four queensize bedrooms, the gathering room or the library. Or, they can sit outside on the porch overlooking the five-mile-wide Potomac River, recline in a hammock or walk along the waterfront. Wine and cheese and other hors d’oeuvres are served from 5 – 6 p.m. each day. And, Bolin’s hearty breakfasts have become legendary.
charming, circa 1882, Victorian on the Potomac River, once the summer home of Alexander Graham Bell. Private baths, wine & cheese, full breakfast. Sit on the front porch and enjoy the magnificent view of the Potomac.
821 Irving Avenue Colonial Beach, VA 22443
Serving Tidewater Visitors Since 1938 Open at 11 a.m. 7 days per week for lunch and dinner
Rts. 17 & 360 528 North Church Lane Tappahannock, VA 22560 804-443-2800
Historic Belle Grove Plantation is open for business in King George County Richard Leggitt Belle Grove is one of the most historic homes in King George County. It is the birthplace of James Madison, who was born there on March 16, 1871. Today, it is a luxury bed and breakfast and a venue for weddings, dinners and meetings that is receiving high marks from guests. The Belle Grove property, which is located on Route 301 ( James Madison Pkwy) on the north side of the Rappahannock River, was purchased by Captain Anthony Savage in 1670. The house and acreage were later acquired by Francis Conway and Rebecca Catlett Conway, James Madison’s grandparents. Their daughter, Eleanor Rose Conway, returned to the riverside plantation in December 1750, for the birth of her child, the nation’s fourth President. The plantation was named Belle Grove by Rebecca Conway’s second husband, John Moore. In the years leading up to the Civil War, Carolinus Turner, a Virginia planter who developed Belle Grove Plantation into a successful and grand estate, would gather friends and family on the mansion’s upstairs balcony overlooking the Rappahannock River for conversation and drinks at 5 p.m. Today, hosts Brett and Michelle Darnell are recreating those late afternoon gatherings. And the balcony at Belle Grove is again filled with laughter, music, river views, and tales of old. “It’s a living piece of history,” Michelle Darnell said. “We want to honor it.” The Darnells are leasing the Belle Grove estate from Hass Belle Grove, Inc., who bought the plantation and spent $3.5 million in historical renovations. The Darnells have made their own improvements including the furnishings and draperies, the landscaping and parking. Road repairs have also been made. The historic plantation is believed to have been used as a Union Army headquarters during the Civil War, which may explain why it was undamaged by Union gunboats moving up and down the Rappahannock during the war between the states. After President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, and John Wilkes Booth used the Port Conway ferry in his ill-fated attempt to escape, Union soldiers in pursuit of Booth rested and ate at Belle Grove before crossing the river to
This is a current picture of Belle Grove’s riverside at sunset. The purveyors like to affectionatly call the sunset the “Evening Show”.
the James Madison Museum houses exhibits on James and Hall Dolley featuringMadione of the James Madison historic performer John Douglas looksMadison, over the renovated son birthplace. nation’s most outstanding collections of Madisotrap Booth in the Garrett family barn near Port Royal. Over the next 150 years, Belle Grove had a series of owners and overseers until the Hass Corporation bought the property and embarked on its historical restoration. The Darnells signed their lease on the property in 2012, with their dream of turning it into a bed and breakfast. Now it is a must-visit destination for Virginians and their guests.
Explore the James Madison Museum in Historic Orange, Va
Visit our website/Facebook for more information on our exhibits, free lectures, book signings and special events.
(540) 672-1776 www.thejamesmadisonmuseum.org 129 Caroline Street, Orange, VA 22960
Photo by Linda Farneth Owner Bill Bowman and Executive Assistant Beth Stilling want to make visitors comfortable when they visit The Boathouse Marina.
Stanford’s Marine Railway comes back to the future as The Boathouse Marina Linda Farneth Stanford’s Marine Railway will always be in the hearts and on the minds of many Virginia and Maryland boaters who loved wooden boats. In its heyday, the wooden boat was all the rage with a state-of-the-art VHF radio, but newer fiberglass boats and fancy GPS technology have made the old Chris Crafts and Elco Motor Yachts antique nostalgia. Clarence H. Stanford and his wife, Mary Virginia, opened the business in 1945. Clarence built boats from scratch, with Mary Virginia by his side. Mary Virginia and her family, Colonial Beach residents and boaters from all around mourned the loss of Clarence, in January of 2006. Mary Virginia continued to run the marina while her grandson, Stephan Williams, took over Clarence’s duties. But sadly, Stephan died in 2008, at the young age of 29, from complications resulting from an accident while working with hydraulic equipment, a year earlier. Longtime friend of the Stanfords, Bill Bowman, plans to keep that nostalgia alive with restoration services, while bringing the railway into the twenty-first century. Now named The Boathouse Marina, located at 829 Robin Grove Lane, Bowman plans to offer restoration services, safety equipment, elec-
tronics and all of the things today’s boat owners need. “I’m a boat owner. I travel a lot on my boat. I know what I enjoy with my marina stops, and I’m trying to replicate that. This is a boaterowned, boater-friendly marina,” Bowman told the Getaway. Bowman, a retired construction company owner, has been restoring old things most of his life. His love of restoring cars transferred into restoring boats almost 20 years ago. Bowman met Clarence Stanford when he came to Colonial Beach and purchased the Hermioni, a 1920s 57-foot Elco Motor Yacht, about 17 years ago. Bowman restored it, had a lot of fun with it, then bought another one to restore and sell. He has bought two more boats, but hasn’t decided on which one he wants to live. He plans to find a cottage boat to settle down in, eventually. In the meantime, he commutes from Richmond, where he currently resides. Bowman, along with his Executive Assistant, Beth Stilling, open the store: Wednesdays at 11 a.m., with no particular closing time; Thursdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Bowman said that his number is on the door, and he can be reached for emergencies. If he can’t show up, he’ll call someone to meet a boat owner in need. Bowman’s schedule resembles the laid back schedule that was kept by the Stan-
fords. “Sundays usually are wind-down days. We’ll keep track of traffic, and open more hours if needed,” he said. The Boathouse Marina will upgrade its merchandise to accommodate the newer boat owners, and will phase-out building supplies from the old Stanfords’ days. Bowman advised, “Instead of being a boatyard, we are changing over to be more of a marina- offering services that slip holders look to have, and want. We’re just coming in and going through the stuff that was left from the previous owner. There’s a lot of boat-building equipment and supplies.” Bowman added that merchandise left from Stanford’s included items that were left over from the very active time in the business of boatbuilding, probably from the 70’s and 80’s. Bowman said, “I don’t do boat-building. Wood boats are kind of my passion. I’ll do restoration. I’m an antique boat restorer, as a continuation from restoring antique cars in the past. We’ll do regular, normal things the marina did, in maintenance and repair.” He said, “But I’m not getting into boat-building, as Clarence did from scratch. There is not that much demand for it anymore.” Bowman has 35 to 40 slips, and almost all are rented. He also has several boats he is scheduled to work on and restore this winter. Currently, he has no plans to expand his slips
Marine Railway resurrects as The Boathouse Marina from previous page in the immediate future. He is more focused on ‘freshening up’ the piers, and updating and adding electric. Bowman wants to bring the marina up to his standards. The Boathouse Marina is also adding a Captains’ Room, and updating the existing bath and shower, as well as adding another. Eventually, the large hanger on the right side of the store will be turned into a museum/showroom for antique and restored boats. Bowman said that the focus is changing to modern boating; supplies, servicing, electronics, and the more advanced things that have come to be involved with boating now. “We’ve got paints, electronics and safety items such as flares and life vests.” “In the past, it was a big deal to have a VHF Radio, 40 years ago. Now they want everything imaginable from GPS to radar, to every little electronic wizardry that you could imagine,” Bowman laughed. Some of the repairs and maintenance being offered include; bottom painting, some fiberglass repairs, varnishing and interior repairs. Bowman said, “It’s been fun, digging stuff out. Some trash, some treasures, and bunch of it fits in-between.” Bowman said he is trying to make it a fun place; there’s lounge chairs for people to sit in and talk about the glass-bottom dingy on display in the front of the store; or just let their pups romp with the owner’s dog, Hershey. Hershey is a sea-faring dog like his master, and goes everywhere Bowman does. If you come upon the front door being locked during business hours, it’s most likely that Bowman is out back working on boats, and Beth Stilling is probably out getting lunch with her dog. If you break something, or your boat is sinking, you can call (804) 761-6620, and he will try to get someone to meet you for emergencies. Bowman wants to make everyone comfortable. Bowman says, “I have enjoyed being in Colonial Beach. It’s a nice place to get away from Richmond. I like the old things. I guess it’s because I am getting there.” Bowman added, when asked if he worked for Stanford he said, “I never worked for him, I just was a friend!”
Photo by Linda Farneth Mary Virginia Stanford shows off a picture of her younger self and her husband right after they returned to Colonial Beach in 1945.
Handing over a lifetime of work and love to a friend Linda Farneth Mary Virginia Stanford met Clarence H. Stanford in Florida, while he was on a fishing trip with his father. Clarence had returned from overseas, serving in the Navy, for two years in India. Clarence grew up in Colonial Beach on the very spot where the Marina is located today. After Clarence and Mary Virginia married, they came back to Colonial Beach. Clarence applied for a job at the Dahlgren Naval Base when the Navy decided to begin building crash-boats. Crash-boats were simply sleek vessels, built for speed, and sometimes armed with weapons. The boats where used to recover pilots after their planes had crashed in the water, “So they could live to fight another day,” according to the Maritime Learning Center. Mary Virginia said Clarence studied boatbuilding, but Dahlgren decided not to build the boats. “The railway was over there (she points across the street to the marina), so we decided to buy it.” The childhood home that Clarence grew up in was moved across the street. Mary Virginia Still lives there today. She said Clarence’s brother, Landon, who also served in the war, helped him start the boatbuilding business.
Clarence was known to many watermen as a boat builder, an excellent craftsman, and an allaround laid back, caring and giving man. As a young girl, this reporter remembers tagging along with her father to Stanford’s. The store was never locked, and Clarence could be found either in the back building, restoring or just puttering with the numerous boats that were brought to him for work, or across the street in their family home eating lunch or dinner. Clarence was very patient and liberally passed on his knowledge of woodworking to my father when he built a 22-foot workboat. Unfortunately, my father insisted on doing the work himself, and our boat was appropriately named, the “I pee freely”. Clarence was happy to sell us a bilge pump for her. Sadly, Clarence passed away in 2006. It was reported that his wife continued to remain strong and kept the business going with her grandson, Stephan Williams, following in his grandfather’s footsteps. Unfortunately, Williams died at the young age of 29 in 2008, after suffering for a year from complications sustained during an accident while working with hydraulic equipment, a year earlier. When Mary Virginia decided to sell, she turned the business over to Bill Bowman. When asked how she felt about the new owner she simply said, “He’s an old friend!”
Rappahannock Pops Orchestra 2013-2014 Concert Schedule Conducted by Kirk Wilke
Halloween Tricks and Treats October 26, 2013 • Fall Concert
December 20, 2013 • Holiday Concert
Isn’t It Romantic
Private Professional Offices from $350 Per Month Larger Suites Available
Wendover One Office Building Wired For Computer Networking Front & Rear Entrances
March 1, 2014 • Spring Concert
Come Out & Picnic With the Pops May 26, 2014 • Memorial Day Concert
Listen to the BEST music in the area PLUS support music education, awareness & appreciation! Fall, Winter & Spring Concerts at Grace Center for The Arts Memorial Day Concert on the grounds of Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Ticket Prices: $20 Adults, $15 Seniors (65+), $15 Students (w/valid ID) Children under 18 FREE Tickets may be purchased online at www.rappahannockpops.org or at Roberson’s Music Co., Fredericksburg Visitor’s Center Grace Church of Fredericksburg - Center for the Arts 1141 Heatherstone Drive • Fredericksburg, VA 22407 www.gracechurchoffredericksburg.com
• Includes all utilities • Ample parking • Handicapped-accessible restrooms • 1block off Rt. 3 adjacent to post office • No build out cost! • Ready to move in!
Call (540) 775-6788 Sheila@charlestoncobuilders.com
The Hague Winery, a must-see stop on the Northern Neck Richard Leggitt
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Travelers to the Northern Neck find there are a lot of things to do and places to see -- and one � very important stop is The Hague Winery in Westmoreland County. “We want to become a destination for visitors,” said Barbara Sowney, the guest services manager � at the winery. The Hague Winery is located at historic Buena Vista Plantation on ��������� ���������������������������� ����� Route 202 (Cople Hwy.) in West- ���������������������������� moreland County, near the community ��������� !"�#$ �%���& of Hague. The Northern Neck winery is owned by Cynthia and Stephen Madey, who purchased Buena Vista in 2000. ��������� ���������������������������� 8215 OAK CREST DRIVE • KING GEORGE, VA 22485 Built in the 1830s by Col. Thomas Brown for his wife, Sarah Lee ����� Cox, a second cousin of Robert E. Lee, Buena Vista had been passed 540-663-2813 ���������������������������� down from one generation of the Brown family to another until it was ��������� www.oakcrestwinery.com !"�#$ �%���& acquired by the Madeys. The Madeys spent eight years modernizing the manor house and the outbuildings. Stephen Madey decided to plant a vineyard after studying the soil and learning that Col. Brown grew peaches on the property. Peaches, like grapes, need a long growing season and are vulnerable to spring frosts. Buena Vista today consists of 139 acres, a cottage, the tenant house, the manor house, an office and a barn. All of the buildings have been renovated by the Madeys in keeping with their historic styles. The twobedroom cottage, restored to include all of the modern amenities and including a barrel roaster for oyster roasts, is available for rent. There are 6,000 vines, and the winery’s tasting room is located in a renovated barn, originally build in 1933, that overlooks the vineyards and the manor house. There is a gift shop that displays local crafts, picnic supplies and wine accessories. Wines at The Hague Winery are vinted in the French style from quality grapes. Among wines being featured are a 2010 Chardonel, which was a silver winner at the 2011 Governor’s Cup; a 2008 Merlot, which is dry, balanced and fruity; and a 2010 Cabernet Franc, a blend of French and Italian styles that won the silver medal at the 2013 Governor’s Cup. The Hague Winery’s first crop of grapes in 2007 was sold to several local wineries. In 2008, the Madeys established their own label, transporting tons of their grapes by refrigerated truck to Charlottesville, where famed Virginia winemaker Michael Shaps processed them. That successful processing continues today with The Hague Winery sending a team to Charlottesville to help with the bottling of the various wines. Among The Hague Winery’s first releases in 2009 was a Chardonel, a blend with citrus flavors that goes well with seafood. Today, the 2010 and the 2011 Chardonels are among the winery’s most popular sellers.
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The Potomac River often gives up really large blue cats like this one.
Photo by Mark Fike
Fishing the Neck during the colder months Mark Fike
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Winter in the Northern Neck is not normally the height of fishing season, but it can be a great time to fish. Striped bass roam in the bay until mid-December, and they are quite large. Anglers using stout rods troll umbrella rigs with sassy shads and bucktails, from Thanksgiving until just before Christmas and haul in fish upwards of 30-40 pounds. These fish are true trophies, and are fun to fight. Cold weather gear is needed, and precautions must be taken to stay safe on windy waters during the winter. The lower Potomac is the prime grounds for this type of fishing. The striped bass are busy gorging themselves on food for the winter before heading out into the bay and ocean for a few months, before they return in early spring for their spawning runs. They can be found in various depths of the river and the bay, so a good fish-finder is necessary to successfully catch them. Look for arches to indicated or mark the fish. Bait balls are the magnets for these fish. If you find bait, you will find fish. Menhaden, or bunker as they are locally known, are the prime food for striper. The spring season does not open until the third week of April. Catfish anglers will find the river fishing is lonely but can be very productive. Few an-
glers venture out. More of your company will be in the form of duck hunters. Anglers with fresh cut shad will catch huge catfish on the Potomac and even a few on the Rappahannock. The Potomac has really come on strong in recent years with fish over 60 pounds being caught on a regular basis. The blue catfish has quickly outcompeted the channel, and bullhead catfish and is a thrill to reel in. Find these fish on deep ledges and drop offs during the fall and winter. Use weights ranging from 2-5 ounces to keep your bait in the right location. Blue catfish relate to structure and will take most fresh offerings. Be sure you have quality gear to deal with them though, as they will break any cheaply made rods and burn up low quality reels. Line tests in the 30s are minimums, with braids being the best way to wrestle them aboard your boat. Come early spring, the run of white perch and yellow perch begins. The tidal creeks will see the first yellow perch finding their way to headwaters to spawn. Fish for these tasty fish with light lines, bottom rigs or split shot-laden hooks with minnows or nightcrawlers. The middle of February is a great time to catch these fish, and they run right through March. Find dock continue to next page
Photo by Mark Fike Striper anglers use bucktails and parachute rigs in December to catch rockfish like the one Gary Sanders is holding. This fish was caught aboard The Midnight Sun with Captain Ryan Rogers.
You don’t have to wait until spring to fish
from previous page walls, woody structures or boulders to locate fish. For white perch, the action begins mid-March, and they can be found in tidal creeks of the Potomac River, the main stem of the Rappahannock River, and creek mouths of both rivers. They prefer bloodworms and red wigglers fished on the bottom, as well. A moving tide is essential to catching these fish. Usually an outgoing tide is best, but some anglers prefer an incoming tide. Once you find one perch, there are others nearby. A medium action rod and reel is perfect for this type of fishing, and anglers will enjoy nonstop action once the first fish is found. Another fish that is readily caught in the millponds of the Neck include jackfish. Jackfish are chain pickerel, and they love cold water. Local marshes and swamps hold plenty of them. Cast spinners and spoons along logs and weedbeds near channels, and hold on tight. Anything flashy works well. Minnows are deadly for these fish, too. These alligatorlooking fish thrash, jump and fight like crazy. They are fun to catch, but only average on the grill or table. Still, if you catch a few, do take the time to scale, and grill or broil them. Cover with butter, and rake the white flesh off the bones. They have a high ribcage, and the bones are numerous, but there is a strip of good meat on the top of the ribcage that does taste good. Gardy’s Mill Pond and Chandler’s Mill Pond are good places to fish for these scrappy fish. While fishing for jackfish, you might catch a few crappie, which are delectable on the plate. Winter fishing on the Neck is quite good, although it can take a little bit of time to figure out where the fish are. Dress warmly for the day, and enjoy getting out in the sun. Fish taken from cold water are firm and tasty, and nothing beats the winter blues more than having a freshcaught meal of fish on your supper plate!
WEEKEND SEAFOOD BUFFET ALL YOU CAN EAT!
Family owned and operated since 1946
OPEN DAILY AT 11:30
(804) 224-7117 www.wilkersonsseafoodrestaurant.com
Take a hike!
Explore the nature trails of the Northern Neck The Northern Neck does not have the large acreage and long hiking trails that other parts of the state are blessed with. However, there are many smaller venues that provide wonderful opportunities for day hikes. This article summarizes those trails, which are in parks and other public resources, as well as a few private trails. Be sure to check the websites for more details, rules of use, any fees, and possible closures. Many of these parks have “friends” groups, which provide opportunities to offer your time and talent to “give back” to the parks. All of the URLs for the websites can be found on the Friends of the Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail site: www.friendsdrht.org. Some of the trail sites are described in the excellent 60 Hikes within 60 Miles by Nathan Lott (the 60 miles is the distance from Richmond, which covers most of the Northern Neck). Caledon State Park: Caledon has recently been elevated to full state park status. This means that some new trails have been opened, and more will be in the future. The five “nature trails” are still there that provide everything from pleasant strolls through old growth forests to stressing hills. The longest trail, Cedar Ridge (four miles), is a nice challenge for the fitness buff. The new trails are the old park roads, most of which have been closed until recently and which lead down to the river in a couple of places. Primitive campsites are being constructed, which will provide a backpacking opportunity, as well as canoe/kayak camping. King George County, 2579 acres. Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail (DRHT): In 1942, the US Navy built a railroad to serve the Naval Proving Ground at Dahlgren, Virginia, during World War II. The part of the line stretching through the eastern part of King George County has been abandoned and is now in private hands pending adoption into the state park system. A friends group is clearing and improving the railbed. There are trailheads with limited parking at several road crossings. Approximately 15 miles are clear. A permit (no charge) is required. See the Friends’ website for details. King George County, 238 acres. Stratford Hall: There are several trails on
Photo by Cynthia L. Ailey Boyd’s Hole at Caledon State Park is a nice stretch of riverfront, after an approximately two-mile easy trail. You don’t have to wait until spring to check out the nature trails, as this photo was taken on an unseasonably warm day in January. the Stratford Hall property that have the potential to be excellent hiking opportunities. Unfortunately, due to damage from recent hurricanes, some of them cannot be recommended for use by the general public at this time. For now, stick to those trails closest to the “Great House”, the Vault Trail and the Spring House Trail. Westmoreland County, approx. 1900 acres. Westmoreland State Park: There are seven trails totaling six miles in length. Some steep hills, including a long and steep staircase coming up from the beach. Dirt, winding through mature forests. Well-marked. A great place to spend the day hiking with a lunch. Westmoreland County, 1311 acres. Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge Wilna Pond Tract: Several nice trails, mostly level with a gravel-mix for the tread. Eagle Scout Tr. (EST) and Green Heron Tr. (GHT) are
very short, a couple hundred yards, max. Flat, although the EST does have a short set of steps leading up to the start of the trail at a kiosk. EST goes out to an overlook over the pond, very nice. GHT goes behind the lodge, just a nice short loop. Wilna Creek Tr. is longer, takes about 15 minutes to hike out and back. Has an accessible blind overlooking the pond for wildlife viewing and photography. Ends in a loop, even though the trail map says that it continues out to the road (road to the lodge/education center). Westmoreland County, 8707 acres (total current acreage of the Refuge). Belle Island State Park: One of the newer parks in the state. There are seven trails, ranging in length from 0.4 to 1.5 miles long, totaling 5.3 miles. Several of the trails are multi-use, allowing hiking, biking and horseback riding. So brush up on your multi-use rules before starting out. Two of the trails have camping continuej to next page
Discover all Stratford Hall has to offer.
T h e G r eaT h ouse . T h e G a r dens .
T h e G a ller i es . T h e n aT u r e T r a i ls . Photo by Cynthia L. Ailey This Great Blue Heron is resting on the bank of Popes Creek on the lands of George Washington Birthplace National Monument.
Check out the beautiful trails in the Northern Neck
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T h e l odGi nG . T h e s peci a l e v en Ts .
continued from previous page sites, thus affording a backpacking opportunity. The trails are level and comprised of dirt and gravel. Lancaster County, 739 acres. Hickory Hollow Natural Area Preserve: Just off of Rt. 3. Parking and a system of trails totaling 3.5 miles, dirt tread, moderate slopes. Lancaster County, 254 acres. Bushmill Stream Natural Area Preserve: 1.4 miles of trails, moderate grade. Has an overlook platform for wildlife observation. Northumberland County, 103 acres. Dameron Marsh Natural Area Preserve: On the Chesapeake Bay, there is a short gravel path (about 100 yards) and a boardwalk leading to a raised deck overlooking a grassy marsh and the Bay. The deck has a nice bench to relax and have lunch. The Preserve also has a canoe launching beach, but no other water access. Northumberland County, 316 acres. Hughlett Point Natural Area Preserve: Also on the Chesapeake Bay and not far from Dameron Marsh. Easier to reach, since the entrance kiosk is right on the main road (Ball Neck Rd). A short path, with a boardwalk leading to an old farming road, now a trail, which runs parallel to the beach. There are three beach access points, along with two observation decks. The Beach Shore Trail is 0.7 miles long, making a nice round trip. Very level, and an easy walk. Northumberland County, 204 acres. George Washington Birthplace National Monument: Very nice nature trail, plus just walking around the Visitor Center and the park’s Memorial House. Easy walking, level grade. Westmoreland County, 661 acres.
www.StratfordHall.org (804) 493-8038 Route 214 of f Route 3 in Westmoreland County
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11 3/25/13 11:52 AM
Photo courtesy Mark Fike Hunters should always wear blaze orange while afield. Model good practices for youth hunters now and they will follow suit when they get older.
Hunting Safety 101 By Mark Fike Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming. These two times of year are joyous times that we typically spend with family, and outdoorsmen and women spend quite a bit more time afield, too. With more of us in the woods and on the water, there is a need for safety reminders so that time stays joyous, and we all go home at the end of the day to tell fun stories about our time afield. Normally, we hear people say that young or inexperienced hunters are the ones that need a safety brief. While young age and inexperience does sometimes factor into bad decisions in the field, experience in the woods can sometimes cause people to let their guard down, and they begin to feel invincible or say, “I am a good hunter, and I have been doing this for years,” or, “I have plenty of experience,” which often leads to sloppiness in the woods. Some of the common mistakes: • Not looking past their game animal and asking themselves what may be behind it. Sometimes the excitement is so intense that hunters may be tempted to shoot, before thinking it through. You have to ask yourself: “Where is the nearest house and in what direction? Where will my bullet or pellets go if I miss, or if they go through the animal? Are there any other hunters nearby, and where are they? And don’t depend on blaze orange to answer the last question. Blaze orange is helpful, no doubt, but if another hunter is behind some pine or holly, just emerging from a thicket, or has, for whatever reason, removed their
blaze orange cap for a second to scratch their head or take off a sweatshirt…. See where I am going with this? • Taking skylined shots. This plays into the above paragraph. If a nice deer breaks out on a hill, and it is skylined or nearly so, it can be very tempting to take the shot. The Northern Neck is not the rural area it once was. There are houses everywhere. We must exercise caution in this regard. Last season, I had a doe that was just under the skyline that I could have shot, fairly easily. We wanted and needed the meat, and it was a very easy shot, but the risk of the muzzleloader bullet passing through and deflecting upwards was too great. I have talked to several other people that said they had to “check” themselves before they shot, too. The good news is that we all did think before we shot, and made the correct decisions. The point is, that we need to remind ourselves of the safety aspects of the pursuit we love, and keep it safe for ourselves and everyone around us. • Treestands are great for hunting. I admit I don’t use them as much as I used to, but they are very effective. I have heard of several people that have fallen, or nearly fallen, from a stand. A fall from even ten feet can be fatal. Wear a safety harness. The full body safety vests by Hunters Safety System, www.huntersafetysystem.com, are easy to put on, even in the dark. They don’t cut off circulation, and if you do fall, you are in good shape and can probably call for help. The other thing that I encourage other hunters to do is to clear out around the base of your stand. If you cut small saplings, don’t leave the stubs. If you were to fall, these can puncture you. Get rid of all stumps, too.
More on hunting safely
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New Potomac waterfront restaurant open in Westmoreland County Richard Leggitt Chef Troy Clayton, one of the nation’s top chefs, has been operating his new waterfront restaurant at Coles Point in Westmoreland County since May 1st. And, The Landing restaurant at Coles Point Marina on the Potomac River is getting rave reviews. “We’ve had a fantastic season,” said Clayton. “We’ve really enjoyed the customers and being in the Northern Neck. It’s been busy and a lot of fun. Hands-down, our crab cakes have been the most popular item on our menu,” Clayton said. “Our crab dip and our ribeye steaks have also been very popular.” The Landing also features shellfish corn chowder, roasted shrimp with garlic, grilled salmon, and shrimp with linguini, along with old standards including beef tenderloin tips, smoked chicken and freshly baked, hand-formed pizza on a menu that has earned Chef Clayton a steady stream of loyal customers. “The Landing and my dedicated team aspire to be the best dining destination on the Potomac, offering great food and friendly, attentive service in what is, without question, one of the most beautiful settings on the ‘rivah’,” said Clayton. Clayton has been honored as one of the country’s top culinary talents in the 2013 inaugural edition of Best Chefs America. The book is a first-
A family restaurant with great cuisine and a fun waterfront bar
From left, The Landing’s General Manager Bob Barrett, Chef/ Owner Troy Clayton and Chef Timothy Alfano are ready for business at their new waterfront restaurant in Westmoreland County. ever peer review guide of U.S. chefs, chosen to be highlighted in the publication after extensive interviews of fellow chefs and culinary analysts. In addition to The Landing, Clayton is also the chef and owner of Geranio restaurant in Old Town Alexandria, an intimate Italian restaurant he opened on King Street, in 1998. Clayton decided to open his Westmoreland County restaurant after discussions with his longtime friend, Taylor Burke, an Alexandria banker who purchased Coles Point Marina last year. “It took some time to put all the pieces together, but we signed a lease in March and opened in May. I have been a boater for 20 years and have always wanted a waterfront restaurant,” Clayton said. “My dream is to be able to come and enjoy the restaurant and the river on my own boat.” If Clayton comes to his new restaurant by boat, he won’t be alone. There is ample dock space at the restaurant, and it already has become a well-known stop for boaters on the Potomac River. With its delicious menu, an expansive deck, an outside bar with music on the weekends and visits from several hundred boats each weekend, The Landing is the new Northern Neck hot spot on the water.
The Northern Neck Seasonal American Cuisine featuring local Northern Neck lump crab, Angus burgers and steak. Hand-tossed pizza, seasonal salads, fun appetizers and kids’ meals
Check Our Facebook Page For Daily Specials Like: $5 Burger Night And $12.99 Prime Rib Night
307 Plantation Dr • Coles Point, Va 22442 (804) 472-5599 • www.thelandingatcolespoint.com
is beautiful all year long!
Get out and enjoy all there is to see
Where did all the crabs go? What’s the story? Mark Fike Flashback to the late winter and early spring of 2012, when the winter dredge survey showed that crab numbers were at a 19-year high. The governors of both Maryland and Virginia released statements proclaiming the conservation efforts of the blue crab as being successful. Things looked grand, and the future looked bright for crabbers, anglers and for those that love to eat crabs. Fast forward to the summer of 2013. Crabbing has been abysmal, and watermen have taken the blow to their bottom line that was unpredictable, at best. Scientists and officials had implied just a year and a half earlier that the crabs were well on the road to recovery. What happened? There are a few theories out there about the crab population taking a nosedive this past year. Many watermen are pointing fingers at the predators, mainly striped bass and red drum. Both species, along with a host of other animals living in the Chesapeake Bay, will consume crabs as a regular part of their diet. Some watermen were angry about the losses to their livelihood, and that is completely understandable. Anyone would be upset if they were told how great the crab fishery was doing, and then they took horrendous losses within a year. The situation is a bit more complex than most might realize. After a good bit of research here is what the facts show. The winter 2012 dredge survey of crabs showed a record high number of crabs in both Virginia and Maryland waters. However, the winter dredge survey of 2013 showed the worst level of juvenile crabs in 24 years, according to John Bull of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC). I followed up with a chat with Marty Gary of the Patuxent River Fisheries Commission (PRFC). Gary recently came from Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to head up PRFC and has 27 years of fisheries experience under his belt. He shared that he had a desk a few feet down from the biologists that handled the crab surveys and often discussed the ups and downs of the crab fishery with them. Those discussions focused on the facts that the crabs were there in the winter of 2012, and then again the summer trawl surveys of the Maryland waters of the Bay showed them present in June of 2012 (juvenile crabs). However, from July of 2012 to September of 2012, their numbers fell right off the chart in a significant manner. By October of last year, crabs’ numbers had dropped precipitously. This was followed by a record low winter dredge sur-
The crab population is down, and people wonder what happened. vey this past winter. Furthermore, environmental factors likely caused, or at least heavily contributed to, the scarcity of crabs this past summer. Of all the theories out there about what happened to the crabs in that short amount of time, many of them share a few solid angles that make sense. The two common variables that keep coming up among all parties include predation and habitat. Let’s look at the habitat angle, as many people have not taken that portion of the equation into very serious consideration. If you look at any animal species, whether it be fish, crabs, quail or ducks, you would have to admit that habitat has played a significant part in the demise or the restoration of a species. We are having the toughest time with quail numbers, and right now scientists are trying hard to figure it out. The two variables that keep coming up in that arena is the horrible loss of habitat due to development that wipes out farms, fields, old pasture and fragments, what is left for cookie-cutter subdivisions and clean farming that leaves no edge cover, briars or feed for the birds. The same concern should be had for crabs. There has been limited submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) in the Bay for years. Imagine for a moment that you were a tiny crab about the size of a silver dollar. If you only had a few oyster shells, some old crab pots, a few sunken boats or parts of such, or mud to hide in from all the various predators out there, to include larger crabs (yes, crabs are very cannibalistic), how long do you think you would last? Think about being a rabbit in a field that has been mowed completely down, save a few clumps here and there or an overturned treetop
Photo by Mark Fike
for cover? Anytime you ventured anywhere, you were totally exposed and a long way from cover. Eel grass and other SAV plays a vital role in keeping small species alive. With documented losses of SAV over the past 20-30 years, a connection can be made to the decline of the blue crab right with it. The Virginia Institute of Marine ciences (VIMS) has the data on their website to prove that angle. Gary made another interesting point. During the late summer of 2010, we had two tropical systems blow through the Bay area. A lot of sediment was washed into the rivers and the Bay. Guess what happens when sediment washes into the Bay? It clouds the water and blocks sunlight. What do plants need to grow and survive? Yes, sunlight. Block the sunlight, and you cut off plant growth. Less plants equals less filtration of sediment and more dirt in the water. It becomes a vicious cycle that gets worse and worse. Back Bay near Virginia Beach used to be a world-class bass fishery. It had great SAV, until something happened to reverse the growth, causing more dirty water and so on. Chad Boyce of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) has gotten grants and did a lot of hard work to reverse the cycle by installing curtains to filter out sediment. The short version of that anecdote is that the bass fishery is coming back in a big way now. The curtains allowed silt to be filtered out, more SAV grew, and the fishery came back as a result and with a good bump from a supplemental stocking to boost it. My point is that the loss of SAV has hurt the blue crabs and other organisms and species in the Bay, too. With nowhere to hide, they are easy prey.
King George history on display at the King George County Museum and Research Center Mary Ann Oplinger King George County Museum and Research Center volunteers were delighted when June Cleek, a native of King George, dropped by to present the museum with a sword that dates back to the War of 1812. This particular sword has ties to King George County. It was first carried in the War of 1812, by John Baker of King George County, Cleek’s great-great-grandfather. The sword was later passed down to John Baker’s son, William, also a King George resident. Captain William Edwards Baker carried the sword while serving in the 55th Virginia Infantry, Company E, during the Civil War. He was Cleek’s great-grandfather. The sword and scabbard are on display at the museum. The museum is always looking for items related to the history of King George. Visitors can see other artifacts and historical items from every known period of King George Photo by Mary Ann Oplinger County history, even prior to the county’s June Cleek (right) presents King George Museum and Research Center’s curator formation in 1720. The oldest artifacts are Elizabeth Lee (left) with this sword. The sword dates back to the War of 1812 and American Indian projectile points that date was carried by Cleek’s great-great-grandfather. from 10,000 BC to 1,800 AD. Artifacts are on loan from a dig at the site of the original 1725 Portner, and members from the King George County Historical SociCourthouse at Canning near Dogue. Civil War era artifacts range from an anchor pulled from the Rappahannock River ety (KGCHS). Lee and Graham have been involved with the museum to mule shoes. “Notable African Americans of King George County” since before the doors opened on September 13, 1997. Additionally, honors county natives and spans from 1801 to present day. “When they have authored two books together. King George County, A Pictorial Duty Calls” is a pictorial display that spotlights those county natives History was published in 2006. Released in February 2012, King George County Confederate Monument, lists all King George County residents, that have so bravely served our country. One of the newest exhibits is “Ralph Bunche School.” This exhibit including the company under which they served, that fought for the details the school’s history through photographs, news clippings, and Confederate States of America during the Civil War. These books and school memorabilia. According to Museum Curator Elizabeth Lee, others related to the county’s history can be purchased at the museum’s “Few people understand the significant role this school played in the in- gift corner. Also for sale is a selection of King George County pottery, tegration of schools in our state and nation. In 1948, they won separate- the King George afghan, and the annual KGCHS Christmas ornaments. Because the museum operates under the King George County Hisbut-equal status, which led to the building of Ralph Bunche School and torical Society, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, admission is free. the eventual integration of our schools.” The museum is concerned with the preservation of the historical Donations are welcome. All donations to the museum or KGCHS are data of its residents and performs genealogical research for families that tax deductible. Keep up with the museum activities on Facebook at originated from King George, upon request. The research center is avail- ‘King George County Museum and Research Center’. Visit the KGCHS website: www.kghistory.org for information on able for everyone: residents, historians, genealogists, and students. Materials cover family and county histories extending into points beyond, how to become a member. Members receive a quarterly newsletter, conincluding all neighboring counties. The museum is always willing to taining News of Yesteryear, as well as a calendar of local current events, accept historical information or donated objects for display, including and other historical information. Located in the “Old Jail” on the east end of the King George County family photographs, family Bibles or Bible records, programs of events, evidence of Indian or Colonial presence, war relics, and photographs of Courthouse on Kings Highway, the museum is open on Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., or by appointment by calling (540) early homes and businesses. Elizabeth Lee, Museum Curator and Jean Graham, Museum Assis- 775-9477, or e-mailing email@example.com. Admission is free. tant, oversee the museum and are assisted by trained archeologist, Ryan
Bayside Marina George Washington Birthplace National Monument Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. The Visitor Center, its parking lot, and Historic Area close at 5 p.m. year-round. From April-October, the Washington Family Burial Ground, Picnic/Pavilion Area, and the Potomac River beach are open until dusk. Pets are not allowed in the Historic Area.
Admission is FREE! 1732 Popes Creek Road Washington’s Birthplace, VA 22443 (804) 224-1732 ext.227 www.nps.gov/gewa
LIGHTHOUSE Restaurant 11 Monroe Bay Avenue Colonial Beach, VA 22443
Free Wi-Fi Find us on • Annual and Transient Docking Facebook • 30 Amp and Twin 30 Amp Electric • New Bathhouse w/ air conditioning • Two Blocks from center of town and sandy beach • Club House available to Slip Holders/Transients
Marina Phone: (804) 224-7570 • (703) 606-6299 www.baysidemarina.org
Lighthouse Thai-French Cuisine Located in the “Old Jail” on the east end of the King George County Courthouse on Kings Highway, the museum is open on Thursdays and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. or by appointment by calling 540-775-9477 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. ADMISSION: Free
11 Monroe Bay Avenue Free Wi-Fi Colonial Beach, VA 22443 Ph: (804) 224-7580 See us on Facebook • Seafood, Steaks • Daily Specials • Beer and Wine • Best Sunsets in Town • Come by Land or Water • Inside or Outside Seating • Beautiful Views of Monroe Bay! • One of Washingtonian Magazine’s Top 100 Chefs • Featuring Chef Vone Xayavong and his team that will care!
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The eagle had landed, but could no longer soar Carla Rollins Gutridge A bald eagle was discovered grounded at George Washington Birthplace National Monument (GWBNM) last May. It was first seen, having an obviously injured left wing, on the Historic Area side of the footbridge in the park. Chief Ranger Wayne Rose contacted the local rehab center for birds, but the eagle had self-evacuated later in the evening when Rose went back to check on it. The next morning, visitors reported seeing the injured eagle inside the hog pen in the Historic Area. Law Enforcement Officer Owen T. McDaniel responded to the call. McDaniel was unable to reach anyone at the rehab facility, but a VA Fish & Wildlife Officer responded to assist with the rescue. McDaniel and the other officer captured the exhausted eagle in the hog pen, wrapped it in a blanket, and the conservation officer transported the injured raptor to the local rehab facility. At least one juvenile bald eagle had been seen in the same area where the injured eagle was first discovered. One might wonder if the juvenile was looking for its missing parent. Bald eagles are a only a part of the beautiful year-round scenery at GWBNM. Having several nests in the park, at least one can be found atop a tree just behind the Visitor Center, several times a day, just about every day.
Photos courtesy National Park Service National Park Service Law Enforcement Officer Owen T. McDaniel holds the injured adult bald eagle rescued at George Washington Birthplace National Monument.
Kinsale Museum 449 Kinsale Rd., Kinsale, VA 22488 â€˘ www.kinsalefoundation.org
Museum: (804) 472-3001, Cell for special tours or info: (804) 450-7651
This juvenile bald eagle was spotted on the grounds of George Washington Birthplace National Monument near the area that the injured adult bird was first seen. It is unknown if there was any relation between the two birds.
Things to do around the Northern Neck October 2013 2 Friday Art Walk October 11 Downtown Colonial Beach| www.colonialbeachartistsguild.org/home/artwalk nd
Hospice Turkey Shoot Regatta October 11-13 Rappahannock River Yacht Club, Irvington| www.latellsails.com/turkey-shoot-regatta-2013 King George Fall Festival October 12 King George| www.kgfallfestival.com Conservation at Menokin - Carpentry Workshop October 12-13 Menokin, Warsaw| www.menokin.org Rappahannock Tribal Pow Wow October 12 St. Stephens Church| www.virginiapowwow.com/native_events/Rappahannock
Warsaw Farmers’ Market October 12 Downtown Warsaw| www.warsawfarmersmarket.com Winter Mah Jongg October 15 Steamboat Era Museum, Irvington| www.steamboateramuseum.org Author & Book Fair October 19 Northumberland County Historical Society, Heathsville| www.northumberlandvahistory.org/upcomingevents.html Bluegrass & BBQ October 19 Ingleside Winery, Oak Grove| www.inglesidevineyards.com The Broadway Tenors October 19 Lancaster Middle School, Kilmarnock| www.rappahannockfoundation.org
Market Day at Wicomico Parish Church October 12 Wicomico Parish Church| www.wicomicoparishchurch.com
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Calendar continued... from previous page Jeff Little Trio October 19 Northumberland County School, Claraville| www.rappahannockconcerts.org 6th Annual Oyster Roast October 19 Morattico Waterfront Museum, Morattico| www.morattico.org Historical Haunts: A “Spook-Tacular” Halloween October 26 Stratford Hall, Stratford|www.stratfordhall.org
November 2013 The Virginia Wine & Oyster Classic November 2 Dog & Oyster Vineyard, Irvington| www.virginiawineandoysterclassic.com Irvington Farmers’ Market November 2 Downtown Irvington| www.irvingtonva.org
Irvington United Methodist Church’s 15th Annual Distinctive Bazaar November 2 Downtown Irvington| www.irvingtonva.org Winter Market November 9 Reedville’s Festival Halle| www.rfmuseum.org Reedville Fishermen’s Museum Oyster Roast November 9 Reedville Fishermen’s Museum| www.rfmuseum.org A Shot In The Dark November 9-24 Westmoreland Players, Callao| www.westmorelandplayers.org Fall Barrel Tasting November 16 Ingleside Winery, Oak Grove| www.inglesidevineyards.com Oyster Roast @ Mary Ball Washington Museum November 16 Mary Ball Washington Museum & Library, Lancaster Court House| www.mbwm.org
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We've got your hunger covered in the Northern Neck
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There’s so much to do around the Northern Neck New Year’s Eve Dance December 31 Reedville’s Festival Halle| www.rfmuseum.org
from previous page Taste of the Bay November 23 Tides Inn, Irvington| www.lancasterva.com/Events
January 2014 Robert E. Lee’s Birthday Celebration Weekend January 18-19 Stratford Hall, Stratford| www.stratfordhall.org
The Washington Saxaphone Quartet November 24 Northumberland County School, Claraville| www.rappahannockconcerts.org
Thanksgiving Dinner at Stratford Hall November 28 Stratford Hall, Stratford| www.stratfordhall.org
WinterFest 2014 February 14-17 Throughout the Northern Neck| www.northernneck.org & Along the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail| www.chesapeakebaywinetrail.com
December 2013 Holiday Decorations Workshop with Mary Young Tracy December 4 Stratford Hall, Stratford| www.stratfordhall.org
George Washington’s Birthday February 22 George Washington Birthplace National Monument Washington’s Birthplace, VA 22443| www.nps.gov/gewa
Irvington United Methodist Church’s 15th Annual Distinctive Bazaar December 7 Downtown Irvington| www.irvingtonva.org
Holiday Open House at Ingleside Winery December 7 – 8 and 14 – 15 Ingleside Winery, Oak Grove| www.inglesidevineyards.com
Getting Away With Murder March 1-16 Westmoreland Players, Callao| www.westmorelandplayers.org The Charlottesville Swing Orchestra March 16 Northumberland County School, Claraville| www.rappahannockconcerts.org
Natalie MacMaster December 9 Lancaster Middle School, Kilmarnock| www.rappahannockfoundation.org 35th Annual Kilmarnock Lighted Christmas Parade December 13 Downtown Kilmarnock| tlcva.com
Flamenco Vivo/CARLOTA SANTANA March 21 Lancaster Middle School, Kilmarnock| www.rappahannockfoundation.org
A Stratford Hall Christmastide December 14 Stratford Hall, Stratford| www.stratfordhall.org
LOCAL BREWERY & BREW PUB
Christmas on Cockrell’s Creek Tour December 14-15 Reedville| www.rfmuseum.org
FREE TASTING in the Brewery Mon 9am-1pm • Wed 2-6pm • Fri 3-8pm • Sat 10am-1pm FREE TOURS SATURDAY 10AM - 1PM
A Washington Family Christmas December 29 George Washington Birthplace National Monument| www.nps.gov/gewa
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Broadway in your backyard A look at the 2013-14 theater season Marty van Duyne News Net News Area residents and visitors don’t need to travel far to see live theater. Dramas, musicals, and comedies can be found at dinner theaters and community playhouses within a short drive of the VA’s Northern Neck. A myriad of stage shows offers something for everyone from children to adults. Performances at these area theaters will leave audiences laughing, crying and singing.
calling (540) 604-5156. CYT Christian Community Theater CYT Fredericksburg began a Christian Community Theater (CCT) program two years ago that was open to people of all ages. They produced Sound of Music in 2011, and Oklahoma in 2012, but according to information on their website, they currently have no plans for a 2013 show. Information on CCT can be found at www.CYTFredericksburg.org.
Black Box Theatre at CYT Dance In The Light Indian Head Center Studio for the Arts Christian Youth Theater Black Box Theatre is the (CYT) Fredericksburg opened theatrical venue at Indian Dance In The Light Studio in Head Center for the Arts, 2011. The full-service dance Inc. (IHCA). The IHCA studio holds classes for all levand the Black Box Theatre els of experience, including are renovating their facilbeginners. The classes culmiity through donations and nate with an annual recital each grants in an effort to exspring. pand their space and reviStudents can register for the talize their offerings. non-competitive classes until Residents of all ages can the end of January 2014. take instruction in the arts Complete details can be Photo by Geoff Greene, courtesy of Klein Theatre and attend quality theatri- Taylor Williams leads the cast in a song explaining his peculiar way of found at www.DanceInThecal performances at the fa- spelling in the University of Mary Washington Klein Theatre’s 2011 proLightStudio.org or by calling cility. The center is working duction of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. (540) 604-5156. on a production schedule for their 2013 - 2014 season. The IHCA is planning to produce a Christ- Klein Theatre at University of Mary Washington mas show in the November to December timeframe. They are seeking University of Mary Washington’s (UMW) Klein Theatre’s season directors, producers, and any person interested in being a part of the runs in conjunction with the school year. The Klein Theatre 2013 - 2014 production team. season kicks off with a production of Pulitzer Prize-winning Beth HenIndian Head Center for the Arts is located at 4185 Indian Head Hwy., ley’s tug-at-your-heartstrings comedy The Miss Firecracker Contest from Indian Head, MD 20640. Sept. 19 through 29. Complete details can be found at www.IndianHeadBlackBox.org or The 2006 Tony Award-wining Folk Rock Musical Spring Awakening by calling (301) 743-3040. with Duncan Sheik’s music and Steven Slater’s lyrics will be performed from Nov. 7 through 24. Ted Swindley’s musical Always . . . Patsy Cline Christian Youth Theater (CYT) runs from Feb. 6 through 23, 2014. Christian Youth Theater (CYT) Fredericksburg is an after-school The musical features hit songs such as I Fall to Pieces, Crazy, and theater arts training program for students ages 4 to 18. Since its found- Sweet Dreams as it follows the true story of Winchester, VA native, Pating in 1981, in San Diego, CA, The CYT has grown to be the largest sy Cline’s friend and most devoted fan, Louise Seger. The show’s title youth theater in the nation. It is a non-profit 501(c)3 educational or- was inspired by Cline’s handwritten-notes to her friend that she signed, ganization funded primarily through tuition, ticket sales, and outside “Love ALWAYS . . . Patsy Cline.” Aristophanes’ battle-of-the sexes comcontributions. edy Lysistrata, as translated by Dudley Fitts, runs from Apr. 10 through Their 2013 - 2014 season kicks off with a production of the Tony 19, 2014. The plot is based on an Athenian housewife’s frustration with Award-winning musical Annie with 8 performances scheduled from the everlasting conflict between Athens and Sparta in Greece. She conNov. 22 through Dec.1, 2013. The show is based on a book by Thomas vinces women on both sides to withhold sex to help bring an end to the Meehan, with music by Charles Strouse, and lyrics by Martin Charin. Peloponnesian War. The show will be staged at Spotsylvania High School, 6975 CourtThe Klein Theatre is located inside DuPont Hall on UMW’s Frederhouse Rd., Spotsylvania, VA 22553. continue to next page Complete details can be found at www.CYTFredericksburg.org or by
Local theaters here to entertain you all season from previous page icksburg campus on College Ave., near the intersection of Thornton St. Complete details can be found at cas.UMW. edu/theatre. Ticket information is available online or by calling (540) 654-1111. The Lancaster Players The Lancaster Players is a volunteer-run non-profit organization dedicated to providing Community Theater with local talent. They have been entertaining audiences on the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula of VA, for four decades. The Players call a former fire station in White Stone home. The building was transformed into a small and intimate playhouse. The theater features cabaret seating at 16 tables, where volunteer wait staff serve complementary cheese, fruit and cracker platters during the three annual adult performances. Tables are removed for children’s productions, allowing seating for 125. The Lancaster Players kick off their 2013 - 2014 season with the production of Steven Dietz’ Becky’s New Chair. The mid-life-crisis comedy about the relationship between a middle management housewife and a socially inept millionaire will be staged for evening performances from Oct. 10 through 26, with a matinée performance on Oct. 27. Mark Camoletti’s highflying comedy Boeing, Boeing opens in 2014. The 1960s French farce about a playboy, living in Paris and juggling his three flight attendant fiancées, will be performed in the evening from Feb. 7 through 22, with a matinée on Feb. 23, 2014. The theater is located at 361 Chesapeake Dr. (Rt.200) in White Stone, VA 22578. Complete details can be found at LancasterPlayers.org or by calling (804) 435-3776. Port Tobacco Players Amy Cooksey serves as an example of the members that constitute most Community Theater companies. She is employed as an IT (information technology) professional, with no formal background in theater arts. However, Cooksey has been involved with the Port Tobacco Players in LaPlata, MD, for the past 15 years- both directing and acting in their stage productions. She also serves as the Public Affairs Officer for the organization. Cooksey said that at any given time, the Players have one show on stage, one in rehearsal and one in auditions. “Everyone involved with the theater is just an ordinary person,” said Cooksey. “We are just run-of-the-
mill worker bees and do this for fun.” As for herself, she laughed as she said, “I’ve worked for the Navy since I got out of college, and I work to support my theater habit.” The Port Tobacco Players were conceived after WWII, when residents of Port Tobacco and LaPlata, MD, endeavored to bring live theater to the area. The group’s initial goal was to raise funds to restore the local courthouse, a feat that took more than 20 years. In 1974, the Players found a permanent home in a 1940s’ movie theater where they now perform six shows per season. The Port Tobacco Players also perform road productions with their Encore and Encore Kids touring companies. Their season runs from September through August, and they concluded their 2012 - 2013 season with the rock opera Tommy. Their 2013 - 2014 season kicks off with the Tony Award-winning musical Fiddler on the Roof from Sept. 27 through Oct. 20.A special Halloween mystery show will be presented from Oct. 25 through Nov. 3. The 1987 Stephen Mallatratt stage play, The Woman in Black, is notable for having only two actors. The Players’ holiday production of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol takes the audience on Ebenezer Scrooge’s journey from a mean miser to redemption. It will be staged from Nov. 29 through Dec. 22. Paul Freed’s mystery comedy, Death by Chocolate, runs from Jan. 24 through Feb. 9, 2014. The 2006 Tony-nominated romantic-comedy musical, The Wedding Singer, based on the 1998 movie of the same name, will be staged from Mar. 21 through Apr. 6, 2014. The romantic comedy, Cyrano, will be performed from May 16 through Jun. 1, 2014. This modern adaptation of the classic 1897 Edmond Rostand’s “Cyrano de Bergerac” story premiered at Washington’s Folger Theater in 2011. The Port Tobacco Players will be the first amateur theater company to produce this work. Their season concludes with a production of Meredith Wilson’s Tony Award-winning The Music Man from Jul. 11 through Aug. 3, 2014. The Port Tobacco Players Theater is located at 508 Charles St., LaPlata, MD 20646. Complete details can be found at www.PTPlayers.com or by calling (301) 932-6819. Riverside Center Riverside Center opened on June 18, 1998, with the Dinner Theater’s inaugural performance of Oklahoma. Since that time, more than 60 main stage Broadway musicals, and
Photo by Suzanne Carr-Rossi, courtesy of Riverside Center. Marius Pontmercy (David Pope) lies crumpled at the feet of Jean Valjean (David Michael Felty) in Riverside Center’s Les Miserables. more than 100 adaptations of children’s stories have been produced at the Center. The Theater has produced such famed Broadway musicals as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s recordbreaking Cats, based on the poems from T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. The show included sets and costumes used in the original Broadway production. Riverside Center finished their 2012 -2013 season with the production of The Full Monty, that starred Sally Struthers for a limited 7-week engagement. Their last season of Broadway Musicals marked the fifteenth year that the theater has brought live, professional-cast, dinner theater entertainment to the area. Their sixteenth season kicked off in May with the production of Legally Blonde, a comedy based on the book by Amanda Brown and the 2001 film of the same name written by Karen McCullah and Kirsten Smith starring Reese Witherspoon. The fall 25th-Anniversary production of Les Miserables, based on Victor Hugo’s 1862 French historical novel of the same name features David Michael Felty as Jean Valjean singing Bring Him Home. continue to next page
Take your family to a local theater from previous page
We the People - The Musical will be staged from May 24 through Jul. 19, 2014. The patriotic show includes sketches based on the Preamble to the Constitution and vignettes that provide an entertaining means of educating people on how the Constitution applies to our past, present and future. The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien’s prequel to Lord of the Rings, runs from Jul. 26 through Sept. 20, 2014. Lucky Duck will be presented from Sep. 27 through Nov. 22, 2014. The show is a modern, but irreverent musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling. Riverside Center is located in Falmouth, VA, just off I-95 Exit 133-B at Rt. 17, Warrenton Rd. Complete details on Riverside Center can be found at www.RiversideDT. com or by calling (540) 370-4300.
Riverside will stage Irving Berlin’s White Christmas from Nov. 30, 2013, through Jan. 4, 2014. The show is an adaptation of the movie that featured two Army buddies who team up to help out their former commanding officer and save his failing Vermont inn. The show features Berlin’s title song as well as standards such as Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep and I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm. Gypsy comes to life on the stage from Jan. 10 through Mar. 9, 2014, as stage mother, Rose, transforms her shy daughter, Louise, into the elegant, ladylike stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. Featured songs include Everything’s Coming Up Roses and Let Me Entertain You in this heartwarming Vaudeville story based loosely on the 1957 book Gypsy: A Memoir by striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee. The stage production is based on a book by Arthur Laurents with music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Forever Plaid will be performed from Mar. 14 through May 4, 2014. The 1990 musical revue written by Stuart Ross follows the afterlife adventures of four male singers killed in a car accident on the way to their first concert. The story posthumously revives the 1950s’-style high school ‘guy group’ to allow them to fulfill their dreams of stardom. The lighthearted comedy features such mid-20th century nostalgic tunes as Love is a Many Splendored Thing, Moments to Remember and Shangri-La, and includes audience sing-alongs. Riverside Center is located in FalPhoto courtesy Westmoreland Players mouth, VA, just off I-95 Exit 133-B at Margaret Bushman and Jesse Clark (standing) and Rt. 17, Warrenton Rd. Philip Haynie, C.J. Hence, Slias French, Caroline Bruner, Complete details on Riverside CenAshley Roberts, and Elana Runkle (l to r) comprise the ter can be found at www.RiversideDT. Cratchit family in the Westmoreland Players’ production com or by calling (540) 370-4300. of A Christmas Carol. Riverside Center Children’s Theater Riverside Center hosts a Children’s Theater that kicks off their fall season with stage performances of well-known children’s classics. The Frog Prince, the musical adaptation of the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale runs from Sept. 14 through Nov. 2. The musical version of E.B. White’s children’s book Charlotte’s Web will be staged from Nov. 9 through Dec. 28. Blues Clues Live! The Most Spectacular Place runs from Jan. 18 through Mar. 15, 2014. The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley runs from May 24 through Jul. 19, 2014. The play details the adventures of Stanley Lambchop after he is flattened and mailed around the globe until he is restored to his threedimensional self at the end of his journey.
Stage Door Productions Stage Door Productions is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization whose purpose is to promote theater through performance, education, and outreach. The organization is headquartered in Fredericksburg and currently is in its 15th season. Stage Door kicked off 2013 with Arthur Miller’s classic drama Death of a Salesman. Stage Door is producing Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee’s Inherit the Wind in partnership with the Rappahannock Legal Aid Society. The courtroom drama will be presented at the Old Spotsylvania Circuit Courthouse Oct. 3 and 4, at 8 p.m. A matinée presentation for students and seniors will be staged at 2 p.m. at the Fredericksburg Circuit Courthouse on Oct 5. The show will also be staged at the same locations on Oct. 5 and 6, at 8 p.m. A production of Nora and Delia Ephron’s Love, Loss and What I Wore will be staged in December at the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center. Based on the 1995 Ilene Beckman book, the play is organized as a series of monologues using the females’ wardrobes as a time capsule of a woman’s life. The show is being produced in partnership with the museum and cultural center. Stage Door’s main stage plays are usually produced at Massaponax High School on Rt. 1 in Massaponax. Complete details can be found at www.StageDoorProductions.org or by calling (540) 903-3808. continue to next page
The 2013-14 area theater season from previous page Stage Door Productions’ Kids on Stage Kids on Stage is the children’s division of Stage Door Productions. Kids on Stage is dedicated to developing life skills in children through affordable theater experiences that educate, entertain, and enrich the lives of those on the stage and in the audience. They produced Disney’s The Little Mermaid in March 2013. They will present Joseph Robinette’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, an adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ book set in the land of Narnia. This story of love, faith, and courage is a magical mystery tale of Asian the great lion and his struggles with the White Witch and the adventures of four children that have wandered from an old wardrobe into Narnia. Complete details can be found at www.StageDoorProductions.org/KidsOn-Stage.html or by calling (540) 9033808. Stage Door Stars Stage Door Stars is a division of Stage Door dedicated to serving children with special needs. They offer opportunities in theater education, performance, and outreach to children, school age up to 22 years old. All workshops are held at Massaponax High School on Rt. 1. Details can be found at www.StageDoorProductions.org/StageDoor-Stars.html or by calling (540) 903-3808.
lover. Though the play was the inspiration for a “Pink Panther” film of the same name, the movie script was completely rewritten and is not a straightforward adaptation of the Kurnitz play. Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s mystery thriller Getting Away With Murder runs from Mar. 1 through 16, 2014. The plot unfolds on a stormy night in New York’s Upper West Side when group therapy patients arrive at a session to find that their psychiatrist is missing. Neil Simon’s comedy The Prisoner of Second Avenue will be performed from May 3 through 18, 2014. In traditional American black-comedy style, the plot makes light of an otherwise serious subject. The story centers on Mel Edison having to cope with middle age unemployment. He and his wife Edna suffer through an intense summer heatwave, a garbage strike, noisy neighbors, and a daytime robbery of their New York apartment. Joseph Kesselring’s 1939 comedy Arsenic and Old Lace is the final season production and will run from Aug. 2 through 17, 2014. The farcical black comedy centers on drama critic Mortimer Brewster, who is surrounded by a crazy, homicidal family. Arsenic and Old Lace became widely known through the 1944 film adaptation starring Cary Grant. The Westmoreland Players Theater is located at 16217 Richmond Rd., Callao, VA 22435 Complete details can be found at www.WestmorelandPlayers.org or by calling (804) 529-9345.
The Westmoreland Players The Westmoreland Players is a non-profit, amateur theater group located in the Northern Neck of Virginia. The organization was formed in 1979, in Westmoreland County. In 2000, the organization purchased a permanent home in Northumberland County. The 2013-2014 Season kicks off from Nov. 9 through 24, with Harry Kurnitz’ adaptation of the Marcel Achard comedy A Shot in the Dark. Sex, murder, and true love get examined when a French parlor maid is found naked and unconscious next to the body of her dead
8 21 Weems Street Colonial Beach, VA 22443 Phone: (804) 224-1101
Reedville’s 19th Annual Christmas on Cockrell’s Creek House Tour set for December 14-15 Susan Tipton The Reedville Fishermen’s Museum will sponsor the 19th Annual Christmas on Cockrell’s Creek house tour on Saturday, December 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, December 15, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The annual “Christmas on Cockrell’s Creek” weekend proudly highlights the Northern Neck’s rich maritime heritage. Reedville, still one of the most active fishing ports in America, was established in 1867, when Capt. Elijah Reed sailed down from Maine and up the Chesapeake Bay and set up his first small fishery. By the turn of the century, Reedville was purported to be the richest town per capita in the United States. Reedville’s golden age of prosperity from the menhaden fishing industry Photo by Susan Tipton is reflected in the Victorian mansions that line Main Street in the national reg- The Garrison House is just one of the many homes that will ister historic district. Nostalgia is also open for a tour this year. preserved in the sturdy smaller homes pointing out the old buildings and houses along the built for the industry’s fishermen, and the old general way.” store buildings and bank buildings that still welcome This year’s house tour features six private homes customers today. along the shores of Cockrell’s Creek in Reedville, in“Back before every family had two or three cars, peo- cluding three in the historic district, each decorated for ple living on the Northern Neck’s creeks and rivers did the season by the talented ladies of the Chesapeake Bay much of their visiting by boat. Visitors to Reedville’s Garden Club. Christmas house tour can recreate those days of “backOpen in the historic district are: the Garrison House, door” visiting by riding a free boat shuttle between the a stately Queen Anne Victorian built in 1894; the Rosie houses on the tour,” explained tour chairman Maureen Blanche Garner House, a Colonial Revival style house Gillmer. One visitor from Fredericksburg told her last built c. 1900 and renovated in the late 1990s, and the year, that “my husband never wants to come on these Rice House built c. 1900 and expanded and renovated house tours with me, but when he heard about the boat in 2012. rides, he quickly changed his mind. He had a great time continue to next page and thought that all the captains were so interesting,
19th Annual Christmas on Cockrell’s Creek House Tour from previous page Around Cockrell’s Creek are 3 imposing new homes: the Truxall home in Reedville, and the Hassler and Marcey homes on the Fairport shore. “It will be a lively weekend in Reedville,” said Gillmer. “The Northern Neck Railroad model train display at the museum, which starts rolling the day after Thanksgiving, will be going strong all weekend. Santa will make his annual visit to town aboard the Elva C., the museum’s historic buyboat on Saturday morning at 9 a.m., followed by refreshments for the kids at Bethany UMC. There’s also the Pantry and Bake Sale featuring our members’ finest confections; Tablescapes, an exhibit of intriguing holiday table settings presented by area decorators and designers; plus caroling and refreshments in the Walker House. We’re also very grateful to the talented ladies of the Chesapeake Bay Garden Club, who will again be adding festive seasonal touches to all the homes. And to Bethany Church, who will be offering free tours of their beautiful sanctuary. In its third year, ‘Santa’s Workshop’ has been a great addition to the weekend festivities,” explained Gillmer. “We have drawn together a varied selection of handcrafted gifts for sale, all created by our talented museum-member artists and artisans. The Masonic Lodge on Main Street will again be transformed into a charming gift shop, and our Christmas ‘elves’ can help you find that perfect gift for the person who has everything.” The Reedville Fishermen’s Museum is located at 504 Main Street, Reedville. Fall/Winter hours are Friday through Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. House tour tickets are $25 in advance or $30 on tour days, and include all houses and museum exhibits. Tickets will go on sale on Monday, November 11. Advance tickets may be purchased at the museum office Monday thru Friday from 9 a.m.–5 p.m., and at the museum desk on weekends, or by mail. For further information, check the museum’s webpage at www.rfmuseum.org or call (804) 453-6529.
Photo by Susan Tipton “Creekview,” The Hassler House is another stop on the house tour this year. 504 Main St, Reedville, VA 22539 • 804/453-6529 • www.rfmuseum.org
Exhibits of watermen’s tools and heritage William Walker House 1875 restored waterman’s home Boat building and model workshops Historic small craft and workboat collection Skipjack Cruises on Historic 1911 Claud Somers Waterside Summer Concerts Fall Oyster Roast Winter Markets at Festival Halle “Christmas on Cockrell’s Creek” House Tour
For Museum Hours, Sailing Schedules and Event details, visit www.rfmuseum.org OR call 804-453-6529
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Photos by Cynthia L. Ailey The Westmoreland County Museum storefront lights up an antique Santa in the window, along with other Christmas decorations every year during the Annual Montross Christmas Spirit Festival.
Westmoreland County Museum in Montross honors county’s unique history Richard Leggitt The Westmoreland County Museum in Montross was founded in 1941, and is the oldest museum in the Northern Neck. “The museum is very important to Westmoreland County,” said Bryan Chandler, the vice-president of the museum’s board of directors. “Westmoreland County has a pretty unique history. This museum is a repository of many of the things that make Westmoreland County great.” One of the museum’s first gifts was a historic portrait of Sir William Pitt, painted by famous artist Charles Wilson Peale in 1768. The fulllength portrait, which was commissioned by patriots in Westmoreland County, is filled with patriotic symbolism and is the centerpiece of the museum. Pitt, a member of England’s House of Commons, championed the rights of American colonists in their bitter fight with the British. Carl Flemer, Jr., a museum board member, has generously added 12 more full-length portraits to the museum’s collection. Flemer, of Ingleside Plantation, Inc., commissioned full-sized portraits of Westmoreland County’s most historic figures including George Washington, Rev. Archibald Campbell, John Marshall, James Monroe, James Madison, Richard Henry Lee, Francis Lighfoot Lee and Robert E. Lee. In addition to the portraits, the museum proudly has exhibits display-
ing the history of the county for the past 400 years. Visitors can learn about the county’s rich heritage and see historical artifacts representing Native Americans, as well as sharks’ teeth collected from the Nomini cliffs on the banks of the Potomac River. There is also a lock of George Washington’s hair, as well as china and furniture from the home at Popes Creek Plantation (Wakefield), where Washington was born. There is pottery from a kiln operated by clandestine potter Morgan Jones in the 17th Century. There are also exhibits displaying the history of crabbing, oystering and the early days of Westmoreland County’s seafood industry. The museum is currently undertaking an effort to expand, so it can provide more space for its collections, library, research materials and other programs underlining the county’s heritage. Expansion plans call for reproductions of both a general store and a soda fountain, much like those that served the county almost 100 years ago. The expansion will also include a gift shop, new exhibition space and meeting rooms. The $500,000 expansion will include the renovation of the former Wakefield Furniture Store, which was operated by the Sisson family for over 50 years and is located next door to the present museum. It will complement the museum’s current facility. And, it will be a highly visible feature of the current Montross downtown revitalization, helping restore the vitality of the downtown Courtyard Square.
Photo by Cynthia L. Ailey Santa waves hello outside the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Montross during the Montross Christmas Spirit Festival.
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Little George Washington got nuttin’ for Christmas Carla Rollins Gutridge George Washington’s first childhood Christmases in Westmoreland County weren’t geared toward providing a magical time for the children. It was the adults who celebrated with parties, dances, and visits from friends and family. The holidays were a time of generosity and universal hospitality. No one would have been turned away, or denied participation in the feasting and drinking. Games, music and dancing, and even fireworks were on the agenda for the celebration that began on Christmas day, and lasted for twelve days and nights. Food, then, as it is today, was a large part of the celebration. Plenty of strong drinks, including wine, brandy, and rum punches were consumed. Portions of rum were even given to the slaves, in hopes of keeping them happy enough to stay around and work during their very few days given off from work during the holiday season. Decorations of the time included door wreaths and garlands of local greenery. Holly and ivy would’ve been strung throughout the house. There was no Christmas tree, but caroling was a part of young George Washington’s memories of Christmas. He would’ve known the song The Twelve Days of Christmas, but not as a holiday song. Instead, reciting it was a method of learning numbers for the children.
The Memorial House at George Washinton Birthplace National Monument will be decorated for the Washington Family Christmas event this year, December 29 from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Join the staff and volunteers of George Washington Birthplace National Monument on Sunday, December 29, 2013, in celebrating the Washington Family Christmas. The event will take place from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Costumed volunteers and staff members will be hosting a Christmas party much like the Washington family might have done in the 1730s. Cooks will prepare a lavish feast while visitors enjoy the mouth-watering smells from their creations. Demonstrations of plantation work, like
blacksmithing and spinning (which took place, holiday or not) will be ongoing throughout the day. Visitors staying until dusk will be treated to the once-a-year lighting of candle lanterns along the pathways from the Visitor Center to the Memorial House in the Historic Area. For more information, contact: George Washington Birthplace National Monument 1732 Popes Creek Road Washington’s Birthplace, VA 22443 (804) 224-1732
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Virginia State Parks | Caledon
Art & Wine Festival Saturday, Nov. 2 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Enjoy the local flavors in nearby King George, Va. – regional art, wine and food on the beautiful rolling lawns of the historic Smoot House. Wine tasting and souvenir glass $10 per person (ID required) Sorry, no outside food or coolers. Parking is $5. Sponsored by the Friends of Caledon State Park. Proceeds benefit park educational programs.
11617 Caledon Road, King George, VA 22485 • 540-663-3861 • www.virginiastateparks.gov CA_AB_RecNews_wineFest.indd 2
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Children’s Activity Center Including Face Painting, Pumpkin Decorating, Games, Crafts, Kiddie Rides
Award Winning Classic Custom Car Show Vintage Tractor Show
ALL Day Live Entertainment
FUN FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY We love your pets, too..but pets are not allowed in the Festival Area. Service dogs exempted.