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H o l ly w o o d C o s t u m e E x h i b i t

p. 37

| Century Farms

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| H o s p i ta l s & H e a lt h C a r e S p e c i a l !

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British Columbia



is a Verb

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Staunton a wonderfully

walkable city p. 84

Groovin’ in norfolk

Hampton Roads’

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P r i n c i p l e G a l l e r y

“Cityscape No. 5” 44x32 oil on panel

Geoffrey Johnson 208 King Street Alexandria VA 22314 703.739.9326

125 Meeting Street Charleston SC 29401 843.727.4500

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C A N C E R. Years ago, Bob Holdsworth was diagnosed with stage III oral cancer that had spread to a lymph node. After exploring his options, he chose VCU Massey Cancer Center. Bob participated in a clinical trial where he received high doses of focused radiation, sparing healthy surrounding tissue. Today he is cancer free. And the other mountain? Bob celebrated his good health by climbing to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. For more success stories, go to

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hospitals were considered.


met the minimum requirements.


were nationally ranked.

Only 1

Virginia hospital was nationally ranked for heart care.


Sentara Heart Hospital

or 14 years, Virginia and North Carolina residents have had access to a nationally ranked, top-50 heart program at Sentara Heart Hospital. And this year, we are the only nationally ranked Cardiology and Heart Surgery Program in Virginia in the 2013-14 America’s Best Hospitals rankings of U.S.News & World Report. We’d like to commend our Sentara Heart physicians, cardiac anesthesiologists, nurses and clinical teams for achieving this standard year in and year out. For details, go to

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Quaker Glen


700 Acres Madison

In the Quaker Run Valley near Syria and Graves Mtn. Lodge, this beautiful farm enjoys the plenty of pasture, crop land and mountain forests. The farmhouse dates to 1874 and has been renovated to accommodate the weekend family or staff quarters. There are numerous building sites that capture the extraordinary views and the farm is an outstanding candidate for a conservation easement. With spring-fed pond, 15 acre apple orchard, miles of riding & hiking trails and an additional small cottage, Quaker Glen is very reasonably priced at $4,350,000.


51 Acres Albemarle

Along the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge above Charlottesville ½ mile from Shenandoah National Park, this remarkable Tuscan contemporary was designed by Bill Atwood, AIA, overlooking the Rockfish Valley. Here is one-level living with a natural flow that captures both abundant natural light and the ever-present mountain zephyrs. There are porches, decks and rock fireplaces. There is a separate guest cottage with full kitchen and full bath. There is an indoor swimming pool with private bathing deck. $1,375,000. Please visit our website for information on these and others.


Over 100 Years Of Virginia Real Estate Service

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Strange’s has an incredible selection of fresh flowers to decorate any home for the holidays. Rich reds, soft pinks, crisp greens and creamy whites to grace any table or hearth. Poinsettias and floral arrangements are the perfect holiday gift for everyone on your list.

Richmond, Virginia

Northeast 804-321-2200


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West End 804-360-2800

12111 W. Broad St. between Rt. 288 and Short Pump Town Center

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Hull Street 804-321-0470 6710 Hull Street at Chippenham

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Con te n ts december 2013

Features 96

the norfolk sound

The music was raucous and raw, brazen and bold, and it made Hampton Roads a vital epicenter of pop, rock and soul in the 1960s. By don harrison


made in virginia awards

15 of our favorite products made right here in the Old Dominion, and the people behind them who put craftsmanship before everything.


Hospitals & Health Care 2013 A special supplement investigating trends in patient care and technology in Virginia’s top hospitals.

On the Cover Cami enjoying drinking chocolate at The Roosevelt in Richmond.

Whistler, British Columbia.

photo by adam ewing


photo by mike crane

19 | u p f r o n t

50 | s h o p p i n g

A holiday gift guide of stylish whatnots to inspire your morning routine all year.

59 | p r o f i l e

Moore & Giles’ 80th anniversary, barred owls, Alexandria’s Town Crier, Cloudigy Law, rock band The Last Bison, the VMFA’s Hollywood Costume exhibit, holiday party style, Bellwether and more!

A talk with Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia Cynthia D. Kinser.

43 | a b o u t t o w n

Virginia’s Century Farms honor the land and celebrate the state’s deep agrarian heritage.

By joe tennis

By Ben Swenson

47 | w e d d i n g s

65 | s tat e o f l aw

Weddings from across the Commonwealth.

The good work of the Virginia Bar Association and the Virginia State Bar.

49 | e v e n t s

By sandr a shelley

80 | t r av e l

Chilled out thrills in Whistler, British Columbia make a Canadian convert out of this sunshine girl.

84 | t o w n

Staunton is a shining example of a city that fought suburbanization and won. By daryl grove

128 | d e pa r t u r e

A captain of industry shows the author the meaning of true grit. By Dean King

69 | d i n i n g

Tony palates on the prowl after midnight find elevated options for the witching hour.

By Lisa Antonelli Bacon

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Our 5 favorite recipes for delectable drinking chocolate. Need we say more?

By Kimberley Lovato

61 | v i r g i n i a n a

Galas and gatherings around the state, supporting art, institutions and charities.

Our picks for the most interesting goings-on this season.

72 | f o o d


virginia living

10/24/13 3:02 PM

“Dad’s doctrine is ‘be useful.’ And he lives his life at RWC that way.” – Son, Dr. David Charlton

“I belong to a group at RWC who meet monthly to discuss global issues and current events.” – RWC Resident, Rt. Rev. Gordon Charlton, Jr., Retired Bishop Suffragan of the Diocese of Texas

“Living at RWC is the latest chapter in my grandfather’s exciting and rewarding life.” – Grandson, Wesley M. Charlton, Esq.

Retired bishop Gordon Charlton has continued to live an active, purposeful life at Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury. His son David knows RWC provides the intellectual and social interaction their family patriarch needs to lead a happy and fulfilling life. “Dad can spend his time pursuing his interests. He stays so busy that sometimes it’s challenging to get on his schedule. But, we wouldn’t have it any other way.” To learn more about embracing your life at RWC, just call 804-438-4000 today. E mbrace life on your terms. Equal Housing Opportunity © 2013 RWC

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804-438-4000 or 800-792-1444 132 Lancaster Drive Irvington, Virginia 22480

10/23/13 10/17/13 10:07 4:52 PM AM

E ditor ’ s letter Dreamers and Doers Here’s to thinking big and taking risks.


businesses from their passions. We spent many months earlier this year searching the state for the 15 products that we selected for this, our second annual award. It was tough because there were many more than we could include (see page 70 for some of the runners-up from the food category). Across the board we found people who work hard to create quality products: Andrew Broocker of Reginald’s Homemade Nut Butters in Richmond, Swede McBroom and his Natural Woodworking Company in Floyd, Bill Frierson of Frierson Designs in Virginia Beach and more. We are proud to introduce them to you—if you don’t already know them—and to celebrate their entrepreneurial spirit. And there are others, including Don Giles, chairman of Forest-based luxury leather maker Moore & Giles whose still-family-owned company is celebrating its 80th anniversary (page 19), and the forward-thinking physicians in our story about the trend toward concierge medical care that appears in our special supplement, Hospitals & Health Care (page 122). Then there are music producers Frank Guida and Noah Biggs, who, in the 1960s, nurtured a prolific R&B and soul scene in Hampton Roads that influenced generations of musicians, including stars like Bruce Springsteen (page 96). There is more, a lot more in this issue, including recipes for drinking chocolate (delish), visits to Whistler, British Columbia, and the Queen City, Staunton, a talk with Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Cynthia D. Kinser and a look at the good work of our state bar associations. And in this issue we bid farewell to Associate Editor Daryl Grove. He too is feeding his inner-entrepreneur, and will be freelancing full time. We will miss our talented and witty Brit, but we wish him well. I hope you enjoy the issue. Happy holidays!

hen my 14-year-old son, Drew, let me in on his plans last summer to organize a longboarding race—for fun and profit—I admit, I was incredulous. This wasn’t the first time Drew displayed entrepreneurial spirit. He had designed and sold skateboard decks on eBay the year before, and then of course there were the umpteen lemonade stands he and his brother and sister put up when they were younger. But organizing a public race, with all its moving parts? It seemed like a lot for a teenager to handle. Plus, I have always been terrified at the thought of the boy hurtling down hills at 40 miles per hour on nothing more than a thin strip of wood and four plastic wheels (he does it anyway). What if you get hurt, or what if someone else gets hurt, I worried? Can’t you just mow lawns to earn money? But Drew shook off my concerns. “It’s OK Above: The editor and Mom, really.” He had big plans. For about four weeks Drew got ready for the race. her son, Drew. Right: Andrew Broocker with He posted on Instagram to create some buzz—“RVA Reginald's Homemade Throwdown Longboard Race! Be There!”—and he Nut Butters. gathered all of his supplies. Tent and table? Check. Prizes? Check. (He even got Nectar Sunglasses to donate a few pairs of their “sweet sunnies” for the winners.) Sign-in sheet and money envelope, with change? Yep. FIRST AID KIT? “Mom! I have everything!” he coughed (insert eye roll here) as he and his dad loaded the car. About a dozen longboarders showed up on the big day. The race was a success, and winners went away with sunglasses and street cred. Drew cleared $10 for his month’s work. But he was happy. And I was proud. The real takeaway was not the money he earned, but the fact that Drew was energized by turning something he loves into a business. I think he is a lot like many of the folks we feature in this issue, especially the winners of our second Made in Virginia Awards (page 102). People like knife-maker Edmund Davidson of Goshen and Hope Lawrence of Hudson Henry Baking Co. in Palmyra who have taken risks and built successful

above right photo by sara harris photography

Dear Editor:

Tricia Pearsall’s articles about her treks always carry this couch potato off to exotic places, and I truly admire her for sharing her adventures. The article in the October 2013 issue of Virginia Living, "Destination Dublin,” really did transport me to Ireland and the contrasting topography of its countryside, the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Dublin, and the people she met along the way. I really want to go back and hike part of it like the Pearsalls did. Hope you will continue to publish Pearsall’s articles. Her writings and adventures are a wonderful addition to your magazine. Kathleen Ryan Albers


Dear Editor:

Erin Parkhurst, Editor

excellence and innovation in science, math and technology, co-ops and partnerships, and capital improvements validate our commitment to our high-ability and intellectually curious students. Marty Morrison Director of Media and Public Relations University of Mary Washington

Dear Editor:

As president of a small liberal arts college, I read with great interest the new State of Education supplement in your October 2013 issue. Virginia Intermont College is honored to be recognized for our nationally renowned equestrian program. Thank you, Virginia Living, for recognizing excellence and promoting education throughout the Commonwealth.

UMW prides itself in providing students with groundbreaking initiatives and rigorous academics that prepare them for the real world. Virginia Living’s accolades for

E. Clorisa Phillips

Letters to the Editor We love receiving letters and emails from Virginia Living readers. Please don’t keep your thoughts to yourself! Email us at or write to us at Letters to the Editor, Cape Fear Publishing, 109 E. Cary St., Richmond, VA 23219 and let us know what you think of our stories. Please include your name, address, phone number and city of residence. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. For subscriptions, see our website, Kindly address all other editorial queries to Editor@

President Virginia Intermont College

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Write to us!


virginia living

10/25/13 5:03 PM

Virginia Peanut Growers Association

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VOLUME 12, NUMBER 1 December 2013 Published by

Cape Fear Publishing Company

109 East Cary Street, Richmond, Virginia 23219 Telephone (804) 343-7539, Facsimile (804) 649-0306


John-Lawrence Smith

kimberley Lovato

Kimberley Lovato is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in numerous national and international publications, and websites. Her culinary travel book, Walnut Wine & Truffle Groves, won the Society of American Travel Writers’ Lowell Thomas Award in 2012. When she’s not hatching a plan for travel far and wide, she loves exploring her home city of San Francisco.

EDITORIAL STAFF editor Erin Parkhurst Art Director Sonda Andersson Pappan acting associate editor Sandra Shelley associate editor Lisa Antonelli Bacon assistant art director Megan Mullsteff assistant editor special projects Christine Stoddard CONTRIBUTING Editors

Bland Crowder, Bill Glose, Don Harrison, Caroline Kettlewell, Dean King, Sarah Sargent CONTRIBUTING writers

Glenda C. Booth, Thomas Cullen, Daryl Grove, Clarke C. Jones, Chiles T. A. Larson, Greg A. Lohr, Kimberley Lovato, Chris Moore, Suz Redfearn, Dan Smith, Ben Swenson, Joe Tennis, Joan Tupponce, J.P. Welch CONTRIBUTING photographers

Mark Edward Atkinson, Tim Cox, Ash Daniel, David Deal, Sam Dean, Adam Ewing, Ryan Portnoy, Sarah Walor CONTRIBUTING illustrators

Gary Hovland, Chris Gall, Robert Meganck, David Hollenbach editorial interns

Lauryn Nanny, Eden Stuart

david hollenbach

Virginia Living’s contributing illustrator David Hollenbach was born in Salisbury, Maryland, and studied illustration at Pratt Institute in New York. His work has appeared in publications such as Sports Illustrated, Time Asia, The New York Times and Business Week, among others. His unique approach has been utilized in a variety of corporate projects, CD covers and book jackets. His work has also appeared in Communication Arts Illustration Annual and American Illustration, and he has received a silver medal from the Society of Illustrators. David currently resides in Philadelphia.

art interns

Sami Cronk, Austin Anderson, Owen Paine Advertising executives central virginia

sales MANAGER Torrey Munford

(804) 343-0782,

david deal

Christiana Roberts

(804) 622-2602,

David Deal is an award-winning commercial photographer and filmmaker based in Orange. His documentary photographs and feature portraits have been published in a selection of national and international publications. David is an avid cyclist and recently directed and produced a feature-length documentary on Paris-Roubaix, the most prestigious one-day cycling race in the world, titled Road To Roubaix.

eastern virginia

Thomas Durrer

(804) 622-2614,

Mary Evans Callahan

(804) 622-2605,

Northern Virginia

Haley Bien

(804) 622-2603,

western virginia

Heather McKinney

(804) 622-2611,

classifieds and web media

Jess Pagonis

(804) 622-2609,



Send address changes to VIRGINIA LIVING 109 East Cary St., Richmond, VA 23219


One year - $24, two years - $40. Send to 109 East Cary St., Richmond, VA 23219 or


Back issues are available for most editions and are $9.95 plus $5 shipping and handling. Please call for availability.

REPRINTS & REPRODUCTION PERMISSION Contact John-Lawrence Smith, Publisher, at (804) 343-7539 or


Virginia Living is a registered trademark of Cape Fear Publishing Company, Inc. Copyright 2008, all rights reserved. Reproduction without written permission from the publisher is strictly prohibited. Don’t forget, you can find even more Virginia Living online! Visit our website to groove to audio recordings from Norfolk Sound stars Gene “Daddy G” Barge (pictured right), Ida Sands, Wilson Williams, Lenis Guess and others featured in our story by Don Harrison. Plus, watch Put Me Down Easy: The Charlie McLendon Story, a documentary about the man and his band The Magnificents, plus view a slideshow of more images from the story. Soon voting will begin in our Best of Virginia 2014 Readers' Survey! Go to and nominate your favorites in dining, shopping and doing, from all across the Commonwealth. Cast your ballots beginning Jan. 1.


(USPS) ISSN 1534-9984 VirginiaLiving is published bimonthly by Cape Fear Publishing Company, 109 East Cary St., Richmond, VA 23219. Periodical postage permit 021-875 at Richmond, VA.

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robb scharegt

OFFICE MANAGER Maria Harwood chief financial officer Tom Kozusko assistant chief financial officer Brandon Faux Creative Services director Kenny Kane Creative Services Assistant Joseph Wharton circulation manager Kim Benson Web content manager Macaulay Hammond event SPONSORSHIP manager Kim Benson Groundskeeper Melwood Whitlock Activities & Morale Director Cutty Assistant Activities & Morale Director Rex

We also encourage you to connect with us via social media. Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to see all the latest from Virginia Living, including exciting and exclusive giveaways and contests.

virginia living

10/25/13 8:53 AM



Biota (3), acrylic on canvas with polymer, 48x48, 2013

Duane Cregger is a contemporary artist working in oils, acrylics, and mixed media. His large, brightly colored and heavily textured abstract works hang in private and corporate collections throughout the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean.


Represented by Crossroads Art Center of Richmond, VA ( and Aaron Gallery of Washington, D.C. (

Available at: Greenleaf Gallery – Duck, NC 252.261.2009 Crossroads Art Center – Richmond, VA 804.278.8950

She said “Yes.” Now it’s time to pop another question: The Jefferson or Keswick Hall? Each location offers exceptional service, outstanding food and spectacular ambience for the wedding of your dreams.

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond, VA | 804-649-4612 Keswick Hall at Monticello Keswick, VA | 434-923-4370

$34.95 plus shipping 150+ images (hardbound)

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Staircase image courtesy of Ballroom image courtesy of Holland Photo Arts.

10/25/13 11:53 AM

UpFro n t music

the last bison |

odd dominion

porcine problems |


hollywood costume exhibit

how to succeed in business

Hard work, agile business practices and savvy leadership have made Forest-based Moore & Giles a leader in the luxury leather industry for 80 years.

By Dan Smith Photography by Ryan Portnoy and Daryl Calfee

d ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3

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virginia living

10/24/13 9:52 AM


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ANOTHER HOME. Izzie W., 9th grade It takes courage to start a new school. Especially when it’s in the U.S. and your family is in London! Like Izzie, we at Saint Mary’s like a challenge. Honors and AP courses, three languages, 11 sports — and a community to support you every step of the way.



January 16-17

Please call the Admission Office at 919.424.4100 to register.

Serving girls, grades 9-12, boarding and day in Raleigh, NC. | 919.424.4100 |

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10/24/13 5:25 PM

UpFront You don’t get very far into any conversation about luxury leather maker Moore & Giles without the word “evolution” coming up. We’re not talking about evolution in religion or politics, but about keeping up in a changing business, something the Forest-based company has done so well over the years that it could teach a seminar on going with the flow. This year, the company, which designs and develops natural leathers for the residential interior design, aviation and luxury hospitality industries and retails its collections of leather bags and accessories, celebrates its 80th year in business. Still family-owned and led by chairman Donald Moore Giles—grandson of the company’s founder, Donald Graeme Moore— it has weathered a myriad of crises that would have sunk most businesses and today is one of the top three manufacturers in the residential and hospitality design markets. But it wasn’t easy. Moore & Giles (originally known as Don Moore Sales) was founded in 1933 after Donald Graeme Moore was laid off from his job as a purchasing agent at Lynchburg’s Craddock-Terry Shoe Corp. Although Moore started his company during the pits of the Depression, his leather “findings”—articles and tools used in making leather goods—found a good customer right off the bat: Moore’s former employer, Craddock-Terry. That relationship continued as one of the company’s strongest until C-T folded in the early 1990s, leaving Moore’s grandson, Donald Moore Giles (son of Donald Moore’s daughter and son-in-law, W. Vernon Giles, a partner), to find new markets for the company’s leather inventory. So he took a risk. Giles, a former VMI football player who grew up in Lynchburg and joined the company in 1966, the same year his grandfather retired at age 88, led Moore & Giles into the home furnishings industry, but not by selling the commodity leathers (leather that is mass produced) that were prevalent at the time (and volatile in their pricing). Giles sought out and sold leather with natural tannages and finishes—the kind with distinctive markings that develops a rich patina with use over time. This novel fashion approach to the industry paid off, and the response was immediate and enthusiastic. Giles and his team developed new sources for leather in Europe, South America and New Zealand and those sources led to international sales. The once-small Lynchburg distributor soon became an industry force that today has markets in 56 countries on six continents. As the century turned, the company, which today employs 60 in its recently expanded 120,000-square-foot warehouse, continued evolving, adding architects and interior designers to its list of customers. High-end hotels and the airplane renovation industry also signed on. “We learned two things from losing Craddock-Terry,” says Giles, 71. “One was that we were spending too much time with one customer. That was 40 percent of our business. The other was that measured growth is best for the company.” Shoe manufacturing “went offshore a long time ago,” says Moore & Giles Vice President Tray Petty, 42, who has been with the company for 20 years. “We saw a decline from 60 customers to three.” But, he adds, the year after losing Craddock-Terry as its No. 1 customer “was our best ever to that point.” “Sometimes desperation makes geniuses out of you,” says Sackett Wood, president. “Don saw the shift away from shoes coming,” and the company’s “mindset changed,” explains the 48-year-old who first started working for the company in 1990. The first leather Moore & Giles developed for the furniture industry, says Wood, is still a top seller and continues as a hot commodity because of the company’s ability to respond to changing consumer tastes, especially when it comes to color. “We’re out twice a year at fashion shows,” he says, “and color is often the theme.” The company has more than 500 leather collections. “The color blue is on trend in Italy right now and also grays,” says Wood. “We’re starting to see a lot of interest in different shades of yellow as well.” Six years ago, the company began designing and selling a wide variety of leather bags and accessories: camera straps, wallets, leather-care products, luggage, briefcases, belts, equestrian totes, work aprons, backpacks, gun cases and more. A growing market in shoe leather is slowly luring the company back into that business. “Today, a small pocket of domestic footd ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3

UPF_OPENER_MooreGiles_DEC13.indd 21

wear manufacturers run these leathers,” explains Wood. “The point is that these leathers are attractive to a broad range of markets, not just upholstery, but also footwear, ready-to-wear and handbags. I estimate it has grown to five percent of our business in a relatively short period of time.” Moore & Giles is constantly looking for collaborative projects and partners, explains Wood. “We reached out to our mixologist friend Jim Meehan several years ago to design the Meehan bag and roll-up, because we saw an opportunity to deliver a bag for carrying his tools that was both stylish, functional and hadn’t been done before. To date, these are two of our best selling bags.” The company also partnered with Bulleit Bourbon. “Last year, they approached us to design and make the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Woody Tailgate Trailer for Neiman Marcus’ fantasy gift catalog. “The trailer was based on a similar design we created in 2011 with celebrated interior designer Brad Ford for DIFFA [Design Industry Foundation Fighting AIDS]. Brad assisted in the design process for both trailers, and we used Roanoke-based Silver Tears Campers as the fabricator. Since our primary business is selling hides of leather to designers, it was

Previous page: Tray Petty, Don Giles and Sackett Wood in front of tanning drums. This page, top: Tray Petty selecting leather; bottom: leather chair and weekend bag.

wonderful to create a unique finished product that highlighted our leather’s possibilities and generated a lot of positive conversation about our brand.” “People know our leathers,” says Petty, “and they come back for them.” Part of creating a good product is retaining employees says Giles, who explains there’s a good bit more to a productive employee than a fat paycheck (though he says they pay competitively). “All too often, businesses look at the front-end cost for employees,” says Petty. “We don’t lose people, so we don’t have to retrain and sacrifice that productivity. .… Everybody here has a voice. Ultimately, executives have to make the decision, but we listen. Groups tend to make sound decisions.” Moore & Giles recently added a fully-equipped gym and a full-time personal trainer to its staff. Many of the employees—including the top execs— are former athletes who “are all active people, and they take care of themselves,” says Petty, a former wrestler. “There’s a basketball goal out at the dock. The guys throw the football around on break.” It’s all part of the adjustment, the evolution. There’s no standing still at this company. ❉


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UpFront n at i v e s | by caroline kettlewell

supposed to be there. Instead, they were supposed to require large stands of old-growth forests for their habitat. “So either the textbooks were wrong,” says Bierregaard drily, “or owls can’t read.” Bierregaard’s research suggests, however, that older suburbs—like those you’ll find in Richmond, where the owl attacks took place this summer, or in neighborhoods around Washington, D.C.—make the ideal barred owl habitat. “What barred owls want is trees big enough to have holes to nest in and a pretty open understory.” The owls like to sit in the trees and watch and listen for their prey, he says, “and older suburbs are über old-growth, with their older trees and open understory.” The open understory is key to the owl’s nighttime hunting strategy, as it glides silently on widespread wings to snatch its prey. They always nest a stream, and they Are they hungry? near enjoy frogs, crayfish, Angry? Guarding fish (“they’ll clean out a goldfish pond”), bats and territory? Or are birds, and they really love they just messing cicadas which, in some neighborhoods, must have with us? made this past spring, with its huge hatches of periodical cicadas, quite a feast. Because barred owls hunt at night, they depend on very acute hearing to locate their prey, according to Amanda Nicholson, outreach director for the Wildlife Center of Virginia, which treats sick, injured and orphaned wildlife from all over the Commonwealth. “Their ears are assymetrical, which helps them triangulate in to any sound that is going on. They kind of hear in 3-D to really figure out where the noise is coming from so they can swoop down and grab their prey,” she says. So that silent flight? It’s not just about surprising their next meal with a stealth attack. The owls need the silence in order to hear what blog reported multiple assaults in Richmond’s they’re hunting. “If they have had any injury in Westover Hills neighborhood and adjacent the wings,” says Nicholson, “we have to make Forest Hill Park. sure they are really silent so they can hunt Are they hungry? Angry? Guarding territory? again.” By comparison, other birds—bald eagles, Celebrating this year’s 50th anniversary of that for instance—make a relative racket in flight. classic creep-out of avian revenge, The Birds? As for the owls, says Nicholson, “It’s amazing Or are they—as Bierregaard believes—just just how incredibly quiet they are.” Unfortumessing with us? nately, owls gliding through the darkness too “They’re not trying to eat us, obviously,” he often come into serious or fatal contact with says, “they’re smarter than that.” And in the cars, which is why the Wildlife Center regularly fall, they’re not being territorial or protecting receives them for treatment. their young either says Bierregaard. Instead, he With luck, an owl might enjoy a lifespan into says, “The young birds are out of their nests and the teen years, but in reality, “They do get hit wandering around looking for new territories, by cars pretty often,” says Bierregaard. Thus, and I figured these attacks are just young birds while in theory barred owls mate for life, “they playing, just goofing around. really mate to a territory,” he says. “If they lose “I don’t think they’re making a mistake,” he a mate, there are lots of young floating around, adds. “I think they’re doing it because the jogwaiting, and the owls are pretty quick to adapt. gers are out early in the mornings and in the We found that when an adult would die, it evenings when the owls are, and the owls see was a matter of one to three weeks before a a moving target, and it’s something to do, and replacement would fill the place.” they have time on their talons.” In the fall, you can often hear the owls’ Bierregaard has spent a lot of time thinking hooting call in the night. Bierregaard suspects about the habits and interests of barred owls. that what you’re hearing is older owls warning When he moved to Charlotte, North Carolina, a off young wanderers that may be in search of number of years ago, he was surprised to find the their own territory. city’s older suburbs veritably teeming with them. That, or maybe they’re putting out the word: Their presence, however, did not jibe with “Dibs on the next jogger!” ❉ the textbooks, which said the owls were not

Birds just want to have fun

Runners? Barred owls have you in their sights.

illustration by robert meganck


ou’re out for an early morning run

in your lovely, leafy neighborhood, where the venerable oaks tower over your head. You’re cruising along, lost in your thoughts. Then suddenly—a glancing blow to the head. A sharp, raking pain. You cry out and whirl, startled, to spy your assailant. There’s no one there. Then your attention is caught by a fleeting glimpse of movement, and you look up to see broad, gray-brown wings, outstretched talons, a wide-eyed glare. Holy Hitchcock, Batman! The owls are attacking! And Rob Bierregaard has a hypothesis. Bierregaard, an ornithologist and research associate at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia, has spent years studying birds of prey. One longtime focus of his research has been the barred owl, a large, gray-brown owl that is perhaps most familiar for its hooting call, “Who cooks for you?” And every year, come late summer or early fall, says Bierregaard, there are stories of barred owls attacking joggers. A few years ago, it was happening in the D.C. area. There have been reports from Seattle, from Canada, from England. This past August, the stories surfaced right here in the Old Dominion, where a local

d ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3



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UpFront Bollywood Calling New Globox brings world cinema to Northern Virginia.

where's oswald?

On the Richmond set of 'Killing Kennedy.'

top left photo courtesy of national geographic channel/kent eanes


he small brick bungalow on avondale

Avenue in Richmond’s Northside is a throwback to the past, and that’s exactly what caught the eye of the National Geographic Channel when it started filming Killing Kennedy there last summer. Based on the best-selling book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, the made-for-television film chronicles the buildup to one of America’s most shocking events: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy by the troubled Lee Harvey Oswald. Will Rothhaar—who spent time in Richmond earlier in his career to shoot Hearts of Atlantis with Anthony Hopkins—plays Oswald. He says he hopes to show a different side of Oswald, a man who wanted nothing more than for someone to take notice of him. “He did a monstrous thing, but he’s a man, a human being,” Rothhaar says as he settles onto a leather bench in his trailer during a short break from filming. “He didn’t have a father figure. His mother put him in an orphanage and moved him around. He grew up very neglected. If you grow up with no love in your life, that is where the seed gets planted and bad things happen.”

Both Rothhaar and Michelle Trachtenberg, who portrays Oswald’s wife, Marina, see their roles as a departure from the characters they have played in the past. Known for playing Georgina Sparks in Gossip Girl, Trachtenberg is thrilled that the part of Marina required someone who spoke fluent Russian— Trachtenberg is first generation Russian. She’s hoping that people will see her in a different light after watching the film. The role “is slightly intimidating but it’s a great challenge,” she says. Marina Oswald is the only person depicted in the film who is still alive. But speaking to her wasn’t an option for Trachtenberg. “That was a blessing in disguise,” she says, noting that every acting choice she made in the production was based on her own research of Marina. “Knowing the history of her childhood helped me create an opinion as to how she would react,” the actress explains. “I wanted to keep it as realistic as possible.” Killing Kennedy premieres Nov. 10 on the National Geographic Channel. The film also stars Rob Lowe as President John F. Kennedy and Ginnifer Goodwin as Jacqueline Kennedy. —By Joan Tupponce

Silver Lining

Master hand engraver keeps her art alive. Though some would say the 18th-century art of hand engraving is dying—there being fewer than 200 certified master engravers of precious metals in the U.S. today—Colonial Williamsburg-trained master silver engraver Gail Hedgepeth is awfully busy. “Ever since I got back from the PGA last month, it’s been insane,” says 51-year-old Hedgepeth from her home workshop in Gloucester on an early September day. For the last 15 years, Hedgepeth, who apprenticed for seven years and then worked as a journeyman engraver

for another eight before earning the title of master in 1997, has engraved the famed Wanamaker Trophy for the winner of the PGA Championship. She has engraved for a U.S. president, the White House Counsel’s Office and a collector for whom she once engraved 60 three-letter initials on a watch face—the monograms of all of the family members who had worn it. Hedgepeth engraves everything from baby cups and wedding rings to 100-year-old trophies. Unlike machine engraving, which simply presses into the metal and fades over time, hand d ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3



mer saw the addition of another DVD rental kiosk, aptly named Globox (as in global), to some supermarkets in Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church and Woodbridge. But it’s not Hollywood that Globox is peddling; it’s more like Bollywood meets Barcelona. Specializing in foreign films, Globox offers more than 200 titles in four main categories—Bollywood, East Asian, Latin American and Independent—via automatic kiosk and online streaming platforms. So far, its collection represents cinema from over 100 countries, with new titles added weekly. All are subtitled and include Academy Award winners and nominees like Amour and 5 Broken Cameras. “Anyone who has lived in or visited Northern Virginia understands just how dynamic this area is, both geographically and demographically,” says Sammy Kassim, 24, about the decision to launch Globox in NOVA. Along with co-founder Asad Ali, 25, Kassim says they raised over $400,000 from investors in the D.C. area for their first 10 kiosks. The George Mason University grads plan to expand to other markets with large immigrant populations, including Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago. Bravo!


Redbox, you are not alone. Last sum-

ta k e n o t e |

Will Rothhaar as Lee Harvey Oswald and Michelle Trachtenberg as Marina Oswald on the set of National Geographic Channel's Killing Kennedy.

— By Christine Stoddard

engraving actually cuts the metal; original pieces dating from the 1600s are still legible. Longevity is just one part of this craft. Hedgepeth says the artist in her wants to create, say, a letter in Old English or script, or a figure that makes people look twice. Says Hedgepeth, “I am after finding the beauty in it.” 804-642-2067 —By Erin Parkhurst

The PGA McGladrey team champion trophy. Left: Paton plate engraved for St. Matthews in North Carolina.

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UpFront ta k e n o t e |

Oyez! Oyez!

Historic Alexandria’s Top Crier.

top photo by david deal; illustration by austin anderson

Kiss Me Kate!

No Vacancy

Remembering roadside culture on Virginia’s venerable Route 1. The neon lights went out long ago, untended

foliage is slowly taking over and the bricks are unquestioningly crumbling, but that’s all part of the charm of the abandoned motels, camps and motor courts that line U.S. Route 1 in Virginia, according to Dale L. Neighbors, coordinator of special collections at the Library of Virginia. No Vacancy: Remnants of Virginia’s Roadside Culture, which opened at the library Oct. 15, features more than 30 large format photos ranging from 40 to 50 inches wide, inviting viewers to take in details they would normally miss as they zoom by these abandoned monuments to American travel. “They all have wrinkles, like revered elders,” Neighbors, 49, says of the roadside lodgings. The exhibit contrasts the modern images with vintage promotional photography from Route 1’s heyday, some of it dating back to the 1920s, long before Interstate 95 rerouted all the traffic. “There’s a certain amount of sadness in seeing the shiny promotional image and the abandoned building,” admits Neighbors. “But it’s a tribute and a eulogy. They all have stories to tell, and there’s a hidden beauty in some of them, which the photographers have captured.” You have until Feb. 22, 2014, to pay your respects. —By Daryl Grove

Oh, how we love the classic Christmas custom.

Ah, mistletoe, a name that conjures up a Victorian Christmas scene of rooms strewn with greens and gentlemen stealing kisses from willing ladies who linger demurely under the fresh sprigs that hang above many a doorframe. But where did this quaint custom come from? The kissing ritual we most closely associate with the Victorians may have been presaged by Washington Irving, who wrote in his 1820 The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent, “The mistletoe is still hung up in farm-houses and

kitchens at Christmas, and the young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under it, plucking each time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked the privilege ceases.” “We like to point it out when school groups come around,” says Kay Early, a docent at the historic Haller-Gibboney Rock House (c. 1820) in Wytheville where the tradition of hanging mistletoe is strictly observed each year. “It makes the kids giggle and blush.” At Richmond’s Maymont Mansion (1893), a

d ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3




n the internet age of split-second

communication, a town crier may seem like an anachronism, but not in Alexandria where a booming “Oyez! Oyez!” often pierces the air and silences crowds at the start of many formal events and ceremonies. Benjamin Fiore-Walker, 45, Alexandria’s official town crier—dressed in Colonial garb and toting a brass bell and cloth scroll—reads proclamations, announces events and serves as the master of ceremonies for events including the Rum Punch Challenge, Olde Town Dogge Walke and the George Washington Birthday Parade, adding a bit of Colonial flair to the festivities. Fiore-Walker’s talents even helped

Alexandria become one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 12 Distinctive Destinations in 2011, adding strong spice to the city’s mix of cobblestone streets, antique lampposts and historic architecture. Fiore-Walker, who is a pre-clinical science facilitator at the Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. where he helps train medical students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, is one of about 350 criers in the U.S. today—he is the only one in Virginia. To get the gig, FioreWalker competed against nearly a dozen other hopefuls in a September 2011 cry-off in which judges rated his voice strength and clarity, and overall deportment. FioreWalker, an Alexandria resident since 2002, will be the town crier until he chooses not to be, says Lance Mallamo, director of Historic Alexandria. In the late 1970s, local history buff Francis Taylor Slate volunteered to revive the Colonial-era tradition, and since then, there have only been two other town criers beside Fiore-Walker. Though the position is voluntary, Fiore-Walker strives for authenticity. He grumbles that Hollywood gets it wrong in most movies, using the familiar “Hear ye, hear ye.” The proper cry, he explains, is the Old French “Oyez, oyez!” Why is Fiore-Walker, who earned his Ph.D. in neuropsychology at UVA, a town crier? “I love putting myself in the place of others of the past and imagining what it would feel like,” he says. Plus, “I am having a ball.” TownCrier —By Glenda C. Booth


red bow adorns the mistletoe that hangs annually in the historic Victorian home. “Random visitors do take advantage of it,” laughs Dale Wheary, one of the curators at Maymont. Fortunately, unlike in Washington Irving’s day, our modern version of the tradition puts no limit on the number of kisses one may bestow beneath the storied plant. And we think that’s a good thing. —By Chiles T. A. Larson

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UpFront ta k e n o t e | innovators

with the goal of being faster and nimbler than the bigger, more established practices. So what does “cloud-based” mean, exactly? It’s all about flexibility and access to data. “There’s a physical office here in McLean, and most of us come here every day to whiteboard, strategize and have conversations,” says Peyton. So far, so traditional. But Cloudigy’s data—“We’re talking hundreds, thousands, sometimes millions of documents for each case,” says Peyton—is stored on secure servers that can be accessed by Cloudigy attorneys and support staff from anywhere, including on the move via mobile devices. Peyton says the digital system allows Cloudigy to perform tasks like document production “20 to 30 times faster” than an old-school law firm. With only eight staffers, she says the “technology Antigone Peyton in translates into huge cost the McLean office of savings.” These savings Cloudigy Law. free Peyton’s firm from the traditional pressure of maximizing billable hours. But the cloud doesn’t just help keep the client’s costs down, it also gives them access to information. Cloudigy uses Salesforce Chatter, a secure social media-style application, for threaded conversations where clients—including Fortune 50 and Fortune 100 companies—can check in and see how their intellectual property case is progressing, access their financial information to see how many hours they are being billed for and communicate with attorneys to provide additional information if needed. Using the cloud means everything happens that little bit faster. Peyton is only too happy to be at the forefront of the trend toward leaner, more adaptable legal practices. “Our clients’ in-house structure means they are doing more with less since 2009,” she says, “so it’s only natural they expect their outside counsel to do the same thing.”

All About the Cloud

McLean law firm wants to change the way lawyers do business.


ight years after joining d.c. law firm finnegan,

Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner as a litigator, Antigone Peyton decided there was a more efficient way of doing business. “I left the big law environment because I didn’t like that decisions were driven by the fact that everyone has done it this way before, so therefore we should do it this way,” says Peyton, 39. She founded Cloudigy Law in 2010 as a “cloud-based” intellectual property and technology law firm,

—By Daryl Grove

bottom photo by patrick hinley, washington and lee university

Raising the Bar

W&L law professor Benjamin Spencer stumps for legal education reform. education have weathered some rocky times recently, with widespread criticism of the rising costs of law school coupled with a declining job market and recognition that lawyers are graduating with insufficient practical experience. There has been an increasingly loud call to arms—from, among others, President Barack Obama—for a less theoretical, more hands-on approach to preparing students for the practice of law, particularly during their third year. “Changes need to be made,” says Benjamin Spencer, 38, now in his fourth year as chair of the Virginia State Bar’s section on the Education of Lawyers and a professor and associate dean for research at the Washington and Lee University School of Law. Like other faculty at W&L, Spencer, a Harvard Law School graduate who received the “Rising Star” award from the Virginia State Council

Those involved with legal

of Higher Education in 2007, has been part of radical changes at the law school. He joined the faculty in 2008, when the school initiated a groundbreaking reform of its third year curriculum. Instead of lectures, W&L students in their final year now take part exclusively in hands-on work, with real-life client meetings, externships with law firms and simulated practice models. A popular speaker who has done significant research on the history of legal education in this country, Spencer says that law schools today all have to follow the same scholarly national model set up by the American Bar Association in the 1920s to receive accreditation. “They have to have a library, full-time faculty, and what typically amounts to a three-year curriculum,” he explains, adding that these requirements contribute to the high cost of legal education. Prior to the 1920s, there were other more d ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3



affordable models for legal education, including night schools taught by part-time faculty who were full-time practitioners by day, as well as schools that served as satellites to law firms. While such models are not for everyone, Spencer advocates for more practice-based legal education so that lawyers enter the profession better prepared to meet real-world challenges. A respected teacher, scholar and leader, Spencer has a reputation as a doer. Says Nora Demleitner, dean of W&L School of Law, “Ben gets things done.” —By Sandra Shelley

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| by bland crowder

Woodstock’s Shenandoah Herald calls for jihad against little Musca domestica, aka the housefly. “Kill him without mercy wherever you find him,” announces the headline. And ‘tis the season. The fly’s “true cussedness,” goes the story, “seldom shows forth till about this time in the fall,” as he readies for a final, pre-winter spree. The article paints a dastardly portrait of this “murderer of babies,” which “loads himself with typhoid germs” before taking a suicide dip in the milk pitcher, opening the drive to “start an inflammation in your Peyer’s patches,” those intestinal lymph nodes that make typhoid bacteria lick their chops. We can try to corral him, but next spring, he’ll be back. He doesn’t love us enough to stay away.

odd dominion

airborne terror

kicking the hornet's nest

This Little Piggy

Hog farm zoning law polarizes industry and citizens in Tidewater.

illustration by gary hovland


n october 1988, the tug-of-war raging in

Tidewater between citizens and hog-farming industrialists twanged to fever pitch. Surry County’s board of supervisors held a hearing over new regulations for large hog farms. The county was kicking things up a notch from state requirements deemed too lenient for the industrial machine hog farming had become, almost without people realizing it. SmithfieldCarroll’s Farms had already placed five farms in the county, and another 10 were planned. The regs required creation of a “limited agricultural district” for farms of 2,500 or more hogs, and such farms would have to be at least 200 acres in size and be set back at least 2,500 feet from any home, 1,000 feet from a primary road and 500 feet from a secondary road or property line. A setback sure enough, snorted Big Pork, but average citizens were elated, reported Wakefield’s Sussex-Surry Dispatch. Proponents of the regs welcomed Leon Chesnin, a retired waste-management professor from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, as their official torchbearer. Though fundamentally against restricting any producer, Chesnin said it was necessary in Tidewater for environmental reasons. He singled out nitrate pollution leaching from hog waste into groundwater. Other issues were loud traffic, wear and tear on roads, and the pollution of streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. And the big farms are stinky! “I almost have to put a mask on to come out my front door in the morning,” said Hugh Eley, next-door neighbor to one of SmithfieldCarroll’s operations in adjacent Southampton County. “I smell the thing at least 50 percent of the time, even when the wind isn’t blowing.” Edna Golden, neighbor of another facility, said all the atmosphere made her bron-

chial condition worse: “I can’t breathe, especially when they are burning the dead hogs.” Definitely the wrong kind of BBQ. The porkers called in Maryland agronomist Lyle Jarrett who claimed the regs were over the top. Smithfield veep Robert “Bo” Manly played the family farm card saying they won’t “be able to expand over the imposed 2,500 hog limit.” “Hogwash!” squealed supporters of the new zoning. Definitions used by the USDA, the IRS and the Virginia Department of Taxation, reads the article, “allow corporate agribusinesses to operate and be taxed as ‘family farms,’” giving the Bacon Boys a jeopardizing advantage over genuine family farms. Mac Berryman of the Pork Producers of Surry played the Old Virginia card, saying, “Swine production has been a part of Surry since the first settlers.” He called the regulations “the greatest threat ever faced” by “our producers,” countering with a recommendation that farm size be calculated using a conversion factor that counts 1,000 pounds as a hog equivalent, or “one animal unit” so that two smaller hogs might count as one. Despite the regs, the company grew to be the world’s largest pork producer and processor. This September, the U.S. government approved the sale of Smithfield Foods Inc. to the Chinese pork giant, Shuanghui Group, for $4.7 billion. (The Chinese, it seems, cannot meet their own growing demand for pork.) Though environmental vigilance is not exactly a hallmark of China, agriculturists there discern a bonus in the deal. reports that Li Quang, chairman of Shanghai JC Intelligence Co., an agricultural research outfit, says increasing pork imports into China will cut down on pollution. Sooie!


d ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3



Speaking at the College of William and Mary, hotsy-totsy architect Frank Lloyd Wright waxes hyperUsonian, decreeing that the Williamsburg Restoration’s main value is to “show us how little we need this type of architecture now,” reports West Point’s Tidewater Review. The Restoration, he says, has illustrated “how narrow, how shallow life was in the Colonial days.” The house is packed with Virginia architects and members of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, and most are aghast. Wright has missed the point, says a resident. Williamsburg isn’t a real estate development but “a historic shrine, a wonderful object lesson of our age.” So there.



The classic situation of the “raccoon up the ’simmon tree, ’possum on the ground” is not the case in the meat house of Mrs. Tom Smoot in the town of Washington, reports the Rappahannock News. Mrs. Smoot discovers her ’possum not near a persimmon but in a three-foot tin barrel full of the hefty country ham that arrived as a gift a few days ago. The quandary is how the marsupial made its way to the meat of the matter. Smoot had checked the meat house well and took the extra step of putting the ham in the barrel. Everyone is venturing a hypothesis, but the most likely is that the beast came in via the smoke hole in the roof, then swung by its tail, dropping into the evidently lidless barrel. The ham is unscathed, and the ’possum is shown the door by a male Smoot.


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UpFront books

A Roaring ’20s con


wo years ago, richmond resident

Mary Miley entered a national competition for a first crime novel, but she’d forgotten all about it when the call came to tell her she’d won. “It’s a wonder I didn’t hang up on the editor,” she says. “It sounded like one of those ‘We’re-sellingtimeshares-in-Florida’ calls.” The manuscript in question wound up becoming Miley’s debut novel, The Impersonator. Already a successful author of numerous historical non-fiction books, this was her first foray into published fiction—but not her first attempt. This is actually the ninth novel she’s written. The first eight she chalks up to learning the craft of fiction. Apparently, the ninth time was a charm. Set in the 1920s, her novel features Leah Randall, a plucky vaudeville actress with a keen stage presence. When Leah loses her job and can’t seem to land another role, a rich man comes to her with a proposition that will leave her never wanting again. His niece, Jessie Carr, is the rightful heir to her father’s fortune, but she has been missing for almost seven years and will soon be proclaimed dead. When that happens, the inheritance will transfer to a pair of cousins who dislike the uncle, thus removing him from the fortune he’s been skimming all these years. But seeing Leah perform in a show, he found her to be the spitting image of Jessie and hatched a plan: Leah can pretend to be Jessie and claim the inheritance—giving the lion’s share to him, of course. Doubtful at first, she finally agrees. The rich uncle coaches her, and Leah, now the new Jessie, memorizes family photographs and histories. Right away, she’s in trouble. Everyone keeps testing her to see if she really knows what only Jessie would know. (Mistrusting cousins hire someone to pretend to be Jessie’s grandmother.) But her real concern is that someone is trying to kill her. First, her hotel burns down, then a

car tries to run her over. It isn’t until she barely survives being poisoned that she finally rules out coincidence. Her intriguing dilemma makes for a delightful and fast-paced story. How to tell friend from foe becomes increasingly difficult as the novel moves along and suspicions shift from one relative to another. By the time the conclusion rolls around, she doesn’t trust anyone, and neither will you. Enhancing the tale further are rich details that bespeak the Prohibition years. Miley takes us inside the cramped confines of vaudeville theaters and to sordid gin joints where the booze flows freely, getting every little detail right along the way. Period authenticity goes with the territory for Miley, who taught American history at VCU for 13 years. “I pay more attention, maybe, to the historic details than I need to,” she says, “but they matter to me. I’m a historian, and I’m much happier living in the past than I am in the present or the future.” Instead of relying on her own teaching background, Miley researched extensively and interviewed numerous people on such subjects as how to sabotage antique cars to where a telephone would be placed in a house. The lingo of that time period is also very specific. “Eyeglasses” are “cheaters,” “teenagers” are “in their teen years,” and nobody goes on “dates”— instead, they are “invited to dinner.” “I learned from [The Model T Ford Club] that Model T’s weren’t called Model T’s until the ’30s,” she says. So, instead, her characters drive Fords or “flivvers.” But it wasn’t just lingo and historical items that she researched. To get her poisoning details right, Miley consulted with pharmacist friend Dr. Mark Pugh. “You don’t want to ask questions like that of too many people,” Miley says. “They tend to worry about what you’re thinking.” From the seedy atmosphere of speakeasies to a

The Impersonator by Mary Miley Minotaur Books, $24.99

realm of opulence that would make Gatsby himself swoon, Miley has penned a rollicking ride through the Roaring ’20s that will captivate and leave you wanting more. The good news: There will be more, as Minotaur has already accepted a second book in this series from Miley for publication. Miley is thrilled that the series is continuing, because each new novel allows her to spend a little more time investigating one of America’s most vibrant decades. “I hope people find the same fascination I do with the Roaring ’20s,” she says. “I was a teacher for a long time, and I can’t help but want to excite people about history. I hope readers are entertained and interested enough in the ’20s to go further and look into other books of that era, maybe learn a little something about one facet that interested them.” Or you could just wait for her next novel, in which Leah takes her acting talents to Hollywood to work on “pre-talkies” (silent movies). “Just between you and me,” Miley says, “I like it better than the first book.” If she’s right, the second one will be the cat’s pajamas. This one is already the bee’s knees.

Empty Mansions

T. C. Boyle: Stories II

Montaro Caine

Doctor Sleep

by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell Random House $28

by t.c.boyle Viking Adult $45

by Sidney Poitier random house $26

by stephen king scribner $30

Empty Mansions is a rich mystery of wealth and loss, connecting the 19th century’s Gilded Age with a 21st-century battle over a $300 million inheritance. At its heart is reclusive heiress Huguette Clark, a woman so secretive that, at the time of her death at age 104, no new photograph of her had been seen in decades. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bill Dedman digs into the mystery of why she lived for 20 years in a simple hospital room while her valuables were sold off. A tale of an enthralling eccentric and her greedy family.

In his first novel, actor and director Sidney Poitier takes us on an unexpected adventure into the realm of magical realism. Montaro Caine comes into possession of a coin composed of a metal unknown on Earth just as he is losing control of the company he built. The powerful coin draws together disparate individuals and affects their lives in strange ways. The novel offers a heartfelt message about human potential and being open to the possibility that there are mysteries in the universe far greater than we can imagine.

This hefty tome—at an impressive 944 pages— is worth its weight in gold. Gathering together the tales from the critically-acclaimed author's last three story collections and combining them with a group of uncollected stories makes for essentially four books in one. Many of the stories have also won recognition and approbation in more than a half-dozen “Best of” anthologies. These stories showcase one of the finest fiction writers today at the height of his powers. It is a must-have for lovers of literary fiction.

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| by bill glose

Vaudeville actress impersonates a missing heiress in a plot to skim millions.


It’s been 30 years since Dan Torrance survived his father’s wrath in King’s infamous The Shining. Haunted by what happened in the Overlook Hotel, Dan has been drifting for decades. He finally takes a job at a nursing home where he uses what remains of his shining power to comfort the dying. When he meets a child with the greatest shining ever, he vows to protect her from the True Knot, immortals who drain the life force out of children who possess this gift. An epic war between good and evil, and a gory, glorious story for fans of the genre.

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Young Burundi native Celestin moved to Roanoke in 2008 and immediately captured ears with his unusual blend of African and gospel music. This recording with the playful jazz-funk group Snarky Puppy was funded by a Chamber Music America grant, and offers up six cuts of danceable Afrobeat. Celestin's sisters offer soaring background vocals. Pick hit: “Ndagukunda.”

Close Talker

So Am I (Stay Sweet) From the ashes of Richmond’s late, lamented Sundials comes this arresting new quartet that fuses pop and punk in an infectious way and never allows any song to overstay its welcome. Weezer fans will dig, and even those who turn up their nose at punk aesthetics will welcome the careful attention to melody. Pick hit: “Icarus II.”

Pusha T

My Name is My Name (GOOD/Def Jam)

With everyone from Rick Ross to Chris Brown to Joaquin Phoenix (!) in the credits—and with Kanye West manning the mothership—the Virginia Beach-based Clipse’s more prolific half finally drops a solo album. It’s dense, unnerving, funny and slightly overcooked. WARNING: explicit language. Pick hit: “Nosetalgia,” co-starring Kendrick Lamar.

Journey to Inheritance

The Last Bison isn’t just your average chamber-folk family band.


n an eye-grabbing video for

their song, “Setting Our Tables,” members of The Last Bison are shown dreamily cavorting in bucolic forests and shimmering lakes, moving in reverse, emerging ghost-like from splashed waters and leafy fields, armed with cellos, violins, banjos and xylophones. It’s an apt pastoral setting for a woodsy, seven-piece folk ensemble that is truly in its own little world. But that world is getting larger fast. In seemingly record time, the Chesapeake-based group has gone from playing private concerts for friends to headlining (and nearly selling out) the NorVa Theatre in Norfolk. The band— which formed as “Bison” in 2010— embarked on a 60-date U.S. tour earlier this year and were recently signed to a major record label (Universal/Republic). They’ve gone on tour as the opening act for Jars of Clay, performed with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, and partly recorded their most recent disc at the legendary, but now-closed, Sound City Studios in Los Angeles, where Nirvana, Fleetwood Mac and Tom Petty have crafted classic albums. A growing fan base is responding to the unit’s unusual blend of classid ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3


cal instrumentation, folk harmonies and ingenious sonic colorings—bells, chimes, stomping bass drum, even the dulcet sounds of Bolivian goat toenails (which sound like a dry shaker). “Our live show, we feel, carries the energy of a rock show,” says Ben Hardesty, the well-bearded lead songwriter/frontman of the group. “Even though the music is not rock music .… ” “It’s pop,” interjects keyboardist Andrew Benfante, who plays a 75-year-old pump organ. They can attribute much of their breakneck success to something pretty unusual for a local chamberfolk band—commercial radio airplay. Last year, Norfolk’s WROX (96X) picked up their song, “Switzerland,” an anthemic love note to snowy climbs, and made it a monster regional hit. “Because radio picked us up early on, things just happened so fast. I mean, they were playing it every three hours,” says Dan Hardesty, banjo and mandolin player. Sitting backstage with most of the group before a well-attended show at Richmond’s Canal Club, the members finish each other’s sentences, laugh at each other’s jokes, and freely admit it:


| By Don Harrison

Amkeni (GroundUP)


Bukuru Celestin & Snarky Puppy

They’re weird. “If you don’t have some weird oddity about your band, it’s not very interesting,” claims percussionist Jay Benfante, Andrew’s younger brother. It isn’t every day, for instance, that your dad is in your band. Handling banjo duties, Dan, the father of both Ben and his xylophone-playing sister Annah, is comfortable sharing the spotlight with his progeny. When he’s not on tour, he’s an associate pastor at Chesapeake’s Community Church. “Yeah, sometimes I feel like I’m herding cats,” the elder Hardesty admits. “It is definitely a different vibe being in a band with my son and daughter. Sometimes I’m like, ‘Hey, guys, go ahead and take it,’ and other times I have to step in.” It helps Ben Hardesty, front row center, that wife Carla— with members Ben and Annah’s of the band, The mom—serves as Last Bison. the group’s road manager. Adding to the family feel, the members of The Last Bison met in church and, except for dad, were home-schooled. Ben says the experience helped him to become a better musician. “I could always practice my guitar during the day. If I was in school, I couldn’t have done that,” he says. Violinist Teresa Totheroh enters the room and describes the band as “a great experience .… it’s like having four brothers and a second dad.” The pixie-like Totheroh grew up with sisters, so I ask her if it gets tiresome being one of only two females in a seven-piece band traveling the country in a cramped van with a faulty AC? “Yes,” she says, with a comical deadpan that seems to say, “Please help me.” And there is much laughter. The Last Bison has been pegged by some as a Christian group, but it’s interesting to note that the band never mentions religion onstage or in interviews (and good luck finding overt Christian messages in their lyrics). When asked about their influences, Andrew Benfante says, “We listen to a lot of Allison Krauss and Union Station,” and his mates concur. “Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver are big,” adds Jay Benfante, while cellist Amos Housworth admits that he didn’t listen to anything except classical music growing up. “It was all Yo Yo Ma.” “Somebody just told us that we were the new punk music,” Ben says with a grin, as the herd prepares for their set. “And all because we’re tactful and melodic.” The Last Bison will perform at the Southern Café & Music Hall in Charlottesville Nov. 15, and the NorVa Theatre in Norfolk Nov. 30

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10/25/13 9:06 AM

Find Your Pa or Love e One You’ On Find Something Remarkable

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10/25/13 6:11 PM


top left photo courtesy of paramount/the kobal collection/faherty, paul; top right photo courtesy of warner bros/the kobal collection


ollywood is coming to Richmond.

Or to be more precise, “Hollywood Costume” and its attendant glamour is having its U.S. debut—and only East Coast appearance— at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Nov. 9. Curated by Oscar-nominated costume designer, Deborah Nadoolman Landis (Coming to America)—who also created Indiana Jones’ look, among many others—“Hollywood Costume,” which originated at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, then traveled to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne before coming to Richmond, brings together some of the most famous costumes from the Golden Age of movies up to present day. Among the nearly 100 costumes, drawn from collections across the globe, will be the incredible peacock feather-adorned gown and cape Hedy Lamarr wore in Samson and Delilah, Christopher Reeves’ Superman suit, Kate Winslet’s elegant white and navy striped traveling suit from Titanic and the Wicked Witch of the West’s hat, which was sourced from a Richmond collection. With its broad appeal and art historical context, “Hollywood Costume” is an excellent fit for the VMFA. “Cinema was certainly the most successful, most popular and most influential art form of the 20th century,” says Deputy

other virginia exhibits

Director Robin Nicholson. “As a museum of world culture, we are in the business of looking at different periods of human history, at what remains in terms of the visual artifacts that help make society what it was. Hollywood in the 20th century was a sort of crucible of artistic talent and mirror of the times. Not only did it reflect what was going on, but it also powerfully influenced it.” Distinct from fashion, costume design is not about clothes. Imbued with the essence of the character they represent, the star that wore them or both, costumes are powerful relics from the cult of Hollywood, like Marilyn Monroe’s iconic white dress from The Seven Year Itch, which perhaps more than anything else, has come to represent the tragic actress. “Hollywood Costume” highlights how the advent of color film presented a host of new challenges for designers who had to evolve from making costumes that would provide interesting tonal values in a black and white film to colorful costumes that made the most of the new invention: Technicolor. It wasn’t just by chance that Dorothy’s slippers were ruby: Red provided the best contrast with the all-important yellow brick road. Motion picture costumes have only recently

■ The Selden Arcade at the Chrysler Museum. “Time.”


‘Hollywood Costume’ runs through Feb. 17, 2014. Admission is $20.

■ Sweet Briar College, “Gesture, Mark, and The Artist's Hand: Drawings from the Collection.”

d ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3


| by sarah sargent

‘Hollywood Costume’ exhibit opens at the VMFA.


Sartorial Splendor

been collected (most notably by actress Debbie Reynolds). It started in 1970, when MGM had a huge sale to clear an enormous backlot of hundreds of thousands of costumes, accessories and props. From the studio’s perspective, these were ephemeral tools that, once used, had no great value. Sadly, most of the glamorous Adrian-designed gowns from the 1930s worn by Jean Harlow, Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford were discarded. Other costumes became unrecognizable—re-cut for use in subsequent movies. In the intervening years since the MGM sale, costumes have become highly collectible. Corralling all the different items into a cohesive exhibition is handled deftly. Divided into different sections—Designing the Character, History by Hollywood, Collaborating with Actors, Comedy and Musicals, and A Royal Romance—the exhibition has a strong visual and narrative structure that is supported by an original musical score and theatrical lighting. A show like this seems like Left: Lady In it would be less expensive and The Dark 1944. less stressful than, say, the Right: Dark Knight recent Picasso show, in which Rises 2012. the artwork had an astronomical value and heavy security. But according to Nicholson, an object show is by far the most difficult to mount. Here for instance, the costumes are extremely fragile. “None of them was designed to last,” says Nicholson. “The older ones, especially those with a lot of heavy beading, are beginning to suffer. In fact, there are a couple of examples where the mannequins were designed to be sitting on the floor so there wasn’t a lot of weight pulling the costume down.” To help protect them, the costumes travel on their mannequins in individual crates that are so large they won’t fit on a plane and must travel by ship. The backstage mechanics aside, the power of this show lies in what these costumes represent. They’re like old friends. We have an overwhelmingly strong connection to them through beloved films and characters. Our associations elevate them from mere garments into potent artifacts, and that’s what makes seeing them so very moving. What I like best are the deliciously entertaining backstories, like the one about Ginger Rogers’ remarkable sequined gown with its sumptuous mink skirt from Lady in the Dark. You might think this was an extravagant fashion statement, but, in fact, fur wasn’t rationed during WWII when the film was made, so it was readily available. And then there is the story of exhibit curator Landis’ visit to a London bank vault in June 2010, where she was presented with a large box containing—ta-da!—Dorothy’s gingham pinafore dress from The Wizard of Oz. That’s show biz.

■ Arlington Arts Center, “Fall Solos 2013.”

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10/25/13 2:42 PM

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Visit for a list of all performances. Forbes Center Box Office: 540.568.7000 1 4 7 Wa r s a w Av e n u e , H a r r i s o n b u r g , VA One hour from Charlottesville, Winchester and Lexington. THE FROG BRIDE PHOTO BY JULIE LEMBERGER; RYU GOTO PHOTO BY ASAHI NET, INC.; HUBBARD STREET PHOTO BY TODD ROSENBERG

10/25/13 9:44 AM

UpFront b e l lw e t h e r

A compendium of news and notes from around the state.

photo by king crow media

Tired of waiting for that YouTube video to buffer? Maybe you should take a trip to Blacksburg. Local officials claim that the city now has the fastest free wireless connection in the world. The connection is headquartered at TechPad, an incubator where high-tech startups and entrepreneurs can rent office amenities, from office space to Wi-Fi services, with a little camaraderie and mentoring thrown in. After a fundraising campaign to pay for the new network spearheaded by TechPad founder Bob Summers exceeded its $85,000 goal, TechPad developed a connection capable of reaching upload and download speeds of up to one gigabite per second—about 100 times that of a standard connection. (Imagine! No buffering!) While one can presently access the world’s fastest free Wi-Fi only from PK’s Bar and Grill (which just happens to be on the floor below TechPad’s offices), look for the company to expand its high-speed service to more high traffic locations in Blacksburg, further crowding the infinite information highway. The good news: On this highway, it’s okay to text and drive.

Pitch Women Joining the swelling ranks of television show competitors are two Virginia women who vied earlier this year for the opportunity to take their businesses into the national marketplace. Filming in February, Monica Van Cleve (pictured above), one of the owners of The Van Cleve Seafood Co. in Spotsylvania, pitched her company’s crab pies (made from a 150-year-old Virginia recipe) on Lifetime’s Supermarket Superstar. Meanwhile, in July, Lakesha Brown-Renfro, along with Tanecia Willis and Nzinga Teule-Hekima, her partners in Simply Panache event planners in Newport News, fed their all natural mango preserves, Mango Mango, to the “sharks” on ABC’s Shark Tank. Neither of the contestants won, but the stint on Supermarket Superstar did help fulfill the Van Cleve family’s dream of getting their pies onto QVC. Brown-Renfro, whose Mango Mango was sold in Whole Foods stores in Virginia prior to filming, is on the way to getting into Whole Foods stores nationwide, proving once and for all you don’t need to win to be a winner.,

contributed photos

photo courtesy of boulder crest retreat

Church Ladies Deliver Delish We all have them; we all love them. Cookbooks by church ladies’ auxiliaries always have solid, tried and true recipes. There’s a new one on shelves, though, that kicks things up a notch. Graceful Gatherings, A Collection of Recipes Celebrating Family & Friends is a church lady cookbook for the 21st century. Assembled by the “Presbyterian Women of River Road Presbyterian Church” in Richmond, it features such up-to-the-minute entries as lemon ricotta soufflé pancakes and fig and prosciutto pizza. Sprinkled throughout are Bible verses, some of which might be amended when you’re enjoying the fruits of your labor vis-a-vis Graceful Gatherings, like this one: “… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy … and self-control.” We’re sticking with love and joy. $19.95.

d ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3



photo courtesy of mris

The New R&R Boulder Crest Retreat for Wounded Warriors is about to add a few more R’s to the old military slang R&R. For those men and women who returned wounded from combat, Boulder Crest is adding reconnect, recreate, recover and reintegrate into the mix. The goal, according to founder and chairman Ken Falke, is twofold: Half of every month, Boulder Crest’s four, three-bedroom cabins provide a place for vets and their families or caregivers to relax in a rural, natural environment. The remainder of each month is offered to non-profits as a restful setting to deliver services to wounded warriors, all free of charge to the vets. After officially opening Sept. 6, the retreat in Bluemont had booked all but four dates through the end of the year. Boulder Crest is funded by private donations, “from $5 to $1.5 million,” says Falke. Now we’re talking Rx6.

| by Lauryn Nanny and Eden Stuart

Wicked Fast Wi-Fi

When the Music’s Over Despite the $920,000 price tag, it can only be described as quaint. Even with renovations, it is, after all, a Cape Cod-style cottage. The fact that it is the childhood home of the late Jim Morrison of The Doors has not helped snag a sale at 2320 Evergreen St. since its July 11 debut on the Arlington real estate market, prompting owners to drop their asking price from $949,900. Since the Morrisons lived there—reportedly in the ’50s—much has been added to the four-bedroom, three-bath home, including a master suite, a new deck and an eat-in chef’s kitchen. But, after two-plus months on the market, no contracts had been inked. The Morrisons lived at two other Arlington addresses while young Jim was growing up. In 2011, a resident of one on North 28th Street claimed to have seen Morrison’s ghost in her bedroom. Maybe she should send him to Evergreen Street.

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10/24/13 10:06 AM

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6. Valentino Suit, $2,880; Shirt, $650; Bow tie, $155.

valentino runway photo by dan & corina lecca

7. Gitman Duck wool-twill pocket square in navy, $60.


8. Bernard maisner Hand-painted double peacock notecards, set of 8, $140. 9. judith leiber Crystal cube gift clutch bag, $4,695. 10. Grainger McKoy 14K gold quail stud set, $1,849. 11. Waterford Flute Snowflake Wishes "Courage" Prestige Edition, in emerald, $200. 12. gucci Black patent leather monk strap shoe, $640.

10 •


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11 • 12 •

virginia living

10/25/13 9:10 AM

making spirits bright! TEMPLE ST CL AIR




“on the avenues” 5707 Grove Avenue, Suite 200 Richmond, VA 23226 804.285.4666 • Monday–Friday 10am–5pm Thanksgiving–Christmas: Saturdays 10am–5pm

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UpFront about town

Scotty Bowie and William

Jim Scanlon, Robin Robertson Starr and Cathy Scanlon Anna and Scott Reed

{ Richmond }

SPCA Fur Ball

Mark and Merrill Shugoll and Laura Benanti

More than 400 people (and 45 dogs) attended the 15th Annual Fur Ball at The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond Oct. 5. The event raised $509,000 for the organization’s Cinderella Fund, which pays for the care of sick, injured and neonatal homeless animals.

Michael and Jeanne Decker, Allen and Wanda King

| galas & gatherings

Students in the Mason Dance Company

Doug Roth and Carrie Cantrell Roth Charles and Eileen Duggan

photos courtesy of richmond spca

{ Fair fax }

George Mason University The eighth annual ARTS by George! at George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus was attended by more than 800 guests Sept. 28. The event raised almost $260,000 for student scholarships and the Great Performances at Mason series.

Jim and Judy Guy, Alana and Rhodes Ritenour

Leslie and Al Strickler, Gail Johnson

contributed photos

American Diabetes Association More than 200 supporters came out for the American Diabetes Association’s 3rd Annual Garden Party May 10. The event, held at Willow Oaks Country Club, raised more than $100,000.

Robert Coleman and Charlotte Perkins

Shaun M. Rivers, Linda Wyatt and Kimberly A. Ketter

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photos by michelle stella riordan with photography by exposure

{ Richmond }

Beth and Ángel Cabrera

Students in the vocal studies and opera programs

virginia living

10/24/13 5:02 PM

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Murphies in Carytown or Tweed across from Short Pump Town Center or call (804) 673-6280 or visit our website:

10/25/13 11:46 AM

UpFront Chip and Barbara Comstock

Emily and Brad Lehmann

{ Vienna }

Wolf Trap Foundation

Reeves Fleming, Bob Redmond, Suzanne Fleming, Susan and Matt Aprahamian and Kathleen Redmond

| galas & gatherings

Eight hundred supporters attended the Wolf Trap Ball at the Filene Center Stage at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts Sept. 21. The event raised a record-breaking $1,060,000 for the Wolf Trap Foundation’s arts and education programs.

about town

Frank Lowe, Karen Schaufeld, Anne Anderson and François Delattre

Ann McKee, Ashok and Tuti Kaveeshwar, Nirupama Rao Bobbie Kilberg, John C. Lee IV, Sonny and Tina Small

{ Richmond }

Greater Richmond ARC

Roger and Kyle Mody, Arvind Manocha

Greater Richmond ARC’s annual Ladybug Wine Tasting and Silent Auction drew approximately 350 guests to the Torque Club at the Richmond Raceway Complex May 18. The event raised $82,000 to support ARC’s Infant and Child Development Services. Chad, Marian and Rachael Logan

Jim Warren with the 1993 Shenandoah Shakespeare Express Troupe

Paul Gladd and Leslie Mazzoco

{ Staunton }

contributed photos

American Shakespeare Center More than 250 donors, supporters, patrons, actors and staff gathered at the American Shakespeare Center's Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton Sept. 28 to celebrate the company's 25th anniversary. The event, which concluded with dinner and dancing at Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center, raised more than $60,000 for the ASC.

Paul Nicholson

Amy Wratchford, Daniel Heifetz and Ralph Alan Cohen

Rory and Jaymie Scotto Cutaia

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Daniella White, Ed and Lynn Kirstein and Doug Payne

virginia living

10/24/13 5:03 PM

Let us set a place for you. Handcrafted events, seasonably yours.

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n Aug. 3, Charlotte Shartzer married Nicholas Conklin at The Mill at Fine Creek in Powhatan. The bride is the daughter of Mrs. Tina Tillet of Manns Harbor, North Carolina, and Mr. Donald Shartzer of Stafford. The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Conklin of Clemmons, North Carolina. The couple lives in Stafford. Photography by bee photography



he marriage of Meredith Michaela Balak, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Balak of Virginia Beach, and Robert Lewis Nicholson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Nicholson of Red Level, Alabama, took place July 27 at Ground Hogs Hollow in Monterey. The couple lives in Virginia Beach. Photography by the pinwheel collective



he marriage of Christie Police, daughter of Mr. Gerard Police of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, to Steven Day, son of Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Day of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, took place March 23 at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards in North Garden. The couple lives in Fairfax. Photography by jen fariello

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n Aug. 3, Charlotte Shartzer married Nicholas Conklin at The Mill at Fine Creek in Powhatan. The bride is the daughter of Mrs. Tina Tillet of Manns Harbor, North Carolina, and Mr. Donald Shartzer of Stafford. The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Conklin of Clemmons, North Carolina. The couple lives in Stafford. Photography by bee photography



he marriage of Meredith Michaela Balak, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Balak of Virginia Beach, and Robert Lewis Nicholson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Nicholson of Red Level, Alabama, took place July 27 at Ground Hogs Hollow in Monterey. The couple lives in Virginia Beach. Photography by the pinwheel collective



he marriage of Christie Police, daughter of Mr. Gerard Police of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, to Steven Day, son of Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Day of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, took place March 23 at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards in North Garden. The couple lives in Fairfax. Photography by jen fariello

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10/25/13 3:54 PM

S hopping

sparkling bath soak Clementine scent. $20.

sateen bed set In Shanghai Vertigo Pizzo style. $2,940.

Morning Glories Waking up is a dream when these stylish whatnots wait under the tree. Our favorite gifts for the season.

Rosa Arctica Lightweight cream, 1.7-ounce jar. $60.

Ronel deluxE bed tray In black satin by The Bed Tray Shoppe. $119.

Lansing Cashmere Robe 100% cashmere robe by Quinn in Blush. $465.

egg poacher Calphalon unison slide. $129.95.

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‘Alba maria’ SilkSatin pajama set By Olivia Von Halle. $455. espresso machine ‘Impressa J9 One Touch’ by Jura Capresso. $2,999.99. Old Town Coffee Tea & Spice, Alexandria. 703-683-0856

floating mug 8-ounce porcelain mug designed to catch drips. $39.99.

Solid Cashmere throw Monogramming optional. $249.

ripley frames In Oak Barrel. $145.

Towel warmer Warms towels in 10 minutes. $89.99.

Clocky Runaway alarm clock. $45.

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Rowena’s Kitchen

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SOLACE STUDIOS FINE HANDCRAFTS can fill your home with light and color, while decorating at the same time. Many pieces of the same shape interlock to create balls of light that will make your living space magical. Decorate the entry way of your home, over the kitchen sink, dining room table, pool table or in an infants room. 10 color options combine in a multitude of color combinations. The lights come fully assembled with the bulb and cord set. Starting at $35. 193 W. Spotswood Ave., Elkton, VA 22827 • 540-298-5222 •

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ANTIQUE FRENCH WRITING TABLE Gorgeous Louis XV "bureau plat," made in France in the early 1900s, of walnut and other hardwoods, with fine inlaid parquetry all around. Gilded red leather writing surface, with ornate bronze ormalu trim around the top and running down all four legs. 52 inches long by 28 inches deep by 33 inches high. Available for $2,500 at Crest Hill Antiques & Tea Room in The Plains, Virginia (Fauquier County, between Warrenton and Middleburg) • 540-253-5790 •

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P rofile anything like that. I just knew that was what I wanted to do. when i studied virginia history, part of it included a little bit about government, and I just thought that was the most interesting thing I had ever heard about in my life.

Virginia Tech every summer for a week for 4-H events. I met people from so many different parts of the state, and so few of them knew anything about Southwest Virginia; few of them even realized that Virginia extended past Roanoke. And I began to realize just how far we lived from everywhere else in Virginia.

I would go to

I won a trip to the National 4-H Congress in Chicago when I was a senior in high school. It was the first time I ever flew on a plane. That was when you dressed up to fly, and my mother made me wear a hat. I was not happy about that. The hat was in the suitcase coming home.

Chief Justice Cynthia D. Kinser in her Pennington Gap chambers.

Living the Law

Supreme Court of Virginia Chief Justice Cynthia D. Kinser goes the distance for her job. —interview by joe tennis—

photo by tim cox


ven as a child growing up in Lee

County, which is about as far southwest as you can go without leaving the Old Dominion, Cynthia Fannon Kinser liked to think for herself. Her father was a livestock auctioneer, and her mother taught school. Extended family living nearby offered an extended network of love and support. Today, at 61, she is still living on the farm of her childhood, near Pennington Gap. But she is also spending about a quarter of her time in Richmond, where the soft-spoken Kinser has served as the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia since 2011, the first woman to hold the title. Born in Pennington Gap, Kinser spent the early 1960s with her family in Roanoke and Botetourt counties. As a teenager, after moving back to Lee County in 1965, she became more and more active in the 4-H club. There, she says she learned how to make presentations and to appreciate a diversity of people, which she credits for building self-confidence and instilling character. Later, she set her sights on the University of Virginia, where she completed her law degree in 1977: “I knew it was a really, really good law school, so that was my first choice.” She spent most of the 1990s as a federal judge in western

Virginia and then, in 1997, was appointed by Gov. George Allen to the state supreme court. (The General Assembly elected her to her first 12-year term the following year.) Married to her high school sweetheart, Allen, Kinser routinely makes the six-hour commute from her farm near the heart of Lee County to Richmond, where she spends the equivalent of about three months a year. It would be closer, in fact, for her to drive to the state capitols of West Virginia, Georgia, Kentucky or Tennessee. But moving has not been an option, she says. The Kinsers have two adult children—Terah, an interior designer who lives in Navarre, Florida; and Adam, an attorney who lives on the farm (and practices law with H. Ronnie Montgomery, a lawyer with whom Kinser worked in the late 1970s). “Our home is here,” she explains. “I like being on the farm with the cattle. I like working outside.” Though she is the head of the highest state court in Virginia, Kinser can be found doing chores (her way of relaxing, she says) and playing piano or organ on Sunday mornings at First United Methodist Church in Pennington Gap. The state supreme court’s own salt of the earth. family was an attorney. I didn’t grow up around courthouses or lawyers or

Nobody in my

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a lot of extra money. We thought about every dollar that we spent, and we didn’t waste it. So that certainly taught me to appreciate the value of hard work and saving money and using it wisely.

We didn't have

I think that you

have to learn to appreciate people. They all have value, and you hope that, at the end of the day, you have treated them fairly and with respect.

is isolating because you can’t interact with the lawyers the way you do when you’re a lawyer. But being an appellate judge is even more so, because you’re not in court on a daily basis.

Being a judge

As supreme court judges, we are only reviewing the record that was created in the lower court, and so we will be reading the transcripts of testimony and briefs that the parties filed. The nice thing about the job is the variety of issues that we deal with on a daily basis. It always keeps me challenged. I’m constantly working at night and on weekends. I’m never away from it, and I’m not saying that’s good.

oral arguments much, you will often hear one of us asking hypothetical questions. And what we’re really trying to do is to figure out if we decide this case a certain way, how does it affect the law for cases down the road? So you constantly worry about that. We call them “unintended consequences.” It’s what causes you to lose sleep at night.

If you go to

I had people tell me that I couldn’t be a lawyer. And if I had listened to those people, I couldn’t have had the opportunities that I’ve had. You know, there weren’t that many women going to law school.

most rewarding things you can do as an attorney is when you help somebody get something that they’re entitled to or solve a problem. When they say, “Thank you,” you can tell that it’s from the depths of their heart. You’ve helped them in a way that they weren’t able to help themselves. ❉

One of the

virginia living

10/24/13 10:22 AM

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V irginiana

Here: Cornfield at Dalbys Farms. Above, right: An old food storage shed. Below, right: the headstone of Washington Hunt.

Field of Dreams

Virginia’s Century Farms celebrate the state’s deep agrarian heritage. —by ben swenson—

photography by meredith west


arrive at storm hill farm to the

ominous whir of a revving chainsaw. Beside a renovated barn, Randy Covington has already sacrificed one fencepost. He’s readying to fell another. A contractor Covington has hired to rehab his chicken house can’t navigate the farm’s tricky terrain and multiple fences with a construction trailer, so the fenceposts have to go to make way for a wider opening. Covington shrugs. “I needed a bigger gate there anyway.” The fencepost dilemma might be a first for this 220-acre working farm outside Verona in the Shenandoah Valley, but finding workaround solutions to all that the farm throws at Randy and his wife Mary certainly isn’t. The Covingtons have been farming this land since the mid-1970s when they inherited half of Storm Hill’s acreage and bought the other half from a family member’s estate. Storm Hill dates back to at least 1868 when Mary’s great-grandfather built a stately brick manor house here

overlooking the fertile floodplain of the Middle River. (A storm that destroyed new windows in transit just a few hundred yards shy of the thennew home gives the farm its name.) Though they’re proud of that unbroken lineage, the Covingtons point out that’s a century-and-a-half for all manner of vexing problems to percolate. “We could’ve built a whole new home in the 1970s for what we just paid for that chicken house,” Mary says, her hens clucking emphasis in the background. For all the headaches that come with farm work, however, the Covingtons, who are both in their mid-60s, recognize that they have something special, that they’re on this pretty patch of rural land against long odds. And they’re not the only ones who acknowledge the deep commitment it takes to uphold Virginia’s agrarian heritage; for 15 years now, the state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has been granting operations like Storm d ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3

VIRGINIANA_CenturyFarms_DEC13.indd 61


Hill a title that goes far beyond what the name implies: Century Farm. This honorary designation confirms that the same family has worked or lived on this farm for at least 100 years, and that it grosses at least $2,500 a year or is being tended over time for forestry products. But a Century Farm is more than those objective measures; the credential speaks volumes about farmers’ long-term commitment to land their forefathers worked, as well as the sacrifices they’ve accepted knowing it would be a lot easier to settle into a Cape Cod at the end of a cul-de-sac where HOA fees cover lawn maintenance. Though the Commonwealth confers no financial or material benefits to its 1,200 Century Farms, for the families, Century Farm status is a statement of pride in a way of life often overshadowed by industrial agriculture and food grown half the world away. I meet Chuck Tankard, 66, and his 32-year-old

virginia living

10/24/13 5:13 PM

V irginiana

Clockwise from above: Chuck Tankard of Dalbys Farms and his daughter Ursula Deitch; Dorset ewe with lamb at Storm Hill Farm; the original farmhouse at Dalbys Farms; a field of young soybeans.

daughter, Ursula Deitch—Northampton County’s agricultural extension agent—at Dalbys Farms in Northampton County on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. In a distinctive Eastern Shore drawl cultivated by a lifetime living here, Tankard prefaces our meeting saying, “This is a working farm, so things are a little rough around the edges. We’re not ready for Garden Week, but I’m happy to show you what we’ve got.” Tankard leads me past two old farmhouses, one of which he and his wife have lived in since a 1992 renovation, to the edge of a field of long rows of recently planted soybeans. There we find a family cemetery. One of the headstones belongs to Washington Hunt, Tankard’s greatgreat-grandfather, who originally owned all the land around us. “The story goes that Washington Hunt had 12 kids, and you either got land at a good price or a college education,” says Tankard. Hunt’s children divided the land among their own broods and so on through the generations until what was left was quilted ownership of a once-large estate. Tankard took over farming his branch of the family’s share of the land full time when he returned from the Vietnam War in 1973. Descendants of farm families like the Tankards usually don’t own enough acreage

to make farming full-time a viable option, so they have to start small, work hard and buy more land. In fact, both the Tankards and the Covingtons have added to their farms’ size: Tankard started out with 88 acres and built that up to 300 over the years; the 118 acres Storm Hill comprised when the Covingtons took over has now increased to 220. Like more than half of Virginia’s farmers, the Covingtons made agriculture their second occupation—they both worked in public schools in Greene County and Waynesboro for more than 30 years—in part because of farming’s fickle returns. Even with 220 acres, they still have not had enough land to compete with the big growers, making two full-time careers— education and farming—necessary. “On a small farm,” says Randy, “you have to find a niche. And, unfortunately, niche markets come and go in fads.” The Covingtons concede that Storm Hill is still, as ever, an exercise in trial and error. They’re raising sheep for an increasingly diverse population that enjoys lamb as a traditional dish, and they’re renting land to a farmer experimenting with crops to make biodiesel. For Tankard, as for many other lifelong farmers (he’s fifth generation, at least), keeping his operation alive has meant acquiring expensive equipment, and buying and leasing ever more acreage to grow soybeans, wheat, corn and snap beans. At the height of his operations, Tankard farmed 800 acres. (He has reduced that number in recent years as he has grown older and found it increasingly difficult to find labor.) Tankard has changed production techniques in response to environmental concerns, using computerized fertilizer management systems and no-till planting, for example, to reduce harmful runoff and to make sure the land remains fertile for whoever farms it next. Passing the torch is not as easy as writing a line in the last will and testament. Farmers retire, and often that earth they’ve worked for so long comprises a significant chunk of their nest egg, putting them in the uncomfortable position of having to decide on easy golden years or keeping the farm in the family. It’s a decision that is faced often and has particular urgency in Virginia. At last measure, 30 percent of the Commonwealth’s farmers were older than 65—the average age is about 58. Adult children often have neither the skills nor the desire to take what amounts to a huge gamble. Randy Covington says he can’t blame them: “I sometimes think, ‘I could work for the rest of my life, or I could fish.’” The Covingtons aren’t sure that any of their three adult children would want to come back to run Storm Hill Farm. Faye Cooper, executive director of the Valley virginia living

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Conservation Council, says that children who take over Century Farms from relatives may be shouldering a heavy burden, but they can feel pride in carrying on Virginia’s agrarian legacy and tending green space vulnerable to suburbanization. Last April, the VCC hosted a meet-up of Century Farm owners in Broadway in Rockingham County and plans to hold another gathering in the southern Shenandoah Valley this fall. Their aim? To preserve natural and agricultural landscapes in the Shenandoah Valley, and to educate farmers about options for minimizing development on their land, including establishing conservation easements. (The Covingtons’ farm has been placed in easement.) Farmers get financial incentives from local authorities for restricting development on their acreage, but conservation easements do something more—they affirm the inherent value of farmland and natural open spaces. On the Eastern Shore, Deitch says that she and her sister and their husbands might be open to taking the reins at Dalbys Farms, but there are so many factors—including her father’s faroff retirement and the course of their current careers—that organizing a possible transfer now isn’t practical. “I’d love for it to happen but, as of now, that’s a long-term goal,” she says. Deitch nevertheless remains proud that Dalbys Farms has the simple Century Farm plaque that acknowledges the importance of her home and heritage. Signs like that hang all over Virginia at places like Dalbys where the paint could use some touching up and fences look more weathered than farmers would like …. exactly the kinds of farms that have been feeding and clothing the world for generations. ❉ For more information about Virginia’s Century Farms, go to

d ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3

10/24/13 10:25 AM

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10/25/13 7:06 PM

Grenadier, Anderson, Starace, Duffett & Keisler, P.C. ith their many years of combined experience, the lawyers of Grenadier, Anderson, Starace, Duffett and Keisler, P.C. serve clients in all aspects of divorce cases, to include support matters, equitable distribution of assets, custody, premarital, and post marital agreements. The firm is listed as Tier 1 “Best Law Firm” for Family Law in 2013 by U.S News & World Report and Best Lawyers. Ilona Grenadier and Arlene Starace are listed in Washingtonian’s “Best Lawyers”, in “Best Lawyers in America”, in Virginia and D.C. “Superlawyers” publications, and have Martindale Hubbell’s highest “AV” rating. Ms. Starace is also listed in Virginia Magazine’s Legal Elite.

Three Convenient Locations:

649 South Washington St. Alexandria, Va. 22314 12359 Sunrise Valley Dr. Suite 230 Reston, Va. 20191 19301 Winmeade Dr. Suite 216A Leesburg, Va. 20176


We understand the needs of families and businesses are constantly changing, year-toyear, and sometimes moment to moment. That is why we have grown our firm to include attorneys with experience in a wide spectrum of the law, but with a steadfast dedication to honesty, integrity, and a consistent record of accessibility and responsiveness.

Virginia Beach Office 757.422.4700 2101 Parks Ave., Suite 801 Virginia Beach, VA 23451 Suffolk Office 757.935.9065 143 N. Main Street Suffolk, VA 23434 Courtland Office 757.742.6115 28319 Southampton Pkwy Courtland, VA 23837

Duncan Garnett has handled hundreds of individual injury and death cases and is experienced in multidistrict litigation. Garnett has been listed in Best Lawyers for sixteen consecutive years, received Martindal-Hubbell®’s highest rating of AV® PreeminentTM for twenty consecutive years and has been selected for inclusion in Virginia Super Lawyers continuously since 2006. His work is devoted to those who suffer life altering injury. AGGRESSIVE. PROFESSIONAL. COMPASSIONATE.

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10/23/13 11:07 AM



L aw

VBA members at their ninth annual meeting, Hot Springs, 1897.

Honor & Compassion

Virginia's state bar associations, the standard bearers for professionalism in the practice of law, celebrate benchmark anniversaries this year. — b y S a n d r a S h e l l e y—

photo courtesy of virginia historical society


n july 5, 1888, more than

100 lawyers from throughout the Commonwealth gathered for an urgent meeting at the Princess Anne Hotel in Virginia Beach. The profession was in dire need of a guiding force, read the summons from Francis H. McGuire, chairman of the Richmond Bar Association. Virginia’s lawyers at the time had no statewide standards for bar admission and no code of legal ethics: “At present, the fences are all down. The profession is a common, and I must say, some very strange cattle now feed upon it,” said McGuire, in his opening remarks at the meeting. The result of McGuire’s plea for professionalism was the

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to take care of such matters, and 75 years ago, in 1938, the General Assembly established the Virginia State Bar, an administrative agency of the Virginia Supreme Court charged with regulating the state’s legal profession. Today, Virginia is one of only three states with both mandatory and voluntary state bar associations. (The others are West Virginia and North Carolina.) “When the Virginia State Bar was created in 1938, many predicted the [voluntary] Virginia Bar Association would exist largely as a social organization, but it continued to play an important role in legislative reform,” says Catherine Obrion, librarian-archivist for the Virginia

formation of the Virginia State Bar Association—today known as the Virginia Bar Association— which this year celebrates its 125th anniversary. The organization adopted a constitution and bylaws, elected officers and proposed a Code of Legal Ethics. Its efforts led to the first Virginia Bar Exam in 1897, the creation of the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners in 1910 and the first educational requirements for bar admission in 1934. But membership in the VBA was purely voluntary, and it was difficult to enforce disciplinary measures. The group urged legislators to create a separate, membership-mandatory association


State Law Library. According to Thomas Bagby, current VBA president and president and principal of Woods Rogers in Roanoke, the group’s legislative efforts “are really designed to improve the efficiency of the law in Virginia, and that is really for everyone’s benefit.” For instance, the VBA recently joined other statewide bar associations in passing a resolution supporting the funding and filling of judicial vacancies. These vacancies, explains Bagby, bog down the dockets of the circuit and district courts. “Lawyers in Virginia choose to join the VBA, which is a voluntary organization, because they care about their profession, and they care about our mission, which is to promote collegiality and professionalism,” says Hugh M. Fain III, immediate past president of the VBA and managing director and shareholder of Spotts Fain in Richmond. The VBA’s 5,500 members are “people who want to use their time, talents and experience to make their communities a better place,” says Yvonne McGhee, an attorney and the VBA’s executive director, from her downtown Richmond office where a large framed poster of Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, perhaps the most beloved attorney of all time, hangs. Two such members are Richmond attorneys Matt Kapinos, an associate with McGuireWoods, and Bob Barrett, assistant corporate counsel with Degremont Technologies. They are the co-chairs of the VBA Veterans Issues Task Force, which helps veterans in need of legal assistance. Both attended West Point and were deployed to Iraq; Kapinos was also deployed to Afghanistan. Kapinos, a tall man with military-straight posture, received a medical discharge from the Army after a parachute accident and then attended law school. He knows the difficulty that returning servicemen face; even as an officer and a law school student, “It still took me over a year to get an initial determination on my benefits.”

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10/24/13 5:15 PM



Each November, during Veterans Legal Services Month, the committee hosts a number of events to recruit attorneys to donate pro bono or reduced fee services. In addition to the benefits

L aw financial loss because of dishonest conduct by a Virginia lawyer. (As a state agency, however, the VSB is restricted from lobbying.) Among its other duties, the VSB, which is entirely selffunded by attorney dues, ensures that practicing attorneys meet their continuing legal education requirements each year and sponsors some of the programs. The Professional Regulation Department of the VSB investigates complaints about lawyer conduct and prosecutes, when appropriate, cases before the district committees, the VSB Disciplinary Board or circuit court panels. Actions range from dismissals and private or public reprimands or admonitions, to suspensions and even revocations of licenses. “The disciplinary actions are all posted online. Anybody can look them up. It’s a very open process.

cases, “We help veterans address a wide variety of their legal needs, with family law being the most common,” says Kapinos. “We give that veteran some quick peace of mind and then help them work

center photo by adam ewing. top photo courtesy of virginia bar association

Top: Matt Kapinos, far right. Center: Hugh M. Fain III and Yvonne McGhee. Bottom: Sharon Nelson.

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Even the hearings are open to the public,” explains Gordon Hickey, public information coordinator for the VSB. “I think that one of the things we’re proudest of is our disciplinary system and how seriously we take it,” says VSB president Sharon Nelson, a Fairfax attorney and the president of Sensei Enterprises, a digital forensics, information security and information technology company. “I’ve been called the technology

through their issues.” Connecting citizens with qualified legal help is also an important role of the Virginia State Bar, which has 47,000 members. The organization responds to about 12,000 phone calls each year through its Virginia Lawyer Referral Service, which links the public to attorneys practicing in their area of need. The VSB also operates the Clients’ Protection Fund, used to help reimburse people who have suffered a


president,” laughs Nelson. With her help, the VSB will bring the ABA TECHSHOW Road Show to Richmond next May: “We’ll have a whole day of education for the lawyers. It will be free, and they can really come and immerse themselves in what’s going on in legal technology, because certainly nothing has been so disruptive to the practice of law as technology,” and, she adds, “that’s not going to stop anytime soon.” Like the VSB, the VBA also offers a wide array of continuing legal education opportunities, but the organization is about more than legal reform and education. On a lighter, but nonetheless civic-minded note, the VBA’s Young Lawyers Division provides the driving force for the “Legal Food Frenzy,” which takes place for two weeks each spring. Since 2007, the contest has brought in over 10 million pounds of food. “It’s the largest food and fund drive in the state,” says Leslie Van Horn, executive director for the Norfolk-based Federation of Virginia Food Banks. Law firms compete with each other to gather the most canned goods and monetary donations (each $1 collected is equal to four pounds of goods). To raise the funds, “They get really creative,” says Van Horn. She has heard of everything from lawyers shaving their heads or taking part in tricycle races, to senior partners getting hit in the face with pies. “The Legal Food Frenzy began over 20 years ago as a friendly competition among lawyers in the Tidewater region,” says Christopher Gill, a partner with Christian & Barton in Richmond and one of the project’s co-chairs. In 2007, then-Attorney General Bob McDonnell joined with Gill and Richmond attorney Katja Hill of LeClairRyan, both members of the Young Lawyers Division, to launch the program statewide. The offices of the Attorney General and the Governor also lend support, and other states have even copied the effort. “We didn’t ever anticipate it being this big, but we’re really thrilled that it is,” says Gill. Although a little nutty at times, he adds, the event helps the community “and really puts attorneys in a good light.” Surely Atticus Finch would approve. ❉ For more information about the community service programs provided by these organizations, go to and

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10/24/13 5:16 PM



T ho m as Je f f e r s on

Saturday, November 16 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. at Thomas Jefferson’s

Poplar Forest Advance tickets recommended $20 in advance $25 at the door Featuring tastings of Virginia wines, food, live music, a visit from Thomas Jefferson and much more! Please no pets, outside food or drink. Please bring photo ID for tasting. The wine festival is an adult event and there are no children’s activities available.

Sponsored by:

(434) 534-8120 | foresT, Virginia


Think you’ve seen it all?

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10/24/13 3:09 PM

Urbanna UrbannaChristmas Christmas Parade House Tour Friday evening, December 6 just after dark

Jackson Creek Hayride and Creek Cruise

Urbanna’s charm at its holiday best. Local floats, the fire engine parade, marching bands, mounted riders, local celebrities and of course SANTA. Join the crowds who gather along the parade route for a taste of Christmas in Tidewater. Restaurants will be open to tempt visitors with famous Rappahannock River Oysters, some Christmas cheer and the delicious fares from local restaurants. Hosted by the Town of Urbanna’s Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad. For information call 804-758-2613

December 13, 2013 from 5:00pm until 7:30pm • A traditional Christmas community event for more than 10 years. • Hop on a hay wagon for a twilight ride through this famous nautical village where luminaries will guide the way past storefronts and homes sparkling with holiday decorations. At the town dock, the “Tortoga” will be ready to board for an evening cruise on Jackson Creek where waterside homes and boats in slips and at anchor will be decorated for the season. • Back at the dock, hay wagons will be waiting to take everyone to the town center for warm cider, cookies and a visit by Santa. Model trains provided by the local model train club will be set up and running for the delight of children and adults alike. Tickets for visitors over 12 can be purchased at the Community Center building for $5. Children under twelve are guests!

Saturday, December 7 from 10am until 4pm

• Historic “Lansdowne,” “James Ross River Plantation, “The James Mills Scottish Factor Store” the original “Middlesex County Courthouse,” the “Barnes House”, the Williamson House, and “Fort Nonsense” • Easy parking and shuttle services provided. • Open Houses at local shops and galleries • Wine Tasting at “Taste of Urbanna” • Homemade donuts and hot coffee wagon on Virginia Street • Great food at Urbanna restaurants featuring Rappahannock River Oysters Tickets are available in Richmond at “Janet Brown” in Carytown, “Pigtails & Crewcuts”, and “Murphy’s”. Locally, tickets may be purchased at “Lowe Tide”, “Make Thyme”, “Cyndy’s Bynn” and “River Birch”, Urbanna, and “Papeterie” and “The Wild Bunch” in Kilmarnock. Tickets available the day of the Tour for $20 at the Methodist Church. For information call 804-758-1606 Come enjoy Urbanna, Tidewater, Virginia’s most beautiful waterfront community Dec. 7 and experience all of its famous hospitality during this annual holiday event.

VL 2013 Fur Ball ad_VL 2013 Fur Ball ad 10/23/2013 4:04 PM Page 1

The Richmond SPCA thanks Virginia Living for support of our

15th Annual Fur Ball presented by BB&T

We are grateful to all the sponsors and supporters who made Cinderella dreams come true by raising more than $500,000 for sick, injured and neonatal homeless pets.

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10/25/13 6:45 PM

Dining just what winds up on the separate late night menus that are making their debuts in restaurants hoping to capture that market. Not too long ago, the after-hours restaurant trade was ruled by 20-something party pros looking to diners and dives to speed up alcohol absorption with greasy spoon fare. Now even that market segment is opting for artichoke pâté and crème brûlée. “Even kids in their college years or mid-20s are too smart to go to bad fast food places,” Maupin says. Michelle Williams, a partner in Richmond Restaurant Group, which owns seven popular Richmond restaurants, is another foresighted proprietor who is responding to the top-drawer tastes of this new brand of night owl diner. Take the late-night menu at RRG’s The Daily Kitchen and Bar, where the kitchen stays open until midnight during the week and until 1 a.m. on weekends. Situated on the Carytown strip in Richmond, The Daily is right on the path of a vital street scene that goes past midnight. “People are out walking on the street,” says Williams. “It’s such a good vibe.” And since it’s within striking distance of the Virginia of Fine People will Museum Arts, which is open until 9 p.m. sit there Thursdays and and eat until Fridays and later for special events, 2 o’clock The Daily’s location makes in the — B y L i s a A n t o n e ll i B a c o n — it an obvious morning.” draw for hungry art mavens of all stripes. With choices like typical of a college town: students, where you can trot out after the t’s been a lovely evening, calamari and a truffled grilled professors, artists and all the last curtain call for steak frites or you know. The second act cheese sandwich, The Daily’s attendant intelligentsia of a highly a local cheese plate are pleasing eclipsed the first. Or the band late night menu has a touch of educated surrounding community. alternatives to the flotsam and decided to do an extra encore. Or the sophistication and creativity “They want something good or jetsam of pizza and burger joints the cocktail party went so long that, tasty; something to go with a special that tony palates on the prowl are that once were our only witchingsuddenly, it’s 11 o’clock, and your looking for. cocktail or a craft beer. And they hour options. stomach is telling you the canapés Like The Daily, RRG’s Pearl in want quality.” Agreed. Who wants “Diners are much more fooddidn’t cut it. These are times when the Fan takes late-night cultivated to follow up a night at the opera centric now,” says Dean Maupin, even the best burger on the planet tastes into consideration. While with a plate of cheesy fries? owner of the C&O Restaurant would be a letdown. Sometimes, the raw bar dominates, serving Maupin says the increased in downtown Charlottesville. A a swishy evening calls for a cloth up clams, oysters and crab legs demand is a direct result of his discerning palate, he says, is not napkin and attentive table service (steamed on request) into the wee city’s expanding nightlife. “There’s ruled by the clock. He should know. to cap it off, and nothing less hours, Pearl, too, has a separate more happening downtown than The C&O has offered late night will do. Fueled by an increase of late night menu with such offerings there ever has been,” he says. fine dining since 1976, serving an entertainment options that last as pan-roasted mussels and crab And since after-hours eating uptown menu right up until the well into the night, establishments cakes. “We’ve seen our late night can be hard on a constitution, restaurant’s 1 a.m. closing time are answering the call for afterfood business continue to grow,” healthy eating trends combine seven days a week to what he hours grown-up food. More and says Williams. with elevated tastes to influence describes as the everyman clientele more, folks are finding that places

No Reservations


After midnight, diners feed their inner foodies with new elevated options for the witching hour.

illustration by david hollenbach


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virginia living

10/24/13 10:31 AM

Dining In Virginia Beach, foodies know to head for Harpoon Larry’s when the hunger for grown-up food hits in the middle of the night. Two blocks from the oceanfront, the restaurant has mined its own after-midnight dinner crowd along with—and separate from—its bar crowd. “People will sit there and eat until 2 o’clock in the morning,” says owner Ross Hickam, noting

that when the restaurant is open, the kitchen is, too, taking orders right up until the doors are locked at 2 a.m. In fact, Hickam says, food sales from 10 p.m. until closing tend to equal liquor, wine and beer sales. “And they’re not just ordering appetizers or a pound of shrimp,” says Hickam. “They’re ordering big dinners with all the sides.” Two other factors—beyond

Tastings & Tip-offs

restaurateurs’ control—also feed the popularity of dining out late at night. Restaurateurs readily acknowledge one: “There usually isn’t a line for a table,” says Williams, whose establishments often see people waiting for tables during normal dinner hours. But they are less forthcoming about the other. “Well, don’t say I said it,” said

one source, who shall remain nameless. “You don’t have to put up with kids.” We have to admit: At times, that is reason enough. ❉

Honor Roll

Gearing up for our second Made In Virginia Awards, we nibbled, we snacked, we sipped and we sampled some extraordinary products, all made right here in the Commonwealth. It truly was a difficult, albeit enjoyable, task, as we found that we had more noteworthy products than we had room to write about. We had to winnow our winners down to three in each category, but in the food division, there were some so close to the mark that we wanted to honor them in some way and, at the same time, enlighten our readers about these truly fine comestibles that are well worth the time, money and effort of acquiring. Here are just a few:

surryano ham is just an excuse to write about Wallace Edwards & Sons. This amazing company in Surry has a provenance that no state celebrates the way Virginia does: It’s been owned and operated by the same family since 1926. Known as an innovator in the gourmet food industry, the company routinely brings home medals from the sofi Awards, which are the Oscars of specialty foods. This year, Edwards also won top honors in the Seedling Project’s Good Foods Awards for the newly introduced Surryano ham, made from peanut-fed hogs to produce a rich flavor with a buttery finish. Last year, Edwards introduced Bacon Steak, which is now available at Saks Fifth Avenue ($40 for two pounds). Even though these innovators reference recipes that go back as far as the Jamestown Settlement, they’re always food-forward when it comes to anything piggy. red truck bakery is a place, not a product, but we

photo by william waybourn

love what happens there. Former art director Brian Noyes turned in his Exacto knife for kitchen knives and set about whipping up culinary creations that now get shipped all over the country, earning him notice in such august publications as the New York Social Diary. You can take the man out of art direction but you can’t take the creativity out of the man. In Noyes’ designer mind, Red Truck Bakery’s basic ham and cheese becomes smoked Black Forest ham and white cheddar on rosemary focaccia; vegetarian-ized meatloaf becomes “beetloaf” with roasted beets, sweet potatoes and ground walnuts; and when you feel Kosher coming on, there’s pastrami on a pretzel roll with apricot mustard. Our personal fave? The double chocolate moonshine cake. All tucked innocently away in Warrenton.

fruit 66 just might have an answer to childhood

obesity. Ever wonder just how many calories the average kid downs in a day in soft drinks alone? Or how you can get your kid to consume fruits and vegetables without wailing and gnashing of teeth? Turn that produce into a carbonated fruity beverage, and see if your young sugar junkie notices that you’ve pulled the old switcheroo with his regular sugar-laden libation. William Hargis cracked the code. He invented Fruit 66, a natural alternative to all those sugary canned things that come flying out of

machines to hit you in the knees. Fruit 66 is the darling of school nutritionists: One can equals one serving of fruit. And grown-up palates like them, too. How ‘bout them apples? bone doctors products show you that orthopedic surgeons know a lot more about barbeque than you might imagine. Twenty-seven years ago, bone docs David Heilbronner and Bruce Wilhelmsen set out to find a cure for blasé barbeque, which, it turns out, was a lot easier and just as popular in these parts as curing the common cold. Their Bone Doctors’ premium spice blend is an arresting mélange of herbs and spices that you would be proud to claim as your own when you rub it on anything from poultry to fish to popcorn. (Hide the jar, and say it’s your secret.) It’s all natural, gluten-free and Kosher. The docs encourage creativity, proffering recipes that use it for collards, pesto, asparagus, even red beans and rice.

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baba's bread and butter

pickles were born in 1950, when Marty McNerney’s grandmother sliced up some cucumbers, onions and red peppers (paperthin, you know) and put them in jars with a blend of pickling spices. Nothing mysterious, just some vinegar, tempered with sugar, balanced by salt and kicked up a notch or two with cayenne, mustard seed, celery seed and turmeric. But wow. The recipe came down through the family, and now Baba’s Bread and Butter Pickles are in six stores around Haymarket and Charlottesville. dr. lucy's to the rescue, gluten-free families! Every

family has at least one member who is gluten-challenged, and for that, the whole family gives up certain pleasures from time to time. Not anymore, thanks to Lucy Gibney. This Norfolk-based genius gives us glutenfree, allergy-friendly, vegan treats in many flavors: Traditionalists will love the chocolate chip, the chocolate, the sugar and the oatmeal cookies. Not to be missed? Maple Bliss cookies. The brownies are a little on the dry side, but we applaud the effort. They’re better than anything anyone else has come up with on the gluten-free market. But try a Cinnamon Thin cookie or a ginger snap and you’ll never miss the gluten again. We predict Lucy’s will give the Girl Scouts a run for their money.

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10/24/13 5:19 PM

“Distinctively Different”

The Carreras Estate Collection • 121 Libbie Ave, Richmond, Va 23226 • 804.282.7018 • Carreras Ltd on Facebook

Win a trip toD ownton Abbey

Win an 8-day trip to London, England to celebrate the fascinating world of manners, style and history as inspired by the PBS hit series Masterpiece classic: Downton abbey. The lucky winner will receive a tour for two to take place in July 19-26, 2014, including hotel accommodations in a 4-star London area hotel plus airfare. A total prize value of approximately $8,400. • Explore Highclere Castle and the village featured in the series Downton Abbey • Delve into mysteries of the “Downstairs” world as you’re taught the powerful role of the butler • British etiquette masters will instruct you on how to successfully navigate afternoon tea and high society • Enjoy an exclusive whiskey tasting • Discover Downton Abbey fashion secrets as you go behind the scenes at one of the show’s costumiers Ticket sales are limited to Virginia residents only. Purchase as many tickets as you like. Tickets are $100 each of only 2,000 tickets available for the raffle. So you have a great chance to win! For more information and to purchase tickets go to

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10/23/13 11:08 AM

Food By Lisa Antonelli Bacon

Take a sip, swirl it in your mouth, savor the way it coats your tongue. T his is the way the season should taste.

Divine Drinking Chocolate Belgians will argue that they make the best chocolate; the

tax on cocoa beans in Europe made drinking chocolate prohibitive

Swiss lay stake to similar claims. The Dutch simply assume

in cost. At the same time, there were 70 chocolate makers spread

their place in the chocolate hierarchy, and the French, famous

around the American colonies, turning out product at prices that

for being the first to pair chocolate with pastries, take credit

made drinking chocolate their preferred cold-weather quaff.

for making it a breakfast food. As for Americans, our place in

But it is a subjective endeavor. The Mayans, who were the

confectionary history is assured for bringing the rarified hot

first to drink their chocolate, spiced theirs with chili peppers.

beverage of drinking chocolate to the masses.

Colonists favored f lavoring their drinking chocolate with

In 18th-century Europe, “the drinking of chocolate was

cinnamon and mace, and scents like jasmine and ambergris.

something only the very elite [were] doing,” says Robert Brantley

Today, we know that cardamom offers an exotic flourish. Attended

of Colonial Williamsburg. Not so in the brash colonies. “At the

by ramekins of whipped cream or frothed milk, or even served

time of the American Revolution, there was one chocolate maker

simply bare, drinking chocolate is more than an accompaniment;

in France and one in Britain,” adds Brantley, noting that a heavy

it is a complete confectionary course. So sip, swirl, savor, enjoy.

Photography by Adam Ewing

Food by Chef J Frank virginia living

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Styling by Neely Barnwell Dykshorn

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Opposite: Cami and Hank enjoy their drinking chocolate at The Roosevelt in Richmond. Here: A traditional French presentation.

Chocolat Chaud à l’Ancienne 5 ¼ ounces chocolate (70 percent cacao), chopped or broken into small pieces 2 ½ cups heavy cream ½ ounce sugar 1 vanilla bean 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder whipped cream for garnish Split the vanilla bean lengthwise. Heat the cream in a saucepan with the sugar and add the vanilla bean. Before the cream boils, remove it from the heat and let rest for 10 minutes before removing the vanilla bean. Add cocoa powder. Reheat the cream slowly, blending carefully. When the cream is warm, add chopped chocolate. Whisk over low heat for five minutes until chocolate is melted. Pour into teacups. If you prefer it thicker, add more chocolate. Top with whipped cream, and garnish with cocoa powder or crushed almonds. d ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3

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Serves 2

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Vodka Chocolate 1 cup milk 3 tablespoons dark chocolate, chopped or broken into small pieces 2 tablespoons vanilla vodka 1 ½ tablespoons marshmallows, small or chopped for garnish powdered cocoa for garnish Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Add chocolate and stir until melted. Whisk until smooth. Add vodka to mug. When chocolate is melted and milk is hot, pour into mug. Top with marshmallows, and dust with cocoa powder. Serves 1

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Always use only the best chocolate, like Callebaut or Ghirardelli.

Peppermint White Chocolate 2 cups milk 2 cups heavy cream 1 cup white chocolate, chopped or broken into small pieces 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract whipped cream for garnish peppermint candy, crushed

Heat milk and cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Add extracts and chocolate and whisk until smooth. When chocolate is melted and milk is hot, pour into mugs. Garnish with whipped cream, and sprinkle crushed peppermint on top. Serves 4-5

Old-fashioned drinking chocolate 4 cups milk 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped or broken into small pieces ��₃ cup sugar ½ teaspoon vanilla extract pinch of salt Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Add sugar and salt. Stir until smooth. Add chocolate and vanilla, and whisk until smooth. If you prefer it thicker, add more chocolate. Pour into mugs. Serves 4

Location: The Roosevelt restaurant, richmond. models: cami and hank. special thanks to A Sharper Palate Catering Company.

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Chili Chocolate 6 cups milk 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract 1 red chili pepper, split 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 2 cloves 1 stick cinnamon 12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped or broken into small pieces pinch of salt whipped cream for garnish

Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Add vanilla, chili pepper, pepper flakes, cloves and cinnamon. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain into a clean pot. Heat on medium, and add chocolate in batches, stirring until smooth. Add salt. Pour into mugs, and garnish with whipped cream. Serves 4

10/24/13 1:06 PM

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Here: The Village Stroll in picturesque Whistler Village. Opposite page: Sleigh ride on an 'olde fashion bob-sleigh.'

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Chilled Out Thrills

Whistler warms up winter with a cool vibe and hot après-ski scene. — b y K i m b e r l e y L o v at o —

photo left by robin o'neill; top right by steve rogers


espite my lobby for a beach holiday

and my general protest against temperatures below 50 degrees, I booked a family ski trip to Whistler, British Columbia, for several reasons: its proximity to our home in San Francisco (a direct two-and-a-half-hour flight), our teenage daughter’s relentless pursuit of snowboarding prowess (and Instagram-worthy photos), and because my Canadian husband had never visited his country’s westernmost province. The weather in February, it seemed, was not a consideration. “In Canada, we have 10 months of winter and two months of bad skating,” he joked. “You just need to learn to celebrate the cold.” Celebrate the cold? That’s an oxymoron in my dictionary. As a native of southern California, I understood winter to mean going from cotton to cashmere and switching from Pinot Grigio to Pinot Noir, then sipping it in front of a gas fireplace turned on by a light switch. But I have been married to a Canadian for over 18 years and have learned a few things about life in his cold country. I now know what a tuque is (a woolen hat); I know that cars, like smartphones, sometimes need to be plugged in overnight; and I know that a Canadian’s favorite sport usually involves ice in some way (fishing, curling, hockey, drinking). I had not learned, however, to fête anything frigid.

The heart of Whistler beats around its village, a maze of cobbled pedestrian lanes hemmed between the bases of the twin peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains, easily accessible via a stunning two-hour drive along the Sea to Sky Highway (the more appealing name for Highway 99 that joins Vancouver to Pemberton). When we arrived in Whistler, the Dubh Linn Gate Pub, on the ground level of the Pan Pacific Hotel where we were staying, buzzed with furry bootclad revelers downing hot toddies while dueling fiddlers screeched out Irish folk and country jigs. The party in Whistler continued beyond sundown when the best trick skiers soared through a blazing ring of fire at the annual Fire and Ice show (every Sunday during winter), which I insisted we watch from the warmth of our mountain-view room. It was only a few hours into our frozen pilgrimage and I had already learned two more valuable lessons: 1) There’s more to Whistler than just skiing, and 2) Après-ski is referred to simply as “après,” and it’s a verb, as in, “Where should we après today?” Among the dozens of bars and restaurants scattered about, nary a heated porch, firepit or live band on a wooden deck exists that doesn’t pay homage to the alpine tradition of post-ski socializing and swilling. During our week in Whistler, we frequented the sophisticated bar at Araxi Restaurant for glasses of B.C. wine (from its whopping 12,000 bottle wine cellar), d ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3

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and après-ed on the heated outdoor patio at Girabaldi Lift Co., watching skiers take their last runs (and spills) down the mountain. “What we really need is fondue,” said my daughter Chloe. It seemed the “mountainy” thing to do, and who was I to turn down a pot of hot, gooey cheese when the temperature dipped from icy to insane each night? I asked the concierge for his best tip, and he insisted we go to The Chalet at The Fairmont hotel, just a few minutes walk from the village. While a snapping fire took the chill from our bones, three courses of bubbly goodness warmed us from the inside out: first, the cheese with bread and vegetables, followed by broth with beef and prawns for dipping and, finally, a pot of melted swirling chocolate. It was only when we left that I learned the Fairmont also offered a horse-drawn sleigh ride with their fondue dinner. Dining, it seems, is as much about the experience as the winter sporting, and the exceptional variety and quality of both set Whistler apart from other ski resorts I’ve visited. On the mountain, casual huts serve up steaming bowls of chili, and it’s tough to top the potent sake margaritas at the popular Sushi Village, where the line for a table stretches out the door each night. Dusty’s has been a local favorite for decades, thanks to live music and barbecue steaks on open grills, as well as its location at

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the finish line of the Dave Murray Downhill, the 2010 Olympic run still open to skiers and gold medal dreamers. For gourmets, Whistler’s pièce de résistance is the swanky (and pricey) Bearfoot Bistro. Executive Chef Melissa Craig’s inventive menu straddles local and luxe, with foie gras, caviar, fish, duck and game among the rotating seasonal ingredients that lure food-savvy crowds year after year. The deconstructed French onion soup was like nothing I’d ever experienced (in a good way). And I don’t normally order frozen dessert in sub-zero weather, but I couldn’t pass on the nitro ice cream, a dinner theater-meetschemistry class experiment of smoking liquid nitrogen and cream, hand-mixed tableside and served in a steel martini glass. “Would you like to see something really cool?”

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asked a man who’d approached our table wearing a leather jacket. At first, I thought he meant “The Fonz” cool, but when he invited us into the restaurant’s Belvedere Ice Room, “the coldest vodka tasting room in the world,” he said, waving us in, I understood. Luckily, the restaurant provided goose down parkas. Maybe my cold-loving Canadian other half sensed my reluctance because he said, “It’s only cold if you don’t dress for it,” then he zipped me in and pulled the furlined hood around my ears. The ice closet, where we tasted six different vodkas of the more than 50 types tucked into carved out cubbyholes, was a balmy -25 degrees. After a few photos and a heated debate over whether or not our tongues would stick to the ice wall, we wandered home

and agreed that the Bearfoot Bistro experience was, both literally and figuratively, cool. Food is reason enough to come to Whistler, but like most, we had come for the skiing. Fellow travelers we encountered confirmed that this majestic corner of B.C. is a sought-after destination for winter sports enthusiasts from around the globe. We met a father-son duo from New York who had spent the day traversing the backcountry in a snow-cat, skiing on fresh powder. A young couple from New Zealand said they were in search of “endless winter” and had come north of the equator for their summer vacation. When I asked them why they had chosen Whistler instead of another North American resort, they said, “We visited during the Winter Olympics, and the Canadians know how to throw a party.” I couldn’t disagree there. Whistler is well known the world over as the site of the Alpine and Nordic events of the 2010 Winter Olympics. The resort got its start back in 1966, after four local B.C. ski buffs, having arrived home from Squaw Valley, California, six years prior, were determined to bring the games to B.C. The quest led them to London Mountain, renamed Whistler Mountain after the silvery marmot, a critter native to the area that emits a shrill whistling noise. When the now-massive Whistler Ski Resort opened in 1966, it had a chairlift, a couple of T-bar tows, one gondola and a small pedestrian-only town at its base, now known as Creekside, about a 5-minute bus ride from the current Whistler Village. Despite the continued transformation and growth, Whistler lost out twice in its bid for the Winter Games, first to Grenoble, France in 1968 and then to Innsbruck, Austria in 1976. These days, Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains combine into the largest ski resort in North America, with over 8,100-acres of skiable terrain (for comparison, Vail has around 5,200)

photos this page by mike crane

Here: Creekside at dusk; below: Whistler Village.

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Travel Below, left: Executive Chef Melissa Craig in her kitchen at Bearfoot Bistro; right: a snow boarder hits the slopes at Whistler Blackcomb.

photos top left and bottom right by joern rohde; top right by mike crane; bottom left by steve rogers

Here: Fire and Ice Show; right: Belvedere Ice Room, Bearfoot Bistro.

crisscrossed by 200 marked runs, from gentle beginner slopes to OMG-no-way-am-I-doing-that double black diamond chutes and pine tree-lined alleyways. There is also a fleet of high-speed chairs and gondolas to maximize time on the mountain. For non-downhillers, miles of cross country and snow-shoeing trails, an ice skating rink in the center of the village, zip-lining, snow-mobile treks and sledding deliver plenty of wintry wonder, and the small Whistler Museum tells the town’s story via vintage black and white photos, from early pioneers to Olympic celebrities. I’m not going to lie. There were times when the lines at the base were so long, I was convinced that Whistler’s one million annual winter visitors had arrived at once. But they moved quickly, and once on the mountain, Whistler’s size worked to its advantage and graced me with many intimate moments with only the rhythmic rasp of my ski edge against the snow to keep me company. What Whistler doesn’t see in winter is a whole lot of sun. One afternoon, my husband and I stood under a gunmetal gray sky while the wind lashed at our cheeks and hands. We had stopped to consult our trail map when one of the ubiquitous and eagerto-please ski instructors swooshed up beside us to help us find our way. “The weather is supposed to be nice tomorrow,” he said as he left. “So if you get a chance, get up to 7th Heaven. The views are amazing.” We’d been on the 7th Heaven Express chair lift the day before, and some of our favorite

runs, with equally lovely names like Cloud Nine, Hugh’s Heaven and the long and winding Sunset Boulevard, were skiable from there. Any possible views, however, were engulfed by snow and fog. The next day was a different story. We stood at the top and let the sun warm our faces while we admired a sky as blue as sapphires and pearly-white clouds suspended below our feet. It did indeed look like winter’s Eden. I agreed with my husband who pointed out that I would not have appreciated the setting nearly as much had the weather been this glorious all week. On our last day, we dared Whistler’s longest trail, Peak to Creek—four miles of thigh-burning, musclemelting downhill. The grey and snow had returned, and by the time we reached the bottom, my legs wobbled like those of a newborn colt. It was après time, and we slumped onto a bench on the wood deck at Dusty’s, ordered two draft Kokanees, a locally brewed B.C. beer, and clinked glasses to our accomplishment. Was I celebrating? Maybe just a little. “The cold wasn’t too bad, was it?” my husband smiled, pulling off his hat and gloves. I had to admit the week had been fun, despite the temperatures, and thoughts of next year’s winter vacation even entered my mind and didn’t involve a sunny beach. “It’s only cold if you don’t dress for it,” I smiled back. Then I unzipped my jacket and welcomed in the ice-cold Canadian air. ❉ d ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3

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plan Tourism Whistler Get There Perimeter Bus service runs regularly between Vancouver Airport and Whistler. Private car and limousine service is also available. Stay Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside offers all-suite accommodations with full kitchens, ski rentals on-site and lockers, and ski in/out access. The Fairmont Whistler offers luxury hotel accommodations at the base of Blackcomb. eat Bearfoot Bistro is the village’s premier restaurant and champagne bar. Sushi Village serves legendary sake margaritas and epic sushi. Dusty’s has been here for decades and still serves up barbecue and après. (604) 905-2171 Araxi offers fine dining and stellar wining in the heart of the village.

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How downtown Staunton fought suburbanization and won. In 1971, the state of Virginia wanted to bulldoze Staunton’s historic downtown and build a four-lane highway through the middle of the city. Had the state succeeded, motorists would be zooming through the downtown wharf district today, on their way to somewhere else. But that isn’t what happened. Instead, concerned citizens banded together to halt the demolition plans and revitalize the dying downtown, and today the center of Staunton is a compact cluster of art, commerce and by da ry l culture in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. Victorian-era architecture houses 300 independent businesses, 30 restaurants and 80 specialty stores, and rich, red-brick streets slope gently up toward the Appalachian Mountains. And instead of driving through town, you can walk everywhere—between galleries, antique stores, coffee shops, hotels, restaurants, theaters and bars, without even breaking a sweat.

g r ov e

p h o t o g r a p h y by m e r e d i t h w e s t d ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3

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It is as if someone took a metropolis, San Francisco maybe, and shrunk it down into about 10 small, hilly blocks. Because of this, Staunton (the “u” is silent, by the way), a city of less than 25,000 people, is now receiving some serious national attention. It was named one of the 20 Best Small Towns in America by Smithsonian Magazine in 2012, and that same year, Travel + Leisure recognized Beverley Street as one of America’s Greatest Main Streets. With such high-profile publications singing Staunton’s praises, I was keen to visit. And the question I wanted to answer was, how? How does a city go from having its downtown almost flattened and asphalted over to being hailed as a national model for other small cities to emulate? Staunton’s resurgence arguably begins with the threatened highway through the city because it galvanized Stauntonites into some much-needed action. With the opening of Staunton Mall (then called Staunton Plaza) in 1968, the national suburbanization trend had arrived, and downtown was emptying out. “When I got here in the ’70s, the main street had about 25 vacancies,” says Bill Frazier, an affable architect and urban planner who knows the story behind every building here. “Everything was beige and white with plywood over the windows, and it was pretty sad looking,” he says. “Everyone would say, ‘What are you going to Staunton for?’” The Historic Staunton Foundation formed in 1971 to save downtown from demolition by having it declared a historic district. “The state transportation people had to take an environmental impact study, and destroying the whole district was obviously a bad impact .… ” Frazier—who was hired as the HSF’s first executive director in 1977—says with a grin. HSF then set about persuading merchants and business owners to invest in renovating their storefronts, using historic tax credits to return the architecture to its Victorian-era splendor. “We said, ‘Wait a minute, you’ve got a city full of old buildings, why wouldn’t you decide to have a preservation strategy for economic development instead of a demolition strategy?’” explains Frazier. The public, the city council and the press took a little persuading. “They thought we were radical environmental wackos!” he recalls. “I got interviewed virginia living

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Previous page, left: Dr. Ralph Cohen, co-founder of the American Shakespeare Center; right: Ellen Bode, co-owner of Staunton Antiques Center. Above: Beverley Street.

by the newspaper [The News-Leader] as the first director of HSF, and the reporter said, ‘Why did you come to Staunton? We don’t have any historic buildings.’ He said, ‘It’s not Williamsburg.’” But not all history wears a three-cornered hat, and so HSF launched an education campaign, including weekly columns and quizzes about architectural details in The News-Leader, newsletters and special events. “For example, we promised restaurants that we’d bring 500 people to their door if they did benefits,” says Frazier. The city manager was not convinced and was still determined to tear down buildings to make way for new developments, but Frazier and HSF stood strong, promising the city what Frazier calls “a long war,” if they tried to demolish more buildings: “Getting things designated protected you from highway people and anyone coming in to do federal projects, so that helped.” But a city at war with itself cannot survive, and it wasn’t until the city government decided to get on board that Staunton really started seeing results. “Oh, those days are long gone,” says Frazier. “The last 20 years the city has been a partner ... [and] has done a number of public improvements in terms of parking areas, walks, trees, landscaping, historic light fixtures, brick sidewalks, stone curbs and all that.” Today, the renovated downtown is filled with thriving businesses like Black Swan Books, an airy store where you can buy paperbacks and hardbacks, old and new, as well as vinyl records, classic and contemporary. There’s the Staunton Antiques Center where you could very literally— and very happily—get lost for hours in its treasure trove of antiques. Art galleries like the Beverley Street Studio School and Sunspots Studios, where you can watch glass-blowers explain their craft while they create objects, welcome visitors, and there’s more food than you could ever eat from the farm-to-table favorite Zynodoa restaurant, where the tasting menu is filled with carefully balanced plates of locally sourced ingredients. Downtown also offers two small movie theaters (the Visulite and the Dixie), a premier d ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3

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Clockwise from top left: Seth Hendrick giving a glass-blowing demonstration at Sunspots Studio; glassware for sale in Sunspots Studio; statue found at Staunton Antiques; James Harris, executive chef at Zynodoa restaurant.

performing arts venue in the American Shakespeare Center, some quirky attractions like the Camera Heritage Museum, where David Schwartz has a collection of antique cameras and much more. And all is within walking distance of everything else. Two key players at City Hall, itself a renovated Victorian building that sits at the top of Beverley Street, are city planner Sharon Angle and Bill Hamilton, director of the Economic Development Authority. Both have worked for the city for almost three decades. Angle’s enthusiasm for the city is immediately obvious. Her eyes light up when she talks about what’s been accomplished in Staunton; she may be the closest reality has to offer to Leslie Knope, the good-hearted, overachieving city employee played by Amy Poehler on NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation. I asked Angle specifically about the walkability of the city, because the second I arrived in Staunton with my wife, we parked the car and left it where it was. “We have what some would call a challenging terrain, because it is not flat,” says Angle. “So Staunton is definitely a walkable city, but it didn’t just happen …. These things took place over a long time.” It began with improvements around Gypsy Hill Park, located close to downtown. “In 1985, we adopted a Sidewalk Plan,” says Angle. “Back then, we didn’t talk about walkability; we talked about pedestrian access [to the park]. So we instituted our sidewalk plan that identified where we needed to put more pedestrian access and new sidewalks. We indicated where they needed to be improved, and we gave a cost. That plan has been updated all along.” The plan was shared with everyone in city government so that, for example, when sewer or water lines were being replaced in locations that either had no sidewalk or had been identified as needing the sidewalk fixed, Angle could ask, “You are going to be tearing up that right of way anyway, so when you put it back, can you put a sidewalk in as part of this project?” Smart city government with a long-term plan and all departments working in tandem may sound like a fantasy, but the evidence is there in Staunton being walked on every day. However, the real test of how far the city and its citizens were willing to go came in 1998. “We were trying to find people to invest in our downtown,” says Angle. “And when they came here, they said ‘You have great bones, but when we look at your main street [Beverley Street], we don’t see an investment that you have made in your community.’” So, in Angle’s words, the city “bit the bullet” and committed to spending $1.5 million of city money to both improve infrastructure and deliver some much-needed beautification to four blocks of Beverley Street. The plan was to replace aging sewer and water lines, bury all power lines and install an underground fiber optic loop, as well as improve the streetscape with new streetlights and traffic lights, installing attractive brick sidewalks and crosswalks and granite curbs. Aware of the unpopularity of Boston’s “Big Dig,” which began in 1991, city officials did everything they could think of to pre-empt negative reactions, d ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3

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Clockwise from top left: Staunton Economic Development Director Bill Hamilton; exterior of Zynodoa restaurant on Beverley Street; Sears Hill Bridge; Camera Heritage Museum owner David Schwartz.

even making light of the Beverley Street project’s inconvenience by giving it the affectionate label, “Our Big Dig.” A local laundry donated red carpets, so that businesses could make clear their doors were open, even if the sidewalk was in pieces, and prevent people from walking debris into the stores. The city also had Our Big Dig staff on hand to react if any of the Beverley Street businesses had a problem that required immediate attention. “We thought it would drive people away from downtown,” says Angle, “but people in Staunton love its history and were fascinated to know what was beneath the streets. So they actually came down to watch what was going on and we kept finding things underground—like pottery.” Angle says the city offered to compensate merchants for some of the downturn in profits caused by the work but, Angle laughs, “They actually made money!” The investment paid off, with private money following the city money; $42 million in private investment on 92 historic tax credit projects, for example, contributed to an overall assessed value in city property of $78 million as of January 2013, more than triple the $25 million assessed value in 1990. And the public investment continues. This past April, the city spent just over $200,000 to replace the Sears Hill Bridge, a privately-owned virginia living

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pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks that connected downtown to the Sears Hill neighborhood and Wilson Park. Built between 1904 and 1909, the bridge was in such disrepair that it was condemned in 2010, cutting Sears Hill off from downtown. But funds were raised to lift the entire bridge up by crane, truck it out to a nearby facility, restore it, then return it to its rightful place. Like Frazier and Angle, Bill Hamilton has played a key role in steering the city toward its current success. The 62-year-old director of the Economic Development Authority arrived in 1988, following a spell in D.C. as a staffer for Senator Wendell Ford from Kentucky. “I gave the city manager a two-year commitment,” says Hamilton, and thought that would be that. “But every time I get a job offer from somewhere else, I make a list of what I like about Staunton and what I like about the other place, and then I decide to stay.” When the EDA began forming a strategic plan to revitalize the central business district in 1989, it emphasized anchor projects: destinations and activities that would attract people. The jewel in the downtown crown is the American Shakespeare Center, which opened in 2001. Its 300-seat Blackfriars Playhouse is the world’s only re-creation of William Shakespeare’s original indoor theater and features professional actors performing plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries 52 weeks a year. “What interested us was its uniqueness,” says Hamilton. “One of the things we worked hard on was not to copy or emulate communities ... The [ASC] was a unique opportunity, and our city was willing to invest in it. And it has paid some very handsome dividends. It’s brought people from all over the world to Staunton who would otherwise not have come.” My wife and I attended a Thursday evening performance of Twelfth Night and can attest that the ASC does Shakespeare unlike any other company we’ve seen before or since. The ASC isn’t a place to go and revere The Bard; it’s a place to enjoy a show. Actors perform on a spartan stage featuring minimal props and set dressing and, crucially, the lights stay on for the entire show. We met with ASC co-founder Dr. Ralph Cohen in the empty theater before the performance, and he explained the philosophy of his d ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3

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theater: “There is a relationship between keeping the lights on and the pace of a show,” he explains, which means no long, ponderous line readings. The actors talk and move quickly to keep your attention, and this works so well that the language feels contemporary, even though not a single line of text has been altered. The actors even perform contemporary songs on stage before the show and at the interval, their heads appearing from behind curtains to form a chorus that feels more like watching The Muppet Show than being in English class, while audience members go up on stage to buy beer and wine. It’s Shakespeare as a good night out, with no academic pretension: “We take quite seriously the ‘two hours traffic’ of the stage idea,” says Cohen. “We want people to be able to get home and pay the babysitter by 10 o’clock.” As Staunton’s big draw, the ASC also highlights everything the city, local businesses and the community are doing right, as well as how the city fits together. We ate dinner at Zynodoa, and our server, the knowledgeable and gracious Bill Broach, was very conscious of curtain time and making sure we made it. Returning the favor, when Cohen talks about the “dream” of adding a Globe Theatre to go with the Blackfriars, he talks about doing it at the other end of town: “It will force people to walk past the shops, because I love these people, they’ve been so supportive.” The city also played its part by getting a federal grant to add a wider sidewalk to accommodate crowds of people entering and leaving the theater, and as Bill Hamilton notes, the ASC was “directly responsible” for the $21.1 million renovation of the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center, using both city and private money to restore the luxury hotel to its former glory. This being Staunton, the hotel is just around the corner from the ASC, with the New Street parking garage, designed by Frazier himself as an ingenious “hidden” downtown parking structure, its red brick blending seamlessly with the surrounding architecture, sitting between the two. The ASC’s success has also attracted other arts organizations to downtown Staunton, and Bill Hamilton is not surprised. “If we bring creative people like that into downtown, and if they succeed, then others will want to be here as well,” he says, using retired concert violinist

STAUNTON HOT SPOTS Black Swan Books 1 E. Beverley St., 540-712-0123, Staunton Antiques Center 19 W. Beverley St., 540-324-2570, Beverley Street Studio School 217 W. Beverley St., 540-886-8636,

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Left: Weeping willow tree on Duck Pond Island in Gypsy Hill Park. Above: Staunton Director of Planning Sharon Angle outside City Hall.

Daniel Heifetz as an example, after Heifetz decided to move his Heifetz International Music Institute, a summer program which attracts the world’s most talented young string musicians, from Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, to Staunton. “He could see the effort and the investment we had put into supporting ASC, and that helped him make a decision to relocate here.” The city and citizens of Staunton have taken some big risks in the last 30 years, but they’ve stayed the course, stuck to the plan and are now finally reaping the rewards. But no one in Queen City—a nickname Staunton earned in the 1700s when Augusta County, of which Staunton is the county seat, stretched all the way to the Mississippi—is taking the awards and recognition as an indication that the job is done, that downtown Staunton is the finished article. There is always work to do, and there always will be. “We will never be finished. And that’s one of the most positive things we can say about Staunton,” says Hamilton. “There is no such thing as treading water in community development. You’re either making progress, or you’re falling behind.” Staunton.Va.Us ❉

Sunspots StudioS 202 S. Lewis St., 540-885-0678,

Camera Heritage Museum 1 W. Beverley St., 540-886-8535,

Zynodoa 115 E. Beverley St., 540-885-7775,

Jumbo Antique Fire Engine Museum 500 N. Augusta St., 540-332-3886

Split Banana Co. 7 W. Beverley St., 866-492-3668, American Shakespeare Center 10 S. Market St., 540-851-1733, d ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3 89 v i r g i n i a l i v i n g

Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library 20 N. Coalter St., 540-885-0897, Stonewall Jackson Hotel 24 S. Market St., 540-885-4848,

10/24/13 5:37 PM

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Magnificent brick Georgian revival home in Hanover County just north of Richmond, Virginia. The home boasts over 6,200 square feet, six bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms, 18 acres of land and is a working equestrian estate. Custom built in 2003 by Dunkum Builders. A rare masterpiece with fenced-in pastures, custom barn or potential garage, and a striking driveway entrance. Great location just twenty minutes to downtown Richmond and one and a half hours from DC. Offered at $1,325,000. Video at

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By Don Harrison

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Gary U.S. Bonds recorded “Quarter to Three” and other top 10 singles in Norfolk in the ’60s.

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Left: A definitive compilation CD from the U.K., where the Norfolk Sound is still popular. Right: The young Gary U.S. Bonds, with signature curl.

. y wa ve ri d a w o n is n o ti lu vo re ic n o s a f o The birthplace

Co-written by Stephen Cooper, the book is a step above your average music tell-all, an emotionally involving account of the 74-year-old singer’s career, with a sizable chunk devoted to Bonds’ formative years in Norfolk and the tumultuous relationship he had with the man who discovered him. The reader is taken back to the day Frank Guida—a Bronx transplant born in Salermo, Italy, in 1922—heard a young Gary Levon Anderson singing with his group, the Turks, on a street corner. Bonds details how Guida—the “Latin from Manhattan”—stamped “by U.S. Bonds” on early pressings of the singer’s “New Orleans” single so DJs would think it was a patriotic recording. He also describes a musical operation that seemed to work on pure adrenaline and happenstance, not revolutionary inspiration. (After all, novice recording engineer Joe Royster was a shoe salesman by trade.) “When I strip away a half century of complications, ignore the business and listen to the music, I see now that his dreams and mine were simple and the same,” writes Bonds. “We both wanted to make music; we both wanted to entertain. But there were differences. He pursued that dream blindly, and I did so innocently.” After scoring numerous worldwide hits, including the No. 1 song “Quarter to Three,” the party began to fade by the mid-’60s; Bonds finally parted with Guida in 1968. He made his way as a songwriter and soul singer for a spell, eventually hitting the oldies circuit, until his career was resurrected in 1981 by fans Bruce Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt, who wrote and produced a series of albums and singles for him: “Gary, along with his producer Frank Guida and sax player Gene ‘Daddy G’ Barge, invented garage rock,” Van Zandt—longtime E Street Band member and Silvio on The Sopranos—writes in his introduction to Bonds’ autobiography. Other key collaborators, including Barge and the Church Street Five house band, also left the fold in the mid-’60s, and so Guida turned to Lenis Guess, a scrappy and prolific area musician. The sad-eyed keyboardist, whose family owned Guess’ Snack Grill in downtown Norfolk, first met the producer

There was once a building at 408 W. Princess Anne Road in Norfolk, purchased in 1959 by a record store owner named Frank Guida who used the space to record the works of local singers and musicians, such as Gary U.S. Bonds, Gene Barge and Jimmy Soul. Numerous hits were cut here during the early ’60s, including Bonds’ raucous “New Orleans” and “Quarter to Three,” and Soul’s exotic calypso rock ‘n’ roll tunes, “If You Wanna Be Happy” and “Twisting Matilda.” This is the spot where the Norfolk Sound was born, the rambunctious party rock that influenced generations of musicians, among them the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, the Grateful Dead and the New York Dolls. A few contemporaneous commentators (in the U.K. especially) found the bass beat-heavy, lo-fidelity music that was cut here “revolutionary” and prophetically called it the way of the future. So what if you could sometimes hear a nearby train’s rumble in the background? Who cares if the vocal tracks were recorded in the bathroom? The primitive beat and over-modulated atmosphere Guida and his cohorts pioneered made the Hampton Roads area a vital outpost for pop music more than 50 years ago, arguably paving the way for the hugely successful Tidewater-based producers of today, like Pharrell Williams and Timbaland. A “Walk of Fame” plaque honoring the achievements of Frank Guida and his sound factory rests somewhere on Granby Street, where one of his record stores stood. But there is no marker or sign near this driveway where the noise first started.

“He could stay in Norfolk, build a fence around his studio, and be secure in his legacy ... He could slice and dice and repackage all that we did, and it would always be new to someone, and it would sell,” writes Gary U.S. Bonds, the Norfolk Sound’s biggest star, about Frank Guida in his new autobiography, By U.S. Bonds. virginia living

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Producer Frank Guida (far right) also hosted a local radio show. Pictured here, with saxophonist Gene “Daddy G” Barge (second from left).

recording industry at the time. “There was the ‘Norfolk Sound’ and then there was the sound of Norfolk,” says Howard “ReNardo” Biggs, 50, the son of Noah Biggs and singer Ida Sands, who founded Norfolk’s answer to Detroit’s Motown label, Shiptown Records. “The difference was that Shiptown was recording R&B acts rooted in the sound of the community, and Frank Guida was making pop music.” “Noah gave you, for lack of a better term, artistic freedom,” says singer/ guitarist Wilson Williams, who started with the local Peerless Four gospel quartet and would go on to sing with the Platters for nearly two decades. As an up-and-comer, Williams released two singles on Biggs’ labels and played on others: “I thought Frankie Guida was a great guy, but I recognized that I couldn’t work with him. For him, it had to be different and it had to be different in a way that he heard ... but, just listening to what he did and Noah did, Left: Noah Biggs with the Showmen. Right: The No. 1 hit “Quarter to Three” started out as an instrumental­—“A Night With Daddy ‘G.’”

contributed photos

when he was in high school, singing with a group eventually called the Bluebeards. “My parents wouldn’t sign the contract with Guida,” he recalls. “I was underage ... My father said, ‘I’m not sending my son off to nobody for 10 years.’” (Guess would later form a record label called DPG with restaurant owner George Perkins and singer Kenneth Deal—who had been in the Sheiks, the first local group Guida discovered in Norfolk—and released a handful of stellar 45 rpm platters before Deal died in a car crash and Perkins and Guess parted over artistic differences.) Guess would oversee Guida’s operation for three years before he opened his own studio in 1969. “He was the only one I trusted with the keys,” Guida once said. Guess worked with performers such as Page One, Prince George, and the 35th Street Gang, and earned solo deals with big labels Polydor and Brunswick that yielded memorably funky singles, if few sales. He moved to New York in 1979 but continued to collaborate with Guida, most successfully on an album by a Richmond police captain turned love balladeer, Oliver Christian, aka The Soul Cop. But Guida wasn’t the only Norfolk businessman making noise in the

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I think Noah had better product. Guida had better distribution than Noah, so Frankie had the hits.” “It was my dad’s money,” says ReNardo Biggs, “but it was my mom’s label.” Biggs describes his mother, Ida Sands, putting sweat into the business, rehearsing her fellow performers, sewing clothes and “doing whatever it took.” Shiptown’s biggest hit was a downcast holiday tune called “Just a Sad XMas,” recorded by Sands and Joe Webster as The Soul Duo. Over the years, “Little Ida,” who passed away in January this year, turned down management and touring offers from James Brown and Jackie Wilson (among others), opting to stay with Shiptown. Biggs, who passed away in 1978, also managed Norman Johnson and

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the Showmen, the region’s most popular vocal group. He helped to put the Showman, formerly the Humdingers, in the capable hands of New Orleans producer Allen Toussaint. They made the charts twice (in 1961 and 1964) with “It Will Stand,” a stirring anthem about rock ‘n’ roll that may be the music world’s first self-referential “golden oldie.” When the Showmen left Biggs, “it just about killed him,” says ReNardo Biggs. “He loved Norman Johnson like a son.” (Johnson, who died in 2010, would later assume the fictitious rank of General, form the popular group, Chairmen of the Board, and carry the flag for beach music.) Noah Biggs had wide-ranging business interests. He also owned Nimrod’s, long gone now, but a mainstay of African-American commerce for years located one block from Frank Guida’s record store, Frankie’s Birdland, at 726 Church St. Nimrod’s sold records and just about everything else (“almost like a pawn shop,” someone tells me). The always-welldressed Biggs ran the local numbers game, and Nimrod’s also fronted as a booking agency. Across the street was the House of Process, where performers would get their hair done. The neighborhood soundtrack blared on transistor radios, provided by WRAP’s Jack Holmes who would play locally-waxed discs along with the latest from Otis Redding, The Shirelles and whatever the latest dance craze was. Local concerts by Shiptown artists would happen at places like the Longshoreman’s Hall in Norfolk, but the most popular club was the Wagon Wheel in Gloucester. “If you were performing at the Wagon Wheel, and Jack Holmes was there playing your record, you felt like you made it,” says Williams. The raw R&B and performances that Biggs sponsored on Shiptown (and its sister label, How Big, established in 1969) by local performers, including Williams, soul singer Barbara Stant, and flamboyant bandleader Flip Flop Stevens, still electrify. These recordings are starting to get some love, and not only from collectors (the original platters can cop three figures at auction). A recent documentary,

photo top left by pat jarrett; contributed photos

Left: Bandleader Charlie McClendon, who once backed up Gary U.S. Bonds and Lenis Guess, is the subject of a new documentary. Below: The Sheiks, formerly the Five Pearls, were the first Norfolk-area band that Frank Guida signed in 1954.

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Clockwise from left: Barbara Slant recorded “I’m Going to Outfit You Baby” for Shiptown; program for the Norfolk Sound reunion show; Jimmy Moore’s “Church Street Sally” is highly collectible.

★ Guida favorite, too)—as well as mama Ida Sands, a vocal powerhouse so popular that Mayor Roy Butler Martin proclaimed her Norfolk’s Queen of Song in 1968. Her performances of “Rescue Me” and “Start All Over Again” are soul perfection—the first fiery and brazen, the second seductive and sassy. Despite their popularity, the musicians behind this thriving R&B and soul scene weren’t always welcome on the white stages of Virginia Beach, especially the popular Peppermint Beach Club; these were largely segregated times. “Those clubs just didn’t book blacks,” says Williams. Charlie McClendon & The Magnificents, who were once signed to Frank Guida as the back-up band for Gary U.S. Bonds, were one of the exceptions. In a new documentary produced by the Virginia Foundation For the Humanities’ Folklife Program, Put Me Down Easy: The Charlie McClendon Story, McClendon’s former booker Jerry Herman recounts, “Charlie was already big in the black community, real big. But the white audience didn’t know him. It was so segregated [in Norfolk], it was ridiculous.” Herman helped to get McClendon, who is now the musical director at Hampton’s Goodwill Baptist Church, and his band, as well as Ida Sands and others, into some of the area’s white venues.

Hardcore Norfolk, examines the influence of the area’s prolific rock and soul scene, citing Biggs alongside Guida as an original mover in the region’s popular music history. Directors Debra Persons, Paul Unger and Andrea Rizzo screened the movie at the Virginia Film Festival, among other places, and have made it available on DVD. ReNardo Biggs owns the rights to Shiptown’s back catalog, and has compiled a reissue disc for sale of his “favorite” material at a special tribute website— It includes cuts by the Anglos—Biggs remembers them as the best of the local vocal groups (lead singer Joe Webster was a big

in 2009, two years after Frank Guida’s death, the Norfolk Sound was heard again, on the stage of the Attucks Theatre on Church Street. Bonds (who curiously does not mention the show in his autobiography) was joined on stage by studio bandleader Gene “Daddy G” Barge as well as many former Norfolk Sound artists: Lenis Guess, Fat Ammons of Bill Deal and the Rhondels (another Guida discovery), and even Tommy Facenda, who revived Guida’s first hit, “High School USA.” Oddly, in the ’60s, there had been no Norfolk Sound package concert like this. Bonds ably performed all of his chart hits, from “New Orleans” to “Take Me Back to New Orleans,” and he bravely tackled the late Jimmy Soul’s as well. Led by the ageless “Daddy G” on sax, the band soared through little-heard gems such as “Getting a Groove” and “Havin’ So Much Fun,” and Bonds even recited a little tribute to his former producer—the man that he (and Barge) often went to war with, over music, money and credit. The Norfolk Sound reunion show paid tribute to past glories, but it was also another reminder that the Hampton Roads area has been an influential force in popular music, and particularly African-American popular music, for decades. “It’s just here in the air,” says Williams. “The talent has always been here, it’s always going to be here. I look back now and realize how innocent the music was that we were making, and how pure it was.” ❉ To listen to recordings from Ida Sands, Wilson Williams, Lenis Guess and other Norfolk Sound performers, and to watch ‘Put Me Down Easy: The Charlie McClendon Story,’ go to

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standout products in the categories of style, food, music , sport

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and home and the people who make them right here in the old dominion where pride in craftsmanship still matters .

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Style Angela Bacskocky Bags richmond

ashion designer Angela Bacskocky (that’s botch-kose-kee) has

done print and textile work for Alexander McQueen, shown at New York Fashion Week and appeared on Lifetime’s Project Runway, but this VCUArts grad might be most at home in her dusty bohemian studio in Richmond's Scott's Addition neighborhood. “I'm the shoemaker and the elf,” laughs the 33-year-old, who cuts each of her madeto-order bags from a single piece of cowhide and then stitches them herself. In colors like natural, tan, oxblood and mahogany, Bacskocky’s floppy tote and cocoon style bags are left unlined giving them a raw, but rustically luxurious feel. The cocoon bag, which expands to accommodate a larger load, features magnet closures that were recommended to Bacskocky by a physicist friend for their strength. “These magnets ensure that nothing will come out of your bag. Ever,” she says. “My next goal is to do an actual men’s bag,” says the designer, whose clothing collections frequently incorporate leather details. “Most men don’t like the word unisex. They want something truly masculine. Right now, most of my pieces are rather feminine, but I studied menswear at Central Saint Martins [in London]. Menswear requires a lot of attention to detail and I finally have the time to devote to that right now.” Bags $85-$185.

photo by sarah walor


By Christine Stoddard

Page Stationery richmond

photo by the casey creative


By Erin Parkhurst o what happens when an art director for Martha Stewart Living and

Martha Stewart Weddings strikes out on her own, acquires three antique Chandler & Price presses and engages a centuries-old Italian paper mill to provide paperstock? The kind of custom-designed, hand-wrought stationery that makes it a sin to recycle. Though Martha-alum and founder Sue Corral sold Page Stationery, the business she started in Richmond in 1999, to Richmond-based commercial printer Worth Higgins & Assoc. in 2012, her designs continue to anchor the company’s lines of stylish letterpress invitations and cards. Graphic chevron and honeycomb patterns make personalized stationery crisp and modern, while skipjacks, trout and mallards accentuate the company’s line of stationery for men. New this year for the holidays are letterpress photo cards—fed one by one into Page’s more than 100-year-old presses. Buy from any of the 200-plus stationery dealers across the U.S. who carry Page Stationery’s custom albums, including Duet, the company’s line of digitally-printed cards, or design your own stationery online. $537 for 100 5-by-7 inch letterpress holiday photo cards. $170 for 100 digitally-printed cards.

Cestari Sheep and Wool augusta springs

By Chris Moore


hen you put Cestari wool to your ears, you can almost hear

the sounds of life within it,” says Francis Chester, 77, who fell in love with the agricultural life in 1946 when his family moved from Brooklyn, New York, to a farm on rural Long Island. Chester financed college and law school with proceeds from a roadside farm stand, and when he and his wife, Diane, moved to Virginia in the late 1960s, Cestari Sheep and Wool Company was born. Today, the Chesters and two of their three children operate a sheep farm in Augusta Springs and a second sheep farm and wool mill in Churchville. The mill’s cleaning process preserves the wool’s lanolin and gives Cestari wool its notable luster and durability. “Most commercial wool is cleaned in acid baths, which destroys the lanolin,” explains Chester. The company sells yarn in four weights for hand knitters, crocheters and hand weavers, as well as wool socks and sweaters hand made or hand machined in Virginia. New this fall is a line of Merino wool throw blankets and baby blankets. Wool $6-$12. Socks $10. Sweaters $129. Blankets $59-$129.

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Reginald’s Homemade Nut Butters

photo by sara harris photography



By Lisa Antonelli Bacon hen we first wrote about Reginald’s two years ago,

founder Andrew Broocker could be found flogging his sumptuous peanut butters at farmer’s markets on Saturday mornings. Soon, folks were lining up for his bourbon pecan, AppleSin, NanaHoney and double chocolate chunk peanut butters. Others crowded around for his hazelnut amaretto and the white chocolate macadamia peanut butters. Soon there were write-ups in Bon Appétit and Cooking Light and an appearance on The TODAY Show. (Kathie Lee and Hoda lapped them up.) Now the nut butters are on grocery store shelves in 11 states from coast to coast. Despite the growth spurt, Broocker says his payroll is “still basically two-and-ahalf employees. And some random people who help out with labeling and stuff.” Obviously, he’s not jaded by success. He’s still hard at work: Look for two new flavors now in the works. Oh, how we love our Reginald’s. $5-$8 per jar.

Good News Granola palmyra

f Good News Granola had been around in the ’60s,

hippies wouldn’t have been so skinny. Hope Lawrence, founder of Hudson Henry Baking Co. (named for her 6- and 3-year-old sons) has devised four deliciously unparalleled flavors that we would eat for breakfast, lunch, dessert at dinner and for snacks in between. (Maple, Pecans & Coconut and Cashews & Coconut were in our newsroom for about a nanosecond before they disappeared, leaving our frenzied staff a little snoozy and, frankly, rather indolent.) Labels on each bag bear encouraging words and some advice for living right: “Truly good news in the morning,” according to Lawrence. Labels should come with the warning: Do not eat when on deadline. Now, if we can just get our hands on some Pecans & Chocolate and Maple & Walnuts. Available online and at select stores, including Libbie Market in Richmond, Whole Foods and feast! in Charlottesville, and Dean & Deluca stores. $8 per 12 ounce bag.

photo by shane godfrey photography


By Lisa Antonelli Bacon

Honey Habanero Sauce spotsylvania


he idea came in the middle of the night. Lindi Copeland,

beekeeper at Po River Apiary, had noticed that her bees had fallen for the blossoms of habanero plants, and as she lay in bed, she realized the potential of what was happening. Since 2010, she’s been translating the bees’ affection for the pepper-bearing plants (and the honey that results) into something scintillating: honey habanero sauce. Full of sweetness with a touch of temperature, the sauce is best on a spoon at first, Copeland says, but can flourish on cream cheese and crackers or baked brie. Limiting pairings is ill-advised; it’s easier to let your tastebuds guide you. Sales of the sauce are exclusive to Copeland’s website, but she hopes to get into small markets around the state soon. $8 per 9 ounce jar.

Food virginia living

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By Thomas Cullen

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Music Henderson Guitar Shop grayson county

ou probably won’t want to go to Henderson’s Guitar Shop to buy

your 12-year-old a guitar so he can play “Stairway to Heaven.” That would be a bit over the top. Wayne Henderson’s guitars—played by legends like Eric Clapton, Gillian Welch and Doc Watson—cost up to $30,000. By all accounts, though, they’re worth every penny. Henderson, who began making instruments in 1964 and crafts about 20 each year (mostly guitars), uses exotic woods like Brazilian rosewood and mahogany, but, he says, “Appalachian red spruce is the best you can get.” An accomplished musician and master in his field, having won a 1995 National Heritage Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Henderson also plays with the Virginia Luthiers, a group of his former students that started informally years ago and plays weekends. (Henderson’s cousin, folk musician Estil Ball, first taught him the finger-style of picking.) Each band member has an instrument shop: Gerald Anderson, Anderson Stringed Instruments, Troutdale; Spencer Strickland, Anderson-Strickland String Instruments, Troutdale; Jimmy Edmonds, Edmonds Guitars, Galax; and of course, Henderson Guitar Shop. Together, that's 150 years of instrumentmaking experience. Henderson guitars $3,000-$5,000.,

photo by jeff greenough


By Dan Smith

big lick amps salem

photos by sam dean


By Daryl Grove ill Robertson travels through time In his Salem

workshop. There, he builds recreations of legendary Fender and Marshall amps from the 1950s and ’60s, under the brand name Big Lick Amps. True to the era, these are tube amps in which vacuum tubes are used to amplify the sound, rather than the cheaper modern silicon transistors. “The tube amp has a sound that you don't get from solid state amp,” says Robertson, 49. “It’s a more harmonically rich tone.” Robertson began building amps after relocating his hi-fi store, Uptown Audio, from Roanoke to Salem in 2007. Though his core business is selling and repairing hi-fi equipment, he found that he was spending more time repairing old tube amps than stereo equipment. “It’s hard to find someone who can do a good job on [vacuum tube repair] and not kill themselves,” he says. So Robertson started producing four different types of amps modeled after the Fender Tweed amps. He also produces five different variations on the meaty, black-and-gold colored Marshall JTM amps. Robertson plays a little guitar himself, “but not well. I just learned a few chords.” No matter. He’s giving other guitarists that sweet retro sound and helping them look good, too. $995-$2,395.

cabin creek Musical Instruments whitetop

By Dan Smith


alter Messick escaped Philadelphia for Grayson County in 1977,

taking a job as a country Lutheran minister at two churches on Whitetop Mountain. To supplement his income, he learned to make musical instruments from the master, Albert Hash and Hash’s daughter, Audrey Hash-Ham. It was a path, he says, “that changed my life forever.” Messick has been at it full-time since 1989, when he retired from the ministry, and these days at 75, he is still turning out historic Blue Ridge Mountain instruments, including dulcimers, psalterys (triangle-shaped stringed instruments played with a bow), spoons, bones and accessories. Messick sells his instruments—made exclusively with wood native to Virginia—to clients all over the world from as far away as Russia and New Zealand, to Malta, England and Italy, and describes each of his individually-made pieces as a “unique work of love and art from the beginning to the end.” His work has been exhibited at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the National Folk Festival, the Abby Rockefeller Museum in Williamsburg and Heartwood in Abingdon. Messick says his love of history helps him “understand the roots of folk music.” Twenty years as a minister doesn’t hurt either. Psalterys $199-$249. Dulcimers $299-$349.

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Frierson Designs Surfboards virginia beach


he old joke is, ‘How long does it take to shape A

surfboard?’” says Bill Frierson of Frierson Designs in Virginia Beach, “and I say ‘48 years!’” Frierson, 66, can actually shape a custom board by hand in just a couple of hours using saws, planes, grinders and an assortment of small hand-tools, but that’s only because he has been doing it for nearly five decades. “Being a surfer [and a] shaper, I try to get lost in the shape. I try to become the person who’s going to ride that board. It’s a thrill to be involved in that creative moment where nothing else really matters, and you give it all you’ve got.” Frierson’s custom work has seen him named to both the East Coast Surfing Championships Legends and East Coast Legends Hall of Fame. Frierson and business partner Les Shaw bought Wave Riding Vehicles in 1974 and grew it into the biggest surfing company on the East Coast, shaping 3,000 boards per year. In 1997, Frierson sold his half of WRV and started Frierson Designs. He now shapes only 60 or so boards per year, mostly for long-term customers: “I wouldn’t be surprised if I have guys that have been with me for 45 years.” $100 per foot.

photo by mark edward atkinson

By Daryl Grove

Hope Springs Farm Chesapeake Bay Retrievers orlean

ugged, tough and loyal, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a true

American breed. Descended from two Newfoundland puppies rescued from a floundering ship in 1807 and brought to Maryland, these dogs showed great retrieving ability and were bred with other dogs that had the same qualities. The Chessies’ ability to withstand freezing temperatures and cold water made it the retriever of choice for market gunners in the Chesapeake Bay who supplied waterfowl to restaurants in the mid-Atlantic and points north during the 19th century. Julie Reardon of Hope Springs Farm still thinks this dog is something special. “I grew up with golden retrievers but loved Chesapeakes the first time I met one,” says Reardon who has bred the dogs since 1985 and also enters competitions. “I like the fact that they’re not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ breed.” Ranging in color from toasty brown to dead grass, they have strong limbs and webbed feet for power swimming in rough waters. Reardon’s Chesapeakes have won prizes in AKC National Specialty shows, and one of her retrievers—Puffin—appears in the educational material for AKC judges as the model for the “ideal” Chesapeake. “I have a ‘look’ that I like and what I breed for,” says Reardon, “but the emphasis is on disposition and trainability, not what is in vogue in the show ring.” Puppies $1,200-$1,500.

photos by julie reardon


By Clarke C. Jones

BB Bat Company Youth Baseball Bats

photo by mark edward atkinson

virginia beach

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By Daryl Grove im McCabe’s baseball bats are a home run with young ballplayers

for one very simple reason: McCabe makes bats specifically for ages 14 and under. “If you go into Dick’s and buy a youth bat from a big-name company,” says McCabe, 48, “they just take the adult models and shrink them down. They have machines, like big wood-chippers, and every minute it will spit out bats, with no quality control.” At BB Bat Company, McCabe custom-makes bats, from 26 to 32 inches long, for kids all over the U.S., using either maple, ash or birch. The wood goes through an industrial lathe in McCabe’s Virginia Beach workshop, then McCabe begins the process of repeatedly sanding, coating and coloring until the finished article is ready to swing. “They’re old-school handmade,” says McCabe. “We’re giving kids bats that are made the same way a pro’s bats are made.” McCabe had the idea for BB Bat Company in 2007, after attending his then-9-year-old son Brandon’s practices and games. McCabe says it took him a good year to figure out and produce a good product, and he created “a lot of firewood” before he got it right and opened shop in 2008. Today, he makes around 300 bats per month. Meanwhile, 15-year-old Brandon is now a pitcher with the Richmond Braves' college development program. In a few years, there may be more than one McCabe with thousands of adoring young fans. $48.

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Edmund Davidson Knives



By Clarke C. Jones

photo by eric eggly, pointseven studios


hat do NASCAR legend Richard Petty and the Sultan

of Johor have in common? Both have been presented with an integral knife crafted by 59-year-old knife maker Edmund Davidson. One of the most difficult knives to make, Davidson’s integral knives—blade, guard, tang and butt cap—are forged out of one solid block of steel. All are handmade by Davidson, who has been doing this for 27 years, and all are made to last. “The knives have a higher percentage of chromium, so they will not rust and are corrosion resistant,” says Davidson, who explains that the steel goes through an exacting process of hardening, heating, cooling and tempering. He then hones the blades to a fine, thin edge. His working knives are durable and versatile, and suitable for kitchen or campsite with handles that are hand rubbed to a lustrous finish. All are made from sturdy materials such as Desert Ironwood which, legend has it, brings good fortune and long life. Davidson, who has won awards from the Knife Makers Guild among others and is known internationally for his craftsmanship, may be best known for his collectible knives: integral knives engraved with intricate patterns and embellished with scrimshaw. Whether designed for hunting, collecting or cooking, a Davidson knife is more than a working knife—it is a piece of art that works for generations. Starting at $2,500.

Natural Woodworking Co. floyd


By Daryl Grove andcrafting intricate, custom-ordered furniture and other

objects from sustainably sourced wood is slow, painstaking work, but Swede McBroom and his team at The Natural Woodworking Co. in Floyd are happy to take their time. A single wooden door for Virginia Tech might take a month to complete, for instance, while a large conference table for a client like Roanoke’s Center in the Square may take six months. “It just depends on the complexity of the piece, the amount of detail and carving,” says McBroom, 64, who employs a full-time staff of four at his 4,000 square-foot workshop, which has been in operation since 1997. McBroom, who learned his craft in Scotland in the 1970s, takes the majority of his wood—Appalachian hardwoods like red oak, white oak, walnut, cherry and maple—from local, sustainable sources in Floyd County. “We do it by single tree,” says McBroom, who works with a horse-logger (no motorized vehicles in the forest) to remove one tree at a time rather than clearing an area. “What we want is to preserve the forest, to have that as a continual source of good product,” he says. “Everybody here is obsessed with woodworking,” says McBroom, “and so we can’t wait to come in on Monday morning.” Honduran mahogany writing table $4,500.

Old Dominion Leather Nectar lynchburg


By Chris Moore ouise Silk and Marcia Connell shared a lifelong love of horses

and everything involving them: show jumping, fox hunting, carriage driving and just plain pleasure riding. But Silk, 62, and Connell, 59, both working farm owners, did not love the inadequate results of their leather tack care products, so they set out to create the perfect conditioner. “We talked to traditional leather craftsmen and set up a lab in an old tobacco barn,” says Silk of their 4-year quest to create an all-natural blend that would clean and condition leather quickly without leaving behind an oily residue. Word-of-mouth enthusiasm about their product’s revitalizing effects led the pair to begin marketing handcrafted Old Dominion Leather Nectar in 2012. Many leather-care products leave oily residues after use, but a key (and, yes, secret) ingredient enables Leather Nectar to absorb into leather’s pores (it is skin, after all), preserving, restoring, and conditioning without the residue. In a one-step application, Leather Nectar repairs and revitalizes horse tack, baseball mitts, belts, shoes and briefcases. And the results can be far more than cosmetic, explains Silk: “Too many equine accidents occur due to poor leather quality. Take care of your tack, and it will take care of you.” $11 per 22 ounce bottle.

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Hospital News p. 112 Your Health

3-D Mammography, Prostate Cancer Screening, Mobile Health Devices and more p. 115 Virginia’s Newest

Luxury Maternity


p. 119

On Trend

Medical Concierge Service p. 122

The latest trends in technology and patient care in Virginia.

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We’re for

Emma O’Rourke Scottsville Kidney Cancer Survivor 2009

When you’re young and fighting cancer, you deserve as many people in your corner as you can get. That’s why we’re for a team approach. One where Dr. Kimberly Dunsmore and the top minds in medicine all work together to get Emma, one of our neighbors, back to the playground and the joys of simply being a little girl. UVA. We’re for classmates and playground buddies. And we’re for you. |

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10/23/13 10/11/13 11:17 9:41 AM

A Virginia Living Subscription Makes the Perfect Gift! Share Virginia Living with friends and family! Giving a one-, two- or three-year gift

I wanted to deliver naturally with a midwife, safely in a top hospital. #BeyondExpectations Call 800-762-6161 to schedule a consultation or visit if you would like to tour the Labor & Delivery Unit. L A B O R



subscription is quick and easy. Visit TODAY to purchase a gift subscription!




. 2013

13 9:41 AM

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hospital news By Christine Stoddard

From Liberal Arts To Healing Arts

photo by coe sweet

UVA’s new Clinical Nurse Leaders direct entry master’s program is designed to prepare students with an undergraduate degree in an unrelated field for a career in nursing. By 2018, the program, which requires intensive hands-on experience and is one of the first in the country, will double its enrollment from 48 to 96 students, thanks to a recent $5 million gift from D.C. financier Bill Conway. Students enrolled in the program come from a variety of backgrounds, says Dorrie Fontaine, dean of the school of nursing—from English and biology majors to Peace Corps alumni. During 24 months of clinical rotations, students shadow working nurses for a total of 1,000 hours and complete a community health capstone project. Says Fontaine: “With the Conway gift, we’ll be able to better strengthen the state’s health care workforce.”

Healthy Benefits This year, The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association’s Health and Wellbeing Award went to Riverside Health System in Newport News for its employee wellness program, My Healthy Lifestyle. Employees can work out at on-site fitness facilities, take health improvement classes, dine at a café catered by “mindful” food company Sodexo, participate in health assessments, receive a monthly health-conscious newsletter and earn discounts on their health insurance for low risk factors. “My Healthy Lifestyle has sort of become a grassroots effort,” says Vicki Thompson, senior writer in Riverside’s marketing strategy and development department. One employee even began teaching yoga thanks to the program.

Matters of the Heart

Shenandoah University in Winchester and Inova Health System are partnering to train the next generation of physician assistants and physical and occupational therapists in Northern Virginia. The collaborative graduate programs, expected to be accredited no later than fall 2015, will allow students to complete 16 weeks of clinical rotations at Inova Loudon Hospital where they will work with patients in a real-world environment under the supervision of a licensed clinical instructor. Inova is also providing $3.2 million in seed funds for a six-table cadaver lab at the university’s Loudoun campus. “This partnership will allow us to build upon the success of our current programs” and plan for future needs in the region, says Dr. Karen Abraham, director of physical therapy at Shenandoah University.

Paperwork In A Snap (Or, Rather, An App) You make a reservation to sit down to a nice meal, so why not make a reservation to save your life? Now with iNotify—a feature of the free, mobile application, iTriage—you can alert emergency department staff that you’re on your way. HCA Virginia has partnered with iTriage, a Colorado consumer healthcare company, to add localized features to the nationally popularized iTriage website and app. The partnership allows Virginians access to a variety of information related to critical care, ranging from the nearest doctors to current ER wait times. You can even check yourself in. “Virginia hospitals want to offer not just quick, but great ER time,” says Mark Foust, vice president of communications for HCA.

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cover photo previous page by david deal

photo courtesy of shenandoah university

Joint (Health) Forces

Every minute counts during a heart attack or other cardiac emergency. When there is a need for fast action, proximity of medical care can mean the difference between life and death. Currently, Southside Virginians—from Petersburg to Emporia and other towns near the North Carolina border—have to travel to Richmond for open-heart surgery, whether scheduled or emergency. In 12 to 18 months, though, Southside Regional Medical Center of Petersburg will have its own cardiothoracic surgery facility. In September, the hospital received approval from State Health Commissioner Cynthia Romero to perform open-heart surgery, pending minor construction and new staff hires. The forthcoming center is “an exciting development,” says CEO Mike Yungmann. “Even if you never need open-heart surgery, it’s likely you have a loved one who will at some point.”

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If my baby needed extra care, there’s no better place to be. #BeyondExpectations

Call 800-762-6161 to schedule a consultation or visit if you would like to tour the Labor & Delivery Unit. L A B O R






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What Would you do if your go-cart racing days came to a hard stop?

Logan Shaw found a new ride.

Logan’s go-cart accident left him partially paralyzed with a


spinal cord T injury. After months of orthopaedic care and rehab, FIGH R YOUR FO Logan rebounded with a basketball scholarship from the TY MOBILI


University of Texas at Arlington. Try to catch him now. F I G HUT R Read Logan’s story and find your own inspiration at FOR YO TY MOBILI













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JOin Our dediCAted teAm Of heAlthCAre prOfessiOnAls MOBIL

Carilion Clinic is a not-for-profit healthcare organization of over 600 physicians representing more than 60 specialties in 150+ practice sites. Serving nearly one million people in western Virginia through a multi-specialty physician group, advanced primary care practices, hospitals and outpatient centers, Carilion is committed to improving outcomes for every patient while advancing the quality of care through medical education and research.

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute leverages Virginia Tech’s world-class strength in basic sciences, bioinformatics, and engineering with Carilion Clinic’s highly experienced medical staff and rich history in medical education.

About Our Communities

There are many benefits of living in western Virginia. Housing is affordable, whether in urban settings or smaller communities. The climate is mild, but we enjoy all four seasons. Outdoor activities include fishing and boating on Smith Mountain Lake, or camping, biking, and hiking on the trails of the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway.   Education is a priority here. We have award-winning schools and high-tech magnet centers. There are several nationally ranked and internationally acclaimed colleges and universities in the area. Western Virginia offers stunning natural beauty, exceptional amenities, and an unparalleled quality of life.   For a listing of provider opportunities, please visit Call 800-856-5206 for more information.

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your health

Now in 3-D!

New mammography technology revolutionizes breast cancer detection.


r. Ellen Shaw de Paredes realized the magnitude of 3-D mammography the first time she found pre-cancerous lesions in a patient whose breast tissue had looked normal in digital imaging months before. “It was shocking to me how much more information we have with 3-D,” she says. “We have picked up 15 to 20 cancers or pre-cancers on 3-D that we didn’t see on 2-D or didn’t look suspicious. If we had found one, it would have been worth all the effort of having the 3-D.” Dr. Ellen Shaw de Paredes.

The Ellen Shaw de Paredes Institute for Women’s Imaging was the first imaging center in Richmond and one of only a few in the country to offer women 3-D mammography. The Center performed its first 3-D-guided biopsy last July. “Three-D mammography has been in research and development for about 10 years,” says Paredes. “It has gone through rigorous testing by the FDA.” The technology, first used in Europe, was approved in the U.S. in the spring of 2012 for screening and diagnostic mammography. Paredes became interested in 3-D after the first European study was released. “The reason I felt like we needed it here is that we want to be cutting edge with the best and newest technology to find breast cancer,” she says. Three-D mammography has up to a 35 percent better chance than standard digital mammography of detecting pre-cancer or cancer. It also reduces the need for women to come in for additional imaging by about 13 percent. “There is less pain, less worry and less radiation for patients,” Paredes says, noting that digital plus 3-D imaging is equal in the amount of radiation to a film screen mammogram. “It’s a small amount of radiation, and the benefit outweighs the risk.” The technology is especially beneficial for women with dense breast tissue. “For each mammogram, we read 200 to 250 images instead of four,” she says. “For dense-breasted women that is extremely important. It is letting us see cancers that don’t have calcium and are hidden by dense tissue. When you catch breast cancer early on, it is much more curable.” Paredes sees 3-D mammography as a revolution in breast cancer detection. “This may be one of the biggest if not the biggest innovation in breast cancer detection in years. It’s hugely beneficial,” she says. “It’s just so wonderful.”

top right photo courtesy of vcu university relations

—By Joan Tupponce

ER. Phone it in, and wait for the doc to tell you to come to his office or go play a round of golf. Health on the run. Simple devices Also a step toward convenience: People with that save lives and money. diabetes can monitor their blood glucose anytime, anywhere with the IBGStar. By hooking up to an iPhone or ome who suffer chronic diseases are finding an iPod Touch, the device can record, track, manage and they can get the same medical treatment on transmit data. the run that they do in an office visit, thanks to Seniors might be safer with Lively Sensors. Placed health-monitoring devices that directly connect patients around the senior’s home, Lively Sensors track behavioral with health care providers and services. patterns and notify caregivers of irregularities. Cardiac patients can save themselves countless trips to New devices like these not only enhance the practice the hospital with the AliveCor Heart Monitor. The device, of medicine, they help drive down costs, both for which attaches to smartphones, records, displays, stores patients and for health care providers. “We can detect and transmits electrocardiogram rhythms. When heartproblems and provide help for patients before there is beats seem irregular, no need to make a mad dash for the

Go-Go Gadgets

Dramatic Difference Level 1 trauma care centers save lives.

A car accident, a gunshot wound, a fall on a construction site. These are complicated, life-threatening situations that can land you in a trauma care center—an emergency room on steroids. And if you are treated in a Level I trauma care center—what Dr. Jay Collins, medical director of trauma at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, calls “the Cadillac” of trauma care centers—you are 25 percent more likely to survive your injuries. “Level 1, as opposed to Level 2 and 3 trauma centers, are open 24/7, 365 days a year,” says Collins. “But what really distinguishes them is their specialists. There will be a neurosurgeon and an orthopedic surgeon for sure, and then each center varies in the kinds of specialists it has from there.” Good news, Virginia, we have four Level I trauma centers in addition to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital: Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, Inova Fairfax Hospital, VCU Medical Center in Richmond and UVA Health System in Charlottesville. —By Christine Stoddard

For more information about Virginia’s trauma care centers, go to

an emergency,” says Dr. Robert Fortini, vice president and chief clinical officer for Bon Secours Health System in Richmond. “We can also manage costs by decreasing the number of patients admitted to the ER.”,, —By J.P. Welch


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Experience Excellence

The human body is a marvel of engineering and efficiency. That is, until something goes wrong.

Listed as one of the “Top 50 Orthopedic Practices to Know” in Becker’s Orthopedic & Spine Review

When it works as designed, the human body is a thing of incredible beauty and complexity. When it breaks down, trust the specialists at OSC to treat your body with the expertise and care that a true work of art deserves. SERVICES PROVIDED INCLUDE:

Inpatient & outpatient total & partial joint

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your health Dr. Matthew Poggi at Inova Alexandria Hospital.

to screen or not to screen?

top photo courtesy of inova alexandria hospital; bottom photos by doug buerlein photography

The recommendations change for detecting prostate cancer.


t used to be that doctors told men it was time to get a routine PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test once they’d turned 50— earlier if there were other men in the family who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. After that initial screening, men were to have the test done yearly for the rest of their lives. Not anymore. This year, the American Urological Association (AUA) changed its stance on the test after

the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended against routine PSA-based screening. The new recommendation: Healthy men under 55 don’t need to get routine annual screening, and men ages 55 to 69 who are considering the PSA should consult their doctors about the test’s benefits and risks. Those 70 and over with average risk shouldn’t get annual screenings; nor should men with a life expectancy of less than 10 to 15 years. Furthermore, men 55 to 69 who

do decide to get screened shouldn’t do so every year, but rather every two years. Dr. Andrew Joel, vice chair of urology at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, explains that instead of automatically testing a broad group of men, the AUA is suggesting that doctors test only where evidence supports screening. The AUA’s 2013 review of literature on prostate cancer published from 1995 to this year showed that annual PSA screening prevents prostate cancer death in just one man for every 1,000 men screened. And that’s not enough, given the risks radiation poses. The PSA detects cancer in far more than one in 1,000 men, though, and in recent years, this has led to swift and aggressive treatment— whether or not those cancers would have ever become a problem. The position of the AUA, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, and the American Cancer Society—which changed its recommendations, too—is that treating cancer that may have never grown enough to harm a man is, in essence, harming a man. But, warns Dr. Matthew Poggi, radiation oncologist and medical director of Inova Alexandria Cancer Center, the research behind the new recommendations focused only on death and the economics of overtreatment. It didn’t consider the other effects that untreated prostate cancer can have. “If people follow these recommendations—and a lot of people will—we might not see an increase in deaths from prostate cancer,” says Poggi, “but we will see an increase in people suffering either from local disease that complicates urination and defecation or from metastases,” both of which can be very painful. Not sure what to do? Talk it through in detail with your doctor, say Poggi and Joel. And know that the new recommendations are not restrictions; if you feel strongly about wanting a PSA test, it’s not likely your doctor will give you any argument. —By Suz Redfearn For more information on prostate cancer screening, go to and

Kid Stuff Richmond's St. Mary’s opens new pediatric emergency room.


eeing a child in pain is truly one of life’s saddest moments, one that’s repeated over and over in hospitals every minute of every day. But those occurrences are far less frequent at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond, where a newly expanded, state of the art Pediatric Emergency Department takes a lot of the pain out of the ER experience for children and the adults who care for them. The facility features 14 treatment rooms equipped with child-friendly technology like painless IV placement, and recreational diversions like bubbles and video games. Rooms are designed to accommodate young patients as well as their families. The renovated PED has a separate waiting

room and a separate entrance from the adult ER, which was also slightly expanded as part of a renovation project totaling around $12 million. “The idea is that children and their families don’t get mixed up at all with the flow of adult traffic,” explains Dr. William Lennarz, chief medical officer for pediatrics and vice president of children’s services at Bon Secours Virginia. The separate facility also allows for a completely separate staff specially trained in childcare. “Everyone you encounter in that space is there with one purpose, and that is to care for children,” says Lennarz. —By J.P. Welch d ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3

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Above: Henrico Doctors' Hospital delivery room. Right: The hospital's Women's Pavilion lobby.

Zen and the Art of Motherhood Virginia’s newest maternity suites offer luxe, spa-like settings for a new generation of mothers. By Sandra Shelley

photos this page courtesy of hca


ne day after giving birth naturally to her second child, Jakob, in September, Jessica Pedersen, 33, an attractive woman with long, blond hair, sits in her bed in one of the luxurious new maternity suites at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond. (“My husband keeps saying it looks like a hotel,” she says.) She looks alert and rested. “I spoke with my mom [in Arizona] yesterday, 20 minutes after giving birth,” says Pedersen, “and she said I sounded like I had just had coffee with a friend.” This spring, St. Mary’s completed the renovation of its maternity suites, redesigning them to meet the needs of a new generation of mothers like Pedersen. “I call them ‘the Whole Foods generation,’” says Mary Anne Graf, vice president of women’s services for Bon Secours Virginia Health System. Well-informed, and passionate about their health and that of their infants, these mothers carefully weigh their hospital choices and labor and delivery options. Like Pedersen, an increasing number are seeking out plush maternity suites like these that can accommodate their personalized plans. Pedersen was looking for a natural birth, or

as little medical intervention as possible, and wanted to be able to have her doula, a trained childbirth coach who had worked with her throughout her pregnancy, at the hospital during her delivery. St. Mary’s allowed her to do that, and provided equipment like a birthing ball, which resembles a giant ball from exercise class, to make Pedersen more comfortable during labor. Pedersen says when she sat on the ball in the final stages of labor, “Gravity took over at that point, and the baby started to descend. It was no more than 30 minutes on the birthing ball before I was to the point of pushing. It was a very fast delivery. I think we caught the doctors by surprise.” Following the birth, Jakob stayed with Pedersen and slept beside her in a bassinette. The large rooms at St. Mary’s are designed for “family-centered care,” a prevailing concept in hospitals these days that allows baby, family members, doulas and other supporters to be together. St. Mary’s also promotes early bonding through “the magic hour,” the first hour after birth when visitors are prohibited, breastfeeding first occurs and immediate “skin to skin” contact d ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3

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takes place between mother and baby, helping to keep the baby warm and calm. St. Mary’s is one of several hospitals in Virginia that have created luxurious new labor, delivery and recovery units—and all at no extra charge to patients. When patients step inside the all-private maternity suites at VCU Medical Center, they find labor, delivery and recovery rooms decorated to create a natural, calming environment, not unlike a spa. Medical equipment and supplies usually found in cold, metal rolling carts or set out on counters in most hospitals are tucked away in attractive cherry cabinets with Corian countertops. Each suite has its own restroom, and three are outfitted with whirlpool tubs for mothers who wish to de-stress with a warm, relaxing bath. Aromatherapy is also offered, and the hospital even provides room service on demand for expectant mothers. They allow 24-hour visitation and provide access to Wi-Fi, so families can stay connected. The 11 new suites are part of a $23 million renovation of the Richmond hospital’s labor and delivery unit, which opened Sept. 23. The space,

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Maternity suites make new families feel welcome.

manager, describing the inviting, wellequipped unit. Wireless fetal monitors and cardiac monitors for high-risk patients allow mothers to easily walk around, untethered to machines. There are many amenities available to women today to help them make the leap from pregnancy to new motherhood smoothly. Like many forward-thinking Virginia hospitals, the Ladies Board Birthing Inn at Inova Loudoun Hospital— which is currently renovating its labor, delivery and recovery unit—offers lactation consultants to help mothers experiencing difficulties with infants latching on and other problems. In addition, Inova Loudoun opened an on-site lactation boutique in May 2012, where mothers can buy items related to breastfeeding, from bras and other clothing to positional pillows and Oneida pumps, before they even check out. Tracy Cross, a nurse who works as a lactation consultant at Inova Loudoun, has seen an increase in breastfeeding mothers. “We’ve kind of evolved into this era where people are focused on their health. People are exercising, eating better and [are responding to] research that really touts the benefits of breastfeeding,” she says. Inova Loudoun also provides mothers with the free services of Cindy Andrejasich, a registered nurse who works as a birthing navigator. “I like to think of it as a concierge for women who have questions or concerns about the birthing process,” she says, explaining her unusual job title. “Cindy A,” as she is known, helps families create birthing plans to meet their expectations, whether related to pain management (about 80 percent of the hospital’s clients choose epidurals; the remaining 20 percent go natural), specific

photos courtesy of vcu medical center

photo courtesy of hca

re-built after extensive demolition, increases the unit’s size from 20,000 to 30,000 square feet and includes a new lobby, a state-of-the-art operating room, a staff workroom and six examination rooms. The old unit, built in 1982, “was designed for 1980s births, where people labored in one room and delivered in another,” says Dr. David Chemlow, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at VCU. The new rooms are more than twice as large as the old ones, so mothers can stay in them for the entire delivery experience. Each suite includes a bassinette, a sleeper sofa and a chair that folds flat to accommodate both baby and dad. Designer cabinets contain the latest in medical equipment and technology—“high-tech, hightouch,” says Mary Ann Brock, the unit’s nurse

Here: Labor and delivery room with birthing tub at VCU Medical Center. Top, right: Nurses' station at VCU.

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cultural and religious beliefs, or even technology. One mother transmitted her childbirth experience to her deployed husband via Skype; other families play delivery music on their iPods and Smartphones. “A lot of children are born to [Guns N’ Roses’] ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine,’” she says with a laugh. “I think we really see the women’s and children’s service line as one that’s critical to us. It’s been one of the highlights of our hospital for years,” says Lisa Valentine, chief operating officer of HCA Virginia’s Henrico Doctors’ Hospital in Richmond, which first opened its Women’s Pavilion in 1977. Like Inova Loudoun’s Birthing Inn, the Women’s Pavilion has its own building next to the main hospital. With large, elegant flower arrangements, the lobby of the Women’s Pavilion looks more like a posh hotel than a hospital. The same thought and care extends to the labor and delivery unit, which Henrico Doctors’ recently expanded to keep up with demand: 3,600 babies were delivered there last year, the most in the state, outside of Northern Virginia. As part of a five-year, nearly $5 million expansion of the Women’s Pavilion that was completed in late 2012, the hospital added three new maternity suites and renovated 11 existing ones to make them larger and more appealing. In each of the private rooms, family space is separated from clinical space, following a design suggestion made by the nursing staff. Half the room is devoted to sleep (there is a sleeper sofa) and Wi-Fi/desk space for the family. The other half is a working area for hospital staff. “Everything that could be put behind some nice casework has been, frankly ... everything from medical gasses to supplies and equipment,” says Valentine. “Our first priority is to provide excellent medical care, but in addition to that, we want to support the parents and the family,” says Dr. Vijay Dhande, a neonatologist and the medical director of Henrico Doctors’ Level III NICU. “I think the more comfortable you can make a person’s stay, the more welcoming you can be to their family, the better [the] outcomes and the happier the mom you can have,” says Dr. Vienne Murray, an OB/GYN and the chief of staff for Henrico Doctors’. “We’re definitely striving at every turn to make the most calm, peaceful, family-centered environment that we can.”,,, ❉

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Dr. Christopher Dowd.

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At Your Service Is concierge the new ‘it’ word in medical care?

photo by maggie stoup


rustration brought Dr. Christopher Dowd and Mary Hunter Hardison together. As a general practitioner and then a hospitalist in Suffolk County, Dowd found himself, unhappily, spending less and less time with his patients. Hardison, a 2nd grade teacher at Nansemond Suffolk Academy, had resorted to traveling to Chicago frequently to see a specialist in hopes of curing her chronic headaches— migraines that could last up to three days. In 2011, Dowd made his move. He left his position at Chesapeake General Hospital and embraced the concierge-medicine model, creating Cornerstone Private Practice. Dowd traded less time with thousands of patients for more time with a few hundred patients, all of whom pay him an annual fee in exchange for better access to him and a higher level of care. Hardison took the leap as well. She wanted a doctor who would maintain her medical records, communicate with her specialists and coordinate her overall care. When a mother at Nansemond Suffolk recommended Dowd, Hardison made up her mind and left her primary care physician for him. “It’s the best medical decision I’ve ever made,” says Hardison, 30. “It’s not for everyone. I’m married, and my husband doesn’t see him. But I need more consistent, routine medical care than my husband does.” Hardison’s story is becoming increasingly common in Virginia and nationwide as doctors and patients meet at the intersection of convergent trends in health care. General practitioners are looking to dramatically reduce their patient load—typically between 2,000 and 3,000 people at a traditional practice—without sacrificing income. Consumers, meanwhile, are drawn to the more personal doctorpatient relationship of 50 years ago. They want to reach a real person

on the phone and make an appointment inside of a month. They want a doctor who has the time to listen, and who knows them as a person beyond their symptoms. The result is concierge medicine, sometimes referred to as membership, retainer-based or boutique medicine. Though some have decried it as “healthcare for the wealthy” and suggest that it will contribute to a two-tiered American healthcare system, this small but fast-growing approach to primary care has made true believers out of converts on both sides of the stethoscope. Each concierge practice offers a different set of services, but common examples of their enhanced care include longer office visits, fast (even same-day) appointments, preventative screenings, 24/7 access to doctors by phone or email and a greater focus on fitness and nutrition. Concierge physicians can continue to oversee medical care in the event of hospitalization. While it’s possible to pay tens of thousands of dollars per year for high-end care in the concierge stratosphere—think doctors who vacation with you—the average per person annual retainer is $1,600, or $135 a month, and that yearly fee is generally discounted for spouses and children. Based on a model that originated in Seattle in the mid-1990s, the number of concierge physicians grew by 25 percent between 2011 and 2012, according to the American Academy of Private Physicians. The sector now comprises more than 5,000 physicians nationwide— including dozens of practices in Virginia, clustered mainly in populous Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads and metro Richmond. In 2012, trade publication Concierge Medicine Today named Washington, D.C., the sixth-fastest-growing city for retainer-based care, just behind Baltimore. Physicians in retainer-based practices remain but a tiny portion of the nation’s 900,000 licensed physicians of whom a third are primary care physicians (i.e., generalists in geriatrics, pediatrics, internal medicine and disease prevention). But one in 10 doctors is thinking about

By Greg A. Lohr d ec e m b e r 2 0 1 3

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“If your whole family is sick with the flu, that might be a case where the doctor will visit your home and give shots.”

Through Epic software, Inova VIP 360 patients can access their own medical records online at any time. House calls, when necessary, are among the concierge services offered by Richmond-based PartnerMD, where individual retainers range from $1,700 to $1,900. PartnerMD was the second concierge practice in Virginia when it opened 10 years ago and has since expanded to Maryland, South Carolina and the state of Washington. The vast majority of the network’s 23 physicians and 5,500 members are in Virginia. In fact, the network’s flagship Richmond office is now the largest individual concierge medical practice in the nation, according to Linda Nash, PartnerMD founder and executive director. As for house calls, Nash explains: “If your whole family is sick with the flu, that might be a case where the doctor will visit your home and give shots. And sometimes when there’s a really important decision, like who to go to for a difficult back surgery or whether to have chemotherapy or not,” PartnerMD doctors will go with patients to specialist appointments to take notes, ask questions and guide the decision process. virginia living

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As part of their increased focus on disease prevention, concierge physicians may provide more in-depth screenings than patients are used to receiving. “For most of my patients now, I do advanced lipid panels,” says Dr. Laura Balda, the physician most recently hired by Inova VIP 360. “Traditionally, you’re looking for four numbers” indicating the amount of lipids in the bloodstream—total cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides. “With an advanced panel,” she continues, “you’re looking for particle sizes, metabolic markers and genetic markers as well.” Most concierge patients have insurance, and most of the practices accept it. In some cases, however, insurance is needed only for specialist co-pays and diagnostics performed elsewhere. For example, Virginia Beach Premier Medical (VBPM) doesn’t charge co-pays or any fees beyond its yearly retainer, which is $1,500 for patients between 18 and 35 years old and $2,400 for those older than 35. Things like X-rays and CT scans are handled by off-site providers and paid for by insurance. In addition to chronically ill patients, VBPM founder Dr. Barbara Parks says she also has young, healthy concierge patients who meet with her just once or twice a year. “I think they just want the security—knowing that there’s someone they can see who knows them,” Parks says. “They also want to do things at the last minute, like schedule a same-day appointment or have an exam just before their vacation. It’s more of a convenience as well as a security blanket.” Both were factors for Dawn Siegel of Richmond when she and her husband, Stuart (son of the founder of S&K Menswear and VCU benefactor), joined PartnerMD about seven years ago. “I was starting to reach a certain age and realizing I’d feel much better with a doctor who actually knew me and had a better grasp of my physical health in general,” Dawn Siegel says. With her previous doctor, “You’d have to wait so long to get an appointment. I had pneumonia once, and being told you can get an appointment in seven to 10 days doesn’t do you any good.” More recently, when she had an allergic reaction while traveling overseas, Siegel called her concierge physician directly: “She called me back and found pharmacies for me. That’s very unusual to me.”

photo top left by by len spoden; top right by david deal; opposite top right by adam ewing; bottom by ash daniel

switching to a concierge model in the next three years, according to a 2013 study conducted for the nonprofit Physicians Foundation. While some primary care physicians convert entirely to the concierge model, others take a hybrid approach with a small number of retainer-paying patients helping to subsidize the traditional portion of the practice. “There’s no question that concierge medicine is still on the rise,” says Jeffrey Carr, corporate and consumer services growth officer at Inova Health System which, in 2012, hired a third concierge physician for its Inova VIP 360 branch at Inova Fairfax Hospital. The nearly 500 patient members of Inova VIP 360 pay an annual retainer of $1,800 as well as any co-pays charged by their insurer.

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Opposite, left: Dr. Russell Libby; right: Dr. Laura Balda with a patient. This page, top: Dawn and Stuart Siegel; below: Linda Nash and Dr. Barry Wein.

Unusual, yes .… but is it also financially out of reach for most Americans? PartnerMD’s Nash says no. Her members have an average combined family income of $75,000 a year, “which I was surprised by,” she explains, “because I thought it would be much higher.” With income disparities in mind, her company gives each of its newly hired physicians 10 “scholarships” to help their former patients switch to concierge care. Two big questions remain, however: Will the Affordable Care Act, as some predict, exacerbate America’s shortage of general practitioners, making it harder for those with lower incomes to find primary care physicians? And will the rise of concierge medicine contribute to a two-tier system of health care in America? Carolyn Engelhard, who oversees the University of Virginia’s Health Policy Program, believes the answer to both questions is yes. “I think it’s one of the dirty little secrets of American medicine, that somehow everybody gets the same amount of care and the same quality of care,” she says, “and that couldn’t possibly be true. We have 48 million people without health insurance. Many come to emergency rooms for their care. They come in sicker, they die earlier, and there’s even literature that suggests the quality of care they receive isn’t as good.” Engelhard will be glad to see more people gain access to health insurance under the ACA. But as the demand for primary care physicians rises, she worries that the growth of niche medical markets, including concierge care, will continue to fragment the American health care system. “I think we need more transparency,” she says. “We need to be better connected through information-management systems. We need better continuum so patients are cared for after hospitalization or proactive screenings. When we have entrepreneurial units that segregate themselves outside of that, I don’t think that’s good for the evolution of our health care system.” Nash agrees that the availability of quality medical care is a valid concern. “Everybody has the right to decent health care,” she says, adding that they also deserve the right to upgrade their service level. “I’m a big proponent of really good quality public schools, too. And we

need to put a lot of resources into them. But if you have a child with a learning disability and you want to send your child to a [private] school, and you have the resources [to do so], why not?” Others consider the criticism of retainerbased medicine unfounded simply because the sector today is such a small slice of the giant health care pie. “It won’t have a bad effect,” says Dr. Russell Libby, a pediatrician and president of the Richmond-based Medical Society of Virginia. “Some people will say it’s unethical, but it won’t affect enough of the marketplace to make a difference.” For Suffolk teacher Hardison, even though money is always a consideration, concierge care is a worthwhile expense. She swears by Dr. Dowd’s attentiveness and calm demeanor and says she’ll stick with him even if her migraines continue. To Dowd, the definitive allure of retainerbased care is the extra face time that he calls “an essential ingredient to a good doctorpatient relationship: Human beings aren’t robots that we can just treat by following a number on a chart.” ❉ For more information about the concierge medical practices in this story go to,,,

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D eparture the banner of ingenuity A captain of industry demonstrates the spirit to carry on. B Y d e a n k i n g | i l l u s t r at i o n by c h r i s g a l l


everal years ago, on a panel at chinafest, an

annual festival of Chinese culture at the University of Richmond geared toward better understanding between the citizens of both nations, I listened with rapt attention to Ting Xu, a pretty, Shanghai-born woman in her early 40s, as she told the audience her story of coming to live in America in 1986. I was on the panel to talk about the 30 intrepid women who, in 1934, had walked the Long March with Mao Zedong, 4,000 miles across China and up the Tibetan Plateau, the subject of my book Unbound. In my research, I had interviewed the last female survivor of this extraordinary journey, Wang Quanyuan, who had been a bold teenager when she set out on the trail with the dream of changing the way women were treated in China. Like Wang, Ting had come from humble means but seized the opportunity to change her life. Because of wage controls in China, recounted Ting, who held herself

proudly but spoke with a soft voice, her family was on food rations— despite the fact that both her parents were engineers—and three generations lived in a two-bedroom apartment. Her grandmother had all of her grandchildren take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) to see who should receive the family’s scarce resources, and when Ting did the best, the whole family helped pay her airfare so that she could accept a scholarship at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. In a few years, she had earned her master’s degree in computer science. She landed a job with the state health department and moved to Richmond with her fiancé (and eventually husband) Frank Qiu. After Ting’s parents retired and immigrated to Virginia, Ting was looking for a way to set them up independently. She saw an opportunity while visiting a family that was making decorative flags on their apartment floor. They worked 10 hours a day but only made two or three flags. Ting told us it was not “a viable business model,” but she had an idea. She went to the retailer and said, “Why don’t you give me a big order, and I’ll see if I can make them overseas?” They bit, to the tune of 400 flags in four designs: a sailboat, a snowman, a hot air balloon and Santa Claus. Ting had to deliver them in two months. She had never made a flag before. But her mother was an electrical engineer and was “good with virginia living

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processes, figuring things out,” Ting says. Right away, she started making patterns, dissecting production stages and streamlining wherever possible. She bought a sewing machine and made flags step by step. Ting flew to Shanghai and started networking. She met with clothing manufacturers, bought fabric and thread and found a partner. When she returned to Richmond with the 400 flags ahead of the deadline, fate dealt her a twist: The business that ordered the flags was having financial trouble and couldn’t pay for them. That did not stop Ting any more than the hardships of the Great Snowy Mountains had slowed, but not stopped, Wang as she marched forward to free Chinese women from domestic bondage. And that’s what I most admire about both of these women: the spirit to carry on, even in the face of withering odds and when things go wrong. Ting learned that the state fair was coming, signed up for a booth and sold all the flags. Before long, she had started a company, Evergreen Enterprises, and soon opened holiday kiosks in malls in Richmond, Petersburg, Fredericksburg, Charlotte and Raleigh. She always took the time to talk to her customers. “I was learning from them, asking about choices, sizes and packaging,” she says. They wanted more choices, including floral and Halloween flags. Halloween? Ting went to the library to learn about this unfamiliar holiday’s symbols—black cats, witches and jack-olanterns. Her mother scoured coloring books and other sources to come up with new designs. Her father, a civil engineer, did the manual labor, building displays and converting their garage into a warehouse. In 1995, as the wholesale business picked up, Frank sold his insurance company and came on board as CEO. Ting’s brother, James, who also studied computer science at ODU, joined in, creating a sophisticated system to manage orders and inventory. Thanks to ingenuity and acquisitions, Evergreen grew from two to 10 to 20 to 300 employees. In 2002, Ting established a I am very logistical facility, housing quality control and product development teams, in Ningbo, China. Evergreen fortunate that bought other businesses specializing in home and products, and then, in 2003, it converted every day I garden a deserted Richmond shopping center into its wake up, I can headquarters and warehouse. In 2010, Evergreen bought Plow & Hearth from do something I 1-800-FLOWERS.COM Inc. for $17 million, and its bricks-and-mortar stores from six to am passionate expanded 22. Today, Ting’s little project to keep her parents about.” busy is the largest flag designer and wholesaler in the nation, producing millions of flags each year and more than 12,000 other home and garden products. “I am very fortunate that every day I wake up, I can do something I am passionate about,” says Ting. “This is a fast-paced, competitive business. I am constantly learning and reinventing.” Though their paths diverged widely, I feel certain that Wang, the Red Army soldier, who was still a dynamo at age 93 when I talked to her, would have admired Ting, the dynamic captain of industry. And I am amazed at how the horizon for women has changed during the lifetimes of Wang and Ting, partly through their efforts. ❉



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Virginia Living-December 2013  

The magazine for Virginia lifestyles and culture

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