SUB: inFauquier Fall 2022

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Inside: Relax into a hot stone massage The beauty of the season (find it at home!) Art for art’s sake at Dwell They’re pumped for pumpkins at Marshall’s Booth and Nadler Gallery FALL 2022 Fun for fall • (540) 347-4855 The Best Full Service Pet Care Facility Voted Best Pet Motel/Kennel Voted Best Pet Motel/Kennel


9 Erin’s Elderberries is making local cool again in Vint Hill

12 New Hume art gallery opens - meet Dwell owner Hayley Sykes

14 Mother-daughter owners of Radiant Beauty bring haircare and home-cooking direct to their clients

16 Relive the terrifying tale of Fauquier’s last tar-and-feather justice


19 Shooting for the stars with local astronomy clubs

20 Warrenton Picnic Co. is making light work out of the al fresco dining experience

23 Enlightened Styles offers a holistic view of health and wellness

24 Look to the ancients for the birthplace of modern religions

25 Want pampering this season? Try a massage, just to feel good or to improve your game

The word “relax” means so many different things. We wanted to know what the notion of relaxing looks like to our writing and photography team.

Lengthening beams of sunlight and crisp temperatures remind author-editor Steve Price of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s observa tion that “I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.” Steve enjoys strolling through the park at the end of his Manhattan street to follow the progress of trees turning colors and finally shedding their leaves. The sight brings him back to boyhood suburban autumns when walking home from school he’d wade through curbside piles of raked leaves and inhale the pleas antly acrid aroma of other piles that neighbors burned.

When the weather snaps into autumn, writer and graphic designer Mara Seaforest makes a beeline to the woodpile for the season’s first firewood. She enjoys curling up with her fluffy black cat, Magia, and a pile of books in front of her stone fireplace to catch up on reading after a summer of curating her native plant garden.

Betsy Burke Parker says that relaxing is a notional concept on a commercial farm. “Just as the grow ing season ends, there’s livestock season and competition season.

There’s a little less active farm work, but then again, there’s a lot less daylight so it evens out.” On the

other hand, there’s so much to look forward to in the fall, from nightly fires in the hearth to hearty stews bubbling on the stove. “Plus, we’re one season closer to spring,” her very favorite time of the year.

With cooler temperatures and vi brant colors, freelance writer Aimee O’Grady enjoys heading for the hills to relax. “The sights, sounds, and smells of fall are captivating in the Piedmont region,” she says. “I enjoy breaking away from the day-to-day and reconnecting with my kids and husband on a long hike. My energy may wane, but my spirit is full after a day spent on the trails with my family.”

“Prior to the past couple of years, my answer may have been different but ‘relax’ to me now is more than a day at the spa,” says Alissa Jones “It’s a reminder to tap into the peace amidst any outward turmoil.

“I breathe deep and feel that no matter what circumstances arise or what negative voices around me are saying, everything is going to be okay!”

Food writer and avid home cook Alexandra Greeley takes matters in her own hands when it comes to relaxation. “How do I relax? Heat my waffle iron and whip up a batter for cranberry waffles.”

Beer connoisseur John Daum


27 Pumpkins are in season (and they’re delicious, from the beginning of your meal to the end)

30 Cheers to fall and the flavorful touches added by local brewers

31 Thought your fresh garden-grown harvest was over? Think again with our fall-planted salad suggestions

32 The heavenly combo of fresh figs and lightly sweet cake layers, and the legend behind the Fig Newton

Marci Nadler kicked off the fall by gathering some creative friends to her Booth and Nadler Gallery in Marshall to celebrate the season. The artistic group transformed pumpkins and gourds into works of autumnal art, some with an ironic nod to current events.

Piedmont Media reporter and photographer Coy Ferrell captured the group at work. Artisans on the cover are, left to right, Heather Cornelius, gallery co-owner Marci Nadler, Sara Beale (standing), Jane Elizabeth Lemley, Patrick Do bak and gallery co-owner Nancy Booth.

The Booth and Nadler art gallery, on Marshall’s Main Street, is a shared functional art studio offering workshops, lessons, book and poetry readings and signings and art talks.

Nadler and Booth share the studio space. Their works are exhib ited for sale along with those of other artists.

Nadler says she plans to make the impromptu pumpkin event into an annual celebration for the

thinks there is no better way to relax this season than stacking a huge pile of wood in the backyard when the outdoor temperature is crisp. “Afterwards relaxing in front of a roaring fire with a tasty local Fauquier craft beer is paradise on earth.”

region’s creative community. The pumpkins will remain in the studio’s storefront window through the holiday season.

Ferrell says getting the afternoon shot was a lighting challenge on the overcast autumn day. Natural light from the art gallery’s street-facing windows was minimal, and he end ed up using two off-camera flashes diffused with white umbrellas to light the space. The image was taken with a Nikon D800 and a Sigma 35mm lens at f/4.5.

Ferrell says his personal favorite pumpkin design was one that features a spotted lanternfly, super spooky for the Halloween season, he points out.

Designer Vincent Sales plays the guitar. It doesn’t have to sound per fect or even great, just a few chords make the stress go away.

For Piedmont Media reporter

Coy Ferrell, “relaxation” looks a lot like an afternoon in the darkroom, or, alternatively, a day at the beach.

Fall 2022 3Relax
14 23 30
7 County Tidbits • 34 The Last Word

Published quarterly by Piedmont Media LLC. Address 41 Culpeper Street Warrenton, VA 20186 Phone: 540-347-4222

Publisher: Catherine M. Nelson,

Editor: Betsy Burke Parker,

Managing editor: Robin Earl,

Consultants: Anthony Haugan,

Nancy Keyser,

Jeanne Cobert,

Designers: Vincent Sales

Laurene Craig

Relax, you’re in Fauquier County

Fall is the perfect time to take a time out.


Far from the punishment it was as a kid, as a grown-up, sitting quietly in a corner can sometimes be a reward. Likewise, play ing to the earth’s natural rhythms – getting up with the sun and going to sleep with the dark, is a perfect metaphor for tapping the brakes and slowing down as the autumn settles in over the Piedmont.

For this issue of inFauquier, we thought we’d focus on what Fauquier County does really well – relax. There were so many ways to go with it – lowering your blood pressure by petting a dog, getting a great haircut, and a homemade sweet treat, in the comfort of your own home.

We decided to take a solo walk in the woods, a moving meditation of quiet and reverent contemplation such as the photo at left of Guy d’Ablon walking in the forest near his ancestral home. We wanted to consider, as Guy said he was on that gentle autumn day, from every angle, the spiritual ity of the region and get a firm grasp on the theme, “relax.”

Once we’d honed in on that

short-but-powerful word, everything fell perfectly into place. Writer Alissa Jones, a former massage therapist, jumped in first, giving us a rundown on the joys of professional massage, and she got the details from several local practitioners that specialize in hot stone massage.

Alissa also talked to two area salons that offer unique spins on the notion of beauty.

Research writer Aimee O’Grady takes relaxation to new heights by meeting with the local astronomy clubs, and – on the other end of the spectrum, keeps it good and grounded by discovering the fare and flair behind the Warrenton Picnic Co.

John Toler peers back 100 years in history to revisit the provocative case of Fauquier County’s last known social justice doled out by tar and feathers, while Mara Seaforest takes it all the way back to the dawn of civilization to find out what’s still driving the modern notion of seasonal religious festivals.

Food writer Sandy Greeley digs deep to trot out an entire menu of pumpkin fare, and gardener and home chef Janie Ledyard gets back to work with the fall crops that she hopes will provide fresh food all the way through the autumn.

As columnist and musician Steve Price puts it, “there’s nothing like spending time in the country to give you a renewed sense of rhythm. Slow down, relax, settle in and stay a while.”

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Relax – you got this, and your pet can help

To no one’s surprise, scien tific research recently revealed that petting a cat or dog for just a few minutes can lower blood pressure by 10%.

Spending time with compan ion animals releases serotonin, oxytocin, prolactin and lowers the stress hormone cortisol, according to findings by the American Heart Association.

These feel-good hormones lower stress and anxiety.

University of Missouri-Co lumbia scientists found the association in a study of thou sands of research participants that simply petting a dog dropped the systolic blood

pressure significantly.

In another study, Ani mal-Assisted Interventions scientists noted a further sig nificant decrease in blood pressure when research par ticipants completed arithmetic tasks in the presence of their pet dogs but without physical contact.

Dogs don’t have a lock on positive effects on mental and physical health; findings in dicate that interaction with cats, rabbits and even small pets like turtles have a similar calming effect.

An American Medical As sociation study shows that

growing up in an environment surrounded by animals helps create a better immune sys tem. In one study, scientists recruited 40 healthy German men. Half had grown up on a farm, half had grown up in urban environments in the ab sence of pets.

Researchers asked the men to perform memory tests then tested their blood pressure and blood mononuclear cells.

Results showed that those who grew up in the absence of animals had far higher levels of an inflammatory immune response to stress in their blood.

Maybe don’t stop and smell the flowers along the highway, but enjoy the drive-by beauty

The Virginia Department of Trans portation continues their popular pollinator program, creating natural ized areas with native plantings along state-maintained roadways to provide habitat for pollinator species.

The innovative Pollinator Habitat Program was started nationwide 15 years ago.

Pollinators — including honeybees, native bees, butterflies, birds, bats and even flies and beetles — move pollen from one plant to another; only fertil ized flowers can set fruit or seeds.

In this way, the tiny workers are re sponsible for every growing thing on earth.

The Habitat program also decreas es erosion and storm water runoff while providing sediment control along notoriously flood-prone pave ment and asphalt roadways. Too, highway crews are able to use fewer pesticides to combat harmful bugs and utilize less herbicide control for roadside weeds.

Aesthetics are greatly enriched, add proponents of the program en visioned in the 1960s by First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson.

The Pollinator Habitat Program is funded through the purchase of the wildflower and protect pollinators li cense tags.

Petting, holding or cuddling a companion animal has been proven to lower blood pressure and increase serotonin levels.

Scary? (Only if you’re a crow)

Harvest symbols from the ubiquitous carved pumpkin to scarecrows are rooted in ancient tradition.

Originally placed in fields just sown to scare away birds in search of easy seed, in some farming com munities, scarecrows were made to look fierce to keep human thieves away as well.

In modern times, scarecrows serve few of their traditional purposes – they’re used more often today as Halloween decorations. War renton and The Plains display creative scare crows along their historic streets, with awards for the most popular ones.

Meditation nation – Best apps for taking relaxation to the next level

When modern life seems to be rushing past and everything is hectic, look to an ancient tech nique to slow down and refocus.

Meditation helps recenter dis traction with purposeful breath ing and mental awareness.

Even the most simple breathing techniques – breathe in, count to five, breathe out – are sufficient to slow down when you feel yourself spiral ing, but real, deep meditation can be difficult to master.

Meditation can be solo or in a group, and can include stretching exercises so you can hold your body - and mind - ‘still’ for long periods of time.

Fortunately, there’s an app for that.

Meditation apps, podcasts,

websites and Tiktok shorts of fer almost unlimited, technol ogy-based, guided meditation sessions that bring calming techniques forward to a 21st century application.

Meditation programs are as short as a few seconds to 30 minutes or more. These apps make meditation more accessi ble, more intuitive and easier, whether a beginner or a sea soned pro. Most of them can be customized, and all of them are discreet enough to quietly

conduct in a public setting or during a commute.

Here’s a collection of time-tested apps we’ve tried, some are free, others have a small cost:


• Breathwrk

• Headspace

• Ten Percent Happier


Insight Timer



Simple Habit

Fall 2022 7County Tidbits
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Faces & Places


• Meet Hayley Sykes and her Dwell gallery, a dream come true for this honorary Hume-an

• Planning by Warrenton Picnic makes your party easy as pie (yeah, they’ve got that, too)

Erin’s Elderberries: Innovative, inclusive local business

Entrepreneur turns the elixir that helped her sick son into a cooperative venture

A sick child is every mom’s nightmare. But Erin Mann turned her challenge into a victory, doing her own re search, being hew own family’s biggest advocate and, in the end, creating a Fauquier busi ness that highlights the best of everybody and everything that make the county strong, says this Vint Hill entrepreneur.

In 2016, less than one year following his birth, Erin and Craig Mann’s young son, Lu cas, fell mysteriously and se verely ill. Lucas was so sick that the family spent a week in the Pensacola Children’s Hospital.

As much at a loss as the Manns, the doctors tested Lu cas for leukemia.

As it turns out, that wasn’t it. Fortunately.

“He had a bad virus that mimicked leukemia in the blood test results,” Erin Mann recalls the tense time. The experience was traumatic for everyone as they feared the worst. “We spent his first

birthday in the hospital try ing to make it as normal as we could.”

Overwhelmed with grati tude and relief with Lucas’ di agnosis, they came home with a new appreciation for the fra gility of life.

Complicating their treat ment and future care, Lucas was susceptible to allergies and had a weakened immune system, but Mann turned to something she’d learned from her grandparents to help the boy.

As a child, Mann heard about the medicinal proper ties of the elderberry bushes that grew wild on their prop erty. “If it grew on their land, they found a use for it,” she says, noting that the return to the old ways felt natural.

“The trained researcher in me kicked into gear, and I went to the end of the internet re searching the benefits of el derberry.”

While not intended to re place prescribed medications,

Erin Mann began to develop the idea of Erin’s Elderberries based off an ancient healing potion that she discovered had very real modern applications.

elderberry can boost the im mune system and has antiox idant properties to stave off illness.

Mann was willing to try an ything to help Lucas.

She began making elderber ry syrup for him, at her father’s recommendation sweeten ing the tart berry with honey rather than cane sugar to give it an additional boost. “Local honey can help with allergies

since the bees harvest from the plants that people are allergic to,” Mann points out.

And just like that, Erin’s El derberries was born.

Within a year of receiving a teaspoon of homemade el derberry syrup a day, Lucas was much better and Mann realized she could share the newly packaged old knowl edge.


Fall 2022 9Faces & Places
Erin’s Elderberries 4257 Aiken Drive Warrenton See
page 10

Small businesses that sell their products at Erin’s Elderberries

Wild Blue Farm

“Flowers bring joy to those who grow them, those who give them, and those who receive them,” says owner Dusty Morlier.

Dusty and David Morlier began selling organically and sustainably grown local specialty cut flowers in 2020. Wild Blue flowers can be house-designed or custom-cre ated.

Sweet Moose Creations


“I’ve always enjoyed handcrafting gifts for friends and family. In time, they encouraged me to sell my creations and it has turned into such a wonderful adventure,” says owner Jean Patterson. Together with her husband, Eric, Jean Patterson started Sweet Moose Creations in 2021. She makes home décor products. Handmade gnomes are her big gest seller along with hand-crafted wood signs and seasonal décor.

Everything Purposeful

“Everything Purposeful has al

lowed me to connect with people from all walks of life through creativity and sharing gifts,” says founder Tiffany Hawkins. Launched in 2020, Everything Purposeful sells flavored pecans and handmade cards. Everything that Hawkins designs, she says, “has intent, meaning and, most of all, purpose.”

Kingsbury Chocolates


“I think about my grandpar ents [all the time] and the joy they gave me – especially when I make my grandmother’s Vermont maple popcorn,” says founder Robert Kingsbury. Kingsbury says he wanted to do something to keep the memory of his grandparents alive. After a career with AT&T, he started his own business in chocolate. He ended up using his college chem istry degree in the new enterprise,

learning the science of chocolate and confections.

Lush Vine Designs

“Being artistic and creative is a passion and a desire that has always been there since I was a child, but it has taken years for me to find the best way to express it, says Lush Vine owner Christin Lowe. “When I started making jewelry, it allowed me to express myself in a way that I couldn’t at my corporate job.”

Since 2014, Lush Vine Designs has evolved into handcrafted home decor, laser cutting and engraving, jewelry, apparel and accessories. Lowe also offers graphic design services.

That Dough Tho

“My boys love [homemade dough], and as we started bring ing it over to friends and family’s houses, as well as out to restau rants many people commented on how much they loved it and wanted their own,” Jen Eglas says. It allowed her kids to play

ERIN’S, from page 9

Erin’s Elderberries opened in August in Vint Hill, sell ing 20 of Mann’s products along with dozens of other hand-crafted local products from other area entrepre neurs. Erin’s Elderberries sells everything from cleaning and body care supplies, soaps, baking kits, books, hot sauces, wreaths, key chains, dog ac cessories and treats, and kids’ products, including locally made playdough, beeswax candle kits, books, swaddle blankets and more.

“This has been such a bless ing. I felt so alone when trying to manage my son’s health,” Mann recalls. “Since that time, I realized there are so many oth er people out there who have created a product that their family has benefited from, and they want to share with people.

without screens, something she says is important today.

Earlier this year, Jen and Nick Eglas launched That Dough Tho to craft homemade playdough jars and kits and handmade charms and trinkets.

Cotton Hill Collective

“Erin is my why, just like any parent would say. She asked me to make a soap dish to go with a soap a local maker made using her honey and elderberry so that she could make a gift, says Mel Leigeber, Erin Mann’s father. His Cotton Hill Collective sells handmade kitchen wood products including rolling pins, cutting boards, dishwashing ring holders, egg holders, cutting boards, soap holders and cookie guides.

Chrissy’s Cupcakes 704-770-6738

“I found that [baking] calmed me and brought peace, and happiness, and became my new passion,” says Chrissy Freeland. “I could not have done it without (Erin.) She walked me through the entire process. She pushed me, encouraged me and basi cally would not let me give up until I had everything in proper order.”

When you walk into (Erin’s El derberries), no matter what you buy, you will be supporting a local, small business.

“I wanted to bring attention to the awesomeness of the en trepreneurs in our area,” Mann adds. “Too often small busi nesses see each other as compe tition. What I love most about the makers I work with is that we all have our own business es, but we all realize there is enough pie for everyone.

“We’re happy to share our piece.

“These fantastic makers help lift and encourage oth ers, and they are what keep me going. The community I have seen them grow from the walls of Erin’s Elderberries is truly amazing. I am honored I get to be a small part of that, and proud my son is growing up witness to it.”

10 Fall 2022 Faces & Places
Houses are sold to Habitat homeowners who pay an affordable mortgage. To Schedule a Donation Pickup - Call 540.216.3447 These mortgage payments are cycled back into the community to help Habitat build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter.
Fall 2022 11 7276 Covingtons Corner Road, Bealeton $695,000 Main level living! Huge all brick custom rancher with charming front porch. 3/4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms. Cozy sun room & main level office. Eat-in kitchen with Quartz counters & stainless steel appliances. High speed Xfinity internet. Whole house generator. 11218 James Madison Hwy, Bealeton $518,000 Completely remodeled from top to bottom! This 1948 farm house features 3 BR’s & 2 BA’s. Located on 4.5 acres with charming front porch. Beautifully renovated kitchen with granite counters & stainless steel appliances. Hardwood floors on the main level & upper levels. Oversized carport & shed. (540) 347-5277 • 25 S. Fourth Street, Ste. 200, Warrenton, VA 20186 • Licensed in Virginia Becky Miller Realtor, Owner 2021 Diamond Honor Society 2021 Realtor of the Year 2021 Sales Person of the Year ™ Warrenton

Art for art’s sakes in northwest Fauquier’s newest gallery

Born in England, Dwell’s Sykes is honored to be considered an honorary Hume-an, and she plans to keep giving back to the tiny community that’s come to mean so much to her

By Betsy Burke Parker Gallery owner Hayley Sykes believes that to hone an appreciation for art, you need to take your time. Consider it from all angles, she says, sit with it, study it. Linger, she says, even dawdle.

In other words, Dwell.

When it came time for Sykes to create a custom space for her gallery of the same name, she kept coming back to the notion of living with your art.

“I wanted to make a place where people feel comforta ble hanging out,” says Sykes, “looking at the art, taking their time. That’s what I want ed for my gallery.”

By all accounts, Dwell Fine Arts and Crafts is all that, and a lot more. The gallery, which had operated from rented spaces in The Plains and Washington, Virginia previously, opened this fall in Sykes’ carefully renovated and meticulously refurbished his toric building in Hume.

Dwell’s grand opening drew a capacity crowd and “tons of interest, both from neighbors and visitors,” Sykes says. “I love this building and I love this location.”

Sykes contracted with local artisans to restore the former garage and gas station built in the early 1800s but empty oth er than storage for decades.

Sykes says she repurposed a lot of fun finds from the building – a hand-hewn gate, with hand-made hinges, opens into an alley between the gal lery and the next-door build ing, with the site of a former grist mill repurposed as the small parking area. “We even used the original post office sorting box as an office table,” Sykes adds, saying that the eclectic mix of old and new, traditional and modern, gives Dwell the sort of comfortable energy she envisioned when, as a child, she used to dream of owning her own gallery.

How it happened

Formerly an auto repair garage, a gas station and a country store, a refurbished, repurposed historic building on the corner in Hume is home to the county’s newest art gallery, Dwell Fine Arts and Crafts.

Born in Yorkshire, Eng land, Sykes – now 46 – says she was on her own when honing her passion for art. “No one took me to museums, but art always interested me.”

She studied fashion and tex

tiles at John Moores Universi ty in Liverpool then moved to the U.S. in 2006. She studied art history at Virginia Com monwealth University in Rich mond, working as a corporate recruiter and in an internship with the Paul Mellon collection at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, also in Richmond.

Sykes and husband Brett Ludden moved to Old Town Alexandria in 2016, but she pined “to live in a communi ty, a real community, a village like I’d grown up in.”

They purchased a histor ic home in Hume a few years ago, and Sykes rented space in The Plains to open the first iteration of her Dwell gallery.

Last year, Hume neighbors Harvey and Ellen Ussery gave Sykes the opportunity to expand Dwell when they mentioned downsizing their commercial poultry business and selling some of their property in down town Hume in preparation for a future retirement move.

Sykes “wanted to create a space where people can, liter

Dwell features solo and group ex hibits, curated by the owner and rotating every other month.

ally, spend time with art, hang out with it and learn the place the artist was coming from.”

At the same time, she worked hard to stay true to the building, true to the history of the property. “The Usserys, and all the neighbors, they care so deeply about the village,” she says. “It feels nice to renovate a really cool old building. Our hope is to attract a nice mix of interesting, interested people coming to look at art, enjoy the village feel. Maybe let me give them a cup of coffee, maybe buy some art.

“But it’s more than that. This is our way of giving back to Hume, doing something for the community.”

Harvey Ussery, who’s lived in Hume since the early 1980s, says “Hayley and Brett are to be commended. They’re com mitted to keeping the historic character of the building, and work with the neighbors.”

Dwell hosts curated solo exhibits and group shows, regional and international artists working in a varie ty of media, with associated lectures and rotating on an eight to 12-week schedule. She plans a special holiday show, Small Wonders, with smaller artwork and handmade craft items for sale for gift-giving.

Dwell is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sun days, with some future evening classes and activities planned.

12 Fall 2022 Faces & Places
PHOTO BY BETSY BURKE PARKER Dwell Fine Arts and Crafts owner Haley Sykes repurposed the original post box from the old Hume Post Office in her new gallery.



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There’s some sweet stylin’ going on in Fauquier

cooked with her when she was young.

Between baking, delivering her good ies around town and assisting with the salon, Skyla has a full plate, “But there is still one thing I aspire to,” she says. “And that is to be as good with hair and make up as my mom.”

Determination, resourcefulness and the willingness to take risks are charac teristic of an enterprising spirit.

With Courtney Ovando and her daughter Skyla, make that times two.

Courtney Ovando showed her spirit a few years ago when she identified the needs of her growing clientele. She left the comfort of her thriving home haircut business in Remington and launched her mobile salon Radiant Beauty in 2019.

Courtney’s daughter, Skyla Ovando assists her mother. Together, they travel throughout the county to bring personal ized services to clients in the comfort of their own homes.

A full-service salon, Radiant Beauty of fers haircuts, color, waxing, makeup and hair conditioning treatments, as well as on-site hair and makeup for weddings and other special events.

Attention to detail and relaxation is what sets Radiant Beauty apart, says Courtney, with candles and soft music ac companying the extended scalp massages that go with each cut and style.

“We’re unique,” Courtney maintains. “We create a comfortable atmosphere for our clients in their homes and cater to them by making each service the most relaxing experience possible. Our clients welcome us like family, and we care for them like family.”

The Ovando duo’s enterprising spir it took a sweet, if surprising, twist last year when Skyla opened a mobile dessert shop, Twist of Sugar. Twist of Sugar of ferings include chocolate-covered fruits, cakes, pies, cupcakes, truffles, candies and

more. Skyla delivers throughout North ern Virginia, including upon request to the homes of Radiant Beauty customers.

It puts another unique spin on “full service,” they say, being able to produce hand-made sweet treats along with beau ty treatments.

Baking comes naturally to her, Skyla says. She attributes her skills and love of baking to creating cakes and cookies with her mother and grandmother who

For her part, Courtney especially loves getting the chance to work with her daughter, “I love watching her engage with customers, and I love seeing her go for her dreams. She’s definitely a go-get ter,” Courtney says.

In addition to the business collabora tion and its varied offerings, the owners of Radiant Beauty and Twist of Sugar share a fervent passion: they’re both strong ad vocates against domestic violence.

They partner with Services for Abused Families – SAFE, a domestic violence advocate group, gathering supplies like clothing and basic toiletries for those in need. They also donate their services and time for various events. Radiant Beauty recently provided hair and makeup ser vices for a photoshoot to bring awareness to domestic violence.

“We help SAFE do that any way we can,” Courtney says. “This gives them the little break they need and helps them to feel beautiful.”

Radiant Beauty hosts a yearly styled photoshoot where 10 invited SAFE guests have their hair and makeup styled, with photos taken by Courtney’s sister-in-law, a professional photographer, “The par ticipating models receive a day of pam pering, beautiful photos, food, drinks and some great girl time,” says Courtney.

“My sincere hope, is to leave every one of our clients feeling worthy, empowered and inspired in some way. And I do believe we leave them feeling more confident than when we arrived. I absolutely love what I do.”

14 Fall 2022 Faces & Places es-to-abused-families-safe
Pampering, inside and out, is the name of the game for Radiant Beauty and Twist of Sugar
PHOTO BY MICHELLE ADKINS Radiant Beauty owners Courtney Ovando, right, and daughter Skyla believe they’ve found the secret recipe to making their clients feel special, from the inside out. Skyla and Courtney Ovando offer make-up, hair styling and, as a decadent and delicious surprise, Twist of Sugar’s sweet treats.

native of St. Kitts and Nevis, Taffae Cadeau moved to New York in 2000. She attended SUNY Binghamton, graduating nursing school in 2008 and becoming a certified family nurse practitioner with a concentration in rural health in 2010. She worked in a variety of clinical settings before relocating to Manassas in 2018, when she gained experience in primary care, urgent

and home

ments. On January 31, she opened the doors to Amore Care Health and Wellness in Remington. It is open for both scheduled

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. She

for house calls. She provides affordable,


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They called it social justice back in the day

The people’s court

The reputation one earns in his community has a signif icant effect how he is viewed, trusted and treated. This was clearly demonstrated in a so cial justice tar-and-feathering incident that occurred in Opal in January, 1920.

Those involved were Lloyd S. Johnson, a 50-year-old farmer, Miss Birdie V. Zirkle, 45, a public school teacher, and five local men.

All being from the same small community, it is almost certain they all knew each other before the incident.

Johnson, who was married and father of four, had sold two farms in the area, and served as the supervisor of

Dramatic headline from the Jan. 18, 1920 edition of the Alexandria Ga zette made no secret of Lloyd Johnson’s alleged reputation womanizing and looking in windows.

the Liberty Methodist Church Sunday School. He was known as “a hard worker who met his fi nancial obligations promptly,” accord ing to an account in the Alexandria Gazette, which covered the inci dent in its Jan. 18, 1920 edition.

some of his friends, but others found his claims offensive.

Old-fashioned terminology

The term, gay Lothario comes from a character in Nicholas Rowe’s “The Fair Penitent,” produced in 1703. Lothario was a wellknown seducer, and his name became synonymous with being a womanizer.

But Johnson was reported by others to be a “gay Lothario” who considered himself quite the ladies’ man who often boasted about his conquests. This titillated

Miss Birdie Zirkle was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Clay Zirkle, a highly re spected couple who owned a farm near Fauquier Springs. While teaching at the school at Opal, Miss Zirkle rent ed a second-floor room in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Harry J. Gilkerson.

There were many threads connecting the Johnsons and Miss Zirkle. Three of the Johnson children were pupils in Miss Zirkle’s class, and she and Mrs. John son were close friends. The Johnsons had been guests at the Clay Zirkle home.

On Jan. 8, 1920, Mrs. John son and her children were in Washington, D.C., visiting family. Lloyd decided to stay home.

At about 7 p.m., Johnson was observed by neighbors of the Gilkersons removing his boots and climbing up a stout pole leading to the porch out side of Miss Zirkle’s room.

As reported in an interview in the Gazette published Jan. 18, 1920, “I heard the man on the porch,” said Miss Zirkle, described in the story as a handsome woman with rich brown hair and keen hazel eyes. “I went to the door and at first could see only a shad owy figure. Then I saw it was Johnson. I was frightened in stantly at the thought of what people would say if they saw him there.

“Of course, I should have screamed at once for Mr. and Mrs. Gilkerson, but I was too excited to think connectedly

Tarring and feathering is a form of public torture and punishment used to enforce unofficial justice or revenge. It was used in feudal Europe and its colonies in the early modern period, as well as the early American frontier, mostly as a type of mob vengeance.

The victim would be held down and stripped naked. Wood tar, sometimes hot, was then poured or painted on the person while they were immobi lized. The victim was then rolled in a pile of feathers that would stick to the tar.

The image of a tarred-andfeathered outlaw remains meta phor for severe public criticism.

and I let him in,” she contin ued.”I thought perhaps he would say what he wanted and go. But he didn’t.”

It was reported in the inter view that Johnson was plan ning to divorce his wife, and had come to Zirkle’s room “to seek her advice on this sub ject.”

“At 10 o’clock I heard shots outside and shouts, then tramping of feet on the stairs and voices demanding John son,” said Miss Zirkle. “I was terrified beyond words, but the things these men said and the tone of their voices made me fear more for Johnson than I did for myself.”

She was confronted by lo cal farmers Turner Willis, Howard Johnson and Clifton Payne; C. B. Minefee, a local storekeeper; and Theodore Clark, 17, who had recently graduated from Miss Zirkle’s school.

For 20 minutes Miss Zirkle kept her door locked. She called out for Mrs. Gilkerson, but she would not come to her aid. “I asked that any two of the men could come in, but I would not unlock the door for the whole crowd,” said Miss Zirkle. “They hammered on the door with axes and said they were determined to get Johnson.

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Severe punishment meted out by friends and neighbors after a 1920 peeping Tom incident in Opal
See TAR & FEATHER, page 19

“Just promise me one thing – that you won’t kill him,” she said. “Finally, they promised that and then I opened the door.”

In the dim hallway Miss Zirkle saw the five men, the light gleaming on the barrels of their shotguns and revolv ers. Quickly, they grabbed Johnson and disappeared into the darkness. She recalled that one of the men was car rying a rope, and heard some one say, “Let’s kill him,” and the reply, “No, we promised we wouldn’t.”

A short distance from the house, the men whipped Johnson with hickory switch es. This was followed by a coat of tar and feathers, and the command to leave the area or face much worse. After spend ing the night at a nearby cabin where a black family helped clean him up, Johnson made it to Warrenton, where a doctor dressed the welts on his body.

Johnson spent the next day and the following night at the Warren Green Hotel before leaving Fauquier County for

ever. “It was said that Johnson went to a farm (in rural west ern Virginia) where he was found by his wife and chil dren,” according to the Gazette.


Interviewed by both the Alexandria Gazette and the Washington Star after the incident, assailants Howard Johnson and Clifton Payne were unapologetic and defi ant. Howard Johnson refused “…to say a word about this un til they summon me to court.” Payne asserted, “And I ain’t neither.”

When told that some War renton residents felt that an injustice had been commit ted and were going to involve the State’s Attorney, Johnson replied, “State’s Attorney or no State’s Attorney, that man ought to be glad he got away as cheaply as he did. If any other man comes into this commu nity and tries to behave like this, they’ll get the same that Johnson got, or worse.”

Lloyd Johnson could not be reached for comment.

Clay Zirkle was with his daughter when she was inter

Although the schoolhouse at Opal where Miss Zirkle taught was no longer in use when the 1936 county school insurance audit was con ducted, was nearly identical to the one at Goldvein.

viewed, and said her story was absolutely true. “Johnson was lucky to get off as he did,” said Zirkle. “ And he was luckier than he will be if I ever meet him.” It was said that Miss Zirkle had not returned to school since the incident, but she denied resigning.

Eventually, there was an investigation into the assault. “On presentation of the facts

by Commonwealth’s Attorney Morgan, the grand jury de clined to indict the five citizens who administered the hickory switches, tar and feathers. The severe treatment was given to Johnson as a result of a visit at night to the room of the young woman school teacher Miss Birdie Zirkle.”

Historians Larry and Lori Payne contributed to this story.

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Life & Style

You’re a star in my book …

Local astronomy clubs skyrocket in 2022

NASA’s Webb space telescope recent ly returned images from deep space and sparked renewed interest in a pastime as old as humankind – stargazing.

Northern Virginia Astronomy Club president Paul Severance says the group saw a huge increase in membership over the past two years as area residents found themselves with plenty of time for new hobbies.

“The club receives a lot of requests from scouts and high schools and other public groups to do star-gazing nights with them,” he says.

Chris Kagy says he’s been captivated by space since he was a kid. He’s from Ohio and says “Ohioans are very proud of their native astronauts, Neil Armstrong and John Glenn. I wasn’t (even) 4 when Apollo landed on the moon and raised during the space age and in high school during the space shuttle activity.”

Recently retired as a government con tractor in a non-space-related field, Kagy is happy to have found his local space community. “The internet makes it easy to find a community, but stargazing is an in-person activity,” he explains. “It’s won derful to be a part of a community of peo ple who share a fascination with space.”

Severance agrees. “The club brings people together in a unique way. It’s nice to just sit together and gaze at the stars.”

NOVAC members plan events around the new moon. “Not to exclude the moon, but it acts as a huge light bulb and wash es out star visibility,” Kagy explains.

NOVAC hosts monthly stargazing ob servation days at Crockett Park in Mid land and Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane.

Kagy and Severance both say they


were taken by the beauty of the Webb tel escope images from nearly 13 billion light years “in the past.”

“Seeing them made me pause and re flect,” Kagy says. “I wonder what else the

telescope would reveal in time. Each time a more distant image is released, they push the dawn of time further and fur ther back.”

Fall 2022 19Life & Style
• Redefining religion by taking a look back at the very beginnings of worship (hint - the forest plays a huge role)
• Get stoned for your next massage session - it’s what’s hot this season
PHOTO BY FRANK OLEY An almost surreal view of stars lights up the sky above Markham.

Keep the quilts in the closet

tor’s dream.

“Designing and decorating picnic areas is fun (and) cre ative. We use color combina tions, textures and overall am biance to make the experience one to remember.

Your quilt can remain fold ed, and your baskets stored.

The Warrenton Picnic Co. is redefining what a picnic looks like.

And what it looks like, says founder Kara Drinkwa ter, is somebody else bring ing the fun.

And the food.

From elegant tablescapes to lovely locally grown fresh flowers, from plump pillows to color-coded balloon dis plays over custom-created plates of food, each picnic has its unique feel. Warrenton Pic nic stylists know few limits with their creativity, providing

The Warrenton Picnic Co. can provide all the set-ups and even the food and fun for the most creative outdoor dining experience. Here, guests enjoy an adult girls’ ‘pajama brunch’ in an outdoor setting.

chargers, bamboo umbrella stands and arches, stringlight-adorned teepees for chil

Drinkwater formed the

Warrenton Picnic Co. in 2021. Since then, she’s allowed cli ents to enjoy fully planned and executed picnics.

They even clean up for you afterward.

“I knew I wanted to run my own business and focus on the event industry,” Drinkwater explains. “Visiting my sisterin-law in Florida last summer, she told me about a local com pany that creates picnics full of ambiance.

“I thought it was a great idea and wanted to bring it to Warrenton.”

Drinkwater spent 15 years working as an art teacher for elementary through high school students and now man ages the Institute for the Arts program for Fairfax County.

Catlett resident Tina Bridges surprised her hus band for their 27th wedding anniversary. “I could not have been more impressed by the beautiful simplicity of our picnic,” Bridges says. “From the gorgeous set-up, delicious food and beautiful setting, our whole experience was perfect.”

Stylist Lynsey Brubaker says the spaces the company uses for picnic experiences allows them “to work with a blank canvas – every crea

“Watching their reactions when they first see their pic nic set-up is the best. Details count, and our clients are al ways so appreciative of the ex tras we incorporate.”

One of her favorite picnics was in a Warrenton home. Brubaker says the client planned a picnic for her teen age daughter’s birthday, but it was too cold to have it out side. They let Brubaker create a cozy space in the sunroom, by the fireplace. “It made the warmest and most inviting space for her daughter and guests,” Brubaker recalls. “From the textured, comfy pillows to the s’mores kit, this picnic remains one of my fa vorites to this day.”

No matter the season, the Warrenton Picnic Co. has the inventory to create an inti mate picnic rich with textures, colors and design elements at various price-points. Add-on options include beverage and meal and dessert service, even a pup package with treats, wa ter and a plush bed for your dog.

A half swag of balloons en hances every celebration.

Drinkwater often uses a 16-foot cotton bell tent that can host sleepovers for both children and adults. She has a classic “bubble” to use in cool er weather and luxe teepees that are popular for children’s birthday parties.

Picnic locations are as var ied as the experiences them selves. From private residenc es to Death Ridge Brewery, and Pearmund Winery, from Rady Park to Wollam Gar dens, Drinkwater says they can find a venue that meets every interest.

Prices start at $185 for a three-hour picnic for two peo ple.

20 Fall 2022 Life & Style
Warrenton Picnic has got everything you need for outdoor dining
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Enlightened Styles, for everything that makes beauty beautiful

Local entrepreneur refocuses her talents on wellness

Bringing beauty to the peo ple was Jacquelyn Rodriguez’s vision when she opened En lightened Styles more than a decade ago. A cosmetologist for 23 years, she opened a mobile salon in 2011 to bring beauty directly to her customers.

She initially had offered hair, makeup and waxing ser vices to friends throughout Northern Virginia.

But Rodriguez eventually saw the venture as more than that. Her vision expanded to move beyond exterior beauty; she began educating an expand ing client base about an all-en compassing healthy lifestyle.

That holistic plan proved larger than her four wheels could take her.

With a growing clientele and a passion to manifest her vision, Rodriguez put the brakes on the mobile sa lon and settled into a suite in

downtown Warrenton.

In 2016, Rodriguez extend ed her offerings to include an expanded line of healing mo dalities. She brought on more team members and moved her salon, Enlightened Styles, to its current location at 110 West Shirley Ave.

Aside from being a hair stylist and makeup artist, Ro driguez is a certified Neuro Coach and Energy Healer, “I wanted my salon to be a very different experience and it is my mission to spread clean, holistic beauty, health and relaxation to everyone,” says Rodriguez.

Clients are immersed in a luxurious experience for the

Specialized treatments for relaxation and healing

• Crown detox: A mind and body detox experience in which the client’s hair is deeply cleansed and the scalp exfoliated along with a head and neck massage.

Rodriguez explains that the top of the head is the crown chakra, which is the connection to everything outside of a person. Reiki, en ergy healing and the use of crystals help with focus and a clear mind without negative thoughts.

• Reiki: This specialized energy work is part of a holistic approach said to improve sleep, bring better focus and concentration, a sense of calm, balance and harmony and reduce pain, inflamma tion, stress and anxiety.

• Hydro ayurvedic: A gentle flow of water on the crown of the head helps release stress. A blend of oils and aromatherapy are used in the treatment, as well as warm towels placed around the neck. A crystal mask is also used.

• Frequency healing: Frequencies are used to raise the vibration in the body at the basic cell level. Rodriguez says certain vibra tions impact physical as well as mental health. Technology and machines are used to create the frequencies.

Akashic records: This ancient practice is said to be one’s “soul book” and is much like Reiki, but at a different level. The premise is that if someone is searching for their path or purpose in life, or is confused about a situation, this healing method is used in conjunction with coaching to bring healing energy and balance to thoughts. It is believed to help get to the roots of the thoughts that may have been cemented early in life. It helps align energy with new thoughts and rewiring.

• Aromatherapy: Essential oils are infused or massaged into the skin. Different oils, extracted from various plants, are used for pain relief, mood improvement, for cognitive function and relaxation.

Meet the En lightened Styles team - Greer Etchebarne, left, owner Jacque lyn Rodriguez, Stephanie Young and Heidi Lyons.

body, mind and spirit the mo ment they arrive. Each stylist is trained in multiple services to better provide guests with a consistent overall healing ex perience.

Rodriguez says she founded her business on principles of self-care: “It’s a vital part of an all-around healthy lifestyle.”

Rodriguez says she wants the atmosphere of tranquility to be as healing to her employees as it is to her clients. “My main mission was to provide a space where we all get to live the ho listic lifestyle,” she explains.

Guests are greeted with aromatherapy, warm towels,

sparkling waters, hot teas, a quiet space to decompress and plenty of one-on-one time with a team member. Every guest’s time is a very personalized ex perience, says Rodriguez.

Clients are also educated on how to maintain their selfcare routine and encouraged to continue taking time for themselves. even at home. “We are heavy into education for clients to adopt a holistic liv ing lifestyle,” says Rodriguez. Sometimes it’s something as simple as “we want them to check in with themselves and just take a breath.

“Focusing on self-care when we are so overstimu lated is vital.”

Future additions include Tibetan metal bowls and crys tal singing bowls, with guided meditation and sound healing. Sound healing uses crystals and tuning forks to open up chakras. Some clients say they feel warmth, others report sensations of tingling; some just feel “peace.”

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Celebrating religion’s early origins

A universal harvest theme resounds

Take a walk in the local woods to feel the spirit of nature shining through.

The world’s diverse cul tures and traditions share remarkable similarities. At their hearts, they are early mankind’s search for the most basic understanding of exis tence: What are the purposes and promises of life on this earth?

Fulfillment of one is thought to lead directly to reaping the other. Since the beginning of civilization, hu mans have sought divine help, or the ancient lessons of na ture, to learn the way.

Ever since the first person looked around and wondered, “What’s the point of all this?” humans have instinctively looked for patterns in nature to help us navigate the un known and make sense of it. Survival depended on doing it successfully, so society got pretty good at it.

It became quickly evident that the connection between nature and nurture was no mat ter of scholarly debate. Without nature, there was no nurture at all. Nature became holy.

For millennia, humanity in vested aspects of nature with divine powers. Every culture developed its own gods and goddesses representing needs unique to the culture’s means of survival. Everywhere, plen tiful food and secure shelter were the fundamental gifts of these divine ones, so every culture had its own festivals to ensure their gods’ favor and at the end of a good harvest, thanksgiving.

As time progressed and so cieties became more sophisti cated, nature-based religions were joined by those based upon a single, all-powerful de ity. The shift was not fast nor was it ever clean. The move ment of people into towns and

cities helped fortify the shift to monotheism, though people sometimes longed for the lives they left behind in the coun tryside.

Early Christian missionar ies in pagan territories made a point of incorporating old traditions into the rituals of the new religion to ease its acceptance. Ancient goddesses became saints. Their sacred healing springs are still the fo cus of the beautiful well-bless ing services conducted by the vicars of village churches throughout England.

Practitioners of many re ligions today use symbols of ancient pagan harvest festi vals, like sheaves of wheat, carved gourds and cornuco pia (“horns of plenty”) at their Thanksgiving feasts. These are still universal symbols, part of the pattern of nature.

Even more dramatically during the coming Christmas season, they might use sprigs of holly, antlers, evergreen boughs and cut trees, or even a Yule log, whether a real one in the fireplace or the choco late cake version. All are an cient pagan symbols of surviv al and hope for the coming of spring, when another round of pagan symbolism shows up in Christian homes in the form of eggs, sweets and bunnies.

Right here in Fauquier County, communities of peo ple continue to practice old re ligions, seeking lessons in the rhythms of nature that will help them face the demands of modern civilization. The best known is probably Samhain, when ancestors and their cul tures are honored and prepa rations made for the coming winter. Whether gathering around bonfires or meditating privately at home, modern so ciety often uses the autumn of the year to increase their com mitment to charitable work in the larger community, sharing their harvests or helping oth ers to gather theirs.

Autumn is a vibrant time of year devoted to family ac tivities, many of which would be familiar to people who lived in Europe thousands of years before the first Chris tians preached to them. Most focus on Thanksgiving, but there is also the Blessing of the Animals in many parishes. St. James Episcopal Church in Warrenton hosts a work shop on Celtic wisdom – “The School of Earth and Soul.”

Joseph Washington, trust ee of the First Baptist Church of Warrenton, recalls that when COVID prevented of fering meals to people at the church, meals went to the peo ple. “Ministries at the church would donate large wicker baskets, the type used for picking apples, and fill them with all the fixings for a full meal,” he says. “Thanksgiving is a mindset. Each day you have is a gift to be opened.”

The Jewish holiday of Suk kot commemorates 40 years spent in the desert after es

caping enslavement in Egypt. Corn, wheat and pumpkins are familiar symbols of the season. Laurie Denker Mac Naughton, member of the Fau quier Jewish Congregation, says that “despite our efforts, despite our endeavors, despite good intentions and our most devout labors, without thank fulness we cannot appreciate the bounteous gifts of life.”

In late autumn, Sikhs and Hindus observe Diwali, a fiveday festival of lights symboliz ing good overcoming evil.

The Muslim harvest day of Eid-al-Fitr is based on the story of Abraham. It is less a celebration of physical har vest than of reaping the divine reward of doing good. Like other autumn celebrations, it involves sharing food with friends and family.

The Chinese mid-autumn custom of offering “moon cakes” and other delicacies to the Goddess of the Moon un der the night sky is seven cen turies old.

24 Fall 2022 Life & Style
PHOTO BY RICHARD STROMBERG The forest has symbolized seasonal change for as long as recorded history.

More than relaxing Massage therapy promotes wellness, say proponents

Massage might feel good, but that’s not the only benefit it offers.

The physical, emotional and spiritual benefits of mas sage are many, say practi tioners and clients.

Proponents say that mas sage can reverse the damaging effects of stress; lower blood pressure; offer relief from ar thritis; increase pulmonary function for those with asth ma and other conditions; calm those with autism; enhance attentiveness for those with ADHD; aid those with chron ic fatigue syndrome; reduce muscle and joint pain for fi bromyalgia sufferers; improve range of motion after surgery; decrease diastolic blood pres sure related to hypertension; help reduce pain from mi graines; assist with sleep dis orders; improve circulation and immune function; assist with weight loss, and provide relief from fatigue and more.

• The most common and basic of massage therapies is referred to as “Swedish Massage.” Most any oth er therapy is an altered or enhanced extension of this basic Swedish massage.

Swedish massage is a com bination of relaxing and nurturing modalities, such as kneading, stroking and

Hot stone massage – What is it?

In its purest form, and before chic hot stone massage arrived in spas, this technique’s roots trace back to India. Heated rocks were also used in Egypt, China, Greece and Italy for a healing touch, both physical and spiritual.

Native Americans believed hot stones cleansed the spirit, and Hawaiian tribes used it to relieve pain.

Three local massage therapists regularly use the ancient therapy, with a modern twist.

inFauquier: For someone who has never had a hot stone massage, what can you expect?

Stephanie Donaldson (owner of Revive to Thrive in The Plains): Hot stones were used in India approximately 5,000 years ago, called Ayurveda. (Today), the client having a hot stone massage can expect to experience improved health and relaxation.

Rebekah Fleming (owner of Warrenton Massage): Hot stone can be a nice therapeutic add-on to a massage, and something to consider espe cially in the cold winter months. To prepare for a massage, I tell clients to hydrate before (and after).

Robyn Jarvis (owner, Mountain Stone Massage in Marshall): Hot stone massage is a mesmerizing and deeply rejuvenating treatment. The client may feel It takes longer to recover from a hot stone massage because of how dramatically the body systems are affected.

INF: What types of stones are used?

SD: The stones are usually made of basalt; a type of volcanic rock that retains heat; you can also use smooth river rocks. Stones are heated between 130 to 145 degrees in water or a towel warmer.

RF: I use smooth, flat basalt stones. I do a lot by feeling, if they are too hot for my hands, then I consider them too hot for my clients.

RJ: As part of Sacred Stone Medicine training, we use smooth basalt stones for hot and warm tem peratures. River rocks are used for placement stones due to their rough texture.

For cool and cold treatments, we use gemstones such as polished marble, quartz, jade and amethyst.

We heat the stones in a water bath with regular temperature checks.

Traditional treatments used tumbled stones from the riverbank warmed by the sun and cooled by the creek.

INF: What kind of “massage”?

SD: I choose the stones by size and weight, then I cup the stones in my hand and move them along to heat the soft tissue. (This) causes tense muscles to relax and relieves related pain. I also place them along the spine.

RF: Whether I use Swedish or deep tissue mas sage techniques, I incorporate the stones and move up, down or in circular motions throughout the mas sage. It’s soothing and my clients often fall asleep.

RJ: We incorporate a gentle clicking of the stones which provides a piezoelectric effect hitting deep lay ers of untouchable fascia. One stroke with a hot stone is said to equate to more than 10 strokes with a hand.

As a certified Inyan Mani–Stone Walker of Santee Dakota Sioux teachings, I believe in using hot basalt stones to work the muscles deeply. Then I tuck them along the body to hold in heat and provide comfort and reconnection to the earth.

Stones are used on trig ger points and to soften very dense tissues. Cooler stones … (stimulate) the lymphatic system when used in conjunction with hot stones.

INF: What are the special benefits over regular massage?

SD: It helps release tight fascia, which can cause restric tions in the tissue and in muscle movement.

RF: It increases blood flow, targeting and addressing specific areas of challenge. It brings relaxation quicker (and gives) an extra depth of relaxation.

RJ: Incorporating hot stones into your massage will give you lasting results. The heat allows the practitioner to work deeply and efficiently without the dramatic pain response.

Using various temperatures, specific pressure and vibrations will deeply relieve stress, stimulate circulation, aid inflammation, alleviate pain, support detoxification, improve lymphatic drainage and provide a direct reconnection with nature.

(This) therapy is great for anyone who struggles to relax in our overly busy modern life. If someone is not used to hands-on therapies, the stones can provide a comfortable introduction to receiving bodywork.

What’s your pleasure?

Learn the different types of massage to steer you to the right one: In addition to hot stone massage, try:

Sports massage

Relieves muscle aches and pains and increases flexibility and range of motion. The modality uses a variety of techniques that focus on correcting imbalances created by strenuous exercise or ath letic activity. Most of what is done through sports massage is manipulating the soft tissue, focusing

on the fascia, tendons and ligaments.

Thai massage

More of an energizing and rigorous massage. The therapist may apply muscle compression on various body parts to relieve stress, as well as facilitate yoga stretches for the client so all they have to do is relax. The therapist may also use acupressure during the massage.

Shiatsu massage

Similar in some ways to Thai massage, shiatsu

massage may also involve the knuckles, elbows, feet and knees of the therapist as part of the treatment. But mainly, it lives up to its name’s translation, “finger pressure,” as the therapist applies pressure on different meridi an points in the body to release tension. The massage is useful in getting muscles to loosen and bring blood flow into them. This ancient Japanese technique is also believed to free blockages to energy flow, their Ki or Qi (pronounced “chee”).

Fall 2022 25Life & Style
See MASSAGE, page 26
PHOTO BY JULIE AND ALBERT VAN JAARSVELD Mountain Stone Massage owner, Robyn Jarvis

percussion. Swedish massage is the beginning point from where most massage thera pies and techniques blossom. A full body massage incorpo rates work on the arms, legs, hands, feet, back, head, neck, shoulders and face.

• Aromatherapy massage sim ply adds concentrated essen tial oils to the massage oil. Essential oils are pure oils distilled or expressed from a plant’s flowers, stem, fruit peel, seeds, bark, roots or resin. These give a plant its fragrance and contain the plant’s most valuable thera peutic and nutritional qual ities in concentrated form. Many essential oils are the active ingredients in pre scribed medications, cos metics and perfumes.

• Deep tissue massage is a firmer massage for those experiencing sore and tight muscles.

Deep tissue massage refers to the concentrated pressure a therapist uses to address specific painful points or tight muscles. Therapists use

their fingers, forearms or el bows, along with their body weight, to apply the pressure needed to flatten, lengthen and stretch muscle groups. While Swedish massage fo cuses on superficial muscles, deep tissue reaches medial and deep layers of muscle. Because of the intensity of this massage, it is not recom mended for first-time mas sage clients, and will not be used on pregnant women.

• Hot stone therapy is where heated stones are placed on your body and then used for massaging muscles. Heat from the stones warms soft tissue so that it relaxes and becomes more pliable during the massage. Even people who enjoy the bene fits of massage regularly are surprised by the added deep relaxation they experience during a hot stone session. Stones are heated to a cli ent’s comfort level.

• Pregnancy massage is de signed to relieve the muscle aches, anxiety and fatigue that often accompany being pregnant.

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26 Fall 2022 Life & Style I can help make your dreams come true You are the reason for my success. Thanks to all. Let me help you with all of your real estate needs. Call for a Free Market Analysis
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MASSAGE, from page 25

Fare & Flair


It’s time to roll up your sleeves, head to the kitchen and get your ingredients to gether: It’s pumpkin season, the time for pumpkins in all their different sizes and shapes for autumn dining indulgences.

Fall’s showcase — pumpkin is classi fied as a fruit — is of course the humble, round, orange gourd that everybody rec ognizes as the autumn’s signature.

Pumpkins can go from the front porch to the first course, from a decorative array by your mailbox to a lightly sweet, creamy pie on your dessert fork. Carve a funny face into it or peel, slice, spice and roast for a sa vory side that suits almost every main dish.

The place pumpkin most shines, sur prisingly, is in the kitchen. From soup and frittatas to muffins and classic pumpkin pie, consider the versatility of this North American native.

Pumpkin is one of few menu items that can, literally, go from breakfast and brunch to lunch and tea-time snacks, to a side dish fit for a gourmet meal at dinner. Pumpkins feature as desserts too, from casual and quick to elegant and impressive.

There are at least 45 different varieties of pumpkin. According to a University of California study, American farmers pro duce 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins annu ally, most of them timed and planted to be ripe for picking in October. Home garden ers can plant their own pumpkins – they’re super easy to grow, but pay close attention to production dates on the seed packet if you’re looking for a holiday harvest.

And make sure to plant the correct variety. If you’re wanting big pumpkins to carve and for display, choose the slow er-to-mature classic pumpkins; if you want to cook with pumpkin, select the sugar baby variety or similar, smaller fruits.

National Pumpkin Day is celebrated Oct. 26.

Fall 2022 27Fare & Flair
It’s got all the spice and everything nice for autumn
Breweries change flavors for fall
Homemade (maybe homegrown!) fig bars are a hit this time of year
Fresh salad makes an autumn comebacktaste test yours today
Sugar baby pumpkins are small and made for roasting for sweet or savory dishes rather than
for carving.
Pumped up for pumpkin season
– Our menu takes you, literally, from start to finish with our favorite fall gourd
See RECIPES, page 32

Pumpkin nut loaf

Local home chef Julie Cardillo shares this family recipe saying, “My mom and grandma, both, took credit for the recipe. Every time I’ve made it and given it away, the recipient has always said it’s the best they’ve ever had.”


Serves 6

• 1 ½ cups flour

• 1 teaspoon baking powder

• 1 teaspoon cinnamon

• 1 teaspoon baking soda

• ¾ teaspoon salt

• ½ teaspoon cloves

• ½ teaspoon nutmeg

• ½ teaspoon allspice

• 1 egg

• 1 cup white sugar

• 1 cup pumpkin purée (canned or homegrown, roasted and mashed sugar baby)

• ¼ cup milk

• ¼ cup oil

• ½ cup chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9- x 5-inch loaf pan.

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Blend the egg, sugar, pumpkin purée, milk and oil in a separate bowl.

Gradually add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Fold in the nuts. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan.

Bake for one hour or until tester comes out clean. Cool before slicing.

Pumpkin frittata

Pumpkin cheesecake

This version uses Swedish ginger cookies, but other choices are gingersnaps or graham crackers. Be sure to use a 9-inch springform pan and to prepare this two days before serving so that it has the time to set firmly.


Serves 6 to 8 Crust

• ½ cup melted unsalted butter

• 1½ to 2 cups crushed ginger cookies or gingersnaps

• ½ to ¾ cup toasted slivered almonds


Two 8-ounce packages cream

cheese at room temperature

• ¾ cup light brown sugar

• 5 large eggs

• 1 ½ cups pumpkin purée (canned or homegrown, roasted and mashed sugar baby)

• ½ cup heavy cream

• 1/3 cup sour cream

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare the crust, combine all ingredients and press firmly down and up the sides in the baking pan.

Bake for 10 minutes and remove from the oven. Set aside to cool.

To prepare the filling, in a large

bowl combine the cream cheese and brown sugar and blend together on low speed. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition. Add the pumpkin purée, heavy cream, sour cream, vanilla extract, and cinna mon, and blend until completely smooth with no lumps remaining. Pour this mixture into the pie shell. Bake for about half an hour, or until the center is almost firm. Turn of the heat and cool the cake in the oven for one hour. Remove from the oven, cover with foil, and refrigerate. Before serving, remove from the refrigerator about one hour before slicing.

Pumpkin waffles

Waffles are great for casual family breakfasts, lunches or even dinners. Serve the waffles with maple syrup. For an extra pumpkin crunch, sprinkle the waf fles with pumpkin seeds before serving.


Serves 4 to 6, depending on size of waffle iron

• 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

• 2 teaspoons baking powder

Pumpkin-coconut soup

This unique soup has an Asian kick and comes together quickly. To increase flavor, sprinkle chopped candied ginger on top when serving.

Ingredients Serves 4

• One 15-ounce can pumpkin purée (or two cups homegrown, homemade sugar baby pumpkin, roasted and mashed)

• One 13.5-ounce can coconut milk

• 2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

• 2 teaspoons curry powder

• Salt and freshly ground black

This hearty dish works well as a breakfast or brunch offering on any fall day, or even as a light main for a formal Thanksgiving lunch. What gives it character is the Latino seasoning.


Serves 6

• 8 large eggs

• 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

• 1 cup pumpkin purée (canned or roasted, mashed homegrown sugar baby)

• 1 teaspoon adobo or other Mexican seasoning, or more to taste

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 cup cubed zucchini

pepper to taste

• ½ cup pumpkin seeds

• 7 to 10 pieces candied ginger or more to taste, chopped


Combine the pumpkin purée and coconut milk in a large saucepan and stir until well blended. Stir in the grated ginger and curry powder and heat the mixture over medium heat. Remove from the heat and season the soup with salt and pepper. Stir in the pumpkin seeds. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and garnish with chopped ginger.

• 1 cup cubed red bell pepper

• 1 cup cubed yellow bell pepper

• ½ cup pumpkin seeds


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cheese, pumpkin purée, adobo, salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a 10- to 12-inch skillet over me dium heat. Add the vegetables and cook, stirring, until softened. Stir in the pumpkin seeds. Pour in the egg-cheese mixture and stir constantly until the cheese melts and the mixture thickens.

Transfer to the oven and bake until the center is firm, and the frittata is slightly golden. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool before slicing.

• 1 teaspoon baking soda

• 2 to 3 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• ½ teaspoon salt

• 1 ½ cups buttermilk

• 1 cup pumpkin purée (canned or homegrown, roasted and mashed sugar baby)

• 1 cup dried cranberries

• 8 ounces butter, melted and cooled

• 2 large eggs

• ¼ cup brown sugar


Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set the bowl aside.

In a separate bowl, gently fold together the buttermilk, pumpkin purée, dried cranberries, butter, eggs and brown sugar until well combined. Pour these into the flour mixture and stir until com pletely combined. Set aside. Heat the waffle iron until hot.

If needed, lightly spray the surface with cooking spray or coat with butter.

Spoon the batter in, leaving a border around the edges. Cook the batter for 4 to 5 minutes, or until golden. Repeat with the remaining batter.

28 Fall 2022 Fare & Flair RECIPES, from page 31


Fall 2022 29
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Autumn is for ales

The arrival of fall to the Piedmont heralds waning au tumn days.

It is a time to shift gears and adjust to a slower pace that follows the hustle and bustle of summer but that pre dates the hardships of winter and the ramping-up of spring.

Think of fall as a soft sigh, settling into a comfortable chair on a porch with a view, plenty of time to take in the scenery and enjoy companions and cocktails.

Fortunately for Fauquier, there’s lots to go around.

The lingering afternoons of autumn are the perfect time to cozy up at a local distillery, winery or brewery and appre ciate the beauty of our area as you enjoy a few rounds of hand-crafted beer with friends and family.

You don’t have to travel very far to catch a beautiful sunset while enjoying a regular lineup of live music on an outdoor stage. Death Ridge Brewery is just minutes outside of War renton and yet seems worlds away. Sweeping views and plenty of spots to sit in and around the taphouse barn make it easy to linger all day.

Plus, the Death Ridge beer menu offers lots of variety for any palette.

“Black Powder Stout” is a well-balanced example of the style, offering hints of choc olate and coffee on the finish and a low ABV of just 4.9%, making this an easy beer to enjoy all afternoon.

Another, “Great Wagon Road” uses flaked oats and wheat to create a delicately smooth IPA with bursts of mango and coconut on the front and back ends, with an underlying taste of pine that highlights the delicious com bination of hops in the blend.

If you are looking to en joy a scenic drive and take in some fall foliage, head west to Sperryville and visit Hopkins Ordinary Bed and Breakfast Aleworks. As the name im plies, this is a historic bed in breakfast right in town with a cozy pub in the basement and a well-appointed beer garden out back. They brew all of their own beer at Hopkins, and the quality has earned lo cal and regional regard.

Grab a seat under one of the towering trees in the yard and relax with a pint of “Mary’s Rauch.” Officially called a smoke honey rye ale, this intriguing combination was inspired by the smoked (rauch) beers hailing from the medieval Bavarian town of Bamberg, Germany.

Before you give it a pass, don’t be put off by the idea of a smoked beer. The flavors are subtle and well balanced, and they pair nicely with a variety of breads and cheeses that you

can purchase at the brewery and make up your own plate at home.

If you prefer your rye with out the smoke, be sure to taste “Kaiser Run Imperial Rye” which has a spicy aftertaste and clean mouth-feel.

Another attainable local road trip would be a drive up north to More Better Restaurant and Beer Garden in Round Hill. This is an ex pansive indoor-outdoor space with plenty of picnic tables for friends and family.

The beer and food menu skews decidedly German, a perfect combination for the Oktoberfest time of year. The beer menu highlights some of the best brews from Germa ny, with standouts including Tucher’s “Helles Hefewiz en” and Aventinus’ “Weizen Doppelbock.” Both of these beers are rarely found on tap anywhere outside of Bavar ia, which makes them worth seeking out locally.

Aventinus suits a relaxing fall afternoon, given its ex pert balance of roasted malts, plums, hints of bananas and even licorice. This is the old est wheat doppelbock in the world and is consistently rat ed number one in the category.

Granted, the name is a mouthful, but basically means it’s a strong wheat beer, clock ing in at 8.2% ABV. Some nat ural pairings from the menu include More Better’s well-re garded bratwurst sandwich and their house-made curry wurst.

The next door Hill High Marketplace offers the same beers at retail prices. You would be hard pressed to find a better selection of canned and bottled beer from around the country, and around the world, anywhere in Northern Virginia.

The fire pits at Lost Barrel Brewing in Middleburg are among the draws for a fall afternoon. With multiple out door areas and an extensive food menu for adults and chil dren, this is a place to park and stay a while.

The brewery offers a wide variety of beer, hard seltzers, wine and even flights of fro zen cocktails for the non-beer drinkers in your group. One of Lost Barrel’s most innovative – and popular – offerings are their “popsicle drinks” which are a combination of popsicles and hard seltzer.

With so many beers avail able it might be hard to choose, but you can’t go wrong with their “Farm Ale” or “Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout. Farm Ale is a traditional Belgian-style farmhouse ale which has a spicy finish. It is a great sip ping beer to enjoy all day.

Farm Ale deservedly won a gold medal at the Virginia Craft Beer Cup in 2021.

Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout is a silky smooth Imperial Stout with creamy notes of bourbon and coffee that are deeply complex.

https://www.deathridge http://www.hopkinsordi https://www.morebetter

30 Fall 2022 Fare & Flair
So many local selections, take your time to discover Fauquier beer favorites
COURTESY PHOTO The author toasts the change of season which means heartier ales and stronger stouts among local brewery offerings.

What’s better than home-grown autumn greens to start your plot to plate meal?

Notch it up to hyper-local for this season’s salads

The Piedmont region’s usu ally moderate fall weather and highly productive garden soil is a perfect pair for an autumn planting of kale, chard or oth er salad greens. Your palette can thank you later.

Sew seeds direct into beds va cated by beans, squash or summer corn. Alternatively, start afresh, filling a gener ously sized ceramic planter with soil (put gravel in the bottom for drainage) and grow greens on your patio. Bring plants inside when a hard frost or freeze is fore case to extend the freshgrown season for weeks.

• Spring greens: They’re not just for spring – all varieties of lettuce love the autumn growing conditions here in Zone 6-7. Pick them young to use as baby greens, or let them grow for a bigger lat er harvest.

• Kale: Use young kale leaves as you pick them – the ribs are soft and edible when young, but if you’re har vesting from mature plants sewn earlier this year, strip kale from the fibrous ribs. You can tenderize large kale leaves by massaging them with oil and saltdipped fingers as you tear them into bite-sized pieces. Use them raw or flash-cook in a saute pan.

• Swiss chard: Tear chard into bite-sized pieces and use raw or lightly cook to tenderize. You can snip chard ribs into pea-sized bits and flash-stirfry them in a dash of oil to use as a colorful, flavorful fall salad topper. Sprinkle with salt or minced herbs of your choice, or add a diced garlic clove.

• Get creative with fall sal

ad greens: Use beet greens, young spinach, pea shoots if you made a fall plant ing, snipped collard greens, tender parsnip tops or any young green, to add dimen sion to texture and flavor.

Remember, if you’re using your salad as a first course, keep it simple. Colorful greens tossed with dressing with a single, signature top per (like homemade crou tons or toasted pumpkin seeds) is enough as a start er. You can easily add other ingredients to make the fall salad into a full meal.

• Add walnuts (locally har vested or store-bought), roasted peanuts (local are best), pinenuts or pecans. Lightly toss with olive oil and toast briefly in a 350-degree oven to height en flavor.

• Add a sweet touch with dried cranberries, raisins, snipped grapes or cher ries, or whole fresh berries saved from the garden or from the farmers market (or store-bought.)

• Add any vegetables you have on hand, homegrown or store-bought. Marinated, canned artichoke hearts, olives or pickled beans or cucumbers add a new flavor dimension.

• Other fall crops like brocco li, cauliflower or late-season tomatoes can be chopped and added to your salad for color and flavor.

planting of garden greens extends your fresh harvest season to virtual ly year-round if you time it right. Some greens even over-winter in the Piedmont, including chard, kale and some hardier lettuce varietals.

• Local goat cheese or chevre can be diced or shredded on top, or shred your fa vorite homemade or storebought topper.

• Homegrown, oven-dried pumpkin or sunflower seeds add a salty crunch, and both summer crops are easy to grow.

• To make it into a supper

dish, add cooked quinoa or brown rice.

• Local or store-bought ba con makes another tasty topper, or dice any cooked meat that suits your palate.

• Home-toasted croutons (go all the way homemade and bake your own bread for dicing into twice-baked salad toppers) dress up any dish.

• Homemade creamy bal samic dressing makes an excellent topping – make it hyper-local and use home made yogurt and mayo with homegrown dried herbs if you can: Mix 1/4 cup bal samic vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup plain yogurt, ¼ cup mayo, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon honey (local), 1 garlic clove, minced, 1/2 teaspoon dried garden herbs (oregano, bas il, thyme, etc.), 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Fall 2022 31Fare & Flair
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Figs are a delicate, precious, symbol of the season

producing the fig-filled, cake-like cookies in 1891.

Home chefs are encour aged to try to make their own fig bars, reminiscent of storebought Fig Newtons, this fall season when the delicate produce is in season. Notch it up and – with a little extra gardening skill, and luck, in 6-7 – make it homemade and homegrown.

Figs can be tricky to grow in Fauquier, but plenty of area gardeners prove it can be done.

The first Fig Newtons were invented by Ohio cookie baker Charles Roser. He turned an accident – the story goes that he slipped and dropped a ripe fig into cookie batter – into a delicious victory.

Roser sold the proprietary recipe to Kennedy Biscuit Co., now Nabisco, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They began

An in stant hit, the cookies were named af ter Newton, a city near Boston.

In 2001, Nabisco dropped the word “fig” from the cookie’s name. Like prunes, figs have come to be associated with elderly people and a perceived laxative effect.

The notoriously fickle Pied mont weather makes growing figs more of a challenge, but with the right conditions, you can succeed. Many fig varietals are marginal to overwinter in northern Virginia. In a harsh winter, the small trees tend

to die all the way back to the ground.

Though they tend to grow back from the roots, the plant often doesn’t have enough time in the fivemonth grow ing season to replenish foliage and set and ripen fruit.

Some south-facing fig trees, protected by build ings or in the lee of a hill, prove the warning wrong. If

Homemade fig bars

Don’t cut these until after they are baked. This keeps the edges nice and moist.

Ingredients Dough

8 tablespoons butter, softened ¼ cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon orange zest

1 cup all-purpose flour (divided) ¾ cup whole wheat flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

Fig filling

5-6 ripe figs or 6 ounces dried figs (or a combination of both)

¼ cup water

2 tablespoons orange juice

1⁄8 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons honey Instructions

For the dough, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy using an electric mixer, 2 minutes. Beat in the egg, vanilla and orange zest until well combined.

Add 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until a soft dough forms, adding the remaining 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour as needed to bring the dough togeth er. Hand-shape the dough into a ball. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour. For the filling, while the dough is chilling, place the figs, water,

you’re lucky enough to have a producing fig tree, or a friend with one, harvest the tender fruits as they ripen for eating fresh, then bring in all the ma ture fruits in October before frost. Fruit can be picked be fore it is fully ripe for complet ing the process in a paper bag with an apple to produce the ethylene gas that’s required for ripening.

You can substitute storebought fresh figs for the fill ing, or use a combination of homegrown and store-bought. Dried figs can be used, or you can just use fig jam or fig pre serves for the thin fig layer between cookie-cake crust lay ers.

orange juice and cinnamon in a small saucepan. Cover and sim mer over low heat for 10 minutes.

Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of your food processor. Add the honey and blend until a thick paste forms.

Preheat the oven to 325.

Line a large baking tray with a baking mat or parchment paper. On a floured surface, roll the chilled dough into a 10 by 14 rec tangle. Use a knife or pizza cutter to make the outer edges even. Cut the dough lengthwise into three strips, roughly 3.5 inches x 14 inches.

Divide the fig mixture between each strip of dough, forming it into a line down the center of each strip. Press the filling to one-inch wide. Fold each edge of dough over the top of the fig paste to form a log. Press the top to seal the dough slightly.

Place the logs, seam side down, onto the baking sheet. Space about 2 inches apart.

Bake 17-20 minutes, until the logs feel dry and slightly firm when touched. Remove from the oven and cut each log into eight or nine cookies while they are still warm.

While still warm, place the cut cookies into an airtight container to soften the cookies as they cool. This gives your homemade cookies the same mouth-feel as store bought fig bars.

32 Fall 2022 Fare & Flair
NMLS #456965 800.919.FARM (3276)
Homegrown or store bought figs are the stars of the show in our homemade ‘Fig Newton’ recipe
Fall 2022 33

Home, sweet (away from) Home

perfectly perfect, invitation, I felt like I was completing the holy trinity.

I’d spent time in Virginia’s Piedmont during the 1960s, so I was no stranger to the beautiful region and all its sell ing points. I was the occasional guest of a Clarke County family with whom I spent time riding, foxhunting and spectating at horse shows and steeple chases.

It was fun, but school and life and career had gotten in the way of me going too far from my New York City home for many, many years. I remembered I loved Virginia’s horse country and knew I wanted to go back, someday.

When I met fellow writer-editor Nor man Fine at a 2003 equestrian journalists’ conference, I got my chance to return, to to take up it a notch.

Norm urged me to come visit, renew my affiliation with what most consider the best horse country in the nation, and, while I was at it, play to my two other great loves – fishing and music.

“I’ve a lovely horse for you to ride,” Norman said, pointing out that there was also great fishing and lots of music. “You’ll love it.”

I was all set to accept his invitation when a severe case of sciatica attacked me, and it was another four years before I felt up to it. Once I was able to visit, I did, reawakening my ardor for the beauty and the rich history of the region, and open ing my eyes to new opportunities.

In what I came to recognize as my per sonal playground, I was able to indulge in my three obsessions – riding, angling and playing bluegrass music.

Within minutes of my arrival, I was trotting across an open pasture mounted on Norm’s Thoroughbred hunter, Guitar. (Is this right? Is the horse’s name Guitar?)

The trails, meadows, streams and quiet country lanes around his farm were lightyears away from the well-manicured, cin der-topped bridle paths I was accustomed to riding on in New York City.

Guitar was most hospitable, as eager as Norman was to show me Virginia’s horse country. I put a loop in the reins, a song in my heart and enjoyed the scenery. So emboldened, on my next visit I was

I heard there was a weekly jam at Poe’s Garage in Amissville, so the next time I was down from the city, I brought my mandolin so I could join one of the infor mal Thursday-evening sessions.

Unlike playing bluegrass music in New York City – a non-sequitur if ever there was one, this was the real deal: these were men who grew up with bluegrass, and they sounded like it. They sang and played like the old-fashioned genre was in their musical DNA, which I’m certain that it was.

I sat in the rear and strummed along while listening to get a feel for their play ing, as is customary for a newcomer. Ev ery so often I was invited to take a solo “break” on songs or tunes I knew.

Writer Steve Price says playing bluegrass music with Fauquier’s finest at a local garage jam session is his favorite memory of time spent in Virginia’s horse country.

invited to hunt with the Old Dominion Hounds, meeting at their kennels in Or lean. Careening through the woods and fields near Thumb Run and the Rappah annock River were more departure from the urban riding that had sufficed me for decades.

On another visit, I was lucky enough to get to ride behind the legendary Melvin Poe. We met at his house in Hume, where he kenneled the private Bath County Hounds for the late George Ohrstrom of The Plains. Melvin was in his 90s when I rode with him, a real inspiration.

For fishing, I found Northern Virgin ia equally fruitful. Farm ponds and trout streams gave me opportunities to fish alone and with a growing list of friends. One singularly productive day found me wading in the Shenandoah River in pur suit of wily smallmouth bass, something that local residents no doubt think of as rote and commonplace, but I felt like I was in heaven. To make a short drive out of a picturesque small town into the rural countryside and get in the crystal clear waters of the free-flowing lower waters of a mountain stream was magical.

For someone who’s fished since child hood, I often reflect on the words of 17th century writer Isaak Walton. “You will find angling to be like the virtue of hu mility, which has a calmness of spirit and a world of other blessings attending upon it.”

Then there’s my third passion – play ing and appreciating bluegrass music. With another perfectly random – but

With each visit to Amissville, my reti cence disappeared and I felt like “one of the boys.”

Two years ago, the pandemic ended the sessions, but forever I’ll hold dear the memory of returning the genre to its roots. It became my own, personal, blue grass heaven.

Every time I came down, time spent was jam-packed with activities, often leaving me needing a vacation from my vacation once I got home to New York. But, now that I reflect on my time in Vir ginia, I realize my most favorite memory wasn’t an “activity” at all.

At the end of the day, especially in the autumn when the leaves were turning and the air was crisp and light, I’d often rest on a terrace rocking-chair in the late afternoon, a “toddy for the body” drink in my hand. Then I’d lean back and contem plate the sun dropping behind the Blue Ridge.

Notably absent from this serene scene were sirens, noisy traffic and city hustle and bustle. Horses quietly grazed along side the fence that separated their pasture from the yard, and farm dogs and barn cats often lazed at my feet. Sometimes I’d pick up my mandolin and play for them, plucking out a simple tune of joy, sere nading them as well as myself as day fad ed to night. The animals seemed to like my music, nodding along and agreeing with my assessment of their luck to live here.

It was a magic time in a magic place with magic people and magic creatures. I know it can never again to replicated since most of the players are gone, but the memory of that tranquil, Peaceable King dom burns bright as my fondest memory, testament to the unique offerings of the Piedmont.

34 Fall 2022 The Last Word
The Piedmont’s magic still plays on in his memory
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