Keswick Life Digital Edition December 2020

Page 1

KESWICK Lifestyles in Keswick and its environs - December 2020


In this issue

Happy Holidays plus: last minute gift guide, horsin around, entertaining, what's cooking, decorating, bookworm, and more





Charming, historic (c. 1860) 208-acre property with Blue Ridge Mountain views and long, winding frontage along the Rapidan River. The homestead is conveniently located near Rt 29 in desirable southern Madison RESIDENTIAL • FARMS • LAND

County. Land is mostly open fields, ideal for livestock, except for a large bottomland field that is currently used for polo. The charming 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom home is privately situated on the property with


lovely views to the bottomland field and river. Other improvements include one other home, guest cottage, and two barns. Land is protected by a conservation easement allowing one division right. $ 1 , 35 0, 0 0 0


M L S 60 0 5 78




4 3 4 98 1 5 5 28






$1, 950, 000

$ 39 5 , 0 0 0

$1,2 00,000

Privacy, peacefulness and dramatic hilltop

Located between the town of Orange and Gor-

Charming antebellum 47-acre homestead on

views from this warm and classic Midcentu-

donsville with wonderful views of the South-

meandering section of the James River. Origi-

ry modern retreat. Redwood siding, Brazilian

west Mountains. Land is mostly open pasture

nal hardwood floors, fireplaces, woodwork and

slate/cork floors, renovated kitchen/bathrooms,

with three excellent building sites, good road

hardware. Numerous outbuildings, including

custom cabinetry, wine cooler, soapstone soak-

frontage, two entrances. Property is fenced and

a 19th century one-room cottage and smoke-

ing tub, German fixtures, heated saltwater pool,

currently used for grazing. Electricity on the

house. New two-story, 40x60 on-slab barn

two guesthouses. 15 minutes to town.

property, well, and automatic livestock waterer.

with electricity, water, septic, ample storage.

PE TE R WI LE Y | MLS 6 0 558 2 | 4 3 4 4 22 20 9 0

JU ST I N W I L E Y | M L S 60 0 5 78 | 4 3 4 98 1 5 5 2 8

PE T E R WIL E Y | M L S 6 10129 | 434 422 209 0



IN THIS December ISSUE 2020

Freshly renovated, the same historic charm, modern amenities.

Founded in 1896, now available for your special event.

8 ON THE COVER Happy Holidays

Wishing you holidays filled with fun and laughter, and very best wishes for a pros-

perous new year –free of Covid-19! We've put together a last minute gift guide and some other holiday week features, start on page 8!

Reserve for your Special Event 434.979.0963

Read KESWICK Lets you in on life in Keswick



Every month we bring you lifestyles in Keswick and its’ environs, from the scoop of a party and horsey happenings to practical advice on making the most of your garden, preserving land and updates from the surroundings! But don’t take our word for it - subscribe and discover, Keswick Life!


First-class mail subscriptions are available for $49 annually. Yes, for just $49 a year you can receive your monthly issue of Keswick Life in a cellophane envelope with First Class postage sure to make its’ arrival in a timely manner so that you get your news “hot-off-the-press". Email or sign up at

10 TRAVEL My first trip to Argentina was in January, 1995, with my son Tom, then a college

senior. After spending a few days sightseeing in Buenos Aires, we flew about 1,000 miles southwest to San Carlos de Bariloche, the largest city in Argentine Patagonia. Bariloche is situated on the large and beautiful Lago Nahuel Huapi, surrounded by snow-capped mountains – Charlie Thacher, get the full story and photos on page 10.



18 BOOKWORM 13 HORSIN AROUND Human partnership with hunting hounds is a fundamental connection that dates It's Christmas time and normally I’d be bustling around trying to do last minute bakback to prehistoric times. Read a comprehensive guide to the Blessing of the Hounds, the traditions and the origins, written by a contributor and local historian, Barclay Rives, all on page 13.

ing and shopping but thanks to the pandemic I’m actually ahead of the game this year. That means that when they called for snow last week, I could happily sit by the fire and write without the usual stress of finishing things up at the last minute. I am thrilled to say that I have a lot of wonderful books to choose from this Holiday season and if you are too late to get them as gifts then it is a great time to stock up some books to look forward to in the new year. – Suzanne Nash, Keswick Life's book reviewer on her cozy winter pages and all the great reviews on page 18.

20 KESWICKIAN Ralph Dammann built his first instrument, an electric bass guitar, in 1969. His second instrument became the bass he

played professionally through most of the 1970’s. Ralph wanted an electric Bass that felt more natural to play – especially important for someone trained on a traditional double bass – so he designed and built his basses to hang upright and allow for greater (and easier) reach up and down the neck and, thus, better playability – Get the full story of this Keswickian, who turned from a custom home builder to a full-time instrument builder in retirement, page 20.



now more than ever

moments that matter


Reines Jewelers






ON AND OFF THE MARKET New to the market in the Keswick area is 4098 Wood

Lane in Keswick Estate with 5 beds, 5.5 baths and 7243 sf on 2.6 acres at $1.695m. Also 832 Club Drive with 3 beds, 3.5 baths and 4910 sf on 2.8 acres at $1.425m whilst a 3.25 acre lot on Club Drive is available at $325k. 3619 Red Fox Lane with 4 beds, 3.5 baths and 3538 sf on 6 acres is $989k and a 2 acre lot on Black Cat Road is just on at $95k. There is a 34+ acres just available on Stony Point Pass at $950k. 364 Winding Road in Rivanna Ridge with 3 beds, 3 baths and 2372 sf at $460k whilst in Glenmore 3093 Darby Road with 6 beds, 5.5 baths and 7629 sf is available at $1.25m with 3293 Sandown Park Road with 5 beds, 5.5 baths and 4581 sf available at $850k.

COVID TESTING COVID-19 testing will now be available every Friday evening at least through December: Where: 1138 Rosehill Drive, Charlottesville - TJHD (Thomas Jefferson Health Dept.) Hours of operation: 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm, Cost: Free, Process: Drive-thru, Additional COVID-19 Information can be found at the website COVID-19 Hotline: 434-972-6261.

BRAVO Keswick based, Castle Hill Cider's 1764 has been awarded top billing in the Dessert/Fortified category of the 4th annual Cider Craft Magazine awards. Rob Cambell, general manager, reports they are thrilled, honored, and humbled to reeive this award. Congratulations to all the winners - we are sending you a virtual “cheers!”from Keswick Life! Shop Castle Hill's 1764 online now, or pick up your bottle in the Tasting Room whoich is open Friday through Sunday 11am-5pm.

EASY MEALS Keswickians are here to help! Everyday Gourmet – Jon Eddowes, along with Sandy Motley Catering is offering weekday meals and “a la carte” items for curbside pick up or home delivery. They also have many additional goodies available week to week. Sandy Motely, contact at (434) 245-1231 (Thursday Delivery) or Jon Eddowes, call 434-996-6617 (Friday Delivery).

FROM OUR SUPERVISOR Bea LaPisto-Kirtley, Albemarle County Supervisor, continues to work on the Urban Rivanna River Corridor Plan – a joint effort between the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County to develop a vision and action plan for the Rivanna River. This effort will help to refocus attention on the Rivanna. The planning process and subsequent Master Plan will help localities and stakeholders coordinate on making a cleaner, safer and more livable waterway that serves as a catalyst for community investment. The Rivanna River flowing through Charlottesville and Albemarle County is one of the community’s greatest assets. In and near Free Bridge, Woolen Mills, and the Pantops area, the river corridor is and will be a vibrant place where people experience a quiet and serene natural environment, enjoy healthy outdoor activities and venues, and appreciate important historic and cultural points of interest. Contact Bea by email: or by telephone (434) 529-0239 with your comments.


Saturday, December 26th, 12:00-4pm

Outdoor activity at Keswick Vineyards, join them at the Tasting Room for some great live music by Dave Kulund and Matty Metcalfe from noon until 4pm. Grab a glass or bottle of your favorite Keswick Vineyards wine and relax in the beautiful courtyard. Call 434.244.3341 x 105 or Email: for more information!

Price adjusted in the area is 862 Club Drive in Keswick Estate with 4 beds, 5+ baths and 7401 sf on 3.2 acres down from $2.495m to $2.1m in 155 days. 919 Club Drive with 3 beds, 2.5 baths and 7212 sf on 2 acres is down from $2.5m to $2.35 m in 46 days. 3488 Steamer Drive in Rivanna Ridge with 4 beds, 3.5 baths and 2082 sf is down from $349.9k to $334.9k in 40 days and three 2+ acres lots on Pelham Drive in Hidden Hills are up from $78k to $125k. Sold around the area is 531 Stony Point Pass “Music Hall” with 4 beds, 2 baths and 4415 sf on 76.5 acres listed at $1.395m and sold at $1.2m in 129 days. 356 Richmond Road “River Run Farm” with 4 beds, 3.5 baths and 4788 sf on 14.4 acres sold for $875k in 76 days. 1094 Milton Drive with 3 beds, 2.5 baths and 2281 sf listed at $350k, then $325k, sold for $275k in 44 days. In Rivanna Ridge 3402 Steamer Drive with 4 beds, 3.5 baths and 3262 sf listed at $499k sold for $485k in 109 days. Also 3313 Village Park Avenue with 4 beds, 3.5 baths and 2281 sf listed at $410k sold for $408.7k in 40 days. In Glenmore 3303 Heathcote Lane with 4 beds, 3.5 baths and 4159 sf listed at $749k sold for $735.5k in 12 days. 1988 Piper Way with 3 beds, 3 baths and 4047 sf on 1.2 acres listed at $1.249m, then $1.050m sold for $975k in 544 days. 1430 Piper Way with 4 beds, 3.5 baths and 3595 sf listed at $675k, then $659k sold for $634k in 412 days. Under contract in Glenmore is 3290 Melrose Lane with 4 beds, 3.5 baths and 4161 sf at $889.9k in 4 days. 3584 Carroll Creek Road with 4 beds, 3.5 baths and 30902 sf for $669.7k in 20 days. 1543 Tavistock Place with 3 beds, 3 baths and 2325 sf at $524.9k in 11 days. 2423 Ferndown Lane with 3 beds, 2.5 baths and 2080 sf at $564.9k in 69 days. 2291 Ferndown Lane with 4 beds, 2.5 baths and 2700 sf at $615k in 1 day. 3580 Turnbridge Lane with 6 beds, 4+ baths and 6419 sf at $1.095m in 63 days. 2025 Farringdon Road with 3 beds, 3.5 baths and 4038 sf at $869k, then $799.9k in 83 days. 13 Grey Heron Road, a 21 acre parcel in Glenmore at $495k in 234 days. 1814 Westerham Street with 4 beds, 3.5 baths and 4379 sf at $959 in 238 days.

Please be sure to write in and tell us your going out by email to


New Ambulance Service - Fall 2021 Donna Price, Scottsville Supervisor (for Keswick environs south of Rt. 64, including Glenmore), reports that during the fall of 2021, Albemarle County Fire Rescue will place a paramedic level ambulance in service at the East Riviana Fire Station located on Steamer Drive in Keswick (Glenmore). The ambulance will be staffed Monday through Friday, 6 am to 6 pm using the existing fire fighter/paramedic daytime crew assigned to the station. The East Riviana Volunteer Fire Company has shown an interest in staffing the ambulance nights and weekends. Over 20 East Rivanna Volunteer Members are certified as EMT’s (Emergency Medical Technicians - basic level) with one finishing training to be a Paramedic (advanced level) and a few are enrolled in advanced EMT courses and several are currently certified and eligible to staff and operate the ambulance.

Around the area 4259 Richmond Road with 3 beds, 1 baths and 1628 sf on 24.7 acres at $649.9 in 6 days. 298 Westview Lane with 5 beds, 3.5 baths and 3092 sf on 6.5 acres at $449,9k in 8 days and 139 Westview Lane with 4 beds, 3.5 baths and 2786 sf on 2 acres at $400k in 9 days.

Please be sure to write in and tell us your overheard by email to



2884 PALMER DRIVE | $2,675,000 | MLS 604640 4 Bedrooms • 4 Full Bath & 1 Half Bath • 4,118sqft • 4.15 Acres • 2.5 Car Garage

3280 BROADMOORE DRIVE | $2,700,000 | MLS 604638 4 Bedrooms • 3 Full Bath & 1 Half Bath • 4,000 sqft • 2 Car Garage

2869 PALMER DRIVE | $2,850,000 | MLS 604639 4 Bedrooms • 4 Full Bath & 2 Half Bath • 4,606sqft • 3 Car Garage • Unfinished Basement • 3.3 Acres

2559 PALMER DRIVE | $2,425,000 | MLS 604636 3 Bedroom • 3 Full Bath & 1 Half Bath • 3,750sqft • 2 Acres

2571 PALMER DRIVE | $2,625,000 | MLS 604637 4 Bedroom • 4 Full Bath & 1 Half Bath • 4080sqft • 2 Car Garage • 2.7 Acres

Frank Hardy Sotheby’s International Realty is proud to present 5 newly constructed exclusive residences within Keswick Estate. The product of intensive planning and collaboration among the area’s top builders and architects, these homes embody the highest standard of craftsmanship. Owners of these homes will enjoy thoughtfully-designed floor plans with main-level masters, spacious secondary bedrooms and seamless transitions between the indoor and outdoor space. Murdoch Matheson 434.981.7439 Each Office is Independently Owned and Operated.



In Vino Veritas your wine shop ‘east’ of Charlottesville says it’s a great time of year to come in for the holidays as they have plenty of gift giving options! Come by every Friday for a wine tasting from 4:30-7pm. 3015 Louisa Rd, Keswick at Shadwell Corner; 434-9776366; Open Monday-Saturday

Michael Turk Company’s Belgian Cover Up for kids. Hand-loomed 100% bamboo combines both flexibility and extra protection from the sun. The fibers provide natural UV protection as well as a soft to the touch feel, fast drying and ultra-absorbent performance with bacteria resistant qualities. www.

Floradise Orchids’ lavish custom orchid arrangements will bloom through the Holidays into the New Year in one-of-a-kind containers. Orchids in heirloom species and superb blooming varieties. Weekly delivery. ($175+; Gordonsville, 540-832-3440, visit Wednesday thru Sunday: 10am - 5pm)

Will Coleman Equestrian offers a rare, special, gift option - inquire on ownership in one of the syndicates. Regarded as one of the top event riders in America and a 2012 Olympic athlete, Will has carefully produced and competed horses at the highest levels of eventing. Tivoli Farm, Gordonsville, 434-9811629,



Donate a gift to Help Save The Next Girl and 100% percent of your money goes to the primary focus: to spread safety information and prevent future crimes against young women. (donations can be mailed to: Help Save The Next Girl, PO Box 8062, Roanoke, VA 24014)

Instant Shade will work with you to pick the perfect tree for that special gift for Christmas, to commemorate a birth or other special occasion. Call Ralph to make this unique gift, custom arrangements or to visit the nursery off of Polo Grounds Road, Charlottesville. Plant a tree! (fees vary, 434-981-8733)

irresistible gifts that celebrate a Keswickian's unshakable spirit

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville, has so many ways to give aid or financial support. The money you invest in assisting a Partner Family, whose payments generate the funds that go directly toward building additional homes. (donate a gift on behalf of a friend, call 434-293-9066)

From bubbles to charitable gifts the items in this year’s gift guide all share one guiding principal, authentic country living Plenty of useful stuff, all perfect for the tough-to-shop for Keswickian

Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA Your caring and generosity make it possible for these guys to continue its life-saving work. One of the few No Kill communities in the entire nation; but their job is far from over as pets are in need. No gift is too small or too large. To make your gift call or visit

Hospice of the Piedmont offers great savings at many of the area’s best restaurants, theatres and vineyards with their 2020 hibernating edition of 'Dining Around the Area' coupon book. An estimated value of more than $1,200, the dining books make a great gift from the heart. ($50; call 434-817-6900, or log in:

CASA Piedmont, support by generous donors enable these advocates to help over 200 children last year. They rely solely on the support from caring individuals. No other agency provides community volunteers to serve as child advocates in juvenile court proceedings. (call 434-971-7515 to donate)



Monticello Annual Fund Your gift will significantly aid in the enhancement and stewardship of Jefferson’s Monticello — the only home in America recognized by the United Nations as a World Heritage Site — one of the world’s greatest cultural treasures. For further information please visit:

Piedmont Environmental Council Your contribution will help sustain the organization and help keep the Piedmont a wonderful place to live and work. With a donation of $35 or more you will also become a PEC member or renew your existing membership. Contact Karissa Epley at or 540-347-2334.

Laurie Holladay can make a lamp from almost anything. Build a lamp, fuse a memory with function. Give this shop a riding hat, riding boots, antique seltzer bottles, duck decoys, toys, bottles, vases, trophys and watch Mr. Holladay transform it into an unforgettable gift. (123 South Main Street, Gordonsville, 540832-0552)

Montpelier Farm Every bale of hay, quart of grain, halter, horseshoe, and vaccination is made possible by generous donors. Sponsoring a permanent resident at Montpelier makes a wonderful gift for someone special. Please call our TRF Montpelier Development office with any questions, a donation of any size is gladly appreciated, call Nancy Lowey 540-672-3454.

Montpelier Charitable gifts from generous donors allow Montpelier to open the doors every day to visitors, students, scholars, and international leaders from emerging democracies. Your gift honors James and Dolley Madison and shares their legacy with the nation and the world. Please contact support@ or call (540) 661-0253.

Beautycounter, this season's essential gift set, a limited-edition hand wash and lotion in a fresh neroli scent, packaged in elevated, sustainable frosted glass bottles. The gentle hand wash cleanses without stripping skin, while the fast-absorbing lotion hydrates and conditions with shea butter and jojoba oil. Pampered hands! ($65; call consultant Sierra Young, 540-290-5478)

The Little Keswick Foundation for Special Education has several methods of making contributions that will enable the donor to enjoy personal financial benefits while supporting their mission to support children who experience learning disabilities and/or emotional behavior issues. Visit

Danny & Ron’s Rescue Calendar features photos and stories of some of the many dogs rescued. All proceeds from the sale of this calendar will be used to help Danny & Ron’s Rescue, based in Wellington, FL, and Camden, SC, whose mission is to help homeless dogs find loving families to adopt them. Contact:

Private Libraries is more than just a bookseller, Kinsey Marable & Co. assembles private libraries unique to each client. Let Kinsey assist in building your private library, recommend acquisitions, investigate authenticity, find rare or out-of-print volumes and help you understand the fair value of books. (202-329-8313,


Stokes of England has candlestands! This local blacksmith shop has custom hand-forged architectural iron works and turn out detailed wrought-iron railings, stair cases and doors for royalty all over the world. Visit their shop to discuss custom orders. (117 South Main Street, Gordonsville, 540-832-7888)

Floral Design GregoryTourterelle Britt Design will bring your custom centerpieces, wreaths, tree decoration, special someone beautiful holiday décor, and magnificent mantels. custom centerpieces, wreaths, tree deco434.973.1211 ration and magnificent mantels sure to brighten the day. Simply call with a budget and he will get to work. (cost varies; 5445 Gordonsville Road, Keswick - in the heart of Cismont, 434-548-0580, www., delivery service available)



Argentina Recollections BY CHARLES THACHER

Christmas is drawing nigh, the weather has

he got there. Minutes after picking him up, the van sputtered a couple of times, then died. The soldier immediately got out and started walking up the road, wisely escaping his ride from hell. Brock got under the van and came back with the bad news – a broken accelerator cable. Then we noticed that several hundred yards up the road the soldier leaned over, picked up something, turned around and was walking back toward us. When he reached the van, he showed us what he had found – a wire hanger. Brock immediately got it, saying “that’s our cable.” Amazingly, it seemed that our guest must have quickly diagnosed the problem and, like any good soldier, he marched off to find a solution. We couldn’t determine which of the events that we had witnessed was the most bizarre – that a soldier was hitchhiking on a remote dirt road leading to nowhere but a dead end, that there was a wire hanger lying along that same road, or that the soldier found the hanger and knew that it was what we needed. In any event, we felt partially blessed, then fully after Brock added to our wonderment, by crafting a working cable from the hanger, and attaching it. The van coughed a bit, and wouldn’t go very fast, but we were on our way again.

changed, and the seemingly endless election is over – or is it? In the time of Covid, uncertainty stalks the land. Will a vaccine really work? Or maybe three or four? Will we have a choice, and how would we know which to choose? In this age of fake news and rampant conspiracies, will enough people agree to take a vaccine to create herd immunity, or will we still be masking next summer? We’re in Rummy’s world of known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns. My personal known unknown is that I will probably not be going to Argentina to fish in 2021, for only the third time in over two decades, since Covid has closed the country indefinitely for American visitors.

My first trip to Argentina was in January, 1995, with my son Tom, then a college senior. After spending a few days sightseeing in Buenos Aires, we flew about 1,000 miles southwest to San Carlos de Bariloche, the largest city in Argentine Patagonia. Brock Richardson, our guide for the trip, met us at the airport with his van. Bariloche is situated on the large and beautiful Lago Nahuel Huapi, surrounded by snow-capped mountains. By the way, the names of the lakes, rivers and many other features in Patagonian Argentina, are not Spanish, but from the spoken languages used by the region’s indigenous tribes. We by-passed the City and Lake, to head a couple of hours north for a two day stay at the Primavera Lodge on the famous Rio Traful, which runs from Lago Traful for about 10 miles into a reservoir. The Traful is known for its lovely turquoise pools, fascinating rock formations, enormous trout, and landlocked salmon, the latter a rarity in Patagonian rivers. Our Lodge and its entire side of the river was acquired by American magnate, Ted Turner, in 1998, and is now off limits to everyone except for himself and his guests, which angers many Argentines, who consider the River a national treasure. The other side of the River is owned by an Argentine family that operates one of the more luxurious and expensive fishing lodges in the world. There is a hatchery on the Traful, and some of the best fishing is just downstream from it, as the hatchery food leaks into the River, and the fish eat constantly with minimal effort, often becoming obese, much like a dump bear. We caught some very nice trout of over 4-pounds throughout the river, but in the hatchery section Tom hooked a real monster. The fish rocketed up from the bottom and attempted a jump, that I suppose it remembered being able to do in its youth, but in its now-corpulent state, it failed and as its tail was about to clear the water, it collapsed and fell on the leader, breaking it. The fish of a lifetime, but we had to laugh. We guessed that it was nearly twoand-a-half feet long, and weighed well over than ten pounds. Later, at the Lodge, we examined the logbook and found numerous entries in past decades describing trout that were of similar bulk. During that first stay, we were introduced to the wonderful Argentine flan, served with dulce de leche, the delectable caramellike sweet sauce – made from slow-cooking cow’s milk

and sugar - which Argentines eat on many foods, and is now popular in the U.S. The combination remains a favorite of mine. We left the Traful and drove several hours northeast to the fabled Chimehuin River, which drains from Lago Huechulaufquen, near the Chilean border, and runs about forty miles before joining the Aluminé River. Our first encounter with the Chimehuin went badly. The wind was blowing a gale, even on Patagonia’s lofty standards, and there were few bushes or trees lining the banks to block it. Casting a dry fly with our light rods in such a powerful wind was hopeless, so we fished under the surface with weight and short lines. As we were standing in the current, the raging wind literally blew us upstream. And because it was swirling, even fishing a short line was difficult and risky to our body parts. It was most unpleasant and after a couple of hours of catching nothing, Brock decided that we would move to a section of the River that had better wind protection. Just after pulling out of the field where we were parked, traveling on the rough dirt road heading toward the main paved road, we picked up an Argentine soldier hitchhiking back to his base, which Brock said was about 20 miles away. Brock spoke only a little Spanish and Tom & I even less, so we couldn’t ask him how and why

Brock rightly decided to drive the soldier back to his base, and used his satellite phone to call a local friend, Hector Scagnetti, and ask him to come meet us. He arrived, left his car for us to continue fishing, and drove the sputtering van the hour or so back to his home in San Martin. We had a mediocre afternoon on a slightly less windy stretch of the River. Brock mentioned that Hector and his wife Ida owned Cabañas Arco Iris, a group of five lovely small houses on their property, which they rent to tourists, and that Hector had asked him if the three of us would like to join his family for dinner at their house, close to our hosteria (small hotel). We jumped at the chance. When we arrived at their house, Hector and Ida met us, accompanied by their two children, Mariana, a senior in high school, and her two-year younger brother, Ezequiel. Hector was standing by our van, and said something in Spanish to Brock, the only bit that I could understand being the words “Americanos” and “juryrig”. I asked Brock what he had said, and he wasn’t exactly certain, but thought it translated roughly as “You Americans don’t know how to jury-rig anything”. I was surprised that someone who spoke very little English would know the odd expression “jury-rig”, but many subsequent experiences in Argentina have enlightened me as to its importance. In a couple of hours, Hector had taken the same hanger and built a “proper” cable. It worked perfectly for the remainder of our trip, and two years later Brock told me it was still on the van and doing fine. Dinner with the Scagnetti family was delightful. Ida served a superb Italian-Spanish fusion meal, and Hector’s local wines were excellent. Mariana, had studied English and was fluent. Her parents and brother spoke only a few words of English, so Mariana interpreted for all of us. She was smart, self-confident, attractive and funny – very impressive. At a point in the engaging eve-



ning, I asked her whether she was going to university. She said that her family could not afford it, and she hoped to get a job in the travel industry, as San Martin was a popular tourist destination. I suggested that, given her command of English and obvious intelligence, perhaps she could get a scholarship to attend an American college. When Mariana explained to Hector what I said, he nearly choked on his food. He was not happy, no doubt wondering why this American stranger would plant the thought with his beloved daughter of leaving home to attend school abroad, and how the family could ever afford the cost of such a venture. But the seed germinated, and it serendipitously led all of us on an unexpected and wonderful relationship that has lasted for over 25 years. When I returned home, I checked with several colleges in the Northeast and found that Mariana would need to take the International SATs to be considered for admission, which was impossible for her. But Brock contacted Westminster College, an excellent small school near his home in Salt Lake City, and it did not require the exams. So, Mariana went there with generous support from the Richardson family, graduated in three years while working several jobs, married a Utahn, and has built an impressive career in finance. She became head of Latin American client services for a large Western bank, and is now running her own private wealth management business in Salt Lake City, that serves many prominent Latin American business owners and their families. A real American immigrant success-story. After our dinner, which ended at nearly midnight, Brock asked Tom if he’d like to go to the local disco. I told them it was okay with me, but we were gathering for breakfast at 8AM, regardless of how little sleep they got or how hung-over they were. They staggered in about 7AM. Tom said that there were only a few people in the disco until after 2AM, then a huge crowd showed up, and he and Brock were among the first to leave. This story seemed far-fetched, but gained credibility, when we noted as we left our hosteria about 9AM, that two young men who were employed behind the desk, were just arriving for work, directly from the same disco. Brock and Tom had a rough day, but to their credit, we lost no fishing time. After the night in San Martin, we traveled nearly 100 miles north, mostly on dirt roads, with excellent fishing in three other fine rivers, before returning to Bariloche to fly home. It was a great trip, and I was eager to return. Two years later I did. I bought a few maps to do some planning, and decided that I could rent a car and find access to the rivers that we had fished, and perhaps others, without use of a guide. I have always preferred to fish alone or with a friend. I faxed Hector to see if he would like to fish with me for a few days, assuming that he could get my message translated. He responded that he would, and even invited me to stay at their house. In early February, 1997, I traveled to San Martin. I had identified a spot on the drive from Bariloche where the road crossed the Quilquihue River, and it looked to be about a one mile walk down to its confluence with the Chimehuin. The Quilquihue was too deep and closed in by willows to walk in, there was no obvious trail, and it took far longer to bushwhack through the trees and the damnable briars than I expected. When I got to the Chimehuin, I was at the head of a long, deep pool, lined on my side with large willows. A beautiful riffle entered the pool over a gravel bar. As lovely a spot as I could imagine. But to fish the pool I had to wade across the river, which was over 20 yards wide, up to waist deep and moving fast. I made it, but not without considerable trepidation. The wind was blowing hard. At the top of the pool, on the far side under a big willow, and

barely within my casting range, was an eddy – a typical spot for fish to be feeding. I put on a big dry fly and cast it into the eddy, where it immediately began to drag unrealistically. Damn! Then bam! A large trout hit it, jumped several times, and eventually I landed the 19” rainbow. A few minutes later I caught a clone of that fish in the same spot with the same ersatz technique. As I moved downstream, fishing across the pool to the willows on the far side, no fish moved. At some point, I lazily let my line drift until it was straight downstream, and as I raised my rod and began stripping it in, it was eaten by a large brown trout, which I soon netted. It suddenly dawned on me that these fish wanted floating flies being pulled upstream. The rest of the day that’s how I fished through the big pool and two below it that were similar. It was one of the best days of fishing that I have had, with about 30 fish from 15”-20” coming to the net, using a strange technique, and despite the relentless wind. I was a bit anxious as I drove to Hector’s house, as we had met previously only for a few hours and hardly spoken at all. But when he greeted me with a warm welcome, speaking English, I completely relaxed. I had a wonderful dinner and evening with him, Ida and Ezequiel (Mariana was in College in the U.S.), exchanging information about our lives and families, and of course I told him about my exceptional day of fishing. He had never been to the spot and wanted to go there the next day, which we did, finding a much better route for walking. Of course, it was like a different river. The wind had subsided, the fish wouldn’t touch a fly that was swimming upstream, and we each caught six or eight – not bad but far short of my solitary experience just one day earlier. We fished together on another famous river, the Malleo, for two more days, then I went farther north to fish by myself for five days, before returning to San Martin, then home. Fishing with Hector introduced me to mate (pronounced matay), an herbal tea made from leaves of the yerba mate plant, which contains caffeine and a second mild stimulant. Nearly everyone who I’ve met in Argentina drinks mate, often throughout the day. Typically, a small ornamental cup is about half-filled with ground leaves, and hot water is added. A silver straw is used to drink the mate, serving as a filter to block leaf particles from being in the drink. Mate is quite bitter, and I find it difficult to digest. It’s ritualistic, a bit like smoking pot fifty years ago. When a cup of mate is prepared, it is often passed around to whoever is present, and guests are traditionally offered the first drink, which is supposed to be the purest and best. Hector would drink mate with breakfast, for twenty minutes or so before he would begin fishing, then take a mate break during the day, and often have cup when we arrived back at the car. Usually, mate was accompanied by a cigarette. While he was drinking, I was often fishing, yet he generally caught as many fish as I did. Perhaps a bit more contemplation on my part would enhance my success. While staying with Hector and Ida, I have gotten to know San Martin. With a population of about 25,000, but many more in the summer, it is the nicest town that I have visited in all of South America, and for me, the equal of any in our Rockies. It has a gorgeous setting, next to the beautiful Lago Lacar, surrounded by high mountains, and has a fine ski area, public beach. excellent restaurants, hotels, shops and a myriad of summer outdoor activities, such as hiking, fishing, camping and golf. It is very clean, and looks Tyrolean, with many half-timbered houses and finely crafted wooden buildings. And, apparently, a thriving disco. In subsequent visits to Argentina, I have fished in doz-


ens of rivers extending over a region running from 300 miles south of San Martin to 100 miles north. On several trips Ann has joined me, not only for fishing, but to visit sites such as the spectacular Iguazu Falls, Mendoza and its wine country, and the excellent beaches in nearby Uruguay and Brazil. But, even more rewarding than the great fishing and sightseeing, has been the warm friendship that Ann and I developed with Hector and Ida. We have joined them in Salt Lake City, Paris, Washington D.C, and our homes in New York and Virginia. We have also visited Mariana in Utah and New York, and Ezequiel, when he lived for several years in Belgium. And, it all started because of a broken accelerator cable. Tragically, Ida passed away three years ago, and we miss her terribly, but we have enjoyed meeting the charming Monica, who Hector knew in high school, and recently reconnected with through Facebook. Those trips, and my subsequent fishing excursions in Argentina, have provided fodder for future articles, that I hope to write.

Photos, opposite page, map of Argentina showing Bariloche. This page, upper: Hector in action. Lower: Mate cups.

Charles Thacher and wife Ann moved to Keswick in 2008 from New York, to be near their kids and (now) four grandchildren. He has been an avid fly fisher for over 35 years, traveling extensively, primarily in pursuit of wily trout. Along with two other anglers, Charlie was a founder of the Anglers Club of Charlottesville, which has about 65 august members. He is a member of the Anglers Club of New York and the Paris Fario Club, and writes regularly for the New York Club’s journal and Classic Angling, a British magazine. Also, he has compiled and published a bibliography of angling books.


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HORSIN AROUND Blessing of the Hounds - A Guide to this Traditional Day BY BARCLAY RIVES

The Tradition of the Blessing Frenchman, Saint Hubert (b 656 – d 727),

was the first to bless hunting hounds. Hubert, son of the Duke of Aquitaine, was stag hunting one Good Friday when he saw a glowing crucifix between the antlers of a stag. He converted to Christianity, founded a monastery, and miraculously cured people of hydrophobia. He established his own breed of blackand-tan hounds. He is the patron saint of hunters. Because the Feast Day of Saint Hubert is celebrated in the fall in Europe, Thanksgiving is an appropriate day for this American version of St. Hubert’s blessing.

Origins of the Hunt Human

partnership with hunting hounds is a fundamental connection that dates back to prehistoric times. Although foxes were long considered lowly pests unsuitable for noble chase, foxhunting became popular and fashionable in 18th Century England. In 1762, when the 5th Duke of Beaufort was riding home from a disappointing stag hunt, his hounds ran a fox so well that he decided to hunt foxes exclusively. His contemporaries experienced similar revelations. Dr. Thomas Walker (1715-1794) imported a pack of English Foxhounds to this area in 1742, the year of the founding of the Anglican Fredericksville Parish, which included northern Albemarle County. Dr. Walker explored and named the Cumberland Gap in 1750, and helped found the town of Charlottesville in 1762. Some historians have mistakenly associated Dr. Walker with the Walker strain of foxhounds, first developed by John W. Walker (1802-1885) of Kentucky. Dr. Thomas Walker’s friend George Washington was a keen lifelong foxhunter. Foxhunting has also continued in this area since colonial times. Hunters have followed their hounds on horseback, on foot or in trucks. Others have chosen to congregate and share a fire and refreshments while listening to the music of hounds running on the Southwest Mountains. The Keswick Hunt Club was founded in 1896. Keswick hounds presently hunt designated territory in Albemarle, Louisa, Orange, and Madison

counties. The Keswick hounds are American Foxhounds, bred over centuries for this country’s weather and terrain, and recognized as a distinct breed from English Foxhounds.

The whippers-in assist the huntsman. The rest of the mounted followers make up the hunting field.

Beginnings of the Blessing in Keswick

For years the service included the hymns

Mr. John C. Stewart, Master of Fox-

hounds of the Keswick Hunt Club, and the Reverend Frank Leslie Robinson, Rector of Grace Episcopal Church, instituted the service here November 28, 1929. Mr. Stewart wanted to show off his hounds and horses. Mr. Robinson was hunting for souls. A neighborhood lady said to him years later, “Mr. Robinson, it can be awfully cold in that church yard. The horses are newly clipped, and the hounds and people are shivering. Can’t you make your sermon shorter?” Mr. Robinson, an Englishman, replied in his old country accent, “This is the only day some of these old sports come near the church, and I have to make the most of it.” Mr. Robinson’s successors have been less demanding of the patience of man and beast. Grace Church, completed and consecrated in 1855, replaced a 1746 wooden structure, which Thomas Jefferson attended when he served on the Fredericksville Parish Vestry (1767-1770). The parish that includes Grace Church, now called Walker’s Parish, is one of six Virginia parishes that have remained active since colonial times.

The Hounds & Huntsman Paul Wilson, Keswick’s Professional

Huntsman, guides the pack during the service and throughout the hunt that follows. Paul cares for the hounds from the moment they are whelped. After regular and attentive handling during their early months, Paul introduces puppies into the pack when they are nearly a year old. He walks the pack out of the kennels for exercise every day of the year except for hunting days. Each hound learns his or her name, as well as voice commands and signals from Paul’s horn. Pauly fosters the hounds’ genetic inclination to hunt by scent as a pack, and he cultivates their desire to please him. The music of their cry expresses the joy in their work.

About the Service “We Gather Together,” and “Come Ye Thankful People,” a song about harvest that reflected this area’s agrarian roots. Our ancestors rejoiced in a good harvest because it increased likelihood of survival. Some of the readings, which accompanied the service for years, provided material for months of contemplation, as Mr. Robinson wished. Psalm 8 asks, “What is man that thou art mindful of him?” Matthew 6: 24-34 advises, “Ye cannot serve God and Mammon… Consider the lilies of the field… Sufficient unto the day is the trouble thereof.”

This annual ritual has produced community stories and legends. A very young lady riding her spotted pony into the churchyard for the first time declared to her mother, “I’ve been waiting for this my whole life!” A snowfall once limited attendance to a few cheerful and determined riders and spectators. Another deeper snow shut down the entire event, and soggy ground once limited the day’s activity to the service, with no hunt afterwards. A previous huntsman enjoyed hearing a favorite hound add his voice to the hymn singing. In the 1950s, a fox sought refuge in an abandoned house on the mountain. Hounds were called away so that all, including the fox, could enjoy a Happy Thanksgiving.

The Attire: Red, Pink, or Scarlet Participants in the 1929 Blessing of the

Hounds at Grace Church might scratch their heads over the styles of today’s cars or spectators’ outfits, but they would recognize the formal hunting attire. Except for tighter fitting breeches and improved headgear protection, the clothes have changed little in over a century. The cut of wool coats, boots, and breeches evolved in late 19th century England to offer ease of motion in the saddle and comfort in cold damp weather. The white stock tie was part of the general development of neckwear in the early 1800s. Stock ties can be used as bandages or slings for wounded horses or people.

Scarlet is the nearly universal color for the livery of huntsmen, whippers-in, and accredited gentlemen in the field, although a few English and American hunts clad themselves in yellow, green or blue. Keswick Masters of Foxhounds, at their discretion, award gentlemen the privilege to wear scarlet with the green hunt collar and ladies the privilege to wear the hunt collar on their black coats. 19th century Englishmen claimed they fought in red and hunted in scarlet. The peculiar term, which arose in the late 1800s to describe a scarlet hunt coat, was “pink.” Foxhunters began talking about their pink coats, sometimes spelling it “pinke” or “pinque.” Although the term first appeared in English stories and hunting accounts, Americans also began talking about pink coats. Americans were the first to explain the origin of the term with a story about an English tailor named Mr. Pink. Even some respected sporting historians have written that there was a tailor named Mr. Pink who invented and popularized his cut and style of hunt coat. More inquiring types have asked: When did this tailor live? Where was his establishment? The English are meticulous about record keeping and should be able to identify his customers or where Mr. Pink is buried. Mr. Pink’s origins, existence and work remain unexplained and unverified. Today the clothing firm Thomas Pink of Jermyn Street, London, advertises on its website that it takes its inspiration from the “London tailor who designed the iconic hunting coat.” This Thomas Pink firm was started in 1984 by three Irish brothers. Even though he is a fictitious character, Mr. Pink most likely helps their business. The subject of Mr. Pink illustrates human tendencies to, 1) never let a story die for want of nourishment and, 2) never let the truth ruin a good story.

A native of Central Virginia, Barclay Rives graduated from Harvard College in 1976. He has been a blacksmith, tinsmith and wordsmith. His stories have appeared in Albemarle Magazine, In & Around Horse Country, and Virginia Sportsman. He enjoys speaking to organizations about local history, equestrian subjects, fox hunting, and his books. He is the author of A History of Grace Church (1993, revised 2010), The 100 Year History of the Keswick Hunt Club (1996), William Cabell Rives: A Country to Serve (2014), and See You at Second Horses. He is currently researching the life of physician, explorer, and patriot Dr. Thomas Walker (1715-1794).



ENTERTAINING Leek Bread Pudding - Sam's Go To Brunch BY SAM JOHNSON

Sam’s Leek Bread Pudding


am's Leak Bread Pudding is sure to please at your next brunch, gather up a group of friends and share a meal this winter! This libation pairs well and helps set the festive spirit:

2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and rinsed 2 ½ cups of button mushroom 2 cups of sweet peas Kosher salt 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter Freshly ground black pepper 12 cups 1-inch-cubed crustless brioche or challah bread 1 teaspoon fresh thyme 1 teaspoon of rosemary 1 teaspoon of fresh chopped garlic 6 large eggs 3 cups whole milk 4 cups heavy cream 2 cups of white wine 2 cups shredded parmesan cheese 2 cups of jalsberg cheese for topping

Maple Rosemary Bourbon Punch Place a medium sauté pan over medium-

high heat, drain excess water from leeks, and add to pan also add chopped garlic. Season with salt, and sauté until leeks and mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes, then reduce heat to mediumlow. Stir in butter, and wine Cover and

4 Cups of Ice 750 ML Ginger Ale 1liter of Cranberry Juice 16 oz of Bourbon Maple Syrup to taste Fresh Rosemary




cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks and mushrooms are very soft, about 20 minutes for the last 10 minutes add peas. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

some bread cubes protrude. Sprinkle with salt and jalsberg cheese. Bake until pudding is set and top is brown and bubbling, about 1 1/2 hours. Serve hot.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While veggies are cooking, spread bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake until dry and pale gold, about 20 minutes, turning pan about halfway through. Transfer to a large bowl, leaving the oven on. Add veggies, rosemary and thyme to the bowl of bread; toss well. In another large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs, then whisk in milk, cream, a generous pinch of salt, pepper to taste. Make sure pan is coated well with cooking spray. Mix together bread veggies and parmesan cheese spread out evenly in pan. Pour in enough milk mixture to cover bread, and gently press on bread so milk soaks in. Let rest 15 minutes.

“This is my go to winter brunch favorite, warm the soul and heart insures all in Keswick will enjoy.” Samuel Johnson, Deputy Director of Cullinary | 1776

Add remaining milk mixture, letting


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Holiday Decorating

3 Cheese Roasted Tomato Crostini


BY CHEF JON EDDOWES - THE EVERDAY GOURMET I love cheese! So, for the races at Montpelier earlier this month, we had a theme of Mediterranean for our tailgate. Besides loving cheese, I also enjoy and use roasted tomatoes a lot in our cooking at Everyday Gourmet. I like them tossed with pasta for a quick dish, great as a topping on grilled fish and a great compliment for this three baked cheese dip. It is quick and easy. Try it, you will love it!


earless Flowers was the first website dedicated to flower arranging with their streaming high-quality videos showing how to arrange flowers quickly, easily and, since the arrangements used fewer flowers, economically! The brainchild of Annie Vanderwarker, a Keswick artist and arranger, the site regularly added new videos featuring arrangements that reflect available flowers, various seasons, and current holidays. The streaming videos are organized by degree of difficulty so you can enter at the level you’re most comfortable with. Guys could even check out their own videos in 'Even For Guys'. When it comes to the arts, there are few areas Annie hasn’t been involved in. From making Nantucket baskets to oil painting to weaving with shredded pop cans to decorating furniture with found objects—her artistic output has been varied and adventurous. “While you can never figure out where you’re going to end up, I think that all the various artistic turns I took have really benefited my arranging, “ Annie explains. “That’s what Fearless Flowers is all about,” Annie says. “We’re not after blue ribbons or splashy arrangements, our goal is more about making you feel better about your ability to put flowers together and come up with pleasing and interesting arrangements.”



Brush 1-quart baking dish with olive oil, then spread the cheese mixture in dish, mounding it slightly higher around edges than in the middle. Bake until golden and heated through, about 15 minutes.

Combine the tomatoes, chives, vinegar, garlic and remaining olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Toss and spoon on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and roast at 400 degrees for about 12 min- utes, spoon on top of cheese dip.

Serve with toasted baguette slices to a kitchen full of friends!

1 10-ounce log goat cheese, at room temperature 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1/4 cup olive oil freshly ground pepper 12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half (more if you like, as I like a lot) 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar 2 cloves garlic, chopped fine (1 if you like less) Kosher salt Toasted baguette slices, for serving

Annie and Tony hang out at 20 Gates in Cismont with their dogs, tending the gardens and staying in contact with their four children, two of which had consulted on Fearless Flowers. “It’s been a family affair which is fun,” Annie says. “It’s great to be able to bounce ideas off someone you’re close to and trust.” And the fact that their daughter is a theater director has been a huge help. “Our daughter Krissy spent a few days with me early on working on my presence and delivery, without her I never could have progressed to the point where I am now.” Photo: The Holidays are busy but your arrangements don’t have to be. Arrange some green on your table combined with deer antlers and Christmas balls for a festive holiday arrangement. Put some water tubes on your wreath and add fresh flowers for a lovely look that can change at the drop of a hat. Tuna cans repurposed can make for a lively contemporary look. Check out the videos, still active today, on YouTube, under Ferless Flowers - with nearly 7k followers!

Read KESWICK Lets you in on life in Keswick


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the goat cheese, cream cheese, Parmesan and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a food processor and season with pepper; puree until smooth.

Jon Eddowes, chef and owner of Everyday Gourmet Catering and International Culinary Tours, has been serving Keswick and its’ environs since 1991 with his edible crafts. Originally from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Jon studied at the Univeristy of Pennsylvania. Contact Jon at



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◆ WHITE OAK FARM ◆ Situated amongst stately and mature oaks is this picturesque and peaceful equestrian and/or cattle farm with fully renovated home. On 45+ acres near Charlottesville with a professional riding arena and pond. MLS#601428 $1,875,000 Steve McLean, 434.981.1863

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I wrote about the joy I felt last Christmas but when the

when we stuffed it through the cellar door. When we plugged them in, the lights came on. A half hour later, we had the tree loaded with the familiar ornaments we’d stored in the garage. The Mercedes hood ornament from one of our former cars, the Heineken can turned into an ornament, the lobster, the cow, etc. etc.

event repeated itself this holiday season, I was even more ecstatic. Opening the door to the basement in the cottage, I remembered the rush of excitement I felt when I was a little kid coming down the stairs on Christmas morning and seeing all the wrapped presents clustered under the tree. Only this present was even more joy-producing. Wrapped in a plastic tarp was the fake Christmas tree we’d purchased at Home Depot last year. We’d stored it in the cellar completely assembled, replete with all its lights, thinking we’d retrieve it next Christmas. And there it was, a Christmas tree for the taking. No driving to the Christmas tree lot, no stomping around in the cold looking for the perfect tree (by the way, there is no such thing. In my experience, every tree I’ve ever seen has missing branches somewhere, forcing you to turn the tree so the glitch faces the corner or wall. What do you want for ninety-five bucks anyway?), then tying it to the top of the car, driving home, wedging it through the door and then dropping it into the tree stand. A tree stand, by the way, is one of the most imperfect devices ever invented, right up there with the corkscrew and bulb planter. The tree stand is the ultimate time sink. Expect to spend a good hour trying to get the tree straight and then

Thirty-five minutes total and we had an honest to goodness lighted and fully-decorated Christmas tree (that’s if you don’t look too closely or feel the needles)! Damn, was I pleased with myself. I had totally eradicated one of the more onerous parts of the holidays. Now all I had to do was find the spray aptly named Scentsations that gave the fake tree that real tree scent and I was in business.

struggling to turn those dastardly bolts that are supposed to grip the trunk so the tree doesn’t topple over. Of course it only comes crashing down when its loaded with ornaments, the kind of glad tidings you only get during the Christmas holidays, like the hot oil exploding when you drop the turkey in or the major present you hid so well you can’t find it.

So, do I occasionally feel a touch of regret for having a fake tree with a fake scent? Have a sense of guilt for ducking out of a hallowed Christmas tradition?

Annie and I turned the tree on its side took it out through the cellar door, loaded it the Gator and drove it back to the house. Five minutes had passed and we had a Christmas tree gracing our living room. Plugged it in, tapped the floor switch and…oops! Two sections of lights blinked on but two didn’t. Was this the ghost of Christmas past coming back to haunt us? Would I have to go to Lowe’s again and buy more lights just like in the bad old days? But no, we quickly discovered that the two unlit sections had come unplugged, I guess

Not on your life. Not only have I saved a tree from being sawn down, I’ve saved ninety-five bucks, three trips to Lowe’s, countless hours untangling strands of light and frustrating bouts with the cursed tree stand--for as they sing, “There’s no place like home for the holidays…” I might add--especially when you’ve got a fake tree gracing it. (First appeared in Keswick Life in December 2019)

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It’s Christmas time and normally I’d be bustling around trying to do last minute

baking and shopping but thanks to the pandemic I’m actually ahead of the game this year. That means that when they called for snow today, I could happily sit by the fire and write without the usual stress of finishing things up at the last minute. I am thrilled to say that I have a lot of wonderful books to choose from this Holiday season and if you are too late to get them as gifts then it is a great time to stock up some books to look forward to in the new year.

The Magdalen Girls by V. S. Alexander takes

place in Dublin Ireland and begins in 1962 with Teagan Tiernan being unfairly sent to the Magdalen Laundries which resides in the gated convent of the Sisters of the Holy Redemption. The Mother Superior, Sister Anne seems to take an instant dislike to Teagan and is cruel and hard on her. All the girls are given new names upon their arrival and trapped within the walls with little to no freedom. Teagan makes friends with two of the other girls, Nora and Lea and together they plot to escape. But, unfortunately, once you are sent to the Magdalen Laundries you are considered soiled women and you won’t find any refuge or mercy out in the world. If you have never heard of the Magdalen Laundries in Ireland then it really is worth looking into the histories of them, for they were very real and the basis of this novel.

God Pretty in the Tobacco Field is one of two books by author Kim Michele Richardson that I

will review this month. It’s 1969 in Nameless Kentucky and Ruby Lyn Bishop has been living and working on her Uncle’s tobacco farm ever since she was orphaned. Her Uncle is a tough man but has provided a good home for Ruby Lyn, but she is ready for a change. She is 16 and wants to see more of the world and explore her artistic potential. She has a rather strange artistic talent of making fortune tellers for people and there is magical thinking within her heart that seems to imbue her work with power. She is also involved with her Uncle’s field hand, Rainey Ford, who happens to be a man of color. While her uncle is not prejudiced against Rainey, plenty of others in the community are and Ruby Lyn has to find her way through her desires to go beyond the strict boundaries that seem to hem her in.

The Sisters of Glass Ferry is the second book by Richardson and once more takes place in Ken-

tucky. Honeybee is the father of twin girls, Flannery and Patsy Butler. They used to be joined at the hip but since they became teenagers they are as unalike as can be. Patsy (the Queen Bee) is prissy and prim and determined to be popular. She isn’t interested in the moonshine business that Honeybee runs but would rather be out with her friends. Flannery, however, learns the trade from her father and when he dies, she is determined to take over the business. The tension between the two girls comes to a head when Patsy heads off to prom and Flannery, with no date, is left to work her shift at the diner. Patsy never makes it to the prom and never comes home. Two decades later Patsy has come back to identify the body of her sister and discover what exactly happened that night.

The Guest List will fit the bill if you are a fan of mysteries. Author Lucy Foley has written a thrill-

er with bite. On an island off the coast of Ireland a wedding is going to be held between a TV star and a magazine publisher and everything just has to be perfect! Unfortunately, the night of the wedding someone turns up dead. I won’t spoil it by telling you who turns out to be the murder victim, but the alternating points of view of the narrators keeps this novel interesting. It reminded me of an Agatha Christie mystery and islands are such great backdrops for murder, so it ticked all of the boxes for me! If you want a wonderful, funny and poignant read then Henry’s Sisters, by Cathy Lamb, is perfect. The Bommarito sisters are quite the handful. Isabelle is a photographer; Cecilia is a teacher and Janie is an author. They all have their hang-ups and two of them have tried to get far away from their toxic mother, River, but they get drawn back to the family home when she has to go in for heart surgery. They must all rally together to take care of their brother, Henry, who is autistic as well as their grandmother who has Alzheimer’s and thinks she is Amelia Earheart. It is sad, touching and laugh aloud funny as they navigate their way through a difficult situation. Henry is the sweetest, dearest person who manages to keep them all moving in the right direction, despite their inevitable fallouts. I really loved this book and didn’t want it to end!

The Promise Girls is another family drama that

explores relationships between sisters and their mother. Marie Bostwick’s novel touches on the idea of what talent and genius really is. Minerva Promise has written a book about how she had three girls, all test tube babies, from genius donors which meant her children were prodigies in their fields of art, writing and music. At a young age she paraded the Promise girls out to the world to show them off and lived on the royalties from her book tours with them. Until Joanie, the eldest, revolted and brought everything tumbling down. Twenty years later, where are the girls and how have they excelled in their specialties? Filmmaker Hal Seager is determined to find out what their lives are like. He tracks them down and opens a can of worms, as the women must face their lives and decide whether they ever lived up to the promise of their names. I hope these books will help keep you entertained over the next month or so as we face the wintery weather ahead. Stay safe and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all! Suzanne Nash, raised in Lynchburg Virginia, graduated from Wake Forest University and immediately moved to Charlottesville, Virginia to pursue all sorts of things, including working in insurance, marketing and television. The mother of two teenagers is currently the manufacturer of a lingerie and swimsuit design company, the director of education at Grace Episcopal Church and enjoys freelance writing and theatre in her free time.



364 Winding Road in Rivanna Village

One of the best greeting cards I have come across for 2020, Megan Sim, age 28, who owns a web based greeting card store referred to as Saucy Avocado has these and so much more, check it out!

This home will provide the lifestyle you have dreamed of in a pastoral community in Keswick. At our Villa you enjoy the convenience of one level luxury living. We have extensive LVP wood effect floor tile. Our energy efficient and immaculate 2,372 SF, 3 or 4 bedroom, 3 full bath home has the master suite with a walk-in closet and full bath, a guest bedroom with full bath, an office, laundry room, kitchen and family room with fireplace and dining room all on

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the first floor. There is also a large suite with a full bath and living area on the upper level, and your guests will never want to leave! We are controlled by two zone central heating and cooling and have a tankless hot water heater. You can exit from the spacious 2 car attached garage into the mud room for any needed changes of attire. Hike the walking trail or just relax in the recently

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KESWICKIAN Celebrated Keswick Home Builder Turns Full-Time Instrument Maker Ralph Dammann built his first instrument, an electric bass guitar, in 1969. His second instrument became the bass he played professionally through most of the 1970’s. Ralph wanted an electric Bass that felt more natural to play – especially important for someone trained on a traditional double bass – so he designed and built his basses to hang upright and allow for greater (and easier) reach up and down the neck and, thus, better playability. Ralph set up Dammann Custom Basses in 1997 to produce his custom 'Vertical Bass' in small volume. That business still exists with Ralph continuing to fine-tune the shape, balance and electronics for superior bass playing. During the 80’s Ralph started playing the Octave Mandolin. Soon after he ordered a Mandocello, a standard four-course model, and promptly fell in love with it. Ray Varona is a trained luthier who came to work in Ralph’s shop in 2007. Ray was looking for somewhere to hone his instrument making skills, and Ralph's fully equipped shop was the perfect place. Both Ray and Ralph are accomplished musicians and both share a love of fine woods and expert craftsmanship. Initially, Ray worked making Ralph’s custom basses but also spent time designing and making a range of acoustic instruments in the shop – everything from guitars to violins. Ralph’s interest in the mandolin and mandocello continued to grow and he asked Ray to build


up the neck. You can go from a slide setup to ultra-low shredding with just a few turns of the bolt and brief retuning. This also eliminates the concerns of the dreaded neck reset and helps ensure enough adjustability for healthy playing for years to come. Seasonal action adjustments are a matter of a quarter of half turn. Ray Varona worked on this mechanism (which we now have under patent application ) for five years. It sounds simple but took a lot of experimentation to get it right!

a five course mandocello. Ray, being Ray, built several and the acoustic version was a revelation to Ralph. And so was born the Dammann five-course Mandocello. Ray makes these instruments to sound full and balanced. His skill at balancing all the variables at play in the design of the acoustic stringed instrument is evident when the player picks one up. The advantage – Dammann's Total Control neck is a response to one of the biggest challenges that string musicians face: finding and maintaining an ideal string height for his or her instrument. Between environmental factors and varying personal preferences, it can be difficult to find an instrument that achieves optimal string height for tone and playability. Our neck joint can be easily set to optimal action on the fly. This adjustment changes the height of the strings off the fingerboard particularly as one goes to positions

Our adjustable neck joint not only enables pinpoint control over playability but it ensures long-term playability over the course of the instrument’s lifetime. Instruments built lightly enough to be lively and responsive are also prone to changes in shape over time given the years of seasonal changes and string tension. At best, the saddle needs to gradually be shaved down and in most cases a neck reset is needed to bring the neck back in line. With user-control over neck angle, this becomes a moot point since the neck angle is adjusted with a simple turn of a wrench and the saddle can remain constant regardless of action so that the saddle can be set at it’s optimum height purely for tonal purposes instead of at a height dictated by playability needs. Dammann Instruments can be made to accommodate whatever combination of instrument woods you like, tweaking the sound in one direction or another but the player can rely on the finished instrument to sing like no other stringed instrument he has ever heard.

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MLS# 611207, Stony Point Pass $950,000.00

Unique opportunity to obtain a private 34-acre building site in the Southwest Mountain Range in Keswick, Virginia. The house site consists of a wooded knoll overlooking lower pastures and an excellent wetland site for a pond or habitat. There is a well on the property and the land is navigable by 4-wheel drive vehicles. This private setting is a very rare find in this location. Rt. 22 to 231 in Keswick. Left on (rt 600) Stony Point Pass - 1 Mile on the Right. Entrance is just past Montanova stables. Call Murdoch Matheson, 434-981-7439


Idyllic Cedarcroft

5450 Stony Point Pass, Keswick $1,145,000.00

Traditional Virginia farm house located 15 miles west of Charlottesville. Open pasture land and elevated home site provides generous views of Piedmont country side. 6 BR 5.5 BA, 6 fireplaces, rich pine and oak hardwood flooring, high ceilings at all levels, modern baths and appliances. Guest cottage with full bath. Beautiful mature landscaping.

Tucked away off a quiet Keswick lane, Cedarcroft is an idyllic, c. 1932 clapboard home sited in the middle of over 2 acres of level, verdant lawns dotted by large hardwoods, boxwood borders & established perennial beds. Comprehensively renovated in '93, the current owners have continued to improve & meticulously maintain this lovely country property located 15 mins from both C'ville & Gordonsville. There is an add'l, 945 sf guest space or ideal home office w/ full bath adjacent to the house. The 2, two-bay garages are graced w/ Stokes of England weather vanes. Outdoor living options incl' a delightful soapstonefloored sun room + a screened porch complete w/ skylights & ceiling fans. Gourmet kitchen, vaulted family room, the list goes on. Call Loring Woodriff, 434-466-2992

Cobham Creek Farm

1093 St John Rd, Keswick $1,495,000.00 This thoughtfully designed 26 acre equestrian farmstead is set among large estates just 20 minutes from Charlottesville. The main residence, once a barn, was restored and expanded by noted contractor Ralph Dammann, includes a formal living room with heart-pine flooring and an intricate period mantled fireplace, a large conservatory and a sunroom opening to a sweeping flagstone terrace replete with Koi pool and surrounding landscape features. A small, stocked pond borders the front lawn and long driveway. The traditional center aisle barn has 5 stalls, tack room, wash rack and attached hay storage. A recently built one bedroom cottage sits across from the barn, perfect for guests or a groom. Just beyond is a riding arena. Call Frank Hardy, 434-296-0134

Exquisite in Keswick Estate MLS#595248


MCLEAN FAULCONER INC. Farm, Estate and Residential Brokers

Mark Mascottte

434.825.8610 ◆

5520 Lego Drive, Charlottesville $1,195,000.00

Exquisite English Country home on premiere 2.5 acres in Keswick Estates. Very private with lovely views of the golf course and distant mountains. The architecturally designed, 7,000+ square foot residence offers a beautiful, light-filled, spacious living room, dining room, gourmet kitchen, library with limestone fireplace surround, luxurious master complete with dressing room and office, media room, and 4 additional bedrooms. Built with the highest quality materials and workmanship. MLS#611738 $1,695,000. Located just 10-15 minutes from Pantops, Historic Mall, UVA & all Charlottesville has to offer. Call Charlotte

Dammann, 434-981-1250



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OUR COLUMNISTS Charlie Thacher moved to Keswick Suzanne Nash, raised in Lynchburg 6 in 2008 from New York, to be near Virginia, graduated from Wake ForReserve their kids and grandchildren. He has est University and immediately been an avid fly fisher for over 35 moved to Charlottesville, Virginia to years, traveling extensively, primarpursue all sorts of things, including ily in pursuit of wily trout. Along working in insurance, marketing and with two other anglers, Charlie was television. The mother of two teenS T AisNcurrently T S H Athe D Emanufacturer of a lingerie and a founder of the Anglers Club of Charlottesville, which I Nagers NURSERIES & LANDSCAPING has about 65 members. He is a member of the Anglers swimsuit design company, the director of education at Club of New York and the Paris Fario Club, and writes Grace Episcopal Church and enjoys freelance writing regularly for the New York Club’s journal and Clas- and theatre in her free time. sic Angling, a British magazine. Also, he has compiled and published a bibliography of angling books.

Tony Vanderwarker, raised in New England, spent a couple years at for your Special Event 434.979.0963 7 Yale and then served two years in the Peace Corps where he got bitten both by tsetse flies and the writing bug. He went to film school at NYU and made documentaries and a full Nurseries &Landscaping length film which didn’t sell so he decided to try shorter films and went into advertising. Fifteen years later, he had his own ad agency in Chicago where he did “Be Like Mike” for Gatorade. When his partners bought him out, Tony finally had a chance to write full time. It only took him fifteen more years to finally get a book published. “Who cares?” Tony says, “some writers hit paydirt fast, others take longer. I’m just glad my time has come.” visit

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Tell it to keswick life... ...efil kciwsek ot ti lleT

Letter to the Editor”:o oft d Keswick raehrevO Life ruo ory your ro efiOverheard L kciwseK fto: o ”rotidE eht ot retteL“ a dneS Keswick Life, PO Box 32, Keswick, 74922 A VA V 22947 ,kciwseK ,23 xoB OP ,efiL kciwseK or email to: moc.liamg@efilkciwsek :ot liame ro


Lifestyles in Keswick and its environs Founded in 2005 by Winkie Motley, and continued today in her honor,

'Only Good News in Keswick Life Sir'

The minds behind Keswick Life:

Increased Enforcement Along Rt 22/231 BY KESWICK LIFE

Increased enforcement is apparent along Rt. 22/231 for the truck use and speeding violations. If you see something, say something seemingly has finally gotten the attention of local law enforcement. Bea LaPisto-Kirtley, Albemarle County Supervisor, continues to work with the county police department as well as VDOT on traffic calming remedies along Rte. 22/231. Contact Bea by email: or by telephone (434) 529-0239 with your comments. Keep up the calls and reports and do your part to keep our roads safe!


EDITOR Colin Dougherty, COLUMNISTS Tony Vanderwarker (Only In Keswick), Suzanne Nash (Bookworm) CONTRIBUTORS Sam Johnson (What's Cooking), Charles Thacher (Fiction/Travel), Bonnie Matheson (Lifestyles), Sharon H. Merrick (Community), Tasha Tobin (Lifestyles) PROOF READER Staff Assistant


CREATIVE DIRECTOR Colin Dougherty Published by Keswick Life, LLC PHOTOGRAPHY Submitted by Authors, Keswickians, and others as credited.


NEXT ISSUE DEADLINE: the 10th of the month Advertising: call 434-249-8900 or by email to:


Every month we bring you lifestyles in Keswick and its’ environs, from the scoop of a party and horsey happenings to practical advice on making the most of your garden, preserving land and updates from the surroundings! But don’t take our word for it - subscribe and discover, Keswick Life!


First-class mail subscriptions are available for $49 annually. Yes, for just $49 a year you can receive your monthly issue of Keswick Life in a cellophane envelope with First Class postage sure to make its’ arrival in a timely manner so that you get your news “hot-off-the-press".

Albemarle Counrty Fire Rescue Welcomes New Firefighters


Keswick Life is circulated to key locations in and around central Virginia for readers to pick up their free copy, one per person please, with subscriptions throughtout several counties in cenrtral Virginia and a few for those who have moved away throughout the United States and Canada. Where you can pick up a copy of Keswick Life! The Shadwell Store, The Cismont Store, Grace Church, Wiley Brothers Real Estate Office - Orange, Keswick Hall, Keswick Golf Club, Clifton Inn, In Vino Veritas, Gregory Britt Design, Country House Antiques, Foods of All Nations, Cavallo Gallery Gordonsville, The Laurie Holladay Shop, The Eternal Attic, Palladio, Albemarle Bakery, Montpelier, Monticello, Reines Jewelers



© 2020 KESWICK LIFE All editorial is fully protected or email to: by copyright and may not be reproduced without written consent andKeswick, explicit permission Keswick Life, PO Box 32, VA 22947 of the editor and publisher.The editor assumes no responsibility for the Letter to the information Editor” of Keswick Lifereserves or your Overheard herein and the right to to: refuse any advertising and/or editorial submission.

BY KESWICK LIFE Albemarle County Fire Rescue (ACFR) is proud to introduce its newest class of firefighters. During a 24-week recruit school led by career staff, a class of 15 applicants passed all necessary requirements and have received the skills and knowledge needed for the job. These new firefighters were selected as being a good fit for the department and for service to Albemarle County.

Bohanon, Corey Colvin, Kevin Freier, Jon Fields, Ashley Hodges, Trey Hudgins, Ben Jordan, Amal Mitchell, Mika Myers, Aaron Putney, Edward Noack, John Taravella, Thomas Woods.

"ACFR personnel are highly trained and motivated to provide the highest quality service to the residents of Albemarle," said Chief Dan Eggleston. "As brand new firefighters, this class is now trained to serve as functional members of the ACFR team, and we warmly welcome them to the family.” Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, a modified swearing-in ceremony was held on December 17, 2020, and livestreamed for graduates' families to view from afar. Pinning ceremonies have a long history as a fire service ritual – a rite-ofpassage into a profession committed to a level of service and sacrifice above and beyond that of other disciplines.

ACFR will begin another recruitment process at the start of 2021. Those with a passion to serve Albemarle County are encouraged to apply. Visit for more details.

Keswick Life, PO Box 32, Keswick, VA 22947 or email to:

We welcome the newest class of firefighters, who began their service this past weekend at stations throughout the county: Tanner Amburgey, Samuel Bobe-Medina, Colin

Send a “Letter to the Editor” of Keswick Life or your Overheard to:

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