Middleburg Life | February 2017

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Volume 34 Issue 4 | Feb. 2017 | middleburglife.com

Gift ideas and romance in hunt country

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10000 MOUNT AIRY RD, UPPERVILLE – Extraordinary brick colonial on 50+ gorgeous acres in prestigious Greystone. Over 9000 s/f of spectacular living space featuring three beautifully finished levels. Heated pool, tennis court and brilliant gardens overlook a picturesque pond with fabulous mountain views in a private & secluded location. $2,975,000

20022 TRAPPE RD, BLUEMONT – Wonderful horse property on 94 ac. in Piedmont Hunt at the foothills of Blueridge Mtns. 4 BR main house, pool, guest house, 8 stall barn, 2 BR cabin, 4 stall barn, 11 paddocks & more! Main house w/ open floor plan; wood burning & gas FP’s; wood floors; first floor master; pastoral & mtn views. All buildings updated; Great Ride-out. In Cons. Easement. Easy access to Rt 50 & 7. Mins to Middleburg, Upperville or Bluemont. $2,550,000 Mary Owen Chatfield-Taylor (540) 454-6500

40850 ROBIN CIR, LEESBURG – Ready to renovate! Custom-built stone, brick, & cedar estate on 3.54 acres with features & amenities for lifestyle full of entertaining, leisure, and enjoyment. Features include heated indoor pool, sports pub, reg. racquetball court with hoop, audio/video system with 2 home theaters, rooftop deck, pic. pavilion with gas barbecue, potting shed, 2+ 2-car garages, & caretaker apartment. No HOA. APPT ONLY. $2,400,000 Scott Buzzelli Peter Pejacsevich (540) 454-1399 (540) 270-3835

7 WASHINGTON ST E, MIDDLEBURG – Prime-Central Middleburg Retail location offers wide variety of uses including restaurants and shops. Large display windows on Main St. Private parking spaces. $1,425,000

23515 LIGHT HORSE CT, MIDDLEBURG – Gorgeous craftsman home w “Green” features! Attention to detail! River frontage, riding/walking trails, geothermal, open floor plan, gourmet kitchen, wood floors, screened porch with slate floor & stone fp,fr w stone fp, custom baths, third floor loft, finished lower level w rec room, exercise room, studio, full bath & walk-out to stone patio, 8+ acres of privacy, peace & quiet! $1,350,000

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2648 RECTORTOWN RD, MARSHALL – Beautiful 1909 farmhouse renovated with high end finishes. New dormer, metal roof, ext trim, boiler, attic roughed in with full bath ready for buyers to put finishing touches. Large master BR dressing room, 37 acres, 6 stall barn, pond, historic mill, new bball court, private beach area and large Goose Creek frontage. 6 parcels combined in Conservation Easement. As-is but great condition! OLREA. $1,199,900 Scott Buzzelli Peter Pejacsevich (540) 454-1399 (540) 270-3835

Peter Pejacsevich (540) 270-3835

Scott Buzzelli (540) 454-1399

Scott Buzzelli (540) 454-1399

RUNNYMEDE FARM – YATTON RD, ROUND HILL – Historic Runnymede Farm, c. 1777. Totally updated, gourmet kitchen, dining room w FP, stone tavern room w wet bar. 4 BR, 2 FB, 3 HB. Covered porch, huge stone terrace with spa. Old stone springhouse, Fenced, lush 20 ac. Private and very commutable. $1,170,000

39207 JOHN MOSBY HWY, ALDIE – Historic home c1803 in the heart of Aldie, beautifully restored interior, private front and back porches, stunning swimming pool with exceptional outdoor entertainment center, gazebo and hot tub, exquisite professionally landscaped gardens all beautifully manicured, brick walkways, extensive patios, fencing. Detached art studio and 2 car garage. Must see! $1,025,000

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355 MILLDALE HOLLOW RD SE, FRONT ROYAL – Great location at Clarke/Warren border. Surrounded by large parcel in easement, 6.118 acres, stream and waterfall. Custom-built 2/3 br, stone fireplace, country kitchen, high ceilings, wood floors, 2400 square ft., garage & dog kennels w/access to interior “dog room”. Finished basement 15 x 30. New energy efficient HVAC Private & quiet, easy to Route 50, 66 & 81 minutes away. Dulles 1 hour. $435,000 Anne McIntosh Maria Eldredge (703) 509-4499 (540) 454-3829

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Feb. 2017



CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Heidi Baumstark, Callie Broaddus, Kerry Phelps Dale, Mark Deane, Morgan Hensley, Dulcy Hooper, Richard Hooper, Carolyn Kincaid, Chelsea Rose Moore, Caitlin Scott, Summer Stanley CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Callie Broaddus, Eryn Gable, Doug Gehlsen, Tony Gibson, Crowell Hadden, Missy Janes, Douglas Lees, Karen Monroe, Deborah Morrow, Julie Napear ART DIRECTION: Focal Point Creative DESIGNER: Elisa Hernandez PRODUCTION DIRECTOR: Nicky Marshok ADVERTISE IN MIDDLEBURG LIFE 114 W. Washington St. Middleburg, VA 20118 434.242.2295 | info@middleburglife.com All editorial matter is fully protected and may not be reproduced in any manner without the written permission of the publisher. All unsolicited manuscripts and photos must be accompanied by return postage; the publisher assumes no responsibility. Middleburg Life reserves the right to reject any advertising. Distributed in Aldie, Alexandria, Ashburn, Boyce, Charlottesville, Delaplane, Dulles, Front Royal, Haymarket, Leesburg, Manassas, Marshall, Middleburg, Millwood, Paris, The Plains, Rectortown, Upperville, Warrenton, Washington, D.C., and Winchester. 2



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FIND US ON Instagram @middleburglife Twitter @middleburglife Facebook.com/middleburglife ON THE COVER Photograph of a painting by Middleburg artist Debbie Cadenas taken by Focal Point Creative. ON THIS PAGE Photo by Kristen Lynne Photography styled by Nature Composed in Middleburg, VA


COVER By Brian Yost


he “fox with the tray of chocolates” artwork used on the February cover was created by local artist Debbie Cadenas, who is known for her whimsical depictions of foxes, horses and hounds. This work was painted specifically for Stephanie Yowell of Middleburg’s Finest Chocolates, where it is currently on display. The fox piece is one of several works by Cadenas exhibited in Yowell’s store. The collection was crafted with an eye toward giving the chocolate shop more of a hunt-country vibe in line with the look and feel of downtown Middleburg. Other works by Cadenas can be viewed throughout Middleburg. Among the venues displaying her work are Side Saddle Cafe and the storefront at Journeymen Saddlers. ML

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The Art OF THE “COUNTRY WAY” By Morgan Hensley


hat does “the country way” mean? For me, the phrase conjures images of rolling hills, grazing horses and the sight and sound of a pack of hounds traversing a field. But that’s just me. We all conceive of “the country way” in different ways. Those feelings, associations and connotations are captured in an upcoming exhibit at the Byrne Gallery, “The Country Way,” which runs from Feb. 1–25. For the fourth year, in a row, the Byrne Gallery kicks off their gallery season by joining forces with the Middleburg Arts Council to host a monthlong celebration of local artists and their contributions to the community. Past years’ themes included “Sunrise/Sunset,” “Main Street,” and “Cabin Fever,” all of which evoked an aspect of life in Middleburg. “This year we basically wanted to celebrate the beautiful, peaceful, rural lifestyle. Artists love this area for that very serenity. Everyone here loves it. Why not share it?” says Peter Wood, chairman of the Middleburg Arts Council, a volunteer committee dedicated to creating opportunities and fostering a vibrant community for artists. The upcoming exhibit consists of 40 works by 29 local artists. “We didn’t want the exhibit to be too narrow. We’d rather have one or two pieces from many artists to show that Middleburg isn’t made up of only two or three well-known artists,” Wood says. “This way is more encouraging; it shows that there is an artistic community, and that’s important for giving artists inspiration and hope,” Susan Byrne adds. This exhibit is well-balanced: many of the artists are gallery veterans, while others are having their art displayed publicly for the first time. To further encompass the artistic diversity of the region, sculptures are featured alongside paintings this year, an inclusion certainly to the liking of Wood, a sculptor of free-flowing, abstract pieces. In the same vein, there is a variety of sizes and costs to convey the breadth of the Middleburg area’s art community. “The pieces are well-priced, not stratospheric,” says Bill Byrne. “And there are all kinds of sizes, not just 30”x30” works, more accents than focal points. The little pieces work for the larger ones.” The variety and diversity are fundamental aspects of the exhibit’s theme, as juror Robin Hill notes. “The country way means so many different things to so many people. To someone from the mountains of Wyoming,



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it means something very different. There’s a real, wonderful, amazing variety in interpreting it as a concept for a show; you don’t want too much overlap of ideas or subjects. This theme opens up almost uncountable viewpoints.” Hill’s five-decade painting career has earned many accolades, particularly for his bird paintings. He was trained at the Wimbledon School of Art in England as well as the National Gallery of Victoria Art School and the Royal Melbourne College in Australia. This is his second year as a juror with the Byrne Gallery, and his lifetime of artistry contributes to his critical evaluation. As a juror, he provides a discerning eye for technique and tone as well as those intangible, ephemeral qualities of artwork, as he calls them, “those other criteria: imagination, originality, a balance of inventiveness and adventure— the nerve and guts of the painter—against talent and technique. Some of the works were so wonderfully unexpected.” Byrne Gallery, now in its 21st season, is run by siblings Bill and Susan. The two are united not just by blood, but by their shared vision, passion and dedication to art. Their gallery is diverse and contemporary: “We’re not just equine or wildlife art, no one particular focus like that. We like broad brush-

strokes,” Susan says, pun fully intended. “We’re doing things we’ve never done before.” The two recount a nearly heroic tale about moving a painting to me. While progressing through the story—which involves cranes, skyscrapers, blockaded streets, the fire department, and some cunning on their behalf—they finish each other’s sentences, interject, and correct one another like any brother and sister. “People think you’d go crazy owning an art gallery with your sibling,” Susan begins before Bill adds, “but it works for us.”

“The Country Way” opens Feb. 1, with an opening reception the following Saturday (Feb. 4), which includes beverages, a chance to mingle with the artists, and an introductory lecture from Robin Hill. “We’re expecting up to 100 people to come to the reception,” Susan says. “February can be a cold month, so this is a great reason to gather together and brighten the winter a little.” ML At left, top: “Sheep” by Ute Gil. At left, bottom: “Green Sheep” by Leanne Fink. Above: “Making Hay” by Tom Neel.

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Surviving the winter HOW TO HELP VIRGINIA’S GRASSLAND BIRDS By Paula Combs | Photos by Amy Johnson


inter can be tough on all of us, including our native birds. During the freezing temperatures and heavy snowfalls, we can swing by the grocery store before a winter storm and stay cozy in our warm homes. But birds are out in the harsh weather, trying to survive the season with dwindling resources. Virginia’s grasslands are where certain bird species eat, sleep and breed, but their habitat is disappearing. “It’s the most endangered habitat in North America,” said Amy Johnson, a research fellow working with Virginia Working Landscapes (VWL), a program of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal. “Only 3.4 percent of the world’s temperate grasslands are protected, and as a result, grassland birds have experienced a steeper and more geographically widespread decline than any other group of birds.” A 2016 landbird conservation plan by Partners in Flight says the declines are due to degradation and loss of habitat



through land use changes and development, and are intensified by broadscale threats such as climate change and increasing energy demands. “Grassland habitats are becoming increasingly fragmented due to the invasion of non-native species, forest succession, agricultural intensification and urban sprawl in Virginia,” said Johnson. “And at least 80 percent of the breeding and wintering distributions of grassland birds are on our private lands.” Johnson began working with VWL five years ago, and she has been tracking data on birds during the winter season since 2013. “Along with several local nonprofits, including The Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC), Virginia Working Landscapes was established in 2009 to study and promote the sustainable use of our local landscape for native biodiversity through ecosystem research, habitat monitoring and community engagement,” said Johnson. Preliminary results from her research on the birds’ winter habitat are already showing significant differences in avian abundance in

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warm season versus cool season grass sites. Warm season grasses are native to North America, so they are adapted to our climate and have important relationships with our native wildlife. Cool season grasses are not native, and it was brought here to use for pasture grass and hay. The most common of these grasses are tall fescue and Kentucky bluegrass. “On one property, we observed a hundredfold increase in wintering bird abundance, just one year after a field had been converted to native warm season grasses. Warm season grasses maintain their structure throughout the winter, leaving open pathways underneath the field canopy that facilitate foraging and provide much needed cover,” explained Johnson. “In contrast, cool season grasses tend to get matted down.” According to Johns on, t argete d conservation initiatives have been effective for conserving and restoring grassland habitat, but “in order to successfully implement the programs, it’s necessary to facilitate a more practical model of human-habitat relationships.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO Vi r g i n i a Wo r k i n g L a n d s c a p e s recommends a number of ways a landowner can help grassland bird species survive the winter and flourish throughout the year. •

Become familiar with the birds in your field. This way, you can measure what populations are struggling or thriving on your property.

Create a mosaic of grassland habitat. A variety of habitat types on your property will support more biological diversity. Manage your fields in patches and use different techniques such as rotational grazing or a prescribed fire. Incorporate native wildflowers such as scarlet beebalm and grasses like Indian grass, big bluestem and switchgrass throughout your property, as they support declining species such as prairie warblers, field sparrows and bobwhite quail. The seeds from native grasses provide an important food source for birds throughout the winter, too. To find native plant sellers in your local area, you can reference PEC’s Go Native Go Local guide, which can be obtained by calling 540-347-2334 or going online to pecva.org/gonative.

Delay field maintenance until mid-July or August. While warm season grasses can support a variety of species yearround, hayfields and pastures support higher densities of bobolinks, eastern meadowlarks and grasshopper sparrows during the breeding season. According

to Johnson, fields mowed before July can have up to a 94 percent nestling mortality. Delaying mowing will allow birds the time it takes to successfully fledge their young. If you do not hay your fields and are able to delay maintenance Survive | Page 9

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2 After your first visit, you will consider Upper Crust a great find. Odds are you will also become a regular. Look at what people are saying on Yelp or TripAdvisor and you will read nothing but praise for Middleburg’s Upper Crust bakery. Stop by at lunchtime and you may find a line of customers that ends on the front porch. The bakery’s popularity



is even more remarkable because advertising is largely word-of-mouth. Much like Middleburg, Upper Crust has a smalltown feel. They do not accept credit cards, which is almost unheard of these days. In spite of the cash or check policy, nobody complains. The baked goods are some of the best you will find anywhere. Breakfast and lunch fare are equally noteworthy

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3 and the staff will treat you like they have known you all their lives. ML Photos: 1. Megan Bruce, Joannie Creek and Carol Caballero regularly greet customers from behind the counter. 2. On the porch at Upper Crust. 3. The counters and the rest of the shop are full of amazing baked goods.

Survive | From page 7

Reduce the use of pesticides where you can. When pesticides kill insects, the birds’ lose their most important protein source during the breeding season. Keep fence rows “messy.” Leave the overgrown plants, or let the overgrowth go a little before trimming. This provides extra habitat for birds.

even longer, mowing fields once a year is optimal, preferably in very early spring. •

Postpone fall cleanup, such as bush hogging and burning brush piles, until spring. This allows crucial habitat for the birds over the winter.

House cats kill billions of birds and other critical amphibians and small mammals vital for our ecosystems every year. Keeping cats indoors will help these other species survive.

“We share the landscape with our livestock, our crops and our grassland birds. And the birds really need your help. I urge landowners to commit to at least one of these recommendations to help conserve our

region’s grassland birds and their habitats,” said Johnson. If you would like the Virginia Working Landscapes to consider your property for their research, send an email to scbivwl@si.edu. ML Page 26: White crowned sparrow from Johnson’s winter survey. Page 27: American tree sparrow eating seeds from Broomsedge in February at Jones Nature Preserve, Washington, Virginia. Left: Field sparrow in warm season grass. Right: Cedar waxwing from one of Johnson’s surveys.

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Middleburg’s Finest



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Article and photos by Callie Broaddus


gray door — topped by the number 12 and framed on either side by cozy red shop windows exhibiting shimmering gold chocolate boxes and wooden pieces from a nearby antique shop — opens into a bright room that makes you pause on the doorstep. Soak it in. The smell of chocolate hits you. The glimmer of bright pink foil encases balls of the highest quality chocolate, catching your eye jar after jar. Bottles of carefully selected wine and bubbly sit atop wooden barrels, ready to be scooped up, and an enormous vessel of sugarplums sits atop a row of display cases containing handmade chocolates from America’s best master chocolatiers. Once you come to your senses and remember that you are blocking the door, you might return the warm smile and greeting of the store’s proprietor. Stephanie Yowell, who opened Middleburg’s Finest Chocolates in September of 2015, is nearly always the face behind the counter. Yowell selects all the treats, wine and local art in the shop herself. “I’ve had a lot of applicants for quality control people,” she jokes. With a host of talented local artists and a growing number of award-winning wineries in Loudon County, Yowell only needs to travel to find her chocolate. She attends chocolate conventions (yes, those

Where every frame is a work of art.

exist), where master chocolatiers bring their materials and tools to create handmade treats on the spot. “…But they don’t want to do the retail end of it. So we have the benefit of actually tasting and choosing,” Yowell explains. “I brought in some other master chocolatiers that I’ve found along the way that specialize in certain things. And when someone specializes in one thing, they’re going to do it well.” In her store, quality is paramount. “I don’t do anything from overseas. Everything is U.S.made,” says Yowell, explaining that she wants to avoid any loss of freshness in the time it takes foreign chocolate to ship. But she hasn’t needed to look overseas to find specialized chocolatiers with award-winning records. Speaking of the company from which she sources her truffles, she says, “They don’t do creams, they don’t do barks, they don’t do anything else but truffles. They’ve been around for 100 years, so the recipe has been in the family, and the fifth generation is now running the company. So, it’s stuff like that that I look for, that’s unique.” Yowell’s only consistent help is in her friend and part-time employee, Andi Michael, who works as an energy healer when she’s not tending the shop. According to Yowell, Michael has been an integral part of her business, allowing her

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Finest | From page 11 to maintain consistent store hours when she is traveling to conventions, taking a rare day off or swamped with holiday shoppers. “I’ve been lucky with Andi,” says Yowell, “Oh my gosh, she’s amazing. She takes care of it like I would.” Michael has no doubt who deserves the credit for the store’s growing success. “She is really smart,” she says, speaking of Yowell, “First of all, she’s got an amazing memory. And she’s really good with customers. She’s calm and unflappable.” Michael explains that when Yowell purchased the shop formerly called Shenandoah Fine Chocolates nearly 18 months ago, she ramped up its opening hours, often keeping the shop open seven days a week. “Then of course changing the windows, and making them all vibrant and beautiful. And she’s got a great eye, I think, for displaying things.” Speaking of the recently finished roadwork in town, Michael says that Yowell had grown the business despite it all. “She’s persevered, and she’s grown the shop, and she’s made it I think more efficient and more effective. And opened herself up to, I think, tons of opportunities.” One of the opportunities Michael refers to is a Valentine’s weekend wine and



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FIVE FAVORITES TO TRY ON YOUR VISIT 1. Salted caramel 2. Raspberry “Lovebugs” 3. Dark chocolatecovered orange taffy 4. Bacon truffles 5. Cinnamon gummy bears chocolate pairing with 50 West Vineyards, just down the road from the store. Yowell and Michael hope to be involved in more special events like this one in the future and are also looking forward to weddings and a new website to drive online sales. But for now, Yowell says her goal is just for more people to realize the shop is there. “I’ve seen more now that people are coming back,” she says, with a hopeful note in her voice. O nc e you’ve ste pp e d fully into the shop, you might hear Michael repeat her axiom, “Who has more fun than us?” ML Page 10: Owner Stephanie Yowell behind the counter with an assortment of Middleburg’s finest chocolate. Left: Owner Stephanie Yowell poses with Andi Michael in front of the store. Above: The store is filled with local art and the best available chocolates.




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o-owners Kathy Jo Shea and Jilann Brunett were already well-known members of the community when they opened Second Chapter Books over six years ago. Shea has served on Middleburg’s Town Council. In addition, through Solstice Healing, Shea and Brunett provided acupuncture, massage therapy and other services. Second Chapter’s previous location at 8 East Federal filled a void left by the closure of Books and Crannies, which was brought on in part by snowstorms that kept customers away during several key retail weekends. In fact, the loss of Books and Crannies brought out supporters from throughout the extended community who hated to see the end of another independent bookstore. When Shea and Brunett stepped in, many Middleburg residents breathed a sigh of relief to know that an independent bookstore would remain. Shea and Brunett were committed to providing a full-service bookstore and making it an important resource for the local community. Almost overnight, they formed a corporation, renovated the space, joined the American Booksellers Association and hired former Books and Crannies manager Laura Vermillion to help run the shop before opening their doors for business. Second Chapter Books has continued for the last six years, a welcomed resource in which local authors could speak, participate in book signings, and sell their books. Book club members throughout the area encourage their members to purchase books from Second Chapter, knowing how important it is to support a treasured local resource. Second Chapter hosts book group meetings and story telling for children. There are comfortable reading nooks for children and their parents. All that was threatened last year when Second Chapter Books lost its lease, and members of the community were once again confronted with the possibility of Middleburg losing its only bookstore. Shea expressed her concern at the time that the exclusivity brought on by high rents for shop owners in Middleburg could be detrimental, and that small shops like Second Chapter



Books would be forced to “fade away.” Fortunately, the community has once more come together. Second Chapter Books is now located at 101 W Washington. The shop sells new and used books for readers of all ages, and has a large section of books by, for and about the local community. The shop is open seven days a week and closes daily at

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6 pm. ML 101 West Washington Daily 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. 540-687-7016 Left: The new Washington Street location for Second Chapter Books. Above: Second Chapter Books is a full service bookstore.

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CANCER CAME CALLING Article and photos by Kerry Phelps Dale


ome people spend their whole lives

b ouncing f rom one job or cause to another searching for their purpose, their passion. Bill Couzens didn’t need to search. His calling found him and punched him straight in the gut, over and over again.

Bill Couzens has a family photo taken in 1995. It is a typical holiday photo with everyone dressed in Christmas finery.

Babies are on laps and children sit obediently on the floor in front of their parents who stand with hands resting on the shoulders of the seated elderly. But this copy of the iconic family photo is littered with different colored rings drawn around the smiling faces of most of the 29 pictured members of his immediate family. “Those circled in red are dead from cancer, the yellow ones lost a parent to cancer, the white have lost siblings, the purple lost a spouse, and the green one lost two children,” said Bill Couzens. There are 25 circles on the photograph. Couzens mother was the first of his family to succumb to cancer. “We were very close and it was devastating to me—took

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me about a year to process it.” Later, it was a sister, then a brother, an in-law, a niece, and on and on. How could Couzens ever question what he is supposed to do with his life, his daughter once wondered. “Dad, you have no choice,” she told him. Wrestling with his anger and frustration with cancer and its insidious effects on his family and friends, Couzens decided to approach the issue in a positive manner. “There are lots of organizations devoted to research and finding cures, but not so with prevention. More than half of all cancers are preventable—behavioral or environmental. Actually, very few cancers are genetically determined, only between five and 10 percent.” So, in 2004 Couzens founded Next Generations Choices Foundation, more widely known as Less Cancer, a nonprofit organization with the goal of increasing education and awareness and affecting policy on cancer prevention. Fourteen years later, his homegrown effort has achieved over 100,000 followers on social media, founded National Cancer Prevention Day and initiated the Cancer Prevention Caucus in Congress. On Feb. 2, the fifth annual National Cancer Prevention workshop will take place on Capitol Hill. “I was motivated by loss, but as a parent, it was my job to give solutions and lead my children,” said Couzens. “And that’s what Less Cancer is about. It doesn’t have to be this way for everybody. There is education and policy we can put in place that actually can stop cancer.” “I’m most proud that we have policy changes in place for our children that we never had,” said Couzens. “And, the increased knowledge and awareness of ways to prevent cancer. We can thank the internet, the web and social media for that.” There’s also this tweet Couzens received shortly after bringing extra attention to the devastating Flint, Michigan, water crisis: “#Lesscancer THANK YOU FROM Flint Michigan #flintwatercrisis #flintlead.” “That was really rewarding,” said Couzens of his organization’s successful efforts to help shed light on and initiate action to remove the lead from the town’s drinking water. “I’m a sales guy. I’m a marketing guy. I’m a communications guy,” said Couzens. “But I do know that content is everything. It doesn’t matter what I say. It really matters what the evidence-based science says and there is so much research that supports our agenda.” “Bill is so persistent, so tenacious, so demanding he doesn’t even take “yes” for an answer,” said recently retired New York congressman and staunch Less Cancer supporter, Steve Israel when speaking a year ago at the 2016 National Cancer Prevention Day. “He just keeps coming and coming and coming and I’m going to keep serving and serving and serving.” “When he sets his mind to something, consider it done,” said Helen Wiley, longtime friend and fellow Warrenton Horse

Show board member. “He works his buns off. Nonstop.” In the late 1990s, around the time of the horse show’s 100th Anniversary, Wiley asked Couzens to serve on the Warrenton Horse Show board. One of Couzens’ many successful contributions during his long stretch on the board was helping to create a 2002 event to dedicate the Patsy Cline Pavilion in honor of the country music legend. She had performed at the horse show grounds at the height of her career in the late 1950s. The Patsy Cline singing and look-alike contest drew dozens of women and girls in red lipstick from all over the country to perform various renditions of “Crazy” with an occasional “I Go Out Walking” thrown in. They dressed like Patsy. They tried to sing like Patsy. “One woman actually did sound like her,” recalled Couzens. The crowd loved it, and everyone appreciated Couzens’ tongue-in-cheek nod to the country music superstar. “He makes things fun,” said Wiley, “and he put the Warrenton Horse Show on the map.” Before Couzens took on the fight for cancer prevention, he worked for AOL, a couple of horse magazines and owned an accessory publication. Though born and raised in the Detroit area of Michigan, Couzens has lived most of his adult life in various places in the area. When he and his wife had their daughter and son, his family became his priority and they moved to a farm in Fauquier County. “Things at that time were about just making your kids’ lives idyllic. You go hik-

ing and ride ponies, and do all of the things this area offers.” “He’s a fabulous father,” said friend and Less Cancer board member, KC Graham. “He’s a funny guy, but was serious about those kids. I remember our kids were invited to a party. Bill was asking if I knew them, if they had guns in the house, if they used car seats, if they had a pool,” remembered Graham. “He ended up driving our kids to the party and checking things out for himself. We call him ‘Captain Safety.’ ” Couzens spends a lot of time on the road speaking at forums and conferences, or in Washington wooing representatives and senators. When he’s in town, he’s at work writing articles and connecting with his audience through social media. “Every day is a workday,” he said. Finding balance in his life, keeping stress at bay and practicing what he preaches regarding the tenets of healthy living and cancer prevention require effort and persistence. Eating healthy, exercising, meditating and enjoying his family and friends are an important part of his mission. “It’s a struggle, but the evidence is there. Lifestyle choices can keep disease away.” One more time with feeling. “Most cancers are preventable.” ML Previous page: Bill Cauzens at home. Above: Bill Cauzens with his dogs near his home outside Middleburg.

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STRICTLY Ballroom Photos by Focal Point Creative




5 From Ballroom Dance Studio in Berryville are on hand once each month at Salamander Resort & Spa to teach the fundamentals of ballroom dance technique. On January 14, dance instructor Karina Cloud worked with couples to fine-tune their dance moves.




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This event might be the ideal surprise for someone special. Partners can add a few steps to their repertoires at the class on February 11 just in time for Valentine’s Day. Take a look at our calendar or the Salamander events page. If this class won’t fit your schedule, there is always

Photos: 1. Jane and Terry Cooke. 2. Phylicia and Isaiah Kasiem. 3. Instructor Katrina Cloud of Social Graces taught students all the right steps and spent the evening having a “ball.” 4. Instructor Katrina Cloud of Social Graces helps Robert and Wendy Sellers with proper arm positions for ballroom dancing. 5. Pamela Donehower with Austin Troutner of Salamander Resort & Spa.


Annual Winter Sale Starts February 4th! 21 E Washington St. Middleburg Va. Monday - Saturday 10-5 Sunday 12-5 540.687.3686 F E B RU A RY 2 0 1 7




By Heidi Baumstark | Photos courtesy of Girasole


irasole. In Italian, it means “sunflower” or “surrounded by the sun.”

Surrounded by the sun—what a warm thought, especially in brisk conditions. A meal at this cheerful restaurant named Girasole serves up the tastiest remedy to stave off winter blues. Chef-owned and operated by Louis and Lydia Patierno, Girasole fits the bill when it comes to featuring authentic regional Italian cuisine. Girasole’s rustic setting, located in the postcard village of The Plains, is complete with wooden beams, art-filled walls (paintings by Robert Patierno, Louis’s brother), vases of vibrant flowers (of course, including



sunflowers), big Italian urns, a cozy lounge/ bar, and a landscaped patio that beckons patrons to stop. Relax. And dine. While chef Patierno is in the kitchen conjuring up winning dishes, Lydia meticulously oversees business operations using her years in hotel and restaurant management to ensure top-notch service. They both were trained at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, which is where they met some 40 years ago. And Girasole is a family-run business. “All of our adult kids worked here after college,” Lydia explained. “One daughter, Gabriela, still works here full-time.” Girasole sources only the freshest ingredients: produce from local farms, grass-fed and naturally raised meats, and hand-pressed olive oils. Housemade pastas and breads are on their seasonal menu. Lydia added, “We try our best to replicate great Italian food. And here in The Plains, we have all kinds of farmers knocking on our door.” Chef Patierno creates eight or more week-

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ly specials, which are not on the regular menu, but are explained carefully by servers. Based on what’s available in season, diners could see anything from pistachio-encrusted trout to beef Barolo (full-bodied Italian wine) with creamy polenta, finishing with delicate pastries and cups of steaming espresso. The restaurant also hosts cooking classes in the lounge/bar area, where afterward, guests share the prepared meal; the next classes are Feb. 7 (soups and antipasti) and March 7 (pasta making). On Valentine’s Day, chef Patierno will prepare a four-course gourmet dinner, and Feb. 19, a special wine tasting is planned by fine wine importer Michael Downey Selections. Themed events are also offered like their six-course annual truffle dinner in the fall, which is a 14-year tradition. Paired with the truffles are wines from the G.D. Vajra family winery in Italy. Lydia added, “We have a truffle hunter who ships white truffles from the Alba region in Italy; they’re the most Italian | From page 22


La Finka


True country resort with 50’ pool, tennis court, fish-filled pond and lovely guest cottage. Main house of stone and glass with 4-FPs, solid walnut cabinetry throughout, large patios, paved drive, gated entrance all on 102-acres with much more land available. $1,850,000

Hard to find 25-acre estate. Elegant country house features 2-story entrance hall, wide plank hardwood floors, library, 2-story family room with massive stone fp, walls of arched windows, morning room, fully finished lower level and incredible 130’ wrap porch for sunrises and sunsets over the mountains. $849,000

BELLEVUE At home in the mountains or the shores of Nantucket. Spacious with cottage feel. Main floor master, fireplace, exposed beams, updated kitchen, large deck and lots of glass to enjoy spectacular views in every direction. On 10-acres with 4-car garage and stable convenient to Warrenton. $799,000




Rare opportunity to have up to 9-bedrooms in a single residence. Just North of Warrenton on 50-acres in private setting with lovely lake and distant views from 50’great hall across stone terraces and swimming pool. Stable, guest cottage, 7-fireplaces and much more. $1,500,000

100-acres of gorgeous and rolling pasture and some woodland near the Village of Orlean. Circa 1759 traditional Southern manor with high ceilings, original hardwood floors, 1st and 2nd floor master suites, ancient log family room, Jeffersonian windows. Stables, garaging for 8, pool, guest cottages and wonderful gardens. $1,975,000

Only 5-minutes from Warrenton. Bucolic setting for light and bright country house among large shade trees and manicured lawn overlooking large pond and rolling farmland. Oversized garage with shop space, large wraparound deck and 48x100’ drive-thru outbuilding with very high ceiling. $749,000




Nearly 400-acres mostly open and in one parcel. Several private home sites, mountain views, mostly open rolling pasture with some hardwood, 3-streams, pond, stone barn and 2-tenant houses. Good easement potential. Additional 150-acres available with long road frontage. Near Orlean. $2,846,000

Hear the Rappahannock River and Thumb Run from the screened porch. Custom country home with extra large upscale kitchen, luxurious main floor master suite, hardwood floors throughout, many walk-in closets, elegant trim and built-ins, full basement and more. Brick and hardiplank exterior. $795,000

The epitome of idyllic small town living. All-brick cottage is just an easy stroll from Main St Warrenton for shops, cafes, summer concerts, festival, parades and so much more. Needs major renovation but will be something very special for the right buyer. $495,000

Allen Real Estate Co. Ltd. TRAFALGAR Stately and elegant residence on the edge of town. All-brick with grand 2-story entrance, 6-fireplaces, hardwood floors, built-ins, Conservatory, billiard room, workshop and more and more. Generous 2-acre lot is professionally landscaped with brick walls and fish pond. Massive deck spans the house to take it all in. $895,000

Tray Allen, Broker 540-222-3838

Joe Allen, Broker 540-229-1770


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Girasole | From page 20 expensive and the best.” A unique offering in winter months is Girasole’s four-course interactive Murder Mystery dinners that keep diners guessing “whodunit” murder mysteries. Those mystery stories are prepared and hosted by John and Holli Todhunter, proprietors of Three Fox Vineyards in Delaplane. Holli added, “During the dinner, clues are passed out and guests have to figure out the clue. At the end, the winner gets a prize.” The next one is March 12, featuring the Italian Marche region and Three Fox wine pairings. Guests can also take a little of Girasole home with them. Recently, Irene Gluck of Catharpin attended a wine dinner with her husband. They walked out with a rustic Italian bread round. “You can buy their bread, wine and olive oil,” she said. “The bread is wonderful and crispy—just to die for.” The Patiernos’ love for all things Italy stems from their Italian roots. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 1974, they held an assortment of chef and



management jobs in several restaurants. Most notably, chef Patierno worked for 12 years at the high-end Tiberio in DC, learning from gifted European chefs while Lydia worked on the U.S. culinary Olympic team led by German chef Hubert Schmieder. Lydia also worked in restaurants in Iowa and Indianapolis before returning to DC. “In those days,” Lydia said, “few women chefs were hired, so I worked in hotel/restaurant management.” This combined experience paved the way for the couple’s future restaurant businesses. In 1992, they opened their first restaurant, Panino, in Manassas. In 2004, they opened Girasole; “my husband is the one who came up with the Girasole name,” Lydia said. They ran both establishments until 2013 when they closed Panino. Now, they focus solely on Girasole with many loyal customers from their Manassas restaurant taking the scenic drive to The Plains, Virginia’s famed horse country. Lydia shared about a group who recently came to Girasole because they read about their unique olive dish originating from Ascoli Piceno, a town in the Marche region

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bordering Tuscany. “The guests had lived in Italy and when they heard we had those special olives, they wanted to come,” Lydia said. “The olives are delicious. They’re stuffed, breaded and fried.” As a nostalgic symbol of Lydia’s Italian roots, an old wooden rolling pin hangs on the wall. “It belonged to my grandmother who brought it from Italy when she came to Ellis Island in 1912,” she said. When someone loves what they do, it shows. For the Patiernos, their love of Italy is obvious. After all, “when you have a passion, you live it;” Lydia said, “and this is our passion.” Girasole is located at 4244 Loudoun Avenue in The Plains. For upcoming events, visit their website at www.girasoleva.com or call 540-253-5501. ML Clockwise from top left: Chef Louis Patierno and wife, Lydia; a table set in preparation for diners; the lounge and bar area at Girasole; comfort food at Girasole.


A Valentine’s Story Photos and story by Richard Hooper

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”


hus begins one of the most well-known love poems in the English language, secretly composed by Elizabeth Barrett while making the acquaintance of, and being courted by, Robert Browning. In 1841, having spent the last two years in Torquay attempting a recovery from a variety of indefinite illnesses which had plagued her since mid-teens, Elizabeth rejoined her family at their residence at 50 Wimpole St. in London. She was 35 years of age, an invalid

confined for the most part to her room, taking most of her meals there alone, as well. Writing was her main activity and even that, her doctors advised, was too strenuous for her. Nearly four years later, she praised the poetry of Robert Browning in one of her works. He responded to her on Jan. 10, 1845, in a long letter praising her work in return. Elizabeth replied her thanks, further expanding her praise of Robert’s writing. They both revealed bits about themselves within their effusions about the other in letters that were open and straightforward. Yet one can feel warm embers waiting to be fanned. Due to her health, Elizabeth allowed very few visitors. But four months after their letters began, she allowed Robert to visit. She Valentine | Page 26



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Valentine | From page 23 received him on her sofa in her third-floor bedroom, her usual station for receiving the infrequent guest. He stayed an hour and a half. The next morning Elizabeth confided to her father that she had been overwhelmed by his presence. In a letter to Robert, she wrote, “When you came, you never went away. I mean I had a sense of your presence constantly.” She was smitten, but did not know quite what that was. Her poetry, a few friends, her family and Flush, her cocker spaniel and constant companion, were her salvation and joy. She dared not think of a future outside of her room. Describing the jolt that Robert gave her, she wrote in her first love sonnet:

bouquets of flowers to adorn her room. The visits were kept semi-secret from Elizabeth’s father. An autocratic man, Mr. Barrett strongly preferred that his children not marry and remain within the household - except, of course, when a son was dispatched to Jamaica to tend the family plantation.

Marylebone Parish Church. On the way, Elizabeth nearly passed out. Wilson had to procure smelling salts for her and then a cab. Making it to the church, she met an anxious Robert. Now married, Elizabeth returned to Wimpole Street and hid the event from her

During Robert’s visits, Elizabeth began writing the sonnets, for which she would become so famous. The 43 poems describe the course of her feeling unworthy of Robert’s love and evolve from tentative to full recognition of her love for him. Such delights are described as Robert’s first three kisses and exchanging locks of hair. Lest one think her verse is burdened by Victorian morays, she debunks that notion in the 10th sonnet writing, “And love is fire; and when I say at need / I love thee . . mark! . . I love thee!” As the winter of 1845 approached, Elizabeth’s doctor recommended that she go to Italy for the season. Mr. Barrett, however, would not give his consent. Robert had planned to join her there, but now all they had was another bleak winter with weekly visits ahead of them. The disappointment was unbearable. Elizabeth began to think that her father viewed her as chattel and realized that her only path to a full life was with Robert. With many reservations, Robert and Elizabeth began to plot their marriage. Knowing that Elizabeth’s father would never grant consent, they thought perhaps he would accept it after the fact. The plotting went on until circumstances necessitated abrupt action. On Sept. 12, 1846, Elizabeth, accompanied by Wilson, her maid, slipped out of the house and began the walk to St.

family for another week. She had already secreted her luggage from the house, when she and Wilson, this time accompanied by Flush, sneaked out of the house to meet Robert and cross the English Channel to find a new home in Pisa. She left behind letters of explanation, and took with her the love sonnets she had written. It wasn’t until 1849 that she showed them to Robert. When published the following year, they were entitled “Sonnets from the Portuguese.” The title was a private reference to a term of endearment that Robert used for Elizabeth. He would sometimes call her “my little Portuguese.” Happy Valentine’s. May your love be as strong. ML

...a mystic Shape did move behind me, and drew me backward by the hair, And a voice said in mastery while I strove, ... “Guess now who holds thee?” _____ “Death,” I said. But there, The silver answer rang... “Not Death, but Love.” Robert, too, was smitten, but knew full well what it was. He wrote to Elizabeth immediately after his visit. In reply, she scolded him for “speaking so wildly,” continuing that, “You have said some intemperate things... fancies, which you will not say over again, nor unsay, but forget at once, and forever, having said at all; and which will die out between you and me alone, like a misprint between you and the printer.” She demanded that if he attempted to defend his words, she would not see him again. She also returned his offending letter. Elizabeth later asked Robert for the letter back but he had destroyed it. It is the only letter missing from their voluminous correspondence. Had Robert proposed marriage? That was something Elizabeth had not entertained. While she may have been shocked, she certainly did not want the exciting friendship with Robert to die. She also feared that Robert was of such a disposition as to fall in love with anyone, and that eventually she would only disappoint him. Robert continued to make intimate forays through his nearly daily letters and, upon rebuke, would retreat. The letters are a binding cord of integrity, mutual respect and interests that would pull them closer together, creating intimacy. The embers were being fanned. On Robert’s visits to Elizabeth, he brought



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[Next Month - Flush’s Story] (Richard Hooper is an antiquarian book expert in Middleburg. He is also the creator of Chateaux de la Pooch, elegantly appointed furniture for dogs and home. He can be contacted at rhooper451@aol.com.)

Page 23: A portrait of Elizabeth Barrett Browning from an 1877 edition of her poems. Above: Elizabeth Browning on her sofa with Flush, her cocker spaniel, reading a letter from Robert Browning. The illustration by Edwina is from “Flush of Wimpole Street and Broadway” by Flora Merrill, published in 1933.








Think Middleburg Photos by Alexa Wolff




5 There are many competing theories about the origin of Saint Valentine’s Day and how it became associated with the celebration of love. The first known reference dates back to 1400. So, for nearly 700 years, lovers have recognized Feb. 14




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as a day to exchange tokens of their affection. There is no need to lament your gift-giving choice. As we make plans to do something special for our valentines this year, we need look no further than downtown Middleburg.

1. Accessories are a girl’s best friend, find yours at Lou Lou Boutiques 2. Happy Valentine’s Day from one off our favorite shops, Crème da la Crème. 3. Gentlemen, you can’t go wrong dressing in any item from Richard Allen Clothing. 4. To ad an extra touch, go with a red tie for your Valentine’s Day date night from Richard Allen Clothing. 5. Doll up for Valentine’s Day with this fabulous piece from Thomas Hays and Son Jewelers.

1 3

2 Our local retailers offer much more than just cards and you will find no shortage of unique ideas to help you conform to this centuries-old tradition. To provide a little inspiration,

we sent staff member Alexa Wolff out to explore local options and offer a few recommendations to guide you on your Valentine’s Day shopping mission. ML

1. Look fabulous this season dressed in Highcliffe Clothiers. 2. Surprise your significant other with a beautiful bouquet from Middleburg Floral Gallery. 3. Ladies, you can conquer anything with a great pair of red heels! Stop into Duchessa and check out their elegant collections. 4. Indulge with delicious treats from Popcorn Monkey.


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LoCo Ale Trail By Jennifer Buske


or the owners of Old Ox Brewery, beer has always been a family affair. President and Co-Owner Chris Burns has turned the home brew experiments that began in his garage into a full-fledged brewery in Ashburn where everyone from his parents and wife to 10-year-old son work to create an ever-changing array of beers now found throughout the DC, Maryland and Virginia region. “We would open the garage door — didn’t matter if it was raining, cold, snowing, hot or humid — and have a brew day,” Burns said, noting it was his dad, Graham, who really got the family started with brewing. “All the family members would get involved, neighbors would stop by and friends would come in from out of town. … It was a great way to connect.” When the Burnses opened Old Ox Brewery in June 2014, the beer scene was just emerging, but now Loudoun boasts more than 20 breweries on the LoCo Ale Trail, which is the largest beer trail for any county in Virginia. “More and more breweries are opening and the movement to eat, drink and buy local products supports many different types of business models,” Burns said. “I can say that we did not expect to have more than 20 in such a short time. We’re only two-and-a-half years old and we’re considered a ‘grandfather’ of the group.” Old Ox Brewery will be just one of several breweries participating in FeBREWary — a



monthlong promotion with DC101 to highlight Loudoun’s booming beer scene. “The LoCo Ale Trail was created to position Loudoun as a premier East Coast beer touring destination, and partnering with a major market radio station for FeBREWary is just one way to present our rapidly growing product to a larger audience,” said Jackie Saunders, vice president of marketing for Visit Loudoun. “The diversity of our beer product and proximity to the nation’s capital make the trail a beer enthusiast’s must-do in

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Northern Virginia.” Loudoun offers an unparalleled beer scene, where plant meets pint and visitors can sample more than 200 beers any given week at diverse locations including everything from farm breweries growing hops on-site to industrial-style tasting rooms. Loudoun’s craft beer scene began in 1989 with Old Dominion Brewing Co. While the business has since merged with another Trail | Page 32


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10:00am-3:30pm Church of Our Saviour, near Oatlands, Va.

The James Monroe Presidential Inauguration: A Bicentennial Commemoration and Reflection With a reception to follow at Oak Hill. Reservations Required.

www.mosbyheritagearea.org F E B RU A RY 2 0 1 7



Trail | From page 30 national brewery in Delaware, it gave many local brewers their start in the industry, including Matt Hagerman and Favio Garcia, who opened Lost Rhino Brewing Co. in 2011. Virginia legislation has also changed over the years, making it easier for breweries to open their doors. In 2014, new legislation specifically paved the way for farm breweries to open in western Loudoun — a region known for its wineries, winding country roads and rural landscape. Today, the agricultural side of beer production is an integral part of Loudoun’s overarching beer story, and farmers like the Zurschmeide family at Dirt Farm Brewing are growing not only hops, but peaches, cherries and other products on-site as ingredients for their beer. In 2015, the agriculture side of the industry got another boost when the Mid-Atlantic’s first commercial hops processing operation opened at Black Hops Farm. Located next to Vanish Farmwoods Brewery, the facility features tours by appointment so visitors can truly see how the hops get from the plant, processed and into their pint glass. To help connect the modern tasting rooms in Loudoun’s urban eastern corridor with the breweries situated on farms and pastures in the rolling countryside, Visit Loudoun — the county’s tourism organization — launched the LoCo Ale Trail in 2015. Similar to the “DC’s Wine Country” brand, the LoCo Ale Trail brand positions Loudoun as a beer destination and promotes Loudoun’s breweries as a trail that provides visitors with numerous ways to experience the craft beer scene. “Visit Loudoun has been awesome!” Ocelot Brewery Co. Owner Adrien Widman said. “The way they have worked with all of the breweries in the county and have helped to not only promote us, but also help with getting over certain hurdles has definitely



contributed to why we all have such a great community among us in the industry.” Widman’s brewery is part of the Dulles Corridor, which highlights industrial-style tasting rooms located in eastern Loudoun. Wanting to focus his life on something he was passionate about, Widman opened Ocelot in April 2015 and creates a beer menu that pleases his palate. India Pale Ales are a consistent find at the brewery and they strive to make various versions utilizing different techniques and ingredients. “We focus primarily on beers that we want to drink. We have no flagships brews, so we are not burdened by constantly maintaining a certain brand or flavor,” Widman said. “Our inspiration comes from everywhere. It could be as easy as chatting with another brewer, or trying a different ingredient and thinking up a way to utilize it.” The Dulles Corridor where Ocelot is located is just one of several beer regions to explore. Visitors can check out

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visitloudoun.org to find other options including a bikes and brews itinerary featuring stops along the Washington and Old Dominion Trail and a farm breweries itinerary connecting people to all the places growing hops and products that are used in their beers. “From the manufacturing type breweries like Beltway, Lost Rhino and Old Ox to the bucolic farm breweries like Vanish, Dirt Farm and Barnhouse — there’s something for everyone and exploring the different breweries is just a lot of fun,” said Old Ox’s Burns. “And of course, everyone should stop at Old Ox to enjoy one of our beers.” ML Page 30, top: Old Ox Brewery President and Co-Owner Chris Burns (photo courtesy of Old Ox Brewery). Page 30, bottom: Adroit Theory Brewing Co. in Purcellville (photo by Aboud Dweck/Visit Loudoun). Top: Lost Rhino Brewing Company was one of Loudoun’s first breweries (photo by Aboud Dweck/Visit Loudoun). Bottom: Old Ox Brewery (photo by Aboud Dweck/Visit Loudoun).


Please join us for the @th annual

Middleburg Community Center Friday ◆ February ;B, ;9:C ◆ 6 –8 pm



see website for auction info and inclement weather schedule a suggested donation will be collected at the door a benefit for the Middleburg Montessori School F E B RU A RY 2 0 1 7





By Mark Deane | Photo courtesy of Gomer Pyles


ention “Middleburg,” and often the image that jumps to mind is one of grand old estates, foxhunts, and the trappings of life’s “finer things.” Mention that someone is moving to Middleburg, and one might envision the newcomer arriving in his late model sports car or SUV, accompanied by a luxury horse van transporting a string of expensive polo ponies, fox or show hunters. But, as is so often the case, stereotypes do not tell the whole story, because Middleburg is a vibrant community filled with diverse characters and lifestyles, bound together by a common love of the countryside and country life. A great example is longtime Middleburg resident Gomer Pyles, owner of Able Body Computers. When Gomer arrived in Middleburg 30 years ago, he arrived not by luxury horsepower but by the power of his own two feet. He hiked into town with his worldly belongings in a backpack and in need of a job. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Gomer noted that “‘Gomer’ is not my real name. I got the name ‘Gomer’ when I changed middle schools. The ‘Andy Griffith Show’ was on the air, and the children at my new school just started calling me ‘Gomer’ because my last name is ‘Pyles.’ For some reason, the name sounded good to me; I thought it was a good fit, so I decided to keep it.” Growing up on the free-spirited West Coast influenced Gomer’s “hippie” lifestyle and persona, including his casual attire and trademark bandana. “I have worn a bandana for as long as I can remember, but I must admit, I stopped for about four years when I was trying to establish my computer business here in the ‘80s” Gomer said. Recounting his early days, Gomer recalled, “What I remember most about L.A. was the freedom I felt growing up. I started hitch-hiking to school at a very young age, and through that, I began to meet all kinds of people.” Gomer’s hitchhiking adventures quickly grew into longer journeys: he hitchiked across the country to West Virginia to visit his grandparents, a trip that took him about three days. Wanderlust has always been in Gomer’s soul. Adventurous and resourceful, Gomer has explored the world not only through his hitchhiking, but also by backpacking and taking to the high seas. “I started backpacking



in the early ‘70s. I learned carpentry so that I could fix things during long hikes to earn enough money to survive,” Gomer explained. “Sometimes, I would have to stop for a week or two to save enough money to move on, but most people were very nice and would allow me to camp on their property.” Gomer’s first trip cross-country on foot started in San Francisco and ended in Washington, DC. The journey actually began as a group hike of approximately 100 people that included his partner and their infant daughter. “The first day of the hike, we lost over 50 people,” Gomer recalled. “By the time we arrived in Washington, no one from our original group was with us.” Gomer also learned sailing skills to earn his passage on voyages to the Caribbean. He loves tropical islands, and each year, takes a voyage to Caribbean islands. “I spend ab out a m ont h , and I just love it there,” Gomer said. “I am bare-footed for the entire month. I walk to my favorite beach where there is literally no one around for miles, and I just yell at the top of my voice.” So how does a “hippie” from L.A. end up in Middleburg horse country? On one of his cross-country treks, Gomer met a fellow hiker from the Middleburg area who offered him a job and a place to stay. “In 1981, I ended up in this area and I never left,” Gomer explained. “I felt the beauty and serenity here that I had experienced while backpacking and hitchhiking.” When he first settled in the area, Gomer relied on his carpentry to earn a living. He enjoyed carpentry, but found himself fascinated by computers. It wasn’t long before that fascination led him to repair computers. “Computers are like a big jigsaw puzzle, and I really like to solve puzzles,” Gomer said. In 1987, Gomer launched his own computer business, Able Body Computers. In 1994, he purchased a building in The Plains, which remains home to both Gomer and his business. “Basically, I live and work in the same building since it

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has plenty of room to meet all of my needs,” Gomer explained. While Gomer and I chatted for this interview in the Middleburg Common Grounds coffee shop, numerous locals and business owners stopped by our table to say hello, including Kim Hart and Jim Herbert. Kim Hart, known for his involvement with Middleburg’s Windy Hill Foundation, has been a client of Gomer’s since 1987 and wanted to ensure that my story stressed that Gomer is a special person. Jim Herbert, known for his work with the annual Middleburg Christmas parade, echoed those sentiments. He noted that, when Gomer works on a project for you, he does more than fix computers; he brings something special to his work that touches people’s spirits in a unique way. As Gomer, Jim and Kim chatted at our table, I reflected on the fact that the scene was a wonderful reflection of Middleburg life: people with diverse backgrounds and interests, drawn together in friendship by their common love of our area. In 2008, Gomer suffered a stroke. His daughter, now grown from the infant who had backpacked with him cross-country so many years earlier, journeyed from New York to help him. “My daughter had moved to New York when she was 18 to experience the world,” Gomer related. “She had been away for about 10 years, so naturally it took a little adjusting for us both to get used to each other.” Gomer added, “I did not know how she would adapt to my lifestyle here in my building in the middle of what I called ‘paradise.’” It’s obvious that Gomer has put down deep roots in Middleburg, and the free-spirited traveler calls this special area “home.” As Gomer explained, “I love it here because the locals accept me, and the small-town atmosphere of Middleburg makes it seem as if you know everybody.” I sensed that his life was satisfying and complete, particularly since his daughter has remained in Middleburg and is part of his unique life. ML

PET OF THE MONTH Whiting – Collie & Shepherd mix Owner Middleburg Humane Foundation Age I’m olderish. (That’s a new word I just invented.) I have the lab work of a two-year-old dog, so I’m very young at heart and quicker than you think. Nickname Whiting flows nicely, so no one ever gave me a nickname. Describe yourself in three words Sweetest, Mild, Expressive What’s your story? I once had a family for a very long time, but I grew up neglected as a puppy and young dog and didn’t receive adequate nutrition, so my toes are shaped a little funny. I wound up at Middleburg Humane 8 months ago and really do have a better life now, but I’m ready to live my next several years with a real family. I’ve got to admit I’m a little bashful at first but I’ll turn into a lap dog if you sit down with me.

Who’s your favorite person? I’d have to say Michaela, the veterinary technician. She immediately took care of my aches and pains. Luckily, I don’t have any other issues. (Remember that excellent lab work!) What do you like about MHF? Since I’m a Collie/Shepherd mix, I’m a tall guy. MHF makes sure I can sit out in a huge yard every day. I can see everyone who comes to the main entrance, and I get to say hello. You could say I’m the outside overseer of the place. What is your best feature? I’ve been told I have the most expressive face of all the animals here. If you were likened to a celebrity, who would you be? Paul Neuman. He was blond in his younger days and handsome with a mild temperament, but he was full of expression, just like me. Do you follow a special diet? I take medication twice a day to keep my joints from hurting, and I don’t mind taking

it. It tastes good! I hear it’s cheap to purchase. If you had one wish what would it be? To find a home with a family who likes to let me hang outside a lot during the day. Except in thunderstorms. Those really scare me. ML Whiting is a gorgeous Collie/Shepherd mix. For further information, visit middleburghumane.org or call 540-364-3272. Photo by Chris Weber Studios. Courtesy of Melanie Burch, Director of Development. Middleburg Humane Foundation operates a private, 4.5-acre farm shelter located in Marshall, Virginia. It is their goal to provide a safe haven for abused, neglected and “at-risk” animals, both large and small.

Spring Glade, Middleburg, VA.

Middleburg Prime Retail Space 1600 +/- SQ. Feet. Ideal for a small café with outside seating. Will consider short or long term leases for high-end trunk shows, estate sales, art shows or other promotional exhibits.

Middleburg Apartment Rental Spacious 865 SQ. FT. 1 Bedroom. Hardwood Fireplace. Tiled bath w/Bidet. Parking. Washer/ Dryer use. Reduced $1600.

543 +/- SQ. Feet, full bath, Parking. Reduced $1050

Land: Watson Rd/ Leesburg: Under contract.





EST. 1965


Will consider short For more information or longcall term lease. please Jock Reuter For more information at 540-687-5511 please call Jock Reuter www.Reutersinc.com at 540-687-5511 F E B RU A RY 2 0 1 7



A GRAND OPENING at Greenhill Winery Photos by Focal Point Creative


2 4 Greenhill Winery and Vineyards recently opened a new tasting room and winery. The grand opening was marked by a combination of two events. An invitation-only celebration took place the evening of Thursday, Jan. 12. This was followed Saturday, Jan. 14, by a public ribbon cutting ceremony performed by owner David Greenhill and Middleburg Mayor Betsy Davis. The new facility, with its large public and private spaces, will exponentially increase





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capacity. The elegantly designed and decorated rooms are certain to draw additional visitors to the Middleburg area. The addition of the upgraded winery will allow winemaker SĂŠbastien Marquet to increase production from the current 5,000 cases to 15,000 cases over the next few years. The production facility also contains a beautiful new barrel room that is almost certainly the largest in the commonwealth.

Photos: 1. Owner David Greenhill and Middleburg Mayor Betsy Davis performed the ribbon cutting. 2. Local artist Isabelle Truchon next to one of many paintings she created for the tasting space. 3. Pouring wine at the new tasting bar. 4. Attendees enjoyed the grand opening events.






Photos: 1. The elegant new tasting room will accommodate more patrons. 2. Left to right: winemaker SĂŠbastien Marquet, Reggie Cooper, Sheila Johnson, owner David Greenhill toasting the opening in the barrel room. 3. The upstairs event space offers even more options for guests. 4. The Greenhill Viognier was one of several wines poured at the opening events. 5. The beautiful new barrel room is likely the largest in the state. 6. Primed and ready, bottles of wine behind the tasting bar.


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Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead at Middleburg Academy

By Caitlin Scott


Photos courtesy of Middleburg Academy n independent school established in 2009 and now serving grades 8-12, Middleburg Academy is on a mission to meet the needs of students living in a changing world. You may have heard of the acronym S.T.E.M., the latest buzzword in education and part of an initiative to bring science, technology, engineering and math to the forefront of student learning. “By 2020, 80 percent of jobs will be S.T.E.M.-related,” said Colley Bell, the head of the school. “We want students to be nimble as they navigate through life, and that means preparing for a world that is constantly changing.” Faced with apparent limitations, however, S.T.E.M. wasn’t proving to be the complete package for Middleburg Academy students. “The feedback we were getting from engineering colleges and universities was that students were coming to them mathematically sound, but they did not play well together,” said Colley. “They couldn’t collaborate or express themselves. That’s great for sitting in a cubicle, but the new world order is demanding much more from them.” It seems that this missing component— the ability to collaboratively solve complex problems in a real-world setting—is solved



simply by converting S.T.E.M. to S.T.E.A.M. The ‘A’ stands for the arts, which complete the package by wrapping creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration into the benefits of S.T.E.M. “There are no collaborative elements in S.T.E.M., no arts, no humanities,” said Colley. “To us, S.T.E.A.M. is about preparing kids for the real world by integrating hands-on collaborations.” S.T.E.A.M. was launched at Middleburg Academy in 2014, shortly after Colley took

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over as head of the school. Middleburg Academy had recently made the transition from a Catholic school known for its sports program to an independent school focused on a balance between sports and academics. Colley, along with the school board, staff, and students, was challenged to make decisions about Middleburg Academy’s new direction. “This was at a point when education was really changing and transforming,” said ColAhead | Page 40

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Ahead | From page 38 ley. “The three questions that guided us were, ‘Who are we, where are we going, and who is going with us?’” The promise of reinvention was exciting, and Colley met with students to discuss what could be done to better prepare them for higher education. Low college completion rates forced the consideration of developing traits like cooperation, self-advocacy, passion, grit and adaptability to ensure success in any environment. The main question became: How can students develop these traits while preparing for a world driven by technology? The answer came a year later, when Dave Gillis, the school’s director of computer science and technology, brought in a program called Project Lead the Way (PLTW). This national curriculum was developed through a partnership between Johns Hopkins University and engineering firms and folded seamlessly into the school’s computer science and engineering curriculums. Middleburg Academy is the only independent school in the region working with the PLTW program. “We’re in our second year of S.T.E.A.M., and it’s continually being built upon,” said Director of Advancement Edwina Bell. “Now PLTW is unfolding and evolving as well as our students take courses and discover their interests.” PLTW’s problem-based learning model presents students in computer science and engineering classes with hands-on activities that build strong foundational skills in these areas. From there, students progress to choosing a creative group project aimed at making a difference in the computer science or engineering fields. The next step is a national competition where teams present their project to a learning community made up of peers and judges. This national competition is the culmination of, and undoubtedly the reward for, a year of collaboration, trial, discovery and problem-solving. On April 28, 2017, teams from Middleburg Academy will travel to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to present their projects at the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge. The Conrad Challenge is a multi-phase competition that challenges participants to develop solutions to real-world problems. Though S.T.E.A.M. is part of the school curriculum, the Conrad Challenge is voluntary, which Dave Gillis says is by design. “When you volunteer for something, you’re more committed,” he said. “To me, this is a great opportunity for the students to step out of their curriculum and dream big.” And dream big they do. Engineering students competing in the aerospace engineering category are working on developing a project that will aid in enhancing the transportation, navigation, and communication on Mars. Another group, motivated by the illness of the



team leader’s great-grandmother, designed a pair of augmented braces intended to speed up the recovery of those with leg infirmities. Both teams have spent the year coordinating schedules, avidly researching, experimenting, and consulting with their mentors and with each other to refine their ideas. These young people are excited about their futures and confidently dream about being inventors, aerospace engineers, and doctors. The future will certainly need the talents of those who can solve questions related to these fields. Because these students have fallen in love with a creative curriculum designed for deep learning, it seems likely they will be among the ones to do it. ML Page 38 top: AP Physics students built and tested projectiles. Top: Engineering students working away during a lab period. Middle: Senior Alan Salacain, senior Niketh Vellanki and physics teacher Erik Hennigar posing for pictures after winning a S.T.E.A.M. competition. Bottom: Sophomore Chelsea Penfield, and Senior Niketh Vellanki during a livestream broadcast on youtube.

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“Before I learned to write for Google, I learned to write at Hill School.”

Celie O’Neil-Hart Content Marketing Manager, Google The Hill School Class of 2002

“Back in 6th Grade at Hill School, Mr. Mack asked us to set aside ego for the sake of relentless edits to our Rosetta Stone papers. Today at Google, when I’m on my third or fourth edit of an article or speech, I still think of Mr. Mack and put my prose before my pride.” When you visit our village-style campus in Middleburg, VA you’ll learn how we develop students with strong character, self-confidence, a sense of community, and a lifelong love of learning.

Serving students in Junior Kindergarten through 8th grade since 1926 TheHillSchool.org

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Meet Middleburg

Dwight Grant, barber and hair stylist Photo and story by Kerry Phelps Dale


customer and his excited dog stick their heads in the door and Dwight greets them both by name. The quick conversation suggests a friendship beyond a client/barber relationship. When the man and his dog leave, Dwight moves effortlessly back to the task at hand, a razor cut and beard trim, and a warm conversation with the man in his chair. “When you talk all day, you find a way to make what you say interesting,” he says, but with more humility than the words suggest, because Dwight is more a listener than a talker—an open vessel for others’ words and ideas. He gives all his clients an equal voice, no matter their politics or beliefs. “I want to offer beauty and strength to all kinds. I know how to manage pain and am not burdened by people’s stories, so I can accept them for what they are. I try to be patient and kind and that allows me to accept differences.” “Most customers come in and start yawning,” he says as he gently brushes the hair from the neck of his client. “They relax. It’s about touch. Someone else’s touch can relieve your stress—you can’t do that for yourself.” Dwight has clearly figured out the nuances of providing a quality personal service, but his success and expertise extend much further than his chair-side manner. He figures he has completed over 250,000 documented haircuts over the past 20 years and has accrued 734 clients after only six years in his Middleburg shop, Salon Aubrey, named after his oldest daughter. After realizing that this small community couldn’t fully support a high-end barbershop, he added women’s hair services, of which he was equally trained to provide. His business now includes women’s cuts and color and all the traditional services of a barbershop, including a few regular clients who come in for the traditional straight razor shave. Dwight’s affinity for children led him to fashion his shop for families, instead of what would have been a more lucrative business catering to mostly affluent women. He loves children and has enjoyed watching his customers grow up over the years. “One boy,



whose hair I have been cutting since he was three, came in the other day with his girlfriend. She was all over him,” he says. “ And I realized, he’s a man now. And I’m still cutting his hair.” Dwight regularly works out at a gym to counter the effects of standing all day with arms suspended at shoulder height, and is also training for a triathlon. Woodworking, too, gives him both the physical and mental release needed after a long day or week.

where he and his wife, Judith, enjoy their blended family of six children. “We’re the modern-day Brady Bunch,” he says, “My three biracial children and her three biracial children.” Their children range in age from eight to 25 years old and recently Dwight’s oldest son was offered a scholarship at New York University and plans to attend there in the fall. Dwight’s mother’s and father’s families go back eight generations in this Piedmont

Dwight made the counter in his shop and the beautiful walnut top was harvested locally. For someone who talks to people all day long, “the perfect amount of conversation,” said one customer, he is more introvert than extrovert, by his own admission. “I feel nurtured in silence,” Dwight allows. “I have a lot of interesting thoughts; I don’t feel the need to talk to someone all of the time.” Dwight makes his home in Centreville

area of Virginia, and though he was born in Washington, DC, Dwight lived in Upperville for much of his childhood and adolescence and is considered by locals to be a hometown boy returned. “I’m proud to say that each generation of my family has made positive impacts on this community,” he says. Dwight certainly is carrying on that family tradition. ML Salonaubrey.com

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Mount Gordon Farm

Creighton Farms

128 acres and immaculate 3 level, 13,000+ sq ft stone & shingle main house • 5 BR • 8 FP • Exceptional finishes on every floor • Caterer's kitchen • Elevator • Spa • Separate guest cottage • Pool • Farm manager residence • 3 additional tenant houses • 12 stall center-aisle stable • Pond • Extraordinary land w/incomparable views extending beyond the Blue Ridge Mts • Orange County Hunt Helen MacMahon (540) 454-1930

"Highgate" at Creighton Farms • Possibly best elevated building site east of Bull Run Mountains • Brick and stone exterior • 6,126 sf finished living space • 5 bedrooms • 5 full + 2 half baths • 4 fireplaces • Elevated ceiling height • Superior craftsmanship • Gourmet kitchen• Master suite on main level • Wood and limestone floors • 4 car garage on 4.04 acres.

Traditional fieldstone house, circa 1790 with 2009 addition and renovations • 4 bedrooms • 3 1/2 baths • 6 fireplaces • High ceilings • Gourmet kitchen • Guest house, barn, spring house, run in sheds • 44.61 fenced & usable acres • Spring fed pond

Paul MacMahon

Paul MacMahon

The Plains, Virginia $11,750,000

Leesburg, Virginia $2,800,000

Old Fox Den Farm The Plains, Virginia $1,985,000

Restored 3 bedroom 1830's farmhouse on 65 acres • Multiple porches & fireplaces, lots of charm • Lovely pool, shared pond, 4 stall barn, workshop • Expansive mountain views, rolling open pasture & fully fenced elevated land • Gorgeous setting in the protected valley between Middleburg and The Plains • Conservation easement permits 2 more homes to complete the compound (703) 609-1905 Helen MacMahon (540) 454-1930

Silcott Springs Farm Purcellville, Virginia $1,850,000

(703) 609-1905

Middleburg, Virginia $1,800,000


The Plains, Virginia $1,700,000

Willow Way Farm

The Hague-Hough House

Custom-built stone & stucco home • 4+ bedrooms include 1st floor master • Gourmet kitchen • Home office with T-1 line & VIP security system & home automation • 4 stone patios • Perennial gardens & large mature trees • 3-car garage • Gated entrance, pristine grounds, pond, barn • 24 acres Paul MacMahon (703) 609-1905 Helen MacMahon (540) 454-1930

Circa 1807 • 33 acres ideally located between Middleburg & The Plains • Rare quarried stone exterior, 10-foot ceilings • Period mantels, original wood floors, two-story front porch • 3 BR/3 BA, each a private suite • Historic stone barn includes one BR/BA apt, heated tack room, 6 stalls • Carriage barn • 3 paddocks, large turnout field, run-in sheds, auto waterers • Whole farm generator • Pond • Orange County Hunt Helen MacMahon (540) 454-1930

Prime Middleburg location • House completely redone in 2004 • Hill top setting with panoramic mountain views • 3 BR • 3.5 BA • Main level master suite • Pine floors • Beautiful millwork • 3 FP • Attached 2-car garage • Beautiful windows • Gracious room sizes • 4-stall barn • Riding ring • In-ground pool • Lovely gardens • 31.05 acres recorded in 3 parcels Paul MacMahon (703) 609-1905

Hill top setting in historic village of Waterford • Circa 1745 brick and stone home on 17.20 acres • 6 BR, 5 BA & 7 FP • Beautiful woodwork throughout • High ceilings • Meticulous renovation • Improvements include barn w/apartment • Garage space for 6 vehicles • In-ground pool • Large pool house • Stone outbuildings • Lovely gardens


The Plains Market

Echo Hill

Middleburg, Virginia $1,500,000

Waterford, Virginia $996,000

Great opportunity to own The Plains Market & Deli • Located just 1 mile from Route 66 and a growing area • The only gas station in the town • Includes active convenience store with deli kitchen & fixtures • 4 gas pumps and 2 diesel pumps • Prime location

Stone English country home in top location between Middleburg & The Plains on 13 acres • 4 BR home with new kitchen & main level master suite • Hardwood floors, built-in book cases, fireplaces & bright open family room • Bluestone terrace overlooks new pool & entertaining area • Separate guest cottage/pool house & garage • Whole-house generator

Custom built Quaker reproduction in Historic Waterford • Brick and frame home • Beautiful woodwork • Wood floors • High ceilings • Grand rooms • 4 bedrooms • 3 1/2 baths • 4 fireplaces • 2 separate lots • 3 car garage


Upperville, Virginia $899,000 Prime location • Piedmont Hunt • 10 acres • 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 1 fireplace stucco residence • Open floor plan • Treed setting with mature landscaping • Center courtyard off living area • Separate studio with half bath can serve as guest room or studio • Large 3 bay garage • 2 stalls for horses & 5 paddocks • Great views Paul MacMahon

(540) 454-1930 Paul MacMahon

703) 609-1905

6428 Main Street

The Plains, Virginia $1,250,000

(540) 454-1930 Helen MacMahon

Paul MacMahon

Janney Street

The Plains, Virginia $1,400,000

Helen MacMahon

Waterford, Virginia $1,495,000

The Plains, Virginia $995,000

Gorgeous country home • Historic village • Panoramic views • 3 acres • Beautifully landscaped grounds with terraced herb garden and pool • 3 BR, 2 full + 2 half baths • Master bedroom w/gas FP on main level • Large dining room w/built-in china cabinets • 2 BR upstairs w/shared BA • Lower level family room w/wood-burning FP • Wet bar & french doors to pool area • Recently renovated (703) 609-1905 Paul MacMahon (703) 609-1905

Warrenton, Virginia $750,000

Patrick Street

Upperville, Virginia $375,000

105 Sycamore Street

Prime location, off Springs Road • Surrounded by large farms & estates • House circa 1890 with 2 BR, 1 1/2 BA, FP, hardwood floors, new kitchen • Garage • 2 sheds/studio potential • Tenant house • Property shares large spring fed pond • Private setting on 13.21 acres

Charming stucco bungalow on a quiet lane • Hardwood floors • Flagstone patio • Updated kitchen and baths • Home office and first floor master with sitting room • Large fenced back yard • Very well cared for turn-key home and a great value

Clean, tidy home in the village of Middleburg • Recently upgraded with new roof • New siding • New insulation • New hot water heater • New furnace and gutters • Very well cared for and easy to show • Lovely large back yard - easy maintenance • 3 BR • 2 BA • Large enclosed back porch

Oak Ridge

(703) 609-1905 Paul MacMahon

info@sheridanmacmahon.com www.sheridanmacmahon.com

(703) 609-1905 Helen MacMahon

Middleburg, Virginia $365,000

(540) 454-1930 Helen MacMahon

(540) 454-1930

110 East Washington Street • P.O. Box 1380 Middleburg, Virginia 20118 (540) 687-5588 F E B RU A RY 2 0 1 7






F E B RU A RY 2 0 1 7

Photos by Debra Morrow

Calendar of


“The Country Way” at The Byrne Gallery: The Middleburg Arts Council is sponsoring “The Country Way,” a juried show that will include artists from Middleburg and neighboring areas. Entered artwork is inspired by the country way of life and can be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. At least 10 artists with three works each will be featured. For more information, email info@middleburgarts.org or call 540-454-9119.


Black History Heros, Soldiers & Spies at the Middleburg Library (1-2 p.m.): Bright Star Theater provides this lively and interactive performance describing how the Buffalo Soldiers explored and settled the American West; how the Tuskegee Airmen took flight to help win World War II; and how spy Mary Elizabeth Bowser worked for the Union during the Civil War. Bright Star Theatre is a national professional touring theatre from Asheville, NC. For Grades 3-adult. Call 540-687-5730 for more information.


Sunday Sketch at the National Sporting Library & Museum (2-4 p.m.): Conducted on the first Sunday of each month, a local art teacher or artist leads a sketching session in the art galleries, guiding participants on style, composition, or another aspect of drawing. Supplies (pencils, paper, sketch boards, and clipboards) will be provided for attendees. February’s featured artist is Middleburg resident and art instructor, Alice Porter. Admission is free and open to all ages. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Pre-registration is encouraged. Contact Anne Marie Barnes, educational programs manager and fellowship adviser at abarnes@nationalsporting.org or 540-687-6542 ext. 25.



Wi n e an d Pai nt ing Class at Salamander Resort & Spa Every Friday in February (7-9 p.m.): Enjoy a fun way to paint and create your own original piece of work while sipping on delicious local wines. Two-person minimum. Admission is $85 per person. For reservations call 540-326-4060.


Good Friends for a Good Cause in Middleburg and Upperville (6-9:30 p.m.): This series of small dinner parties will be conducted at private estates in the Middleburg and Upperville area. Proceeds will be used to help the animals at Middleburg Humane. Cocktail attire is required. Admission is $200 per person. For more information, go to middleburghumane.org.


Ballroom Dance Class at Salamander Resort & Spa (5:30-6:30 p.m.): Couples will enjoy an exciting class guided by a ballroom expert for a lesson on various styles of Ballroom Dancing. Learn all the right steps and spend the evening having a ‘ball.’ Admission is $30 per couple. For reservations, please call 540-326-4060.


Romancing the Fox at Three Fox Vineyards (11 a.m to 5 p.m.): Treat someone special to a fun and romantic Valentine’s Weekend at Three Fox. The cozy and romantic tasting room is perfect for sharing a bottle of wine with the one you love. Let the romance of Three Fox warm your heart and soul on this February weekend. For more information, please call 540-364-6073.


Valentine’s Dinner at Harrimans Virginia Piedmont Grill/Salamander

Resort & Spa (5 p.m.): Pull out all the stops for this romantic holiday and treat your Valentine to an elegant dinner at Harrimans. While enjoying sweeping views of the countryside, indulge in an enchanting four-course dinner created by Executive Chef Ryan Arensdorf. After dinner, indulge in a sweet finish crafted by Executive Pastry Chef Jason Reaves. Admission is $300 per couple; $60 for optional wine pairing. For reservations, please call 540-326-4070.


“Not Your Grandfather’s Civil War” at the historic Unison Methodist Church (2-4 p.m.): The Mosby Heritage Area Association sponsors a panel of four young historians, who will discuss turning points in the Civil War. These young historians/scholars/authors are members of the group “Emerging Civil War,” and provide up-and-coming opinions, fresh eyes and new research on topics that have held our interest for generations. For more information, call 540-687-5188 or visit mosbyheritagearea.org.


Valentine’s Day at the Red Fox Inn and Tavern (59:30 p.m.): This special Valentine’s Day event at America’s oldest inn will include a five-course game and seafood dinner. Admission is $165 per person. Reserve your table online at redfox.com/reservations or call 540-687-6301.


Middleburg’s 6th Annual Ultimate Winter Weekend Sale (All day): The annual Presidents weekend sale, sponsored by the Middleburg Business & Professional Association and the town of Middleburg, is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. The blue and white balloons identify participating businesses.

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Steeplechase Legend Honored Photos by Douglas Lees




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On Friday, Jan. 20, Randy Rouse received the F. Ambrose Clark Award during the annual meeting of the National Steeplechase Association (NSA) Race Chairmen at the National Sporting Library & Museum. This is the association’s highest honor and is given to those who have devoted themselves to the improvement and promotion of American steeplechasing. Rouse, who recently celebrated his 100th birthday, was presented the award in recognition of a lifetime of achievement. Rouse was most active on the racing scene during the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, but has devoted his entire life to equestrian sport and was once quoted as saying he “will never retire.” Among his many accomplishments, Rouse was a former president of the NSA and was a recipient of the Casanova Cup Trophy and the Na-

tional Sporting Library and Museum Cup, among many others. Rouse is also credited with introducing the national fence in 1973. This innovation replaced natural fences and greatly reduced the cost of steeplechase events. Many say that this single contribution saved the sport. Photos: 1. Foreground (left to right) NSA President Guv Torsilieri, Michele Rouse, Randy Rouse and Manor Race Committee Chair H. Turnev McKnight. 2. Rouse awards the first steeplechase Eclipse Award to Stephen C. Clark, owner of Shadowbrook, in 1971. 3. Randy Rouse on Cinzano in the February snow at the Casanova Point to Point. about 1980. 4. Rouse won 10 races on Cinzano in the 1980s, including Casanova, pictured here. 5. The F. Ambrose

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Base-15 -- Trim to 10.00”Wx14.00”D -- CMYK

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