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The Piedmont Holds Its Own in the Wine World • Spies in the Neighborhood

From Field to Fork

at Field & Main Chef Anthony Nelson




The Hunt in Belvoir Vale by John Ferneley Sr. Photo courtesy of National Sporting Library & Museum


Middleburg Virginia

Discover our Traditions while creating your own... Shopping, Dining, Arts, Horses, and History VA Fall Races

Horses History Dining Shopping


Jumping Rocks Photography

• 17-19 Irish Whiskey Week-end at Salamander Resort • 18 Hooked! at NSLM • 21 Screening of “She Started It” at Foxcroft School • 22 Opus One Wine Dinner, Goodstone Inn • 25 Piedmont Foxhounds point-to-point races • 26 Middleburg Concert Series, Methodist Church • 28 The Garth Newel Piano Quartet, Foxcroft School • 31-2 Shakespeare in the ‘Burg, Hill School


• 2 Orange County Hounds point-to-point races • 16 Easter Egg Hunt, Salamander Resort • 2l Opening of Andre Pater: In a Sporting Light, NSLM • 21 Concert on the Steps, Community Center • 22 Middleburg Spring Races, Glenwood Park • 30 Middleburg Hunt point-to-point races, Glenwood Park

Red Fox Inn

Jodi Miller Photography


The Middleburg Business & Professional Association in support of the local business & retail community.

540 . 687 . 8888 VA Fall Races

Red Fox Inn





Fabulous inn & restaurant, Flint hill

Perched on a hill overlooking the town of Flint Hill, this fabulous Inn & Restaurant is an entrepreneur’s dream. The property combines a full-service fine dining restaurant, a traditional pub and four luxury suites in a newly renovated building that retains its historic charm while offering modern comfort and luxury. The property is the perfect gathering spot for receptions or weddings. Contact Adam Beroza for price and more information.

hazel ridGe FarM, boston

Hazel Ridge Farm is a stunning 115-acre property with frontage on Hazel River and Devil’s Run and 360-degree mountain views. On the Culpeper/Rappahannock County line. The property includes a small 2 bedroom cottage & garage. $1,150,000

60 Jenkins lane, speryville

This old farmhouse has been remodeled and updated and now it is a charming 2 bedroom 2 bath home with a great kitchen, fireplace and exposed beams. It is located on 29 acres of big trees, rolling fields and great views. $495,000

Gordon Clan Chateau, huntly

Nestled on a secluded hilltop, Gordon Clan Lane is the essence of country luxury and comfort with 4 bedroom and 5 bath. The 24 acre +/- property features mature landscaping, a gorgeous pond and an indoor pool. $1,295,000

hiCkerson Mountain, Flint hill

With 360 degree views limited only by the clarity of the day, this 209 acre tract is simply aweinspiring. At over 1,300 feet of elevation, this sweeping mountaintop land is a one-of-a-kind property. $2,250,000

rollinG road, sperryville

Rolling Creek offers solitude, comfort, and convenience. The unique 2 bedroom 2.5 bath house has the charm of a mountain getaway with all modern conveniences. The 21.5 acres adjoins the Park. $475,000 (540) 987-8500

37 Main Street, Sperryville, VA 22740


Virginia Garden Week in the Piedmont

The Red Lantern

Cocktail recipe from Field & Main

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IS HERE! Now is the perfect time to buy or sell!

Get your house ready for us to list for the Spring Market. Here are some Spring Cleaning Tips: • • • • • • •

Wash windows & window sills Clean all window treatments De-clutter closets and other areas Deep clean floors Deep clean bathrooms Reorganize bookshelves & cabinets Clean refrigerator, inside and out

If you need help with ideas give us a call and we can come and give you more suggestions. We can help you sell your home and find you the perfect home.

Brenda Rich REALTOR®

The Brenda Rich Team Brenda Rich 540-270-1659 | Kateland Rich 540-270-8558 | 85 Garrett Street Warrenton, Virginia 20186 | Office: 540-349-1221



Call for a Free Market Analysis

Each Office Independently Owned and Operated

FEATURES march/april 2017 • VOLUME xI • ISSUE 2

23 Feature Section


of the Piedmont Gari Melchers’ Belmont Historic gardens preserved BY BEATE ANKJAER-JENSEN

Form and Function

Uniting beauty and sustainability BY NANCY CALDWELL AND JOHN MAGEE

The 36-Year Journey

Fallow farm fields transformed into a native plant oasis BY DEBBIE EISELE

In Search of the Ephemeral Trillium BY PAM OWEN

44 Home Profile


A writers’ retreat


Right: The rain garden at a private school in Clarke County serves as a teaching tool on the important role of native plants and pollinators, while collecting and filtering stormwater runoff from surrounding buildings. BY JOHN MAGEE


Chef Anthony Nelson of Field & Main in Marshall BY JACLYN DYRHOLM


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Field & Main Marshall’s new restaurant’s farm-to-fork recipes

How About this Weather?

Portraits of the Piedmont: John Randall Younger


Life in the Piedmont BY TONY VANDERWARKER






16 39 The Modern FarmHer Part 3: Claire Beahm’s Field of Grace Farm




Linden Vineyards The quality of old-world wines found in Piedmont wineries BY KEITH MILLER 4  PIEDMONTVIRGINIAN.COM |



Spies in the Neighborhood BY GLENDA BOOTH


57 57


The Boyd Tinsley Foundation: Cultivating Charlottesville’s youth musicians BY ERIC WALLACE




CO-FOUNDERS: Arthur W. (Nick) Arundel, Sandy Lerner

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Restoration Frame-making Gilding Restoration services

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㄀ 䔀愀猀琀 䴀愀椀渀 匀琀爀攀攀琀 䈀攀爀爀礀瘀椀氀氀攀Ⰰ 嘀椀爀最椀渀椀愀 ㈀㈀㘀㄀㄀ ㄀ 䔀愀猀琀 䴀愀椀渀 匀琀爀攀攀琀 ⠀㔀㐀 ⤀ 㤀㔀㔀ⴀ㌀㤀㌀㤀 䈀攀爀爀礀瘀椀氀氀攀Ⰰ 嘀椀爀最椀渀椀愀 ㈀㈀㘀㄀㄀ 椀渀昀漀䀀瀀栀洀椀氀氀攀爀⸀挀漀洀 ⠀㔀㐀 ⤀ 㤀㔀㔀ⴀ㌀㤀㌀㤀 眀眀眀⸀瀀栀洀椀氀氀攀爀猀琀甀搀椀漀⸀挀漀洀 椀渀昀漀䀀瀀栀洀椀氀氀攀爀⸀挀漀洀 眀眀眀⸀瀀栀洀椀氀氀攀爀猀琀甀搀椀漀⸀挀漀洀

CIRCULATION MANAGER Jan Clatterbuck CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Jordan Koepke, Doug Lees, Hardie Newton, Jonathan Yates BEAGLE MIX Angel The Piedmont Virginian is published bimonthly by Rappahannock Media, L.L.C. P.O. Box 87, Amissville, VA 20106 540.349.2951, 540.675.3088 fax, All editorial, advertising, reprint, and/or circulation correspondence should use the above address, or visit the website: The editors welcome but accept no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts and art. Reprints or bulk copies available upon request. Single-copy price, $5.95. One-year subscription rate, $24.95, Two-year rate, $45.95

Have you talked to

C harlie yet? Charles Rose is a seasoned property expert. His diverse background and relaxed approach make for easy conversation, whether you’re interested in home-buying, selling or commercial property. Talk to Charlie today.

© 2017 by Rappahannock Media, LLC. ISSN # 1937-5409 POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to The Piedmont Virginian, P.O. Box 87, Amissville, VA 20106.

703-606-8000 •


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Looking for Your Dream Home?

Sold more than $18 million and assisted 55 clients in 2015.

Tammy Roop

Sincerely, New Millennium

85 Garrett Street • Warrenton, VA 20186 | MARCH/APRIL 2017


Pam Kamphuis


Specializing in Fauquier, Culpeper & Rappahannock Counties.


How About This Weather? The end of February, and this is a photo taken in my yard this morning. Working for a magazine requires a significant amount of looking ahead and living in future seasons. For instance, we start working on our holiday issue in the heat of early September, and working on the spring issue in early January. Every winter, working with spring subjects like this year’s gorgeous flower photos for this garden issue makes me long for warmer weather and the awakening of the landscape. And this year, I have been rewarded with a taste of spring as we send this issue to the printer. I do not know the names of the budding tree in these photos, or if they are native to Virginia. But one of the best things about working with The Piedmont Virginian is that I can learn a lot from those knowledgeable in different subjects. And so it has been with this garden issue. We have horticulturalists from the area share their expertise with us: John Magee, Nancy Caldwell, Debbie Eisele, Fran Boninti, and Beate Ankjaer-Jensen. They take us to Piedmont gardens landscaped mostly with native plants, ranging from a historic garden to a look at a native woodland glen that has been lovingly cultivated for 36 years. Also, I will certainly not be missing the Trillium Trail this year. And I’d like to introduce Tony Vanderwarker, Albemarle author and longtime friend—and featured writer—of the magazine, who has joined us as a regular columnist for our “Life in the Piedmont” column. I think everyone will enjoy this fresh and humorous insight into our unique way of life in the Virginia Piedmont. For his inaugural column, he laments Southerners inability to appreciate the mild Virginia winters in “How About this Weather?” Surely, we thought, a column with a wintery subject would fit in the March and April issue, when it is usually still cold and sometimes even snowy. Tony is a veteran of many Chicago winters, making his viewpoint ring true with me, a Yankee by birth. Tony has (as have I) fallen in love with Virginia, as evidenced by the title of his latest book, I’m Not from the South, but I Got Here as Fast as I Could. Only time will tell, during the months this issue is on the stands, whether we will get hit with snowstorms in March or April, making this weather just one of those occasional respites that occur during Virginia winters (that we Yankees especially appreciate), or if this is indeed a welcome slide into an early spring. But I hope this issue reminds you, as it has me, to appreciate our Piedmont all the more for its native beauty and its quirky seasons.

Tammy, an award winning Realtor® in the Greater Piedmont, can help you find it and make your dream a reality.



SOCIAL MEDIA FAVORITES Our most popular posts from January and February at and

The Albemarle Blue Ridge Heritage Project memorial

#NationalDrinkWineDay at Early Mountain Vineyards

“Hay Bales Near Middleburg” by Teresa Duke at Byrne Gallery

Birch at Barrel Oak Winery

Brassicas: happy to be back

#NationalDrinkWineDay Tip from Casanel Vineyards

C&O, a Charlottesville mainstay since 1976

The Last Bison at the Southern Café & Music Hall


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Culpeper 2016 2016



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SERVING UP DAYLILIES Already thinking about the bounty of spring? Look out for our extraordinary feature on cooking with the edible daylily in the upcoming May/ June issue. These handsome and nourishing flowers will be show stoppers for your entertaining table. Sources for these beauties and easy recipes will be included!

OUR CONTRIBUTORS Beate Ankjaer-Jensen has served as cultural resource manager at Gari Melchers Home and Studio since 1999. She has presented and published numerous papers on the topics of landscape preservation and documentation, native grassland creation, and historic landscape maintenance. Beate was born in Bergen, Norway, and lives in Fredericksburg with her husband and two standard poodles. Glenda C. Booth is a freelance writer and editor who lives in Northern Virginia. She writes about natural resources, historic sites, interesting people, public policy, travel, and other topics for magazines, newspapers, and online publications. She grew up in southwest Virginia and received degrees from Longwood University and the University of Virginia. Nancy Caldwell is a reporter and video producer who has called Loudoun County home for more than 20 years. As a Virginia Cooperative Extension certified Master Gardener, she writes a monthly column on sustainable lawn and garden practices for Loudoun homeowners. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Sustainable Landscape Design from George Washington University. Debbie Eisele is a writer and editor at Piedmont Lifestyle Publications, certified horticulturalist, education advocate, and president of the board of directors for Allegro School of the Arts. She lives in Warrenton with her husband and twin daughters. In her free time, she enjoys a cup of coffee and being outdoors. Amy Fewell is a local photographer and writer. She has worked in the media industry for more than a decade, and loves connecting with readers on a personal level in her writings. She resides in Rixeyville where she takes care of her husband, son, lovable Labrador, a handful of chickens, and several other farm animals. You can find out more about Amy by visiting Andrew Haley opened his Sperryville gallery with his wife, Suzanne Zylonis, in 2000. Haley Fine Art connects clients with artists and the context in which their work evolves. The gallery is open Thursday– Monday, 10–6, and by appointment. Keith Miller is a certified French Wine Scholar, certified Specialist of Wine, and certified sommelier. He works with the wine team at a 5-star, 5-diamond restaurant, and grows animals and vegetables on Touchstone Farm in Amissville. Pam Owen Writer, editor, photographer, and passionate nature conservationist living in Rappahannock County in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She has two favorite quotes. The first, from E.O. Wilson, is, “Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive, and even spiritual satisfaction.” The other, from writer Douglas Adams, is: “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they pass by.”

Did you catch our experimental fiction last issue?

“PALE MALE” BY ANN BEATTIE Read now, in full, on our website

Susan Trento is PEC’s executive director and a DC Bureau reporter and editor. The Power House, her book about lobbying and public relations in Washington, led reviewers to compare her work to Rachel Carson and Jessica Mitford. She taught at the American University School of Communications. Joseph Trento has spent more than 35 years as an investigative journalist. Before joining the National Security News Service in 1991, Trento worked for CNN’s Special Assignment Unit, the Wilmington News Journal, and prominent journalist Jack Anderson. Trento has received six Pulitzer nominations and is the author of five books. Eric J. Wallace’s writing has appeared in Canoe & Kayak, Adventure Kayak, Modern Farmer, All About Beer, Twisted South, Scalawag, and other national magazines. At present, he writes a travel/outdoors column for The Daily Progress.

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HAPPENINGS More information and events at Submit your event and find an extensive online calendar

“Across 211,” a Rappahannock landscape by Kevin H. Adams BY MOLLY HART MILROY

River Whyless. March 7, Paramount Theater, Charlottesville. This Asheville quartet puts a haunting, hypnotic spin on contemporary folk music. Likened to indie-folk wunderkind Fleet Foxes, praised by NPR’s Bob Boilen, Paste Magazine, and other top critics, River Whyless offers a sound that is at once unique and familiar. Their sophomore album, We All The Light (released August 26 on Roll Call Records), is full of lush harmonies, gorgeous baroque arrangements, dark percussion, and poetic lyrics that call to mind the intersection of the natural world and the impositions of society. The album is collaborative, not the voice of one member over another. “We stopped clinging to our individual visions,” says Ryan O’Keefe, vocalist and guitarist. “All our songs and ideas got thrown into one pot from which anyone and everyone was free to draw.” When writing the music that would become We All The Light, the four musicians—a guitarist, drummer, fiddler, and



bassist—jettisoned any notions of musical egoism in favor of creativity as a group. Together they decamped to a woodshed in Maine with the sole objective of starting anew: new songs, new ideas, a new sound. The group, in addition to writing a finely crafted album, built another woodshed, an apt metaphor for their joint creative process. Log by log, melody by melody, word by word, the shed and the album neared completion. The group then headed to the studio to work with Justin Ringle, a musician and songwriter behind Portland folk group Horse Feathers, to produce their second album. Though recorded in Oregon and Kentucky, the album features many more worldly sounds from across the globe to infuse the album with a spirituality, an allinclusiveness of genres and sonic concepts, of emotions grand and small, sad and joyous. ­



Illusionist Jason Bishop. March 25, Hylton Performing Arts Center, Manassas. From a disappearing goldfish to a woman floating into the air, this evening of dynamic illusions and clever magic is sure to knock you off your feet! Illustrious illusionist Jason Bishop brings a modern twist to astonishing acts of wonder through his witty personality, pop and rock soundtrack, and impossible acts like no other. Jason Bishop is a master of all types of magic, from intimate card tricks and sleight of hand to larger-than-life levitation and disappearing acts. Cutting edge tricks such as the unbelievable double-levitation and plasma illusion quickly made The Jason Bishop Show one of the most acclaimed acts of its kind, leading to a Broadway run this past November. Get ready to believe the unbelievable in this evening of jaw-dropping feats!


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One of “Five Performing Arts Festivals you must visit” thinktheater2017: July 7 - 30


THE NICETIES by Eleanor Burgess

WELCOME TO FEAR CITY A World Premiere by Kara Lee Corthron

WILD HORSES A World Premiere by Allison Gregory


EVERYTHING IS WONDERFUL A World Premiere by Chelsea Marcantel

WE WILL NOT BE SILENT A World Premiere by David Meyers


Cathryn Wake and Jessica Wortham in The Second Girl by Ronan Noone. CATF 2016. Photo by Seth Freeman.





The Honey Dewdrops with Zoe & Cloyd. March 16, Barns of Rose Hill, Berryville. Laura Wortman and Kagey Parrish share more than most couples. As the Honey Dewdrops, they share the stage at venues and festivals across North America, stretches of rolling, infinite roadway, and a lot of songs. With tight, swirling harmonies and a shimmering musical ensemble that includes clawhammer banjo, mandolin, and guitars, the effect leaves listeners with only what matters: the heart of the song and clarity over ornamentation. David McGee, critic at Deep Roots magazine, noted the “mesmerizing” quality of the group, a result of their “plaintive harmonies, easygoing rhythms, evocative arrangements, wellcrafted original songs, and genuine approach.” Zoe & Cloyd is a fusion of John Cloyd Miller’s traditional bluegrass, old-time Appalachian roots, yearning voice, and contemporary sensibilities with Natalya Zoe Weinstein’s finely tuned bluegrass fiddling and songwriting. Can’t make it to see the Honey Dewdrops this go-round? Catch them opening for Front Country, a San Francisco bluegrass group (with emphasis on the “blues”), at the Southern Café & Music Hall on March 9.


HAPPENINGS Winslow McCagg Art Opening with the Sugar Clouds. March 25, Barns of Rose Hill, Berryville. Winslow McCagg’s work is the result of a lifelong fascination with form, shape, and color, all of which began one fateful day as a child. “I was first delighted and surprised by the wonders of paintings as a young boy at the Carnegie-Mellon Museum in Pittsburgh in the mid-60s,” the artist says. “I was fairly mesmerized; I thought it was a magic trick.” Since then, he’s drawn inspiration from concert posters of psychedelic bands, New York City’s graffiti, aboriginal and indigenous artwork, and the music of Jimi Hendrix. Given his penchant for psychedelic rock, it’s fitting that the Sugar Clouds would take to the stage to help inaugurate McCagg’s new exhibit. The Detroit rockers have a fuzzy, dark sound, self-described as “indie pop for the perspicacious.” Paired with McCagg’s artwork, a synesthesia emerges, a blending of the visual and the auditory that in turn enhances and strengthens both avenues of artistic expression. The surrealistic rock and roll emblazons McCagg’s defamiliarized, abstract artwork,

cutting through the surface appearances and digging toward some essence. “That’s what it’s all about,” McCagg says. “Looking a little deeper. The excitement for me as an artist is


CUTTING EDGE MEDIA, GLOBAL REACH & A WASHINGTON DC POWERHOUSE DELIVERS LOCAL KNOW-HOW TO OUR MARKET Gloria Rose Ott joins TTR Sotheby’s International Realty and will continue to serve the countryside of Northern Virginia as she has been for 14 years–now complemented and strengthened by one of the world’s most respected brands.

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in that deeper level of observation.” Though McCagg’s exhibit runs from March 25–April 20, the concert is a one-time-only affair. See you there!

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| MARCH/APRIL 2017  13


Save the Date! april 7-9, 2017

Little Washington Theatre | 291 Gay Street, Washington, VA

Nestled in the foothills of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, the bucolic village of Washington, Virginia is home to a thriving arts community. With the stunning Shenandoah Natural Park as a backdrop, the art of independent filmmaking is celebrated at the annual Film Festival at Little Washington, where filmmakers and film lovers join forces to be inspired, challenged, and entertained in a weekend-long conversation about film.

Come—join the conversation!

“The Film Festival at Little Washington does a superb job connecting filmmakers with film lovers in a setting that just can’t be topped.” Patrick Gavin Director of Nerd Prom: Inside Washington’s Wildest Week ThaNk you To ouR SPoNSoRS


Presented by Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community 14  PIEDMONTVIRGINIAN.COM |


VisiT us on:


Virginia Festival of the Book. March 22–26, Various Venues, Charlottesville. If you’re reading this magazine right now, chances are you’re a little bookish, and that’s a good thing! Orchestrated by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and affiliates of the Library of Congress, this festival is the largest community-based literary event in the Mid-Atlantic region, and has attracted more than 20,000 attendees year after year. There’s something for every book lover, and the majority of events are open to the public and free of charge. Crime and mystery writers Megan Abbott, Bill Beverly, and John Hart discuss their acclaimed novels and tricks of the trade; winner of the John Dos Passos Prize and professor of creative writing at George Mason University, Robert Bausch joins with novelist Philip Lewis to deliver a lecture on crafting “unforgettable fiction”; a luncheon with bestselling novelist and Charlottesville native John Grisham; and so much more! Come poets, writers, readers, essayists, collectors, and bookworms to the 23rd annual Virginia Festival of the Book!


HAPPENINGS Red Priest. April 23, Old School Auditorium, Waterford. Red Priest, a British quartet of classically trained Baroque instrumentalists, has been compared to the Rolling Stones, the Marx Brothers, Cirque de Soleil, and Jackson Pollock. Red Priest causes a sensation in concert halls and campuses around the world with their technical wizardry, charismatic showmanship, and onstage devilry. Irreverent, talented, wily, and imaginative, Red Priest’s shows are infused with humor, virtuosity, and a rock and roll ethos seldom, if ever, found in a band of classical musicians. Their current Viva Baroque tour intersperses “The Four Seasons” by Antonio Vivaldi—the “flame-haired” priest from whom the group’s name derives—with a gorgeous array of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century works by oft-overlooked composers. Having toured and sold out the world’s premier concert halls and prestigious festivals, these musicians have crafted and steadily redefined the art of period performance through their creative arrangements, a mixture of improvisation and study, as well as their heart-on-sleeve emotionalism and compelling stagecraft. With a repertoire ranging from obscure sonatas to the canonical works of Bach, Red Priest preserves the legacy of Baroque classical music by freshening and adapting it for a modern audience. The

group is made up of Piers Adams, a physicist turned recorder player; violinist Adam Summerhaye, who learned his art from Yfrah Neaman, one of the twentieth century’s greatest instructors; Angela East, whose cello concertos have filled seats at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall; David Wright, equal

parts lothario and harpsichord maestro; and special guest David Greenberg, a fiddle wiz. The 23rd Waterford Concert Series presents a rare opportunity to hear classical works by world-class artists in the intimate Old School Auditorium of the historic village of Waterford, a National Historic Landmark.

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Waterford Concert Series An Extraordinary 23rd Season

March 19: April 23: May 21: Sept. 24: Nov. 12:


St. Lawrence String Quartet Red Priest Best of Levine Ying Fang, Soprano Trio from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

Sundays at 4 p.m. at the Waterford Old School 40222 Fairfax Street, Waterford


| MARCH/APRIL 2017  15

Field & Main

From farmers’ fields to Marshall’s Main Street Story by Morgan Hensley, photography by Jaclyn Dyrholm


arshall has recently grown into a culinary hotspot. With the surrounding farms and proximity to I-66, the town is particularly suited to the “farm-to-fork” movement. So are Neal and Star Wavra, the owners of Field & Main and devotees of shortening the distances between farms’ fields and Marshall’s Main Street (hence the name). Field & Main’s interior is modern rustic: pastoral, understated, the floors delightfully uneven in places.



Chef Anthony Nelson’s menu reflects this dedication to Marshall’s agricultural heritage, paying homage by featuring the farm within the dish’s description, such as the coho salmon with Lindera Farm magnolia vinegar, mustard greens, and pickled radishes. Nelson, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, adheres to a simple, proven equation: simplicity plus locality equals quality. The only pyrotechnics come from a wood-fired hearth he designed with local blacksmith Ben Bjorklund. Neal Wavra, a revered local sommelier, furthers this pursuit by favoring Virginia wines.


Pulled Pork Benedict with BBQ Hollandaise on Jalapeño Cornbread

The Pork Ingredients


1 pork shoulder 1 pineapple, diced 2 cans of Coke™ ¼ cup ketchup 2 tbsps. Worchestershire sauce 2 tbsps. garlic powder 2 tbsps. smoked paprika 1 tbsp. onion powder 1 tbsp. kosher salt black pepper to taste water to cover

1. In a crockpot or a large pot, combine all ingredients and cook over medium heat until the pork is fork-tender. 2. Remove pork from the pot and liquid. Strain the cooking liquid into a pot and reduce it by half. 3. Using tongs and a fork, pull the meat from the bone. You want the meat in bitesize strands. 4. Add the pulled pork to the braise and cook over medium heat until it is all nicely coated in sauce

Jalapeño Cornbread Ingredients


2 cups cornmeal 2 cups flour 2 tsps. baking powder ½ tsp. baking soda ¼ tsp. salt ½ cup sugar ½ cup canola oil 3 tbsps. melted butter 1½ cups buttermilk ¼ cup heavy cream 4 whole eggs 2 minced jalapeños

1. Combine flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking soda, and baking powder in a mixing bowl and combine. 2. Add canola oil, buttermilk, heavy cream, and eggs. Mix again until homogenous. 3. Finish with melted butter and minced jalapeños. 4. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until fully cooked.

BBQ Hollandaise

WINE WITH THAT? This is a course that has a lot of dimension with the runny yolk, the chili inflected corn bread and then the tangy pork, so I would look for a lighter, fruitier red. We have a house red made by Early Mountain vineyards that is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Chambourcin. The former provides a depth of flavor and structure while the Chambourcin brings bright and lively fruit notes. A single varietal Chambourcin from the likes of North Gate or Narmada would work well too. — Owner and Sommelier Neal Wavra

Building the Benedict



For the Reduction: ½ cup white wine 2 tbsps. apple cider vinegar 1 tsp. Dijon mustard 2 tsps. Cajun spice

1. Combine all ingredients for reduction, reduce by half over high heat. 2. In a bowl, over a double boiler, whisk egg yolks until they become light and fluffy. Add two ounces of reduction. Continue to whisk while slowly drizzling in butter to emulsify your sauce. 3. Finish hollandaise sauce with the ketchup, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper.

For the Hollandaise: 3 egg yolks ¼ lb. melted butter 2 tbsps. ketchup 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce salt and pepper to taste

Chef Anthony Nelson

1. Cut the cornbread into 2” squares. Slice that through the middle so you have two thinned 2” squares. These will serve as your base. 2. Place your pulled pork on top of the cornbread. Make sure you leave an indention in the pork so that your poached egg has a place to sit. 3. Finish your Benedict by spooning hollandaise sauce over it. Cover the entire egg and dress with as much sauce as you desire. 4. Enjoy!


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For the Shrimp Ingredients


1 2 2 2 3 4 1 1 4

1. In a skillet over medium heat, begin with melted butter, then add celery, onions, and bell peppers. 2. When the vegetables are mostly cooked, add cherry tomatoes, pork stock, and hot sauce. 3. Bring to a boil, then add shrimp. Cook for 4–6 minutes, fully cooking the shrimp and reducing the sauce. 4. Take pan off heat and finish with butter. Stir in butter and season with salt and pepper to taste.

oz. melted butter tbsps. minced celery tbsps. minced onions tbsps. minced bell pepper large shrimp oz. pork stock tbsp. hot sauce (We use Crystal™) tbsp. unsalted butter cherry tomatoes, washed and halved

Shrimp and Grits

WINE WITH THAT? Petit Manseng in a slightly off dry style would be wonderful. The subtle back heat of this dish would be offset by the sweetness in the wine while the persistent acidity would keep the creaminess of the grits inbounds, highlighting the shrimp. Excellent variations exist, but two examples that would be nice would be from Granite Heights and Delaplane Cellars. — Owner and Sommelier Neal Wavra

For the Grits Ingredients


1 ⅓ 2 ¼

1. In a large skillet, heat milk to a simmer and season with salt. 2. Whisk in grits, stirring often. 3. Finish with butter and Parmesan cheese. Keep warm and covered until it’s time to eat. 4. Place grits on a deep plate or a bowl. Spoon shrimp and sauce over the grits and enjoy.

cup whole milk cup Anson Mills™ white grits tbsps. butter cup Parmesan cheese, grated Salt and pepper to taste




Back to Virginia Wine After a time enjoying old-world wines, the author returns home to the Piedmont for tasting. First stop: Linden Vineyards

Story by Keith Miller, photography by Jaclyn Dyrholm



ince my twenties, I’ve been slightly obsessed with fine wine. I had my first encounter back then working as a waiter at a Four Seasons hotel. Thus began the love affair. My obsession went into overdrive after completing a sommelier basics class at the Capital Wine School; I studied, took exams, and was certified as a specialist of wine and a sommelier. Fast-forward to the present: I own a sheep farm, work for the railroad, and assist the wine team at a five-star restaurant. When asked by my friends at The Piedmont Virginian if I could contribute an article, I replied, “I’d be happy to.” Surely I could find a few available hours somewhere, couldn’t I? Last August, I attended the annual Society of Wine Educators conference in Washington, D.C. One of the seminars was led by Jay Youmans. In addition to having a lengthy list of post-nominals, Jay is a Master of Wine—an accreditation akin to holding a doctorate in the field of wine. Jay operates the Capital Wine School and has been an important presence on the Virginia wine scene for more than a decade. For the last three years, I had studied, tasted, and drunk (not necessarily in that order) almost exclusively old-world wines, so I was looking forward to this refresher on the wines in my own backyard. My experience from years past was that there were a handful of producers with wellmade, delicious wines and scores of producers with wines of lesser quality.

Linden Vineyards winemaker Jonathan Weber, in the tasting room and with the vines.


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Jonathan pours a sample from the 2016 vintage, still in tank.

After reviewing Virginia wine history, geography, and geology, we tasted 10 wines ranging from what I would call "very good" to "excellent." Two things impressed me most. First, they all were solid examples of well-made wines, bypassing that “good, for Virginia” dismissive qualifier. Second, I had never heard of half the producers. My takeaway from this seminar was clear. It was time to explore the oft-overlooked viticulture of the region that I call home. Having a sheep farm and working two other jobs means that such projects take time. Often they require a catalyst. That catalyst came in November. It was then that I met Jonathan Weber at a wine dinner at Field & Main Restaurant in Marshall (See page 16). That amazing event was hosted by restaurateur Neal Wavra and Gaston Hochar of famed Chateau Musar in Lebanon. Each dinner attendee exuded enthusiasm and delight. Jonathan is the winemaker at Linden Vineyards and works for Jim Law, a Virginia wine pioneer and mentor. What better place to begin re-exploring (and re-evaluating) Virginia wine than Linden? Jonathan informed me that in December, Linden would be having modified tastings featuring some of their special cellared library wines! How’s that for serendipity? On a cold and rainy December day, I made my way down Route 522 to chat with him further and taste some wine. We sat down and I listened to Jonathan’s wine path. His interest was sparked 20  PIEDMONTVIRGINIAN.COM |


while at college in the Midwest, where he worked at a wine bar and as a caterer. He was fascinated by the connections between wine and food, their possible pairings, and the ways that they augment each other, for better or worse. Returning to the East Coast when he was 19, he began a five-year stint at Chateau Morrisette winery in Floyd, Virginia. “It was all nuts and bolts production,” he says. “Pumps, hoses, racking, and filtration. Never really touched the vines.” Jonathan also worked at the nearby Villa Appalachia. He recalls Stephen Haskill and Susanne Becker as generous mentors who spent hours each week testing Villa Appalachia’s wide range of Virginia-grown Italian varietals with him in an empirical method of teaching via tasting. While working at the wineries he enrolled at Surry College in North Carolina and entered its viticulture and oenology program. While he now knows the syllabus was geared closely to Linden’s vision, he confessed he hadn’t even heard of the vineyard when a class field trip shuttled the students up to the Piedmont winery. It was there he met Jim Law. Weber picked Law’s brain about the vineyard’s apprenticeship program. “I bugged Jim for that apprenticeship for over a year,” he said. When it was finally offered in 2010, he quickly accepted. The apprenticeship lasted 18 months. At its conclusion, he became the winery’s cellar master. In 2013, Law approached Jonathan with two important questions. Did Jonathan want to stay at Linden? and did he want to venture to Burgundy? The answer to both was a resounding yes. Burgundy is pretty much the birthplace and benchmark for world-renowned chardonnay wines. “Montrachet should be drunk on one’s knee, with head bared,” said Alexandre Dumas, author of The Three Musketeers, referring to the Burgundy parcel that is the most revered chardonnay block in the world. Jim and Jonathan met with producers of highly regarded Burgundy vineyards and applied some of the techniques they learned from the vignerons. The results are bearing fruit. Burgundy has a generational tradition, and Jonathan found that “long-haul” dedication inspiring. As we talked, Jonathan pointed to the wall on my right. In 2014, Linden hired Alex Blackburn as soil specialist to chart a map of Linden’s acreage and terroir. The result is an exquisitely informed, intricately detailed map. When I remarked at the apparent expense of such an undertaking, Weber said, “The information is priceless.” Indeed, the soil map, combined with their own observations, provides a blueprint for the winery’s pursuit of excellence. Law has kept detailed notes for decades.


Left: Soil samples from the 3 Linden vineyard sites; Avenius, Boisseau, and Hardscrabble Below: Detailed soil map of Linden vineyard acreage. This will be used to guide future plantings.

He posts vintage reports on Linden’s website. He also holds back small amounts of past vintages for research and reference toward future plantings. In 2016, Jonathan Weber was promoted to winemaker at Linden Vineyards. The designation largely means Jim Law is sufficiently confident in Jonathan’s experience and capabilities to turn cellar responsibilities over to him. This frees Jim up to spend even more time in the vineyards and pursue the “wine grower” culture that inspires him. I congratulated him on his accomplishment, and his 13th Virginia harvest. Regarding production, Jonathan insisted that red wines are more unforgiving. “It’s difficult to make a good red wine in Virginia. It’s easy to make a bad one,” he said. Several years ago Linden altered picking strategies to emphasize tannin retention in reds. This results in fewer soft wines, more suitable for aging. “Shall we taste?” Jonathan asked. I’d be hard pressed to decline that offer, in any setting. Unsurprisingly, the experience and dedication comes through in the wines. They are excellent. It’s important to note that for white wines, Linden avoids malolactic fermentation in most years. This process converts malic acid to lactic acid, creating the buttery flavor common in chardonnays. Each of the whites and reds has a lovely fresh acidity, showing an old-world style. The 2014 Avenius Chardonnay has a delicious, racy tension. The 2009 Avenius has hints of beeswax and nuttiness that come with the complexity of age. The 2015 Boisseau Viognier has a mineral freshness behind the rich stone fruit and florals. Single varietal Petit Verdot is made in only a few spots in the world. Here was evidence of the great potential for the wine in Virginia. The 2012 is gorgeous, with tart blackberry, plum, and dry rosemary spice notes. I was famished while I was tasting, and this one caused a craving for charcuterie. The nose on the 2013 Boisseau Red transported me to Bordeaux. This is an impressive wine with structure and complexity that’s delicious now, and will do well with years of aging. The library Petit Verdot was an example of why we choose to age certain reds. The fruit, secondaries,

acid, and tannin all mingled into a beautiful, seamless package. Unfortunately, this wasn’t available for me to purchase, or I would have taken some home. I asked Jonathan for another Virginia producer he found interesting. He mentioned Ox Eye, and their riesling in particular. They produce wines from a high-elevation site in Staunton. Then he turned the question on me, asking what Virginia vintner I found interesting. I had recently tasted a wine recommended by two immensely knowledgeable wine lovers. Both Jay Youmans and Erin Scala, noted sommelier, blogger, and writer, suggested I try Ankida Ridge Pinot Noir. I would’ve thought drinkable pinot was impossible in Virginia. Yet, here was a first-class pinot! Two more wineries to move to the top of my list. I inquired as to future plans for Linden. Jim Law had begun the process of tearing out and replanting certain blocks of vines several years ago. This is a massive investment that few vineyards are willing to undergo. Most producers will discard the first two years of crop due to inferior grape quality. This means no white wine for three years, and a five-year wait for reds due to aging. Linden plans to continue this process of selective replanting, and it's a testament to their commitment. For the 2016 harvest, they will produce an off-dry petit manseng instead of the richly sweet late harvest version. Petit manseng is a varietal with great potential in Virginia due to its weather hardiness. I look forward to tasting the results of both the vineyard efforts and the new wine. PIEDMONTVIRGINIAN.COM |

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Gardens GARI MELCHERS’ BELMONT: Historic Gardens Preserved

FORM AND FUNCTION: Uniting Beauty and Sustainability

THE 36-YEAR JOURNEY: Fallow Farm Fields Transformed Into Native Plant Oasis


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Artist Gari Melchers’ legacy preserved both in his art and Belmont estate BY BEATE ANKJAER-JENSEN Photographs courtesy of the author and Gari Melchers Home and Studio, University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg


hen Gari and Corinne Melchers bought Belmont in 1916, the house and gardens were in decline. The couple undertook repairs and restoration of their country house under the influence of Colonial Revival design concepts. They added modern touches such as bathrooms and electricity, while affecting a more colonial look with the addition of wainscot to the dining room and a pedimented porch on the west entrance. Gari and Corinne Melchers also improved the gardens, leaving us with a fine example of the Colonial Revival influence on Virginia landscapes. This early twentieth-century style was both organized and relaxed. Formal foundation beds bordered


in boxwood and parterre beds filled with roses and annuals contrasted with vines and other climbers that were allowed to scramble over walls and arbors. The boxwoodlined “Long Walk” and the stone walls that enclose the gardens provided yearlong interest and structure. Their eagle and putto statues  are typical of decorative elements thought proper for a colonial-style garden. The “Summer House” was the couple’s last addition to the grounds, completing the setting. The result mixes true colonial parterre motifs with the romantic look of abundant flowers, ivy-covered walls, and rambling roses on arbors and fences. Numerous letters, accounts, photographs, and drawings document the development of the landscape during the Melchers era. The


gardens have been restored using information gleaned from these extensive archives. Belmont is fortunate to have much original material such as trees, fences, gates, and other structures surviving from the couple's day. Landscape elements including Mrs. Melchers' quaint planters, the eagle and the putto, and plant material culled from plant lists and plans come together to allow visitors to experience the feeling and appearance of what the artist’s garden may have been like when Gari and Corinne Melchers were in residence. Corinne Melchers was a member of the Rappahannock Valley Garden Club, which was admitted into The Garden Club of Virginia (GCV) in 1933. She was active in the first restoration of the gardens of Kenmore


South elevation of the house from the Long Walk rose arbor, circa 1930 (below left) and today (above). South lawn with putto, circa 1927 by Frances Benjamin Johnston (below center), and today (below right). Facing page: Wisteria by the main gate


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Right: Roses and sweetwilliam on the Spring House Top left: Spring bulbs and putto Below Left: Tulips with summer house in background

American painter Gari Melchers at Belmont, circa 1932.




BELMONT HISTORY Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont is both a Virginia Landmark and National Historic Landmark property administered by the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. The estate sits on a high ridge overlooking the Rappahannock River across from Fredericksburg. It encompasses the house with several outbuildings, the studio filled with Gari Melchers' paintings, and 27 acres of gardens and wildlife habitat. The main house was built around 1790. The original plan of the house consisted of a first- and second-floor side passage and four rooms to the north (the present dining room, library, and two bedrooms). Belmont remained unscathed during the Civil War, even though batteries were placed on the grounds in December 1862.The son of German-born American sculptor Julius Theodore Melchers, Gari Melchers was a native of Detroit, Michigan, who at 17 studied art at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, Germany. He later went to Paris where he worked at the Académie Julian, and the Ecole des Beaux Arts. Attracted by the picturesque quality of Holland, he settled at Egmond where he founded an art colony with American artist George Hitchcock.

in 1929 and later at Stratford Hall. In 1935, Mrs. Melchers opened Belmont to visitors during Garden Week, and GCV has in turn helped extensively with the restoration of her gardens. It is the first and only restoration of a GCV member's garden.  Belmont is very grateful for the ongoing support of the GCV, without which the extensive restoration would not have taken place.  With the gift of Belmont, Corinne Melchers hoped for the creation of a park, and her vision guided the development of a trail network that runs across the estate. Two native-grass wildlife habitats have also been established, serving as a wildlife haven. Indeed, the property is an oasis of open land in area that has seen rapid development.  Gari Melchers Home and Studio hosts an increasing number of visitors who enjoy the estate as a place to walk and enjoy the outdoors. The development of these trails has also allowed Belmont to interpret the cultural resources that dot the landscape, from Native American use of the land to agricultural and industrial remnants that remind visitors of the land's varying occupancy over the years. Gardens and grounds that change with the seasons join the home and amazing artistic legacy of Gari and Corinne Melchers to offer visitors a reason to return time and again.

Gari Melchers married Corinne Mackall of Baltimore in 1903, and the couple lived in Europe until 1915, when they returned to the United States. Melchers won many awards and honors during his lifetime, spending his final years at Belmont, where he died on November 30, 1932. Mrs. Melchers remained there until her death in 1955, leaving the house, gardens, studio, and art collection to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

GARI MELCHERS’ HOME & STUDIO Belmont 224 Washington Street Falmouth, VA 22405 (540) 654-1015 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Nov. – Mar. 10. a.m. – 5 p.m. Apr. – Oct. Gari Melchers Home and Studio is administered by University of Mary Washington for the Commonwealth of Virginia. PIEDMONTVIRGINIAN.COM |

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Form & Function A designer unites beauty and sustainability



ohn Magee doesn’t consider himself a trailblazer, and with his easygoing manner and folksy charm, he certainly doesn’t act like one. In fact, the owner and founder of the award-winning firm Magee Design and co-host of The Native Plant Podcast has been a champion of sustainable land management practices and eco-friendly landscape design for more than twenty years. At long last, he says, the concept is going mainstream, and he couldn’t be more pleased. “Twenty-five years ago this wasn’t even a thought in homeowners’ heads,” says Magee. "Today it's a leading question; word has gotten out.” Sustainable design, says Magee, is more than just adding native plants to the landscape; rather, it challenges the homeowner to think of the land in a different way. A landscape design can no longer be simply beautiful, he says, although that’s important too. It should also provide environmental services, such as stormwater management and water filtration, as well as provide food and shelter for wildlife and pollinators. “I was trained in ornamental horticulture,” says Magee, “and the name says it all. People have always thought of landscaping as ornamental, as jewelry for their house. But the landscape is also a living thing, it sustains life; and if you’re not designing with that in mind, you’re not helping to sustain life and keep our food webs intact.” Magee grew up on a horse farm in rural Ohio. “I was raised with the notion that we should care for the environment,” he says. He went on to study horticulture at the Ohio State University and, after a brief stint training Arabian horses, found himself working for a leading landscape design firm in Pennsylvania. His inter-




“I learned firsthand what can happen when an introduced species runs out of control in the environment,”

In what Magee calls the “vegan garden,” the sole intent was to create a pollinator habitat, more specifically, a monarch butterfly habitat. If you’re a home gardener, bringing pollinators to your garden using native plants can also increase vegetable and fruit yields. Purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea), like the ones shown here, are credited with bringing natives to the forefront. Other coneflowers, like the great coneflower (Rudbekia maxima; pictured in the middle) and yellow coneflowers (Echinacea paradoxa) are also becoming popular garden plants.


Vegan Garden

est in the outdoors also led him to volunteer at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Kempton, Pennsylvania, an observation, education, and research center dedicated to protecting birds of prey. It wasn’t long before Magee started working with the sanctuary’s habitat conservation committee. “One of the first things I did was bring them a bunch of purple loosestrife I had from a previous project,” he says. "Of course, now I know purple loosestrife is a non-native, highly invasive plant and I would never use it, but back then I had no idea, and it was the hottest plant in the nursery trade at the time. I was told, ‘Thanks, but no thanks, we prefer to use native plants.’ That was the first time I heard anyone use that term.” It was while volunteering at Hawk Mountain that Magee also met a research intern, Susana Struve, who would eventually become his wife. Magee accompanied her on a number of research trips to the Galapagos Islands, which

would prove to be a turning point in his career. “I learned firsthand what can happen when an introduced species runs out of control in the environment,” says Magee. "It’s right in your face: here’s the introduced species, here’s the native species, here’s what the introduced species are destroying. I came back home and had a completely different view of how we landscape our homes.” From that moment on, he did everything he could to educate himself and others about sustainability, native plants, and native plant communities. When his wife’s career brought them to Northern Virginia, Magee continued to work for traditional landscaping firms, where he quickly became known as the “go-to guy” for clients interested in environmentally friendly designs. As word spread and interest in sustainable landscape design grew, Magee realized he was at the beginnings of a movement, so, in 2011, he launched PIEDMONTVIRGINIAN.COM |

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PIEDMONT GARDENS Magee Design to address what he felt was an unmet need in the industry for beautifully designed landscapes that also provide ecological services and support the environment. Today, from his office in Middleburg, Magee designs beautiful, sustainable landscapes for a wide range of clients, including horse farms, estates, community associations, single-family homes, townhouses, and schools. Some clients are looking to solve a problem, says Magee, for example installing rain gardens to manage stormwater runoff. Others just want a beautifully designed garden. He’s quick to point out that a sustainable landscape doesn’t have to be “wild” and isn’t necessarily all native plants. In fact, one of his favorite projects is a 70-acre horse farm in western Loudoun County whose owners wanted a formal English garden look. “The owners wanted to maintain the beauty of a Virginia country estate while being more ecologically friendly,” says Magee. He used a mix of “well-behaved,” non-native plants alongside natives to create a simple, elegant look. "We emphasize native plants first, but we’re not exclusive to them, and you don’t have to be,” Magee explains, “but it’s important to make the distinction that if a non-native plant escapes cultivation or has those tendencies, it’s not a plant we should be using in the landscape.”

Birds & The Bees The


This rich and diverse landscape not only supports a wide range of butterflies and birds, butalso requires very little care in the way of watering, pesticides, and fertilizers. The array of flowers is also a delight to the homeowner’s eye. Blue flag iris (Iris versicolor), like the ones in the foreground here are among the most beautiful irises. When combined with amsonia and Stoke’s asters, they create a lovely mid-spring bouquet in the garden.




Rain Garden

Rain gardens, like these designed by Magee on a property in Round Hill, Virginia, have helped to catch nutrient-rich stormwater runoff from their pastures and clean it before it reaches local streams and waterways. They also beautify their home and tie it to the natural surroundings of the Blue Ridge. Native grasses, like switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) can really bring form and beauty to a rain garden while also purifying the water. Furthermore, diversity in plantings helps to lessen the spread of insects and disease.


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Journey Native plants transform a fallow field into an oasis for wildlife and people



n 1981, Fran Boninti and her husband, Andrew, purchased three acres west of Charlottesville in the town of Ivy. They chose this land because it was close to the school, and they loved the rocky, lazy streams that outline the property and the enticing topography: “Our property slides downhill with many little embankments and shelves. We discovered over the years there are many microclimates on this small piece of land,” said Boninti. Fran Boninti grew up in a farming community and always had large vegetable and flower gardens. “My grandmother, Frances, my mother and father, as well as my maternal grandfather were all avid gardeners,” said Boninti. Andrew Boninti, on the other hand, grew up in an apartment with limited gardening experience until moving to their Albemarle home. Building on the skills she had absorbed during childhood, Fran continued to learn from experience and later through classes she took on every aspect of gardening. She even brushed up on her Latin to assist with botanical nomenclature. Fast forward to 36 years later: the Bonintis have transformed what was initially a cattle and corn farm into five large groves encompassing a small vegetable garden, a man-made pond with a stream, and a hill area with an abundance of plantings to be enjoyed from their patio. THE BEGINNING The transformation of their space was not an overnight process. Over the years, they performed most of the work themselves with some assistance from their landscape designer friend, Susan Viemeister, in the front garden. Initially, Boninti grew everything from seed. Procuring large plants or even somewhat mature plants is very expensive, just as it is to have a landscaping company plant them. “Early on, wanting everything, but having no money, I grew from seed. I even obtained plants from family or friends and bought from the ‘dead’ plant section of nurseries or home improvement stores,” noted Boninti. “Over the years, I’ve told newbie gardeners not to fret. Even veteran gardeners may have way more plant tags than plants themselves because not all of the specimens survive. I’m no different.” After taking classes on how to propagate, Boninti began using cuttings of her own to increase plant specimens in their gardens. Boninti explained that one of her mentors said, “You are not a gardener until you have grown from seed.” That statement has resonated with Boninti ever since. 32  PIEDMONTVIRGINIAN.COM |


The hill behind the house features a wall, constructed from broken concrete blocks, that provides a way for the climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris) to spread and bloom. The yellow blooms on the deciduous azalea adorn the garden and were grown from seed by Boninti’s mentor, Ted Scott. The native fringe trees (Chionanthus virginicus) were grown from a cuttings and offer feathery white blooms throughout the space.


“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” — John Muir


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“We have large specimens of trees and shrubs that I rooted myself many years ago. Now, I buy and plant things that are bigger and more mature, or I’ll miss seeing them as large specimens because I am 64 years old. Even so, I still stick things in the ground when I prune. I can’t help myself.” Her advice to younger gardeners: plant trees and shrubs first. Worry about the little stuff later. Her advice is based upon the fact that these larger plants often require more work initially, but become lower maintenance as both the plant and gardener age. Her suggestion for large plants to start with would be either a red or white oak, as they are beneficial to wildlife and are beautiful native shade trees. THE TRANSFORMATION The groves are a perpetual project; the Bonintis still have some room for additional plantings. The transformation began while their children were young. Initially, the groves were open areas with strawberries (a perfect treat for their children) and multiflora roses. Mixed in were some pioneer cedars. In order to walk to the stream, the family had to endure scratches from brambles and roses along the way. “The riparian area was a field of corn before we planted. The upper area of the property, where our house was built, was the place cattle roamed. We left some of the barbed-wire fence that separated the two areas as a reminder of the land’s history,” noted Boninti. As time passed, the children grew and so did the sycamore, red maple, and tulip trees. In 1980, Boninti joined the Native Plant Society and was assigned a mentor who helped her increase her knowledge and provided her with additional plants for her gardens. During this time, Boninti was planting specimens here and there, but when her eldest daughter became a teenager, her avid gardening began. At that time, large trees were growing naturally in the groves and her other plant specimens were increasing as well. Boninti sprinkled deciduous azaleas, rho-


dodendrons, viburnums, and hydrangeas throughout the property to complement existing plants. “We consider the siting of plants very carefully, with consideration to the plant’s native habitat, and sometimes even the critters move the plants around. With the Native Plant Society, I’ve visited plants in their native haunts to give me a better understanding of what they need and don’t need. “Andrew and I consider birds, mammals, and invertebrates a very important part of our garden projects. Everything in nature depends on everything else. My family stressed this to us growing up, and naturally this philosophy progressed into our own garden. Trendy or not, I’m glad it’s the new normal.” Her sentiments echo John Muir, who once said, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” Incredible thought and effort go into selecting their plants, as well as each plant’s placement as they traverse through the garden. The use of reclaimed materials, such as tree stumps and broken chunks of concrete salvaged from the dump, complements the unique designs of the gardens. They have established paths and areas, each with a story behind its name. During the transformation of the property, friends, children, and visitors all had a part in creating the names that will forever serve as a reminder of the creative journey encompassing this peaceful environment. Peter’s Path was named after a dear friend who has “big boy toys.” Peter noticed the Bonintis couldn’t drive to the back part of their property, so “one day he brought down his tractor and, boom, Peter’s Path was created.” The Steps to Know Where was a dead end. “The ending of the path was a mishmash of brambles and unforgiving multifora rose—all gone now. At the time, my five-year-old said she liked it, ‘but it went nowhere.’ So I told her, ‘You have to know where you are going.’ So in a play of words, the name of the path stuck,” explained Boninti. Other areas of the property bear the names Secret Garden and The Riva.


The white flowers on the Chinese fringe tree (Chionanthus retusus), along with the American wisteria (Wisteria frutescens, “Amethyst Falls”), soften the hardscape of the stone steps and iron gate. The climbing beauties also provide beauty and fragrance along the path. The enticing pink of these tulips offer a nice change to the gray and brown hues of winter. This in bloom complements native plants in her space and is a prime example of her incorporating non-natives that pull at her heartstrings.


In early spring, the Secret Garden displays beautiful daffodil blooms that are planted with peony and a large red oak complements the space perfectly.

The Bee Tree Room, named for a beehive that dwelled in the locust tree for 14 years, showcases the foliage of a native shrub, bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora) as well as the bright orange blooms of the Florida azalea (Rhododendron austrinum). The “Henderhut”, or shed, was constructed of reclaimed materials and was named after Lester Henderson who built the structure.


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The fish in the pond enjoy the aquatic plants and fresh water that is kept clean by natural filtration processes the stream provides. Winter debris is easily cleared by culling plants and leaves.

This small eclipse located around Boninti’s patio features peppermint stick tulips, summer snowflake (Leucojum eastivum), and alliums (for later blooms). The Steps to Know Where were built with found materials and is surrounded by white blooming snow azaleas (Rhododendron ‘Snow’), which offers a nice contrast to the darker foliage and shade of the trees. The blue native phlox (Phlox divaricata) and the large red oak tree offer contrasting textures and colors that enhance the ambience of this space even more. The Japanese maple (Acer palmatum, “Orange Dream”) provides a burst of unexpected, glorious color at the top of the steps and compliments all the flora and fauna nearby.

WOODLAND GROVE TODAY When asked about the amount of time she spends gardening, Boninti says, “You gotta love it. I can be outside for 12 hours on a Saturday or Sunday. Andrew spends a little less time, but not by much.” As long as the sun is shining, they are outside tending to their garden, although they do take a break in the heat of the summer. “I find the more time you garden, the more your body demands to be outside. The sounds, smells, sights, and birds awe you,” described Boninti. “We stop to call to each other, just to admire the light through the trees. Noth-

ing, outside of our daughters, is that special. We hope we continue as long as our bodies and minds hold out,” Boninti said. Her favorite spot in the garden will always be the Steps to Know Where, as it is teeming with native plants. “We made the soil so beautiful and plants thrive and reproduce there. “However, over time I have added some non-natives such as boxwood and flowering trees, many from Asia. The colors of the Japanese maples are so beautiful I couldn’t resist. Non-natives have to somehow tug at our heartstrings to be considered. And they also cannot

be invasive, as we are still removing invasive plant material after 36 years.” Her vision of the outdoor space is ever-evolving. Their woodland garden, reclaimed from fallow fields, has been transformed into a beautiful landscape full of surprises at every turn, with aesthetics and the needs of wildlife balanced. “We garden for us and the wildlife,” said Boninti. She firmly believes in the popular ideology, “Plant for future generations.” People, wildlife, and plants will continue to enjoy and thrive in the majestic woodland groves the Bonintis have created.

TOURS Each year, from the beginning of April through the end of May, the Bonintis open their grounds for

tours. Individuals from as far away as Minnesota, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware have reaped the rewards of the Boninti’s hard work. Local elementary school students also benefit from visiting the gardens; they come twice a year toand learn about science, play, and enjoy their lunch on the property. Other tours have included the Piedmont Landscape Association, University of Virginia, and the Bonintis are looking forward to this spring when they will welcome a group of 80 visitors.






There is a music of immaculate love, That breathes within the virginal veins of Spring— And trillium blossoms, like the stars that cling To fairies’ wands; and, strung on sprays above… — Madison Julius Cawein

As winter comes to an end, wildflower aficionados gear up for the hunt for spring ephemeral wildflowers, with trillium a star among them STORY AND PHOTOS BY PAM OWEN


pring ephemerals “have a timetable: get out of the ground, bloom, get pollinated, and go to sleep when the leaf canopy closes in,” says Rappahannock County resident Bruce Jones. He has fostered and preserved many of these fragile early bloomers on his property, the Jones Nature Preserve. Several factors make catching these wildflowers at peak bloom tricky, especially temperature and exposure to sun, which can vary with location, especially at different elevations. The length of bloom period varies by species. Some come and go so fast, it’s easy to miss them, especially the smaller, sparser species. The spring show runs from March to June, but the peak time for many of the favorites among the spring ephemerals, including trilliums, is late April to mid-May. (For more information on bloom times, check the references listed in the sidebar.)

The trillium genus is in the large lily (Liliaceae) family. The “tri” in “trillium” likely refers to “the plant’s foliage and floral parts being in threes or multiples of threes (e.g. six stamens). About a dozen trillium species are native to Virginia. Each goes by an array of common names, with “toadshade” or “wake-robin” included in many of them. The largest and probably most numerous trillium species is the large-flowered trillium (Trillium grandiflorum), also known as white wake-robin, whose blooms start out white but turn pink as they age. Trillium take years to reproduce, as Leonard M. Adkins notes in his beautifully written and photographed guide, “Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail.” For the largeflowered trillium, a minimum of six years after the seed touches the ground, “the marvelous three-petaled blossom will appear (and will continue to do so for many seasons if its environment remains undisturbed).”

Large-flowered trillium flowers and leaves may be pointed or slightly rounded. The “tri” in “trillium” likely refers to most of the plant’s parts coming in threes. Although white when they first appear, the blooms of the large-flowered trillium (also known as white wake-robin) turn pink as they age.


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Millions of largeflowered trillium bloom along the Thompson WMA Trillium Trail in early spring.

Most trillium like rich woods, coves, and slopes. Coves, according to the University of North Carolina’s Learn NC website, are forested areas “known to contain more than twenty-five different species of canopy  trees and numerous other species in the  understory  and shrub layers.” They “are often described as the most diverse forest type in North America.” The “Flora of Virginia” adds that large-flowered trillium is “common in the mountains; rare in the inner Piedmont,” which is also true of most of the other trillium species. For trillium lovers, G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area, in western Fauquier County, has one of the most spectacular displays. Adkins says this WMA “is believed to have the largest colony of Large-Flowered Trillium in the country—estimated to contain more than eighteen million individual plants!” The best place to see this gorgeous show is along Thompson’s Trillium Trail in late April through early May. Most of the trail runs along the side of a ridge and is a fairly easy hike (see sidebar for directions). 38  PIEDMONTVIRGINIAN.COM |

Other ephemeral wildflowers bloom along the trail around the same time as the largeflowered trillium. When I hiked it on April 28, 2015, I also saw trout lily, roundleaf yellow and common blue violets, Dutchman's breeches, star chickweed, and rue anemone in bloom. Cutleaf toothwort and bloodroot were just finishing up, and mayapple was not blooming quite yet but covered much of the forest floor along the trail. One of the best ways to find and learn about spring ephemerals is to attend the annual walk along the Trillium Trail hosted by the Piedmont Chapter of the Virginia Native Plant Society. And during its Wildflower Weekend in early May, Shenandoah National Park also holds wildflower walks that feature spring ephemerals. On its website, the park also offers lists of its most common wildflowers, including three trillium—large-flowered, red (T. erectum), and painted (T. undulatum). Dates for these walks were not yet posted when this article was filed; check the calendars on the websites for the park and the main website for VNPS in April.


FURTHER INFORMATION: jonesnaturepreserve. for photos and information. for required licenses for access to Thompson and other Virginia WMAs Thompson for more information on the WMA and a map. for dates of the wildflower walks. for information on native plants.


The Modern Day Farmher Part Three | Photos and story by Amy Fewell

Carol Beahm | Fields of Grace Farm


he looked over at me and chuckled, then looked directly into the camera and said, “Farming isn’t easy, and if you’re looking to make a lot of money off it, you might want to pick a new career.” That’s the harsh reality of farming as told by someone who has been doing it longer than most: Carol Beahm, the farmer behind Fields of Grace Farm in Remington. Along with her husband, Chester, and the three of their eleven children who still live at home, the Beahm family runs a small commercial dairy farm in southern Fauquier County. Taking in more than 3,100 gallons of milk per week, the farm supplies grocery stores across the state. Along with the milk business, Carol also runs an onsite creamery, where she makes more than 300 pounds of cheese from their fresh milk each week to sell at Northern Virginia farmers’ markets. Carol isn’t new to the modern day farm business. For more than two decades, she has been a dedicated farm wife and mother. Carol has personally seen the highs and lows of farming in her lifetime. With young children by her side, Carol lost her first husband in a tractor accident. However, she bounced back from the tragedy, and not long after the incident, she found a new farmer to share her life with. Chester and Carol have eleven children together. A typical his, mine, and ours family, the Beahm and Shenk families came together after spouses from both relationships passed away. A family composed of children from previous marriages as well as their own, the Beahm family makes up what is Fields of Grace Farm today—and the name suits them well. Mounds of various cheeses on the curing tables PIEDMONTVIRGINIAN.COM |

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RURAL LIVING As Carol walked to the cheese house, she apologized profusely for the mud. “There’s mud everywhere, I’m sorry, but it’s a working farm.” We often romanticize what a farm looks like, and yet forget that animals walk about, tractors squish dirt into mud pies, and people have better things to do than worry about what their farm may look like to outsiders. There are cows to be milked, animals to be fed, and work to be done. The mud can wait. When we reached the cheese house, we sanitized ourselves; I noticed a stark juxtaposition between the purified interior and the mud-splattered exterior we’d just left. A multitude of round cheese mounds were laid out before us. The simplicity, and yet the beauty of it all, was astounding. The work that goes into it is equally incredible. “We have people come by our farmers’ market table and ask me what I do the rest of the week when I’m not making cheese,” Carol said with a snicker. “Often times I spend 70 hours a week making, packaging, and selling cheese, not to mention tending to our family.” With a large walk-in cooler full of cheese, and even more curing on tabletops in the cheese house, you witness the love and care that go into her work. Cheesemaking may be tasty to the consumer, but even more, it’s a work of art. The hours that go into ensuring the entire process runs smoothly and safely as well as creating the colorful cheeses that are made every week are testaments to the loving commitment Beahm puts into not only her cheeses, but every process of the farm. We stopped by one of the cattle yards and watched Jersey cows graze. Then it was off to the calf yard to interact with the little Jersey calves. Josiah showed us the newborn twins that had to be bottle-fed by hand. Chester stood by and praised Josiah, “We didn’t think they were going to make it, but Josiah here really pulled them through.” Within his words there exists a sense of pride in the next generation of farmers. We proceeded inside and sat down at the kitchen table, where we really began to see the beautiful life of a female farmer, modern or not, unfold before us. “I’d say my most favorite thing about being a woman farmer isn’t necessarily the cows and cheese and farm. It’s about the love of being a wife and mom. I get to make meals and tend to my family. I get to welcome them home after working a long day in the field. I get to watch my children grow up knowing values. It’s the best part of this life.” When asked about the new generation of farmers rising up, she’ll encourage you, but she’ll let you know the truth and hardships behind farming. Often, younger generations love the idea of farming, but don’t fully understand the Top: Josiah shows us one of the twins he saved from premature birth. Bottom: Jersey cows waiting in the barnyard. 40  PIEDMONTVIRGINIAN.COM |


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Chester and Carol Beahm pose beside some of their beloved Jersey cows.

amount of work that the job requires. The older generations are paramount in setting them straight, leading by example. “If you’re going to start farming, farm because you’re passionate about the lifestyle, not because you’re trying to make quick money. This lifestyle isn’t easy. What about retirement? What about vacations? Are you ready to give up your interactive life to run a farm?” Carol and I talked about the plight of today’s Virginia farmers, who are, on average, 65 years old. In her eyes, the only reason they’re still doing it is because it’s all they’ve ever known: the passion, the lifestyle, the backbreaking work in the fields, and the immense joy of a bountiful harvest. “Younger people have the chance to really dive into farming. And if it doesn’t work out, they are growing up in a society where they have time to change their minds and follow a new dream.” For previous generations of farmers, this was, and still is, their lifestyle. They didn’t have any other way; they grew up in it. It was a way of life and there was security within it. But with today’s modern commercial tendencies, a saturated market, and decreasing milk prices, dairy farming isn’t what it use to be. And while farming becomes increasingly popular with younger generations and the face of farming slowly moves toward non-GMO and organic products, older generations of farmers serve as encourage42  PIEDMONTVIRGINIAN.COM |


ment and a reminder as to the difficulty of the profession. “This lifestyle is great. I love the life that I have lived on the farm. It’s something everyone should experience. But you’ll find that if you farm because you love farming, not the financial aspect of it, you’ll enjoy it a lot more.” Between the daily house chores, making cheese, being active in her church community, and loving her family, Carol is the epitome of a modern day farmer, one who has seen it all, experienced much, and still presses forward every single day of her life. Her greatest hardship as a farmer isn’t always the work that goes into the farm, but the work that goes into her family. Being a wife and mother on a working farm were certainly enjoyable, but seldom easy. Keeping track of eleven children and hundreds of cows isn’t something most people can say they’ve mastered. But Carol, in her own way, has. Fields of Grace Farm isn’t new to me, and I am honored to feature them as the final installment in our “FarmHER” series. For the past decade, my own family and I have been personal friends with this dear farm family. We’ve watched their children, our friends, grow up and start families of their own, some opting to stick with the farming lifestyle, others choosing a different path. But when it matters most, all roads lead to home. And no matter how hard—or muddy—the road may get, pushing forward isn’t optional, it’s simply the farmlife way.

Carl Bruce,


Beautiful by

211 East Main Street • Purcellville, Virginia • • 540-338-2613



A Writers’ Retreat When a house is more than a home


Story by Joe Trento, photography by Struxture Photography

y wife, Susan, and I would often drive out from Fairfax the 40 minutes into the beautiful Shenandoah Valley and dream about living in the Virginia countryside. One autumn Saturday in 1988, Susan gave me a real estate ad to call on. I did, I thought, but when we were almost to the appointment I said, “I didn’t know you liked log cabins.” That is when I learned I had called on the wrong ad. Susan laughed off my mistake and we told the realtor we were sorry, but we had no interest in seeing the log cabin. He asked us what we did for a living. When we said, “Writers,” he said,


Susan and Joe Trento

“I have a house you have to see. It overlooks the town of Front Royal, and it might be perfect for you.” Since we had come all that way, we thought, “Why not?” The realtor said, “The house was built in 1910 on a site where the Union army


watched as Lee’s troops retreated after the battle of Gettysburg. General Lee and his men signed the timbers in the house across the street.” Happy Creek crossed the front of the house. That seemed like a good omen. The house did not have a street address. It was named “Tanglewood.” It was walking distance from downtown and a short drive to the Shenandoah National Park and the Skyline Drive. The town is just off of I-66, so Washington, D.C., seemed accessible. The driveway led up a hill to a large Italianate colonial home with four big white columns over a huge front entrance. There was a two-stall barn in the backyard. As we walked into the foyer and saw the


light streaming into the house from the two-story stained glass window on the elegant old stairwell, my wife and I looked at each other knowing full well we were going to buy this house. The realtor introduced us to Sarita Long, just the second owner of the house. She told us about the antique heart of pine flooring and the latest in 1900s heating, cooling, and kitchen technology. It was clear it was going to cost a fortune to bring a shine to this old gem. But more than the scale of the house, more than the simple beauty of its lines, was its amazing light. Most old, small-roomed homes seem dark. This house, with its high ceilings and large rooms, was filled with light through its original, wavy glass windows. The realtor left us alone with Mrs. Long, and we made a deal that very afternoon. Mrs. Long explained that Tanglewood was one of two homes built by sisters. The house next door is completely different in style, but the sisters put walkways and driveways to connect the two houses. Tanglewood’s amazing stained-glass windows were a result of several stained-glass studios in Front Royal. The artisans travelled the country repairing windows, mainly in churches, damaged by hurricanes and other natural disasters. At 80, Tanglewood needed new everything. It was a challenge we took on with completely unrealistic gusto. About the time we bought the house, Martha Stewart was restoring her Connecticut farmhouse

Above left and below: Teddy and Tate relax on the spacious front porch. Above right: The kitchen opens up to a large patio and gardens which were featured on the Virginia Garden Tour.

and This Old House was doing a big barn conversion on PBS. Those efforts inspired us, but our adventure renovating a house in the country was much more like A Year in Provence than a wrap party with Norm, Kevin, and Tom. Having grown up in a big city, the pace of small-town remodeling took great patience. The workers knew the property well. They all had keys to the house. It was only after a year of picking who got the only hot shower that we learned the plumber, the electrician, and others had cut back the house’s infrastructure to save Mrs. Long money. The plumber exchanged stories with the other workers on their younger days when they used to trade “personal favors” for plumbing and other “services.” Apparently, Front Royal had its share of “desperate housewives.” One day I put some empty appliance boxes on the street for the trash pick-up.

At the post office, a lady I did not know said, “Why do you need two dishwashers?” When I turned the old chicken coop into a gardening shed and workshop, I asked the carpenter to add a deck on the back. Downtown, everyone wanted to know why my chickens needed a deck. When we had extra phone lines installed, several local businesses called and asked if they could use my new fax machine. Both the barn and the old house had to have new water, sewer, and electrical connections before we could even start. All we could see was our money literally going into deep holes. It was our introduction into the crazy expensive world of remodeling and the cast of characters that brought Tanglewood back to its glory. It was our architect who taught us to treat the property as if it were a valuable touchstone to the past. He explained its “anti-Victorian” simplicity of large rooms with clean lines and tutored us on the importance of the famous “Shenandoah blue” brick fireplaces. He drove out many weekends as he presented us with his developing plans for the barn and told us we should live in the house “as it was” for a year while the barn was being transformed before making any decisions about the house. The old, three-story, hipped-roof barn was slowly converted into a guesthouse that we would use for offices. Its past days of local cock fighting in the 1920s to children’s theater were over. But before we could start work, we had to exile an old possum and


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On the first floor, the big public rooms all flow off a wide, deep foyer. The living room, den, dining room, and kitchen all flow seamlessly with a sense of openness and space. The dining room opens from the foyer through large stained-glass twin doors and features a classic silver closet and a huge, stunning Odeon chandelier.

some snakes, but then the barn came together beautifully. The local banker loaned us the money on a handshake. The challenge with the main house was not to spoil the original design while bringing it into the twenty-first century. With their high ceilings and recessed Lightolier LED lights, in the evenings the house and barn look like glittering jewel boxes. Over our three decades at Tanglewood, we wrote history books about NASA and the space shuttle program, the CIA, a powerful Washington lobbyist, airline security and events leading up to 9/11, and Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. We sold a spy series to CBS and a movie to Oliver Stone. Tanglewood served as a backdrop for interviews on 60 Minutes, 20/20, BBC, Japanese, French, and German TV. Yet my most vivid memory is the weeks Comet Hale-Bopp hung in the western night sky over our front porch. After three decades, we decided Tanglewood, which inspired our work and gave us rest and relaxation, was too big for us to handle in retirement. We understood that in exchange for the privilege of living here, we would one day pass it on to new owners who will care for it and keep it relevant for future generations. That time has come, and the property is currently available.




The new kitchen remodel kept the floating fireplace, three full-size sinks, and two dishwashers. An array of handcrafted Wood-Mode white custom cabinetry with beveled-glass uppers soar to the 10-foot ceilings with multiple layers of crown molding. The huge kitchen peninsula has seating on both sides, and the kitchen opens both to the dining room and a large back patio and gardens.


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The centerpiece of the house is a huge stainedglass window (left) that reflects onto the large upper foyer surrounded by entrances to four bedrooms (two shown at right). Each suite offers something special: one has a balcony, another a fireplace, another a huge soaking tub. Immediately off the grand staircase is the entrance to the two-story master suite (above). A staircase leads to a bedroom with a large balcony overlooking the town. The fourth floor features a stained-glass dormer, two huge walk-in closets, an upstairs laundry, and a full-featured coffee bar with icemaker, refrigerator, and dishwasher.




The old root-cellar basement became a light filled English basement space with marble floors, two full baths, office space, a kitchen, laundry space, and wine cellar. It has massive amounts of flex space and storage with the latest in lighting and modern systems to service the entire house.

The old barn was transformed into a guest house. The architect designed a great open space for the first floor with a large atrium and bedrooms on the second floor looking down to the first. He even put a bedroom, laundry, and bath in the basement. Local masons installed a big stone fireplace and carpenters built east and west decks and a large entertaining space on the first floor with a modern kitchen. Upstairs, two offices (or bedroom suites) with baths opened to a two-story atrium. We commissioned a stained glass window for the front window. The barn has amazing views of the moon through its skylights and great sunrise and sunset views through the French doors.


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Charlottesville’s John Randall Younger, Looking Into Life

Left: Miracles of Modern Science Facing: Self Portrait 50  PIEDMONTVIRGINIAN.COM |



“A painting that fails to reflect some aspect of the human experience is merely decorative.”


By Andrew Haley

t’s a particularly interesting time for portraiture. We live in a world where anything can be called art and anyone can claim the title artist; art went “post-fact” early on. It’s a problem for a lot of people, while others seemed very pleased by the situation. Charlottesville’s John Randall Younger is one the Piedmont’s finest portrait artists. Born in Missouri and raised in Florida, John studied drawing with his father early in life and learned to paint on his own. He has made his home outside Charlottesville for 35 years. “My father was a working illustrator and wildlife artist. He always had his studio in the house, so I was exposed to art from the outset. He was an excellent draughtsman and an obsessive perfectionist with his own work. I picked up very useful observation and drawing skills from him. Learning to paint is much easier if one can draw well.” Portraiture is bound to the human experience—it can be abstracted only to a point. A painting that fails to reflect some aspect of the human experience is merely decorative. Portraitures are the nexus of meaning in art; they are spotlights, simultaneously revealing preoccupations of artist, subject, and viewer. It’s what makes the National Portrait Gallery such an interesting place to visit. The works are at the core of our national experience and the curators do a great job of adding short narratives for each work. The National Portrait Gallery, in Washington, D.C., has twice honored Younger with entry to its Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, a triennial national contest that invites artists from across the country to submit their best work. Thousands of submissions are winnowed to just 43 finalists. Younger is one of only a few artists to have been admitted twice, winning entry to the 2006 and 2009 contests. Congress established the National Portrait Gallery in 1962 with the mission to acquire and display portraits of “men and women who have made significant contributions to the history, development, and culture of the people of the United States.” The National Portrait Gallery says of its mission, “These Americans— artists, politicians, scientists, inventors, activists, and performers—form our national identity. They help us understand who we are and remind us of what we can aspire to be.” Benefactor Virginia Outwin Boochever (b. 1920, d. 2005) endowed the competition. A docent for 20 years at the museum, she made her gift for the benefit of artists and to link their efforts directly to the life of the museum. “The show really investigates the nature of a portrait in the modern world—it’s not just about paint and painting anymore,” says Younger. “For me, my submission, it’s all about the paint, resolving the very plainness of my subject and palette with the profound experience they embody, and the joy of the painting process. I paint because I can, it’s just what I do.” The array of media in the Outwin competition bears witness to the shifting definition of art. Submissions include all conceivable media; the

2013 first prize was awarded to a video installation by Bo Gehring. Younger’s 2006 entry, 6 AM, My Wife with Self Portrait, depicts divergence: the tension between the ideals and realities of daily life. “This work found me painting my paintings. Six AM is a really particular time of day—you feel it; it’s a kind of tense time—everything the day might hold. The work has a hall-of-mirrors feeling for me. Painting—my process—is about resolving the tension between light and dark. I take a very structural look at my subjects; the content evolves within the context.” Younger’s second winning entry, Suzanne, shows a sitter in his art studio. “I paint from life and reference photographs. The light changes quickly and it’s hard to just work from life.” Younger’s composition in Suzanne features beautiful open spaces to balance areas of clutter. Quiet and contemplative, the sitter passes a moment of life as the viewer is left to confront questions of purpose and meaning in a space dedicated to creative endeavor. The painting very effectively dissects aspiration, the world as it is, and the world as we wish it were. The technique is beautiful. A reserved palette matches the quiet feeling in the painting. Several areas of impastation lend texture to the cluttered spaces, raising highlights that underscore the work’s intimate immediacy. In the face of a loud and confused world, this painting could easily portray frustration, but the artist effectively avoids the pitfall by prioritizing effort and acceptance, managing chaos with small, clear spaces, emphasizing the sitter’s humanity. PIEDMONTVIRGINIAN.COM |

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Left: Suzanne Below: Kitchen Still LIfe Right: 6 AM, My Wife with Self-portrait





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FLOURISHED IN VIRGINIA’S WOODLANDS How a national park was instrumental in the legacy of America’s intelligence community By Glenda C. Booth


The mess hall used by the OSS trainees in the 1940s, open to visitors today Top: New recruits learned everything from how to shoot small arms to how to blow up a building.


bolster strategic intelligence, and after Japan’s 1942 attack on Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor, he established the OSS, installing General William J. Donovan as its leader to build up American intelligence operations. Historians are still trying to pin down a specific



limy creepy crawlies lurk furtively under the moist leaf litter and rotting logs in the dense, hilly woods of Prince William Forest Park on the eastern edge of the Piedmont. Some of these critters have red backs; some have yellow spots; some have marbled patterns. They are masters at avoiding detection. They are salamanders. There was a time, day and night, when thousands of men crept surreptitiously through these woods, then called Chopawamsic Recreational Demonstration Area (RDA), treading carefully to dodge hidden booby traps and avoid detection. From 1942 to 1945, these top-secret spiesin-training were preparing for the World War II operations of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the predecessor of today’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The work was so hush-hush that some said OSS stood for “Oh, So Secret.” And most of OSS’s operations were top secret until declassified in the 1990s. As the country mobilized for war, President Franklin Roosevelt recognized the pressing need to



number, but worldwide there were 15,000 to 33,000 OSSers. They established intelligence networks, trained resistance organizations throughout Europe and Asia and carried out “mercy missions” to save thousands of Allied Powers’ prisoners of war. Notable OSSers included Julia Child, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., actor Sterling Hayden, and future CIA heads William Colby and William Casey. Prince William County in the 1940s was a perfect rural setting for training spies. The park had both dense woods and farm fields spread across 15,000 secluded acres. One trainee, Lawrence L. Hollander from Chicago, recalled the natural beauty. “It is, and was, a beautiful area with its many shadetolerant oak, hickory, and pine trees. It also had its share of snakes and small animals.” Decision makers also deemed it ideal because it was government-owned, 35 miles from the nation’s capital and equipped with five rustic cabin camps, a communal dining hall, and an infirmary, all built by the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps. The OSS converted the summer cabins into year-round housing. Barbed-wire fencing, armed guards with dogs, and mounted military police patrolling the perimeter blocked the unauthorized. Everyone had to pass through military checkpoints to enter and leave. FUTURE SPIES Who were these spies-in-training? The OSS recruited independent thinkers. People who spoke a language other than English were often sought because they could help translate and analyze foreign documents like newspapers and glean valuable tidbits to advance the war effort. The Prince William camp trained only men and everyone had a fictitious name. In what was called “Area A,” up to 600 men at a time received advanced paramilitary training in sabotage and guerrilla tactics to use in covert and clandestine missions in France, Italy, China, and Burma. They learned espionage and unconventional warfare to use behind enemy lines, such as how to handle weapons, manage explosives, gather intelligence, forge documents, disarm booby traps, make low-level parachute jumps, and decipher and send

Decoding: The OSS recruits in Area C (Communications Branch) learned to code and decode Morse code messages and translate them into English.

secret messages. Some studied “morale operations,” a euphemism for psychological warfare. They trained from six to 14 weeks, depending on the course. “Extensive areas of woods and fields were designated for day and night exercises in map reading and deployment and for practices in field craft, that is, the ability to operate stealthily and effectively regardless of weather or terrain, to ‘see without being seen,’ either for attack or for evasion or escape from the enemy,” wrote John W. Chambers II in the 2008 article, “OSS Training in the National Parks and Service Abroad in World War II.” The men often trained in teams running through the woods on compass courses and on a jogging-type obstacle course. They learned weaponry at rifle, pistol, and submachine gun firing ranges using popup, silhouette targets. The Department of the Interior had obtained title to most of the land within the park when it was created and had been gradually moving property owners out. When the secret training camp was established, the War Department

quickly moved out the remaining residents. Their abandoned farmhouses became settings for OSSers to practice armed assaults. Some trainees mastered parachuting, becoming future members of “Jedburgh teams” that dropped into occupied France, Belgium, and the Netherlands to conduct sabotage and lead local resistance forces. Using the jump school at nearby Quantico Air Station, trainees flew low over the park and parachuted in. In the 1940s, most people had never traveled on an airplane, much less jumped out of one. Parachuting was “the most efficient way to infiltrate behind enemy lines,” Chambers wrote, “and paratrooper training also gave agents a further sense of self-confidence, courage, pride, and a feeling of belonging to an important, elite group.” One building was called the “Mystery House” or “House of Horrors.” Years after the Prince William OSS operation ceased, then-NPS Park Manager Ira Lykes recalled, as reported by Chambers, that in this building, men had “to walk down a labyrinth in


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Spies transmit and decode messages in Morse code.

a blue light, a very, very dim light while they were being fired at (and were firing back in order to protect themselves).” They taught them such delicate things as when they burst into a room of German staff officers which one to shoot first. The one that stood up was the one that got shot first and the one that had the wild look and stare on his face got shot last because he hadn’t collected himself yet and he didn’t know what to do. This was the fine shading in murder. Of course, we had to do it because we had to fight fire with fire and it was a really justified program,” said Lykes. In another camp, called “Area C,” more than 1,500 people learned telegraphy, codes and ciphers, International Morse code, and undercover radio operations to use behind enemy lines. In Area C, the OSS built the first wireless radio that could communicate with an airplane six miles above sea level. OSSers here also developed an underwater breathing apparatus that did not cause bubbles on the surface. (Area B was at the Catoctin Recreational Demonstration Area, later Catoctin Mountain Park, Maryland, where trainees learned close-combat techniques.) OSSers lived in the cabins, creosoted on the outside and heated by cast-iron, Franklin pot-bellied stoves. Officers’ quarters were a step above the average trainee’s lodging. The camp had a mess hall, infirmary, classrooms, warehouses, a water tower, recreation hall, an auto and truck washing building, commissary, and armory. TODAY’S REMNANTS Park rangers today warn visitors to be on the lookout for remnants of the spycraft exercises. During the OSS days, “Demolition areas, where explosives were used against wooden, iron, or steel objects, mock bridges, towers, buildings, or railroads, were extremely hazardous areas,” wrote Chambers. Occasionally today, tangible evidence of the camp’s activities surfaces, but park staffer



have assiduously removed undetonated bullets and shells. Many of the buildings housing OSS operations still stand—cabins, the infirmary, storage structures, and the water tower. A few gun mounts remain. From these, trainees fired blanks and practiced evasion and guerilla tactics. Today, rubble remains of the evicted families’ farm buildings are semi-shrouded by the forest duff. A kitchen sink pokes through thick brush. The then-village of Hickory Ridge was abandoned and buildings destroyed in OSS demolition practice. Today the site of the village is marked only by Virginia pine trees and small cemeteries of the remains of people who died before the park was created. At war’s end, to preserve the secrecy, War Department authorities bulldozed much of the infrastructure. The lake that visitors see today on the South Fork of Quantico Creek was the site of training in seaborne landings, river crossings, sinking ship evacuations, and other amphibious and aquatic exercises. Exhibits in the park’s museum tell the camp’s OSS story and include the radio invented in the camp. “Prince William Forest Park provided the perfect venue to train Office of Strategic Services (OSS) recruits. The robust history that our park interpreters share, as well as the remnants that remain within the park, reflect the days of the training camps and serve as a reminder of how this national park was instrumental in the legacy of America’s centralized intelligence and special operations agency,” explains Acting Superintendent Kathy Kimmitz.


PRE-OSS, A SEGREGATED CAMP WITH EGGNOG In 1936, the Chopawamsic RDA was the first southern RDA to welcome inner-city children for summer camp, but despite that claim to fame, the National Park Service deferred to “local custom” and segregated the camps by race and gender. The first summer, camp leaders introduced 2,000 urban youngsters to the outdoors. Three camps were for white youth, for example, the white Girl Scouts of Arlington, Va. Another area was designated for African-American boys from what was then called the Negro YMCA of Washington, D.C. NPS created separate entrances to the white and black camps. “Children sometimes arrived at camp malnourished and suffering from little medical attention,” says a NPS brochure. “Each camp had a dietician, an infirmary, and a nurse who checked the children regularly, adding eggnog to their diets if they needed to gain weight.”

INFORMATION Prince William Forest Park Rangers periodically lead public walks by appointment. The Office of Strategic Services Check the featured story archive at The National OSS Museum Efforts are underway to raise $70 million to build a museum in the Dulles Town Center.


Playing It Forward The Boyd Tinsley Foundation: Cultivating Charlottesville’s youth musicians


By Eric J. Wallace


ave Matthews Band’s violinist Boyd Tinsley isn’t hard to recognize. Standing six foot two, the 52-year-old wears dreadlocks, sunglasses, tight-fitting T-shirts showing off a chiseled physique, and a trademark grin. Though Tinsley was the last member to join the band (in 1991), his sound served as the final puzzle piece to complete the group’s explosive rise to stardom. As a childhood friend and longtime musical conspirator of founding drummer Carter Beauford and late DMB saxophonist Leroi Moore, he was asked to contribute to a demo version of “Tripping Billies,”

and things escalated from there. With DMB selling enough tickets to land a spot on Billboard’s list of the 100 best-selling bands of all time and six albums debuting as chart-toppers, Tinsley has been propelled to a degree of musical notoriety so great that he and legendary jazz-fusion violinist Jean Luc Ponty share the exclusive distinction of having signature-line Zeta violins created in their honor. Interestingly, Tinsley’s introduction to the instrument that would make him famous was kind of, well, accidental. Struck by an intense desire to pursue the guitar, young Tinsley enlisted himself in Charlottesville’s BuPIEDMONTVIRGINIAN.COM |

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Tinsley has dazzled millions of fans as part of the legendary Dave Matthews Band.




ford Middle School’s strings class. Only, upon showing up, he discovered that, due to the program’s classical orientation, his instrument of choice was MIA, and by default he took up the violin. Initially, it was tough going. “My dog and my family hated me for a good couple of years,” Tinsley jokes, recalling his early development. “But I stuck with it and I progressed.” Because of his ever-increasing devotion, the era of grating annoyance didn’t last long. “When I was in 10th grade, a concert pianist came to Charlottesville High School and they actually selected me to play with her,” says Tinsley. “Her husband [Isador Saslov] was the concertmaster of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra … and she wound up asking if I wanted to take lessons with him in Baltimore. I said yes and went up there, and instantly I was like part of the family.” After a string of private lessons, compelled by what he deemed the drive and natural talent of a prodigy, Saslov asked the 16-year-old Tinsley to move to Baltimore and enroll to study with him full-time. And while that wasn’t what wound up happening, the beneficence of Saslov’s offer made a lasting impression. After much soul-searching, inspired by Jean Luc Ponty, Stephane Grappelli, and other jazz/rock pioneers, Tinsley instead decided against a classical career, matriculated to the University of Virginia, and, by a dazzling ensnarement of fate, landed a spot in Dave Matthews Band. “It meant so much to have the concertmaster of a major symphony orchestra encouraging me to go on with my music,” says Tinsley. “It told me that I had something, some kind of gift. Which was important, because it gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams of being a professional musician.” Thus, as the violinist was catapulted into worldwide notoriety, he thought frequently of Saslov and the many others along the way who had facilitated the development and realization of his talent—including those hometown benefactors who, early on, introduced him to scholarships that paid for private lessons and ultimately allowed him to pursue music in college. “When I was a kid here in Charlottesville, I entered a competition with the Wednesday Evening Music Club,” says Tinsley, who grew up in a family that he describes as poor and unable to afford high-quality instruments, much less private lessons. “I won the contest and received a scholarship for private violin lessons. That was huge for me. It was a gift from the community, the first of many. Eventually, I just got to this point like, ‘It’s my turn to give back.’ ” With a firsthand understanding of the importance of mentorship and encouragement, not only for young and developing artists, but also children in general, Tinsley turned to philanthropy. “I started a program in Charlottesville schools to give scholarships for academic tutoring as well as providing support for music and tennis programs,” says Tinsley. Enlisting the assistance of the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, Tinsley established the eponymous Boyd C. Tinsley Foundation in 2002. Since then, the foundation has provided Walker Upper Elementary, Buford Middle, and Charlottesville High School orchestra students


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Tinsley revisits the classroom where it all began.

with funds for private music lessons, musical supplies, camp tuitions, and the purchase of instruments for seniors entering collegiate music programs, as well as paid the salaries of instructors for tennis camps while providing student attendees with racquets and equipment via an annual $75,000 grant. Additionally, the foundation awards a yearly full-ride scholarship to an outstanding senior seeking to pursue music at the collegiate level. “A lot of the problems that keep kids behind or not allowing them to realize their potential is they just don’t have the opportunity,” says Tinsley. “Basically, I wanted to provide a means whereby kids could realize their dreams of going to college, of playing in a band, or whatever.” And the thing is, it’s working: since the inception of Tinsley’s programs, 100 percent of participants have gone on to attend college. “There are hundreds of kids that are involved in these programs,” says Tinsley. “They get self-confidence in that they’re able to take on something challenging and excel at it. To me, that’s the thing, having the opportunity to realize a potential. I count myself as privileged to be able to help develop that capacity in so many kids.” Meanwhile, with DMB’s recent 25th anniversary tour under his belt, Tinsley has been doing some reflecting. “I can still remember playing at Trax in Charlottesville in the early 90s, the rehearsals we did in garages and Dave’s mom’s basement and the attic above Trax,” he says. “Back then, there 60  PIEDMONTVIRGINIAN.COM |


was nothing but dreams and a willingness to just follow this music and believe in what we were doing.” When he thinks back on those humble beginnings and considers the fact that, by now, he’s donated well over a million dollars to Charlottesville city schools, Tinsley chuckles. “I don’t really think of myself as this philanthropist or this person that’s doing anything particularly amazing—I’m just Boyd; I’m just me,” he says. “I do it from my heart. I want to give back, because look at all that I was given growing up. It’s natural. I get to provide the same opportunity that the Wednesday Evening Music Club gave me. It’s like saying to all these kids, ‘I want to see you succeed. And I’m gonna give you the tools that you need to do it.’ ”


Snapshots from the end of the day

‘Arguing with God’ on tour Stone Hill Theatrical Foundation of Flint Hill’s performance at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.


Pat Nicklin of Amissville was the Woman Singer shown here with Nickinette Singers Emmy Nicklin, Karin Reichenberg, and Nancy Bagley.

Rappahannock Board of Supervisors member John Lesinski played King Solomon.

Hugh Hill, director and actor playing Moses (at right) with playwright John Henry.

PEC 5th Annual Thumb Run Open House


November 13, 2016

Amy Johnson of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute


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Snapshots from the end of the day

Middleburg Christmas Parade

Huntsman Hugh Robards and Richard McWade of the Middleburg Hunt Members of the Kena Shrine Highlanders practice before the parade

Ayrshire Coach and Santa Riders from the Middleburg Charro Club




Volunteers from Middleburg Humane Foundation


Snapshots from the end of the day

Ashland Bassets Meet Jan 1, 2017


“Heading home.” Mary Reed, Huntsman and MBH of the Ashland Bassets

Mary Reed

Honorary Whipper-in Babs Timmerman

Mary Reed and Babs Timmerman with hounds

Mosby Heritage Foundation historical talk with Doug Breton


Jan 12, 2017

Former MHAA intern and current senior at the College of William & Mary, Doug Breton spoke to a packed house at the Middleburg Montessori School. Breton introduces the topic of his program and corresponding driving tour: Loudoun County during the American Revolution, an overlooked topic. PIEDMONTVIRGINIAN.COM |

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How About This Weather?

Listening to Virginians complain about the weather is like hearing millionaires bitch about taxes. By Tony Vanderwarker



shelves bare of eggs, milk, and you-knowwhat. I love to go to Giant and watch my fellow Virginians racing around in a frenzy, piling their shopping carts high and speeding home to hunker down and await the impending event.. The Great Slip ‘n’ Slide occurs when southerners venture out after a snowfall. Up north, people know how to drive in the white stuff. They pump the brakes to stop and if they do start to slip, are savvy enough to turn into the slide. Down here, when their back wheels start to slip and slide, Virginians step on it, quickly finding themselves in the ditch. And braking suddenly sends the vehicle skidding into an intersection. The Sweat Fest is an August event in Virginia. I quickly learned that, thanks to airconditioning, one can endure August. The trick is to never get too far away from the cool. You catch on pretty quick that it’s not good to get in a car that’s been sitting in the hot sun. The seats get so hot they’ll fry the back of your thighs and you’ll sweat to death waiting for the car to cool down. So you blast the air for a couple minutes while you go back inside and wait in the cool.


I thought having a pool would provide a respite from the heat. But the water gets so hot you can almost boil an egg. Cold showers are the best answer. But even after a long one, you can work up a sweat just putting your clothes back on. So men and women alike learn to revel in sweat. Even at the fanciest garden parties, everyone’s hair goes limp, sweat beads up on brows, and dark spots spread under arms. It’s not a pretty sight, but no one gives it any mind, for everyone knows it’s the annual August Sweat Fest. One more thing about the weather: Virginians take the seasons for granted. Up north, spring and fall last a couple weeks. You go from summer almost directly into winter. Before you know it, The Great Gray Funk is on you again from October into April, hanging around until May when all of a sudden, the leaves pop out and suddenly it’s summer again. No wonder Chicagoans favorite remark about the weather is, “Don’t worry; if you don’t like it, it’ll change.” We are blessed with seasons that gradually blur into one another so the weather changes never smack you in the face like they do in the north. So, Virginians, stop complaining and start enjoying. And if you don’t believe me, go visit Duluth in February or Rochester in March. As they used to say in the Brylcreem commercials, “A little dab’ll do ya!”


outherners aren’t aware of the weather monsters up north. They’ve never heard of a lake-effect blizzard, The Great Gray Funk, the Alberta Clipper, or block heaters. Virginians gripe when the temperature drops below twenty and they get a dusting of snow. They don’t know that the lake effect can bury Chicago or Cleveland under a foot of snow in two hours. Southerners whine when the sun doesn’t come out for two days. They’ve never witnessed The Great Gray Funk, an actual psychological depression caused by lack of light. Here, everyone grouses when a brisk wind drops the temp into the twenties. They can’t conceive that in the Midwest, the Alberta Clipper can blast down from the Arctic at 45 mph and drop the wind chill to -50 degrees. Down here, it never stays cold long enough to keep a car from starting. Up there, parking lots are equipped with outlets you plug your car into. The heater in the engine block enables your car to start easily. Forget to plug in and you’re hitching home. But southerners have their own weatherrelated events. One is the Bread Rush, another the Great Slip ‘n’ Slide, and the third, the Sweat Fest. I’m constantly amazed by the panic that sets in when a snowstorm approaches; people flock to the grocery stores and strip the



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